Space. It’s big, huge, and a never-ending source of comedic fodder.
BQB here with a review.
I have been meaning to check this show out for a long time and finally have, after noticing it was available through Disney Plus.
I’m six episodes in. My first impressions:
#1 – Critics call it a Star Trek rip-off but it’s an obvious Star Trek parody. Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the raunchy, constantly pop culture lampooning Family Guy, is obviously a big Trekkie, and relishes the chance to cosplay a spaceship captain. If you take Star Trek, then add in the ability to make crude jokes, you’d get this show.
#2 – I get why some might call it a rip-off in that it goes beyond the humor to build adventure of its own. If you stay for the funny, you’ll get plenty of serious. In my binge session thus far, I’ve seen Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) and crew rescue an agrarian society living (unbeknownst to them) in an ecosystem built into a massive spaceship, a historic ship dealer who travels back in time to steal spaceships of the past and sell them to collectors of the future, and a battle to prevent a hostile alien species from getting their hands on an aging device. All of these sound like they could be straight out of Trek, so when you see the Trek like uniforms, the Trek like military organization, the Trek like set up of the ship, it’s hard to not feel like MacFarlane didn’t just hijack Trek, change a few things around, then add in plenty of dirty sex jokes.
#3 – Speaking of sex jokes, while I enjoy it, Disney Plus really isn’t the place for it. I get Fox and Disney are part of the same company now and apparently Disney Plus is breathing new life into the series by offering a sequel New Horizons, which is basically just a continuation of the show. However, young kids shouldn’t be watching it. It’s probably fine for teenagers, but if you’re one of those parents who subscribed to Disney Plus so you could park the kids in front of it while you do housework, eh, take another look.
All in all, Trek is the granddaddy of all space opera. Many would say Star Wars, but SW just changed the game by introducing badass special effects. Trek was the first who challenged us to go where no man has gone before. (There are probably others who would say Lost in Space or other 1950s offerings beat them all.)
At any rate, Trek is a 20th century view of what military style space travel would be like. The Trek ships are set up more or less like a large ocean going vessel, so one might argue that Trek doesn’t really “own” that concept. Then again, when you watch The Orville, when you see the captain, you think Kirk, the science officer, you think Spock, the engineer, you think Scotty. Then again, does Trek own the concept of a captain, a science officer, an engineer and so on?
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Enjoyable. In the end, I don’t think this takes anything away from Trek, and if anything, it’s a humorous love-letter to Trek. Maybe if Trek had been more open minded about captains finding their wives in bed, messing around with blue goo spurting aliens, MacFarlane might have made a deal to create Funny Trek. Ultimately, he did, with just the names changed to protect the innocent. Come for the funny, but stay for the space drama.
Woo hoo! Star Trek on the big screen! Good for you for following this blog. When you do, you get news like this over 40 years late.
BQB here with a review.
I saved the first Shatner-centric Star Trek movie review for last for a simple reason. I literally have never seen it before.
I know. Gasp! Gasps all around. A man who professes to be a nerd having never seen this movie before. What can I say? It came out before my time while I saw the others either in the theater as a little kid (The whole trio of Spock dies, is reborn and gets delivered home arc) or on VHS (the last two.)
At any rate, I’d seen bits and pieces of it but never the entire thing at once.
So let’s dive in.
At the outset, you can tell that this film was released at a time when Star Wars unleashed a wave of space flicks, all the studios thinking there is gold in them thar space movie hills. I don’t think any of these space flicks matched up to Star Wars, though the Star Trek films were at least profitable and memorable.
You can tell though that the producers, writers, special effects team, etc. are all trying to do things with the franchise that would have never been possible in the original 1960s TV show.
It all begins with now Admiral James T. Kirk arriving at the Enterprise, where it is being worked on in space dock. In an early scene, Scotty pilots a shuttle craft, bringing Kirk to the ship and the scene is dragged out, going out of its way to show the sheer size and magnitude of The Enterprise in all its glory, whereas the best they could do in the old TV show was show a teensy model that we were supposed to pretend was big.
The special effects are amateurish compared to today’s CGI, but at the time surely wowed audiences. Smaller craft fly by the Enterprise. There are dudes in astronaut gear flying around it, though they don’t seem to serve any purpose other than some technician wanted to prove he could put a little astronaut guy out there flying around the ship. If you can forgive the bad effects, you do get a sense of awe as you picture what it might be like for a person in the 2300s seeing an enormous spaceship.
