Comment Stream

Search and bookmark options Close
Search for:
Search by:
Clear bookmark | How bookmarks work
Note: Bookmarks are ignored for all search results

Total Found: 10 (Showing 1-10)

Page 1 of 1
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

As with a few others on here, I haven't seen this in the cinema and I must admit I'm in no real rush to either. The Force Awakens, Rogue One and especially The Last Jedi have sapped any enthusiasm I had for future films (which even the prequels didn't manage), and judging from the box office performance I suspect I'm not alone in that respect. Fingers crossed Disney takes heed and changes tack, but equally I'm not holding my breath.

Never thought I'd end up such a negative nancy about Star Wars, but I guess life is full of surprises.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Sat, May 12, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Likewise surprised by Jammer's review, and stand by my 2.5 (at best) assessment. Can't help but feel it's been given a bit of a free pass on account of being 'different from previous Star Wars films' if I'm honest, but each to their own.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@SlackerInc: on balance, I was probably a bit harsh about the score. I think my biggest issue was that, like you say, it was 'fine'...but that's about it. I can't actually recall a standout bit of original music from the score (even The Phantom Menace had Duel of the Fates), which may admittedly say more about my memory but for me it was a shame given John Williams' previous work. Mind you, he still got an Oscar nomination so that shows what I know I suppose!
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Bit late to the party, but here goes...

I wanted to like The Last Jedi. I really did. I wasn't keen on the second half of The Force Awakens (not just for killing off Han Solo for no good reason, but because of ultimately how derivate and 'A New Hope Rehash' it became), and I disliked Rogue One so much it remains the only Star Wars film (so far) I will not buy on DVD, but at the same time I'm not a hater by nature and I was encouraged by the news I'd heard in the build-up. So I sat in the cinema with my family and hoped for the best.

Ultimately, I left with extremely mixed feelings.

First off, the good (because there were good bits, when all was said and done).

- Individual performances: Mark Hamill for me put in the standout performance - he had a more substantial and nuanced part than the previous 'farmboy turned galactic hero' routine, struck a good balance between humour and serious turns, and despite his misgivings about where the character was taken (on which more below) I felt he gave Luke Skywalker a good send off. Barring any Force Ghost antics, of course (Yoda opening the door on that, after all). The scenes with Yoda were a nice touch too, and lifted the overall bleakness of the film (on which more also below).

Adam Driver also put in a good performance for me - less of the whiny angst teenager in The Force Awakens and a more plausible (and complicated) character for it. The bait-and-switch in terms of seemingly turning good before actually being even worse worked for me, even if I didn't find the accelerated promotion thing particularly convincing (surely there'd be others with a better claim to the title within the First Order?). Daisy Ridley did well with what she had, although I don't think the script did her justice - Rey's 'journey' lost its way at times, and didn't really explain how she went from 'raw potential but no real clue' to 'look at me shift a thousand boulders' in the space of about 3 days and 3 rather weak lessons. John Boyega put in a decent turn as Finn, and even if the whole patient-turned-deserter-turned-agent-turned-saboteur-turned-kamikaze thing didn't mesh together I still felt the character has some interesting potential for the last film. And whilst I'm on the main characters, Oscar Isaac was decent to watch as well (which is a bit damning with faint praise, I admit, for reasons below), and the late Carrie Fisher was on good form and fun to watch (although again, I wasn't convinced about the character overall).

- Special effects: Enough said really.

- Locations: even if some of them were, ultimately, completely pointless, it was nice to see a bit more of the Star Wars galaxy being explored.

- Emotional depth: whilst the film was hit and miss on this throughout, it was nice to see them trying to bring more depth to the characters and explore their strengths and flaws. By and large the characters were more believable for it, and in particular the consequences of characters' choices being explored in this way was welcome (even if it did mean others characters suffered in comparison).

- Return of the A-Wing: okay, it is stretching credulity that they'd still be using a 30-year-old design with no changes whatsoever, but it was one of my favourite ships and I liked seeing it regardless.

Now the not-so-good...

- Premise: I hate to say it, but the whole premise of the new trilogy just doesn't work for me at all. My honest reaction on reading the first few words of the opening crawl ("The First Order reigns") was to groan. I mean, seriously - this is like, what, 24 hours after Starkiller Base destroyed Hosnian Prime, and the whole New Republic has fallen to pieces? I know suspension of disbelief is part and parcel of science fiction, but this is stretching plausibility to say the least. The notion that a collective of hundreds of planets - with their own governments, militaries and resources, as the prequel trilogy showed with Naboo and Kashyyyk - wouldn't have contingency plans and the wherewithal to launch a counter-attack against the First Order (who, let's not forget, had lost their main military base immediately), and would, quite frankly, be stupid enough to keep its fleet in one convenient-to-hit location is just ludicrous. Particularly given how many wise heads from the original trilogy era would be able to say "this is a really stupid idea, you shouldn't do it" and such like. (I understand there is apparently extra material between Episode VI and VII which explains how this sorry state of affairs is supposed to come to pass, but I've looked into it and it still doesn't persuade me that this premise works. It's like everyone had collective amnesia as to how the Empire rose up in the first place, and just left their brains at home.)

