Pacific Rim (2013)


Today We Are Cancelling the Apocalypse!

Pacific Rim (2013)When I saw my first trailers for today’s movie, I confess to having no real interest in it.  It seemed like a big, dumb action movie directed by a person who has a fairly low percentage of movies that actually interested me.  But when the movie finally came out, I heard a lot of glowing reviews for it, most notably for me from my roommate Richurd, who saw the movie and lauded its fantastic action scenes.  Even though that only supported my idea that it was a big, dumb action movie, it did intrigue me.  When my friend Forty then proposed the idea that we go see a movie, it instantly became my primary suggestion.  Especially since nothing else of interest was out at the time.  Let’s see how it went as I review Pacific Rim, written by Travis Beacham, co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, and starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Diego Klattenhoff, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Ron Perlman, Ellen McLain, and most importantly Max the English Bulldog.

Sometime in the near future, an interdimensional rift opens up on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, releasing giant alien monsters called Kaijus onto the people of Earth, especially those living next to the ocean.  Instead of deciding to move away from the beaches, Earth decides to build giant robotic suits called Jaegers to battle the monsters.  The strain of controlling the Jaegers is too much for any one person’s mind, so they develop a system wherein two people that are mentally compatible can control the suits as one.  Two such pilots are Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Yancy Becket (Diego Klattenhoff).  On one of their missions, a particularly nasty Kaiju rips into the helmet of the Jaeger, pulling Yancy to his death.  Raleigh takes a couple years off to cope.  Eventually, Raleigh’s former commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) shows up with his pretty Asian lady Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to try to tempt Raleigh back into his Jaeger for one last ditch effort to close the portal and seal the Kaijus away once and for all.  In order to keep the movie interesting, things don’t go exactly as planned.

I was definitely right about this movie being a big, dumb action movie, but it is a big, dumb action movie in all the best ways.  I’m going to break from standard RRS protocols and talk about the action of the movie first because, let’s be honest, that’s the reason to see this movie.  And it definitely makes the movie worth it.  The action is fantastic, and never that far away.  The movie is visually fantastic, and it definitely doesn’t seem like they took the easy way out on any of it.  It’s probably hard enough to create a giant monster fighting a giant robot, but just to kick that up a notch you’re going to have it take place in the middle of the water?  While it’s raining?  And have to deal with all the water physics on top of the rest of it?  Well, they pulled that off successfully, but certainly focusing so much on the visuals of the movie would make other things in the movie – such as the sound – suffer from neglect, right?  Nuh-uh!  The sound effects really made the punches feel epic.  They really captured the feeling I’ve felt so many times in my life while watching giant robots fight giant monsters.  Basically, this movie seemed fully aware of what it was.  It wasn’t going to bother with the story, so let’s have this action be over the top.  One of the Jaegers uses a freighter ship like a baseball bat!  I would have to say, part of my brain took issue with this.  They do not build ships that well!  Haven’t you seen Titanic?  Just the front half of that thing lifts up and it splits in half!  But this one is going to not only survive being dragged down the street, but also be sturdy enough to smash against a monster’s face a few times?  I did appreciate that, when that stopped working out for them, that Gipsy Danger was able to go all Voltron and pull out a sword like the one Ivy carries in Soul Calibur.  And I would say I definitely did NOT appreciate the gag they pulled with the kinetic balls.  It was corny and it made my kinetic balls hurt.  And though it was cool to watch in the movie, I would say that I would definitely recommend against headbutting while in the Jaegers.  You guys live in there!  But they did it and it worked out well for them, so it’s okay.

The story is fairly basic.  It’s not bad, but there’s not a whole lot to say about its quality.  I guess what I would say about it is that the story successfully filled the spaces between giant creatures punching each other.  One of the bigger issues I took early on in the movie is that the government was trying to get rid of the fairly successful Jaeger program in exchange for a continuously failing “giant wall” program.  That’s your big fix?  When we first see the wall, it’s introduced with a Kaiju busting right through it.  Good call, government.  It’s not like you’ve ever built anything that’s already running that the Kaiju’s cannot tear through like they’re made of toilet paper.  And that can also punch back instead of just hoping that the Kaiju’s get bored of your drab walls and go home.  One thing I liked about this movie is how being in each other’s brains as Jaeger pilots helped eliminate the need for exposition.  Characters don’t really need to find sweaty ways to throw in their back story when we can just jump into their brains and watch it happen instead.

