Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

In a Nutshell: Loved it. Accept it for what it is, and see it. May not be awesome Trek, but it is an awesome movie!

Quick Plot: Um, well, see, I really can't tell you because most anything about the plot is a spoiler. How about this: a group of seemingly familiar cadets save Starfleet from a crazed man seeking revenge. That's about the best I can offer you.

In Detail: As a summer popcorn action flick, I truly loved it. Other than one picky science bit at the end, I was totally engrossed. As a Star Trek film, I am less certain. I think almost all of the actors did a great job with at least embodying the essence of their predecessors. I will single out Karl Urban for being the most spot on with really working to capture the speech patterns and mannerisms of the late DeForest Kelley. Truly excellent! Yes, the physical resemblance of Zachary Quinto (totally love him) to Leonard Nimoy is truly uncanny (particularly in profile, wow!), but as far as making me *believe* he was Spock (as opposed to Zachary Quinto (or Sylar, though I will admit I never "saw" Sylar in his performance)), Quinto didn't always manage. Mostly, but not always. But I never for a moment doubted that Karl Urban was Bones. In the other direction, I will have to disagree with my BB friends; I did not care for the physical embodiment or the attitude of Scotty's "younger self." He just didn't seem dignified enough to be Scotty.

As for canon, I give kudos to the writers and creators for coming up with a very "trekkie" way to get around it that I feel really works within the existing Trek universe. I see it opening up innumerable possibilities for future familiar-yet-not scenarios. There were plenty of "little things" thrown in there for hard core fans as well. (Listen for the Archer reference; we missed it!) They did miss one golden opportunity to include one of the most memorable "Old Trek" lines in an appropriate place: instead of "I implied," the response should have been "I exaggerated." :-) There were two things I think should have been cut out completely, as they were totally unnecessary: the ice monsters and the water tubes. Waste of film and time, IMO. I also have some issues with Uhura in the turbolift scene, not so much with the implications of what she is doing (trying not to spoil it here), but it was just too much (too intense?) to me. I think a little less would have been better. (I can be more specific if you want to email me.) So, overall, a great summer movie! And a nice shift in the direction of Trek. I'm just afraid some of what Gene Roddenberry really wanted to demonstrate - peace and exploration in the galaxy, diplomacy, thinking through your problems instead of fighting about them - may get lost in the amped-up movie format. The most loved episodes of Trek are usually the "thinking" episodes, and I don't want that aspect of Star Trek to get lost in this new, slick, action-packed universe.

Will I Buy It? Oh yeah!

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

In a Nutshell: Very disappointing. Not enough effort at plot, too many unrelated (and unimportant) gags.

Quick Plot: The glaciers are melting. Those who live in the area must flee the impending flood, and everyone's favorite mismatched herd picks up a few new wacky members along the way.

In Detail: First, let me say upfront that the original Ice Age falls into a very rare and special category for us: movies that were much better than we expected them to be. We were not expecting much at all from when we went to see it in the theater. We thought it would be rather ho-hum, in fact (you know, back before the child when we had the time to see "just okay" movies). So the fact that we so thoroughly enjoyed it probably put its sequel at a disadvantage. I had heard from several sources that it was disappointing, so I didn't have my hopes up too much, or so I thought. Even with lowered expectations, we were still disappointed. It reminds me of a quote from Bolt: "I was, like, 'What?' And then I was, like, 'Huh?' And then, well, I got a little bored." That pretty much sums it up. Too many "asides," too much potty humor or "almost cursing," too much that the first movie managed to successfully avoid, all wrapped up with not enough plot or even effort at having a plot. I never realized how much the baby held the first one together, and without that bond, this one just couldn't make it. It felt like a string of gags that they couldn't fit into the first one, so they tried to piece them together into a movie. I hear the next one is better (due out this summer, with dinosaurs; the child is already begging to see it). I surely hope so.

Will I Buy It? Not unless we *totally* love the next one and I feel that it is required for continuity. If we like #3, and if it can mostly stand on its own, then we'll skip purchasing Ice Age 2. If we don't like #3, we'll do like we do for The Matrix and pretend films 2 and 3 don't exist! LOL


In a Nutshell: We really enjoyed it! A little intense at the beginning, but very fun with a lot of heart. The child loved it, too.

Quick Plot: Bolt is the star of his very own television show as a dog with super powers. The problem is, he thinks it is all real. When he accidentally ends up out in the real world and on the other side of the USA, his "powers" aren't working. How will he ever get back home to his person?

In Detail: This movie was just so much fun. When we found ourselves still chuckling about more than one scene several days later, we knew we would end up buying it when it was released for home viewing. The gags are funny (it's styrofoam! LOL), the banter is hilarious (Rhino in particular), but the story doesn't get lost, and the emotion is there as well. Just really well done. That's not to say that it's not predictable, but hey, it's a Disney; that comes with the territory. I actually don't mind predictable most of the time. We took the child to see it (age 4) at the theater as well. I will say that the opening sequence is a little intense (and a little long at such intensity for very young children, IMO), so you may want to preview it for the little ones. But L was riveted, and it is now one of his most favorite films.

Will I Buy It? Already did, on Blu-ray, no less!