Showing posts with label trek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trek. Show all posts

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Troubles Taste Tests Trek

Jamie tastes the all-new Trek breakfast cereal. Here.

And, yes. The communicator, tricorder and phaser are all mine. I waited 25 years to have a communicator, tricorder and phaser, so shut up.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The League sees the All-New Star Trek

Vroooom! Vrooom! Vroooooooooom!

Spoilers Ahoy. Be forewarned.

So, okay. I really liked the new Trek.

There's a lot of plot and story issues with the movie, I'm not going to fib. Characters' motivations don't make sense (especially our villain, the catalyst for the plot), and its sort of derivative. And, if what they did is what I think they did, it would give longtime Trek fans a long, long moment of pause.


If you're like me and felt the past ten years or so of Trek has taken a turn for the not-so-great, and you never quite got over the original series, then this is a welcome change.

Prior to the new movie, I watched "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", the Alan Dean Foster penned, post "2001: A Space Odyssey", post "Star Wars" relaunch of the Star Trek franchise. And the differences between the two movies really couldn't be more pronounced in structure, pacing, philosophy, etc... The new movie is much, much more in the vein of the high-octane action movies of the past few years that had left the Trek franchise limping pretty far behind.

The movie does do a great job of introducing the characters and distilling down a lot of character bits developed over the decades into one cohesive narrative. There may be new actors in the Starfleet uniforms, but the writers were pretty intent on making sure that the characters that they'd loved for so many years are still intact, even if its coming from a slightly different angle. This most likely won't throw off too many viewers, what with the relaunch of other popular franchises of late, from Batman to James Bond (and us comic fans are very, very used to the whole "Earth 1, Earth 2" concept. As Trek fans should be, from "Mirror, Mirror".)

My all-new imaginary friends

The story moves at Warp 10, so its possible to miss the plotholes and/ or not care too much about them. And... this should give you an idea regarding how pleased I was with the movie, it really doesn't matter a whole lot whether the plot adds up or not. The movie isn't here to spin a crazy new plot for the Star Trek franchise, its here to get a new generation of viewers hooked on the antics of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Sulu and the rest.

One of the things I'd loved about Star Trek: The Motion Picture was the scale of the thing. From the interior of the Enterprise (something rarely explored, and - oddly- not emphasized much in any other incarnation), to the vastness of space and the possibilities for craft size, etc...

While the FX of ST:TMP still hold up, the new film takes advantage of the power of CG in a way that the past fifteen years of Trek have struggled. Its a really great looking movie, even if the battle scenes do become a bit unnecessarily chaotic at times (but less so than the average Michael bay travesty).

The interior of the Enterprise, etc... actually makes some sort of sense and the designers must have considered what actual engine rooms on battleships, etc... look like, rather than just imagining a living room with glowy things. And the bridge is representative enough of the classic bridge, with what seems like a reasonable update in technology, etc...

I was genuinely pleased with the performances of everyone, even when a few scenes may have gone a little slapsticky for the Trek franchise. But it also generated humor in a film that wasn't going to count on laughs just from a fawning fanbase laughing at some insider joke.

It's a fast-paced popcorn flick that does its job admirably. And, after having paid the same amount to see "Wolverine" last week, I can verify that you could do a lot, lot worse.

Whether or not they dug themselves into all kinds of complications for a sequel remains to be seen. They certain had enough issues with the plot, how they handled... ahem... different versions of characters, etc... could be incredibly problematic. But I don't want to assume the worst until we get another installment.

For more, I recommend reading Jason's spoiler-rific review. Also, my rundown of my moderate Trek fandom.

Trek and Me

Ed. note: This isn't my Trek review. I'll get to that later.

When I was a very small kid, I recall watching Trek re-runs a little bit. There was a cartoon I caught once or twice, but I was mostly into Star Wars, so the pacing and lack of space ninjas and whatnot was just not that exciting to me. They spent an awful lot of time talking on Star Trek, and too little time shooting at stuff or employing Ewoks an cannon fodder.

In 2nd or 3rd grade, someone showed me Star Trek: The Motion Picture on VHS, and I mostly remember being painfully, painfully bored. Until the end, which I found trippy and awesome. Somehow back then I knew exactly what Voyager was (I'll thank The Admiral), and so it sorta made sense where they were coming from. I appreciated the scope of the movie, but as an ADD-riddled kid, it was just so sloooooow.

