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After the disappointing and incomprehensible conclusion of Arya's faceless men story line, Episode 9 was a breath of fresh air albeit an air filled with screams and blood. Episode 9 gives us a brutal medieval battle which probably has come the closest to capturing how gruesome medieval warfare could be without glorifying it. Horses crash into each other, limbs and heads are hacked off, men are trampled, bodies pile up. It's a chaotic swirl of men, horses, and weapons. The battle is cruel and unrelenting and almost difficult to re-watch because it's so grueling. And Ramsey finally gets his comeuppance though he sadly takes a few with him. His ending is quite morbidly satisfying.
A very well done and satisfying episode. I can see where they put most of Season 6's budget and it was well spent. This and Episode 10 were the best episodes in Season 6 and in the whole series.
Not for the squeamish.
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
I'll take the 5th over this!
People used to complain about how bad the 5th Star Trek movie was but I'll take that one any day over this annoying stinker. At least Final Frontier had some funny character moments whereas in the is film the Next Generation crew come off as a bit lifeless with the exception of Picard and Data (which is unfortunate in the latter case).
Generations was a pointless picture that did not need to be made. It would be better if they had started the next generation movies with First Contact (and stopped there).
The main plot - a bad guy wants to get into a happy magic land that floats around the galaxy like a giant red ribbon in space. In order to accomplish this he shoots rockets into suns in order to change the direction of the ribbon so he can hitch a ride.
Who authorized this mess?
The Starship Enterprise has to stop him but Captain Picard can't do it alone so he brings in help from the past in the form of legendary Captain James T Kirk. The two captains then proceed to get into a punch-up with Malcolm McDowell and (spoiler!) Kirk dies from a falling bridge. Yep, that's the epic death of Captain Kirk. He doesn't save the whole galaxy by ramming a starship into a doomsday machine or go down fighting blood-crazed Klingons. He falls off a bridge trying to save some planet we never see or heard of before trying to stop a crazy old guy from shooting rockets into suns so he could go to a magical happy land. Dying peacefully in bed would have been better than this ignominy.
Added to this fiasco are the painfully not funny scenes with Data and his emotion chip. It was desperately being played up for laughs for the movie-going audience whom the film-makers must have thought of as idiots.
I will say I did like the scenes between Kirk and Picard when they were in the magic ribbon (called the Nexus). I just wish those scenes had been in a much better movie than this. Also the beginning of the film with Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov though unnecessary was nice.
Overall I cannot recommend this movie unless you like Rifftraxs who do one on this film.
Good classic cheesy 60s Sci-Fi
"Let that be your Last Battlefield" is a heavy-handed tale of racism that beats the viewer of the head with its not so subtle message that "racism is stupid" every 5 minutes. Still this episode has a goofy charm that the old Star Trek series would somehow be less if this episode hadn't been made. It's a kind of so bad it's good episode.
The two guest stars in their cheap black&white make-up (you could tell they were scraping the barrel of the budget for the show by this time) steal the show with their constant hating of each other while the Enterprise crew does very little except watch and make self-righteous comments.
This episode is a time capsule of sorts because it is very much a part of its time as the settings of many Sci-Fi stories of the 50s&60s were often just thinly-disguised commentaries about social conditions and human nature. Writers of such stories were more interested in the message than in fleshing out a story universe that made sense.
"Let This Be Your Last Battlefield" though is enjoyable fare to sit back and enjoy and not to be surprised by the inevitable obvious ending. What makes it even more delightful is the appearance of Frank Gorshin, Jr famous for playing The Riddler in the 60s Batman series as one of the illogical hate-fueled aliens.
Good attempt at a book series that went nowhere
Riverworld is an strange alien world with one large river where everyone on earth who dies wakes up around the same age and speaking the same language or rather that they all understand each other's words. There are metal cannisters which contain clothing and dispensers which give food. People who have resurrected earlier have built primitive societies some of them barbaric.
Riverworld is based on the 5-book series by Philip Jose Farmer which had a very interesting concept but was poorly executed, terribly padded, bland characters, and had a very anti- climatic ending.
This movie actually got me interested in reading the series to see how it ended but I quickly realized that this film adaptation was actually better than the book.
