Star Trek 2009 5*

Star Trek 2009 Preview
"In the first ten minutes, your heart breaks and then soars". Unexpected shocks bring fear or laughter, right after one another. Recognition of old friends, now young again. Fantasy feels real. (After this, old re-runs - (edited or full clips) cheesy out-dated theatrical over-acting, straining to life styrofoam rocks on likewise sets, rubber costumes - are funnier now.) What if your past were changed?

Star Trek: Into Darkness 2013 is coming. Preview. Recent TV rerun was cut for ads, of course. I forgot how stunning was Star Trek 2009. DVD can be paused, replayed, enjoyed, rediscovered via Extras, commentary. Every time this shows on TV, I watch again, always thrilled.

Original evocative horn solo rises triumphantly to eerie spaceship broadcast inside U.S.S. Kelvin. A lightning storm the day of our hero's birth is really an enemy attack by one massive vessel. Throughout, orchestrations, thrumming drums, and perfect sound effects add immensely. Everything is real - wide western Earth plains, volcanic planet Vulcan, high tech building yard, space station, atop an atmosphere high giant drill - and majorly funny, "cupcake". Lt Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) claims hand-to-hand combat expertise - fencing - we get swords clashing.

Gorgeous guys and girls? Our gung-ho jump-in hero may not be much of a team player, but stellar cast leads as a whole. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) has a down-home Kentucky drawl to melt your "Bones". . He likes "the pointy-eared b-d" Virile joking Scotty admires the Enterprise "She's one well-endowed lady. I'd like to get my hands on her ample nacelles, if you'll pardon the engineering parlance." Onboard, "I like this ship! It's exciting!"

"If only .. ", the eternal cry of human distress. What if a better brighter future universe were threatened? If the present were wrong, painful? "Whatever our lives might have been .. our destinies have changed." Everything changes.

Vengeful Nero (Eric Bana) intends to destroy all Federation planets, begins with the ship captained by the father of James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine). 25 years later, he demolishes the Vulcan home world of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy). 129 years before, Spock arrived too late with red (color of danger and blood) matter "black hole device" (star bomber) to save Romulus.

1 Nero (Eric Bana) at 39 spent 25 years waiting for Spock minus 4 years in black hole (Spock mind-melds Kirk to "129 years ago") = working miner, impregnated wife @ age 10. If he was, say 20, he should now look 49, not 39. Maybe Romulans are long-lived, like Vulcans, and look younger? If young Spock is 22 (2009 Zachary Quinto b.1977), old Spock is 131 (78 Leonard Nimoy b.1931 - old looks old).
2 Why does Kirk hang around, fire everything at Nero, when the villain is already doomed by the singularity, thus endangering the Enterprise? Just so Spock can say "Not this time" to Kirk's "logic" and "compassion"?


Whatever is bad can be worse. Laugh amid disaster. Everything can turn upside-down in a blink.

Triumphal music rises (again), the armada warps out. Except U.S.S. Enterprise stalls short .. saved by the delay. Ensign Pavel Andreievich Chekov (Anton Yelchin deliberately fakes) fails voice activation code on Russian accent "nine-five-Wictor-Wictor-two", but at 17, he can transport like Scotty. (Helen Mirren RED, who knew?). Interview transcript.
Spanish Wictor Wictor. Checkove is whiz with transporter.
Trying to save the Enterprise, Kirk fumbles with swollen sausage fingers and unintelligible numb-tongue. Captured, choking, Kirk is released just enough to gasp "I've got your gun". All is way funnier on screen.

Kirk, kid, takes fast right in step-dad's stolen car to avoid pursuing motorcycle cop .. who aerially cuts corner; car goes over cliff, kid rolls free. Meanwhile kid Spock beats down bully who calls human mother whore. He chooses to supress emotions, but discriminatory Science Academy panel during acceptance provokes new Spock to decline their admission for Starfleet, and girlfriend.

Snow blizzard hides a galloping animal, possibly rescue, that grows closer bigger, angrier, louder, hungrier. Kirk flees, but an even bigger beast attacks both. Kirk tumbles off a cliff, but the monster falls after, busts through cavern opening, ever pursuing. Scene.