- The Resistance: considering how many former Rebel leaders are (or were) taking part in the Resistance, they do seem to be completely useless as a military outfit. It's starting to make the destruction of Starkiller Base look like a fluke. Between sending possibly the slowest, and least well-armoured, fleet of bombers in existence into a certain death attack (or even contemplating it in the first place), having everyone assemble in one location to be snuck up on by the First Order, having an unshielded and very convenient tunnel leading right to their only fighter squadrons and not even considering using their only armed ship as a diversion until most of their transports have been destroyed, they just seem to be a bunch of morons. If this is the best the New Republic had to offer, perhaps that explains why they fell apart so quickly (even if I still don't buy that premise at all).

I seriously hope they portray them as more competent in the last film, because right now the Three Stooges would put together a better fighting force.

- Wasted characters: where to begin with this one? Supreme Leader Snoke snuffs it with nary a hint of who he actually is, how he rose to power, how he commands the dark side so strongly and yet still couldn't predict his own (rather ironic) demise. Captain Phasma goes from being potentially strong female character to disposable, and appears to have been a marketing ploy to sell shiny stormtrooper action figures. General Hux just seems to be a frustrated Nazi in the wrong universe, and far too in love with the sound of his own voice to be an effective leader of anything.

It goes on: Pretty much every Resistance fighter pilot or bomber crew member. The ENTIRE Resistance leadership (including Admiral Ackbar, who didn't even get to say "It's a trap!" before being blown into space). Chewbacca - did he actually do anything significant during the entire film? The droids - ditto. Vice Admiral Pink Hair (I honestly can't remember her name, probably because of how much her role amounted to cannon fodder). Rose (social commentary and battering ram on Finn aside, why was she there?). The crypto-hacker guy Benicio del Toro played (quite honestly, if he died on the First Order flagship I couldn't care less). Perhaps more contentiously, Poe, Finn and even Leia (my test being would the film still have worked without any of them in it, and quite frankly it would have - never a good conclusion).

So much potential, so much running time, so little substance.

- Meaningless side plots: the whole casino planet trip, eye candy and cute final scene aside, was just such a waste of time and actually quite boring. I got the whole social inequality message (and the slightly contrived 'it's all a shade of grey' bit with the weapons dealer's ship, however hackneyed that actually felt), but it felt like a knock-off Cloud City with no purpose other than to divert from The Galaxy's Slowest Chase Scene. I wouldn't have missed any of it if it had been left on the cutting room floor.

Same goes for the whole 'Poe tries to establish himself as fearless leader, fails spectacularly' routine. Quite how someone gets to the rank of Commander with so little common sense or tactical nous is beyond me, and it just felt as contrived as his heroine worship of Leia. (There's a limit to these things, surely?) And the whole 'Luke hates the Jedi Order' thing just jarred so much that I found myself missing the Expanded Universe timeline.

- Questionable character decisions: I think this probably sums up my biggest misgiving about the filme, which is that a number of characters make (or have made) decisions which are meant to highlight their flaws but instead seem jarringly out of character. The most obvious example is probably Luke Skywalker, and I could see right away why Mark Hamill made his (quickly backpedalled) comments about not being happy with how Luke was written. This is, after all, the same character who ignored pretty much everyone saying "Darth Vader is pure evil, there's no point trying to save him", turned him back to the light side and dealt a crippling blow to the Empire - and yet, when faced with a pupil who has been corrupted and seems to show no prospect of redemption he decides the best option is to take a lightsaber to him? (I know some people have said it's to show the flaw in trusting his gut instincts, but for his gut instincts to have gone so wildly off piste in the intervening years is a bit of a leap). Likewise, would he seriously have just washed his hands of the whole enterprise and not sought to put right the mess he created?

Same goes for Rey even contemplating trusting Ben Solo/Kylo Ren after he butchered Han right in front of her in the previous film (bizarre connection notwithstanding), Leia's tactical dead-ends, Finn's attempted kamikaze (surely he'd just be vaporised?), and pretty much every call made by Poe in the entire film. I get the whole 'people make bad decisions' thing, but there were some right humdingers happening far too regularly.

- Music: controversial, perhaps, particularly for a fan of John Williams, but the score didn't do anything for me really which is a shame.

