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Simon Blake
Wed, Oct 9, 2019, 8:44am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Here's my problem with Empire: tauntauns.

I love, love, LOVE tauntauns. The idea of having a domesticated furry tusked dinosaur to ride is fantastic. The problem is in the realisation. Normally, you'd expect a special effect to look good from a distance, and be a bit disappointing close up. But tauntauns are the opposite: close up, they are (to me) really convincing. When you see Luke and Han sitting astride the beasts, they look *real*. You can practically smell them. But then it cuts to a long shot, and what I guess is a stop-motion (go-motion?) model... which while it's nice enough, just looks like what it is - a little model. It's the least convincing bit of model work in the entire trilogy, and stands out a mile.

What's even more baffling is that in the special editions, they didn't seem to touch these shots at all. I was actually looking forward to them getting those sequences right after twenty years, finally making them look consistent with the close-ups using CGI... and what did we get instead? More Wampa, which nobody asked for.
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Simon Blake
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 10:03am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

"(if you have the time the editing skills, you can even do better: rearrange the scenes from "Terra Prime" so it ends with Archer's speech and fade from that to the "Space... the Final Frontier" of the 3 Enterprise Captains from "These Are the Voyages". That would be THE perfect way to end Enterprise)"

Even better: do NOT watch this as part of ENT at all. Work out which scenes come where in "The Pegasus", and splice in the ENT sequences to that episode of TNG.

I've been introducing my wife to Trek. We've done the good bits of TOS, most of TNG, all of DS9 apart from some of the rubbish ones in S1&2, the best couple of dozen of Voyager, and every episode of ENT, because I hadn't already seen those. Last night we watched "The Pegasus" again, immediately followed by "These are the voyages". She could see why I did it that way, and frankly it didn't jar that much for us that Frakes and Sirtis had aged a bit, even seeing the two episodes back to back. But goodness me it was rubbish, for all the reasons stated.

At least we've got a couple of seasons of "Discovery" to go at now, and don't have the massive downer you'd have had seeing this in 2005, with no new Trek on the horizon.
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Simon Blake
Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 7:50am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Drone

Among my favourite episodes, mainly for two lines that REALLY stick in my memory even 20 years on:
First, when One volunteers to go over to the Borg ship, Seven warns "They will try to assimilate you." One makes the slightest of head movements which nevertheless CLEARLY conveys the sentiment "bitch, please", and simply says "They will fail." Brilliant.

And second when the "You are hurting me" line repetition pays off with "You will adapt." That is absolutely lovely and brings a tear to my eye as I'm typing this. Five stars just for getting to those two lines.
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Simon Blake
Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 3:19am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: The Xindi

" largely because of how cathartic it is to see a competent combat team at work in the Star Trek universe"

This! I'm bingeing ST:ENT with my wife and we watched this last night. One thing we both noticed was how refreshing it is to see characters *and actors* who seem to know how to go into a room full of hostile armed people and deal with them efficiently. I've lost count of the times I've seen obviously entirely untrained actors enter a killing room skull-first with their weapon pointed at the floor and shouted "That's not how you clear a room!".
This time the MACOs dropped in, and pretty much took out the major threats where possible in a single well-aimed shot. No popping out from behind plastic barrels to wildly ping something in the vague direction of the target, like in every other Trek firefight.
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Blake Davis
Mon, May 13, 2019, 11:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

Saw this as an 9 year old when it came out and it had me on the edge of the bed the whole time. The “machine” was scary as heck! This episode simply outclasses everything else in the original show - this deserved a movie treatment. No surprise it was written by Spinrad. Darn this was scary to a nine year old and I still think it is as I said just better than the others episodes - far better.
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Blake W
Mon, Dec 30, 2013, 2:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

@Josh I'm so glad we have people like you who can intelligently counter all those who claim DS9 doesn't fit into the Trek world. As far as non-Starfleet characters exploring less Starfleet issues, Honor Among Thieves comes to mind. It's one of my favorite DS9 episodes because, as far as I recall, there's never been anything on TV that more accurately conveys (to the point where viewers truly understand) what it's like to realistically live as a gangster / criminal.

