Tag Archive | "Star Trek"

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Deleted TREK Scene: Nero And The Klingons

Posted on 28 October 2009 by Rich Drees

Ever wonder what Nero was up to for the two decades or so that passed between his first appearance in JJ Abrams’s Star Trek film and when the main story kicked into gear? Me too. Well, it turns out that the time-travelling Romulan was a guest of the Klingons. And while where we see where the Klingons have been keeping Nero in the clip below might be considered by that warrior race as their version of Club Med, I don’t think I want to be visiting it any time soon.

The clip is just one of nine deleted scenes that will be among the special features that will appear on the two disc DVD set and three disc Blu Ray editions that will go on sale November 17.

Star Trek – DVD Bonus Footage

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AMPAS Raises Total Best Picture Nominees To Ten

Posted on 24 June 2009 by William Gatevackes

oscarstatuesEvery year up to now, people have complained that their favorite movies never made the cut when Oscar time rolled around. Now, the complaints will be about an undeserving film getting a nod. And probably that their favorite film still didn’t make the cut.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced today that starting with next year’s Oscar ceremony, the list of eligible nominees in the Best Picture category will increase from five to ten.

Ganis had this to say:

“Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize. I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.”

From this statement, one would hope the the typical, high quality Pixar films would escape the Best Animated Film ghetto and get the Best Picture nomination they deserve. Also, that worthy Foreign Films and Documentaries can get some time in the spotlight. Or, even worthy summer blockbusters such as last year’s The Dark Knight will be recognized.

Of course, this does not address the numbers of worthy actors, actresses and directors who are excluded each year, as their categories will presumably still keep their five nominee limit.

But, if we are to believe that this rule change will insure that no worthy film would go unnoticed, we simply must look to the past.

The five film limit was enacted in 1944. Before that, there was no limit to the number of films that could be nominated for Best Picture. The number in the years prior ranged from eight to an amazing twelve nominees.

But this didn’t not mean that there were not still glaring omissions. In 1935, the year with the twelve Best Picture nominees, the Alfred Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps. was snubbed.  Modern Times and My Man Godfrey were not included in 1936’s ten nominees, but less-remembered films such as Anthony Adverse and Three Smart Girls were. And the screwball classic Bringing Up Baby was snubbed in 1938, another year with ten Best Picture Nominees.

So, those of you hoping for Star Trek, The Hangover, or even Up to be announced as a Best Picture on February 2nd, don’t hold your breath. More films will be honored with a nomination, but there’s still a chance that your favorite will be snubbed.

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New Releases: May 21

Posted on 20 May 2009 by William Gatevackes

terminator-salvation-movie-poster_480x7411. Terminator Salvation (Warner Bros., 3, 530 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13): When Terminator hit theaters back in 1984, and became a big hit on the then-new home video market, people were wondering if a sequel could ever be made. When Jim Cameron came back in 1991 with the legendary  Terminator 2: Judgement Day, people then wondered should a third sequel ever be made.

Hollywood being what it is, did make that third sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, without Cameron. Some fans of the franchise would have considered this sacrilege, but it did well enough that we now have a third sequel.

This one has a slightly better cast, with Christian Bale, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Sam Worthington along. The tale loses the time travel aspect and jumps to the point after the robots have taken over. The focus is on Bale’s John Connor leading the resistance against the machines. Unfortunately, the robots have discovered a new weapon to use against the humans.

It seems this film should be better than the last one, although, when the biggest piece of behind-the-scenes news to come out of the production was Bale’s onset meltdown, that usually bodes ill for the film.

And this summer is shaping up to be the summer of Anton Yelchin. He played Chekov in the smash hit Star Trek and plays the iconic Kyle Reese here. Recasted as two icons in one summer. Good going Anton!

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New Releases: May 8

Posted on 08 May 2009 by William Gatevackes

star_trek_movie_poster_imax1. Star Trek (Paramount,  3,849 Theaters, 126 Minutes, Rated PG-13): If you thought comic book fans were a persnickity crowd to please, imagine Trekkers. They have been exhibiting their love for the mythos for over 40 years. They took a cult TV series that was only on for three years and made it into a cultural phenomenon. They are very concerned with any and all examples of what they love done right.

Enter J.J. Abrams, author of one of the worst attempted reboots of the Superman franchise,  and his utter reboot of this franchise. This is, as the ads claim, not your father’s Star Trek, and it shows. You will be getting the first meeting of Kirk and his Enterprise crew, but it will be different than what has come before. Continuity has been changed. Deal with it.

Usually, this would cause an uproar. Instead, we get excitement. Reviews have been fairly positive (to find out what FBOL head honcho Rich Drees thinks about the film, click here.) I hope it will be as good as it looks. But will the longtime fans be happy?

next_day_air-poster-mos_def2. Next Day Air (Summit Entertainment, 1,138 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated R): And for you non-Trekkers, here is an alternative.

This is a comedy about a group of workers at a delivery service for whom quality is job none. They steal packages, beat up boxes, and basically do a crappy job.

However, when a shipment of drugs passes by their way, and their incompetence cause it to not make it to its scheduled destination, all hell breaks loose.

