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Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

For me Leyton was the next Garth of Izar, only without that funny paper crown.
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Fri, Sep 30, 2011, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Ah, I found it! Required reading --
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Fri, Sep 30, 2011, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

I remember when I started reading the online hype about "Nemesis". I can clearly recall a posting with a tone of intense panic to it... Saying, "I have acquired and read a leaked copy of the script to Star Trek: Nemesis, and if this is indeed authentic, it will be the final death knell to the Star Trek film franchise, if not the entire Star Trek franchise."

He then went on to discuss every element that, as it turns out, incredibly, ended up in the actual film. Things like the moronic "dune buggy" sequence, which has Picard smiling and laughing as his crew members shoot and kill members of an unknown alien race indigenous to the planet they are riding around on. Very in character. Or Riker telling the Viceroy to go to Hell: "Too bad Riker didn't throw his TROMBONE down the shaft after him to show him how tough he was" snarled the reviewer.

Let's start with the wedding. My sister, who, along with me, grew up with this show and these characters, commented afterwards, "they all reacted in the movie like the lines were funny, but they just... weren't." There was something forced about the camaderie and humor in this scene. People may disagree, but even "Generations" felt more natural in this respect and in the "family" interactions.

Then we have a quasi-sex scene with Troi and Riker and a ... saxophone underscore? Awkward!!! Sex and Trek have never mixed well. But, I digress, at least this wasn't the planet of the joggers!!

B-4... Dumb dumb dumb. And a huge plot stretch. Why go to all of the trouble of getting him (from where?, by the way?) and spreading him out on a planet, just to lure Picard into a trap? Surely there must be better (and more plausible) ways of doing that. And why scatter him around? Why not just have the body in one place? Oh, right, right, so we can have the "Dune Buggy" scene. I think one of the major problems with this movie is that they were trying to go "Bad Ass". When Riker says to Picard, "taking the Argo for a spin?", the delivery (and Riker's smile) comes across like, "Yeah, this is gonna be COOL!"... Kind of like the "Manual Steering Column" in "Insurrection" was delivered like "Yeah, man, BAD ASS", except it was a freakin' arcade JOYSTICK!!!!!!!

And the existence of B-4 itself is a problem. They already had Lore, they already had Data's "Mom"... it's like, "How many freakin' androids did Soong develop????"

The Scimitar. Big and bad ass for the sake of being so. They could have just had a fleet of 5-10 ships of a smaller size to out-gun and out-match the Enterprise. Consider: Out of all of the resources of the Federation AND the Romulan empire, NEITHER of these forces (esp. the more militant Romulans) had a super-ultra-colossal-mega-deluxe ship like the Scimitar? Other enemies, like the Borg, had more creative and yet plausible conventions for having an advantage over the Enterprise.

Shinzon. Yeah, sorry... Tom Hardy just did not cut it. Didn't look enough like Picard (and part of the problem is, by this point, Patrick Stewart is looking older), didn't have the same acting chops, and the character wasn't written with enough motivation to help out the poor actor. Other than, "I'm bitter and pissed off at the world." What they SHOULD have done was filmed Patrick Stewart against himself. At least, THAT would have made for something interesting -- and BELIEVABLE. But his character came out of NOWHERE. Now, you could say the same for Carol and David Marcus in Star Trek II... But, at least you could SEE how Kirk, given his womanizing ways, would have dated her (amongst many) and produced a child. What was the point of Shinzon? Ok, so the Romulans cloned him. For what purpose? To what end? CLEARLY, this clone of Picard DOESN'T LOOK LIKE PICARD, and doesn't SOUND like Picard!! Ok, then they throw him away to the sub-race called the Remans. And, yet, somehow he managed to gather the resources to build a more powerful ship -- in secret -- than ANY of the ROMULAN EMPIRE???

Also, Khan didn't need a mega-super-gee-whiz ship to (nearly) defeat Kirk -- despite the smaller ship, Khan outwitted him. That's much more interesting than "My ship is bigger, faster, has more torpedo bays, and has better abilities like being able to fire while cloaked."

Shinzon's character was written poorly, too. His motivations are all over the place, AND his self-preservation instincts SUCKED. He is initially pissed off at the Romulans, but then says, "Set course for Earth, destroy everything. Wipe them all out." HUH???? It's evil for the sake of being evil. Then he wastes all of this time having dinner with Picard and a bunch of other useless business, when in actuality, his time is rapidly running out, and he needs Picard's blood *immediately*. Since he had the power to grab Picard whenever he wanted, why the need to fool him into trusting Shinzon? Especially when he begins to rapidly deteriorate.

Data's death. *sigh* Gotta say, after Spock, they've had trouble writing good deaths on Trek. Tasha Yar, Jadzia Dax, etc... Again, it's for convenience sake, "We've only made ONE of these super-cool transporter doo-dads." Part of what makes it feel so empty is that, unlike with Spock in ST2, we don't get a death "scene" with Data, just... a big explosion. Why did he need to be killed off? There was no NEED, aside from, "Oh, isn't this dramatic".

