Vulcan Stev's Database

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Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace

star_warsIStarring:
Liam Neeson …  Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor …  Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman …  Queen Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd …  Anakin Skywalker
Pernilla August …  Shmi Skywalker
Frank Oz …  Yoda (voice)
Ian McDiarmid …  Senator Palpatine
Oliver Ford Davies …  Gov. Sio Bibble
Ray Park …  Darth Maul
Hugh Quarshie …  Capt. Panaka
Ahmed Best …  Jar Jar Binks (voice)
Anthony Daniels …  C-3PO
Kenny Baker …  R2-D2
Terence Stamp …  Supreme Chancellor Valorum
Brian Blessed …  Boss Nass

Synopsis from IMDb:
The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray (Carson) is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedis escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks (Best) head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala (Portman), but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker (Lloyd). Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the sith really extinct? Is the Queen who she really says she is? and what’s so special about this young boy? All these questions and more in the first chapter of the epic Star Wars.

Reviewers VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS: 1.75 pointed ears
I don’t understand the hate bestowed on this movie by supposed fans.  Yes, Jar-Jar was annoying.  Yes, the acting was wooden and yes, George Lucas proves once again that his skills lie in story telling and not in directing.  Watching this movie again I was struck by the fact that the CGI characters are more “animated” than the actors.  Check out Sebulba’s introductory scene and the cut-scenes of Qui Gon’s party  during the pod race.  Sebulba is all over the place and his humanoid dining companions just sit there.  Jar Jar is moving all over the booth while the humans sit there motionless.

The more obvious points of Lucas the story-teller are when we’re told that Obi Wan is headstrong instead of shown.  Being told about the suffering on Nayboo instead of being shown the suffering.  The movie has lots of “Wow!” moments.  However “wow” moments do not make a movie continuable watchable.  That said, this is still a fun family friendly flick and is not deserving of the “hate”.

PIT #1 – 1.75 pointed ears
Die Jar Jar die (this review was tweeted in and that is the sum total of the review)

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
This was a very nice start to the saga.  I like looking for the subtle hints and foreshadowing that Lucas interspersed throughout.  I’ve been playing Lego Star Wars with PIT #3.  Some of the scenes make a heck of lot more sense now that I’ve refreshed my memory on the movie.  Pod racing is harder than it looks.

PIT #3 – 1.9 pointed ears
This is my introduction to the Star Wars.  I don’t remember watching the other Star Wars movies until after I’d seen this one.  Qui Gonn Jinn is my all time favorite Jedi.  It was a shame that he had to die.

Overall 7.4 out of 8
As far as prequels go I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse.  This movie could’ve been a heckuva lot better with some editing or if it had been cut to about 45 minutes and combined with II.  Thank you Lord that Abrams didn’t follow Lucas’ formula with the Trek reboot.

If you’re the type that buys DVDs you probably already own this one.  If this is your first exposure to Star Wars, don’t judge the rest of the saga by this opening round.

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June 6, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Angels & Demons

angels_and_demons_ver2Starring:
Tom Hanks …  Robert Langdon
Ewan McGregor …  Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
Ayelet Zurer …  Vittoria Vetra
Stellan Skarsgård …  Commander Richter
Pierfrancesco Favino …  Inspector Olivetti
Nikolaj Lie Kaas …  Assassin
Armin Mueller-Stahl …  Cardinal Strauss
Thure Lindhardt …  Chartrand
David Pasquesi …  Claudio Vincenzi
Cosimo Fusco …  Father Simeon
Victor Alfieri …  Lieutenant Valenti
Franklin Amobi …  Cardinal Lamasse
Curt Lowens …  Cardinal Ebner
Bob Yerkes …  Cardinal Guidera
Marc Fiorini …  Cardinal Baggia

Synopsis from IMDb:
Despite his notorious relationship with the Church, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is once again called upon to decipher the clues to a catastrophic conspiracy. The Pope has died, and before conclave can begin to determine his successor, the four preferitti (primary hopefuls for the papacy) are kidnapped. An ominous threat of their hourly demise, along with the complete annihilation of Vatican City, is issued as an elaborate revenge scheme for a persecuted group known as the Illuminati. With their meager time limit steadily counting down, Langdon, accompanied by beautiful physicist Vittoria Vetra, must travel throughout Rome to unravel the carefully hidden signs that will lead them to a terrifying adversary, a harrowing discovery, and the shocking truth.

