Sequel

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Year: 1991
Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron and William Wisher

RYAN’S REVIEW

12/3/17

Sometimes this journey through our DVD collection thoroughly surprises me. Sometimes I go into something with a certain impression and find that I was entirely wrong to begin with. I sat down to this movie whole heartedly expecting to like it more than its predecessor. While I do love this movie, and I do think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made, I find myself really having enjoyed the first film more. The action is better in this one but there is a tonal shift that I am not crazy about. It’s not as hardcore as the first film and has a lighter, almost comical, tone that doesn’t sit right when watching them back to back.

I really loved Schwarzenegger as the terminator in the first film. The first time around he was a cold blooded killer who didn’t say much but didn’t have to. This movie is a full blown Schwarzenegger love fest with a terminator that doesn’t kill and asks far too many questions. Granted things were much different for Schwarzenegger in 1991 when he had more power, and an image to protect. I always liked Schwarzenegger better in the 80s when he was a bit more rough around the edges. Once the 90’s rolled around he became the musclebound funny guy with a lot less violence to his performances. He grew more famous, but I think the product suffered a bit and after watching this I just don’t think this T-800 compares to the one we saw in the first one. He simply talks too much in this movie.

Robert Patrick on the other hand fills the void of villain nicely. I don’t understand why Robert Patrick wasn’t utilized anymore than he was as a villain over the years because he was great in this movie. James Cameron handpicked him after seeing him in Die Hard 2 but it seems no one else saw what Cameron did as his career lagged through the 90s before finding his niche on television in recent years. As the T-1000 he’s as ruthless and unstoppable as Schwarzenegger should have been.

1/23/18

I’ve now let this review sit for over a month and I still haven’t found the right words to finish it up. I think I was just flabbergasted by my lack of enthusiasm after watching it. This is such an important film and such a fixture in my household growing up that it just can’t be right. However watching the first film and this in succession left me thinking this one really wasn’t all that good.

That isn’t the case of course, this is a timeless classic and I love the movie. I just feel like the first one was much better and I can’t get past that realization.

I can’t close this out because my tone is all wrong and I can’t get it back. There aren’t enough words in the world to convey quite how influential this movie was in the household I grew up in. Lines like “he’ll live” and “I know now why you cry” were dropped on a regular basis and even to this day I hear those lines coming from my brother. Not only that but I’m pretty sure my brother has some sort of neurological disorder fixated on this movie. No matter where we are or what we are doing he is humming, whistling, tapping, or just making general noise to the beat of this movie’s score.

It’s also my brother holding me up on this one because I know he is going to read this and find my impression to be nothing short of blasphemous. The expectations are simply too high and my thoughts don’t live up to them.

This is a groundbreaking movie for special effects and action, but I think it lacks the edge that the first film had. The first film is darker and that is simply what I prefer in this franchise. I don’t care how likable Schwarzenegger needed to be to protect and enhance his own product. I thought he was better as the quiet and ruthless killer. In truth it makes little sense for him to be in this movie at all. Why would they send the same model Terminator that was sent to kill Sarah Connor anyway?

This was and is a vehicle for Schwarzenegger and wanting to be the good guy was natural whether it makes any sense or not. It’s one of the things I have always admired about Schwarzenegger, throughout his entire career he has not been a man to say no to, be it as a movie star, television star, or even Governor. It’s an incredible life the man has lived and one day it will make an exciting story. Doesn’t matter if his smiling Terminator was a poor substitute for his killer Terminator or not.

Despite my opinions posted here I do think this is one of the best sequels ever made and it was a great continuation of the franchise. It easily is the primary reason the franchise has never been able to be put to rest properly. Everybody wants to get this glory back but no matter what they do they simply aren’t James Cameron and they can’t get it done.

Leave this franchise alone people, and um I’m speaking to you Mr. Schwarzenegger. Every new entry only tarnishes the legacy of something great. So to bring my rambling to an end I’ll simply say that of course this movie is worth your time and if you haven’t seen it there is something wrong with you.

There is so much more to discuss but I’m spent, I’ve sat on this one long enough. Maybe I’ll come back to it in time and discuss the badass Linda Hamilton or the snarky and street smart Edward Furlong. In the meantime feel free to share your own thoughts, because this one did not go at all as I expected.