And now to the story. A bizarre entity, some sort of large energy field is headed on a path to Earth. Dum-dum Klingons try to intercept it only to be instantly vaporized. Kirk arrives to take control of the Enterprise from Captain Decker (Stephen Collins who would join the actress who plays the lady whale scientist in ST5 to play the other half of a couple with a lot of kids in 7th Heaven.)
A pissing match between Decker and Kirk ensues. The old Enterprise is no more. This is an all new Enterprise, complete with computers and bells and whistles that Kirk has never trained on. Decker knows all the changes. Kirk doesn’t. Decker presumes Kirk is just using the crisis to take over the Enterprise because that’s what he really wants. There is truth to this as Kirk hates being behind a desk and wants to be out on the open space road, living a life of adventure, punching out alien d-bags and getting jiggy with fine ass green space hotties.
It’s the late 70s, so Kirk and the original cast aren’t as old but they are all in middle age range. Shatner is actually kinda buff and studly in this one, so they go out of their way to put him in a muscle shirt. The film’s overall tone is quite serious, perhaps a bit more serious than we are used to in ST films. In Khan and later films, we really see the storyline embrace equal parts humor and seriousness. Kirk, Bones and McCoy find their niche as a quasi-Marx brothers routine as space explorers who get on each others’ nerves but at the end of the day, love each other.
Here, the trio comes out of mothballs. Kirk has been riding a desk. Spock and Bones, to my shock, have quit Starfleet only to reenlist (be drafted?) for this flick. McCoy returns with a bushy beard, greatly offended to have been forced back into service. Spock was on Vulcan, learning a process that would truly rid him of the little emotion he had so he can be a full blown logical mofo and not have to deal with emotions from his human side when he senses the entity’s presence and leaves to help his old Starfleet homies. Alas, he’ll never be considered 100 hundred percent logical by Vulcan’s exacting logic standards, though his human friends will always consider him absurdly logical. Dude just can’t win.
Long story short, the crew investigates, even flying through the entity, unraveling the mystery of what this presence is. All that is revealed early is that it calls itself V’Ger. Sadly, and in a rather creepy move, it kills then takes control of the body of Ilia, a Deltan navigator played by the late, great Persis Khambatta. We never see Deltans before or after this movie and all we know is that Ilia is a bald lady who blurts out to Kirk that she has taken an oath of celibacy upon her arrival on deck. The line seems strangely timed and I can’t tell if it is just a fact the writers wanted us to know or if Kirk is such a notorious space-poon hound that she felt she had to launch a preeemptive strike to let him know her lady parts are closed for bidness.
The Ilia-bot scenes are scary indeed. The late 70s/early 80s saw a lot of movies where humans end up controlled by machines and this might be the most disturbing. Her computerized voice, the way she stares coldly at the crew as they realize she is recording info and sending it back to V-Ger, all strange indeed. Decker, who once had a romance with Ilyia, is crushed.
Sidenote: If you look her up online, Persis Khambatta’s story is inspiring yet sad. She was somewhat of a Cinderella story. Born and raised in India, her father abandoned the family at a young age but her mother and siblings scraped by. She gets model work in her teens, gains national Indian notoriety in soap commercials. Becomes a Bollywood star. Gets recognized by U.S. Hollywood. Lands this role. Gets steady work in US movies in the 1980s. Sadly, develops heart problems in the 90s and dies young at 49 in 1999. I always hate to see people die young but at least her star was able to burn bright in her youth.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. The colors are drab and it is definitely trying hard, perhaps too hard, to be very serious. One might argue that when a giant, strange entity is on approach to destroy earth, there is no time for humor, but then again, something is always trying to destroy earth in the other films yet the writers manage to strike a balance between humor and high stakes. There is a scene where the transporter malfunctions and you get to see the horrifying dark side of what happens to people when the transporter shits the bed, making you wonder why anyone would get into the transporter beam field at all. It is a bit of a plot hole that there are no safety protocols, i.e. no one calls and asks ahead like “Hey is your transporter working?” before they start beaming people aboard but oh well. It’s all part of the film’s attempt to say, “Hey, this is grown up adult Star Trek” before someone at the studio apparently advised to make things a little lighter, which I’m glad they did so little kids like me back in the day could have fun watching these flicks.
“The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.”
BQB here with a review of the final Star Trek film featuring the OG Shatner and Friends Crew.
Star Trek 5 faced heavy criticism, ultimately with many wondering whether a philosophical sci-fi series where characters spend a lot of time debating and contemplating would survive in an era of blockbusters where moviegoers expected characters to kick ass first, second and third and maybe think about it later, four or more steps down the line.
This film closes out the voyages of Capt. Kirk’s Enterprise well, providing a decent mix of action and ass kickery.
