From Trek to Wars, JJ Abrams Owns the Stars

By now, you’ve heard that JJ Abrams will be directing Star Wars Episode VII.  The Hollywood Reporter announcement is as official as it gets.  There is some question on the release dates.  Disney wants Episode VII to hit theaters in 2015.  Abrams has not committed to that date which kind of shows how desperate they were to get him to direct.

Certainly, this is good news for fandom.  Abrams and crew have done wonders for the Star Trek film franchise revitalizing it in the best way possible.  They definitely have reverence for the source material but are more than willing to make big changes despite possible fan outcry.  All indications point to the next chapter in the Star Wars saga being quite good.

Still, there’s one thing that nags at the back of my fanboy mind.  What is this next trilogy going to be about?  For all intents a purposes, the Skywalker saga is over.  Episodes I, II, and III chronicle the fall of Anakin.  Episodes IV, V, and VI are really about his redemption.  As awful as the prequels are, they fit nicely into Anakin’s anti-hero journey.  How will these next three fit into that cycle?  Can the next three fit into that cycle?

Now, I haven’t followed any of the expanded universe stuff so I have no idea if there’s already an cannon episode VII, VIII, and IX.  It would make sense to me for the story to pick up with Han and Leia’s kids which could be kind of cool.  It might be interesting to see Luke, despite all of his best intentions, fall like his father did and become the villain for the next three with the Solo kids fighting against him.

Though I definitely think the franchise is in good hands, I won’t really get excited until I hear what the next three are going to be about.

Star Trek: Nemesis, the Strongest Argument for the JJ Abrams Reboot

It's so bad, even Shinzon can't stand to watch it.

It’s so bad, even Shinzon can’t stand to watch it.

Every now and then, I will click on a film that Netflix suggests because I need some noise in the background as I work on comics.  And so it was that last night, I clicked on the thumbnail for one Star Trek: Nemesis.  It turns out that the best way for me to stay awake from midnight until two is to nerd rage.

With Into Darkness on its way, I still hear rumblings from old school fans about how horribly sacrilegious the JJ Abrams version of Gene Roddenberry’s universe is.  To those people, go back and watch Nemesis and see if you like where the franchise was headed.

There will be tons of spoilers in this review because I don’t give a fuck.  And it’s been out for years so it’s already spoiled. Rotten to the core.

Shinzon

Rather than bother with a plot synopsis, I’ll just go through the things that I thought were stupid.

Portrayed by a young, fresh faced Tom Hardy, our main villain is Shinzon who also happens to be a clone of Picard.  This is actually a pretty interesting idea.  Shinzon was created as part of a Romulan plot to replace Picard and learn all the secrets of the Federation.  The plan was abandoned when a new government took over so Shinzon was discarded and sent to the Reman dilithium mines where he was meant to die.  That’s kind of cool.  Not only do we get an interesting commentary on government transitions, we get an entire new race that the Romulans have kept oppressed for years.

Within the first ten minutes of the film, Shinzon wipes out the entire Romulan Imperial Senate and becomes Praetor of Romulus.  I’d say that’s a pretty huge victory.  But like any stupid villain, it’s not enough.  He wants to destroy the Earth because plot.  I don’t really understand why Shinzon would give two shits about the Federation.  It was the Romulans who created him then abandoned him to die. I suppose if the Federation were gone, there’d be no Shinzon.  But the Remans would still be used as slave labor.  So other than plot, there’s no real reason for Shinzon to go after Earth.  He’s beaten the Romulans.  He has the power to bring Reman society out of the shadows now that he rules the Romulan Senate.  Surely that should be victory enough.

Mental rape.  Cause that hasn't happened to Troi ever.

Mental rape. Cause that hasn’t happened to Troi ever.

At some point, Shinzon mentally rapes Diana Troi while she’s having sex with Riker.  Apparently, Shinzon’s Viceroy has the ability to connect Shinzon’s mind to Troi so that he can get his rape on.  It’s a plot point that serves no purpose other than to give the Enterprise a method for finding Shinzon’s cloaked Scimitar later in the film.  No where else in the entire film does the Viceroy ever use his mental powers.  Which is fucking stupid.  If he can enter people’s minds, he can certainly enter Captain Picard’s and strip out all the intel they need to wipe out the Federation.  When rape is used to set up a deux ex machina save at the end of your flick, your movie is unforgivable.  It’s insulting and offensive and if tumblr was around when this came out, copies of the film print would have been burned.

"Hey, at least I don't sound like a wacky car salesman in this one."

“Hey, at least I don’t sound like a wacky car salesman in this one.”