Some times movies are released on the same day as a major blockbuster in hopes of capturing some of the blockbuster’s overflow. Good luck when it comes to this one.

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Posted on 07 May 2009 by Rich Drees

This is not your father’s Star Trek.

Early in J. J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise, a young James Kirk recklessly drives a vintage 1966 Corvette convertible right off a cliff, only leaping out to safety at the last moment, while the car plummets hundreds of feet to presumably smash against the rocky bottom. 1966. That’s the same year the original William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy-starring television series Star Trek debuted. This is Abrams’ none too subtle statement that you will need to push aside any preconceived notions you may have about the four decades old franchise in favor of his new iteration.

Rebooting or reinvigorating a franchise can be a difficult prospect. It is something that the producers of the James Bond franchise have had to face every fifteen or so years. Abrams almost faced the task once before when he was briefly attached to the Superman project that eventually became director Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Here though, Abrams manages to the most delicate of balancing acts- finding a way to tell a new version of the voyages of Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise without alienating old fans and being welcoming to those new to the franchise. And surprisingly, he uses one the series’ hoariest of clichés, time travel, to do it.

Renegade Romulan Nero (Eric Bana, making the best of an under-written role) has inadvertently travelled back in time following the destruction of his home world, and the death of his wife and unborn child. Blaming the Vulcans for the tragedy, he sets out to destroy their world a century before his meets its demise, uncaring that his actions are rewriting what should be history for him. Standing in his way are the brash Starfleet Academy cadets manning the Starfleet’s newly commissioned flagship, the USS Enterprise, including the brash James Kirk (Chris Pine), his friend Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) and the half-human, Half-Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto).

More so here than in other franchise relaunchings, I think the key question is “Is Star Trek a classic because of its actors or because of its characters?” There’s no denying that Shatner has had considerable non-Trek success in television, but when it comes time to write his obituary, the name James Kirk will be mentioned well before either T. J. Hooker or Denny Crane. Most of the rest of the cast weren’t as lucky to escape from the dreaded prison of stereotyping. Cast member James Doohan would often state that members of the public would be surprised when they met him that he didn’t have the Scottish accent of his character, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott.

And while the original series actors will forever be intertwined with their roles, the group of actors who Abrams has assembled does their best to bring forth what fans expect from each character without resorting to flat out mimicry of the original cast. Pine’s Captain Kirk is all swagger, an adrenaline junkie who lives for putting himself into dangerous situations. It is only through the counsel of his father’s old friend, Captain Christopher Pike, that Kirk manages to channel this into something positive. Urban seems to relish Dr. “Bones” McCoy’s several trademark lines while Simon Pegg as Engineer Scott just seems overjoyed to be in a Star Trek movie. It should be interesting to see what long time fans make of some of the new deviations that Abrams has added into the mix of characters. I foresee some spirited debate over a certain romantic relationship between two characters that Abrams has created.

star_trek_31Although Abrams and company are essentially creating their own, new Star Trek universe, they are careful to make sure there are plenty of nods to the original to keep fans happy. It is still extremely hazardous to one’s health to wear a red shirt in the vicinity of Captain Kirk. Classic catch phrases are sprinkled throughout the script, though as the film races towards its finale, their frequency increases as if the script writers suddenly realized that they were running out of time to use them.

While Star Trek has much going for it, it still has a few points where it falls short of the mark. As written, Nero is pretty much another in a long line of interchangeable Trek villains. The only difference is that he is slightly more effective in implementing his nefarious plans than many of the others. The problem is that ultimately, Nero is a plot device whose existence is solely dictated by the creative need to create this new film’s alternate timeline. As such, he has no real connection with the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk and company just happen to be the ones there to stop his scheme. A touch of comic relief involving some side-effects to a space flu shot McCoy administers to Kirk falls flat and carries on far too long.

Abrams biggest departure from classic Star Trek, though, is in the type of story he is telling. When the series first premiered, creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned the show as a way to tell stories that commented on current politics and the human condition. Yes, sometimes it was heavy-handed (Yangs and Comms, anyone?) but at least it made the series about something. However, as the franchise grew, it lost that layer of subtext, instead crawling inside a cocoon spun of its own continuity and technobabble. Star Trek became about very little else other than Star Trek. It is unfortunate that with a return to its roots, as it were, that Abrams couldn’t see fit to add some deeper layers to his story.

But there was also the element that the crew of the Enterprise were explorers, out on the fringes of known territory, much like sailing vessels in the 1600 and 1700s. Abrams definitely captures that high adventure aspect of the original series. The action moves at a brisk pace and the stakes are as grand as it gets in a Trek film with the fate of entire planets hanging in the balance. Abrams and script writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman take some interesting and what are sure to be controversial risks and they pay off.

Star Trek may not quite be as successful a franchise reinvention as was the 2007 James Bond film Casino Royale. It is a film that serves the business need to wipe the slate clean, while setting up the new direction that the franchise will be taking. As such, it is something of a cinematic sorbet, cleansing our pallet. I can’t wait to see how tasty the next course is.