Summer after 3rd grade, we stayed at my grandparents in Missouri, and though I had not seen Star Trek II, we rented Star Trek III one night (they owned a VCR. We did not.), and watched the movie, which I recall really liking. We also watched that Nostradamus documentary that everyone watched back then, and I liked that less because it predicted nuclear armageddon in my lifetime. Sure, some of it freaked me out, but I liked the Klingons and sort of pseudo-sciency stuff around Genesis.

In 4th grade we moved to Austin, and I had a lot of downtime around 5:00pm for some reason. 5:00 was also when KBVO showed Star Trek reruns. So each afternoon I'd decamp to the TV and try to watch Trek. The episodes that really stick out are The Cage, Arena, the salt monster episode, The Trouble with Tribbles, The Enemy Within, and many, many others. Mirror, Mirror, of course...

My make-believe buddies in 4th grade

There was also one where McCoy was driving around Spock's body by remote control for some reason, and I thought that was the craziest thing, ever.

I got into the characters at that point, sort of lionizing Mr. Spock in particular. So I sort of bought into the Trek thing pretty hard. Not like Reed, Jason's new pal... but I was into Trek. In fact, I remember trying to talk to friends at school about Trek, and it seemed (and this is a painful stereotype, but its true), the kids in my nerd/honors classes were always much more inclined to be into Trek than the rest of my classmates. It was a sort of given that the boys should have some working knowledge of Trek. The girls... not so much.

In part, thanks to Trek, I learned that just because I was enthusiastic about something, not everybody was going to love it. For God's sake, I wore Spock ears to school for my Halloween outfit in 5th grade (I would go on to dress as Kirk for a high school drama party my senior year).

the League, circa 1986, wishes you to live long and prosper. Special tip 'o the hat to Jamie for finding and scanning this classic for her own post. And to Jason, for taking this picture a few decades back.

But I also understood pretty early on that love for Trek took many forms. I might like Trek the way I liked basketball and football, but not the way I loved X-Men or Batman at the time. But I saw that there were folks who really, really loved Trek.

We would attend comic conventions at the Holiday Inn down by the river (its that round tower, sort of by Picky's Pantry Chevron, Austinites. You know it.), and those would be held in conjunction with Trek cons. And those guys were intense. I think Jason saw more of it than I did (I was digging through back-issue bins, he was looking around knowing he could read anything I spent my money on), but I do recall seeing the guys in Star Fleet outfits and thinking that was just kooky. Let alone, where did one secure one of those get-ups?

Upon its release, we went to see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (the one in the 1980's with the whales) at the Arbor IV, back when that meant something. The Arbor had THX sound, and something resembling stadium-style seating. At the time, if you wanted to get the full cinematic experience, and didn't want yoru shoes to stick to the floor of Showplace 6, you talked Dad into taking you to The Arbor IV. And I want to say this, because nobody ever believes me but...

The audience STOOD for chunks of the movie. STOOD. That was how excited these folks were about their Shatner and Spock. There was applause, and shouting, and just a damn lot of love for what they were seeing on screen. When the harpoon bounced off the Klingon ship? Oh. My. God. Pandemonium.

Afterward, we dissected the movie with my dad at Taco Bell. That's how much I remember being jazzed about that experience. That was all, of course, before Star Trek V: The League Demands a Refund (which featured a fan dance from Nichelle Nichols about 20 years too late).

I've only been to one other movie where people freaked out like that, and it was seeing Pulp Fiction at the Hogg on UT's campus fall of 1994, prior to widespread theatrical release. People also stood up there. But I really understood how important Trek was to people at that moment, and it was pretty huge for me, too.

I wound up keeping gerbils for a while. I think I was more interested in the habitrail than the actual animals, but I did wind up naming one of them Leonard Nimoy (the other was named Richard Nixon. I don't know exactly why.).

Like a lot of other young guys watching Trek, I had a TV crush on Lt. Cmdr. Uhura. You can have your Nurse Chapel or your Ensign Rand. But I was all about a savvy communications officer in go-go boots. Because I think if I ran a star ship between 4th grade and college, that's how I'd have run it, too.