Reviewers VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.9 pointed ears
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Christian.  Although I have differences of belief with Catholics over interpretations of some scripture, I harbor no ill-will towards them in general.  I have not read the Dan Brown novel on which this movie is based.  Ron Howard has made a much better movie than this time around.  He has crafted a thrill ride from start to finish.  This movie states, quite accurately that science and faith do NOT have to be mortal enemies.  In fact Robert Langdon says that faith is a gift.

The plot twist at the end completely took me by surprise.  If you’ve seen the movie or read the novel you know what twist I’m talking about.  If not, well I’m not going to spoiler it for you.  This movie flowed easily from start to finish.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
Even though the novel Angels & Demons came before the DaVinci Code, the producers did a nice job of turning this movie into a sequel.  There were no “What the…?” moments everything flowed logically.  The plot twist caught completely by surprise, but it wasn’t a “Where the Heck did this twist come from” it was an “Oh My, THAT’S what was going on” twist.

This is not my last review for the database.  I’m just taking a basic training sabbatical.  I’ll be back when I can start watching movies again and e-mail Daddy my reviews.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
The flow was logical and consistent even the surprise plot twist at the end.  This movie had a National Treasure feel to it.  I like the History Channel, and anytime history can be incorporated into a action-packed film I’ll be watching it.  I did not see this twist coming at all.

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This movie was a little tough to understand.  I don’t think 10-year olds where the target audience.  There was NO kissing (Yay Ron Howard).  Once the action got going I liked the movie a little more.  Daddy doesn’t believe me, but I suspected the plot twist from the beginning.

Overall 7.7 out of 8
This is a good sequel to the DaVinci code.  There are some intense images of torture and mutilation in this film.  The language is kept down.  Families of faith do not need to be concerned about this film, although it does not “defend” the faith, it does not tear down the faith either.

Highly reccomended.

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dungeon Dramas: A Random Plot Hook from PITs 2 & 3

rsc01Welcome back to Dungeon Dramas, my ongoing series of plot hooks as developed by the random roll of my Story Cubes.  

 Today’s plot hooks are being developed by PITs #2 & #3.  They have both expressed an interest in being more active participants in this blog.   As Rory has advertised that these cubes can be used by all ages, I’m adding Dungeon Dramas to their review duties.

We rolled a tree, a magnifying glass, a question mark, an alien, a magnet, a compass rose, an arrow, a skyscraper, and a moon.

PIT #2 – What if aliens were suddenly sucked from the moon to the city.  The resulting change in the atmosphere causes the forest to grow in strange directions.  The PCs have been called to investigate.

PIT #3 – A tree portal in the forest leads directly to the moon.  You discover a complete civilization there.  However, magnetized traps hold you in place until the aliens come and challenge you to a magic archery contest.  After besting the aliens the PCs need to determine why the portal in the forest leads to the moon.  Clues are found in various places on the moon.

VS – Investigating strange magnetic readings in the city, the PCs determine that beings not from this dimension are stealing the treasures of the moon goddess that have been on display in the city’s museum.  Their quest is to track the beings and return the treasures to the goddess’ temple hidden in the forest.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Gaming in the Universe of..., Plot Hooks from..., RPG | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life Near an Iowa Cornfield 5-30-2009

My presence online has been greatly diminished this month.  It has been a hectic month for the VS household.  Mrs. VS has begun  the weekly chemo treatments (see Day 146 for more info).  She’s been feeling the stress.