Everyone’s least favorite warmongering species the Klingons have suffered a terrible disaster. A mining explosion on Praxis destroys the Klingon moon as well as the ozone layer of their home world, Kronos. If you can cite these intricate details of the Klingon Empire as well as I can then fear not, for one day you can be like me and spend all of your time blogging about Star Trek and not tapping any pussy whatsoever.
Reeling from disaster, Klingon Emperor and total peace-nik Gorkon proposes to turn a crisis into an opportunity – namely, since the Klingon Empire can no longer afford to fund its warmongering expansionist ways throughout the galaxy, they must make peace with their dreaded enemy, The Federation of Planets, i.e. those who gave us Starfleet.
Kirk is not a fan. He is pretty vocal in his hatred of Klingons. Ever since they killed his son in The Search for Spock, Kirk becomes a rabid species-ist and if some sort of KKK-like organization existed in space for the purposes of shitting on, destroying and defiling Klingons, then Kirk would totally volunteer to be its grandmaster. OK, maybe he isn’t that bad but even so, the dude really despises Klingons.
Klingons feel the same way about humans and tensions are high when Kirk is voluntold by Starfleet to escort Gorkon and his contingent to a peace summit where negotiations with the Federation will ensue. A state dinner between the humans and the klingons is fraught with strife, though not without occasional moments of common ground and lots of Romulan ale, which according to the film is the quickest way to get mad drunk in space.
Alas, treachery ensues. The Enterprise fires upon Gorkon’s ship, taking out much of his crew, as well as the ship’s gravity. Left defenseless as they float around, two mysterious humans in unidentifiable helmets and magnetic boots beam aboard and bat cleanup, zapping the shit out Klingons in a bloody mess that a) seems a bit much for a Star Trek film and b) I can only assume this scene inspired a young Quentin Tarantino.
Kirk and Bones beam aboard the Klingon ship to offer assistance, but no good dead goes unpunished as they are quickly taken prisoner by the film’s villain, General Chang (Christopher Plummer.) Yeah, it was 1991 so some writer somewhere thought it would be cool to make an alien sound exotic by giving him a Chinese name but whatever. It was a different time, right? No, that’s not cool? OK fine. Build a time machine and travel back to 1991 and protest the movie then.
Fun sidenote: Shatner and Plummer are both Canadian Shakespearean actors. Shatner served as Plummer’s understudy in a production of Henry V in the 1950s. Flash forward to the 1990s and Plummer is decked out in heavy alien makeup, hamming it up and chewing on scenery as he convinces a Klingon judge to find Kirk and Bones guilty.
Blah, blah, blah. Kirk and Bones must escape the space prison work camp they have been transported to while Spock and crew, working with she-vulcan Lt. Valeris, scour the Enterprise for clues that will absolve their captain and doctor and point to the true traitors.
Another fun sidenote: Before she became a total Samantha on Sex in the City, Kim Cattrall was a staple in many of your fave 1980s flicks. Mahoney’s love interest in Police Academy. Kurt Russell’s love interest in Big Trouble in Little China. A hot lady vulcan in this film.
Overall, the film is a political thriller, one might call it a Tom Clancy-esque flick of espionage, sedition and intrigue but with dudes in alien makeup grabbing their knees when Kirk discovers that sometimes when you kick an alien in the knee, you are kicking an entirely different and sensitive body part altogether. Whoops!
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Shatner and Plummer’s love of Shakespeare shows in this film. Gorkon is a fan of the bard and quips to his human colleagues that they simply “must read Shakespeare in the original Klingon” one day. While Hamlet referred to “the undiscovered country” as the afterlife, the place humans go after they die, i.e. the last place to explore, this film sees it as a state of peace, i.e. a state long sought after yet never achieved…until now?
Bonus points to the movie for being woke in a time when woke wasn’t really a word, at least not one used in the sense that it is today. Gorkon and Shatner discuss how for peace to be achieved, their elder generation will have to be the ones who suffer the most, learning how to move on and work together while setting longstanding grudges and memories of the other side’s bad acts aside. Younger generations who never saw war and conflict will find it easier to embrace the other. This film came out in 1991, just after the Berlin Wall fell, so one wonders if there aren’t some undertones about America and Russia working together in the wake of the Cold War.
NOTE TO 1990s STAR TREK WRITERS: RUSSIA’S OLDER GENERATION BOSS CONTINUES TO BE AN A-HOLE.
