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.

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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.”

Star Wars v. Star Trek

This is the pinnacle of all nerd debates; which science fiction franchise is better? This goes into personal favourites and also discussions on who would win in a head-to-head battle.

CAUTION: This could get nerdy from time to time from here on out.

This debate is nothing new, but seeing as the new Star Trek film is coming out in a little more than a week, I figure it’s a good time to let everyone know where I stand on the matter.

Star Wars has my vote hands down.

That’s not to say I don’t like Star Trek. I love The Next Generation, enjoy most of the Original Series episodes I’ve seen, and like most of the movies. I also can’t wait to see the new Star Trek movie when it comes out on the 8th. From everything I’ve heard and from the trailers, this movie is going to be awesome.

But still, I just like Star Wars better.

STAR TREK
The technology in Star Trek is like nothing ever seen before it. Who wouldn’t want to be able to transport themselves or and object instantly across huge distances? Who wouldn’t want to be able to replicate anything they want? And then there’s the holodeck. If this could be built in our time, it would be the pièce de résistance of all known entertainment.

On the other hand, Star Trek has the disadvantage of weak ships. How cool is it when your shields are down to 60% after one phaser blast? It’s almost embarrasing when you have this advanced society that can make just about anything, but can’t adequately protect themselves.

STAR WARS
Star Trek may have the fancy, albeit cool, technology, Star Wars has the best weapons and firepower. Death Star, blaster, lightsaber, bowcaster — Star Wars has everything you could ever want to destroy anything.

I think the well-defined plot is what sets ‘Wars aside from ‘Trek for the most part. ‘Wars has the advantage of all the episodes being feature length, but are also tied together. With the majority of ‘Trek’s content being from the various series, there is only so much you can do with an hour when the episodes aren’t tied together by plot. The exception to that, however, are the ‘Trek movies.

HEAD-TO-HEAD
I’m sorry, but anyone who thinks the Enterprise could take on and survive an attack from a Star Destroyer is crazy. All of the specifications around point to the Star Destroyer being about one kilometer longer than Enterprise (which is only about or a little more than 600m in the first place). Size advantage pretty much seals it for me, but the Star Destroyer also has a large complement of fighters. In my opinion, those fighters are going to be too small and fast for the Enterprise to be able to consistantly and accurately hit them.



These are just a few of the things that set these two storied sci-fi franchises apart. Like I said before, most of the allegiances betweent the two are based soley on opinion. Mine still stands by Star Wars.

You’ve heard how I feel, which side do you sway towards (if any)?

New Pictures

I finally took the opportunity to take my camera outside to get some shots of more than just the items in my room. I don’t think anything else needs to be said, so here they are:

Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed Wire Fence

Woodchip Pile

Woodchip Pile

Hammons Tower

Hammons Tower

Softball Field

Softball Field

New Camera and Some Pictures

So, I bought a new camera a couple weeks ago, a Nikon D6o DSLR. I have to say that I love it. I told myself a while back that my next camera would be a DSLR and that day finally came as a result of the death of Circuit City. It almost had to happen this way because I bought my previous two cameras at the “Circuit.”

So without further ado, a sample of the fun I’ve had with it…

JQH Arena

JQH Arena

LEGO F-1

LEGO F-1 Racer

Bullet

AK-47 Bullet

Tonight's The Night

Tonight's The Night

Music and Lyrics

I do realize that this post has the same title as a fairly recent chick flick… and while I did not see it (with no plans to as of this day), I thought it would be a fun title, seeing how it is relevant.

I would consider myself a fan of music. My music collection has songs ranging from classical to metal with unintelligible vocals with at least a little bit of just about every genre in between. But I, like most people, get hooked on a certain genre or band for long periods of time. For instance, when I bring a CD into my car, it will stay in my stereo for, usually, at least a month on end, being the only music I will listen to. Most recently, and currently, my disc of choice is the album “Truthless Heroes” by Project 86.

truthless-heroes

Project 86 has been one of my favourite bands for around seven years. I have always loved their music in general, but I think that is the lyrics that continue to draw me back in. That lyricist is none other than Andrew Schwab. In addition to the lyrics for the band, Schwab has also written two books of poetry, one about life with the band, and another due out this year.

Schwab is a very cryptic writer and I have to admit that, especially with his books, I usually have no idea about the full extent of his meanings. I think that he writes poetry like I write print; so only the writer understands fully. I like this approach in that it makes me delve into and fully immerse myself into the work. But it can also be frustrating at times when you read the words and they feel like just that: words.

…Anyway, onward and upward to the music. Truthless Heroes is great to me both musically and lyrically; lyrically in that there is a story to the album (I truly wish more bands did this.). The story is about a person’s attempt to satisfy his needs, following other’s ideals because of false promises, and finally realizing that he was wrong too late. Like I admitted before, it’s hard to get the full story at times, but I never fully understood how the story ended. Since I’ve been hooked on Project lately, I had decided to look over just about all of Schwab’s work and, to me, it seemed like the story continued to their next album. And, in their album after that, at least the first song seemed to follow the same line.

That is the main reason I am writing this post. I was amazed and it really excited me. To go to that much trouble to just gives me nothing but the greatest respect for the man. He is a true artist that cares so deeply for the quality of his work.

So, I wanted to include an example of his work. This is the last song from Project 86’s album “Songs to Burn Your Bridges By,” their album after Truthless Heroes:

“Solace”

We have waited for so long
To occur this day
There are those who fly away to a distant place
But I think I’ll stay
And I wouldn’t have it any other way
In this solace I see
A light piercing the darkness
Coming on the winds
Of imagery
When all I know is crumbling
I am becoming something more than humanity could ever allow me to be
I remember a day when
My dreams of escape
Seemed so far away

Let’s go back in time, you and I
To my
Initiation to your false empire
You greased, you aimed
And then you spit
While I
Once again pushed away my conscience

Yet always, it seems
I cannot fathom the plateau
Without first the pit

Against the goads there can be no pleading
Because every thought reaps an action
And for you, my former captor
All the earthly wisdom and wealth
Cannot erase your susceptibility
To brutal mortality
And the funny thing about justice
Is that it always comes when you least expect it
So friends it won’t be long
Seems I stole your smile, right from wrong

So forever now we’ll find
Our peace inside this
We’ll find our solace in your silence
And though I once desired your twisted sense of fame
I know, I know that in myself I’m nothing

Nothing
Nothing
Nothing but the words of the “meaningless”

You have given me all I’ll ever need
The nerve, the greed, the lust, the lust, the lust, the lust for justice
And now I will never rest
Until the meaningless become your silence

And you’re

Over
Over
Over
Out!

Now I mean to thank you once again, with this
My, my, my goodbye kiss
You broke my heart
But something tells me that I won’t, that I won’t, and I won’t miss it
And on this very day
And on this very hill
While the heavens are hushed
In anticipation, beckoning
We’ll have ourselves a reckoning
And all of the oppressed will greet you

And you’re

Over
Over
Over
Out!

Over
Over
Over

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed that as I have.