The climax. I hated this in "Insurrection", too. Note to future film writers: A COUNTDOWN is a very cliched plot device to *artificially* raise the stakes at the end of a movie. Both movies climax in the same way... Some ridiculously elaborate weapon deployment (think "Mega-Maid" from "SpaceBalls") has to occur in a stunningly long period of time, which gives the opponent a WAY more than sufficient window of opportunity to disable it. Villain is located near the deployment, and dies during the process. "First Contact" was successful in avoiding this. The urgency was created not by a simple clock countdown, but by a series of events that occurred on their own logical time.

Many people blame the director, Stuart Baird, for this movie's awfulness. And, I will agree, the direction is lacking. I remember one scene with Dr. Crusher, and she just sounds so damned... TIRED. The irony is, what hurt this film more than the directing is the EDITING... esp. what was edited OUT of the film. Sadly, Stuart Baird was an editor for several successful films. Not sure why he dropped the ball on this one.

Nevertheless, like "Insurrection", the director cannot be held ultimately responsible for the reason the movie sucked so badly. That blame lies soley with the WRITER, John Logan. This script should have been laughed at by Paramount execs. It is written like it came from a teenage fanboy. Most of the people are written totally out-of-character. Some, like Worf and Crusher, are WOEFULLY underused. Shinzon's motivations shift and become muddled. And the plot just makes no sense. It makes no sense. Try and explain a summary of this to someone. If they don't know anything about Trek, they are screwed. And if they do, they (like me) would go "Huh?" You had 7 years of rich Trek TNG lore to mine from. That Harve Bennett guy did pretty well with 3 years of TOS and came up with Khan. Instead, Logan uses the Romulans as a backdrop (do we ever learn anything new about their culture or history in this film?), and he pulls TONS of new and unestablished crap out of nowhere... (Sounds like Sybok -- "Hey, let's use Spock's half-brother he's never talked about... ever!") Remans, Shinzon, the Scimitar, B-4... Need I go on??

Sadly, these are some of the same objections I had about "Insurrection", or as I like to call it, "Insert an Erection". That film was also HORRIBLE and a huge DISAPPOINTMENT, and it all came from the poor writing. I mean, you can't blame Jonathan Frakes -- with a great script, he did "First Contact" justice. Same director, weak script, and you have "Insurrection". New villains never before heard of on TNG (the Son'a), a weak premise / conflict, moronic plot devices (so now suddenly people aren't even AWARE when they've been transported??), and nothing but a simple COUNTDOWN at the end of the movie for the climax.

I maintain that "Nemesis" bombed so badly at the box office BECAUSE "Insurrection" had already ruined the franchise. And "Insurrection" only did as "well" as it did because of the *success* of "First Contact". Don't believe in this phenomenon? I offer "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World" as evidence. That movie SUCKED, but it did well ONLY because of its vastly superior predecessor. Now matter what they did with Jurassic Park 3, it was screwed by how TERRIBLE JP 2 was!!

You can say, "Wow, gee, you're just nitpicking this thing to death. You could do this with every movie, and every Star Trek movie." That is true. However, I wasn't bothered by the fact that Chekov had never met Khan yet they seemed to know each other... Why? Because the rest of Star Trek II was a great movie. You could say, "Well, the Borg Queen came out of nowhere!", and yes that is true and something that raised an eyebrow... BUT, I was willing to overlook it because "First Contact" was a great movie. It was so well-done and well-written that I didn't mind. Having the two stories -- one on the ship, one on Earth -- alternate until they finally meet up (at the launch of the Phoenix and the threat of Data about to blow them up with torpedos), having characters act true to their series' selves, letting the humor flow naturally out of the characters and their circumstances, and just simply having a good STORY that made sense and flowed well... THAT is what made "First Contact" enjoyable to me, *despite* the Borg Queen. At least they used her to starting effect. She was interesting. Shinzon... Ru'afo... BORING villians.

Speaking of humor, where was it in "Nemesis"? This movie took itself too seriously (part of trying futilely to be "bad ass".) Aside from the awkward ATTEMPT at humor during the wedding scenes, there is none. The movie is so dark. A lot of really bad shit went down in "Star Trek III", but still there was natural humor throughout. (I'm thinking of Bones' line on Vulcan near the end, "I choose the danger. HELL of a time to ask!!!")

And, when all is said and done, you could refute everything I've written point by point, but let me leave you with this: the experience of watching the movie. I took a bunch of friends to "Nemesis"... some were Trek fanatics like me, some were casual Trek fans, and a couple had never seen a Trek TNG film. I gotta say, during the film... I was just EMBARRASSED. After all the hype I gave to my Trek newbie friends, THIS is what they were given to represent Trek? I mean, when I did the same thing for various Trek virgins over the years, who saw Star Trek 2, 4, 6, or "First Contact", they all LOVED the movie they saw that day and were like, "Wow, I need to check out the franchise". With "Nemesis", I was wincing.