Enjoying free fall, Olson delays pulling his chute, and dies, with all demolition charges to stop the invaders. Choking in hold of derisive Romulan, Kirk gasps out "I've got your gun". Icy calm Spock explodes into murderous rage when Kirk has to bait him to assume command, stopped only by Spock's father Sarek (Ben Cross, I never recognize his permutations).

I almost wish I were a real Trekkie, to see buried "canon" trivia. Spock seeks his parents in the Katric ark. Even today's culture has embedded references, especially hilarious TV Big Bang Theory, core four stars still expanding. Penultimate nerd Sheldon Cooper yells name of nemesis "Wheaton" like Kirk shouted "Khan!" Sheldon has nightmares of Gorn.

Every time Scotty beams warp-speed into Enterprise giant tubes, I hold my breath. Nope. Our gang is tough. Who knew Captain of pilot episode "The Cage" was a girl?

In my first year, my own pilot dad crashed his jet, so I have a special weakness for this back story of the Captain for 12 minutes who saved 800 lives. Star Trek 2009 has heart, body and soul.


"In the first ten minutes, your heart breaks and then soars"
Kelvin, as in U.S.S., was JJ's grandfather, inspiration to make movies, # on ship his birthday
handrails on space-ship not on others, seems obvious now
Kirk's dad actor cast deliberately to resemble Kirk (Pine)
first day broke out in sweat, surrounded by big bald tattooed guys with swords
pregnant mom (Jennifer Morrison - Once upon a Time)
such a pity men deliberately included mom for their wives
I missed that uncle became step-father

in last 2 weeks made huge changes for better
Spock meets mom before Science Acadamy in real church
scripted speech pattern show "what Vulcan is"

Kirk's motorbike spokes removed, who noticed?
head bangs on low clearance first day added, echoes later when he ducks below
Star Trek Academy is Northridge Library

reveal of green-skin is hark-back to original
I did not recognize green-skin Gaila (Rachel Nichols) as Keira in Continuum and Scarlett in G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra = sign of better actors
all 3 in underwear for fun, bigger surprise when Spock already has girl
deleted Kirk sleeping with green girl to implant virus in test
Kobayashi Maru - Kirk eats apple to appear more cocky
listened to 40 years before for sound design

first sight of Enterprise - homage to other previous reveal
Uhura is peon in bowels until Kirk brings her to bridge
"Prod Nero" is supposed to be Praetor
every Trek team member needed critical role to win war & support others
Romulans speak English, huh.
red matter stays mystery till later

Spock: puzzled by "the complexity of human pranks"
Olson = red shirt #1
falling onto drill face close-ups falls = improv stand on mirror in parking lot
Falls out upside down, shake camera
sunlight outside is more realistic on film

problems mount, never rest,
like Raider's of the Lost Ark, Marion in spinning plane,
Sulu stabs both Romulans "swash-buckling vibe" stabs
minimize budget? shoot drill shoots

surprise when parachute breaks Nomayo real Soviet expression "Good borscht!"
Chekov's save beam is homage to beloved 1999 Galaxy Quest (me too! one of my few purchases)
"Never give up! Never surrender!"

slow motion only used twice, more effective: Spock leaves bridge, Spock lost planet
moving when Uhura kisses Spock "okay" because actress recalled own loss
comic book explains Nero losing planet? (removed 25 years in prison, whew)? what accent?

no deleted scenes (also whew)
Comics for Into Darkness
greatest compliment for actor is "unrecognizable" .. "not make-up, performance"

Spock boots Kirk "out of the chair" was improv on day
finally everyone all together for 40 years of fans and newbies?
true to canon and new
both Kirk and Spock right, same goal, different approach (Lennon & McCartney both lost parents young?)