The performances all succeeded.  They did not blow my mind, but they did great for what was required out of them for the movie.  Charlie Hunnam carried the movie pretty successfully.  He made a good hero, but he’d make a really shitty doctor.  I base that almost entirely on the fact that he decides he needs to check the pulse of one of the monsters after defeating it and thinks that the best way to do that is to shoot it in the chest a few times.  It made me really nervous later when one of the human characters might have been dead, but I think someone else decided to take over and used the tried and true fingers to the neck technique.  Rinko Kikuchi also did a good job carrying her part of the movie.  I got irritated at Idris Elba in parts of the movie, but it may have mostly been because he was the authority figure and I’m such a rebel.  It may also have been when he said that Raleigh and Mako weren’t physically compatible enough to run a Jaeger together.  Are you kidding me?  Nature made them physically compatible, if you know what I’m saying.  WINK WINK!  He did win me back at the end when he delivered a speech that felt like it was right out of Independence Day, basically just exchanging “Today we celebrate our Independence Day” for “Today we’re cancelling the apocalypse.”   Not because it was a particularly riveting or well-written speech, but because I like Independence Day.  Charlie Day was pretty entertaining in the movie, and I definitely agreed with what I had read about him doing his best Rick Moranis impression for parts of the performance.  I also found it amusing when he barely escaped death when the baby Kaiju strangled itself with its umbilical cord.  He was saved by SIDS!  Not so bad after all, is it?  I did find his partner (played by Burn Gorman) annoying more often than not, and not just because he did the worst job of miming typing on a keyboard that I’ve ever seen.  He basically just slapped it with his open palms a few times and decided that he had successfully programmed something.  I also thought Robert Kazinsky did a good job in the movie, but his character was far from likeable.  That’s what he was going for though.  He was to this movie what Val Kilmer was to Top Gun.  Basically just the hotshot asshole rival of the hero of the movie.  As much as I liked the cast of the movie, I think one performance stole the show for me: the English bulldog named Max.  I had been warned about his presence before seeing the movie and, with the recent loss of my own English bulldog, it may have been painful to watch.  And it kind of was, but you cannot really be sad while looking at one of those faces.  I would actually consider him to be the hero of the movie.  I mean, you need something to fight for in these movies, right?  What better to fight for than one of those smushie faces?!

Pacific Rim was basically what I expected it to be, but all of those things were amped up to the point of excellence.  The story was negligible, but not bad.  And the performances were all great, but not mind-blowing.  What really sells this movie is the action, which is huge, frequent, and exciting.  That and the English bulldog.  And because of those things (and mainly the bulldog), I am definitely recommending you get to a theater to check this out.  You could wait to get it on BluRay, but I feel like you cannot possibly have a home theater setup in your home that would match the scale of the movie.  Pacific Rim gets “Where would you rather die?  Here, or in a Jaeger?” out of “Fortune favors the brave, dude.”

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)


Please Captain, Not in Front of the Klingons.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)Today may finally be the day that I watch the Star Trek movie even fans complain about.  So far, I’ve found the Star Trek movies to be mostly enjoyable.  The first movie was the worst that I’ve seen so far, but it was still only mediocre, not bad.  Then the next few movies were pretty good.  But today’s Star Trek movie is the worst rated of this generation in Star Trek movies, so I imagine I’ll have plenty of fodder for jokes.  But who knows?  Maybe every other critic is wrong and this is, in fact, a good movie.  There’s only one way to find out.  Today’s movie is Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, written by David Loughery, directed by William Shatner, and starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Laurence Luckinbill, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Todd Bryant, Spice Williams-Crosby, David Warner, Charles Cooper, Cynthia Gouw, and George Murdock.

Something happens in a desert between a Vulcan named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) and a guy that looks like the lead singer from Midnight Oil.  Then the crew of the USS Enterprise – Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), Helmsman Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Navigator Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Communications Officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) – is camping in Yosemite National Park.  So those are things that happen.  Sybok takes some hostages on the planet Nimbus III and the Enterprise responds to the threat, only to get their own ship taken hostage as well, to be used in Sybok’s quest to find a mythical planet called Sha Ka Ree, where creation began and God hangs out.

Hooray!  I’ve finally found a really bad Star Trek movie.  This movie sucked.  Actually, I don’t even know how comfortable I’d be in saying that the movie sucked because I feel like I had no idea what was going on, and I was actually paying full attention for the bulk of the movie.  I even had my friend Forty along for the ride, and neither one of us had any idea what was going on until the last 15 minutes or so of the movie.  When we figured out what they were going for, we realized that it was pretty stupid.  They were looking for a God planet.  When they find what they think is the God planet, they are attacked by fake God and just leave without doing anything about the fake God.  Also, a Klingon ship with muddy motivations is following the Enterprise through the entire movie with such ineptitude that I forgot they were still following for most of the movie.  They were an entire non-entity that could have been left out of the movie entirely.  But the movie seemed to be filled with such things, and it could be argued that the entire movie could’ve been left out of the movie to the movie’s benefit.

The look of this movie was … confusing.  Don’t movies typically get better graphically as they get sequels?  This one took a step backwards.  It wasn’t the worst looking movie, but it wasn’t great.  The last part of the movie was the most annoying to me, because “God” was so him-damned bright that I think I went blind in my left eye.  Also, the cantina in Paradise City looked like it was stolen right out of another movie, but I can’t remember which one.  All I remember is that it was a cantina on an alien planet and the movie was called Star Wars.  Also, this is not what I’ve been told Paradise City looks like.  It was a desert, for crying out loud.  I’ve heard that Paradise City is a place where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.  If I went to the Paradise City in this movie, I feel like I’d just be asking for someone to please take me home.  Yeah yeah.  It also just looked like any old desert place on Earth.  Not nearly alien enough.  All they really did to make it seem alien was tape some fake horns to the heads of horses and put a three-boobed cat lady in there.  The sound was also a big problem for me in this movie.  I couldn’t tell if it was my sound system or the movie, but the movie was either extremely loud or it completely drowned out its own dialogue.  That might not have been the worst thing ever, I guess.