- Overall bleakness: granted, there's nothing saying Star Wars has to be all levity (and I don't think it ever has been) and there's plenty of room for serious storytelling. But between this and Rogue One, they're laying the bleakness on with a trowel and then some. I'd lost count of how many people were killed simply for the sake of perceived drama, and the whole 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong' vibe just went overboard as well. Were it not for something of a salvage job in the final battle, I'd have left the cinema feeling thoroughly depressed.

I'll leave it there on the not-so-goods as I'm starting to rant and ramble, but despite (somewhat confusingly) feeling more satisfied with where The Last Jedi left off compared with how The Force Awakens left off I must confess I was disappointed overall and generally not feeling too thrilled about Disney's handling of the Star Wars saga. I very much doubt anyone at the House of Mouse will care or lose even a second's sleep over it given the box office takings, but for me it's getting to the stage where I'm losing interest in the direction they're taking things - and I've been a fan of the films as long as I can remember. This isn't about harking back to some perceived "golden age" or the like - the new films do some things very well, and the original trilogy had its flaws (and God knows the prequel trilogy did), and it's only right to acknowledge as such. But my motivation for watching Episode IX is now purely to see how they tidy up the mess and resolve the various plot threads they've left for themselves - and to see if JJ Abrams makes it as much of a Return of the Jedi copy as The Force Awakens ended up being of A New Hope. I can't say I'm particularly fussed about Solo aside from passing interest, and Rian Johnson's purported new trilogy likewise doesn't grab me. Perhaps it's one of the signs of growing up and (maybe) outgrowing the material, but it's a shame nonetheless and particularly to see that I'm not alone in my viewpoint on the new movies. Either we're all becoming old curmudgeons or something has gone a bit awry. But hey, as long as the bank registers keep ticking over and recouping the $4bn+ investment then who cares?

2 stars for me (maybe pushing 2.5 if I'm feeling generous). Episode IX may mark the end of my interest in Star Wars at this rate.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Funny. I would have swapped Jammer's rating for this and Into Darkness in a heartbeat. Beyond has its storytelling gaps (and pacing issues), but it was a solid attempt at an original script (rather than the Wrath of Khan knock-off that Into Darkness was) and for me a more cohesive film than Into Darkness. There was more character development than the first two reboot films combined (a number of characters actually started to resemble fully fleshed out people, for one thing, and the Spock-Bones sniping and teamwork was very welcome in particular. Plus it was nice to see the Enterprise era acknowledged, if only briefly. Krall was a letdown, no question (there was masses of backstory for the taking there, but all for naught), and the whole question of 'why is he doing this?' never really got a convincing answer - aside from, perhaps, alien tech and isolation-induced insanity. Then again, Into Darkness had some sizeable flaws as well - Khan changing height and ethnicity, "magic blood", Admiral Marcus generally being one-dimensional, the Carol Marcus underwear scene, the Kirk death scene with zero consequences, a pretty weak explanation for how Federation tech was now surpassing the 24th century to build something like the Vengeance...and so on. Out of the two, Beyond left me happier overall when I left the cinema. Perhaps Into Darkness suffers because of Wrath of Khan. But for me, Star Trek Into Darkness would get 2.5 stars and Star Trek Beyond 3 stars (with the 2009 Star Trek getting 3 to 3.5, depending on how generous I'm feeling on a given day).
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Sat, Jan 24, 2015, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Pretty late to this debate (which I'm surprised has gone on so long, in fact), but here's my two cents:

First off, emotive value aside, what Archer and Phlox agreed to do (or not do) does not amount to genocide. The long-established definition from Raphael Lamkin of genocide is "a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves". Whatever else it amounts to, the decision in this episode cannot rationally be described as "a coordinated plan of different actions" or having "the aim of annihilating" the species. They left them medicine to try and help, after all, which contradicts that. What it does amount to is omitting to act, and that invokes a different parallel.

The closest parallel, and perhaps the root for some justified criticism, is that it is akin to the international community response to Rwanda or other such atrocities. Even so, this is not strictly comparable. There isn't a direct campaign of violence against the Valakians; the source of their illness (and eventual presumed demise) is faulty genetics. There is no third party involvement. As such, the question becomes whether Enterprise could (and should) intervene - and I suspect the key point of the episode, which has gotten lost in all the bandying about of claims of "genocide", is that this became a much more complicated question once the crew realised what was actually at play. It wasn't a case of giving a vaccine or stopping an epidemic - it was potentially a case of deciding the outcome of two species, of which they had limited knowledge yet for whom they were proposing to make a judgement call without any idea as to the consequences. In short, they were in over their heads.

