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James04
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Once Upon a Time

Detestable as holodeck episodes so often are, this outdoes them. Flot and Trev would be vastly improved by being obliterated. Where is Colonel Quaritch when he’s needed ? Or is the Avatarverse cloaked in utter inaccessibility ?

I like Voyager, a lot. But while Little Miss Half-Ktarian is tolerable even in generous doses, Itchy and Scratchy IN SPACE !!!! are puke-inducing. If Captain Planet were a Totally Right-On space vegetable, he would be as they are.

Having a good message - “Folk need one another, and need to realise that they depend on one another, so they really ought to drop all the narcissism, tribalism & chest-thumping” - does not make up for having a weak-as-water plot, shallow characterisation, and (yet again) more lazy Deus ex Holodeckery. One is used to wretchedly-confected Evangelical art like “Left Behind”, which sacrifices aesthetic value to the requirements of its message - but it is very disappointing that ST makes the same blunder. If a story is garbage as a piece of craftsmanship, it is sloppy and insulting to broadcast it, regardless of how good the message may be.

Neelix did something to prevent the episode being totally unwatchable, but not enough to rate the episode more than one star. There are worse episodes than this, so this one does not quite deserve zero, notwithstanding the efforts of Butthead and Bevis.
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James
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 1:29am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Just my two cents worth. There are a few good things that can be said about ST:TMP. No question the special effects are wonderful, the cinematography is incredible. I saw this movie when it came out, I must have been 13. I was very impressed with how good the Enterprise looked. I still am. The ship was colorless and dull, but seeing it and the old crew on the big screen was terrific fun for a kid my age. Visually the movie was stunning, even if the color palette was bland. It's been described in other reviews as "Logans Run", lots of white and soft pastels. And everyone wears their jammies to work.

The ships were done with actual 3D modeling, the old-fashioned way, not CGI. In fact, STII: TWoK was somewhat famous for the groundbreaking demonstration film for the Genesis Project. That was a very early use of computer imagery. ST:TMP was all old-school.

Jerry Goldsmiths score was incredible. It was so good, it was reused and became the theme for the Next Gen series when that started. That score is now synonymous with the Star Trek franchise. There are some commendable things about ST:TMP, others have pointed out various qualities as well. But generally these things boil down to effects, the score and other post-prod factors. And then there is the emotional aspect of seeing the ship and the old gang on the big screen. There's nothing wrong with appreciating these things.

Nonetheless, this film is plodding, poorly paced and the characters are not well developed. Their interactions are mostly mechanical and dull. The story is, as has been noted, just a retelling of The Changling. I don't know why Roddenberry did this. He had to be aware that he'd told this story before. He, or someone at Paramount, had to realize fans were going to notice. But he went ahead and did it anyway. He might have thought, this is how I really wanted The Changling to be, but I didn't have the screen time or budget to do it right. Now I do. I don't know, I'm speculating.

Gene Roddenberry, and the directors he worked with on the old show, seemed to do a pretty good job of making economical and effective use of air time when working with an hour long episode format. One hour minus open and closing credits, and commercials, leaves about 42 or 44 minutes, or so? And you really have zero wiggle room. He seemed to respond well to being boxed into that time frame. You've got this many minutes to tell your story and your out, like it or not. It worked. But when he got a chance to make a movie, with no specific limit on running time, and a (relatively) open-ended budget, Gene Roddenberry just seems like he couldn't discipline himself as well.

The result is Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I like the joke title Where Nomad Has Gone Before. That's exactly what this is. It's just an old episode remade (The Naked Now, anyone?). It's no secret this film is the product of quite considerable changes in format (it's a tv show, it's a tv movie, it's a tv show again, it's a theatrical movie...), and the victim of seeming endless script rewrites. This tells me the whole project was just poorly conceived and executed from the beginning. It went into production with just too many questions unanswered for filming to be going on. It really shouldn't surprise anyone that the film is poorly paced and the interactions between the main characters is almost robotic.

This film cost about 51 million dollars to make. I think it brought in a couple hundred million overall. You can probably Google. Star Wars was made on about 11 million and grossed about a thousand bazillion dollars in ten minutes. Ok, that's being silly. But you get the point. Star Wars was cheaply made. In some places, the sets and props seem almost 1960's Dr. Who cheap. And that's saying something. I almost expect Patrick Troughton to come running out chased by a paper mache monster. But it doesn't matter. Star Wars was a great film, not just entertaining, but a great film because it was a wonderful example of great story telling. The people, their relationships, their adventures, everything was done superbly. Star Wars is everything ST:TMP is not. STII:TWoK is also everything ST:TMP is not. And for all the same reasons. Star Wars and Khan are both just great story telling. They are engaging, compelling, beautifully told stories. For all the money Paramount spent on TMP, it's like watching paint dry.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture, despite some really good things that can be said about certain aspects of it, is ultimately a bad film. It's a bad film because it simply fails at the one thing a movie is supposed to be from the beginning, a good, well told story. If it fails at that, impressive special effects and a beautiful score won't save it. If you're trying to defend this picture based on things like that, you're just proving my point.