PIT #1 graduated High School last week Sunday (5-24-09).  So we’ve been running hither and thither attending open houses, final concerts, Baccalaureate, graduation and what-not.  Pastor Gary (yes the same Pastor that Goober helps) preached Baccalaureate.  I was left wondering why Senior Awards needed to be presented after Baccalaureate and why each presenter had to spend 15 minutes re-reading the info printed in the program.  PIT #3 summed up everyone’s feelings “That was two hours of the most boring thing I’ve ever sat through, Daddy”

Graduation went off without a hitch.  PIT #1 has closed down one chapter of her life and is prepared to embark on the next chapter.  She heads off to basic training on the 31st of May.

Memorial Day we went to a Renaissance Faire in the Amana Colonies.  Wasn’t sure how the family would like it but all five of us enjoyed ourselves.  PITs 2&3 want to go to the one in Des Moines over Labor Day.  Mrs. VS enjoyed herself as well.  I picked up a cloak and two daggers.  PIT #1 got a Katana blade to go with her Black Belt.  PIT #3 remarked that the Faire was like a D&D game at full size.

Me? I’ve been working at a new job and trying to juggle the career and the can company.  I’m the new Ad Designer for a local paper, The Record in Conrad, Iowa.  I’m using my degree and enjoying myself immensely.  The new job is 9-5 and thus my free time has evaporated somewhat.  I usually work on blog posts on the weekends and get a full week’s worth written.  However the past few weekends have been busy with graduation stuff.  Uncle Bear has written some guest-posts to get me back up and running (Thank You My Liege).  I should be back to writing tomorrow after we drop off PIT #1.

We have a farewell party for PIT #1 tonight and PIT #2 starts Driver’s Ed on Monday.  Hoping to catch Angels & Demons at the dollar theater.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

x_men_origins_wolverine_ver3Starring:
Hugh Jackman …  Logan / Wolverine
Liev Schreiber …  Victor Creed
Danny Huston …  William Stryker
Will i Am …  John Wraith
Lynn Collins …  Kayla Silverfox
Kevin Durand …  Fred Dukes
Dominic Monaghan …  Bradley
Taylor Kitsch …  Remy LeBeau / Gambit
Daniel Henney …  David North / Agent Zero
Ryan Reynolds …  Wade Wilson
Scott Adkins …  Weapon XI
Tim Pocock …  Scott Summers
Julia Blake …  Heather Hudson
Max Cullen …  Travis Hudson
Troye Sivan …  Young James Howlett

Synopsis by VS:
This is the origin story of Wolverine as interpreted by David Benioff and Skip Woods, the writers.  Many of the established facts from Marvel’s convuluted backstory of the character are incorporated into this movie.  As the story progresses the audience is treated to  revelations of Logan’s powers, training, and how he got his indestructible skeleton.

Reviewers: VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.5 pointed ears
I’m being a little more harsh than the kids.  Yes we are treated to Wolverine’s origin story.  The character’s backstory as revealed in the comics is convoluted at best and I’m not going to fault the writers for picking and choosing the elements they want to use.  I’ve seen complaints online about the use of Professor X and Cyclops in a Wolverine origin as neither of those characters seems to know anything about Wolverine in the first movie.  This is handled fairly well in my opinion as Wolverine does not directly interact with either character during the course of the film.

I’m not going to rail against the bending of the laws of physics this film inflicts as it is a COMIC BOOK adaptation.  I can view the movie for what it is.  My main problem with the film is that story focuses too much on style and not enough on substance.  This is an origin film I want to know WHY the character is who he is. 

The other reason I have for lowering my rating is the fact that this film is inconsistant with the previous three.  In the first movie, Wolverine’s claws are revealed to be mechanical (look at the X-Ray) and completely metallic (Magneto would not have been able to bend bone).   Yes, I know that Logan’s claws are bone and are part of his natural mutation in the comics but let’s try to stay consistant with what has been established for the film universe.  Sabertooth, if he is Wolverine’s brother does not seem to care to much about their meeting in the first movie.  You’d think that Sabertooth would’ve shown more interest in Wolverine in the previos movies if the relationship is as described in Origins.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
It was interesting to finally see Wolverine’s background.  Things that have hinted at in the other X-Men films are revealed in this movie.  I liked the fact that the memory loss is attributed to something other than a technological brainwash.  I also enjoyed the fact that Wolverine’s past was revealed to be part of the larger Marvel film universe and not an isolated character that just runs into these folks in the first movie.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
It was very nice that the writers tied Wolverine’s backstory into the larger picture.  The helicopter destruction sequence was very  nice.  Nothing in this movie detracted from an enjoyable filmgoing experience.