Alaska 2nd unit plus paper snow in Dodger stadium
set up drill sequence at same time sent flakes over desert Vulcan
judicious cuss, one "Bullshit" to old Spock like Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom, single "Shit" at trouble
mind-meld bizarre vs lecture, "intentionally obtuse .. more impactful", balance exposition, too far confuses, just right elucidates
Spock: "Millions of lives lost because I failed", I disagree, chance and Nero killed, not Spock who tried his best
"Good luck" feels real "thrusters on full" Nimoy's own line

destiny, fate = removed Spock's line about coincidences "time-stream's way of mending itself"
real steam gushes in Budweiser plant location for underground substation tunnel
transwarped beagle shows up in novelizations?
had to fight budget for Scotty in pipes
Enterprise innards = Budweiser
Scott: "I like this ship! It's exciting!"

Spock hero too, embraces humanity when dad admits loved wife Amanda (Winona Ryder), and friendship with Kirk
first double profile shot of Spock and Kirks heads facing shows partnership
Nyota's first name not in canon
first Romulan on "squid ship" Norada is really brother of actor Zach
modulated voice of Will Wheaton
set like Lego, movable parts, one level felt like many

villain not super, blue-collar worker, no desire to kill big stars (or lesser)
everyone on film "best in the business .. top of the game"
courage theme cuts to Checkov's smile
silence judicious
only choir, singing nonsense
"money moment" = relief, not triumph, ball thrown ball around bases to everyone
Pike: "I am relieved" double entendre

big smile end
Nimoy asked to say line, chose "Thrusters on full"
given closing "Boldly go" motto

by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci
good fast constant input though I cannot tell voices apart,
till end, dwindles to blue balls, nada,
thanks to all "genius wizard .. best in the world",
"can't believe it worked" " they see more than once" "mission to get our wives" Gene Roddenberry's wife visited, supportive, voice of Starfleet computer, passed away before release, son phoned praise
"we should do a sequel"

Special Features

A New Vision:
most praise to JJ from others, fun to see faces, hear voices behind scenes
shows original Trek ep14 "Balance of Terror", slower paced Clip
faces of (so young), all guys but Zoë
Alex Kurtzman: add "rock and roll" to original classical

key "how do we make the spectacle feel real?" "root in reality" "old school" "40% location"
shoot widescreen, not digital, imperfections, grittiness, helate flares add life, miniatures
classic crew side lurch to "3-2-1 Boom"
physical shaking random rhythm always J.J. "black belt"
costume kids to make set look bigger on ice planet cave, sub-station corridor
last shot of Spock 14x, JJ has talent for big scope and intimate moments both

Gag Reel I laughed
Chris Pine voices over "boldly" motto, funny faces as credits,
bloopers, bleepers, clowning accidental and on purpose,
thrum dance beat on mikes
spill-your-guts insect misses Pike's mouth
Spock smashes Kirk into chair, Uhura smashes door
Fun real dancing

1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Optimus Prime "fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing"
2 GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra
Baroness: "this has only just begun"
3 TV Fringe
4 Star Trek DAC? multi-player game
Kirk: "Either we're going down, or they are"

Cast: / Enterprise crew
Cadet (First Officer, Captain) James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine)
Ambassador Old Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy)
Cmdr New Spock (Zachary Quinto)
Crew (member?) Ntoya Uhura (Zoë Saldana)
Dr Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban)
Lt Hikaru Sulu (John Cho)
Engineer Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg)
Ensign Pavel Andreievich Chekov (Anton Yelchin)
Capt Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood)
Nero (Eric Bana)

Languages: English, Francais, Espanol
Captions: English, Francais, Espanol

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
G.I Goe: Rise of the Cobra "this has only just begun"
Mashup 10 tense, explosive, scary clips

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars 2004 3-4*

Preview. March 1999-2003 TV series Australian, aired UK and US. Disc1: film, Disc2: Extras I like better 4* after percolating, appreciate niche, style, effects, fun. Didn't know till Extras that fans demanded film to finish cancelled series. Actors Black and Browder both loved in Stargate SG-1. If only all beloved cancellations ...

Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black) voices over silent body of fiancé, former Earth astronaut John Chrichton (Ben Browder) "You did it .. All dying has stopped .. three is not such a scary number .. but I will not accept it as a tradeoff for losing you". Boom. Big space-fight.