Apparently Paramount agreed. This film did make money. It made back its investment and then some. But it wasn't nearly what it should have been. The return on TMP, given Star Treks legacy, the expectation, the money put into it, should have been multipes of what the studio actually made back. This is why Paramount green lighted a second film, but also promoted Gene Roddenberry to somewhere out of the way. Harve Bennett was brought in to salvage the situation. Bennett was made executive producer and put in charge of the film. The result (STII:TWoK), as about 99.999% of people will agree, was a vast improvement over the previous film. The comparisons of this movie to Moby Dick are already discussed on the internet, you can find those yourself. Needless to say, this film is no less cerebral and intelligent than TMP, but it has the story telling qualities that make great movies great. They're the same qualities that make great novels great.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is an exercise is aimless, uncertain production plagued with a producer and staff who were apparently making up a lot of this on the fly. This movie had the potential to be so much more. Given the anticipation leading up to its release, ST:TMP really should have been a home run, knocked right out of the ball park. Instead we got a mess whose gaping flaws they attempted to cover over with obscene amounts of sparkle and flash. That's not story telling. It's superficial crap. This film is, as I said, ultimately a bad film.
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James
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

" All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money"

Sounds like our governments and we accept them.....
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James
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 3:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Ok, since this discussion is still ongoing, I would like to add my two cents.

First, I want to put some facts straight. Many people here argued that letting that species die is in some way equivalent to letting a bleeding person die. That is, to me, completely false. That comparison frames the discussion completely different: From big picture to small picture compassion. There is no question that letting somebody bleed to death, even though you could help and are asked for help, is morally wrong. But this episode is not about that.

As somebody earlier pointed out, what if a hundred million years ago, there were intelligent dinosaurs, and some alien race decided to save them? Then we would have never existed. Would you still applaud their decision? I mean, you couldn't, obviously, but would they have been right?

This episode was about interference - even though some of the other posters deny this. What they want to do is put their finger on one certain moment in history and freeze it in time. This one species is here now, so we must save it, completely ignoring the consequences. Lets think this through: Archer saves the Valakians. Sounds great. He is now directly responsible for EVERYTHING that happens after this point. If the Valakians decide to genocide the Menk a few years later? His fault. If the treatment doesn't work, and the Valakians die out anyways? Also his fault, as he (or humanity, if he is dead already) should have helped them again. Or should he say "No, we helped you once, not a second time though"? What if the Valakians need constant help? Where do you draw the line? They are pre-warp, as I understand it, so they are not "there" yet. Do you give them replicators, transporters, warp drives? If Archer takes the responsibility for saving their lives, he takes on the responsibility for their continued existence.

Or to put it into the "small" frame of reference: You see a starving orphan. You give it food, so it survives for another ten days. What now? You now have the responsibility for that child. Of course, it would be the right thing to help that child, and it would feel good. But what have you really given that child? If you truly want to help, you take it in, give it an education, until it can survive on its own.

Now why was that child starving? Maybe it was because it was living somewhere where food is scarce, and too many people already live there. And suddenly, there is not one child, but a hundred. Or a thousand. Or millions. And if you give them food, they will have children of their own, which in turn need food, and so forth. Suddenly, your small problem becomes a giant one. Instead of helping one starving child, you created millions of starving children.

And that is what this episode is about. Archer simply can not comprehend the consequences of his actions. Sure, maybe he cures them, and afterwards, everything turns out allright. That is one possibility. The other is, that the Menk will always be second class citizens, permanent slaves. I know, people believe Phlox was wrong in this assessment of the situation, but we just don't know for sure, and neither does Archer.

I think people should pull back a little and not get so hung up on the specifics of the plot. Instead, consider the general question asked here: Is it right to interfere? If aliens landed and helped the Roman Empire, or the Confederate States, or China, or Germany, or Sweden, or the Inka, no matter if the end result was "better" or "worse" - would that have been right? Who decides, if it is better or worse? If you help the Romans, and the germanic tribes or the gauls never have the chance to achieve anything, or even to exist - who wants to have that responsibility? Can you say for certain that this or that would have been better? And if you are sure that one or the other outcome would have been better, can you say the same for future events? If given the choice right now to help either China or America - can you say for certain that one or the other would turn out better? Who do you support in the middle east? And keep in mind, in all those examples, you are not even part of the species: You are some alien that knows almost nothing of the history of those events. All these examples are pretty poor, given that for most of them we can use hindsight. Archer can not do that.