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Final STAR TREK Poster Released!

Posted on 28 March 2009 by Rich Drees

Paramount has released the final theatrical poster (below, click to enlarge) for J. J. Abrahm’s upcoming Star Trek, and I have to say t hat I’m of two minds on it.

Deep inside me, the old school Trek fan that wasn’t quite killed off by the franchise’s decline through the 1990s likes the poster alot. It conveys a sense of speed and is just a touch abstract.I would definitely be tempted to hand this on the wall of my office.

But I wonder if the approach that brings the poster out of the realm of ordinary film posters towards a more serious artistic approach will possibly turn off the average ticket buyer. The franchise has a lot of goodwill to win back after the dismalness that was Star Trek: Nemesis and the publicity for the film that we’ve seen so far hints that this return to the franchise’s roots could be just the thing it needed. I’m noit sure that this poster, as beautiful as it is, will help to contribute to that .


Star Trek hits screens on May 8.

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Superbowl Trailers: STAR TREK

Posted on 01 February 2009 by Rich Drees

startrekI have to admit that I have not been a fan of Star Trek for a long time. Every new glimpse of director J. J. Abrams reboot of the franchise leaves more unsure if my opinion will change. Sure the new trailer looks exciting and we get a glimpse of the first meeting between the futrure James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy, but I still don’t think there is anything deeper to the movie than just a fun-filled overload of visual effects. I really want a good story here that comments on the human condition, much in the way the original television series did back in the 1960s. It seems the last time that the franchise was able to deliver that was Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan.

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STAR TREK Writer Talks New Film’s Canonicity

Posted on 13 December 2008 by Rich Drees

CAUTION: Some possible serious spoilers for the upcoming Star Trek feature. Proceed at your own risk.

Since the release of its trailer, many longtime Star Trek fans have pointed out what appears to be inconsistencies with what has been previously established about the early days of Captain James T. Kirk and the take that director JJ Abrams is taking on the story. Understandably, it understandably caused some controversy among Trek fans and has led some to feel that Abrams is disrespecting the material. (Spoilers after the jump.)

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First Look At New TREK’s Classic Spock

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Rich Drees

A little less than two weeks ago, we got our first good look at director J. J. Abrams’ reinvented Star Trek universe in motion and most fans found it good. But there was one thing that was lacking from the trailer for the upcoming film that most folks were probably anxious to see- Leonard Nimoy’s return to the role that made him an icon, the half-human, half-alien science officer Spock. Well, AintItCoool has been given a slightly revised version of the Star Trek trailer and one of the main revisinos corrects the lack of Nimoy that we saw before. Check it out below.

Nimoy hasn’t been seen in a big screen Trek adventure since 1991’s The Voyage Home. I haven’t given much of a tinker’s damn about the ongoing Trek franchise for many years. But I have to admit that seeing Nimoy back on screen, giving the Vulcan hand greeting and uttering his character’s most famous lines warms the grinchy heart of this former fan.

Star Trek hits theaters next May.

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STAR TREK Going IMAX, Is This Just A Fad?

Posted on 24 November 2008 by Rich Drees

It looks as if J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot is going where no Trek film has gone before- IMAX screens.

According to a report over at First Showing, the film will only have a two week engagement on IMAX screens before having to make way for the release of the IMAX version of Night At The Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian. Trek is scheduled for a May 8, 2009 premier and Museum 2 is scheduled for May 22.

In addition to Trek and Museum 2, there are at least two other films – Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen – that will also be presented in IMAX in the coming year.

I have to wonder if IMAX is in danger of becoming a gimmick, if it hasn’t already. Does blowing up the films to the larger IMAX screen size really add anything to the storytelling? More than likely not. Sure the footage in The Dark Knight that was shot specifically for IMAX looked amazing. Seeing Superman Returns in the IMAX format allowed them to present a few sequences in 3D, which also looked great. Half-Blood Prince will also sport about 20 minutes of 3D footage, while Transformers director Michael Bay shot a few sequences of Transformers with the larger negative size IMAX cameras. But besides giving the audience some visceral thrills, does utilizing IMAX actually contribute to the telling of the film’s story?

A parallel can be drawn to the 3D craze back in the mid-1950s. At that time some 50 feature films and numerous shorts and cartoons were produced in the format. They featured all manner of things being shot out at the audiences from arrows to paddle balls to gorillas. The Three Stooges threw cake and sprayed water at theater patrons across America, Casper the Friendly Ghost traveled to the moon and dancers in Kiss Me Kate swung on ropes over audiences’ heads.

But there was only one director who downplayed the sensational aspect of 3D in favor of using it as a way of bringing storypoints to the audience’s attention. That was Alfred Hitchcock in his film Dial ‘M’ For Murder. If you ever have the chance to see the film in 3D, do so. Pay attention to how Hitchcock composes his shots in 3D, placing certain objects in the foreground and background. It is subtle work and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t seen the film in 2D previously.

Is there a director who can find a similar way to utilize the IMAX screen in a similar fashion? I would hope so, just to keep the format from becoming some type of ballyhoo gimmick that the public will quickly tire of.

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