Cut to remote water planet ocean, where Rygel (puppet voiced by Jonathan Hardy), Muppet cute-ugly Dorian-alien from Hyneria, brings up (literally vomits) treasure (spoiler = baby bits). Mission over at secluded stopover, our team returns to main stream society, and shocking news. "We are now officially engaged in the last war of our era". Enemy Scarrans "were already taking the galaxy by force, system by system".

Their leader is Emperor Scorpius (Wayne Pygram). Although ornate in top-knot hairdo and gold-embroidered red silk Oriental coat over red skin, I am reminded of giant green-skin villain Sarris (Robin Sachs) in Galaxy Quest). He baits War Minister Akhna (Francesca Buller) with the promise of power and status, as Empress, if she helps him build an empire. She is not credible as a warrior leading pursuit, when dressed in impossible impractical tight skirt and high heels.

Chiana (Gigi Edgley) "Witchiepoo", joyful over regained eyesight, jumps on Rygel's boss D'Argo (Anthony Simcoe), in welcome. He is tall, auburn-furred, and tentacle-scalped. Her chalk white skin and hair are stark beneath make-up to look black and white. Pilot is the other puppet main character, who directs ship Moya. Her tri-partite baby squid shape seems a precursor to the 2009 Star Trek Nero's Romulan mining freighter Norada.

Until I realized fans demanded movie after series cancelled unfinished, the plot made no sense, starting from the show's end. Perhaps if one knew the large cast of couples from 1999-2003 TV series and back story, many jumps and flashbacks would make more sense. How everyone pairs off is annoying. Reminds me of "The Big Bang Theory", expanding from nerd quartet to their sweethearts. Best moments.

Perhaps in the TV series, females influenced more than as side-kicks, but here primarily are attractive appendages. Sikozu (Raylee Hill) is a skimpy-top redhead kick-ass. Defense leader Braca (David Franklin) has pregnant Grayza (Rebecca Riggs).

One-liners break the tension, add humor to the most serious situations. Wild invented curses, like "fuzzbot", "Frell", where F- off is blanked out, started in the TV series, continue here. "Hang the frell on" means wait for coming aid.

I'm fond of Shakespearean from Look's "Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and other Scary Things" and Viking from Cowell's "How to Be a Pirate". My memory is tricksy right now, so I can try my own oaths, inspired by Farscape.

Aeryn: Who's taking fire?
John: Who isn't?

A: You don't know what you're doing.
J: I never do.

John's motto "Run first", goes by the wayside when odds "not good" are the "best odds we ever got".

J: Chrichtons don't cry. Often. Or for very long.

Scorpius: You are immune to the probing.
J: That's because I always speak the truth.

D'Argo: You've grown, dude.
son Jothee: It's the armor.

Stark goes "completely farbot" before John saves him from drowning in flood and fire.

A: "I'm pregnant, not incapacitated"

Jool: I belong here.
John: You always made the best mistakes.

Some odd references sound out of place or time. "We're hit by any more missiles and we're Spam". Spam is canned meat, supplied in 1937 to US troops, still popular in Hawaii. They have IRS, but do they know what that means?


Behind the scenes

Even behind the scenes, the actor who plays the black masked elder Scorpius/Harvey (Wayne Pygram) cannot keep track of all species names. We learn the back-stage secrets, like magic tricks exposed. Shots sound like fire-crackers because they are. From TV show to full-scale film, their first orchestra of 80 musicians, saws and puffs. A "baby" is doll, a fake.

The crew motto, from the top dog producers, was "Play". Food was laid on in actual tons. "Modesty strips" slipped off accidentally, we are told, not recorded for posterity, so still Family rated.



Too much next is boring, a recap of 2 months in crystallized stasis and lost pregnancy. Baby bits, left inside, grow inside Rygel. Besides required for parenthood, he is also the crown Prince of his people. His royal court demands he return.

Jothee (Nathaniel Dean) plays deus ex machina, bringing unexpected reinforcements to help his estranged father D'Argo.
Chiana: The frellings killed my D'Argo.