DS9 has done an outstanding job with exploring the truth about war and so many other issues. I think people are out of line to assume the truth about war would be something different in the future. Just because Roddenberry had a certain vision of society doesn't mean you can apply that to a war. And I think it would be outrageous if people actually suggested that simply deciding to explore the issue of war is disrespectful to the Star Trek heritage.
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Blake W
Tue, Dec 17, 2013, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

This episode truly demonstrates the talent / skill of DS9's writers. Network TV nowadays would never allow something like this to air because 85%-95% of viewers wouldn't understand the story. I fell into that percentage, and it looks like everyone here (including the reviewer) fell into that percentage. But thank God for the internet, because someone who understood the story posted a comment on youtube:

"All the stories Garak tells in this episode are true...He did kill a shipload of civilians... He thought it was his duty to The Obsidian Order and Tain...but Garak has a conscience...and after this he stopped believing in the occupation...He began freeing Bajoran prisoners...He probably helped the Bajorans in some way ( the betrayal of Tain )..." - ShareTheMike

It's still crazy for me to read that comment... All the pieces were right in front of us (like Garak said at the end of the episode) and everything suddenly seems so obvious.

So, Garak slaughters a bunch of civilians, finds himself asking, "what's the point of any of this?" He becomes unstable & frees prisoners, he goes out of his way to frame himself (part of the unstable behavior). Tane interprets this behavior as betrayal (in "The Die is Cast" Garak says, "I never betrayed you... at least not in my heart"). Instead of blaming himself for how he raised Garak, he completely blames Garak (very Tywin Lannister-like). But some part of Tane knows Garak became unstable, he just doesn't believe in showing empathy.

The DS9 writers did such a fantastic job with the Tane character. As far as Tane was concerned, regardless of whether or not Garak intended to betray him, his actions resulted in what is "technically" betrayal; so he was exiled as punishment (but not put to death since he really wasn't a traitor). The entire thing is just amazing writing; even though I didn't figure it out, I'm so glad the writers never explained themselves. It just seems so fitting for a story about Garak's history: here's the information, it's up to you to figure it out.
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Blake W
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@Paul completely agree. "The Darkness and the Light" was a good episode. I really loved "Our Man Bashir" because the DS9 writers were so talented: they thought they were having fun, but from another perspective, they ripped apart the James Bond series to such an extent that they were threatened with legal action. I wouldn't put it as a top 10, but it ranks higher than a lot of the other episodes on that list. I'd say: In the Pale Moonlight, The Visitor, and Waltz should be the top 3; but I'm not sure.
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Blake W
Thu, Oct 31, 2013, 11:04am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

@Brandon you're absolutely wrong. Do you not remember the first conversation Garak and Sisko had? Sisko told Garak his plan, Garak told him it was an unrealistic suicide mission, Sisko suggested Garak use his contacts, (and the important part) Garak told Sisko it might be a very bloody business, and Sisko's reply: "I'm prepared to do whatever it takes".

For you to suggest Garak acted outside of Sisko's knowledge is just insane. Garak went out of his way to warn him that a slew of people may need to be murdered. He explicitly asked him if he was okay with that, and Sisko's justification was: "our people are getting slaughtered, so if ppl need to die to stop the slaughter, then fine".

What is so hard to understand about that? The story does not suggest Sisko would have never agreed to assassinate anyone; that's just your misguided interpretation of Sisko's anger at Garak. Maybe you're forgetting that Sisko isn't a cold-blooded murderer. And maybe you're forgetting Sisko's anger evaporated when Garak convinced him there was no chance of the Romulans discovering the truth.
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Blake W
Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Shakaar

I strongly disagree with anyone who says Winn was one-dimensional. She's exactly like SO many politicians in America.. Meaning, her character was very realistic, and it seems insane for people to ask for more than that. She is who she is, and DS9 was such a phenomenal series because the writers didn't sit around saying, "no, we need to make her more this." The characters were who they were
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Blake W
Fri, Apr 19, 2013, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

I'm very surprised to see how many people have a problem with this episode. For instance, Jake being a sheltered kid is totally irrelevant to the fact that it's his first time in a war, and adults in that position would act the exact same way as Jake. I remember with the Aurora shooting in CO, a grown man with a family was interviewed, and by his account, he acted the same way as Jake, which is why this episode is so phenomenal: it conveys the truth and horror of war.