I mostly was fine with the cast, as I have been in all the Star Trek movies.  The only issue I took with Kirk was when he got so butt hurt when he told Spock to kill Sybok and Spock didn’t.  It doesn’t really feel like Kirk to order someone to kill an unarmed man in cold blood, let alone get pissy when he didn’t do it.  Leonard Nimoy was good again, but I hated his little rocket boots that they kept throwing in the movie.  They seemed to have no idea of how rockets work.  If you want to make these boots antigravity boots, then do it.  I’ll get on board with that.  This is a science fiction movie, so I can accept things like that.  But if you’re going to show me that they’re rocket based, then you can’t have Spock hovering when his feet are pointed upwards.  That would just propel him face first into the ground.  The only thing I had to say about Sybok was that I thought he was Sean Connery when I first saw him.  Then I found out they had originally cast Connery, so it seemed to make sense.  And it made even more sense that Connery decided to do Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade instead of this movie.  Connery seems to have a good head on his shoulders.  I had heard about Nichelle Nichols and her strange little fan dance that came out of nowhere and served no real purpose, and that was in this movie.  I wish I had seen that out of her about 30 years earlier, but I could’ve done without it here.  I didn’t have much to say about the God character in this movie except that I have no idea how he could miss when shooting beams out of his eyes.  I’ve never understood that in any situation when someone misses when shooting beams out of their eyes.  They just look at something and then shoot!  If you have the ability to look at something, you should be able to hit it!

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was finally the awful Star Trek movie I had been waiting for.  After the one mediocre and three decent movies, I was beginning to get bored with their quality.  The story of this movie was confused and confusing, and when I finally figured it out I was deflated by it.  The look also took an inexplicable step backwards in quality, and the sound could not decide if you should bother listening to the dialogue or have your ears blown out, so they decided to mix it up and do both.  The only way I could really recommend this movie would be if you wanted to make fun of it, but even then it might be a little too hard to keep up with to even bother with that.  Skip it.  Star Trek V: The Final Frontier gets “I do not believe you realize the gravity of your situation” out of “I don’t control minds.  I free them.”

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The Last of Us (2013)


People Always Talk About the Apocalypse Like It’s the End of the World.

The Last of Us (2013)I had a vague interest in today’s game for a while.  It looked interesting enough, but did not strike me as the greatest thing since sliced bread.  In its defense, I fucking love sliced bread.  Just think of how useful that stuff is!  Anyway, when the game came out, I was mildly interested, but more because I lacked anything much better to play at the time.  But then the world got involved.  The game received such massive praise around the time of its release that I knew what the world really needed: my opinion of it.  I finished this game a while ago, but was busy with my sister’s wedding and unable to finally let you all know how you should be feeling about this game.  Well the time has come for me to review The Last of Us, written by Neil Druckmann, developed by Naughty Dog, published by Sony Computer Entertainment, and starring the voices of Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, Merle Dandridge, Annie Wersching, Robin Atkin Downes, Hana Hayes, W. Earl Brown, Brandon Scott, Nadji Jeter, Jeffrey Pierce, Ashley Scott, and Nolan North.

We play primarily as Joel (Troy Baker), a single father living in Texas with his 12-year-old daughter Sarah (Hana Hayes).  Things are fairly normal for them until an outbreak of a mutated cordyceps infection breaks out around the United States, turning people all over the country into violent creatures bent on spreading their infection through bites and spores.  Let’s just call them “zombies” for short.  In the rush to escape the infection, Sarah is shot by a soldier trying to contain the infection and she dies in Joel’s arms.  20 years later, small pockets of humanity survive in contained quarantine zones.  Joel makes a living as a smuggler with his friend Tess (Annie Wersching).  A cache of weapons is stolen from them by an arms dealer named Robert (Robin Atkin Downes) and, in the process of hunting him down, they meet a leader of the Fireflies rebels named Marlene (Merle Dandridge), who promises them double their weapons for smuggling a teenage girl named Ellie (Ashley Johnson) outside the quarantine zone.    Joel reluctantly agrees at the behest of Tess.  They later find out that what makes Ellie so important is that she was once bitten by the cordyceps, but was found to be immune to the infection, making her the last hope that humanity has for destroying the infection once and for all.