I don't want to overstate this, but I did grow up seeing Uhura on the bridge of the Enterprise, understood she was an officer, and that was sort of a social battle won for somebody, somewhere. I would be in college before I actually stopped to think about how odd that must have been in the 1960's to have a black woman on a prime time show appearing as a capable military officer. Sure, she wasn't part of Kirk's inner circle, but she was featured as much as any bridge members back in the day. And she would go on to be as important as anyone in the feature films (in certain trek media, she's an Admiral).

a sweet-ass ride

No sooner did kids our age have their hands on a camcorder than we were doing our own Trek spoofs. I still recall a video of Jason and Reed as the crew of the Starship Win-a-Prize. Reed's Captain Kirk was a little trigger happy, if I recall, and Jason's science officer kept being approached by our border collie, Misty. He worked her in. Exterior shots were Lego. The bridge AND outerspace looked curiosly like our living room.

I initially rejected The Next Generation as looking like somebody's living room zipping through space (I still hate the set design). Plus, it took a few episodes to have someone who looked like a high school principal running the ship. Eventually I settled down, got over the lack of Vulcans (I never, ever understood why they didn't have a Vulcan or three), and got on board with the show. But that first season was rough.

I followed the original series through "The Undiscovered Country" and into "Generations". But once Next Generation wound down and took over the movies, I just wasn't super-interested anymore. I'd only dipped in and out of Deep Space 9, occasionally watched Voyager, and never took to Enterprise. Bully for you folks who did, but I don't know really my Tuvok from my Archer.

As much as I loved Star Wars (until, circa, 2002, when I gave up), Star Trek's tendency to lean toward science fiction rather than fantasy appealed to a completely different side of me. It wasn't as flashy as droids and lightsabers, but it all seemed so possible. And even if it weren't peering into the future, it seemed to suggest ideas as problems for engineers to solve and diplomatic and naval strategy to ponder rather than just accepting that "it's The Force, go with it."

I don't agree with all of Roddenberry's vision of the future. The notion of an enlightened world, free from human avarice seems so far off, that's the hardest part of his fantasy to swallow, but I see why he wanted to present that vision. Without believing in that goal enough to put it forth as an option, how can you work towards it?

And he didn't always achieve his own vision. Trek, after all, was still basically (as I like to say) three dudes flying around space in their space corvette, getting into scrapes while the swinger of the group picked up chicks and his wacky pals sniped at each other. Roddenberry's vision of the future still featured three white dudes and a lot of helpless women in need of Kirk's tender ministrations.

But it did throw open the door for what came later in other series that had internalized those notions a bit better.

I think it's now closed, but the Hilton casino in Vegas had a whole wing devoted to this show that only made it on TV for three seasons. The Star Trek Experience was an amazing fan-boy's dream. The restaurant was built to look like the set of the bar from Deep Space 9, there were real props from the shows everywhere, including models of the ships. Klingons wandered about and folks in Starfleet uniforms. There was a ride with a narrative associated with it that started after they somehow faked beaming you aboard the Bridge of the Enterprise. Which... I still don't really know how they did it. I'm sure they heard "whoa!" a hundred times a day.

I was always a little sad Jason never saw it.

Anyhow, Trek has been with me for a long, long time. I am actually quite thrilled that Paramount is taking steps to make sure it might be with me for quite a lot longer, and with some version of the characters who I loved first and best. I don't see it as dishonoring Gene Roddenberry. I look at it as caretaking the vision of teh future Roddenberry first shared more than 40 years ago.

If Kirk's communicator could plant the idea of a cell phone in an enterprising engineer's head, then what else can we hope to see materialize? How long before they're beaming us up?

I have to admit, I was at Target last week and saw they were selling Star Trek toys. After wanting one for 20 years, I am now the proud owner of a Starfleet Communicator. If I can locate the Tri-Corder, my mission is complete.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trek Showing

For Your Information:

This is a confirmation email from LAMAR
3 Matinee Tickets
For STAR TREK showing at Sun May 10, 2009 2:00p

Jamie, Jason and I will most likely be seeing Trek on Sunday, May 10th at 2:00 at Alamo South Lamar.

I have no idea what the movie will be like, but I'm going. You're welcome to join us there.

Here's a link.

Is the new Uhura more fabulous than the original formula? Only one way to know.

Original formula: still the best.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Round-Up and Video Clips

Chuck Candy

Firstly, today was a wild day here at League of Melbotis. JimD sent a link from my Chuck E. Cheese post to Whitney Matheson at Pop Candy. (Matheson is the same blogger who recently asked my Devo question...) Matheson posted the link, and my hit count jumped from its usual 45 hits or so a day (that includes a lot of folks accidentally hitting the site) to about 1800 at last count.