At some point, we learn that Shinzon’s DNA was made to age rapidly so that he could catch up to Picard’s age quickly.  But since the plot was abandoned, Shinzon didn’t get the proper treatment.  So his cells are dying or aging or something I wasn’t paying attention to.  The only cure, a full blood transfusion from Picard.  There are at least five moments when Shinzon could have just pulled the trigger and gotten his blood on.  But instead, we’re treated to villainous plodding and speechafying allowing Picard to escape every fucking time.  I don’t understand how it takes him less than ten minutes to take over Romulus when he’s NOT EVEN IN THE FUCKING ROOM but he can’t just stick a straw in Picard throat and DRAIN HIS BLOOD.

B4

There’s a terrible subplot featuring another one of Doctor Noonian Soong’s robots, B4, who was seemingly created before Lore and Data.  Because plot.

On their way to the Romulus to meet with the new Praetor, who turns out to be Shinzon, the Enterprise comes across a positronic signal emanating from some random planet.  This leads in to one of the most ponderous action sequences to feature in any Star Trek film ever.

A. Fucking. Car. Chase.

Because when I think of futuristic space operas, I think car chase!

Because when I think of futuristic space operas, I think car chase!

This might work in Firefly where they spend a lot of time on planets on the outer rim of the Verse where settlers go to seek their fortunes.  But this entire movie takes place in space aboard starships.  The only reason for this scene is to put in a fucking car chase and it’s a pretty lame excuse for a car chase at that.

Maybe it was intended to show Picard’s wild side, that he’s a risk taker, that he has a lead foot.  But it feels forced and out of place.  And Warf is entirely too large for that rickety looking dune buggy.  The stupid thing looks outdated compared to every other piece of Feddy tech that we see in the film.

B4, certainly the lowest point in Brent Spiner's career.

Even Brent Spiner can’t help but sneer at this terrible sequel-bait of a character.

You can almost feel Brent Spiner’s eyes roll every time he walks off camera as B4.  Though he looks exactly like Data and has a similar internal structure, B4’s positronic brain is not as sophisticated as Data.  B4 is an overgrown toddler.  And of course, he’s a trap.  Thank god the crew figures that shit out quickly.  But it’s still fucking stupid.

B4 makes no sense as a spy.  Because the Viceroy has mental powers, Shinzon could have easily taken Starfleet intel from Picard’s brain meats.  There’s no reason for B4 unless your Viceroy never uses his mental powers unless it’s for rape.  Oh, you only use your powers for rape?  Shit.  Then I guess we need B4.

The real reason B4 is there is to set up a sequel.  Data sacrifices himself by jumping through space (ugh) and blowing up the Scimitar. God, when I saw this in the theater, the entire place erupted in scornful laughter at this scene. By this time, Data has already downloaded all of his memories to B4.  So it’s this whole Wrath of Khan, Search For Spock thing.  Spock sacrifices himself in Khan only to be reborn as a child in Search.  Data sacrifices himself at the end of Nemesis, but somehow lives on locked away in the memories of B4.  The parallels are groan worthy.  Thankfully, we never had to suffer through the sequel where we’d spend hours waiting for B4 to unlock Data.

The Scimitar

Okay, this thing is fucking badass.

Okay, this thing is fucking badass.

I will say one thing in this movie’s favor.  Shinzon’s flagship, the Scimitar, is awesome.  It’s the most powerful Bird of Prey we’ve seen in the Trek universe.  Its cloak is perfect.  It can fire torpedos and phasers while cloaked.  It has a doomsday weapon that can destroy worlds.  It’s an agile Deathstar.  And the only way the Enterprise beats it is because mental rape because plot and FUCK THIS STUPID MOVIE.

But it raises a few questions.  For one, if the Remans could build such a perfect weapon, why have they been oppressed for so long?  The Scimitar alone could decimate the Romulan fleet.  Why wait until now to unleash it?  And why haven’t they built anymore?  I could understand them not being able to build too many Thalaron radiation weapons, but surely they could build similar Birds of Prey.  If they could build something as massive and destructive as the Scimitar in secret, they could have built another one.  Or a smaller one.  Or something else.  There should be a fleet of Reman vessels obliterating the Federation.

The space fights are pretty awesome, but the time you see them, your brain is already oozing out of your nose for subjecting yourself to such a dumb, fucking movie.

THANK YOU JJ ABRAMS

Besides Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy, the cast looks so incredibly bored throughout Nemesis.  Though they’re given some terribly stupid things to say, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy are quite excellent together.  They deserved a better film.  I really felt bad for Brent Spiner who had to spend half of his time acting like a mindless prat.  He deserved better.  Thank the Profets we never had to suffer through the sequel to this mess.

This is all a long way of saying thank you to JJ Abrams for breathing life back in to Star Trek.  So if your friends decry new Trek and proclaim that the old stuff was superior in every way, remind them about Nemesis. Truly, it was the enemy of the entire franchise.

Kamen Rider Battride for PS3

This kind of looks like a Dynasty Warriors styled Kamen Rider game which makes my pants all kinds of crunchy but a little sad because I don’t have a PS3. There’s also almost no chance this will get imported like the Gundam Musou games. So I’ll just have to drool from afar. It looks freaking sweet.