My feelings about this game were pretty conflicted, and for pretty much the same reason that I have disliked quality games in the past.  My expectations were set too high.  I feel like, had I gone into this game completely ignorant to it, I would have loved it much more than I did.  As it was, I thought the game was really good, but it did not quite manage to live up to the hype.  The story was definitely the game’s primary selling point.  It was definitely solid.  Though I still have not gotten around to watching it, it felt to me like what I expect watching an episode of The Walking Dead would be like, especially around the times when Henry and Sam were around.  There’s a lot of emotion, a lot of dealing with surviving the threat at hand, and a lot of surviving the different sections of fallen humanity, such as soldiers, rebels, cannibals, bandits, etc.  The emotional part of the story starts off right away.  I was not expecting Sarah to die.  I thought this was the girl I had seen in the commercials or gameplay footage.  I was confused because I thought I heard her called Ellie, but they could’ve rewritten the name for all I know.  I didn’t get very attached to the daughter at first because, though they seemed to have a sweet relationship, she did throw “even though you’re never around” into a birthday letter to my character.  That’s not cool.  He probably feels horrible about it but doesn’t have a choice because he was a single dad that has to provide for his daughter.  I never threw that shit in my mom’s face because she was at work a lot.  Hell, I relished it because it meant more time to sit at home playing video games instead of doing my homework.  That woman cramped my style.  I don’t really consider it a spoiler to say that stuff about Sarah because it happens in the first few minutes of the game, but plenty of other people die in emotional ways.  I felt myself predicting a lot of them because these characters that the game acts like might be here forever were never seen in any of the trailers, but it was still done well and pulled a lot of emotion from the audience.  There were a lot of emotional moments between Joel and Ellie too, especially since Ellie seemed so desperate to be able to connect with Joel but he was intentionally closing that door because he didn’t want to get too attached.  The conversation between the two of them where Joel said, “You’re right: you are NOT my daughter,” was brutal.  It hurt MY feelings even though he wasn’t talking to me because I REALLY wanted these two to get into that father/daughter relationship that Joel so desperately wanted to squash.  Maybe my biological clock is ticking…  Also, at the very end of the game, how did Joel not clock the dude that hit him with the rifle butt because he was trying to save Ellie’s life?  I understand they turned out to be “friendlies,” but clock me AFTER I’ve saved the girl’s life, douchebag!

The visuals of the game are well realized, but not always pleasant to look at.  I guess you should expect that from dystopian settings.  But it did have a good amount of beautiful visuals as well.  Most of the rural areas are pretty grey and ugly (as they were intended to be), but the stuff in the wilderness was generally very pretty.  And since they went all the way across the United States and travelled through an entire year, the developers got to stretch their legs and show what they could do with all the changing seasons and environments.  Rural, sewers, streets, wilderness, forests, icy landscapes, they span a plethora of environments that are all well realized.  I guess the only problem I had with the look was the “secret tunnel” that we enter at one point.  You could see the edges of it behind the entertainment system shelf that was supposed to be concealing it.  I guess the education system suffers in the apocalypse.

I had very few problems with the controls, but they didn’t really take any chances here.  It was like Uncharted with less climbing and more stealth.  It’s safe, but it’s functional.  Stealth in this game (as stealth in most games as far as I’m concerned) can get a little frustrating for the less patient audiences (such as myself) but it’s not too painful, and it’s pretty necessary since the game decided that a few of the enemies you face can instantly kill you if they get too close.  That’s a little irritating as well, especially since it can sometimes be hard to tell which ones are the instant killing ones and which are the regular ones.  The thing I felt was most irritating was that this game was still trying to push Sixaxis on us.  It’s dead, Sony!  Let it go!  It does not immerse me more in the game to have to shake my controller as if it was my flashlight and we all know that gets your batteries working right.  Another problem I had was with ammo availability.  I’ve felt this about other games in the past, but if I kill someone that was just shooting at me, I want their ammo.  I know they have it; they were just throwing it at me.  Give it to me!

This does not seem like it’s a great game for trophies.  I’ve not come anywhere near getting them all yet, but just reading through them makes them seem daunting.  I’ve beaten the game, and I was trying to collect stuff and finish trophies, but I’m still at a meager 5%.  A lot of them are for collecting and beating the game 8 different ways (the difficulties do stack though) and crafting different items, but that is an awful amount to have beaten the game with.  I doubt I’ll ever get anywhere near finishing them.  I did like collecting the comic books because it made Ellie happy, but I didn’t find a single comic book while exploring the dorms in the Colorado college level.  Are you shitting me?  No one in a Colorado college reads comics?  Those kids don’t know how to party!

My enjoyment of The Last of Us was hindered by the overhyping it received, but not so much that I couldn’t still say it was a really good game.  The story was well written and actually able to illicit emotional responses from me, and the graphics were pretty outstanding when they got out of the bland cities.  I could have perhaps asked for a little more innovation out of the controls since they seemed to mainly stick with what was safe, and the trophies are way too much work for me, but I would say that this is a quality game.  I don’t know if I’d be prepared to say it was worth the full $60 for it, but if it drops even $10 on sale, I’d say that would be enough reason for you to pick it up for yourself.  The Last of Us gets “No matter what you have to find something to fight for” out of “It doesn’t matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.”

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)


We Have Found the Nuclear Wessel.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)I do find myself a little impatient to reach the end of my run with the Star Trek movies.  I’ve been reviewing and watching so much Star Trek stuff recently that girls literally run at the sight of me, whereas before they just laughed and walked calmly away from me.  I guess they can smell it on you.  But I also hate leaving a series unfinished, so I must continue on.  It’s not as if it’s that painful to make it through these movies.  Thus far, I’ve enjoyed two out of three of the Star Trek movies, but I’m still waiting for the drastic drop in quality I’ve heard about with them.  Could this be one such movie?  We’ll find out as I review Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, written by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, and Nicholas Meyer, directed by Leonard Nimoy, and starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Catherine Hicks, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Mark Lenard, Jane Wyatt, Majel Barrett, and Robin Curtis.

