July 6, 2009
Summer Movies - Part 1
I really liked the latest Star Trek film - Disclaimer: I am pretty much a yellow-belt Trekkie. I'm not quite up there with the nerds who can name the episode number that featured Tribbles, but I did watch a fair amount of The Next Generation and Voyager as an extremely geeky teenager (Unfortunately for me we didn't have the WB where I grew up so there was no option for me to obsess over Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I did have a fair bit of anticipation for this movie. Director JJ Abrams (who has been responsible as director or producer for films and shows such as: LOST, and Cloverfield) did an excellent job restarting this film franchise. And he did so using a very sly plot technique (so here begin movie spoilers...). This is not a prequel as I was expecting, instead by using the element of time travel, the story rewrites Star Trek history by altering events that happened before the original television series, totally changing the circumstances that introduce Kirk and Spock, and creating a huge difference in the time line upon which all previous Star Trek shows are based. The casting was great. I especially liked Simon Pegg playing the part of Scotty. I was totally won over by this latest Trek, and I look forward to future installments in this altered Trek universe.
If you like the earlier Terminator films you'll probably appreciate Terminator Salvation. This movie, the forth in the Terminator series, takes place in the future when T-600s are prevalent and the machines are about to start production on the T-800 model, which you will remember was the version of Terminator that was the main antagonist in the original film.
There really are two main characters in Terminator Salvation, which for me is its biggest detraction. The real main character of the story is Marcus who believes he is human but is in fact partially a terminator created by the machines. His character is enough to make an interesting story. John Conner, played by Christian Bale is the leader of the human rebellion, and he is the most important character overall between all the films. But this story is focused on Marcus who must cope with being both machine and human while sheparding the young Kyle Reese until he meets with John Conner who will become his son. Bale is good as John Conner and I think another sequel that focuses on his role and Reese would be interesting.
I was pretty young when Terminator 2 came out, but I remember it being a big deal. It was at a time when my parents and I were moving into a new house that had a large satellite dish in the backyard. We wern't paying for anything but we received a lot of ramdom broadcasts, such as: broadcasts of baseball games without commercials, we just heard what the announcers were saying to each other during commercial breaks, and we got American games with Japanese announcers, and we also got the E Entertainment Television network. And I remember that E ran a Terminator 2 promotional special highlighting the amazing computer effects over and over. I'll remember that summer for having to , and I had to mow two yards since it took several months for my parents to sell our old house.
Two movies I'm interested in on the horizon are Surrogates (IMDb) (trailer) and The Road (IMDb) (trailer). Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, is about a detective solving a mystery in a futuristic world where people live their lives through robotic surrogates. The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, is a post-apocalyptic film about a man and his son on a journey across an American wasteland that looks incredibly bleak - based on a story by Cormac McCarthy, who also wrote No Country For Old Men.