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Star Trek (2009)
Where No Retard Has Gone Before....
I went into this movie wanting to like it, but by the time we cleared the opening action sequence, I already knew I was in for a rough ride.
I have been watching Star Trek since I was a little kid (born 1977), and from the original series, through Voyager, Star Trek has always been a step above the common sci-fi tripe out there.
Star Trek was NEVER about flashy special effects or laser beams blowing up planets. It has always been about HOPE and a vision of a more idyllic future. It has always embodied a sense of scientific accuracy (in varying degrees) that silly, magical universes like Star Wars or X-men do not.
This movie however, was a random hodgepodge of flashy effects, broken story lines (that lead nowhere), and poorly thought-out logic. Gene Roddenberry is probably turning over in his grave like he is hooked to a BBQ spit knowing this travesty was made in his honor.
JJ Abrams could not have done Gene over worse than if he pulled his slacks down and took a huge deuce on Gene's gravestone.
How in the hell does a cadet, fresh out of the academy, get put in charge of the Federation's flagship? Were there no other senior officers with at least a year of experience on board? Why was the entire ship crewed by academy graduates? What are the chances their entire graduating class gets assigned to the same ship over a swollen hand?
Why would they send two cadets to stop an enemy terrorist from blowing up a planet? How did we end up with a sword-fight? Is Sulu going to be wielding a light-saber in the next movie? Doesn't the Federation have a SEAL TEAM 6 or space marines or something? Two cadets in space-suits is the best the Federation can manage to save a core Federation planet?
They jettison crew-members onto hostile worlds for verbally disagreeing with the acting captain? Not only that, but jettison raw cadets onto hostile worlds with no training or survival tools?
What are the chances of being gulagged to an abandoned Hoth, and just happening to land your capsule right next to the only other persons on that planet? Why didn't Spock just walk to Scotty's base instead of hiding from Hoth Wampas in cave?
How come Scotty did not get court-martialled for abandoning his post on Hoth? Instead, they make him Chief Engineer of the flagship after just arriving on board...
Checkhov is able to operate the transporters (which used an arcade-like targeting system to further cater to the masses of jellyfish that liked this movie), but they do not have a transporter chief on board who would be more qualified to work on such a complex system than a raw cadet? "Red matter"? Are you freaking serious? I have to agree with the other posters-- the time travel and "red matter" were nothing more than life-support for lazy storytelling. Omega-13? Galaxy Quest anybody?
Instead of having to use some artistic talent to link this storyline with the 40 years of existing ones-- JJ Abrams lobotomized approach was just "lets scrap everything and start over", and use time travel or "it's just a movie" to get it past the masses of ADHD viewers out there that just want to see hot girls and explosions, regardless of whether it actually makes sense for them to be there or not.
And then, the biggest problem with this movie--- the villain. He was not believable. At all. Nor did he seem very threatening either.
So...let me get this straight. After Spock nearly kills himself trying to save Romulus from destruction, the Romulan Darth Maul (he was so unremarkable, I can't even recall his name) decides to go on a vendetta against him? Since the black hole took the Romulan ship 25 years into the past-- wouldn't it have been smarter if the Romulans spent that time trying to warn their people and avoid the disaster?
For him to be mad at Spock enough to want to destroy his home world-- wouldn't that be akin to swearing revenge on a fireman who got killed trying to save your family from a burning house? Seriously, this movie was just plain AWFUL.
The non-existent plot was nothing more than a 2 hour excuse to introduce more explosions, laser beams, karate fighting, and cute girls onto the screen-- with no regard to plot whatsoever.
I am definitely not against rebooting old franchises, but at least do it gracefully, and in a way that pays respectful homage to the original, rather than desecrating it like a bunch of toddlers in a candy store.
Batman was a silly comic book cartoon when it first started. The recent Dark Knight made it darker, more somber, more serious, and BETTER. This stupid wreck of a movie did the exact opposite-- it took a great finished product and made a complete mockery out of it.
The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan were the only two good sci-fi's out of the entire Star Trek movies collection, but this one sets the bar at an all-time low.
Tripe, by any other name....
No story to speak of, no characters worth remembering, no realism, no morals, no point at all. This "movie" (I use the term lightly), offers the viewer nothing but shocks and nausea brought on by watching cruelty on a level the Nazi's would blush at. If it's only goal is to shock and nauseate, it is a raging success. But one then has to ask: "Why?" If I wanted to cause myself pain, I guess putting my cahones on the table and smashing them with a hammer works, but doing so is equally as nonsensical. Folks who wilingly would go to watch this seriously need to go have their heads checked. The only thing more disgusting than this flick would be to be forced to watch Nazi instructional videos on how to torture small toddlers-- both items that sane people should avoid. I love a gory movie at times, as long as there is some point or preconceived destination of where the movie is supposed to go. One has to wonder if the main character, is actually Tom Six?