Stark marries John and Aeryn in a fountain to a patter of nonsense syllables - funeral and puberty rites - then "Do you love each other enough to marry? Then you are. Congratulations." He pushes them into the water so the son is born wet.

Time deadlines put pressure on the plot. The birth accelerates to days. Although Chiana's new eyes can see through walls for enemies, the enemy Scarrans bomb the temple protecting awakened remnants of the Eidelon race. The Eidelon species, believed extinct, have a genetic ability to persuade others to make peace. But an Eidelon must touch an angry target to affect it.

In a universe at war, the survivors are the only hope. John will not, and cannot, construct a doomsday weapon. He cannot convince his own side, let alone their opponents, otherwise. They will not stop until John builds the end of them all.

John: People make peace.

d2 Extras (right arrow key pages through)

1 The battle behind the wars - behind scenes mix with interviews, cast, crew, lots
- Sep 2002 series cancelled, story unfinished, f-g great, tears, fan outcry, so Dec 2003 mini-series
- script readthrough, mid-makeup, 8 stages, "farscape day" runs 3 hours behind, ship called Penetrator invades Decimator (D'Argo), monumental scale, leather, animatronic puppets cost more than actors have to be careful, 90% dialog drowned out. re-done, "chunder" = vomit
"In space you can do whatever you like" "no holds barred"
2 Conceptual art gallery - 54 sketches, mostly bw (black and white), costumes, sets, alien font, mostly ships, look alike by the end
3 Storyboards - 67 arrows direct action on quick bw frames
4 Spacecraft gallery - 16 frames 2D, 3D white, grey, color
5 Prop gallery - ~118 frames: weapons, accessories, clothes, bedding, prosthetics, tools, set "dressing", doodads - numbered out of order, boring when sealed boxes plastic wrapped

Setup: Audio: English; Subtitles: English, Spanish

Oz: The Great and Powerful 2013 4*

"Oz: The Great and Powerful" 2013 Teaser 4* Good, not great. Feels true as prequel to Baum's books.

Expected too much, had a ball anyway at birthday present, first cinema visit in ten years, may color review. Initial sight of Oz world reminded me too much of 2" screen on Nintendo DS game graphics. Tiny biting river fairies tempt magician, also named Oz (James Franco) by drumming first half of recognizable rhythm, but ohh, don't finish the beat or you'll be sorry (spoiler?)

The crystal emerald garden has flowers with ruby centers = staggering. Running along narrow rockways obviously green-screen, but scares all the tots sitting at the front of the theater. Why piffle when effects work? We are in a magical land.

Huge melting dark eyes (like Shrek Puss in Boots), luscious soft kissable lips, lush womanly curves (no skeleton models, skull faces here), topped by velvety red giant hat and jacket, over black leather pants hugging trim fit figure .. Princess Theodora (Mila Kunis) is The Most Gorgeous. The evil brunette duo, Princess Evanora (Rachel Weisz) shoot over the top of the beauty scale. Glinda (Michelle Williams), Oz constantly calls her Wanda, is uglified by a fake streaky bleach blonde, frozen stiff wig-like head. Ick. I don't get why she plays Annie back in Kansas, too, the echoing later of characters.

Oz lets down the first crying girl who cannot walk, but gets another chance to help Megan, from China Town, actually a village. Megan seems set to return.'s_Return

My favorite lines are (roughly) "I like green", "Let's go kill a witch", "Everything in good time .. and a good time in everything". Weak script.

Ever since Kermit the Frog muppet said "It's not easy being green", I wear my Kermie brooch with pride. March 17 Saint Patrick's Day always brings out my red-haired gran's Irish heritage.

Maybelle's aunts told her the family had a castle in Ireland. When I toured the shamrock shores, I saw that two-storey, family one room atop animal's barn level, abode. As far as the eye could see from there, the "Laird" ruled over the properties.

I was so happy to see some of the credits, but did not recognize them later, maybe the disguise of flying monkey bellhop? Frank/ Finley (Zach Braff). Winkie Gate Keeper (Bruce Campbell).

I like green.