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This was a very good movie.  I didn’t like the fact that Logan lost his  memories.  Yes, I know that it’s part of the character.  Daddy has explained it to me so many times.  That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it.

Overall 7.3 out of 8 pointed ears.
Nice summer popcorn flick.  This can be watched without needing to see the first three X-Men movies.  This film has received far too much bashing from fans.  It isn’t as bad as the pundits make it out to be.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Lethal Weapon

lethal_weaponStarring:
Mel Gibson …  Sergeant Martin Riggs
Danny Glover …  Sergeant Roger Murtaugh
Gary Busey …  Mr. Joshua
Mitchell Ryan …  General Peter McAllister
Tom Atkins …  Michael Hunsaker
Darlene Love …  Trish Murtaugh
Traci Wolfe …  Rianne Murtaugh
Jackie Swanson …  Amanda Hunsaker
Damon Hines …  Nick Murtaugh
Ebonie Smith …  Carrie Murtaugh
Bill Kalmenson …  Beat Cop
Lycia Naff …  Dixie

Synopsis from IMDb: Los Angeles police sergeant Roger Murtaugh, who has just turned 50 years old, is assigned to investigate the death of Amanda Hunsaker, a prostitute who is one of the daughters of bank president Michael Hunsaker, a friend whom Roger has known since they were in the Vietnam War together, but Roger hasn’t seen Michael in 12 years. Beginning with this investigation, Roger is assigned a new partner Sergeant Martin Riggs, who has been suicidal ever since his wife Victoria “Vicky” Lynn Riggs died in a car crash in 1984. Riggs and Murtaugh’s investigation of Amanda’s death reveals that she was murdered. Upon hearing of this, Michael tells Murtaugh that he would like for whoever is behind Amanda’s murder to end up dead, like Amanda. Riggs and Murtaugh’s investigation continues and it makes them the targets of Shadow Company, a group of former Vietnam War era mercenaries who now bring heroin into the Los Angeles County region. Shadow Company’s leader, General Peter McAllister, and his right hand man, Mr. Joshua, want Riggs and Murtaugh dead, no matter what the cost

Reviewers: VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.75 pointed ears
Rated “R” when it first came out it is pretty tame by today’s standards.  Use of the “F”-bomb, drug use and some nudity this movie may not be suitable for your younger viewers.  The story, plot, and action still holds up 22 years later.  However, my kids were momentarily taken right out of the movie when Sgt Murtaugh uses his bag phone.  The backstory is a little dated as well.  When the characters mentioned “the war”, the PITs asked if they meant Iraq.  This is not the first buddy cop movie, but it is one of the best.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
This movie did not need the items added to pad it out for an ‘R’ rating.  The language and nudity were unnecessary.

PIT #2 – 1.9 pointed ears
Riggs’ fighting style rocks.  That action sequence made the movie worthwhile.  I’d like to be trained in the crazy, ninja martial arts that Riggs knows.

PIT #3 – 1.5 pointed ears
I did not like the swearing and lack of clothing in the opening sequence.  The story about taking down drug dealers was pretty good.

7.15 pointed ears out of 8
With a few simple edits this film could’ve been more family friendly.  However, this is a nice mindless action flick.  Enjoyable enough if this genre is to your liking.  Only you can determine appropriate levels of language and violence for your audience.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RPG Blog Carnival: The Future of Roleplaying

rpgblogcarnivallogocopyThe Carnival is being hosted by Roleplaying Pro.  The topic chosen for this month is the Future of Roleplaying.  Apropos for me as May is always the month I contemplate the future.  I’m no longer well-versed in the cutting edge of technology.  So I cannot wax eloquent on storing character sheets on a thumb-drive and downloading them to the GM’s electronic table.  I don’t have my thumb on the pulse of the hobby.  My thoughts on what games may be the “Next BIG Thing” would be highly speculative at best and the more likely completely inaccurate.