After the events of the last movie, the crew that survived the destruction of the USS Enterprise – Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), helmsmen Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Commander Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and communications officer Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) – agree unanimously to return to Starfleet headquarters on Earth to face prosecution for the crimes they committed.  But on their way back, they receive a distress signal from Earth, saying that they’re about to be destroyed because a tube in space is trying to find whales and we killed them all.  The only way for the Enterprise crew to save the planet is to travel back in time to the present (or this movie’s version of the present 1986) to when whales still existed and bring two of them back to their time.  In 1986, they find two whales that are about to be released into the wild under the care of Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), but convincing her to give up the whales is not their only concern.  They must also repair and repower their ship while fitting it to handle whales in a time where the technology doesn’t exist to accomplish any of those things.

I would say that I now enjoy three of the four Star Trek movies that I’ve seen.  This one is still good.  I’m really waiting to see that drop in quality I keep hearing about.  Most of the movie was light-hearted and fun, and the movie was based around a message I agree with, but it was a little heavy-handed.  The movie was basically all about how we need to save the whales, all set into a Star Trek back drop.  I agree with your message, and I even think that it’s a proper enough premise to base a movie around, but it doesn’t really feel like a Star Trek movie.  And the probe didn’t even come to take the whales back.  It just showed up to check to make sure we hadn’t fucked up too badly.  So their motivation was basically just to see what big jerks humans would be.  But though I was torn about the premise the whole movie was based on, I still found it an enjoyable experience.  A lot of the moments when the Enterprise crew were trying to get around in 1986 were amusing and made the heavy-handed message the movie was beating me over the head with much more tolerable.  Time travel can also be dangerous in movies, making overcoming obstacles a little too easy.  That could be considered the case with this movie as well.  All they have to do is fly around the sun and they’re back in the 80’s?  That’s like Superman problem solving.  If it’s that easy then why don’t they just do it every time they need a second chance at something?  Also, I know that Kirk’s line to Spock where he says, “Start your computations for time warp,” was a second draft.  The original line was obviously, “Let’s do the time warp again.”  I also took issue with how incompetent they made the “present” day military seem.  They announced a security breech and yet none of the military people walking through the halls of the ship seemed to be that interested in the stranger in street clothes running past them.  I think military people are trained better than that, even back in 1986.

The movies still seem to be improving visually.  Even though I still think that green is an odd style choice for Klingons, the ship looked good.  They still have not really figured out a good excuse for how they’re able to watch the previous movies though.  They start out the movie watching scenes from the previous movie, but never think of a good reason that all of those camera angles were recorded by security cameras.  Are we to believe that the vessels of Starfleet have cameras in a constant orbit to get the camera angles to make security footage more interesting?  It also made me wonder why there are always such fights between Trekkies and Star Wars fans when Industrial Light and Magic did the visuals for this movie.  I also took issue with the audio in some parts of the movie.  First, the first thing I thought when I heard the probe was that it sounded like a robotic whale.  About 10 minutes later, the Enterprise crew figured out the same thing.  I can’t necessarily say that I’m smarter than them though because I vaguely remember hearing that whales took some part in the movies.  Later, I also took issue with the shitty, 80’s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles style music they drop.  I know they’re in the 80’s, but I also know that some good music came out of that decade.  The worst issue with the music was the music they played when they were running around the hospital.  Think of the worst, most corny and on the nose music you can think of for a goofy chase scene.  …You got it.  It was ridiculously close to Yakety Sax or something.

Again, the performances are mostly unchanged and offer not much to say other than what I’ve already said about them.  Though they had done it frequently in the television show, I don’t recall Spock having too many humorous moments in the previous movies, but it was the greater majority of what he did in this one.  As humorous as I found it to see some of the other Enterprise crew interact with the people of 1986, Spock topped it out.  Well, there was at least one moment I found amusing with George Takei, but I’m not sure it was intentional.  It was when he said he was born in San Francisco.  Sulu may have been born in San Francisco, but there’s also a chance Takei was just dropping hints before he was ready to kick open the old closet doors.  I liked Catherine Hicks well enough.  She was cute in personality and in appearance, and she got inexplicably nipply around the end of the movie.  I was also entirely confused by the guy that owned the factory that Doohan visited.  What was the reason for the giant “I Quit Smoking” pin that he was wearing?  Good for you, buddy.  But what does that have to do with the manufacturing of Plexiglas?

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a solid enough movie.  The story was fun in the parts where they weren’t trying to make a point, and the point they were trying to make – though it was a good one – was a little heavy-handed and perhaps not best suited for a vaguely goofy science fiction movie.  But the cast still does a great job, and I’d say I’d be able to recommend this movie for a watch as well.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home gets “They like you very much, but they are not the hell your whales” out of “Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word.”

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World War Z (2013)


Be Prepared for Anything.  Our War Has Just Begun.