Coke is Killing You

I don’t drink alcohol or smoke or do anything fun, but I do drink an unhealthy amount of soda. Coca-Cola is my beverage of choice with root beer coming in a close second. I know it’s horrible for me, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. And I guess that’s part of the problem.

For a long time now, health advocates have pointed to sugary beverages as one of the leading causes of obesity in this country. There have been countless scientific studies linking sugary beverages to over average weight gain. It seems the pressure has finally gotten to the beverage companies. Coca-Cola recently released a commercial highlighting the actions they are taking to fight obesity.

Though it is admirable for a beverage company to come clean and admit they could be contributing to the problem, some think this ad doesn’t quite come clean. YouTube user John Pemberton decided to swap out the original voice over with his own, seemingly more honest version.

If you want to be healthy, don’t drink the shit.

Easier said than done, I know. Even with all the knowledge of all the health problems and having friends who have struggled with diabetes, I still drink the liquid poison. Sometimes, it’s to keep myself awake during the dull work day or late at night when it’s time to crank out comics. Sometimes, I just like the taste. Because I’m a fucking lab rat. Ugh.

Nerdshaming is BULLSHIT

First, we had Tony Harris complaining about “Fake Nerd Girls.” Now, we have Portlandia with this faux PSA.

Fuck. This. Bullshit.

I’m not sure what you’re point is here, Brian. If the term “nerd” is shameful, why do you care if some random girl at a bar claims the label? Are you trying to save the guy she’s chatting up from an evening of sex? Is she preventing you from talking to the guy at the bar about TNG and Skyrim? Are you afraid that other people will associate you with the girl because she calls herself a nerd?

Are you trying to warn cute girls that if they call themselves nerds they will be ostracized? I mean, seriously, what is the fucking point of this entire fucking thing?

The entire reason you have a TNG to nerd about is because people from all walks of life fell in love with the original Star Trek after years of reruns. If Star Trek TOS nerds kicked everyone else off of their lawn, there would be no TNG. There would be no video game industry if it didn’t appeal to a broad spectrum of gamers so you’d have no Skyrim to nerd over. There would be no Avengers movie if the comic nerds kicked everyone else off of their lawn.

All those things you mentioned in your nerdshaming PSA, all of those things depend on non-nerds spending their money so nerdy things can get made. So really, what’s the point in shaming people away from your toys? Get. Over. Your. Shit.

Urbance, A Gorgeously Stylized Update to Romeo And Juliet

This trailer for Urbance from Steambot Studios is absolutely stunning. No word on when or where it will premier, but we have a description of the story:

In the big city, gender war rises. Sex is prohibited because of a genetic deadly virus. Ruled by hate and anger, boys and girls grow up apart from each other, forming rivals gangs.

Among these lost teenagers, Kenzell and lesya will fight adversity and defy all the rules in order to live their love and restore peace.

It’s an interesting twist on the star-crossed lovers angle. You can bet in a series starring mostly teenagers, that separation of the genders won’t last too long. From the detailed backgrounds to the slick animation, every frame of this trailer is dripping with neon awesome. I can’t wait to see it wherever it drops!

From: Steambot Studios

The Killing Joke

Even though his methods lie outside the law, Batman’s “no kill” policy makes him an easy ally to Gotham’s police force.  In a city gone mad, he refuses to give in to the chaos.  But when it comes to a psychopath like Joker, is it really ethical for Batman to let him live?

Arkham Asylum must have some revolving door policy that Batman must not know about.  Joker always gets out to kill again.  Batman has to know this.  He’s a fucking detective for shit’s sake!  He’s got to notice that Arkham’s walls don’t hold Joker and Arkham’s rehabilitation program doesn’t fucking work.  It’s clear that Batman doesn’t believe the law can’t do its job.  Otherwise, he’d let the Gotham PD chase the freaks while he sits at home sipping tea.  Why he would trust them to keep Joker in jail is beyond me.  By letting Joker live, Batman is perpetuating a cycle of murder.

Of course from a straight up practical sense, should Batman kill anyone, he ceases to be an asset to the Gotham DP.  They can’t have a killer on their somewhat unorthodox roster of costumed vigilantes.  But being a clever boy, I’m sure Bats could figure out a way to end Joker’s life without doing the deed directly.

It’s possible that Batman thinks he can save the Joker, that somehow the Joker will turn over a new leaf or learn the error of his ways or something.  But if that’s the case, Batman does jack all to see it through.  No hospital visits, no hiring of expert psychologists with that Wayne money, no payment for experimental medication to calm Joker’s madness.  Just some chrome bracelets and a padded cell.

Should Batman end Joker or let him live knowing that he’ll eventually escape to kill again?

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