NEXT MOVIE: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

As expected my brother had some thought about the lackluster review I wrote for one of his most beloved movies. He made several good points so I thought I’d share them with everyone. Without any further adieu, here they are:

NICK’S THOUGHTS

Just a few issues I had with your review.  I have to get to work so not a lot of time here.

First of all every proper savior must have the initials JC.  Humanity – Jesus Christ.  Terminator – John Connor.  Rome – Julius Ceaser.  Pinocchio – Jiminy Cricket.  Madden – John Campbell.  And even cinema with James Cameron.  Failing to mention this fails to educate your legion of readers.

Second the warning of AI.  While Cameron isn’t the first to mention this he does drive the point home.  We are within decades of not being the smartest kids on the block.  I was just listening to a lecture by Sam Harris the other day where he says and I quote “I’m not saying we’re going to invent Skynet here, but we have to stop and steer this thing in a direction we want.  We tell this thing that we don’t want any more spam and it decides to create an army of terminators to wipe out humanity because that’s one potential way to stop spam.”

The information dump.  The scene where they’re driving through the desert and Arnold spills the entire back story within 2 minutes that has as much story as the whole movie combined and nicely ties it all together.  I love these.  See Donald Sutherland in JFK, Sam Neil in Event Horizon, Morpheus in the Matrix and the Architect in the Matrix Reloaded.

The scene in the park where the nuke goes off while she’s shaking the fence.  Absolutely terrifying to 10 year Nick like nothing else he’d seen to that point.

While the scene from the first movie where Arnold goes into the fuzz station and handles his business is one of the greatest examples of badassdom ever, the 2nd movie offers up a more than healthy buffet of badassness to feast on.

Yes there is some comedy in this one that is hard to reconcile, however I offer up the Asian guy that gets caught in the crossfire at the mall as a proof its worth it.  Hilarious.

And yes of course the soundtrack.  Nothing musically has ever been so catchy.  Nothing.

I’m sure I could go on but that’s what I got with 5 minutes.

Advertisements

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Year: 1993
Directed By: Stuart Gillard
Written By: Stuart Gillard, based of characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

RYAN’S REVIEW

Let’s be honest here, if twice within a year was too much time to invest in Secret of the Ooze then twice in a lifetime is too much for this movie. I haven’t watched it and even skimming over the synopsis of the film seemed like I was over doing it.

Who thought this was a good idea? Even as a little kid I thought this was just ridiculous when it came out and I’m not going to venture into it again to get an adult impression. I remember it from when I was a kid. I’d moved on to X-Men by then and too cool for the Turtles but I still secretly looked forward to it. I didn’t expect much as the movie was obviously full blown shenanigans and I could recognize that even at 9 years old. It was a disappointing experience and probably my first in a derailed franchise that killed itself.

I would go on in time to see many franchises self destruct, some even rise from the ashes like a phoenix to get back on top, but this was definitely the first franchise I saw cave in on itself. Immediate examples that come to mind are Aliens, X-Men, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Terminator, ya know I didn’t think the list would just keep going like that but there have been so many I had to stop myself. X-men would be the phoenix that rose from the ashes of The Last Stand and into the glory that was Days of Future Past. Most franchises fail over time and it’s usually the third movie that takes the nose dive. This movie took a nose dive and hit the ground with a splat.

I’m sure I could watch this movie and come out of it with many interesting thoughts and points of view but I’m eager to start Halloween season. If there exists a time for time traveling turtles then I might find it one day but it isn’t now and and isn’t anytime soon. It’s time for ghosts and ghouls and I’ll close this out simply by saying it probably isn’t worth your time under any circumstance. I didn’t deem it worth mine even for a review.

NEXT MOVIE: TMNT (2007)

Star Trek Into Darkness

Year: 2013
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Written By: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and David Lindelof. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Finally, I’ve made it. This is the twelfth and final Star Trek film I will be reviewing. We don’t own Beyond and I have no intention of getting it. This movie never seemed good enough to be part of the collection but I was curious. I ordered a copy when I got Star Trek Insurrection as a closing to this journey through Star Trek. I’ve seen this movie before but only once. I remember I was left a little befuddled and unsure of what to make of it. Now, in order to complete this journey let’s see if my initial reaction was justified.

They start teasing this as a rebooted Wrath of Khan early in the film with Spock putting his life in jeopardy. He even drops his famous line about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. It was cooler when Spock sacrificed himself in the original. That Spock was sacrificing his life to save his friends, not giving up hope for the sake of “protocol.” It’s not worth dying just to follow the rules, a decidedly unbadass Spock move.

I don’t like the idea of trying to redo something that was already done great. Yeah, the first of this rebooted series was awesome because it so drastically improved on the The Motion PictureStar Trek reinvented this franchise but they should have left The Wrath of Khan alone. The Wrath of Khan is a damn near perfect Star Trek film and no matter how good this new version was it would have been better off continuing in its own direction and staying away from Khan altogether. They could have come up with a new villain like they did in the first one and I would have liked this movie better.

Kirk goes full John McClain when Khan attacks HQ. When blasters don’t work he turns to the fire hose and ties his rifle to the end of it to use it as a weapon. Granted he’s not using the hose to bungee down the side of the building but using it at all reminds me of Die Hard. For a second time around Chris Pine makes a great Captain Kirk, dare I say even outshining Shatner himself. His reaction to Pike’s death made an impression on Amber and she’s right, he performed the emotional scene well.

Wasn’t it the ultimate bullet to the head of Star Trek when J J Abrams ditched this franchise to be the man behind the new Star Wars? Not only was he leaving for a different film but to leave in favor of the space rival to the franchise he reinvented was just a slap in the face. No, worse than that, it was a kick to the balls. If the Force Awakens had been the greatest thing of all time then maybe I could get over it, but it wasn’t. He abandoned Star Trek to play with light sabers. It’s all very unfortunate but I wonder if this movie wasn’t as good as its predecessor because he had his eye on a galaxy far far away. Despite how fantastic J J Abrams was with his first Star Trek I have always had a problem with him, but I’ll discuss that when we review Super 8.

The scenes on Kronos are awesome. They have yet to have visited the Klingon home world in the films and it’s really cool that they did so here. Everything from the chase scene to the gunfight is exciting. Khan’s entry into the fray is everything that current special effects and style would have it be. The original Khan was great but this one is jumping around and assassin killing a bunch of Klingons.

I wouldn’t presume to compare Ricardo Montalban and Benedich Cumberbach because they are playing different versions of the character. I wish Cumberbach was playing a different character and not Khan. He steps on the toes of an incredible performance by carrying the same name. I do love how powerful the character is and  how he takes that attempted beating from Kirk. Maybe this is what the character was like in the episode from the original series, I haven’t seen it.

I like Peter Weller but I can’t say I was thrilled when he turned out to be the bad guy. Don’t get me wrong, Robocop makes for a great bad guy, but I don’t care for this role. His whole shtick in this movie is over the top. There’s a war coming and whose gonna lead it blah blah blah. It’s a waste of Peter Weller because I’ve seen him play a good bad guy before, but here he’s not a cool bad guy.

Simon Pegg shines as usual. The whole cast does really. Karl Urban is great, as is Anton Yelchin, with more to do this time around. I was a fan of Anton Yelchin during his Charlie Bartlett days and I was really sad when he died in such a freak accident. He was a talented young actor that died before his time. I have read that they do intend to keep this franchise going but will not recast the role of Chekov.

Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance! I didn’t remember that but it’s pretty cool in this universe that Spock can just call up himself and ask for advice now and again. He passed two years after this film in 2015 and may he rest in peace. Even though it was short it was cool to see him on screen one more time as Spock.

I remember wondering if this movie was brilliant or lazy after watching it for the first time. After making this journey through all the films I don’t think it is either. In fact I think it was awful to flip and recreate the sacrifice that made the original film so compelling. Spock and Kirk don’t have the same relationship in this movie that they had in Wrath of Khan. The characters had a long history of friendship which made the scene hit so much harder. These two guys were fighting one another in the last movie and suddenly their best friends trying to sell this blasphemous story retelling? This Spock crying is no good, the characters just aren’t that close and these guys can’t sell the scene. I think Pine and Quinto are great but they had no business doing this.

I’ve enjoyed this movie but not like I did its predecessor. It’s another cool Star Trek movie but something is missing this time around. I think it’s the story and I have a big problem with how they tried to recreate what was already done before. So much lost potential and with no factual info I blame Star Wars for taking J J Abrams’ eye off the ball. For giving him something bigger to play with and making Star Trek the toy left behind. It reminds me of when Bryan Singer bailed on the X-Men franchise in favor of Superman only to make something that sucked. Star Wars wasn’t terrible but it was more or less the exact same thing as The New Hope. That’s beside the point. This movie is worth your time but I don’t know how I feel about it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stay Tuned (1992)

 

 

 

Star Trek

Year: 2009
Directed By: J.J. Abrams
Written By: Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Gene Roddenberry(Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Everything has to get a reboot these days, and typically I spend a lot of time hating on them but I consider this an exception. This is just such a cool movie. Believe me, I’ve watched all ten movies that came before it and while two of them were really good none of them were cool. J.J. Abrams really turned up the volume.

In his debut film Chris Hemsworth gets me every time. The intro to this movie is absolutely incredible. It starts with a bang and then hits you right in the heart. Thrust into action, the future Thor is inspiring with his bravery. Hemsworth delivers on this scene when he’s naming his son as he is sacrificing his life to save everyone. The sparks are flying in the background of this emotional scene and it’s just beautiful. Star Trek doesn’t usually start like this, and it makes a difference.

The following scenes featuring young Kirk and Spock are awesome and deepen characters we already know and love. Despite how crappy most of the movies have been they are still legendary. Captain Kirk and Spock are icons. It’s no easy task to recreate them but J. J. Abrams made it look easy, this time around anyway. He took two characters that people know, and not just know but know really well and taught us something new about both of them.

Abrams did so many things right early on. Showing the conflict Spock has being half Human and half Vulcan. The first meeting of Kirk and Dr. McCoy, with Karl Urban doing a terrific Deforrest Kelley impression. He shows us Kirk cheating the freaking Kobiyashi Maru test! These things were all really well done. I think it’s blasphemous to say it because it’s a reboot, but having just watched all the Star Trek movies I have to admit that this is better. It’s more engaging, it’s more entertaining.

The cast is fantastic. Chris Pine was a relative nobody when this movie came out and he became an instant star with his portrayal of a young Captain Kirk. He has swagger and he looks the part of a young William Shatner but still manages to make his own stamp on the part. Zachery Quinto too looks the part yet manages to make it his own. Quintos Spock won’t just Vulcan death grip you, he’ll karate chop you and outsmart you because he’s been doing so his whole life. I don’t usually like Karl Urban, but he is fantastic in this part. I like that Harold (John Cho) from Harold and Kumar is playing Sulu. Anton Yelchin, may he rest in peace, is a cool Chekov. Zoe Saldana continued making her rounds in Sci-Fi franchises and looks great as usual. Simon Pegg is awesome in everything he is a part of and he is no different as Scotty, frankly his presence just makes this movie that much better.

The movie already had us with great action in the intro but the space jump is just amazing. Ha ha the thrill seeking “other guy” eats it on the dive. In true Star Trek fashion that no name along for the ride with Kirk and Sulu is expendable and dies. Oh damn, Sulu has a future sword and starts flipping around like a ninja. Again another character is redefined and cooler than he was before. Who knew Harold had it in him. Kirk Point Break’s Sulu when he’s falling without a shute, and Chekov gets a moment to shine. This scene is hands down a step ahead of the rest of Star Trek, it’s so cool.

I had a big problem when I saw this for the first time because they destroyed Vulcan. I just felt like this was a blasphemous thing to do. It was like killing Cyclops in that awful third X-Men movie. You can’t destroy Vulcan, it’s too important. However, it is a defining moment in the story that drives the rest of the film. I have come along since that first viewing, especially after watching all the Star Trek movies in a row. This one is just better, I’ll forgive it its misgivings.

I don’t think there is anything about Eric Bana as the villain, or the whole Nero story line, that’s really significant. Although he does break out those bugs that make you susceptible to suggestion from The Wrath of Khan. That is cool, but beyond that, and destroying Vulcan, he is just a guy for the good guys to fight. This movie is all about the good guys and they needed a villain when they weren’t fighting each other.

Ha! Kirk is climbing again! It’s been established before, the man likes to climb. Spock maroons him on a desolate planet because he’s too brash. Kirk has to climb out of his landing spot deep in the ice. Then Leonard Nimoy shows up, somewhere William Shatner was outraged, and he’s just a sight for sore eyes. In this long and monotonous journey that included two movies I couldn’t even finish the original Spock is just great to see again.

By establishing a new timeline they establish a new universe for themselves. It was a brilliant idea that should have been great going forward. I’ve only seen the sequel once and we never owned it until I started watching all the Star Trek movies, oh the hours I’ll never get back. After this movie I’m actually looking forward to seeing the next one again but I won’t be reviewing the third film because I have had enough of Star Trek. We watch Star Trek Beyond recently and weren’t impressed.

This movie has a great climax following the awesome fight, or ass kicking I should say, between Kirk and Spock. Spock beats the shit out of Kirk, but Kirk gets what he wants so it’s all good. Kirk has no qualms with taking an ass whooping in this movie, but he keeps fighting anyway. Spock and Kirk of course come to an understanding and then ride into battle together. Beaming aboard the enemy vessel, phasers in hand. They save the day and fly off into the starset as a couple of joes that might still become the friends in this new time line.

I haven’t mentioned it but the score for this film was terrific. I love that weird sound they chime all throughout the movie. It just sounds like Star Trek and really sets the tone.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but this movie nearly saves the name of Star Trek for me. I have made it plain how this journey through Star Trek has been for me. It’s all in print now and I was ready to swear off the whole thing for good. All of it, Kirk, Spock, Data, Worf, my personal favorite Captain Picard, every single person who ever wore one of those stupid uniforms. Nevertheless, this movie has me wanting more and I didn’t think that was possible at this point. I think I’m going to watch the sequel tomorrow night and see where it takes me. I didn’t like the sequel as much but hopefully that changes this time around. Or maybe it won’t. Star Trek has had just enough good movies to keep me going so by the laws of probability there won’t be another good one till this version hits its fifth or sixth movie, if we’re being optimistic.

This is the coolest of the cool, a complete retelling of something that at least had the potential to be cool at times. If you haven’t seen this movie you should check it out. Just don’t go calling yourself a Trekkie until you’ve paid your dues. You don’t have to wear Vulcan ears or anything but you have to know. You have to understand what came before and have some appreciation for it. It’s questionable if any of the movies that came before are actually worth your time but this one definitely is.

Disclaimer: Please excuse me real Star Trek fans. I don’t claim to be one of you but I am like a close outsider. I know things, but I would never beat you in a trivia match up. If I’m way off base here then by all means present your arguments and I would love to discuss it.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek: Nemesis

Year: 2002
Directed By: Stuart Baird
Written By: John Logan, Rick Berman, and Brent Spiner. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

It can be exhausting to watch 10 Star Trek films in a row and having reached the end I can’t imagine it will ever happen again. This movie was said to have ended the trend of odd and even Star Trek films because this even numbered sequel wasn’t up to expectations. I have always disagreed though thinking this was an interesting blend of all Star Trek films that came before. This actually ended up being the lowest grossing Star Trek film in the franchise and I find that shocking. I think that the ninth movie must have left the audience with such disappointment that they didn’t come back this time around.

This movie is not even close to as bad as its predecessor.

Above is all I got down while watching the movie. I’m not going to lie, I fell asleep and dreamed away half of this movie. I’ve watched too much Star Trek and I’m not dipping into this one for seconds, Next Generation or not.

I don’t understand why people had a problem with this movie because I woke up in time to see some great action scenes. Patrick Stewart was badass enough just giving orders but in this one he is piloting vehicles and duel wielding phasers. How can anybody have a problem with that?

This is one of the first films Tom Hardy ever starred in and he expected it to be his big break into acting. I for one thought he was an incredible young Jean Luc Picard, though I had to look it up to know it was actually him playing the part. He was a complete unknown when this movie came out and I just remember thinking they really found a guy that looked like a young Patrick Stewart. I read that the poor reception of this movie really hit Tom Hardy hard because he was expecting it to be his big break. When it wasn’t he became very depressed but his rise to fame was only a matter of time. I like Tom Hardy a lot but come on man, you gotta reign in expectations when they rise for a Star Trek film.

Until reading about it I had no idea this movie was poorly received or that it failed at the box office. I remember it wasn’t making a lot of money but it was a Star Trek film and I didn’t realize anybody expected a significant box office return. I liked the movie and just assumed other Star Trek fans would feel the same way.

I do remember specifically thinking this movie made for a great ending to wrap up the series. I thought I saw elements that tied it to each of the films that came before, but I’d have had to stay awake the whole time to really explain that. From what I actually watched the only parallel I saw was to The Wrath of Khan because Data sacrificed himself in the end in order to save everyone. #NextGenSpock

In closing to the original Star Trek series I will simply say it wasn’t very good and I doubt I ever watch these movies again. There were a couple of gems along the way but ultimately it bored the hell out of me, and I like Star Trek. The Wrath of Khan and First Contact are both terrific films that belong in the collection but I could do without the other EIGHT.

For years I have actually thought these movies would be the death of the blog. I never envisioned that I’d actually sit down to not only watch all of them again but to actually write about them as well. Now that I have done it I am glad it’s over with, although there is more Star Trek to follow as the reboot series is next. That’s a much cooler Star Trek than the one that came before though and it hardly counts as being part of the original series.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek (2009)

 

Star Trek: Insurrection

Year: 1998
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes
Written By: Rick Berman, Mike Pillar. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the only Star Trek film I literally have no memory of. I was actually in high school when this movie came out, a freshman no less. I was probably trying to hide altogether that I had ever even heard of Star Trek much less making a trip to the theater to see it. I remember watching it on video eventually and thinking it failed in comparison to First Contact. This movie was the only one of the original ten that I didn’t own as part of the collection. I ordered it on Amazon two days ago because I figured I should have the whole set now that I’ve reached it on the blog. Right now, I am sitting down to it blind and it is the first of these nine movies I can honestly say I don’t remember anything about it. So here it goes….

Data goes rogue….thirty minutes into the movie and this is all I have. It’s cool because Data should have a prominent role in any movie going forward, he is the new age Spock after all. This story isn’t big enough though. I don’t really even know what’s going on yet but the mere fact that I’m at a loss highlights a problem with the story. This movie has always been criticized as being too much like an episode and that holds true. It is an odd movie that gives credence to the argument that only even films are good.

Captain Picard is now singing out loud and Worf and Data are joining him. Damnit this is why people make fun of Star Trek! Here you have your three most badass characters and they are singing exaggeratedly to one another. Patrick Stewart of course has an incredible voice but that is beside the point.

I’m only a third of the way through this movie but I can see that there was a reason I didn’t own it before. The criticisms of this movie are right. It’s too much like a long TV episode and not a grand enough idea to really warrant a movie. While it’s always great to see these characters on screen I feel like I’m wasting my time right now.

I remember now, I hated the part in this movie when Geordi La Forge got his eyes back. That’s so lame when the coolest part of his character was the visor he wore. It was what LeVar Burton wanted but I don’t care. As a fan of the character the way he used to be I think it was totally lame.

After First Contact I expected more out of another movie in this series. The studio apparently wanted something with a lighter tone but I think that was a mistake. I noticed that the last movie was distinct in that it was the only film to garner a PG-13 rating and I think they were heading in the right direction then. This movie was lighter in everything from color to excitement and there they went too far.

By the time that something even remotely happens in this movie it’s too late, and LeVar Burton’s eyes are the alien in the room. I don’t even care what happens from here on out. I have almost an hour left and I don’t think I can stand to watch the rest. I made Amber suffer through eight Star Trek movies with a few thrills along the way but I’ll be damned if I make her suffer through this when I can’t even explain it to myself.

Sorry, I’m ending this movie, this review, and I’m regrouping with the tenth film, Nemesis, before jumping into the rebooted series. That will be tomorrow, but tonight I am done.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

 

Star Trek: First Contact

Year: 1996
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes
Written By: Rich Berman, Brannon Braga, and Ronald D. Moore. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is far and away my favorite Star Trek film. Watched it in the theater, bought the VHS, rode the ride (for a few years a nearby theme park, then owned by Paramont, had a premier roller coaster called The Borg Assimilater). When this film came out I actually felt OK admitting I was a Star Trek fan. Albeit I was 12 and dangerously close to high school so it was a short lived openness.

After an abysmally long intro where bluriness transitions into credits the film starts with a bang. The scariest enemy to date is attacking in this large cube shaped spaceship and the entire federation fleet can’t handle it. Captain Picard shows up and takes command to annihilate the enemy. The space battle is cool and I spy with my little eye a really young Adam Scott piloting the ship commanded by Worf, who promptly gives the order to ram the enemy. I’ve watched like seven Star Trek films in a row and I’m wondering why they didn’t all start with a space battle.

I watched a lot of Star Trek as a kid but I don’t remember ever seeing the episodes featuring the Borg. My mom probably deemed it too scary for me or something like that and I’ll admit it probably would have given me nightmares as a six year old. The episodes this movie are based on were a season three finale and season four premier that aired in 1990. The Borg are decidedly scarier in this film with all the budget that comes with a major motion picture. At times this movie almost feels like a horror film but if the bad guys are that scary it only makes it better.

This is the eighth Star Trek film in a row that I’ve watched and I can honestly say the stakes have never been higher. The very existence of Earth hangs in the balance and whales aren’t the answer this time. This time there’s a real threat, one that will infect you and make you one of its own. The Borg are like techno zombies before zombies became the craze of society.

I don’t take part in Star Trek fandom, but I am sure there is a debate about the original cast vs the next generation. I may be biased because I grew up with this one but I do not see how the two compare. The Next Generation cast is far and away cooler and this being the best movie to date only proves that. Yeah I’m saying it, this is better than The Wrath of Khan.  This crew has Data, it has Worf, and Captain Picard is far and away more badass than Captain Kirk ever dreamed of being. I hate that in this movie Geordi ditched the visor. Apparently LeVar Burton wanted to be able to use his eyes to act but I always thought the visor made his character cool.

The Next Generation movies continue to bring Data into the limelight. Generations introduced the emotion chip which brought about much conflict for the character. Here again his character comes into conflict with himself as he fights with his desire to be more human. The Borg try to reverse turn him into one of their own by adding organic flesh to his robotic body. Data is a total badass in this movie but succumbs to the weaknesses of flesh. For a while you have to fear whose side he is on but Data is very much the Spock of the Next Generation and he always comes through.

One of the specific things that made The Next Generation better was the Holodeck and I think it’s cool that they were able to utilize it in this film. They gave us that fun scene in Generations with the crew all decked out in old school naval gear and Worf getting promoted. In this film they do even better by putting Picard in a tuxedo and having him shoot the shit out of a Borg. Again, Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard is just hands down superior to Captain Kirk. I can’t speak to the show but the last seven movies I just watched never had Captain Kirk rocking a Tommy gun.

“Mr. Worf, do you remember your Zero Combat training?” I love this scene because it’s the scene that features “the other guy.” That one Lieutenant whose name you can’t quite remember who comes along just so a non important character can be killed. You have Captain Picard, Commander Worf, and Lieutenant other guy walking on the hull of the ship. Anybody wanna take a wild guess on whose expendable on this particular mission? We get teased that something happens to Worf in this scene but he’s too badass to die. First he breaks out his secret Kingon melee weapon he just happened to bring along but when the Borg tear his suit he just ties that shit off with a severed Borg arm. Decompress this bitch, adapt to my blade #Worfissocool.

Speaking of how cool Worf is, anybody that wants to present an argument contrary to Picard being the cooler Captain should check the scene when Picard calls him a coward. One of the finest moments in this movie is Picard standing ground while Worf tells him if he was any other man he would kill him where he stood. Captain Picard tells a Klingon to his face that he is a coward and lives to tell about it. Not just any Klingon either but Worf, the silver band thing wearing Chief of Security Worf, who always has a blade in the era of phasers. Patrick Stewart is not only more badass as Jean Luc Picard but he’s just a flat out better actor than Willaim Shatner.

At this point in the series they’ve destroyed the Enterprise too many times. It was a big deal to plenty of people in The Search for Spock and it was a big deal to me in Generations but had they followed through with it in this movie it would have been overkill. It still makes for a cool scene when the ship is evacuated and Picard stays behind to save Data. It’s a good thing they were able to save the ship and get back home too. What was Worf going to do on Earth trying to blend in?

As this movie comes to a close I can honestly say I’ve gotten more entertainment out of this one than any of the seven that have come before it. Yes, The Wrath of Khan is fantastic, but not even the greatest achievement of the original cast can match up to The Next Generation. This is hands down the most fun I have had so far in this journey through Star Trek film.

There is so much more I haven’t even covered in this review. James Cromwell is great in this little future history lesson that serves as the other half of the story. That is only one thing in a movie full of many things to like. Having put down over one thousand words just while watching this movie I think I have said enough. To cap it off I think this movie is worth your time. Trekkie or not this is a badass movie and I dare you to watch it and not get sucked in.

NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)