World War Z (2013)I feel a little awkward going into this review.  I indeed saw this movie, and I even saw it in theaters, but as I go to write the review, I feel like I don’t remember the movie at all.  It hasn’t even been that long!  I saw this movie a week ago!  I don’t know if that’s a sign that this movie is bad, or that drugs are bad.  Mmmkay?  Either way, it’s a big movie, and one that I was excited to see because of the subject matter, so it deserves a review, as best I can muster one.  Let’s see if I can jog my memory as I review World War Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof, directed by Marc Forster, and starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Peter Capaldi, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ruth Negga, Moritz Bleibtreu, Abigail Hargrove, Sterling Jerins, and Fabrizio Zacharee Guidoas.

While sitting in traffic, former UN employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family – wife Karin (Mireille Enos), and daughters Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins) – are witnesses as mayhem breaks out all around them.  Radio reports suspect a massive rabies outbreak, but it looks a lot more like zombies.  And an extremely fast-acting strain of zombification that turns people into zombies 12 seconds after being bitten.  Gerry manages to get his family to the safety of a naval landing craft, but in exchange he must return to his former post and find the cause of the infection in hopes of finding a cure.

From what I have deduced from my notes and my limited memory, I enjoyed this movie very much.  I also didn’t have the same problems that I heard from many people that disliked this movie because I have never, and would never, read the book this was based on.  Or any other book for that matter.  But most of the anger I heard about this movie was based around the fact that they didn’t stick very closely to the book, but I would have no idea about that.  Judging this movie on its own merit, I enjoyed it.  I did feel like the name was a little mediocre, and that it also was probably the result of someone’s sloppy hand-writing when they were writing a movie about World War 2.  But then I appreciated that they didn’t waste much time getting into the movie.  They get started with the zombies right away.  The virus doesn’t waste any time either.  It takes about 10 seconds for it to work.  That keeps the action moving, but I did think that it hindered a staple of the zombie movie.  There could be no real suspense built in scenes where the audience knows someone’s been infected but the other characters do not, or when someone really close to one of the characters is turning zombie right in front of them.  Zombie movies love to do that!  But in this movie, all you have to do is wait 10 seconds and if they haven’t turned, they aren’t going to.  It’s a minor gripe, and I did like the scene Gerry thought he might be infected so he prepared himself to jump off the roof of the building if he thought he was turning.  Downright noble of him.  I also thought this movie showed for the first time how easy it could be to survive a zombie apocalypse with things like battleships at our disposal.  Especially since it only takes 10 seconds for someone to turn.  There’d be no chance that zombies could make it onto one of these ships, allowing us to be safe on them for a very long time.

I would say there were a couple of parts to the story I took issue with, and almost all of them require ::SPOILER ALERT::  The first one was when the scientist that accompanied Gerry died.  The savior of humanity is really gonna die by slipping and shooting himself with his own gun?  I know he probably had minimal military training at best, but come on.  That’s a little goofy.  And then I took issue with the part where all of Jerusalem falls.  They all died because some people in the city had the rhythm in them?  They started singing and dancing for no reason, which attracted the attention of the zombies and caused the entire city to die.  And people wonder why I refuse to dance.  From now on I’ll be able to say, “Because of the zombies.”  And how about the doctor in the WHO (World Health Organization) facility that turns because he’s looking through a microscope and reaches for the infected blood while not looking?  I’ve seen that episode of Scrubs and I know that kind of thing can happen with infected blood, but shouldn’t you be a bit more careful?  And how is there not a doctor in the WHO facility that refers to himself as Doctor WHO? Also, how does that facility not have some ability to set off alarms remotely so that they can draw the infected away from where they need to go?  I also thought it was interesting that they overcome the problem by infecting people, because the infected wanted a clean host for their own virus.  It especially made me happy because my Hepatitis C would save me from the zombie apocalypse.  ::END SPOILERS::

I dug all the performances in the movie.  I love Brad Pitt.  He’s one of those people that I want to hate because they’re so handsome and women love them so much that I wish they weren’t also great actors, but he is.  I would say that his lady, Mireille Enos, was not believable.  I guess her performance was, but I don’t see someone that looks like Brad Pitt going for a chick that’s just cute at best.  He pulls Angelina tail!  I also took issues with her, and all of them were based around her cell phone.  I wanted to thank the movie for showing the world the arduous process of entering a contact into a cell phone.  It’s something no one in the world has any familiarity with, so I’m glad they spent so much time showing it.  And then this bitch almost gets Brad killed, and DOES get some nice military guys killed, because she had to try to call him multiple times.  He said he’d call you, bitch!  As good as I thought Brad did in the movie, I found myself less interested in him and more interested in Daniella Kertesz, the bald Israeli lady.  I liked her.  She was badass and hot.  And she was missing a hand, and that’s my biggest fetish.

One could say that I’d have to call World War Z completely forgettable because of the empirical evidence I have from personally forgetting most of the movie shortly after watching it.  But as I started writing the review I realized that everything I could force myself to remember was enjoyable.  The story was good and kept me interested all the way through, even with the few small quibbles I had with some parts of the story.  And the performances caused no complaints.  I’m perfectly comfortable recommending that you see this movie while it’s still in theaters.  World War Z gets “Mother Nature knows how to disguise her weakness as strength” out of “That’s not stupidity or weakness; that’s just human nature.”