What is the future?  The future is commonly accepted to be that portion of the time line that is anticipated to occur after the present time.  In the most literal sense of the word, Sunday’s D&D game is the future.  I’m assuming though the question is projecting out a little further than that.

This hobby has no future if the only ones enjoying it are middle-aged men and women who are trying in vain to recapture their young-adulthood.  To me the future of the hobby is currently sitting in my living room.  PIT #1 graduates this month and then heads off to basic training.  When I asked her what she wanted for graduation presents she looked me in the eye and listed off the following: Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition, Necessary Evil Explorer’s Edition, and as many AD&D books as I could spare.

PIT #2 is currently thumbing through the AD&D Complete Wizard Guidebook.  He is trying to maximize his character for our Sunday game.

PIT #3 usually fights with his sister over who gets to read the rule books first.  When Shainter arrived in the mail, it vanished.  PIT #1 had absconded with it.  When I finally got it back, it proceeded to vanish again.  PIT #3 had snuck it out from under my nose and was reading up on it.

In our Sunday afternoon game, The GM and I are the only ones in attendance over the age of 20.  All of my Friday evening and Saturday afternoon players are teenagers.  I think the future of our hobby is secure.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Blog Carnival, Fluff/Inspiration, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Fast & Furious

fast_and_furious_ver2Starring:
Vin Diesel …  Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker …  Brian O’Conner
Jordana Brewster …  Mia Toretto
Michelle Rodriguez …  Letty
John Ortiz …  Campos
Laz Alonso …  Fenix Rise
Gal Gadot …  Gisele Harabo
Jack Conley …  Penning
Shea Whigham …  Agent Ben Stasiak
Liza Lapira …  Agent Sophie Trinh

Summary from IMDb: Heading back to the streets where it all began, two men rejoin two women to blast muscle, tuner and exotic cars across Los Angeles and floor through the Mexican desert. When a crime brings them back to L.A., fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto reignites his feud with agent Brian O’Connor. But as they are forced to confront a shared enemy, Dom and Brian must give in to an uncertain new trust if they hope to outmaneuver him. And from convoy heists to precision tunnel crawls across international lines, two men will find the best way to get revenge: push the limits of what’s possible behind the wheel.

Reviewers: Vulcan Stev, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.7 pointed ears
Most franchises begin to treat the main characters with silk gloves.  The “We-Need-To-Protect-These-Characters-At-All-Costs-For-The-Next-Sequel” mantra has killed many opportunities for drama and realistic character portrayal.  George Lucas even retro-fitted Star Wars to protect the now heroic Han Solo.  Kudos to the producers for not taking the easy way out.  These characters are man-handled.  The ending is not a pat Hollywood Happy ending.  I’m not going to spoiler the film but Dom gets what he deserves.

This is a nice mindless action film full of automotive devastation, just what you’ve come to expect from this franchise.  However there was actually a plot in this one.  Dominic and Brian each have their own reasons for going after a Mexican drug lord.  Events from the previous movies are not swept under the rug.  I enjoyed this movie, however, the explosive results of the non-flammable Nitrous-Oxide took me right out of the movie.  The scene was cool, but come on.  I’m also left wondering why the producers felt it was necessary to show lesbian kisses in nearly every scene with gratuitous, eye-candy, scantily-clad women.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
THIS was the sequel they should’ve made first.  This movie more than made up for the bad taste Tokyo Drift left in my mouth.  The racing action was much better than Darlington.  I’m glad Daddy took us to see this instead of staying home to watch NASCAR.

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
This movie was awesome.  Brian framing the other driver after losing to Dom was inspired.  It echoed Brian’s internal conflict of is a good guy pretending to be a bad guy or a bad guy pretending to be a good guy.

PIT #3 – 2 pointed ears
Even though there was lots of kissing in this movie, the racing action more than made up for it.  Kissing is icky enough but girls kissing girls is really gross.  When you get this on DVD fast-forward past the girls kissing each other to get to the good stuff.