Double Bonus Points – Kirk does grow in this film in that he eventually learns that holding a grudge against an entire species because one of its members killed his son is not cool. We also gain some insight into why Klingons aren’t fans of humans. Throughout the series, Klingons are treated as vile scum for Kirk to fight but we learn that Klingons see the Federation as an organization that is racist against all non-humans and that while the Federation claims to represent many different lifeforms, only humans seem to grab the highest ranks of the organization.
A fitting ending to the 6 film series featuring Shatner and the original crew. Kirk and his crew retire, having played their parts in negotiating what will hopefully be a longstanding peace between two feuding factions of the galaxy.
Even so, Scotty still can’t get the damn warp drive to work.
Ha! They made a movie about the line, you know, from the show. Get it?
BQB here with a review.
Star Trek 5 has the dubious honor of being considered the worst of the 6 Shatner-centric OG Enterprise crew films. I haven’t seen this flick since I was a kid, but as I watched it, it’s funny how a lot of the scenes come back to me and I can remember where the movie is going.
Ultimately, I think it’s a good film that just got a bad rap for a few reasons:
#1 – It was the first film outside of the “find Spock and bring him home arc” that occupied 2, 3 and 4. Those 3 films all tie together so now the producers/writers/director had the difficult task of beginning a new tale.
#2 – It came out in 1989 and if we consider Star Wars of the late 1970s as bringing kick ass special effects to the forefront, the late 1980s and 1990s saw a whole slew of action films that brought the genre to the next level. The film came out in a summer filled with blockbusters and sequels. So many freaking sequels. Lethal Weapon 2. Ghostbusters 2. A few more I can’t think of. Also Batman. How do you compete against Batman 89? You can’t.
#3 – Because moviegoers were demanding action, I think it was a hard sell for a movie where the three main protagonists – Kirk, Bones and Spock, were getting up there. After rewatching it – on one hand, yeah I can’t think of another modern movie with so many oldsters running around fighting bad guys. On the other hand, they make so many movies today where we are expected to believe that 20 year olds are geniuses and super intelligent and know exactly what to do. I think Star Trek handles the age of their stars well, namely, that these are people who have been around the block, have seen some shit, and as they get closer to the end, they have less shits to give. How many times do Kirk and crew tell Starfleet to stick it as they go do their own thing? This isn’t something a young person can do easily but an old person? If you’ve got the skills and experience of a 50 something Capt Kirk, you too would probably find it easier to tell your boss to stick it in the name of doing what is right vs. what is politically expedient.
Alright. Now that we settled that hash.
Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), the black sheep of Spock’s family, rejects his Vulcan ways, embracing emotion and encouraging his followers to do the same. Vulcans once held emotions like any other species, but they developed a quasi-religion around logic itself, embracing only what is practical.
The mad vulcan kidnaps three ambassadors – a Klingon, a Romulan and a Terran (human), each representing their species on the desolate planet of Nimbus III. Said planet was supposed to be a profit sharing business as all three races were supposed to join forces in building up the world and reaping the rewards but alas, it sucked so bad no one bought in.
Capt. Kirk and crew charge in and save the day in a daring raid. Alas, they’ve fallen into Sybok’s trap. He wanted them to come so he could hijack the Enterprise (they really should put a lojack on that ship because someone is always stealing it) and fly it to Sha Ka Ree, the fabled planet where all life supposedly began and is said to be where God Almighty himself lives.
The humorous relationship between Kirk, Bones and Spock save the film. They are taken prisoner and must break free. As usual, Bones is a pain in the ass naysayer. Spock is a genius who points out options but rarely sees the the emotional toll those options will take on others, much to Bones’ ire. In the end, Kirk is Mr. Let’s Kick Ass, Take Names, and Think About What We Did Later.
As if this weren’t enough, Kirk is once again being hunted by rogue Klingons. Apparently, there isn’t a lot of order in the Klingon military. Klingon ship captains just hear that Kirk is milling about and decide it would be a fun opportunity to built their space street cred and blow him the heck up. There’s never any radioing in to HQ to ask if this would be cool or anything.
Long story short, there’s a lot of suspense as the Enterprise crosses a so-called forbidden barrier and the crew touches down on the planet. Critics argue the ending is a bit of a let down. I won’t spoil it by revealing what they find but I mean, come on. The premise of the film is that space travelers are trying to find God in space. If they do find God, do you think his greatness could be expressed well on film? If they don’t, isn’t that a let down? Then again, if they did, is that blasphemous? If God wanted to be found, he’d invite us all over for tea and cookies, after all.