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)


That Green-Blooded Son of a Bitch!

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)My fascination with the Star Trek series endures.  The previous movie in the series has long been called the greatest Star Trek movie, and I found it to be good, but perhaps a bit overhyped and spoiled.  But that doesn’t really bode well for the rest of the series.  Especially for today’s movie.  I have heard director Edgar Wright say that every odd numbered Star Trek movie is crap, and we’re coming upon number three.  Perhaps Mr. Wright was exaggerating as Rotten Tomatoes rates this movie pretty well.  We’ll just have to find out as I review Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, written by Harve Bennett, directed by Leonard Nimoy, and starring William Shatner, Christopher Lloyd, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Merritt Butrick, Robin Curtis, Mark Lenard, and Judith Anderson.

After their battle with Khan Noonien Singh in the previous movie, the Starship Enterprise is fucked up.  It limps back to Starfleet for repairs, only to find that the ship is to be decommissioned, much to the chagrin of her Captain, James T. Kirk (William Shatner).  Even more chagrining (I just found out that was a word!) to Captain Kirk is that he lost his First Officer and friend, Spock (Leonard Nimoy), in the battle with Khan.  Hope comes when Spock’s father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), tells Kirk that Spock would have transferred his spirit to someone to be revived later, and that someone turns out to be the Enterprises Chief Medical Officer, Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley).  Kirk and his crew decide to hijack the Enterprise and take it to find Lieutenant Saavik (Robin Curtis) and Kirk’s son, David Marcus (Merritt Butrick), who are investigating a planet created by the Genesis device, where Spock’s body landed and has started to regenerate as a child.  But they will have to be fast as a Klingon ship, led by Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), are way ahead of them.

It would appear that Edgar Wright is prone to exaggeration.  Even though this was an odd numbered Star Trek movie, I thought it was a strong enough offering.  Perhaps not quite as good as the Wrath of Khan, but a decent enough effort.  I found Wrath of Khan unsurprising because everything within the story had already been spoiled for me.  The Search for Spock was spoiled because the story was in the title.  The Search for Spock basically covers the story of the movie, but I wouldn’t say that was necessarily a bad thing.  It did attempt a few emotional surprises, possibly because of the success they had in the previous movie with them, but they were hit and miss in this one.  For instance, I felt absolutely nothing when Kirk’s son died.  Perhaps I had not had time enough to get attached to him as he only appeared as a fairly insignificant part of the previous movie where I was only half sure I heard them mention the guy was Kirk’s son.  Then he never really did anything awesome to adhere himself to me.  He was just kind of in the background.  So when he died, I know they wanted it to be sad for me, but I couldn’t muster that.  Strangely enough, I did feel a twang of shock and sadness when the Enterprise blew up.  I had 80+ episodes and 3 movies to get attached to that thing.  And, even though I now fully expect there to be some convoluted way of bringing it back in ensuing movies, I did not expect to see it blow up.  So, to sum that up: I don’t care that the hero’s son died, but I do care that his spaceship did.  Probably not what they were going for.

The movie still looks good.  Things typically don’t get worse as movies progress and they’re given more money.  I should probably not bother even talking about it in the future Star Trek movie reviews unless I think of jokes to make about it.  Uh…that green spaceship sure looked stupid, eh?  …Okay, moving on…

Not a whole lot of changes made to the cast, so not a whole lot to add to it.  Because of Back to the Future, I will probably always be excited to see Christopher Lloyd.  Although I’ve seen him in a few bad movies, I’ve never seen him do badly.  He’s always really compelling to watch.  I also got to wondering how much pussy the 8 people that played Spock tried to get by bragging that they played Spock.  Or do you think they just got their asses kicked for it?

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock did alright by me.  Perhaps not living up to Wrath of Khan and just as easy to predict, but I found it satisfying and entertaining.  Some of the shocks they attempted work, and some did not, mainly because I care more about a starship than I do about the hero’s permed son, but it worked, it looked good, and the cast did a good job.  And they had Christopher Lloyd.  That’s alright by me.  I’ll still recommend this one for a watch.  Star Trek III: The Search for Spock gets “Scotty, you’re as good as your word” out of “Come, come, Mr. Scott.  Young minds, fresh ideas.  Be tolerant.”

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Man of Steel (2013)


KNEEL BEFORE BOB!!

Man of Steel (2013)Seeing today’s movie proved to be harder than it should have been.  Shortly after it came out, I made a trek to the theaters with Friendboss Josh to see this movie, only to find it sold out.  That worked out for us both because we went and saw This Is The End instead.  Later, I tried to get to see it with some of my other friends, but going to my sister’s wedding made things difficult because I needed to pack.  And then my dog died.  Jesus didn’t want me to see this movie in a big bad way!  After I got back from my sister’s wedding, my friend Phil had returned to town and he was the only other person in the world besides me that had not already seen the movie, but he didn’t really care to.  I gave him such a purple nurple that his nipple was fully removed.  I promised to give it back to him after we had seen Man of Steel, written by David S. Goyer, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Anteje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff, and Laurence Fishburne.