Not only was the story SOOOOOOO bad, but -- and I realize that people rave about the special effect in "Nemesis" -- having just seen "The Lord of the Rings" a few days before, "Nemesis" looked lame. The Romulan / Enterprise / Scimitar battle near the end? LAME. I mean, for a Star Trek movie, it was very ambitious, but compared to the F/X of movies coming out in 2000, 2001, 2002.... It was just NOT impressive in ANY way. In fact, DEEP SPACE NINE had done larger, better, more awe-inspiring space battles! It looked amateur by comparison to the other big movies that summer. Afterwards, I just looked at my friends and said, "I'm sorry, that sucked. I am ashamed." And, it turns out, the rest of the movie-going public agreed. UNadjusted for inflation, the movie is the worst Trek flop of all time. But adjusted for inflation, Star Trek V is a SMASH HIT in comparison.

Yeah, Jammer, you were way too generous in your rating... "Nemesis" is easily the absolute worst Star Trek movie OF ALL TIME.

Nemesis sucked, plain and simple. I recently re-watched it on DVD, to try and give it a second chance, thinking that perhaps I was unreasonable 9 years ago... Nope. It's as bad as I remembered, and even worse as I started thinking about it all throughout. It just... doesn't make any sense. What were they thinking? How did Paramount approve this script? It's entertaining to watch Rick Berman on an interview, puzzled, just mystified as to why "Nemesis" bombed. And the cast, too, thought it was gonna be great. I'm no movie executive producer, but... it's obvious as Hell to me what went wrong!!!!!
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Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek (2009)

I have read reviews from Jammers Reviews, watched videos from SF Debris, Confused Matthew and Stand In Stan. I think they (including you two) have interesting views about what makes a good story and what makes good story telling through the format of television and cinema. There are a few things that interested me regarding one particular show that you have both watched. Star Trek. More specifically the notion of Humanity. I remember in SF Debris follow up to his review of in the Pale Moonlight was that the Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future was unrealistic but ideal. It is not as simple as binary oppositions, nature and nurture, good and evil, positive and negative etc. Everyone has different view points and it is not so much people good or evil that causes conflict but the different view points. Another point that interested me were quotes such as "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and "desperate times call for desperate measures" and "morality is a set of rules set up by humanity that don't cover all situations."

Another issue is the very nature of humanity. I liked Data, B'lana Torez, the Doctor, Seven Of Nine, Benjamin Sisco, Chief O'Brien, Jean Luc Picard, James T Kirk and Spock (notice the absence of Enterprise characters) for their different views of humanity. On one hand you have the three captains who often tell the audience what humanity represents, why we have morals, or in some cases when is a good time to break the rules, protocols etc. Then there is B'lana Torez who is in conflict between her human and klingon halves. But the characters I most relate to are Seven Of Nine, Spock, the Doctor and Data for their exploration of humanity. Whether its the quest for emotions, finding out why people behave the way they do, why they feel the need to challenge themselves, what makes them strong, why emotional weakness can also be a strength, and why enduring emotional pain whilst overcoming difficult problems and moral dilemmas are what makes them strong. Why do I refer to humanity as them? Well I often feel like an outsider myself. Sure I have the full range of emotions but I have a very limited experience (I'm only twenty years of age) and a very bad judge of character. I don't know why people behave or act the way they do.

So this leads to a few questions. What is humanity all about? Does Star Trek (extremely optimistic though it may be) reflect us well. Or do the cynical views of the post 9/11 world reflect us (humanity is really just a bunch of Cylon killing machines filled with prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia and believes that violence is the only way to solve problems). For the purpose of interest, I would like to add another point of view. Humanity is just a bunch of individuals out to better themselves. Some work together in teams to reach the top of the league, others are out to help each other, often survival of the fittest applies but ultimately bound by a simplistic moral system that doesn't hold since each situation requires different measures that sometimes go in line with morality but sometimes don't.

There are a number of issues I don't understand. (This only scratches the surface of the many questions I have in mind).

Emotions (love and hate in particular)
Relationships (heterosexual, homosexual etc).
Status quo of families.
How we are governed by religion.
How politics, economics and society all interact in our psychological development.
The true nature of our emotions.
Rules, protocols, morality, rights, precipitations, laws and social etiquette.

I am a curious person who knows very little about human nature despite being a human being. Data never really understood what is means to be human being until Star Trek Nemesis. It is not some sort of Jim Carrey goes crazy emotion chip or set of algorithms, but a very complex series of experiences, interactions, successes, triumph, failure, trials, tribulations, friendships, relationships, emotions, the ego itself and who we truly are. The reason he sacrificed himself, just like Spok is that he finally understood what it meant to be human, and that a meaningful sacrifice is giving up the thing you hold onto most dearly for the sake of others. Since the two of you have some insights into these topics, I am interested to know what you have to say about the nature of humanity in relation to the vision of Gene Roddenberry and perhaps clear up any misconceptions I may have about life and experience.
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Wed, May 20, 2009, 5:48am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Unexpected

That episode is disturbing...
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