There is a scene at the end that is often considered silly. The Enterprise crew, Klingons, and even Sybok’s dumb followers join together in peace in a cocktail party. I mean, yeah, that kind of sounds stupid but the message seems to be they were all thrown together by one idiot’s treachery and in the end they all figured out how they did wrong and made amends. If only enemies becomes friends like that in real life.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Ultimately, I think the Star Trek OG Crew just struggled to find a place in a newer era where action reigned supreme, blockbuster flicks demanded a younger cast, and Star Trek tends to be more of a thinking sci-fi fan’s choice, so it became harder to mix the philosophy with all of the ass kicking.
Sidenote: Spock’s rocket boots are cool.
Double sidenote: I doubt you’ll believe this story but I’ll tell you anyway. I was on a ST binge last week, culminating in me watching this movie last Sunday. There is a scene where Sybok’s dimwitted henchmen are lured into abandoning their posts when they spot a voluptuous hot babe doing a scantily clad song and dance routine on the horizon. The pervs run to the babe, only to find Uhura. As she removes her veil, Kirk and crew whip out their phasers and take the bad guys prisoner.
“I always wanted to play for a captive audience,” Uhura quips. She must have been in her 50s at that point but damn, if she still didn’t have all the right moves.
At any rate, I paused the film. I wondered if Nichelle Nichols was still alive. Then I started wondering who else was alive and who had shuffled off this mortal coil. I knew DeForest Kelley and James Doohan had passed. I knew Shatner and Takei are still alive. I knew Nimoy had passed.
I saw Koenig (Chekov) was alive and then I was pleased to see Nichols was still alive. For some reason, I thought she had passed so I was happy to see she was still here.
Then literally an hour later the news popped up on my phone that groundbreaking actress Nichelle Nichols who played Uhura had died.
I don’t know if there is any point to that story other than I got to be happy that Nichols was still alive but then my happiness only lasted an hour.
3.5 readers. Let me lay the following contradictory statements on you:
#1 – Plot-wise, this should have been the dumbest, shittiest movie ever made that by all rights, should have murdered the franchise.
#2 – It’s pretty awesome and I think most fans would agree, it’s the second best of the 6 films starring the OG Shatner and friends cast, and a very close almost photo finish with Khan at that.
OK. The plot.
A big stupid looking probe that looks like a giant turd appears over Earth. It emits what sounds like a whale call. When it receives no response, it plays the call louder, causing ecological devastation. The tides rise, waves bash the continents, all incoming ships are warned that the earth is screwed so they should fly elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Capt. Kirk and crew are living in exile on Vulcan, having become wanted fugitives for disobeying Starfleet orders and stealing the Enterprise and (SPOILER ALERT) blowing it the eff up so as to gank the dastardly Klingons who invaded the ship sans permission.
Brave souls that they are, they decide to return to earth, stand trial and accept the consequences of their actions. Frankly, this is stupid and I would have just stayed on Vulcan but I guess this is why I’m not Starfleet material and also the movie needs to happen.
While returning to Earth in a stolen Klingon Bird of Prey ship no less, the crew receive the distress call. Spock, big brained mofo that he is, theorizes that the signal sounds like whale calls. Apparently, some species out there in the universe, perhaps space whales, really gives a lot of shits about earth whales, to the point they sent a giant probe to check on them. Your goal, noble reader, should be to find someone who loves you as much as the space whales who sent this probe love earth whales.
Ah but alas, whales are extinct by the 2300s when the film takes place. The movie does become one great big advertisement for environmentalism and ecological conversation but it is done in an entertaining way.
Anyway, the probe needs to hear some mother humping whale calls or else it is going to continue to eff up Earth’s shit. So, Kirk and crew perform a “slingshot maneuver” which means they fly the ship really, really fast and really, really close to the sun and if they are lucky, they don’t get burned up as they travel back in time.
At no time is there any recognition of how this slingshot move is pretty awesome in and of itself and how there should be an entire movie devoted just to it. There is very little attempt at an explanation as to how travel around the sun leads to time travel and I know there is no explanation because it can’t be done yet most of this things in this franchise cant be done but that doesn’t stop the crew from offering the audience a BS explanation for purposes of nerd placation.
SIDENOTE: I recall the crew has time traveled before in the original series. I will have to look up whether travel around the sun at fast speed was involved.
OK. The crew winds up in 1986 San Francisco. They go on a mission to locate a male and a female whale and bring them back to the 2300s so the whales will fornicate and repopulate the seas with whales so the whales will respond to the whale probe and the probe will be happy the whales are still alive and will stop trying to destroy the earth and will go away.
