Sunday, May 10, 2009

JJ Abrams is The Man

I went to see Star Trek yesterday. It actually made me realize that I’m more of a Trek fan than I thought. There were lots of little nuances and references to the TV series and some of the movies that really stuck. First of all, I want to get this out of the way. The movie kicked ass. And there were plenty of places for it to go into the weeds. There’s a time travel element which may have been a spoiler if it hadn’t already been so well publicized and if it hadn’t become an unwelcome staple to Trek movies anyway. There are new actors taking on iconic roles. There’s a new director trying to put his stamp on an established series. Well, JJ Abrams isn’t “new”, but he’s new to Trek. Even with all of this potential for disaster, everything works out great.

It’s not wall to wall explosions and it’s not dialogue heavy. It’s not even completely serious. Somehow, it ALL stays on track. The funny stuff isn’t trying to be too funny (this is one of the many things that the newer Star Wars movies messed up) and the dramatic stuff isn’t trying to be too dramatic. There are plenty of little bits of Trek obscurity in there, but not enough to make a newcomer to the series feel lost. My favorite thing is how the whole movie truly tied into the rest of the canon. With a reboot, it’s acceptable to steer in a new direction while keeping true to the essence of the whole. Honestly, that’s what I was expecting. Like the new Bond movies. They’re not supposed to tie into stuff like Goldfinger or Octopussy but it’s still Bond. The Nolan Batman movies don’t have anything to do with the Burton ones, but they’re still Batman. This Star Trek can be taken as a fresh start or it can tie into everything else. As a fan of any series, there are plenty of times in movies where a simple line of dialogue or a little explanation would make a world of difference. Sometimes you don’t want much as an audience member, but throw us a bone at least. This move throws us the whole skeleton…including the skull which is the cool part.

Secondly, you don’t have to be a Trek fan to enjoy this movie. Megan isn’t a Trek fan by any means but she loved it. It’s just that good. The characters are so good that they make you truly appreciate the originals without making you feel like you’re watching a caricature of them. And third, this movie does go WAY off track with certain established pieces of Trek lore. Origins are tweaked and stuff is changed, but it all STILL fits and it doesn’t just work. It works beautifully. Like Bond and Batman, this is a reboot that makes the whole series better. There will always be Wrath of Kahn and this movie doesn’t mess with that. There will always be the original series, but this movie branches off in its own way that keeps Trek everything it should be.

Were there some flaws here and there? I suppose. Nothing’s perfect. I just can’t think of any right now. That’s what fun movies are all about.

In related preview news, I saw a preview for Transformers 2 and still believe that’s a “wait for DVD” event for me. GI Joe looks great, but there are scenes in that trailer that I swear were taken from Transformers 1 where computer generated Joes in power suits were twisting through the air to dodge missiles instead of computer generated robots. And because of some power suits or something, the Joes looked like robots. Still, I’ll probably wind up seeing this anyway. Snake Eyes + Baroness + newly discovered strawberry Whoppers = me buying movie ticket. When did they start making strawberry Whoppers? Eat one of those along with a mouthful of popcorn for a new definition of “Yum”.

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.