Star Trek Review

I saw Star Trek for the second time over the past weekend and I wanted to write up a review of it. I wrote in a earlier post about my preference of Star Wars over Star Trek. Nevertheless, I am still very much interested in Star Trek and was very excited about seeing this movie. And for me, as a whole, it did not disappoint.

The Story
I came in knowing that this was going to be a “reboot” of the original story, but I didn’t know to what extent. I don’t want to give away too much just in case there may be some reading who have not seen the movie yet, but I will say that the writers decided to used the proven sci-fi storyline that includes time travel and an alternate reality from said time travel. I think that most people will agree that the best and/or most memorable episodes of the various Star Trek series are those that include such storylines. Because of this, the story is significantly different from the original and I am thankful. If this film was a direct retelling of the original, it would forever have the stigma of being compared to the past which would detract from it’s own merit. While the story may not be the same, all the major players are there. Even the most diehard of Star Trek fans should be content with the differences in the characters’ backstories because they are not the same people on account of the alternate reality.

Cinematography
Visually, the film was stunning. The CG was impressive. The redesign of the Enterprise was both an homage to the original while also getting a modern overhaul. The interior of the Enterprise was much brighter than previous instances of the ship, while Nero’s (the bad guy) ship was dark as you might expect, bringing the classic good vs. evil imagery into play.

My only real complaint was with the, what I would consider unnecessary, overuse of lens flare. It felt like almost every scene contained some flare and at some points washed out most of the frame. I’m okay with some lens flare, but it felt like there were times when it didn’t seem to make sense why there should be flare at all.

Music / Sound
I almost always prefer an original score for a movie as opposed to sampling popular music. Michael Giacchino did great work creating some very strong themes. My favourite would have to be Enterprise’s theme called “Enterprising Young Men.”

They included many of the same or similar sound effects for the ship, which was enjoyable. One significant difference is the sound when heading into warp which blows you away, wishing they warped in every scene.

I appreciated the couple scenes that actually gave the contrast of entering a space vacuum. Not many films portray the silence of space and I thought it was a nice touch.

Casting
I thought the actors did a great job with their characters. I don’t think many actors today would be able to play Spock as well as Zachary Quinto. Chris Pine brings a style of toughness and arrogance that suits Kirk’s backstory well. I haven’t seen a lot of the Original Series episodes, but John Cho was a very cool Sulu compared to the Sulu I recall.

Karl Urban’s portrayal of Bones McCoy brought a little too much of DeForest Kelley’s and was slightly distracting a few times. Not a deal breaker, but it reminded me of the Producers remake where it felt like Matthew Broderick was trying to be Gene Wilder’s character and not his own.

Other
I’ve already given my most important thoughts, but I also wanted to add this tidbit. I thought the transport shuttles looked quite similar to the ATR-6 assault transport from the Star Wars Universe. Have a look:

Star Trek Transport

Star Trek Transport

Star Wars Assault Transport

Star Wars Assault Transport


It just made me smile.

Verdict
Just to let you know, I don’t believe in the “stars” rating system. That comes from the fact that my mom thinks every movie with a three or four star rating is guaranteed to be good. I will say that I think this is a great action film that has a well thought out story. I think that Star Trek fan and newcomer will both be able find this movie enjoyable.

Advertisements

Technology’s Place in our Lives

Our beloved electronics, where would we be without them? I’ll be the first to tell you that I would go crazy if I didn’t have all of my gadgets around me at all times. That doesn’t mean that I cannot go without them for periods of time. This had been known to happen, but if I had to live the rest of my life without my phone, computer, tv, or various other electronics, I don’t know what I would do.

I recall the big ice storm a couple years ago here in Springfield, MO. I was one of the lucky ones that did not lose power at all, but I went ten days without television or internet access. I watched about a third of my movies, read, listened to music, and even worked on this really cool Puzz 3D Millenium Falcon puzzle. Even so, I was bored out of my mind for most of that time. Has technology really destroyed our ability to entertain ourselves?

Now, I can’t badmouth technology too much, considering I am basing my entire college career in the field of computer science. I don’t want to give up my gadgets, but I do think that they can negatively impact our lives at times.


My first example has to do with cell phones. Most people, including myself, take their cell phones with them everywhere. That doesn’t mean it should or has to be answered in all situations. All too often people don’t know proper etiquette of where and when to answer the phone, disturbing everyone around them (e.g., store check-out lines and and movie theatres).

On a side note with phones, if any of you have experienced phantom rings, you know how annoying they can be. For those who don’t know what a phantom ring is, it is when you think you hear your phone ring or hear/feel your phone vibrate when it actually doesn’t. It hasn’t happened much to me since I switched to the T-mobile G1, but when I had my Blackberry, it would happen at least once a day. It became very distracting.


My second example deals with print media. We all know that online news has been taking the front seat to the newspaper and I have to say that this makes me sad. I know that it is inevitable, but I am not looking forward to the day that the only way I can get my news is from the internet. I like newspapers for one main reason: format. I like being able to look at full articles all at once. The stories are easy to find and you know you are getting that day’s news. When looking online, the date of the stories are almost never labelled on the front page and you can’t get a snippet of the story without clicking to read the full story. When I read the newspaper, I first scan the headlines to see if the story is one I want to read and even if I don’t want to read the whole story, I usually like to scan the first couple paragraphs to get the main points. So, for intsant, breaking or non-traditional(i.e., from blogs)  news, the internet is a modern wonder. But I would much rather read a newspaper everyday.

And what happens when you lose your internet connection when that’s the only source? No news. Period.

Along the same line, Amazon’s Kindle is an amazing piece of technology, but I don’t want to use it as my primary source for reading. I like the feel of a book in my hands. On top of that, I spend so much time in front a computer screen, I don’t think it would be healthy for my eyes to look at another screen for an extended period of time.


We can’t deny that technology and electronics have become cornerstones in our lives that are not going away, but we can’t solely rely on them. Think of the episode of South Park from this season where the entire world goes insane because the internet is down. We must have other ways in which we can entertain ourselves so that we do not become dependent. Those are just a couple examples, but nevertheless, if someone tries to take away all of my gadgets, I’ll have to quote Charlton Heston when I say, “from my cold, dead hands.”

Pictures from the Rail Yard

I took the time to head out to the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge a couple weeks ago. I first found out about the bridge a couple of years ago, but only now took the time to go see it for myself. And seeing as it crossed several lines of active railroad tracks, I figured it was the perfect place to take some pictures.

foot bridge

Jefferson Avenue Footbridge

frame

Using the bridge as a frame

train engine heat distortion

I love the look of heat distortion coming from the engines.

I never knew how truly loud train engines actually are until I was standing five feet above them.

middle of tracks

View from the middle of the tracks

This was the part where I was trespassing. If they didn’t want people to trespass at a place as cool as a rail yard, they would have put up a fence.

rail car with lens flare

Next to a rail car

rusted rail car

Rusted rail car of years past