Kirk and Spock meet up with a 1980s lady whale scientist Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Taylor who would later go on to play mother of a shit ton of kids on Seventh Heaven) and after ridiculous efforts, finally convince her that they are from the motherhumping future and that she should help them whale-nap the whales in residence at the whale museum she works at. To Kirk’s credit, he doesn’t pork her, which I want to say means Kirk has grown and matured as a character, having realized he doesn’t need to seek coitus with every female he meets but truthfully, it’s probably just because he never finds the time. The movie moves that fast. It is a mad dash to snag the jumbo sea mammals and get back to save the day, so there’s no time for fornication.
The rule about not interfering with the past to preserve the future is acknowledged by Bones and Scotty, but then pretty much universally thrown out the window by the whole crew. There are fun scenes where the future people are confused about life in the 1980s. In Star Trek’s future, Earthlings have evolved past needing money, they don’t swear unnecessarily (aside from Bones’ “Damn it, Jim!”) and Spock uses a Vulcan neck pinch to stop an obnoxious punk rocker from blasting his boom box on a public bus, thus fully demonstrating that the needs of the many bus riders to enjoy a ride in peace outweigh this mohawked dipstick’s need to crank up his tunes.
It’s well done. It is a lot of fun. Nary a second is wasted as it is quite fast paced, yet it still has beginning and ending scenes in the future that tie it all up in a nice bow. We never do learn who sent the whale probe and can only assume there are some highly evolved space whales out there keeping tabs on earth whales and are ready to declare intergalactic war if humans don’t start being nicer to our whale pals.
Sidenote: You’ll learn more about whales than you ever thought you could know, especially how the whaling industry devastated the whale population. Someone who wrote this movie really, really, really cared about whales because after you see it, you’ll almost want to rush out and donate to a whale preservation charity. I say almost because I didn’t because I am a cheap SOB. You totally can if you want to though.
Double sidenote: There is an eerily predictive scene that gets new meaning when you watch it today. It involves Scotty, who is disgusted when he has to use a primitive 1980s computer. He bemoans having to use such archaic tools as a keyboard and mouse and is surprised that the computer won’t talk back to him or obey his verbal commands. If only the Scotsman had visited today. He might gab with Siri or Alexa and have them get about half the commands right.
I can picture it now.
SCOTTY: “Alexa, put up the shields on the Entreprise.”
ALEXA: “Ordering you a burger with fries.”
SCOTTY: “No, we need to stop the Klingons!”
ALEXA: “Opening your account on Amazon.”
SCOTTY: “Alexa! Fire photon torpedos!”
ALEXA: “Ordering you a burrito. Do you want green sauce or red?”
Yeah, maybe Scotty was better off with a mouse and a keyboard.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I remember seeing this with the rents as a little kid like it was yesterday, and I’m pretty sure my recent viewing was only the second time I’d seen it. All in all, it has the kind of plot that most writers would be afraid to pitch, that would get most writers laughed out of the profession and though it is quite silly, it is done in such a way that it is a lot of fun. Even though the other films and shows have more serious plots with murderous alien fiends and destructive devices and intricate plots, this movie where Kirk tries to explain to a 1980s scientist over pizza how he is from the future and needs whales to save the day will likely remain one of the best films the franchise has to offer for years to come.
BQB here with a review of the third installment of the 1980s era ST franchise.
In Wrath of Khan, Spock freaking dies. I’m sorry if this comes as a spoiler to you, but holy crap. You had like 40 some odd years to watch the movie, so get over it. Spock doesn’t just die, he dies heroically, running into a radioactive chamber to do some science stuff to keep the Enterprise operational. There was no time to put on an anti-radiation suit, so he croaks. Ah, but this scene also gives rise to his well-known catchphrase – “The good of the many outweighs the needs of the few or the one.”
Freaking pointy eared communist.
As if this movie didn’t add enough to the vernacular, it also gave us the “Kobayashi Maru” i.e. a simulator Starfleet Officers have to go through and the catch is there is literally no way to solve the problem. The test isn’t so much designed to educate as to what or what not to do in a sticky situation but rather to get the officer acquainted with the fact that sometimes, you can make the best decision possible and shit will still hit the fan and go flying everywhere. (Sidenote: Who came up with the phrase “When shit hits the fan” anyway? Because it totally describes something that must be avoided to prevent something really bad from happening, namely shit hits the fan blades then gets propelled so far and wide that no matter how hard you clean and scrub you’ll still be finding little shit clumps hiding around your room years later. I can only assume at some point in history, someone literally must have taken a dump on a fan only for everyone in the room to experience the fallout and realize this is good shorthand for explaining how something catastrophic yet avoidable must be avoided.)
