Review: Star Trek Beyond
I finally had time to sit down and watch the newest Star Trek film, and came out of it with mixed feelings. It was not a bad movie at all, but instead a slower paced installment than most of the others in the series. So what made the 13th movie work, and what didn’t? Here’s my brief review with some spoilery material. If you just want my rating and skip all of the other comments, then scroll down to the last paragraph.
As I mentioned, the narrative was slow. It felt like the first half of the movie was void of energy. I was surprised at this, but it didn’t turn me away. I wanted to see what was going on, and though the second half more than satisfied me I was left with a few questions unanswered.
Idris Elba’s character was a decent villain, but I felt like we didn’t get enough explanation as to how he’d extended his life and why he changed appearances. It was awkward at times. We also didn’t get further explanation on the weapon he was using. We only got a brief origin of both of these and they could have used more clarity.
Those were my complaints. It’s not a lot, but then again I don’t have many compliments either. Here’s what I felt really worked… The feeling of a family. They used the Kirk, Spock, McCoy connection to its finest. Their feelings of doubt and wanting something other than what they had ended up being replaced by knowing that they are all a family of sorts, and it’d be dull without each other.
Leonard Nimoy’s death was addressed by having Spock learn of Spock Prime’s death. It was written in well, and served as the catalyst for younger Spock’s feelings on life. The picture of the original crew in Prime’s belongings was a surreal moment, that probably is the best tribute to the original series we will ever get.
Finally, onto Chekov. Sadly Anton Yelchin has passed tragically at a young age. He did such an amazing job bringing the character to life. I don’t know how they will write him out of the series. In the original series he was absent from season 1. However they go about it I could see them tastefully replacing the character with Jayla as she easily shined in this film. Plus it would be good to see more of her species and back story.
All in all it was far from the best Trek film, but certainly not the worst. Its low moments were balanced by nostalgiac high moments making it a worthwhile rental. I will always be a trek fan, so my hopes for the 14th movie are even higher now, as it will have to step up. My final rating is 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins. What did you think of Star Trek Beyond?
Day 27 -Inspiration in Space
I can’t say I’m a hardcore science fiction fan, but there are some franchises that I have the utmost respect for when it comes to space exploration. Those are what inspired me to write my novel DEVOURED UNIVERSE, and its spinoff short COSMIC ORBITS.
When I say I can’t stand Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, I mean it. It was a horrifically slow movie that didn’t do the book justice at all. Arthur C. Clark’s novel was much more entertaining, and holds a top place in my list of epic science fiction in space. It had 3 sequel books: 2010 ODYSSEY TWO, 2061 ODYSSEY THREE, and 3001 THE FINAL ODYSSEY. Although outdated in terms of mention of year, it isn’t as far fetched as it seems. If you’re a fan of the movie (or not) then I recommend checking out the books because they are much better. The unlimited potential of outer space is depicted in a way that really makes you want to know what is out there.
Next up is the ALIEN franchise. Sure, there are countless books and comics based on the series, but I’m referencing the main films. ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3, & ALIEN: RESURRECTION fell victim to the sequel not being as good as the preceding entry, but that said, they are still fantastic movies. I would count the two ALIEN vs PREDATOR movies, but since that includes the PREDATOR franchise I’ll refrain (Predator is also a series I love, but that’s going off on another). The prequel movie PROMETHEUS is getting a follow up called ALIEN COVENANT. So far so good with those. What makes these movies great isn’t the characters as much as it is the threat of such a frightening alien.
A series that has fans always in anticipation of the next release is STAR WARS. In all honesty I love the main films, but the spinoff series, cartoons, and books never grabbed my interest. Let’s face it… what makes this franchise great is the heart of the story. Don’t hate me fanboys and girls… I’m just seeing it from a writing perspective. The core here is good vs evil.. There really is no in between in this saga, but that’s what makes it so good. Each chapter holds its own, even though the prequels were widely hated by fans. They really aren’t bad when it comes down to it. We’ve got a handful of them: THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, REVENGE OF THE SITH, A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and episode 8 and 9 coming as well as some crucial backstory starting with ROGUE ONE. Since Disney has taken over it seems to be headed in the right direction, and will hopefully expand to include a simpler, yet less two dimensional narrative.
