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Dixie
Mon, May 28, 2018, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I'm sure the movie is passable, but after the train wreck that was TLJ I'm done paying to see anything Star Wars related. Not this, not the Boba Fett movie they're planning, not Episode IX. As much as it kills me to say it, I think I'm done with this franchise for the foreseeable future.
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Dixie
Sun, May 6, 2018, 12:43am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Three and a half stars for this train wreck of a movie? Did I fall through a rift into the Berenstein Bears timeline or something?
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Dixie
Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The word 'manipulative' comes to mind. Movies and television are manipulative, we all know it, and we all know that the best movies are the ones that can manipulate you without it being obvious - the ones that give us compelling characters, memorable moments, stunning visuals, emotional catharsis, and make us genuinely forget that we're just asses in seats as far as the studios are concerned.

... and then there's movies like The Last Jedi.

Without getting into spoilers, so much of this movie, so many of the characters, so many of the designs, so many of the scenes all just reeked of something developed, not by writers, artists, and filmmakers, but by executive committees trying to maximize profit margins. There are entire scenes, hell, entire subplots in this movie that just feel like they only exist to cash in on the nostalgia-factor, or because some focus group campaign found that some demographic wants to see more X, Y, and Z, and because of this the finished product doesn't come together very well. It feels sloppy, it feels soulless, and most of all it feels manipulative.
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Dixie
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

The plot here is extremely familiar, and fairly bare-bones. We've got the reliable old chestnut of 'shuttle crashes on an alien planet' and the crew being forced to survive. Under normal circumstances this would be a recipe for an entirely dull, by-the-numbers filler plot. Instead we get an exceptional character piece developing Claire and Isaac.

Claire here manages to be resourceful and determined in a dire situation while still managing to come across as appropriately desperate. Seeing her slowly figure out a plan is engaging and her ultimate escape is hard earned. And seeing Isaac not only grow to tolerate, but even become protective of Claire's children is extremely satisfying. Here the fact that the setup is so familiar and stripped down works in the episode's favor - it's just there as a canvas for the character-driven plot, and never draws away from it.

The crash sequence was well done (and I love that the shuttle actually, properly crashes instead of just plopping down completely intact in a field like in so many Trek episodes) and the big shootout at the end made for a solid action piece without feeling like it was tacked on. For me, however, the absolute highlight was the Tale of Peter Rabbit sequence; the sentiment felt very genuine and the editing between the storytelling around the campfire and Claire's predicament worked really well.

Also we're apparently confirmed for Season Two. I look forward to hopefully seeing more episodes of this caliber.
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Dixie
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Krill

Fantastic episode! The humor was on point, the tension felt genuine, the build-up to the dilemma at the end didn't feel contrived and didn't give Mercer and Malloy an easy out. They even managed to work in some solid continuity connecting back to observations in the pilot, Grayson and Alara's girl-talk a few episodes ago, and the consequences of the prank war in the previous episode - which is impressive for a show that's only six episodes in and isn't going out of its way to be serialized.

The episode also does an excellent job of giving some much-needed depth to a recurring group of antagonists - showing our main characters and the audience just how high the cultural and diplomatic hurdles the Union needs to overcome in dealing with the Krill are, and while one or two scenes are a little on the nose it generally seems to try not to paint them with too broad of strokes. Yes, these are some seriously bad guys, but they're bad guys with friends, and siblings, and children, and a deep camaraderie with the other members of their species. Their beliefs and their culture make it difficult for them to empathize with the people they're attacking, but the episode takes the time to show they're not just mindless, disposable barbarians.

Most important of all, "Krill" seems to reaffirm that, jokes and gags aside, Orville is at least *trying* to take itself somewhat seriously. Like "About A Girl", "Krill" presents us with a genuinely complicated moral dilemma that isn't worked out and wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end. Just like Heveena's rousing speech in front of the Moclan tribunal wasn't enough to single-handedly reform long-established social norms for an entire race, Mercer's act of compassion does little to convince Teleya of his people's peaceful intentions after deceiving her and killing her brother and crew. Their 'mission of peace' gathered valuable intel and even saved a colony, but in the process has basically confirmed all of the Krill's worst beliefs about other species, and inspired a whole new generation of hate and mistrust. I look forward to seeing how the consequences of this will play out.

Solid episode, hope we keep seeing more like it.
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Dixie
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

As others have said, I think the show's biggest problem right now is a lack of likable characters and on-screen chemistry between them. Even the darkest Trek storylines understood the importance of having characters crack a joke or have a little friendly banter or shenanigans every now and then. DS9 took us through a brutal, bloody war - but it also had Miles and Julian bro-ing it up in the background, Odo and Quark knocking heads, and Damar and Weyoun sniping at each other. Enterprise threw its crew into uncharted space on a hopeless suicide mission and set them up against the biggest baddies in the Alpha Quadrant, but it still made time for Archer, Trip, and T'Pol to trade banter over dinner and for Phlox's irrepressible optimism to start rubbing off on Hoshi.

We're not getting any of that here - Saru's the closest thing to a genuinely likable character on the show, but so far all his banter and wit does is contrast him with how bloody serious and miserable the rest of the crew is. The characters don't play off one another like in other Treks, we aren't getting a real sense of comradery or friendship building between them. On a normal show that wouldn't be an issue four episodes in, because we'd have another 20-something left to go before the end of the first season... but we're nearly a third of the way through the show and there's basically zero chemistry between most of our main characters - and therefore very little motivation for us, as viewers, to invest in them and their stories.

Compare that with what we're seeing over on Orville where they're constantly setting aside 10-15 minutes of every episode just showing characters palling around on the holodeck, bickering with each other as they get ready for work, unwinding over drinks, or pulling pranks on each other. It absolutely kills me to think that the show that feels the need to cram a dick joke into every episode is doing a better job of portraying a likable, relatable starship crew than the genuine Trek show.

I'm determined to stay on board and see the season through to the end, I have to believe that things will get better over time, but if I don't start seeing some real chemistry between these characters I fear watching Discovery is going to become more like a chore than entertainment.
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