That's a lot of people hearing about my tight slacks and aversion to messy children.

Anyhow, I welcome all the new folks who might stop by. We always appreciate new visitors here at The League, and we hope you enjoy your stay. Please feel free to poke around, ask questions, and generally make yourself at home.

It's always fun getting some visitors who aren't usually at the site. I totally recommend going back and reading the comments section as several other Chuck E. Cheese alumni piped up with similar tales. Great stuff.

Bankston on MSNBC

My former roommate, Kevin Bankston, appeared on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" this evening arguing for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the government for illegal wiretapping.

You have to understand how weird it is to see the same guy using the same tone with Keith olbermann that he once used to argue that it was MY turn to clean the living room.

I'd rather we not actually debate the topic here, as this isn't that kind of blog, but be a little weirded out that the guy with whom I share a multitude of embarrassing memories is now an important attorney-guy/ pundit.

Old times, old crimes.

Nimoy and New Trek in Austin

It seems the Alamo Drafthouse is a bit bigger deal than I realized. There was a showing of Star Trek II, Wrath of Khan at the Alamo this week with, supposedly, a few minutes of the new Trek sent by the studio. The Alamo surprised the audience with a guest appearance by none other than Leonard Nimoy (that's Spock to you non-nerds), the sort of proto-celeb to us in geek-kind.

In 6th grade, and I wish I were making this up, I had gerbils named "Leonard Nimoy" and "Richard Nixon". Let us speak on this no further.

Well, THEN Paramount pulled the coolest switcheroo in geek history by showing the entirety of the new Trek movie to the assembled.

Read it here in the NYT.

DAMMIT, MAN!!! Sadly, I probably would have missed it had I been in town because I did just watch Star Trek II on cable. Twice.

Spock is my homeboy.


I'm probably way late on this, but... it sort of sums up my feelings on a lot of why I can't fully embrace Twitter as a social tool.

Easter Fun

Some times the simple ideas are the best


I saw very little of Minneapolis while there. I can say the conference was pretty cool, and I learned a lot. Too much stuff going on during any hour, so I missed stuff that I couldn't split in two or three to visit.

There was snow on the ground when I arrived, but it all melted by the time I walked around a very little bit on Sunday. After that, I never really left the office.

Anyhow, I'm back. And I'm going to catch up on some sleep.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Party, trek, etc...


Some of us are cautiously optimistic about the new Star Trek film hitting theaters this summer. While we look at the blow-dried, bottle-blond Kirk and the all-sexy, mail-order catalog crew with no small amount of pessimism, we're still hoping that a reboot of the Trek franchise will breathe some new life into the concept.

Others are seeing something else in the trailer. Got this from Doug.

Zack Snyder directs Wall-E

For Steven and Lauren

Suddenly: Doug!

We had some friends and family over for a pre-Birthday celebration for Jamie last night. The doors opened at 8:00, but Jamie's parents were coming a little early. They arrived at 7:30 while I was still getting cleaned up for the party. Jamie ran downstairs and I just heard all kinds of commotion.

Doug had decided to fly in and surprise Jamie for her birthday. Not a bad surprise, and neither Jamie's folks nor Doug had let on at all that he would be here.

Anyway, heck of a birthday surprise.

For Leaguers who attended: thanks so much for showing up. We sincerely appreciate you guys, and last night was a lot of fun. And we all partook in some delicious Force-infueled "Yoda Soda", thanks to Leaguer Nicole (and thanks to Lauren for the cookies, JAL for the fudge brownies, Susan for the chocolate raspberry treats, Judy for the pigs in a blanket, Juan and Letty for like, 3 different things they brought, Heather for the wine, and all the things I lost track of in the crush of folks coming in the door)

Anyway, we throw these parties mostly so we can eat their food and drink their booze and eat their desserts for weeks after the event.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trek could be awesome

Here's a pirated copy of the new Trek trailer, which I have not yet seen in good quality as I did not see Bond this weekend. Probably next week.

Be prepared for low-quality.


It will be up at the official site by lunchtime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Trek

Lock Phasers

So, before I forget again, here are photos of the new Trek movie coming our way soon (at Warp 10! snort snort)

EW pics here.

I think Kirk looks a lot young to be a Star Fleet captain, but that's ignoring the legend of the Kobayashi Maru, which probably will be ignored by the new films.