The other fan eager series is STAR TREK. We’ve got The ORIGNAL SERIES, THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER, ENTERPRISE, and the new series DISCOVERY. Like Wars, Trek’s spinoff novels and comics do nothing for me, but the movies have been hit or miss. THE MOTION PICTURE, THE WRATH OF KAHN, THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, THE VOYAGE HOME, THE FINAL FRONTIER, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, GENERATIONS, FIRST CONTACT, INSURRECTION, NEMESIS, STAR TREK, INTO DARKNESS, and BEYOND all have a way of telling a much broader story. Trek has a way of displaying how vast the universe is, and how each different race perceives and handles events.
My goal was to incorporate what was best about all of these: The vastness of the universe, a frightening alien threat, characters that are cared about, and various stances on how things should be handled. DEVOURED UNIVERSE really utilizes these to tell a fresh new type of story that closes out a trilogy and sets way for a future cast to deal with something beyond.
So what are some of your favorite space related or alien movies, films, TV, drinks, food, games, etc etc? Make sure to hashtag #scrypthalloween and you may win a copy of one of my novels.
novel – DEVOURED UNIVERSE
It’s here! Available in paperback and digital is DEVOURED UNIVERSE.
Beyond the farthest reaches of the universe lies a threat to the very existence of reality. When Earth receives a signal from deep space, they must embark on a dangerous mission into the unknown. Gordon Lightcap returns to duty after a brief retirement. He will have to use what he has learned to bring together a mismatched group of astronauts, and discover the secrets to existence. Only then will they be able to prevent the annihilation of everything, but at what cost?
$7.99 + shipping for paperback http://www.lulu.com/shop/rick-pipito/devoured-universe/paperback/product-22842737.html
$3.99 for Kindle and digital https://www.amazon.com/Devoured-Universe-Eternal-Hunger-Saga-ebook/dp/B01L7AFS2Q/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Review: Star Trek Into Darkness
SPOILER ALERT! Turn away now if you don’t want to know anything about this movie… or you can skip down to the final paragraph for my rating. With that being said, let’s begin.
First off, let me say that there were three villains in movies in the 1980s that were the best villains of that decade. They were: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (Ghostbusters), General Zod (Superman 2), and Khan Noonen Singh (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Now in 2013, I am getting 2 of those villains on the screen again! Is this good or bad? Well, the Zod topic is for that review when the time comes, but now I’m focusing on Khan.
We all knew that when JJ Abrams mentioned Benedict Cumberpatch is playing “John Harrison” that this was all a bunch of BS. Yes, he does technically play Harrison, but that is only a cover for who he truly is. The reveal of his true name (Khan) was surprising. I was hoping for another classic villain like Gary Mitchell, because to take Khan and redo him seemed like blasphemy. Here’s why: Ricardo Montalban was perfect as Khan. From his TV appearance in the classic Star Trek “Space Seed” episode, to the movie Wrath of Khan, he portrayed a likeable villain. He was just badass and cool, yet you still wanted to see him brought to justice. THere is also the fact that Khan was originally supposed to be of some Indian descent. Cumberpatch looks nothing like this at all.
Now that my complaints about him are out of the way, let’s talk about the movie was. Cumberpatch took my skepticism and threw it out the window. This after all, was a rebooted timeline, so the events of the original movies don’t necessarily have to take place in that way. Into Darkness takes place before the original five year mission of the crew, so we are meeting this character at a much earlier stage in the game. Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) as the secondary villain, and reason for Khan’s release from cryosleep, is just as good in the role. In fact, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, and Simon Pegg all played the parts well. I have to give special props to Karl Urban, whose Dr. McCoy is still dead on with DeForest Kelley’s.
