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Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Personal Review of Star Trek Beyond

Me personally, I don't care about spoilers, but I know most of the public does; passionately. So it's hard for me to gauge what is a spoiler and what isn't. I will say that this review will not contain plot spoilers and things of that nature, but more of the character aspect of the film. So, fair warning!

I need to discuss this while it's still fresh in my mind off of just seeing the film. Now, I love Star Trek. I grew up with it. Discovered it on TV on my own in junior high watching new episodes of DS9 and going backwards from there; TOS being the last frontier for me since it was made before my time.

I honestly had no issues with the first two films (believe it or not, missing the lens flares in the 3rd installment here!!!) And I've read articles about people complaining that it was "nothing like" the show, not Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future, and people getting angry at Chris Pine for saying that action is more important than character interaction when it comes to films. Well, we are talking about action films here; Star Trek is not a drama. It's not a comedy. It has those aspects, but it is an action film at heart.

There is much more character interaction in this film, and yes, it's nice. It makes it feel much more like the show for sure. But... I'm not sure I liked it. I don't know, it's weird for me. I get it. But maybe it's because I know these characters already. I already know how close knit they are. I was perfectly fine with the lack of "character development" in the first two films because the films were still good. However, the writers/director did a good job in making the personal characters part of the plot of the base movie. The characters were separated and each scene played into their individual strengths. (One negative here - I watched World of Warcraft and Jeremy Jahns saying that movie jumped around too much bugged me because this movie is actually really bad about it!) On a positive note, Anton Yelchin (Chekov) got a lot of screen time. Much more than I think any Chekov in the history of the franchise, and it's really fitting tribute for him.

So, this movie felt like watching a highly budged two-parter of a Star Trek episode. For lovers of the series, that is very high praise. After all, just about every other Star Trek movie made feels the same way. But, maybe it was the tone. At the core, it's an action film. It's got the quick movements, the high energy music, the scene jumping, the fast pace. When it slows for a character scene, it feels... off. Maybe I think it's too late. The first two films never stopped for this, and now it feels out of place. Maybe it's because we couldn't establish these specific characters to a series prior like we could with all the other movies, so we don't really "know" them, as it were, and it feels weird to shove it in now.

If you try to compare this movie to what most fans would consider the best Star Trek movie made, which is First Contact, it's completely off kilter. First Contact was probably 70% drama and 30% action. There was a lot of down time in that movie, remember? Helping Cochran build the ship. Data's weirdness with the Borg Queen. Running around the Enterprise while it's full of Borg who do nothing but ignore you until they consider you a threat. The action was actually very minimal. Even during the scene with Picard out there at the deflector dish - it was more suspense than action.

This scene was actually agonizingly slow, because they were in space!

With these new Star Trek Films, action is defined as "shit that happens so fast that we can blur it and spend less on detailed special effects". Star Trek First Contact feels slow in comparison. So I think Chris Pine is right in a way. When you film a movie like how the new Star Treks are filmed, character development seems completely out of place and almost unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, I still liked the movie. But was it my favorite of the three? Not by a long shot. I think i'll only buy it on Blu-Ray for the fact that I have the other two. Plus, the special features and behind the scenes stuff is always cool.

On an unrelated note - Star Trek is beginning to get messed up by adding a thousand new alien species we only see in fleeting shots that were never in the original series'. And I know it's a different timeline here but it's still the past. [Plus they've established that even though its a different timeline, a lot of the same events still occur, just in different ways. AKA: Khan.] The Federation should not be this advanced and far reaching for this many unknown aliens to appear when in TOS all we were friendly with were basically the Vulcans. It actually bugs me quite a bit. At this point in time, their advancements far exceed even Star Trek Voyager. I feel a bit perturbed.

But anyway, I want to know what you guys think! If you saw the movie, how did you like it? Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Warcraft Movie Review

I don't do a whole lot of these, but I really wanted to pick this one out for a couple of reasons. Number one is because the critics are hating on it, and number two is because I am not really a Warcraft fangirl. I kind of am only because I play World of Warcraft, but I'm not all up into the lore like a lot of fans and haven't really followed any of the story lines in game (aka: you have a quest for me? No time to read it! Accept and point me in the right direction!)

I have to say that Warcraft the movie actually helped me understand the game better. There is so much lore surrounding the World of Warcraft (The game Warcraft is mainly about the war against the Orcs) that it's hard to keep track of it all and you can get buried in everything. So, obviously the movie only touches on the war with the Orcs, but there's a lot more in it than I even realized. However, the best part about it is that you don't have to be a Warcraft or WoW fan to watch the movie; the only references I got were basically names and places that I recognized from the game.

I follow Jeremy Jahns on youtube and I think a number of his reviews are spot on, but no so much for Warcraft. He mentioned something about the movie jumping around a lot, and it does, but not so much that you can't keep up with it. The director wants you to know all this stuff is going on at the same time, so it jumps from point to point and I didn't mind. One thing I did mind though, was the abundance of CGI, like way more than they needed. It was good CGI, no doubt, but does everything have to be fake, even things that exist in real life? Another thing that frustrated me was Garona. I'm sure Warcraft fans know exactly who and what she is, but for us uninitiated, the writers never explained her, and I'm not sure if that was on purpose.

[Spoiler alert I guess??: WoW Wiki describes her as: Garona Halforcen is a half-orc[1] half-draenei[2] quest giver for the Horde in the Twilight Highlands. Like most others, she believed she was half-human until the truth was revealed to her.[3] Which, on the one hand, makes sense I guess, if the movie was trying to be true to the game, to look nothing like an Draenei so no one could guess that that was her other half. However, this doesn't follow with the story of the movie, where we find her already an adult living on Draenor and she follows them through the portal to meet the humans for the first time. Considering they shared their planet with the Draenei and not humans, it would be plausible to believe that she was half Draenei. But of course, the movie does nothing to help the audience guess. You see Dranaei in cages for half a minute and only know who they are if you play the game, and the Orcs mention nothing about sharing their planet with another race.]

That was the most nitpicky thing I had to say about the movie, though. Khadgar was by far my favorite character. I found him adorkable; I loved everything about him, and I knew nothing of the history of Khadgar in the game.

I have a three tiered rating system. It is:

1. So bad I won't even bother torrenting it

2. Good enough to torrent and take up valuable HDD space forever

3. So good I will buy a blu-ray of it (very rare)

For reference purposes, Jurassic World is a rare one I would buy on blu-ray because I loved Jurassic Park like, insanely as a child, and there was so much fan-service I was basically squeaking throughout the whole movie at the theater.                                                                                                      
Warcraft almost got there, I'd say a 2.5. Hoping and waiting for a Lich King sequel. That would kill in theaters, I'm sure.

                                                                                                                 Created by Rachel Fields

Did anyone see it? What did they think? Let me know in the comments!