EDIT: I just realized the Kobayashi Maru is in Star Trek 2 and not this film. I confused my Saaviks. Kirstie Alley played the She-Vulcan in 2 while Robin Curtis took the role in 3. Alley was afraid of being typecast which is sad because in her makeup and with her voice she really did make for an impressive Vulcan, though Curtis wasn’t chopped liver.
Wow, what a digression! Moving on.
Anyway, this is a pretty great flick. The plot? The Enterprise officers held a funeral for the late Spock and shot his body at the Genesis planet in a torpedo coffin, which frankly, sounds kind of disrespectful but maybe space folk are into that sort of thing. This happened at the end of the Khan film.
In this go-around, Dr. Bones McCoy, literally the crankiest old man in space who, if he had a lawn, would constantly be yelling at kids to get off it, always despised Spock’s incessant logic at the expense of emotion. Thus, it’s torture for Bones when he starts feeling Spock’s logic and worse, starts talking like a vulcan.
The diagnosis? The Spockster transferred his consciousness into Dr. McCoy just before he died. As Spock’s father Sarek informs Kirk, Vulcans can do that shit. And how convenient! Spock’s body, now on a planet where everything grows and renews and nothing is ever dead for long, has been reborn, now as a little Vulcan boy who is rapidly aging and must suffer the painful ramifications of pom far or as the layman might call it, Vulcan puberty.
Alas, Starfleet Command has nixed any attempts to reclaim Spock’s bod. Official consensus is the Genesis planet sucks the big one and no one knows what to make of it other than no one should be allowed to visit it. Thus, Kirk and crew pull off a pretty sweet and daring heist of the Enterprise and go rogue.
Veteran character actor Christopher Lloyd, always made up in some way or another on film, plays the rogue Klingon Kruge who wants to snatch the Genesis info for himself so he can recreate the women and rule the galaxy in the name of all Klingons because Klingons firmly believe that humans stink like butts.
That’s pretty much it. The theft of the Enterprise is pretty cool and what happens to it at the end in the name of taking out the Klingons, well, you’ll just have to watch it. Stupid Klingons.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. If you have no life, you can binge watch Star Trek just like me on Paramount Plus.
Before I get to this review, let me discuss this little project.
I’m a recent subscriber of Paramount Plus and to be honest, I was thinking about not re-subscribing. However, Paramount makes Star Trek, so if you are a Trekkie, you’ll find all the movies and TV shows here, ready to stream where no stream has streamed before.
I’d say I’m at best half a Trekkie, maybe even a quarter Trekkie. The films were big in the 1980s when I was a kid and I have fond memories going to see them with my ‘rents, who sadly, are now dead. So that’s not fun, but it was fun when they were alive, except when you watch the films and realize half the cast are freaking dead now too. Ah, but maybe they aren’t dead. Maybe they’re just off living it up in that Undiscovered Country somewhere.
Wow that got morbid fast. Anyway, in the great annals of sci-fi flicks/TV, Star Trek is the father, but then Star Wars is the kid that grew up, did good, and bought its dear old Dad a new house. Oh, you thought they were in competition? Well, they were. But look at it this way. Without Star Trek getting viewers interested in space, you wouldn’t have had George Lucas tearing up the screen with kick ass special effects, then you wouldn’t have had the 1980s era studios pouring big bucks into sci-fi space opera fests. Some were schlock like Flash Gordon (though Ted the Teddy Bear liked it), some were middling like Battlestar Galactica (the original had a cult following though it didn’t quite kick ass until the 2004 reboot).
Ahh, but Paramount already had its space based intellectual property, it just needed Star Wars to pave the way to showing what can be done with special effects and wammo, the once cancelled 1960s show was back on film in new action backed blockbusters, albeit with a cast that ranged from middle-aged to elderly.
Anyway, my project is to review old Star Trek movies and shows from time to time. Why start with Wrath of Khan? A) it’s the best and b) it starts off a three movie arc where all the flicks are tied together.
Here, we have Admiral Kirk not really enjoying life behind a desk. He was made to be out in the space field, exploring new worlds and better yet, exploring fine ass tri-breasted green space babes. The aging Enterprise is now a training vessel and Kirk’s old BFF Spock is training the cadets. Blah blah blah, there’s a distress call from Ceti Alpha Whatever. Kirk’s old flame Dr. Carol Marcus and his heretofore unknown son David are leading the Genesis experiment, which boils down to shooting a special torpedo at a dead planet so as to resurrect it and make it lush and beautiful with life.
Meanwhile, vile genetically altered to be a super strong supervillain Khan (the always swarthy Ricardo Montalban) and his group of genetically superior super-underlings have been marooned on a dead planet for years, having been exiled there by Kirk during the original show for their crimes of d-baggery in trying to steal the Enterprise. Basically, these super-people have a long history of being forcibly exiled after using their powers for evil and so, mean as exile is, they totes deserve it.