For one thing the hero in the film is a 21st century astronaut who is familiar with technology and the concept of aliens and thus was the audience's go-between into this strange new world with famous people in history. In the book it was the 19th century explorer Richard Burton. The human villain in the film is the megalo-maniac Nero whereas in the books it was King John who was not a very convincing bad guy historically or even in the book series.
Already I saw the hero-villain aspect had been improved from the book. The astronaut guided by the mysterious beings of the planet wants to travel down river while Nero wants to establish a new empire for himself.
It's a shame the series never got off the ground because I would have liked to see how they would have improved upon the original concept.
All in all I recommend this film for a lazy Sunday viewing - however I cannot recommend the book series. While the first book is interesting, it quickly goes downhill from there and is not worth the time.
The World's End (2013)
The Pub Crawl to end all Pub Crawl (literally!)
Very enjoyable film which is almost two films in one - one is about old friends reuniting after many years on the coerced behest of ne-er-do-well friend of theirs to complete a pub crawl they never finished when they were young and the other is a sci-fi movie which involves saving the world from well-meaning but very misguided aliens.
The film does a great job in telling a story about getting older, accepting responsibility, and dealing with an alien invasion which is for our own good. There are some genuine touching moments in the movie with the characters coming to terms with their past and their present as they destroy robot replicants of the aforementioned alien invasion.
Particularly good is the role reversal with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Usually Frost plays the couldn't-care-less loser character whom Pegg's character has to help and defend. In this film Pegg is brilliant as the loose cannon figure of the group who never wanted to grow up while Frost is the responsible one and has to knock sense into Pegg's character. He takes the lead of the group several times when Pegg cannot be trusted but he doesn't become a boring straight man character. He has some very funny moments in the film.
World's End is a very funny fun film that can also be bittersweet at times. Well worth a watch and definitely worth seeing with friends and beer.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Into the Apt Darkness
WARNING - SPOILERS in this Review!
Star Trek Into Darkness is a sequel foray into the rebooted Star Trek universe where Vulcan has been destroyed and the lives of Kirk and Spock have been altered somewhat - for example Kirk being shot directly into the rank of starship captain from raw cadet whereas in the old universe he had to work his way up in the ranks.
Into Darkness picks up with Kirk violating the Prime Directive of interfering with the primitive life of an alien world to save an ungrateful Spock whose mission was also a violation of the Prime Directive but whatever... Spock rats out his good friend Kirk who gets demoted but shortly after re-promoted to head a ridiculous kill mission that should have made him suspicious from the get go which was to fire 72 special photon torpedoes at one guy - a guy who somehow teleported himself from earth all the way to the Klingon home world.
This one guy is of course Khan which come as no surprise as he is in every trailer of the film which leads you to believe he will be doing all sorts of nasty clever things (spoiler! - he doesn't).
Ultimately the problem with Into Darkness is Khan himself. It's like they wrote one story which had to do with a secret group trying to militarize Star Fleet and start a war with the Klingons then they tried to force Khan into this story but it just didn't work and it caused the first idea to unravel. Every aspect about Khan ruins the story. He's a genius but when he gets a chance at revenge he just shoots the heck out of a room and misses his main target. He then teleports himself all the way from Earth to the Klingon homeworld and does nothing until the Enterprise crew shows up.
Khan assumes his super friends dead but when he hears the Enterprise has 72 special torpedoes he assumes them to be alive and so he surrenders and spills the beans about the conspiracy to start a war with the Klingons.
That's the spoiler twist - Khan is not exactly the bad guy. Another bad guy shows but he is killed by Khan about 20 minutes later and that whole more interesting plot goes out the window as the movie focuses again on Khan as a bad guy who just wants his super friends back. Oh supposedly he is a genocidal maniac who kills others he deems inferior just like he never was in the original series.
The movie is a bizarre mishmash of Seeds of Doom, Star Trek II, and VI with very little of it being an original story in its own right. It relies heavily on the old series that it becomes only a pale imitation of it. As for the action, it has a lot of that but it becomes relentless to the point of becoming like a cartoon where the characters survive ludicrously impossible situations.