I was never a full-on Trekker, or even a Trekkie. And I sort of lost interest in Trek except enough to know who the Captains were of the various ships/ shows. And, honestly, the Next Generation movies just weren't very awesome. So... Yeah, I'm down with new Trek.

I can only hope they bring on The Gorn.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Well, I have no choice now...

Well, pretty clearly Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain have both been after my vote all year long. But how did Mr. Obama seal it up today?

From this article:

Said Obama: "Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth," a reference to Superman.

Really, it's like McCain hasn't even been trying to appeal to me as a geek. Where's invocation of The Force? His reference to his Spidey Sense? Oh, wait...

I believe McCain served on the USS Enterprise.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

a TTSNB special: If I had a million dollars!

I may be jobless, but if I had me a million dollars, I know what I'd buy.

First, I'd get this, this and this. Then this. And then, improbably, this.

But after that...

Is an original Barris Batmobile too much to wish for? If so, I will take this.

The great thing about this $100 lawn ornament (2 feet tall) is that when Jamie would complain about it, I could tell her she was crazy for believing in Bigfoot Lawn Ornaments. I could pat her hand and tell her that maybe she'd seen a bear lawn ornament or something.

I found this in the SkyMall catalog while flying to Costa Rica, and its been on my mind ever since. But to dwell on the items of the SkyMall catalog is to invite madness.

"Suffering from head-weight exhaustion? Seeking better neck health? Noted Phrenologist Professor Poppycock's amazing new Spine-o-Extractor has already led to rejuvenation for others. Why not you? Only Professor Poppycock's Spine-o-Extractor provides the proper amount of lifting power necessary for the correct separation of vertebrae of the human backbone, which allows the nerve clusters to oxygenate. Enjoy better neck and head health! Professor Poppycock's Amazing Spine-o-Extractor is to the skull-support area what Cod liver Oil is for the humors of the human food-tract!"
Yes, I found this in SkyMall, too. $55 before S&H.

This really isn't that expensive if you have a job, but I don't. When it come to Trek, I'm Trek Classic all the way. And while I think phasers and communicators are cool, Tricorders are simply awesome. Buy me a tricorder here. And, yes, i would walk around with it in the background on all of your away missions.

This things is, like, 7 feet high. And costs $2500. Here's a link, if you want to buy it for me. I think it would look awesome in the corner where Jamie keeps the piano.

I have a Wii. Jason has an Xbox. There is no GTAIV for Wii.
I want to rob people and take their cars and go on shady missions around Liberty City.
But I, otherwise, really am happy with the Wii. But if I had a million dollars...

Mattel does a tip of the hat to Hitchock and Hedren. It's kind of weird, but... you know, if you're going to have really random crap in your millionaire mansion, why not this? Buy here.

Also, this Wonder Woman Barbie. No, seriously. I want a Barbie for the first time in my life.

While the arm in the photo in no way resembles The League's own guns, why not the Hammer of Thor?

You don't actually need to be worthy to lift this hammer, but you're going to need about $450, plus S&H.

Yes, truly I would impress all in an interview when they would ask for one of my strengths, and I would hold Mjolnir aloft and call the thunder down upon their brow.

While, of course, wearing my official Thor helmet.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Star Trek Trailer

I have to say I'm quite pleased to hear about the re-launch of the Star Trek franchise with a cast of new players in the roles of the original TV series (now 40 years old).

While nobody will capture my imagination the way Nichelle Nichols in a mini-skirt did when I was but a lad, I think its time to sweep away a lot of the clutter of the multitude of Trek shows and get back to the classic formula of Kirk in his Space Trans-Am, cruising the galaxy with his pals, kicking Klingon ass and picking up alien chicks. Also, exploring. But mostly shooting phasers. And that time Spock's brain was removed? Totally awesome. Plus the salt monster. And the Gorn. And the hippie aliens? And the white Gorilla. And remember when that flying blob of light was in love with Zephram Cochrane? That was weird. Also, I like Tribbles. When are we going to get a movie with Tribbles?

Check out this pic. This is totally the look my dad used to give me when I was a kid and I did something spastic.

Anyhow... its time to get back to brass tacks with Kirk and Co., and Paramount has unleashed JJ Abrams on the franchise, kicking Berman to the curb.

I have high hopes. Here's the first teaser for what shall be my film of choice for next Christmas.

Monday, June 11, 2007

For the geeks...

Monty Python + Trek = Awesome