Long story short, Chekov and his new Captain Terrell beam down to this planet to investigate, only to become Khan’s unwitting slaves thanks to disgusting bugs that can be placed into the brain via the ear canal, rendering the subject amenable to all commands. I still remember being a little kid in the movie theater and being totally grossed out by this scene.
Blah, blah, blah, Khan takes control of the Genesis device, turns it into a weapon (if it grows new life wherever it erupts, it could repave an existing society with trees and fauna).
Bottomline – Spock croaks in the ensuing chaos but not forever? That brings us to Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Kudos to the film for finding ways to embrace the cast’s age rather than ignore it. Here, Kirk is an elder Federation statesman but despises the role because he’s still young at heart and as long as the body is willing, the mind will always crave adventure (often even when the body is unwilling).
Spock’s a cadet trainer. The rest of the cast get roped into the mission in various ways. It does tie into the original series. There is an episode where Ricardo Montalban plays Khan and tries to oust Kirk as Enterprise captain.
Though it seems unlikely Kirk went this long without knowing he had an adult son, it does tie in with the character, i.e. he was a dude who bagged babes throughout the galaxy, never stopping to give them an intergalactic call to see how they were doing or if they had any lifeforms growing inside them that were his.
All in all, Kirk’s shouting of “KHAN!” when he realizes his old enemy has beaten him makes the movie. It is a meditation on revenge and whether it is ever the right option, for there are many moments where Khan has the upper hand. He and his hench-people can escape and live great lives, but like Captain Ahab (referenced in the film) he simply cannot stop hunting the white whale that is Kirk.
Space. The final frontier. Damn, it’s big and shit.
These are the voyages of the Starship SPOILERPRISE.
BQB here with a review of Star Trek: Beyond.
J.J. Abrams’ third Star Trek movie is out. This go around, Kirk and Co. get lured into a distant nebula, ambushed and stranded after crashing on a desolate planet run by the evil alien Krall.
The crew has an artifact Krall wants in order to do evil shit…and they fight and shit and that’s about it. I’ll let you watch and fill in the details on your own.
I applaud J.J. because he seems committed to honoring the spirit of the old show/movies even though the 35+ crowd that Hollywood typically doesn’t give a crap about is the only demographic that would care.
Sulu’s totally gay and homage is paid to the late Leonard Nimoy, as well as to the original cast.
Sorry to give this spoiler but at one point a photo of the original cast is shown from the 1980s/1990s movies when they’re all in their 50’s and are wrinkly and gray haired and shit.
Millenials, old people used to look like that and they let them into movies anyway. Now they just botox the shit out of themselves until their 95.
Idris Elba is great as Krall. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and everyone turn in great performances.
There are times when it almost feels like they’re parodying the original show. Karl Urban’s impression of Dr. “Bones” McCoy is just too good.
There are attempts to appeal to us ancient folk – we’ll be ancient dust particles by the time Kirk comes around. Alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) for example, enjoys rap music. As she explains, she “likes the beats and the yelling.” The other characters note that it is considered classical music.
I wonder which of our hits will be considered classics in Kirk’s time?
Kirk also rides a vintage motorcycle against the aliens – a move that might have been campy but since it was done right, it worked.
I enjoyed it. Honestly, I think the second one in this series (the one with Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan) was the best of the three.
This one has it high points but there’s something about it – maybe by now we’ve all come to know these new versions of the original characters. Maybe the plot wasn’t as involved as the other films – I don’t know.
I’m not saying it was bad. I just think the second was the best and this one didn’t top it. But it is still worth your time.
Very sad about Anton Yelchin’s tragic accident. Yelchin played Chekov in all three of the new movies including this one.
Nothing reminds me of the fragile nature of life than when a celebrity dies before his/her movie comes out and there I am, sitting in the audience, watching that person larger than life on the big screen yet in my mind I’m thinking “Oh, sigh, that person sadly isn’t with us anymore.”
Finally, just an observation. All the evil aliens are ugly. All the nice aliens are – well I’m not sure if “hot” is the right word lest I get accused of having a thing for aliens but all the nice aliens are pleasant looking.
Krall for example has a permanent angry glare and his henchman aliens all have sharp teeth whereas heroine Jaylah is basically just a hot chick who had some designs drawn on her face with magic marker.
Therefore, the plight of stereotypical ugly typecasting exists even in space. In the next film, I demand that the crew have an officer who is a hideous alien with sharp teeth. #OscarsSoPretty
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