The obvious answer, for a number commenting on here, is to provide the cure regardless - but there are a number of what ifs. What if the peaceful state of coexistence between the Valakians and the Menk was purely a reflection of how the Valakians were being subdued by the illness, and their reliance upon the Menk in certain situations (the orderlies working in the hospital, for example)? What if, once back to full strength, the Valakians decided that co-existence wasn't so fun after all (particularly if the Menk begin to develop as suggested by Phlox) and moved to subjugate - or even destroy - the Menk? Would Enterprise then bear moral responsibility for triggering a potential genocide? What if, on being provided with warp technology (which they also asked for), the Valakians became a threat to other species in the galaxy? How plausible or not these are is a matter for conjecture - the Valakians did not appear particularly antagonistic or belligerent, but at the same time they're subjugating an entire species already - but ultimately they're questions which the crew cannot answer. So what is seemingly the obvious answer isn't necessarily so much. Ultimately, there's a knowledge gap which makes any decision by the crew a punt in the dark - and that, I believe, is why Archer eventually decides not to intervene. The status quo is not a particularly palatable option for him, but at least it's reasonably forseeable.

Where I think this episode did fall down, however, is (i) cures for genetic defects don't tend to come in easy-to-use, portable vials and (ii) this was crying for a kind of follow-up. Like, "We'll send help in a decade" or something along those lines. As a standalone incident, it does jar very strongly against the principles the Federation is due to adopt in the future. Phlox's cure, meanwhile, came across as a bit of a deus ex machina - it would have been more compelling, for my part, if he had maitained the difficulty contention and suggested instead that he had found some promising leads from the Menk DNA, but couldn't justify carrying on his research for the reasons he gave. That would perhaps be more justifiable than deliberately withholding a cure. Not necessarily justifiable full stop, but a less-worse option perhaps. Overall though, I think it's a fair reflection of the fact that there are no easy answers to a lot of situations, and that's something Trek was very strong on. Look at "Space Seed" in TOS followed by The Wrath of Khan for a (probably far better) illustration of this. So as difficult an episode as it may be to stomach, calling it a betrayal of Trek is a bit too strong for me.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Sun, Jun 23, 2013, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@ Dom: Both fair points. However, as I said, comparing grosses from two films with completely different timescales is always going to be problematic. To demonstrate the point, STID's gross has increased by $2m in the time since I posted that. I agree that STID probably won't be ranked as one of 2013's most successful films, but given some of the films out this year that doesn't surprise me. The Iron Mans and Fast & Furiouses of this world are always going to be a bigger draw than Star Trek. Sad, but true. I guess I just don't feel this is such a travesty that it needs such a kicking.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Thu, Jun 20, 2013, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

On the inflation point made earlier: using the US Inflation Calculator website, Star Trek (2009)'s box office gross comes out as being the equivalent of $418,571,291.20 in today's money, with a run lasting through to October 2009 in the US. ST:ID is currently on $414,788,052 with a run lasting a month or so. Given the differences in timescale, I don't believe Paramount executives will be losing sleep on a difference of c. $4m gross.

Anyway, brief summary of the film: enjoyable enough. Some fairly sizeable plot holes, and the supporting cast yet again had too little to do, but I didn't feel as violently opposed to it as some on here appear to have been. Not the best Trek film by any stretch, but hardly the worst either.
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

I would just add, though, that the "Red Squad" chanting scene made me cringe as much as the Quark-Dax one...
Set Bookmark
David Ryan
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

A lot of comments on here are claiming this to be one of the worst episodes in the history of Trek. Personally, I don't buy into that at all, and further I'd add that if so it ranks some way behind any episode involving Lwaxana Troi, Ferenginar or some implausible "Wesley Crusher saves the day" moment. The only crime this episode seems to commit (aside from some really dislikeable characters and the absurd Quark-Dax moment which made me cringe) is in its premise of having a crew of cadets on a Defiant-class behind enemy lines for eight months, which seems to have REALLY gotten on people's nerves. I would make the following points:
1) Cadet cruises happen in real life, as do battlefield commissions and promotions.
2) The Valiant was one of many, many Defiant-class ships in commission by that point. Allocating one of the older ones to Red Squad would not cripple a fleet full of Galaxy-class starships and the like.
3) The Valiant was on a circumnavigation of the entire Federation. It's fair to say it would have been pretty stocked up with supplies, and in any event had a skeleton crew so could eke out what resources it had via the replicators.
4) As for why it stayed behind enemy lines, it's limited to Warp 3.2 at the start of the episode. The Jem'Hadar would have blown it apart before it got close to DS9. Staying below the radar is what a lot of soldiers did in the Second World War until an opportunity to reach neutral territory presented itself.

Also, the most recent point about Nog being outranked: battlefield commissions take full effect unless subsequently rescinded. See the Maquis in Voyager for example. It may bring about absurd results at times, but it's not "totally unbelievable". No more than Kirk being promoted such in ST '09, at any rate.

I wouldn't say this is one of Trek's finest hours by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think it's quite deserving of the vitriol directed towards it here. Especially considering the episode which came after it...
Page 1 of 1
▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2019 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.