Sunday, May 30, 2010
For a while now there has been some discussion round t'Intertubes about the relative merits of the various Star Trek films. There is little question that Wrath of Khan and First Contact end up at the top of most people's list, but the bottom is often a hotly contentious subject. Well pull up some shuttlecraft wreckage and gather round as uncle Marius will tell you exactly why I think Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is the all time worst Trek film.
Let's start at the beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Now the reasons why this film wasn't very good are legion, and I shall not go into them in much depth (this time), but its two greatest sins were 1. it was boring, and 2. the character interactions were missing. When I saw TMP for the first time I left the cinema with my head full of the new Enterprise, and it took me four more viewings, again at the cinema as this was long before VCRs, before I began to realize that the movie was all about the hardware. I still love the long, to some overly long, fly-by of the Enterprise, but the rest of the movie is, indeed, dull. That being said there wasn't anything in TMP that violated the precepts of behavior or character that had been established in the previous fifteen years of television. Granted there was a lot missing, but nobody behaved grossly out of character. Thus the film was not very good as a movie, but as Star Trek it was merely lacking.
The next three films gave us all that we missed back in regard to character interaction and fun plot lines. The Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic was back, and the filmmakers made obvious efforts to redress the sins of the past by giving the rest of the crew significant parts to play. Of course there were missteps and plot holes, but that has always been part of the charm of Star Trek, and while they were careful to not take themselves too seriously, there was plenty of comic relief that was sadly lacking in TMP. Then along came The Final Frontier.
First of all let me say that I have read William Shatner's books about his experiences making Star Trek, and I don't buy his explanation that ST:V was ruined by studio meddling and budget cuts. ST:V was ruined by a ham handed director who tried to turn Star Trek into a comic parody of itself. The Saturday Night Live sketch where the Enterprise is turned into a restaurant was truer to the characters than ST:V. Kirk climbing a mountain was fine, but the rocket boots that Spock used were just ridiculous. The whole scene around the camp fire when Kirk and McCoy were trying to get Spock to sing was painful. Spock may be unemotional, but he's not stupid. He knows more about Earth history and behaviors than most humans on the show, but the concept of singing a round needs to be explained like he's a three year old? I could see where they were trying to go with the scene, but it just didn't work.
Then there were the three ambassadors. The human ambassador was fine, but the Klingon and Romulan ambassadors were almost Saturday morning cartoon caricatures. And then there was Captain Klaa (possibly the stupidest Klingon name ever), and a performance that would have made your average Power Rangers villain seem like Laurence fucking Olivier! Actually, now that I think about it, the only performance in the movie that was watchable was Laurence Luckinbill as Sybok. I won't debate the existence of Sybok as Spock's half-brother as that is one of the few plot points that didn't bother me, but Luckinbill brought subtlety and charm to this otherwise cardboard cutout of a movie.
And then there is Shatner's handling of the rest of the crew. Chekhov and Sulu were pretty much ignored, but Scotty's portrayal as a clueless, bumbling martinet who only thinks he knows his way around the ship was not only annoying, it was infuriating. And all I can say about Uhura's desert fan dance is WTF? I think Nichelle Nichols is a lovely person, and was still quite handsome in 1989, but the best diversion they could think of was to have a 57 year old woman do a fan dance? Not only was it incredibly stupid, it was insulting to all of the women who grew up respecting Uhura for not resorting to using sex as a means of forwarding her career. Compare her work in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock with Mr. Adventure in the Star Fleet transporter room to this farce of a diversion.
Yes, there were a few good moments in this crapfest of a film, but "Please sir, not in front of the Klingons", and "Excuse me, why does God need a starship?" are not enough to save this sinking turd. Taken just as a movie I rank it right up there with Mansquito or Jaws 3 in its amateurish lack of quality and substance, but as Star Trek this film was an insult to the fans, an embarrassment to the actors, and a festering blemish on the greatest Science Fiction series to date.
In my opinion, of course.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Good gravy,y'all. The universe has been really kicking the glutes of your faithful(well, sort of) scribe of late. Amongst all the carnage and spewing of Mother Nature's vital, yet icky bodily fluids, there has been a great, terrible, and gradually settling upheaval here in Castle Marius. You see a few years ago, as was chronicled herein, I procured employment some forty-five miles from home. The commute was all freeway, and my new passion for podcasts ameliorated the drive, but there were many a night, especially when work ran late, when that long journey to and fro grew more than tiresome. Added to that my vessel, were she truly spaceworthy, would have recently passed beyond the orbit of the Moon, and so we felt it was time to move closer to the rest of the populated areas hereabouts. Fortunately the mighty and wonderful Sheeps (she who married Turtle about two years ago) had a place that needed tenants. So we moved in this past weekend. First of all let me extend a heartfelt thank you to all who helped schlep our crap over here, but by Beelzebub's brass balls this move has been a trauma and a half! We calculated that the two places were nearly the same in size, but it seems that we have far more junk than room. Things are gradually falling into place, but there was a time of panic on our first night here when we felt...well, ok, when I felt that we had made a grave error, but as I find more places for stuff my panic is dissolving into mere exhaustion. Getting old sucks ass!!! But this place, while in need of a bit of TLC for it sat vacant for nearly two years, is shaping up to be home now, and speaking as the one male in a house with two females, the three bathrooms more than make up for being a bit more cramped. :-) It's in a more urban area than I particularly care for, but Mrs. Marius, being far less hermit-like than myself, is very happy about that. And I must confess that there is just about any store we might need within ten minute's drive, which doesn't suck.