Watch the EXTRAS and DELETED SCENES
There are still stupid parts to this movie-- i.e. running away from a rolling tire in a straight line, and these do not fix all of them, so much as to help to "grease the wheels" and ease the delivery of them.
I had to watch Prometheus twice to appreciate it. I wanted to choke Ridley Scott out the first time I saw it, but fell in love with it the second time when I watched it with no expectations.
You have to accept that these days, nobody will pay $160 million to make a movie that only a handful of hard core sci-fi buffs will go see and appreciate.
He made it clear this movie is only LOOSELY CONNECTED to Alien. It takes place in the same universe, but is its own genre, its own mood, its own story to tell. He may never connect the two story lines, the way Battle for Endor exists in the same universe as Star Wars but does not intersect plotwise.
The DELETED SCENES and WEYLAND FILES fill in a lot of gaps:
============================ >>>>1) VICKERS IS AN ANDROID ==============
She was quick to please at the suggestion she was an android. In the deleted scenes, she has an extended conversation with Peter-- and talks about how she was once attracted to him and found respect in his face, but now...he's an old crone. The "father" comment was not a poor rendition of even poorer George Lucasism, rather, a below the belt jab at Peter. She was pointing out that he created her as a plaything, but is actually a pedophile as he is technically her father.
Ridley likes to toy with the concept of androids having immature emotional responses due to a lack of a past set of memories. Her jealousy of David is also evidence, as Peter trusts him mo0re with intellectual matters.
======================= >>>>2) LV-426 vs LV-223 =======================
In the WEYLAND FILES, Peter specifies in his notes that they are actually receiving a weak signal from nearby LV-426, but only David knows this as well.
From the start, he knows the real bio-weapons prize awaits on LV-426, while he is taking "the doctors" (whom he views as naive fools) to LV-223 to find some technology they can sink their hooks into to extend his life.
========================== >>>>3) THE GOO IS A WEAPON ==================
The goo is a mutagen that turns the victim into a parasite and brings about the Xeno-form.
If you watch the deleted scenes, the Engineers know about the Xenomorph-- besides the wall shrine of a xeno in the goo storage room, Fifield and Milton find a shedded xeno skin on the floor in the pyramid. Also, all the dead Engineers in the body pile had familiar "exploded from inside" apertures on them.
========== >>>>4) HOW DID THE SQUID GET SO BIG? ========================
This was a major problem for me. Not only how did it get bigger, but didn't anyone else notice a wriggling thing in the auto-doc?
In the extended Vickers/Peter scene, she mentions that if he goes down to the planet, he will die, and that he should hear "that thing squealing in the room next door".
They found Shaw's "baby" and were probably studying it, keeping it alive, and feeding it. Or it got loose and ate the people studying it.
Either way, Weyland's people knew about it and had it in their possession prior to us meeting it again later.
============================ >>>>5) RETARD PETTING SNAKES ==============
This one is not a justification, but it helped make Milton's foolhardy attempts at petting a worm seem less abrupt.
There was a deleted scene where he finds some of those little worm things in the soil and has an emotional upheaval over finding the first non-unicellular extra-terrestrial life.
These ones were stupid and docile, and allowed him to hold them in his hand and pet them. After being exposed to the goo, they changed a bit in their demeanor.
======================= >>>>RELAX ======================================
...And watch the movie again. You might find yourself liking it the second time around.
All the music that I love most now-- I hated when I first heard it. It was a good movie, but did not spell things out for the audience.
Also, I think 20th Century Fox had more to do with it than Ridley Scott. They pushed for PG-13 rating from the start, and if you watch the deleted scenes, it is clear they add more edge to the movie and it they tried to make it more kid-friendly.
The Thing (2011)
Not too bad....the critics are WAYYYYYYY off
While I am one of the most skeptical of movie-watchers (I sincerely feel that Hollywood is running out of ideas and is finding itself at the very end of its artistic hyperbole-- having no more room to make movies more action-packed, more violent, more provocative, or "more" anything) and normally assume 25 year prequels like this one to be a travesty that is both insulting and disrespectful of the original-- I have to say, they ACTUALLY DID A PRETTY GOOD JOB with this one. I would have screamed for totally different reasons than the directors intended, if this movie had turned out like those awful AvP movies (ruination for both once-proud franchises) or one of George Lucas' prequels. Most of the negative critiques I am hearing, are folks complaining that this movie was "the same" as the 1982 Carpenter movie, or "unoriginal" because it involved the same basic plot premise. HELLO!!!!! Read the director's interviews-- that is EXACTLY what they were shooting for!! This movie is supposed to be the same genre, the same mood, the same eventual outcome-- it is supposed to be a companion piece to the 1982 Carpenter movie! The director's stated goal was to create a prequel that was both RESPECTFUL of the original, and that you could pop the 1982 movie in after watching this one, and not notice much of a difference. The directors went to great lengths to ensure everything from the original movie was explained (in regards to the Norwegians and the many clues left around their camp in the 1982 segment). They did not make it stupid by adding some gangster rapper to the cast to give the movie mass-appeal, they didn't try to introduce some cheesy love-story, they didn't have to use nudity of some hottie chick to draw an audience. The movie stands on its own, but probably won't ever be that popular for just those reasons. THE THING 2011 draws on the same mental resources as the 1982 movie, and establishes the same results (a very good thing). Too much CGI, of course, but that cannot be avoided in this day and age. To sum it up-- if you liked the 1928 Carpenter movie, you will like this one as well, the movie was complete with a dissection scene (with half-absorbed people no less), a climactic battle with a super-thing, and the usual expected paranoia. They took the time to actually setup the mood and to give the characters some personality, as opposed to some rushed, effects-laden George Lucas CGI-fest. I have not ever seen any of the other movies by this director, but am willing to give it a try after seeing this movie. Not too bad at all....especially if you are a die-hard fan of the Carpenter version.