Archer made the only sane choice here: To stay out of it. He was right: He is not there to play god (and no, that is not a religious argument, as somebody tried to protray it: He is not implying that he is interfering with "gods plan", he simply says that he can not decide the fate of an entire species). Even if it goes against all his urges. He wants to help. The pain he feels must be unfathomable. Picard made similar choices all the time - only that his choices had clear black-and-white consequences, most of the time. Here, the consequences are very unclear - which is why people find it so offensive. Everybody has their own interpretation of what would happen next, and thus finds it easy to say what would have been right or wrong to do.
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James
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

I just want to say that listing a generic pop song like "Faith of the Heart" above Jerry Goldsmith's wonderful theme for Voyager is an absolute joke.

I agree that Discovery's theme is just as bad, though. I think Goldsmith would be turning in his grave hearing that one.
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James Smith
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 6:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

*sigh*

So, we've got Burnham as a full-on Mary Sue. The one true saviour of the Federation's moral code. We've got the whole war arc essentially resolved instantly by handing control of a Big F***ing Bomb™ to one of the enemy. We've got MU Georgiou still in play somewhere for no good reason. And then they cap the episode by showing something that's referred to as the Enterprise but it sure don't look like the Enterprise...

Nope. Sorry. This whole season has been one mis-step after another, and now it's fallen over entirely and faceplanted the ground.
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James PH
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Picard isn't just threatening Wesley, but he's doing so by reminding Wesley that he, Picard has a duty to the truth as well. He can no more cover for Wesley than Wesley ought to cover for himself.
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James Alexander
Wed, Jan 24, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

this is a hard one for me to watch.
the episode sets up a really uncomfortably atmosphere from the get go, and tells you in virtually every way that something is wrong.

I clicked on it by accident one evening when I was looking for an episode to chill out with and had to turn it off again because I was on edge as soon as Miles and Keiko had that really weird dinner.
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James Alexander
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Gooz, I would say that Bashir came off that creepy because Melora wasn't written strongly enough.
she got turned into this really vulnerable, almost helpless, character, just sitting around and waiting for the good doctor to make it all better.

if she'd been written with more strength and could actually look after herself, Bashir might not come across as a complete creep any more.
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James Alexander
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

to be honest I don't see the point of this episode.
it could have been used to introduce a new character but Melora wouldn't appear again until the Star Trek Titan novels, could have been an opportunity to talk about disabilities and overcoming challenges but didn't really go for that angle, and overall it was very very boring.

the only scene that really stuck out to me was when Melora got rid of her equipment and was floating around in her quarters, but that got used for a really sappy scene with Doctor Bashir. seriously, I thought that should have been really cool but it just wasn't.
and Bashir didn't come out of this looking too good either. the writers made him fall in love with his patient in the space of an hour, which didn't give it the sense of emotional impact, that it could have had if they built up the romance as a subplot through the season.
not to mention that Melora came off as way too vulnerable, which in turn made Bashir seem like he was preying on her.

as for the gear that Melora was dragging around , surely we would have advanced past that by the 2370s. nearly four hundred years into the future and we're giving people leg braces and really heavy wheelchairs.
come on, think of more advanced stuff, even in the minor details. surely she'd have an anti-gravity floating wheelchair like Professor Xavier seeing as this is the 24th century. hell, Bashir could invent something for her as a way to show off.


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James
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

It's hard to rank Lorca based on what we've seen so far given he's been impersonating someone else, but if he's destroyed the Buran and crew and not gone down with his ship that's pretty disgraceful.

6) Lorca
5) Sisko
4) Archer
3) Janeway
2) Picard
1) Kirk
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James Bond Jr.
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

I'm watching DS9 for the first time.

Dukat was one of the three characters along with Quark and Garak who kept the fire burning until season 4, where things for obvious reasons gets heaten up and burns on its own.

And perhaps it's because of my fondness for this character that I feel a bit disappointed now midway through this season. It just pains me to see this development where he all of a sudden is a freighter captain, with a terribly uninteresting bastard daughter on his side, acting (albeit still excellently delivered by Alaimo) nothing less than non-sensical with this not very thought through rebel call.

Usually I don't have much trouble looking past logical fallacies as long as it add some spice to the narrative, but in this case, because it concerns one of the main reasons to watch this Trek, I have to bow out to a notion of leeriness.

2/4



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Matthew James Burns
Thu, Jan 11, 2018, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

I like this film. It is still Star Wars. It was my first Star Wars at the big screen too - so nostalgia plays a part I surpose, too. It has some pretty shoddy acting in places, I completely agree. But it is mostly enjoyable, exciting and has a great story going on within, if you actually pay attention.

