Simon Pegg

RR50: Star Trek Beyond Review

RR50: Star Trek Beyond Review
Redshirts & Runabouts

 
 
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Celebrate 50 episodes with us as we conveniently complete our Star Trek movie reviews with the third Kelvin timeline film, Star Trek Beyond! We also discuss the rumors surrounding the Michelle Yeoh Philippa Georgiou Star Trek spinoff series. Let’s make some noise!

We’re taking next week off to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US but we’ll be back the following week for something a little different. You’ll have to listen to this week’s episode to find out!

Be sure to check out @RedshirtsPod on Twitter and follow us!

What did you think of Star Trek Beyond? Are you a fan of the Kelvin timeline? Where does Beyond rank among the 13 Star Trek films? Comment below or hit us up @RedshirtsPod on Twitter! Don’t forget to subscribe to Redshirts & Runabouts! The links are below!

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Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Redshirts & Runabouts Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Greg Bosko
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Rae Stewart
Zach Story

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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RR50: Star Trek Beyond Review

SH S5E13: Ready Player One Review

We’ve got a big episode for you this week as we not only review the Ready Player One movie, but we also talk news including the latest from Shazam Watch, the Arrowverse CW shows’ status for next season, and the possible recasting of Princess Leia in Star Wars IX. Before all that, we’ve got some housekeeping topics: our big MCU Tournament showdown happening right now on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, plus our upcoming presentation at Gathering of Geeks in downtown Kansas City later this month.

What did you think of Ready Player One the movie? Did it stack up to the book? Any news you’re excited about? Let us know!

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Join us live on Tuesday nights and catch the episodes later on iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Spreaker, Google Play, and more!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Prefer to watch Screen Heroes? Catch the recorded broadcast below!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S5E13: Ready Player One Review

Ghostbusters Fancast

Transcribed from 2/3/16 episode of Screen Heroes: Episode 7 “Would You Watch It?”

Every once in a while, we recast, or fancast, films.  This time, we each chose to cast a Ghostbusters film we want to watch. We all take different approaches and three really fun movies emerge. Which one would you most like to see?

Ryan:

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Sequel: Ghostbusters 3, The Boogie Man Cometh

Directed by Edgar Wright

Ghostbusters:
Nick Frost – particle physicist
Kristen Schaal – straight man, Venkman-like character
Terry Crews – the humor, big guy who idolized the Ghostbusters as a kid and grew up to be one
Milla Jovovich – the action hero

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Michael Fassbender – Receptionist
Bruce Campbell – Lawyer, Rick Moranis character
Doug Jones (body)/Tim Curry – Boogie Man

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Plot revolves around the lingering Boogie Man, who haunted Spengler as a kid. The original Ghostbusters train the new ones

Ecto: Dodge Magnum

Rae:

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Sequel, Ghostbusters: The Krakening

Directed by Peyton Reed

Ghostbusters:
Simon Pegg – leader of the team, chemical engineer, weapon-smith
Ellie Kemper – daughter of Simon Pegg’s character, grew up in this business, not sure if she’ll follow
Jessica Williams – smartest person on team, many PhDs, always serious
Bill Hader – womanizer, Venkman without charm

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TJ Miller – receptionist, love interest to Ellie Kemper
Ricky Gervais – human antagonist
Morgan Freeman – Daegon

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Ecto: Mini Cooper Ectos, everyone gets their own little car

Set in Portland, Oregon in a former haunted tavern

Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg’s characters move over from England to start their own Ghostbuster franchise. Gervais’s character believed he could use some ghosts to help fight other ghosts and was fired for involving himself in black arts and releasing previously captured ghosts.

Final battle in the sea facing a giant Kraken-like version of Morgan Freeman

Derreck:

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Reboot, recast of original characters

Directed by  James Gunn

Ghostbusters:
Michael B. Jordan – “Winston”
Emma Watson – “Spengler”
Grant Gustin – “Stantz”
Paul Giammati – “Venkman”

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Mila Kunis – Receptionist

Brent Spiner – Walter Peck

Justin Timberlake – Louis Tully

Emma Stone – Dana

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In place of a the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a giant Funko Pop Vinyl attacks New York. Resembles an innocent object that would never hurt you.

What do you think of our movies? Would you watch any of them? Let us know what you think and to hear the original pitches in their full detail, catch the original episode, click here.

Ghostbusters Fancast

SH S2E5: Star Trek Beyond & Discovery

This week we boldly go reviewing Star Trek Beyond, which opened last weekend in most of the territories it will hit. This episode is full of spoilers as we talk characters and casting, motivations, plot points, the film’s resolution, special effects, costume design, and how the movie fits in with not just the Kelvin timeline but also the Prime timeline of the Star Trek franchise in its 50th year. Then, we talk a bit about the newly named Star Trek: Discovery series coming to CBS All-Access in January 2017. We talk about the title of the series, the title logo, and the ship design along with some of our hopes or thoughts on what we’d like to see in the next Star Trek series.