Overall 7.7 out of 8 pointed ears.  A must own for fans of Vin Diesel and the F&F franchise.  If you enjoy action movies you won’t be disappointed by this one.  If you’re looking for thought provoking drama, this is not that kind of movie.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Star Trek

star_trek_xi_ver19Starring:
Chris Pine …  James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto …  Spock
Leonard Nimoy …  Spock Prime
Eric Bana …  Nero
Bruce Greenwood …  Capt. Christopher Pike
Karl Urban …  Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Zoe Saldana …  Nyota Uhura
Simon Pegg …  Scotty
John Cho …  Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin …  Pavel Chekov
Ben Cross …  Sarek
Winona Ryder …  Amanda Grayson
Chris Hemsworth …  George Kirk
Jennifer Morrison …  Winona Kirk

Synopsis by VS: Paramount is marketing this as the “untold” story of the classic crew’s first meeting.  This isn’t entirely accurate.  This is the story of the first joint mission of Kirk’s crew.  However, I hesitate to state they are the classic crew.  To paraphrase Spock, this is an alternate timeline.  Given that altered timelines, alternate universes, and time travel are an accepted part of Star Trek lore, I, and any hard-core fan, can and should embrace this as part of the Star Trek universe.  My rant on why Star Trek didn’t NEED a reboot is still valid.  Though, it’s what we got.  Given the positive comments I heard at the theater, Paramount was successful in pleasing both fans and the general population.  I’ll be blunt honest I have been prepared to loathe this motion picture since it was announced as a reboot.  However I found it to be very well done movie.  I hereby christen this new incarnation Universe 2.  Spock Prime, Classic 60’s crew, Next Gen, DS9, VOY all still exist in Universe 1.

Reviewers: VS, Mrs. VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.8 pointed ears
I am not going to go hard-core nitpicky.  My .2 deduction is on the basis of two things the volume and blinding lens flares.  I am not gonna deduct for the non-existent canyon near Riverside, Iowa, because who knows what’s going to happen to this state in the next 200 years.  It is nice to know that the University of Iowa still exists into the 23rd century as part of Starfleet Academy.  It is also nice to know that Iowa will be known for more than corn in the 23rd century as it’s got a very large fleet yard in the east-central part of the state.  I’m not going to deduct for the “crappy” coincidences that move the story along, as only the “Montgomery Scott is manning the same outpost near Vulcan that Spock Prime and Cadet Kirk end up on” is TRULY a coincidence.  The remainder of the coincidences are explainable and reasonable for the story.

My beef with the soundtrack is that is too blame loud.  The were portion of the movie that actually shook the theater.  The lens flares actually whited out some scenes it made certain portions of the movie very difficult to watch.

Mrs. VS – 1.75 pointed ears
The new alternate timeline made this film accessible to me as a non-trekker.  I enjoyed the story and didn’t need hubby to explain things to me every scene.  Downsides to this movie are the Ceti-eel inserted into Captain Pike, very disgusting.  I don’t care what it said on screen, where Kirk grew up looked more like Arizona than it did the state that my family and I call home.

The characters and characterizations were accurate enough that I knew who was who without needing to be told.

PIT #1 – 1.75
The setup to this NEW franchise was nice.  I agree with Daddy, this is Universe 2.  Universe 1 is left intact and undisturbed but we can have stories with real jeopardy in this new universe without invalidating 40 years of beloved back story.

My “Whut-the—-” moment that took me right out of the story, Spock and Uhura?  I mean c’mon.  What were the writers thinking when they penned that subplot?

PIT #2 – 1.8 pointed ears.
I didn’t want to see a reboot.  However being it is what we got, this was very well done.  The explanation was handled very well.  My only gripes with the movie were the canyon in Iowa.  I don’t see one on my map, but it may be leftover from the Xindii attack.  Also the destruction of the 60’s Vette was heart-breaking.