It has a dreamlike look to it - A sort of dark fairytale vibe. I liked it.
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James
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

That's a good point Genga. There's also the fact that shows are so quick to be cancelled that they have to grab you right away. Though it seems all the shows I become mildly interested in recently (Sense8, Dirk Gently) are cancelled within 2 seasons and I have no idea why, because they are just as violent and sexy as Game of Thrones (which i've never been interested in watching).

Let's just hope Discovery's brand of violent and sexy is the "right" one to keep it on air. I'm prepared to wait a bit longer for the depth, but I just hope the writers know that Trek should more than constant suspense and plot twists.
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James
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Seems like I'm the only one glad to see Culber go. I thought he was a poor actor, and utterly unconvincing as a doctor.
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James
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 1:49am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

I enjoyed this finale, but Star Trek time travel plots make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Am I to believe that when Janeway returns home at the end of the episode, she is going to go back and time and tell her former self that Voyager didn't make it home in time for Tuvok to be cured or for Chakotay and Seven to survive? Because none of those things would have been true and there would be no reason for her to go back, meaning Voyager wouldn't have received any help from the Admiral in the first place in order to get home.
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James Alexander
Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

this was my favorite episode of the series when I was little. I thought it was so fascinating watching an entire civilisation develop.
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James Alexander
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

BORING!
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James Alexander
Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

@Ubik
I absolutely adore Doctor Who and will get nerdy about it, but the previous show-runner has a record of using the Time War as an excuse to screw around with the lore. which is probably necessary when you have a 54 year old show about a time-travelling alien.

earth was supposed to be wiped out in the 2900s as shown by The Ark in Space? no problem. you can show a rebuilt earth in the 200th century, and then destroy it again in the year 5 billion, you just blame the Time War for the obvious inconsistency.
I can see why the fan-base doesn't care that much about making sense of the lore, when anything and everything can happen which contradicts the established lore so long as the writers have a handy excuse.
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James Alexander
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I know I commented earlier but its a 7/10 for me if I have to use a scale.
it was a very pretty episode, and I finally started to give a damn about more characters, as well as not being annoyed with Burnham in the slightest.
rather I was too caught up in the drama to have a chance to get annoyed with anyone really.

the thing is I can't get over all the stuff we've put up with up to this point, I kept rewinding because I somehow didn't understand the Cornwell situation (which was admittedly my fault), and I still don't like Saru in the slightest.
I'll give it a seven, even though I'm getting really fussy with my complaints, but if the writers can improve on this level of quality I will go to an 8 or even a 9. and for another thing, please can we kill Saru?

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James Alexander
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I found myself cringing when Stamets took that last jump.
Discovery finally got an emotional reaction out of me other than laughter!

I'm not kidding, this episode is the most emotionally invested I've been all through and I think I've started to care about Stamets.
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James Alexander
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

okay yeah, that was crap.
for me it wasn't any one thing, and I can't write you an essay about why I didn't like it, but it was borderline unwatchable.
I got through about twenty minutes and started fast-forwarding, because I was bored and wanted it to end.

@Karatasiospa
the reason I like some darker shows is because they take their ideas seriously, and they put their characters through tough situations. it isn't just because of darkness, but because of the opportunity for character work and also because it allows the upbeat moments to mean more to me.
I don't have a problem with Trek doing this so long as its done as well, and it has been before.

the episode of Galactica where they built the blackbird is one of my favorites because its a lighter and brighter episode after weeks of suffering and misery, and it actually gives that crew something to celebrate.
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James Alexander
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Jarvis, I think the writers were trying to be clever.
this is supposedly a set up episode before next week's blow-out, hence "if you want peace prepare for war"

the reason it doesn't make sense is because we've been at war since the pilot episode, and the pilot was the only good time to have a title about preparing for war.
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James Alexander
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 3:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

@skupper
"none of them are the good time fun girl who likes to give advice to everyone"

I know I'm being pedantic but I know guys and girls with Autism who are like it.
thing about Autism/Asperger's it gets all of us in different ways. I love to give advice and I'm always getting involved with stuff, but you won't find me at a disco because I'll have a seizure and have to be led back out.
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James Alexander
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

@ Paul M.
not trying to wade into an ongoing row but Tilly was literally the first character I picked up on when we were introduced to the show.

without getting all social justice-y I thought it was pretty cool that they bought on an Autistic character who can actually do more than exhibit repetitive behaviors and act sheepish around other characters. she's an actual character, not a severely uncomfortable stereotype, and I like that we get to see her act like a human being.

I would want to see more of her, not just because she has the same condition as me, but because I find her character to be quite quirky and bubbly, and she's just a lot more fun than some of the others.

she may or may not have been a diversity pick but the actress and the writers have made her more than just a token, and the one criticism I do have is actually her character development. Tilly needs an arc just as much as Burnham or Stamets, and we need to be able to see change in her by the end of the season.
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