Star Trek Beyond won the US domestic box office, bringing in $59.25 million beating out The Secret Life of Pets, Lights Out, and Ice Age: Collision Course. The film had a $185 million budget not counting marketing and brought in an additional $30 million internationally bringing its opening weekend total to $95.5 million.

Wished you could be part of the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\griddaily

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Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\griddaily

Star Trek Beyond & Discovery Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Zach Story

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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SH S2E5: Star Trek Beyond & Discovery

Star Trek Beyond: Spoiler-Filled Review

For those who don’t know, I’m The Star Trek Dude on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also recently begun my Trek Watch in which I am reviewing literally every official episode and movie of Star Trek including The Animated Series. Even though my plan is to do this in order (TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and Enterprise with the movies interspersed as they happen), I thought I would take this opportunity to review Star Trek Beyond while it’s fresh in my mind. The review below is from my Trek Watch site, so please check out the rest of my reviews that are ongoing at TheStarTrekDude.com. You can find the original Start Trek Beyond review article here: thestartrekdude.com/star-trek-beyond

Stardate: 2263.02
Year: 2263
Written by: Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
Direct by: Justin Lin

This review, like all on this site unless noted otherwise, will contain spoilers but since the movie just came out, I wanted to warn you.

My Trek Watch is being shifted a bit in honor of Star Trek Beyond which opened in theaters today. Star Trek Beyond is the third film in the Kelvin Timeline (previously dubbed JJ-verse by many, myself included) and the 13th film of the franchise. The movie was co-written by self-proclaimed Trekkie and Trek actor, Simon Pegg and directed by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin, another self-proclaimed Trekkie. The film stars the returning cast which includes Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (Bones), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov). We are joined by two newcomers in the main villain played by Idris Elba (Krall) and a new protagonist played by Sofia Boutella (Jaylah). You might remember Sofia Boutella from Kingsmen, as she plays Samuel L. Jackson’s #2, the woman with the blade legs.

Star Trek Beyond - Posters Small

Alright, let’s talk about the film. Star Trek Beyond takes place just about 3 years into the Enterprise’s Five Year Mission. This might even be a bit of a nod to The Original Series, since it was canceled around the time this movie would have taken place. I love the way the movie begins. We are shown a Captain Kirk who is bored, tired, and disenchanted by the chair. He even makes an inside-joke about things feeling episodic. I laughed. What I liked about this was the parallels to Captain Pike of the Prime Timeline in “The Cage”. Both characters had lost their sense of adventure and drive for exploration. They had lost themselves a bit and didn’t know what their next step would be. Both even thought about leaving the Enterprise.

In the meantime, we had Spock’s interesting arc of conflict dating back to the 2009 film. He is constantly struggling with his duties to Starfleet and his duties to the Vulcan people in the aftermath of Nero. In a truly touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Spock learns that the Ambassador has died. This is an incredibly complex situation. What does it feel like if a version of yourself dies? How can one know?

Things don’t stay dark the whole time, though. In fact, I found that the film brought a sense of light and brightness to the franchise we had not seen since Star Trek: Insurrection. I found that this movie enjoyed the spirit of The Original Series but did so in the 21st century when movies are more fast paced and action packed.

The overall plot is solid. I also really liked the origin of Krall, even if some critics claim they caught on immediately. I did not. I found Krall to be a menacing character as well. He is powerful, intelligent, and dedicated to his cause. The characters have fun and/or important arcs that are all more or less resolved by the end of the film. Again, Chekov has the least going on but he did get more screen time than Into Darkness. Jaylah was a nice breath of fresh air too. Her speaking style, visual appearance, and attitude made the movie more enjoyable and brought a sense of wonder with her.

Star Trek Beyond - Krall

The character relationships are the best part of this movie from a story perspective. Bones and Spock have some wonderful moments both humorous and serious in nature. When Spock is close to death, it is their respect and friendship that keeps them going. Since 1966, we’ve watch Bones and Spock trade barbs. McCoy would throw a “green blooded” insult and Spock would reply with something intellectual yet sarcastic. What some don’t realize is that they were true friends with deep respect for one another. Beyond showed this better than any film before it and I loved every second. Seeing the characters paired up differently was also fun. We had Kirk and Chekov, Uhura and Sulu, Scotty and Jaylah, and Bones and Spock as I mentioned.