Visuals, plot and humor were all executed with perfect precision. I didn’t find any of them out of place or unbelievable. My only problem is when Carol Marcus is seen in her bra and panties. Don’t get me wrong, she is absolutely beautiful, and I could spend hours staring at Alice Eve half naked or with even less on, but as pleasing as she is to the eye, there was no place for this scene. It didn’t fit. It was thrown in as eye candy. Eve did however do a superb job as well, and even looks like a younger version of Bibi Besch’s Carol Marcus.
I really like how they placed Khan back in cryo at the end as well. He and his 70 some other followers could come back as a threat at some point, and I really hope they do. Setting up the Klingons as the villains in the next movie also played out well. It seems war will be declared on earth by the alien species, but I could be overspeculating.
The various nods to the original timeline, and Leonard Nimoy having a surprise cameo again as an older Spock were spine tingling. I was excited to say the least. The reversal of deaths between Kirk and Spock, as well as the famous “Khaaaaaaannnn!” being shouted, were only the icing on the cake.
Maybe I’m praising it too much. Like I said, I had a few slight problems with it, but all in all it was an outstanding movie. It so far has only grossed just over 100 million dollars in one weekend, but I’m hoping this changes. My brother saw it with me, and his reaction was very similar to mine. Dan prepped himself by watching Space Seed and Star Trek 2 before hand, while my inner geek knowledge kept me aware of the original story.
All in all, I might have to admit that this could very well be the BEST Trek movie to date, and I think I have a new favorite. Star Trek Into Darkness gets 10 out of 10 stars from me. I’m hoping Dan chimes in the comments below as well, and am hoping for my dad to see it soon, as he was a big fan of the original. So, what did you all think?
A Trek into the Past with Star Trek
With the newest Star Trek movie about to be released, I decided to go back and look at the Star Trek phenomenon in each of its incarnations. I’ve been a fan of Trek movies since I was a kid, and have seen all but the first few in the theaters. I also have loved most of the series on TV. Let it be known, that I am not a Trekkie, but consider myself a fan. What’s the difference? I have not seen EVERY episode ever made, but respect and am intruiged by the lore and universe that has been created.
I AM really excited about the new movie, as I believe JJ Abrams has given a new light to the Trekverse, and gained the respect of people who were not fans prior to the 2009 reboot/sequel. What I love is that although it rebooted the whole universe, it did it through time travel, so that all of the prior movies did happen albeit an alternate timeline. Fine by me. If it blatantly disregarded the past 50 years of story telling, I’d have been angry. Let’s take a look at the series first.
STAR TREK THE ORIGINAL SERIES: Gene Roddenberry had several attempts, but finally hit the mark with this series. It brought William Shattner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Commander Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy, James Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura, George Takei as Lt. Sulu, and Walter Koenig as Ensign Chekhov in as the main crew of the Enterprise NCC-1701. This ran for 79 episodes and an additional 22 in animated format. While the first episode takes place in the year 2254 AD, the rest of the series revolves around the crew’s five year mission to explore new worlds and life forms (2265-2270 A.D.) After being cancelled with only a short run on network television, this crew gave birth to everything in the Trekverse today. Sure it had its low moments and campy episodes, but for the time it was made, it gave hope and inspiration for a technologically advanced future where racism would be gone, and everyone would be perceived as equals. I rate this series at a 6 out of 10.
STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION: Its 7 seasons took place a generation after the original crew. From 2364-2370, this new crew was welcomed with open arms by a new generation of fans. Patrick Stewart as Cpt Jean Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker, LeVar Burton as Geordi LaForge, Michael Dorn as Worf, Gates Macfadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher, Wil Wheaton as Ensign Wesley Crusher, Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi, and Brent Spiner as Data were the crew of Enterprise NCC-1701-C. New tech and explorations abound, this series showed that even enemies can become allies, and handicaps could be treated. This is the series I grew up watching, and rate it at an 8 out of 10 as a whole.
STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE: Taking a new route with space exploration, this series took place aboard a space station in the Milky Way Galaxy. There was no exploration at all, but it continued to bring in the fans. Criticized by many hard core trekkies, but then welcomed in the end, this spanned 7 seasons (during the years 2365-2379 AD). The difference in this show was that it showed what a war would be like in space. It was a darker take on the mythos that included Avery Brooks as Commanding Officer Benjamin Sisko, Nana Visitor as Officer Kira Nerys, Rene Auberjonois as the shapeshifter Odo, Alexander Siddig as Dr. Bashir, Terry Farrell as science officer Dax, Michael Dorn as Worf, Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien, Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko, and Armin Shimmerman as Quark. I could not stand this show in the beginning and I dropped it quickly, but toward the end, it regained my viewership for a half season. Based on what I saw toward the end, I’d rate this show a 5 out of 10.
STAR TREK VOYAGER: From 2371-2378 AD, the crew of the USS Voyager tries to make its way home, 75,000 light years away. Also lasting 7 seasons, this series gave us a female captain and yet another approach to the Trekverse. Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway, Robert Beltran as Chakotay, Tim Russ as Tuvok, Robert Duncan McNeill as Medic Tom Paris, Roxann Dawson as Engineer B’Elanna Torres, Garret Wang as Ensign Harry Kim, Robert Picardo as the Holographic Doctor, Ethan Phillips as Neelix, Jennifer Lien as Kes, and Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine rounded out the main cast. The crew had to put aside differences in the hopes of seeing their families again, and though tensions were high at times, it was exciting to see a whole new quadrant of unexplored space. I didn’t stick with this show either, but popped in here and there to check it out. My enjoyment level came at about a 6 out of 10.
STAR TREK ENTERPRISE: A prequel to the orignal series, this took place from 2151 – 2155 AD, and lasted 4 seasons. I thoroughly enjoyed this show, as I felt it was very close to the original in terms of hardships and personalities of the crew. It was often criticized for being a rip off, but I did not feel that it was. I DID hate the theme song though, which most people would agree with. The neat thing about this incarnation was that humanity was just beginning everything. They were testing their first real travel worthy exploration ship, the Enterprise NX-01. Scott Bakula played Captain Jonathan Archer, Jolene Blalock was the Vulcan T’Pol, Connor Trinneer as “Trip” Tucker, Dominic Keating as tactical officer Reed, Linda Park as linguist Hoshi Sato, Anthony Montgomery as Travis Merryweather, and John Billingsley as Dr. Phlox made up this fun cast. I’d rate this series at a 7 out of 10, but I’m sure people will disagree because it did sort of stray toward the end, from the format that made it work.
And now, let’s move on to the best part of Star Trek… the movies:
STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE: The original crew have ranked up and return to stop an energy cloud in space. Three years after the end of their five year mission, this begins (2273 AD). Along the way, they find NASA’s first Voyager probe from the 20th century, and realize that it has become a new lifeform. It grossed 139 million dollars, and though I found it to be slow and boring at times, it was still fun to watch. I will only rate this with a 4 out of 10 just because of the slowness.
STAR TREK THE WRATH OF KHAN: In the year 2285, Ricardo Montalban returns as Khan, and he is deadlier than ever. The crew face their biggest challenge yet and Spock dies to save them all. I can watch this movie a hundred times and never be bored. I give it a 10 out of 10. I am still trying to figure out how it only grossed 97 million at the box office.
STAR TREK THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK: Spock’s corpse has been launched to the Genesis planet, and its regenerative structure brings him back to life as a child. An accelerated growth forces the enterprise crew to find him before the whole planet dies along with him. With Klingons back as the main villains, this movie picks up right after its predecessor. Despite a mere 87 million at the box office, it still gains a 6 out of 10 from me.
STAR TREK THE VOYAGE HOME: In 2286, the crew returns to earth to find that a mysterious probe is searching for an extinct species of whales. With only a damaged Klingon Bird of Prey, they travel back in time to 1986 to bring the species back to their own time. Sure, it is silly, and the time travel plot had some people shaking their heads, but this ranks right up there with the second one. The Enterprise NCC-1701-A first appears at the end of the movie. At 133 million box office gross, it gets a 9 out of 10 from me.
STAR TREK THE FINAL FRONTIER: I was worried that this would be the last we’d see of the crew when it was released, not just from the title, but the critical reception. In 2287, the enterprise crew is held hostage by Spock’s half brother. They are to take him to a planet where it is believed God exists. It turned out not to be the case, but its 63 million intake showed that the viewers didn’t really care much. I’ll rate it at a 4 out of 10, but still find moments very enjoyable.
STAR TREK THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY: Tensions are high in 2293 as a Klingon moon explodes, and a peace treaty with the Federation is underway. Sulu now captains his own starship USS Excelsior, and is needed to prove Kirk’s innocence in a heinous murder of Klingons. It made 98 million at the box office, and earned a 10 out of 10 from me.
STAR TREK GENERATIONS: As the Enterprise NCC-1701-B is taken on its maiden voyage, an accident forces James T Kirk to save the crew, and sacrifice himself. 78 years later, the Next Generation crew discovers that someone is destroying suns in the hopes of redirecting a nexus cloud. As the crew works to stop this terrorist, they enter the nexus and find a surprise. James Kirk works with Captain Picard to stop the madman at large. In the end, Kirk truly does die, and the movie torch is officially passed to the next generation. It earned 118 million at the box office and 9 out of 10 stars from me.
STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT: This movie introduces the Enterprise NCC-1701-E, and brings in the Borg as the main villain. The collective travels back in time to the day humanity made first contact. Their mission is to stop it from ever happening, as humans have proven to be a nuissance time and again. The next generation crew goes back to stop the Borg Queen, and Data is shown a whole new world of sensation. With 146 million at the box office, and another 9 out of 10 from me, you shouldn’t miss this one.
STAR TREK INSURRECTION: Picard and his crew in the year 2375, must rebel against a superior officer when they find out he plans on stealing the inhabitants of the Baku planet’s very life force. The most entertaining aspect of this movie is Data malfunctioning. It is arguably the most forgettable of the series, and brought in 112 million. I give it a 3 out of 10.
STAR TREK NEMESIS: In 2379 a clone of Picard is bent on destroying the federation and the real Picard. Dark, useless, and only slightly better than its predesessor. Only bringing in 67 million dollars, and 4 out of 10 stars from me, it was time to let a dead horse go.
STAR TREK: A Romulan commander named Nero travels from the year 2362 back in time to 2233 to destroy Earth and starfleet. Luckily, Ambassador Spock also travels back to warn his younger self and rookie original crew. Bringing in Chris Pine as James T Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Engineer Scott, John Cho as Sulu, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov, this movie literally erases all previous incarnations (with the exception of STAR TREK ENTERPRISE) and gives the franchise a fresh new start. It made nearly 386 million at the box office, and brought in new fans as well as old. Definitely one of the best, and a great way to reboot. 10 out of 10 stars from me.
So there you have it. With Star Trek Into Darkness releasing today in the States, I continue to hope for a bright Trek future, and will bring you my review of this new 12th movie once I see it. I hope you enjoyed this look back. What are some of your favorite and worst moments from Trek history?
Comic Con Philly 5 Captains of Star Trek
Sorry for the delay on this one. Unfortunately it took a lot of editing and I still ended up with non-quality video that I had to scrap. My memory card filled not long into it, and my backup camera just didn’t cut it. Here is video of William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula coming in to the event and answering a few questions. I apologize for not having more, but you can at least get a feel for how easy going and fun this Q and A session was.
Click here to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl0mUp8qUWw&feature=youtu.be
Celebrities and the floor at Comic Con 2012
Here are some of the close up shots I was able to score while running around. Click on the pictures to enlarge. I got a few good ones of celebrities and the floor. Also in there is a good shot of sCrypt Comics co-founders Rick (me) and Dan Pipito, as well as one of my wife and daughter with Batgirl shirts, and one of my son who was too tired to walk anymore, but donned his spidey shirt well. Enjoy!