In world news the British elections were far more confusing than I imagined they could be, but from what I've gathered from my UK friends it might just end up being the best thing to happen over there, governmentally speaking, in a long time. Imagine if John McCain had won in 2008, but had to have Obama as his VP. They might actually have a Parliament that gets things done over there. Now if only we could get something like that here.
As for the oil spew in the Gulf, I'm of very mixed emotions. If it turns out that there was negligence, or actual malfeasance,then I say nail BP to the wall. If, however, this was truly just an accident then I don't know what to say. We all bitched up a storm when gas hit $4 a gallon, but the whole Not In My Back Yard attitude of people when it comes to oil drilling is a bit disingenuous, methinks. I would love to turn my car into an artificial reef, hook up a windmill, and ride my bicycle to work, but until that is feasible we need the oil companies...and they need to punch holes in the planet to find what we need. This is a terrible tragedy, and will only get worse before it gets better, but our absolute addiction to fossil fuels made something like this inevitable, and crying about it now, and especially blaming the government for it, really accomplishes nothing.
Let's end on a happy note. Due to the move, and various other factors tugging at our limited time resources Starbase 66 hasn't recorded a new show in nearly a month, but we are finally getting back together tonight and I can't wait! We really miss each other when we go this long without recording, and I am looking so forward to tonight's session. And I hope you are, too. :-)
OK, that's all for now. Stay safe, stay classy, or if you can't at least post lots of pictures. ;-)
Love and kisses,
Friday, May 14, 2010
A few years back someone handed me Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and I read it. Most of it was common sense stuff and touchy-feely New Age pop-psychology, but there was one nugget of truth that actually was useful. In a nutshell it said that when men discuss a problem, they are trying to work out a solution. When women discuss a problem, they just want a sympathetic ear and are not necessarily looking for suggestions on how to solve said problem. The problem is that we genuinely need to try to solve these problems eventually. Especially me. It's what I do for a living. So if you've got a problem, say with your significant other, and you want to talk to me about it, I'll do my best to simply listen, commiserate, and only if asked offer advice. But, if the situation continues, and your guy, hypothetically, continues to treat you like shit, and you refuse to do anything about it my need to fix will outweigh your need to just be listened to. And the longer this goes on, the more frustrated I will get until eventually we'll run the risk of damaging our own friendship. So what I'm saying is that guys should learn to listen to their female friends/lovers/spouses, but ladies need to learn that if you're in a lousy situation that you have the power to change, but won't, we can only be a sympathetic ear for so long before we start telling you how to fix it, or go away...or both.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
As you know I haven't been blogging much, and this post will graphically demonstrate why. The universe is currently engaged in a campaign of continually kicking me in the balls, or so it seems anyway, and I haven't wanted to dump on you, dear readers. But I have to vent this somewhere. Frustration is the emotion I have the most problem dealing with, and it is the most frequent visitor of late. The major cause of this frustration is the CoA. She seems to have outgrown her ADHD, but has replaced it with something called Oppositional Defiance Disorder. She lies, she steals, she breaks every rule we have. She is twelve and a half, yet she acts like she's eight. We've had to leave her alone more and more, and every time she does something that drives me through the roof. And no matter what we try, either punishment for bad behavior, or reward for good, she's like a Borg. It all works once, maybe twice, then she adapts. Her therapist seems to be as frustrated as we are.
We are also in the process of moving, which has its own plethora of aggravations and frustrations, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just the fear that despite our best efforts we won't get our security deposit back, or that the homeowner's association at the new place won't accept our application.
Starbase 66 is more popular than ever, but due to our increasingly complex work schedules we've been having trouble getting together to record. This is not unexpected, nor particularly irksome, but it is another straw added to the pile. That being said the show is one of the highest of the high points of my life right now, and I love my cohosts and our fans.
There are other things, too, like friends who let their boyfriends treat them like shit, and the slow decay of my car, but I've already blathered enough here. Thanks for listening, if any of you have made it this far. Hopefully much of this stuff will clear itself up, and we'll be able to come up with a strategy to get the CoA under control. And if not, I'll just whine about it some more. ;-)
Love and kisses,