The people of planet Krypton have mined the core of their planet to the point where the planet is beginning to implode, just as their head scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) had warned them.  Jor and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) decide to send their baby, the first baby born naturally on Krypton in centuries, to the planet Earth in a shuttle to avoid the collapse of Krypton.  The planet’s military commander, General Zod (Michael Shannon), is the only one that agrees with Jor about Krypton’s state, but disagrees that Krypton’s genetic codex should be sent to Earth with Jor’s son.  He disagrees so strongly that he kills Jor while staging a military coup.  Jor still manages to send his son away with the codex, and Zod and his rebels are captured and sentenced to prison in the Phantom Zone, where they are released a short time later when Krypton is destroyed.  On Earth, Kal-El is taken in by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) and raised in Smallville, Kansas.  As he grows up, life is difficult for him as he develops superhuman abilities.  When Kal – now called Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) – becomes an adult, he leads a nomadic life because he always ends up having to use his abilities to save someone and must then disappear again.  On one job, he meets a reporter named Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and finds a ship from his ancestors that tells him his past.  Shortly after that, Zod shows up in orbit and demands that the people of Earth turn Kal over to him.

I heard such mixed reports about this movie before I saw it that I had no idea what assumption to make going into it.  But that’s typically a good thing because expectations do more harm than good.  Overall I thought this movie was good.  It didn’t blow my mind, but it was an entertaining watch.  I guess part of the problem I had with it is that there’s nothing really surprising about the story.  I’ve seen this story so many times, and they really didn’t change it drastically from what I had seen before.  And I hate Superman, but I still know this story like the back of my hand!  But the minor changes they made were ones I appreciated, like the fact that Kryptonite was nowhere to be seen in this movie.  The greater majority of Superman movies that I’ve seen are all completely based around Kryptonite.  Superman is all awesome, someone busts out a shiny green rock making him less awesome, and he overcomes it by taking it super seriously or flying into space to charge up.  This one came close to that by having him weakened by the Kyptonian atmosphere, but they never had a green rock lying around.  It also made me wonder if people making future Superman movies would be pissed that they took away their typical major plot point.  But the atmosphere thing did make the same stuff happen with Superman.  He was weakened by the atmosphere when he had to take out that terraforming “world engine” but had to sack up and take a cue out of Randy Quaid’s book from Independence Day and fly straight up that alien ship’s butthole.  I did have a problem with Superman’s flying though, just because of the part where they were saying he needs to take a leap of faith before he starts flying.  That’s not a leap of faith.  A leap of faith is like what Indiana Jones did in the Last Crusade, where he stepped off a ledge with the faith that he wouldn’t die because of it.  Superman is invulnerable and can fly.  Not a lot of faith involved in such a leap.

The visual effects of the movie and the action were all very well done, which helped save the movie from the very typical story.  Everything in the movie looked great, though occasionally I found that the shaky cam look they went for got a little tedious.  But the fights were pretty dope, especially the ones involving Faora.  She was dope.  And hot.  I liked the fight with her, that unnamed Kryptonian, and Superman, even though they made a bitch out of Superman.  Superman should probably be able to hold his own a little better than he did in most of that fight.  On the other hand, I hate Superman.  Seeing him made into a bitch doesn’t bother me that much.

I liked the greater majority of the actors in the movie, but I took issue with a lot of the characters.  Superman, for instance.  What kind of protector did you turn out to be when your fights with the Kryptonians leveled a large portion of both Smallville and Metropolis?  The Superman I know is a little more concerned with collateral damage than that.  The Superman I know also doesn’t have a hairy chest, but I guess that’s okay because chicks seem to be into it.  And speaking of being into chicks: was I the only one that was disappointed when baby Superman didn’t come flying out of his mom in the beginning, fist first?  I also had some thoughts about his parents.  First, how well does Krypton train its scientists in combat that they can beat up their top military officials?  And what the hell is the deal with his mom?  I understand the concept of a parent not wanting to give up their child, but she’s fully aware that the planet is dying.  It’s better in her opinion to let the baby die with you than to live without you?  You’re a shitty mom!  Superman’s adopted parents weren’t much better either.  I don’t remember the Kents teaching Superman the valuable lesson that sometimes you should let people die so you can keep yourself a secret.  Jonathan Kent was spectacularly stupid.  He actually dies because he tells his invulnerable superhero son to stay under the safety of the overpass while the aging human Jonathan ran back into the middle of a tornado to save a dog.  Your son … IS SUPERMAN!  He could’ve zipped out and saved that dog so fast that no one would’ve even seen him do it.  He could’ve walked through the middle of a tornado like everyone else walking in front of an oscillating fan.  But you’re right that dying in a tornado is the best way to go.  That’s how I intend to go.

Man of Steel offered nothing new in the story department, but made up for it with some pretty decent action and some fantastic visuals.  If you’ve followed Superman at all, you know pretty much where the story is going, but it will at least be visually entertaining enough to make it worthwhile.  This movie didn’t exactly blow my mind with pure awesomeness, but I was satisfied with the experience.  I’ll recommend you check this movie out in theaters.  Man of Steel gets “You will give the people an ideal to strive towards” out of “That’s why we risked so much to save you.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!