Praise and Disgust Simultaneously
I read through a lot of the other negative reviews written about this movie, and I honestly cannot understand the complaints voiced at all. They sound like the typical rumblings from today's younger, attention-deficit generation of movie-watchers that need to see a ton of over-the-top CGI effects, cars blowing up, ridiculous slow-motion martial arts stunts, nude girl scenes, and senseless gore to keep their attention on what they are watching.
How can people this movie be described as "boring"? It was anything but....riveting is more the word I would choose.
It did not show enough gore? A good thriller can scare more with what is IMPLIED, rather than what is SHOWN on screen...and it showed plenty. Surgically attaching three people anus-to-mouth, as horrible as it sounds, is even worse when the creator of the movie does not miss any of them medical complications involved from creating such a monstrosity. If you can make it through the scene when the first guy in the human chain cries that he cannot hold it any longer and has to defecate in the next girl's attached mouth without feeling any ill effects, you must be completely insensitive to human suffering, whether fictional or real.
Some complain the characters weren't believable? I beg to differ, Dieter Laser provides a performance that far eclipses Hannibal Lector's most disturbing scenes... The actors acted the way one would expect human beings to behave when under such visceral distress (and being under the control of a madman who threatens to remove their teeth and perform surgery without general anesthetic). I guess some viewers are not able to accept movie characters that do not spout off catchy one-liners or that are not invincible action movie heroes....
Then, folks said it was stupid because everybody spoke different languages (doctor spoke German, Japanese tourist, and two American girls)? Really? Of course, whomever said that is probably the type that never questions why aliens from other planets always have two arms, two legs and all speak English in sci-fi, of course. The language barrier was part of the terror...
Then, some criticized it as "bland", because there was no political message or human message in the movie.....really? What was the higher message for viewers in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS? What was the transcendental message in the 5TH ELEMENT? WHat was the political message in SAW?
"100% Medically Accurate", well...I will call BS on that one. But that does not cause me as many problems suspending disbelief as say, a guy who suddenly has his powers outside the Matrix as well as inside (MATRIX RELOADED)....or a dorky hero delivering one-liners like "Welcome to earth!" while the whole earth is under attack by aliens(INDEPENDENCE DAY)...or Aliens AND Predators being a common occurrence on 20th century earth, even though there was no knowledge of either in the 24th century when the other Aliens movies took place.
Anyhow, I digress, the movie starts out with two really STUPID girls getting stuck in the woods somewhere in rural Germany. At first the movie seems to be drifting towards the "cliche", but soon departs far from anything I have ever seen before.
It is hard to rate this movie on a "star" scale for me. On the one hand, I give at an A+ for concept, directorship, mood, and for creating such a suspenseful, successful psychological thriller. As a body-disfigurement horror movie, this one delivers on SO MANY Different LEVELS. But it was so genuinely disturbing in concept, what was shown, and what was implied, that my wife literally got sick while we were watching it, and I almost passed out myself. Keep in mind, I am no stranger to body-disfigurement horror flicks or gore either-- I loved Alien, the Exorcist, The Thing, etc., played football and saw plenty of green-stick fractures, and two deployments in Iraq where I got to see battle wounds everyday, and laughed at how corny the SAW movies were (besides the fact that I already figured out who the guilty party was in SAW about 2 minutes after I started watching it-- of course it was the dead guy on the floor, he was the one you would least suspect). While those other movies successfully thrilled me, they did not make me go searching for the eye bleach and mind eraser to wipe any memory of having seen this one afterward.
So, in summation, I have to rate this movie on two different standards-- as a psychological thriller-- it has no equal, STRANGELAND cannot even touch this one, and SAW is like the preschool version of this movie. They did such a convincing job with this movie, it is hard to rate it as anything than superb and give it the respect it is due. But it is so disturbing, that I don't think anybody would ever want to watch this one a second time....so in that sense, I was not entertained, I was nauseated to the core. I cannot honestly recommend this movie to anybody I care for....it will shake you down to your bones.