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Star Trek Beyond (2016)
A truly awful movie
Where to even begin on how bad this movie is? How in the world did they spend 180 million dollars on this?
I assume the word "beyond" refers to the enterprise traveling beyond a nebula of rocks for the first time. But what a shocker; they're not the first to do it. Even though the new superior enemy destroys their ship in seconds, they just find a new ship waiting for them there. On a hostile planet. Nothing ever feels dangerous in this movie. There's even a scene where Kirk saves 50 people with a off road motorbike. In the camp of an enemy who controls a swarm of 500.000 super fast spaceships.
All the characters now seem like one dimensional stereotyped versions of themselves. Spock spends the whole movie thinking and looking sideways. Scotty is there to talk Scottish and call everyone Lassie, even a new female from an alien race he never met before. Doctor McCoy is never concerned about anything and doesn't seem like he's actually experiencing anything, not even the near death of his friend Spock. Many of the lines they speak honestly sounds like gibberish. Kirk is supposed to be the concerned one. And always looking clean and newly showered, even after crashing his spaceship in the jungle. All in all, this crew is not affected by what is actually happening in the movie.
The entire story consists of of recycled clichés. The Enterprise goes to a new planet, but there's a bad guy there who looks like a lizard, has a dark voice, enjoys violence and wears black armor. Never seen that before.
The CGI looks poor. And everything is so fantastic in scale, the movie doesn't even begin to explain how any of it works. The mass destruction seen here is on a scale nobody can relate to. There's simply no logic in this movie. The audience is just forced to accept that someone can have a fistfight standing in the ceiling 5 kilometers above ground on an artificial planet.
I can't believe JJ Abrams is involved in this. The Star Trek series featured many stupid episodes that didn't make any sense in terms of the main story. But the purpose of these movies was to take the best the series had to offer and make it even better. Raise some of the central questions of exploring life, technology and space. Instead Star Trek Beyond is just a generic dumb action orgie.
Another good but not great music documentary from Mr. Lee
Spike Lee seem to have settled for a recipe for how to make documentaries about Michael Jackson that are entertaining but not really informative.
The recipe is this: Talk to a bunch of famous people about how great they think Off the wall is. (He did the same with Bad25). Mix it with archival footage of Michael Jackson. Go through each track and talk a little bit about it, and when we get to the last track, the film ends. Even though he has people who wrote some of the songs, like Stevie Wonder, he refuses to go into detail and lets other irrelevant artists such as Pharell describe them instead.
He does not really go in depth enough, as he should for this big artist. He does not interview Quincy Jones, the main producer who launched Jacksons solo career, and relies on old archival footage instead. He hints of controversial subjects such as racism destroying the genre of disco, and Jackson rising above that. But its all done in a hurry as we plow through some beats and steps from Jacksons glittery feet on stage. Because thats more important to Lee.
Its more important to make this a celebration of Jackson, keep the audience amazed and keep the grove going. When in fact, there were serious subjects, conflicts and challenges within this era of Jacksons life. My biggest question is what did Jackson want to do different artistically that he could not do before? This is never answered. We hear how Michael eventually broke away from his family, but no mention of the fact that he was physically abused by his father, and the fact that might have something to do with his desire to work on his own.