People who've never been in battle have no clue what war is... And then they watch this episode and they have a much better idea. I'm not saying they totally understand, I'm saying in our society, the vast majority of ppl are deluded when it comes to war and therefore, comprehending war is a VERY serious issue. Often times, the vast majority of ppl pushing for war have no idea what war is. And because this episode actually informs & educates ppl, it automatically gets a high rating. After watching the episode, I totally agree with the 4 star rating.
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Blake W
Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I think In the Pale Moonlight might be EVEN better than most people believe because: It seems that when Garak agreed to help Sisko, he knew Sisko's plan was unrealistic & wasn't going to work. Garak alludes to this in his final conversation with Sisko: "that's why you came to me, because you knew I could do things you couldn't". I really wish this was mentioned in the review because:

It makes the episode that much better and really highlights how important someone like Garak can be (which easily turns into a moral argument). It totally seems like Garak intentionally lied to Sisko when he said, "all my contacts were killed".. But he never completely lied; he never actually said he was going to pursue Sisko's plan and I'm sure he really did have contacts that were killed after he tried to reach them... But did he try to reach them after his conversation with Sisko? Or did he spend the time coming up with his own plan? Like, how did Garak know about Vreenak meeting Weyoun? He had to have talked to one of his friends in the Cardassian govt more than once.

But, Garak told Sisko his contacts were killed within 1 day of speaking to him. And, if they were killed, why not tell Sisko immediately? And give an update and say he might have another plan? Garak waited until Sisko was anxious enough to come to him & ask for an update (he knew it would be the best time to propose his plan). He basically manipulated Sisko becuz, as Garak said, Sisko went to him to be manipulated.

Sisko wanted to believe his plan was realistic, but deep down he knew he needed someone willing to do what Garak was willing to do (or at least, that's what Garak said in the final conversation).
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Sat, Sep 8, 2012, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Honor Among Thieves

I can't believe ppl don't understand why O'Brien went undercover: Starfleet Intelligence was compromised, so they had to go somewhere else, and they were going to choose an engineer becuz the syndicate always wants ppl with those skills. Stuff on ds9 didn't work right becuz they wanted to get the main cast credited with a little bit of humor.

This episode is not a bad version of Donnie Brasco, it's psychologically realistic, and it realistically portrays the life of a gang member. Bilby became close to O'Brien when O'Brien passed his "honesty test" and O'Brien became close to Bilby when he realized he was a nice guy who happened to have a job as a gangster. When Bilby killed that one guy, he was able to give sufficient justification and Miles probably figured he was a gunrunner who deserved to die, so none of Bilby's actions would have prevented them from being close. Everyone is born good, to be in a gang and killing ppl is a gradual process, and it starts with tolerating / being ok with certain things. Miles was going through that process, and it began when he realized Bilby was an honest, fair, good person. The same way Bilby justified killing the arms dealer is similar to how Miles justified killing the ppl he's killed.

God, this episode was so realistic in so many ways, but so many ppl are too dumb to recognize it. Like someone wrote a comment about Bilby allowing himself to be killed, and that guy was obviously dumb and paid no attention to the show.

To the reviewer: the Vorta told Miles about the plan becuz in a gang you're either accepted or you're waiting to go though a rite of passage to be accepted, like Bilby witnessing for Miles (being blessed in) or proving yourself (being jumped in). Once you're in, you're family and you can be trusted with everything (something the vorta expressed concern over). And also, the vorta didn't arrange anything with Bilby, he met with top members of the syndicate and they chose to give the job to Bilby. There was nothing wrong with the plot. In fact, they used the seemingly predictable Star Trek "ok, i guess this'll be about how O'Brien finds the informer" to enhance the plot.

I always thought this episode was incredibly well written and did a superb job at showing ppl what it's like to be in a gang; it really sucks that so many weren't able to fully understand it, becuz it's right up there with In the Pale Moonlight.
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