PIT #3 – 1.6 pointed ears
Cool I’m the captain of the Enterprise.  Chris Pike is named after me.  However, too much kissing in this movie and the fact that Uhura stripped to her underwear and half-naked green women are ugly is bad.  This movie was also VERY loud.

Overall 8.7 pointed ears out of 10.
This film NEEDS to be seen on the large screen at least once.  Anyone who claims to be Trekker and doesn’t like this film is just being curmudgeonly.  This movie manages to recreate the Trek universe without invalidating all that Trekkers hold dear.

Given the fact that I was prepared to absolutely loathe this movie and was bound and determined to not give it a “free pass” (not that I ever do give a film a free pass) review, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  Paramount has atoned for the mistakes in marketing Nemesis and hiring Braga over Moore for Enterprise.

May 10, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Star Trek | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: The Transporter

transporterStarring:
Jason Statham …  Frank Martin
Qi Shu …  Lai (as Shu Qi)
Matt Schulze …  Wall Street
François Berléand …  Inspector Tarconi
Ric Young …  Mr. Kwai
Doug Rand …  Leader
Didier Saint Melin …  Boss
Tonio Descanvelle …  Thug 1
Laurent Desponds …  Thug 2
Matthieu Albertini …  Thug 3
Vincent Nemeth …  Pilot
Jean-Yves Bilien …  Little Thug
Jean-Marie Paris …  Giant Thug
Adrian Dearnell …  Newscaster
Alfred Lot …  Cop 1

Synopsis from IMDB: Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin lives what seems to be a quiet life along the French Mediterranean, hiring himself out as a mercenary “transporter” who moves goods–human or otherwise–from one place to another. No questions asked. Carrying out mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks in his tricked-out BMW, Frank adheres to a strict set of rules, which he never breaks. Rule One: Never change the deal. Rule Two: No names–Frank doesn’t want to know whom he’s working for, or what he’s transporting. Rule Three: never look in the package. Frank’s newest transport seems no different from the countless ones he’s done in the past. He’s been hired by an American known only as “Wall Street” to make a delivery; but when Frank stops along the route, he notices his package is moving. Violating Rule Three, Frank looks inside the bag, finding its contents to be a beautiful, gagged woman. Frank’s steadfast adherence to his other two rules–which make up his basic code of survival–also quickly fails, hurtling him and his new companion on a road leading to shocking secrets, deadly complications, and the last thing that Frank ever expected to come to believe: that rules are made to be broken.

Reveiwers: VS, Mrs. VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS – 1.75 pointed ears
This was the first Jason Statham movie I ever saw.  He’s got the makings of being the Steven Segal or Jean-Claude Van Damme for the 21st century.  The action scenes were believable and did not feel shoehorned into the movie.  The trope of the protagonist having a code of ethics and then being thrown into conflict with his own rules has been done before and since (see our scathing review of Bangkok Dangerous).  However, Frank does not throw his rules out the window and even comments that breaking his rule was a bad idea.  He is given a logical reason for violating Rule #3, curiosity.

Mrs. VS – 1 pointed ear
Not a bad movie as far as “hubby movies” go. [editor’s note: A hubby movie is classed as anything with action and car chases and one that Mrs. VS would NOT go see on her own].  Yes there was some violence and sensuality but both were subdued.  The love scene was not gratuitous.  The fist-fights and gunplay are pretty standard for this type of film but were not excessive.

PIT #1 – 2 pointed ears
An interesting story.  I really like the concept of a driver for hire who’ll do any job without questions as long as you keep to the deal.  The violence was at an acceptable level.

PIT #2 – 1.9 pointed ears
Overall a good story but it jumped around too much for my tastes.  I don’t think the writer adequately explained why a simple transporter would suddenly take up the cause of his former cargo. 

PIT #3 – 1.8 pointed ears
This movie had kissing and implied sex.  Having icky stuff like that in a movie is a complete waste of screen time in an otherwise good action movie.

Overall 8.45 pointed ears out of 10.
Rentable, definitely worth watching if you like Action Adventure.  If you’re a Jason Statham fan then it’s a must own.  A nice adult-themed film without needing to be viewed after the kids go to bed.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments