Before we get started today, I want to take a moment to ask everyone a favor. I posted about it on Friday, but this is quick reminder.
I am taking a research class for my Master's degree and am writing a paper on the value of film criticism to opinion leaders - people like yourselves who enjoy movies and whose friends approach for advice and knowledge on the subject.
I have written a quick, 30 question survey that I am using to support my research and I need a lot of people to fill it out. If the subject matter of my paper doesn't impress my professor, I'm hoping the amount of data I've collected will.
If you have 5 to 10 minutes, please help me out by taking the survey. To sweeten the deal, I'm collecting e-mail addresses at the end of the survey to be entered into a drawing for a free t-shirt and free book. You don't have to give me your e-mail if you don't want. It's completely optional. But I wanted to put that out there to sway anyone that might be on the fence!
I'm closing the survey tonight at midnight, so if you can take it before then, I would appreciate it! For those of you who have already taken the survey, thank you for your help!
Now, onto business.
I freely admit that today's comic was an excuse to steal one of my favorite jokes from The Simpsons - the episode where Milhouse is cast in the big screen adaptation of his and Bart's favorite superhero, Radioactive Man. As you recall, in the movie, the character is played by action hero stereotype (and Arnold Schwarzenegger knock-off) Rainier Wolfcastle. It's Milhouse's job as his sidekick Fall Out Boy to rescue him from a tidal wave of acid that is headed toward the captured hero. For realism, the director uses REAL ACID and encourages the crew to remember to wear their goggles for protection. Nervous, Rainier wears his goggles, but Milhouse doesn't show up in time. The wave crashes into Rainer and as he is being carried away, utters the famous line, "My eyes! The goggles do nothing!"
Yup. Nothing like explaining a joke in detail to make it funnier! Maybe I should have just linked to a clip of it.
Like most of the free world, I saw Star Trek this weekend and, like most of the free world, I enjoyed it immensely. The lens flares are a little bit out of hand, though. J.J. Abrams' use of lens flares is not so egregious that it ruins the movies, but if you were going to complain, it would be the easiest target to shoot for.
Abrams at least admits that their overuse was a bit ridiculous, but he has a good excuse. In an interview with io9.com, Abrams shares that he wanted "...a visual system that felt unique. I know there are certain shots where even I watch and think, 'Oh that's ridiculous, that was too many.' But I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn't be contained in the frame."
So even if the effect is overdone in places, I can certainly respect Abrams for coming into the movie with a specific visual concept in mind and running with it.
As for the movie itself, I was greatly impressed! I loved Zachary Quinto as Spock and I thought Chris Pine as Kirk was good, even though I wished that the script hadn't made him such a persistent dick throughout the movie. We're told early on that Kirk's aptitude is off the charts, that he's a genius. He doesn't really act like one. I mean, it's good to set up the bad boy thing at the start of the movie and I know Kirk's rebellious nature is what makes him attractive as a character. But as the movie progresses, you almost want him to play by the rules JUST ONCE so things feel a little more justified when he assumes control of the Enterprise.
Eric Bana as the villain Nero felt a little undercooked. Basically, he's a pissed off and vengeful space-miner who gets his hands on some incredibly destructive technology. There's nothing regal or militaristic about him. I didn't get the impression that he was much of a threat intellectually. He just has an advantage because he comes from the future.
It's kind of like Biff getting his hands on Marty's Sports Almanac in Back to the Future II. Biff isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, he just exploits the scenario. You'd think after the last 8 years, I'd be more accepting of the concept of an idiot's rise to power, but it always feels like a cheat to me.
Aside from introducing Nero as a threat, I thought the use of time travel in this movie was a very clever way to side-step the whole "reboot" scenario. It's not just new actors with pretty faces slipping on the clothes of beloved characters. Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman went so far as to create a completely alternate reality for these characters to operate in. Going forward, I see the opportunity for totally new story lines. They've replenished the well and I feel excited about Star Trek again for the first time in a long time.
The crowd I watched the movie with on Friday was amped up and ready for a good time. When the Paramount logo came on screen, people started to clap and cheer. Being from Iowa, there was also a unique sense of hometown pride when the film caught up to Kirk hitting on Uhura and picking fights in a bar near the Riverside Space Port. When the identified "IOWA" as the location on screen, there was a lengthy round of applause.
Hey, give us a break. It's Iowa. Besides gay marriage and corn, we have very little else to hang our hat on.
I don't know if I can say much more about Star Trek that hasn't already been said elsewhere except I've been running around the house all weekend talking it up to the point that Cami now thinks she wants to see it. Curiously, my father-in-law kept asking me about the movie went we went to visit Cami's parents for Mother's Day. Maybe all three of us could go together? I'll remember to bring goggles for everyone next time.
By the way, have you guys seen those collectible glasses promoting Star Trek at Burger King? I was thrilled when I saw the commercial for them. Not exclusively because I was excited about the movie, but it seems like ages since a fast food restaurant offered collectible glasses like these. When I was a kid, this was something McDonald's and Burger King did all the time. I bought one last night basically as a way to communicate that this is a promotion I endorse and I hope that they continue such campaigns in the future.
Of course I got my Spock on...
I'm thinking about going back for the other glasses. Cami said she'd like to have the Uhura glass, but does anyone really want to drink out of a glass with Nero's face on it?
And for more Star Trek goodness, be sure to listen to The Triple Feature tonight at 9:00 PM CST where I'm sure the movie will be the topic of choice. Call in with your questions and we'll answer them LIVE on the air!
In the meantime, what did everyone think of Star Trek? Anyone planning to go back and see it again? I think I might. I had a blast! Leave your comments about the film below and let's get a conversation started!
I read a review of Star Trek that said director J.J. Abrams went a little overboard with the lens flares.
...so these are for protection.
Uh... good luck with that, I guess.
MY EYES! THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!