Spock Jaylah and Bones

What sold this movie to me, as a Trekkie, is its understanding of the franchise and canon. While the 2009 film obviously referenced the Prime Timeline it didn’t add anything outside of Spock Prime. At the same token, Into Darkness ignored the Prime timeline all together with the exception of Khan’s existence. Star Trek Beyond does exactly the opposite throughout the film. First, we have all of the Star Trek: Enterprise references like the Xindi and Romulan Wars, MACOs, and the formation of the Federation. We even got a glimpse of that era’s uniforms and the USS Franklin is clearly based on the NX-01 Enterprise design from the TV show, even if it’s different. But that’s not where it ended. We got references in basic dialogue like Chekov’s tale pertaining to the origins of Scotch, straight from TOS. Kirk even makes a statement about “absent friends” in his toast toward the end of the film. The birthday references are there too. These were echos of The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock but in a different light for different incarnations.

The resolution for the film is fun, for me at least, but flimsy at best. I saw some similarities to how the Borg were handled at times during Voyager with the whole disrupt communication concept and I can appreciate all of the ships in the swarm functioning that way but I don’t understand why they blew up anymore than I understood it in the Voyager episode “The Swarm” when those ships exploded due to a phaser feedback… but at least that was an actual weapon. But, as I said, the scene and music is fun, so I’m going to let it slide because Trek has done worse before and it’s my only serious gripe for the film.

USS Franklin

Finally, we had the major tribute to Nimoy. Quinto’s Spock is looking through a box of items from Spock Prime. He then pulls out a small case where a photo slides out. I expected just a picture of Nimoy as Spock, maybe young, maybe old but just something to say goodbye one last time. We got so much more. We got the iconic photo of the original crew, similar to the one below. We got to see the Kelvin Timeline not only honor Nimoy in his passing but honor his Spock, his Kirk, his Enterprise, and his crew. It was a picture I never expected to see in new Trek and an acknowledgement of the franchise’s history that was perfectly deserving on its 50th year.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Crew

In the credits, we got a final goodbye to Nimoy and the film’s dedication to Anton Yelchin. While Nimoy’s loss was a major one for many in the Trek community and beyond, Yelchin’s was shocking and painful. He was so young and his presence will be missed in everything he could have been a part of. I fully support Abrams’ and the studio’s decision not to recast Chekov.

To end on a positive note, Star Trek Beyond was a fantastic birthday present to a franchise half a century old that has hit every corner of this globe. It captures the spirit of The Original Series while pushing forward in its own right, respecting the franchise every step of the way. I loved it and can’t wait to see what’s in store for Star Trek 4 and the upcoming TV series on CBS.

May you all live long and prosper.

For more of my thoughts on the film, catch the Screen Heroes podcast episode #31 with a live broadcast Tuesday, July 26th at 8PM CST at twitch.tv\griddaily or listen to the recorded episode at griddaily.com

If you have thoughts or are interested in more, go to TheStarTrekDude.com!

Star Trek Beyond: Spoiler-Filled Review

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

But I’m sure you’ve already heard that it’s good or that some reviews not liking Star Trek Beyond for its lack of depth, you know, the kinda of depth of classic episodes like “City on the Edge of Forever” or “Balance of Terror”, for example. What some people forget is that on average The Original Series was far from perfect. Depending on who you ask, only about half the episodes are really good. What brings fans like me back continually are the characters and how they interact. I’ll sit through some of the worst TOS episodes if the banter between Spock and McCoy makes me smile and if it has a theme or at least some solid message I’ll have a good time watching it. And that’s what Star Trek Beyond is, a simple character driven story with a theme. Its theme is camaraderie plain and simple. There are also much more sublet nods to ideas of globalization and provincialism and sense of wonder. Sometimes all you need is a nod if you want to focus more on the characters and you’ll have a great film.

Plot:
The plot is functional, nothing too elaborate, but it gets the job done. There are no big loop holes or dramatically illogical moments like what was found in Star Trek Into Darkness. But it does lack the freshness and charm of something like an origin story that is found Star Trek (2009). At no time was the story dull or boring, even during the moments of exposition and story setup it was fun to watch. The film moves from start to finish in a quick way that will leave you feeling like it’s going to end way too soon but the pacing never disappoints.  Interestingly enough where you could argue Into Darkness failed at plot twists and surprises, Beyond does a much better job at it. You’ll definitely want to avoid spoilers with this one.kirk-yorktown-uniform

Cast and Acting:
This film’s saving grace is its cast and acting. I know it’s been said before but if you think these actors have hit there mark before, you’ll be blown away with how they’ve improved on capturing the characters. They all feel much more visceral. Most noticeably is Karl Urban’s McCoy who is given a far greater role in the story. He’s your battle medic alright. And McCoy is gonna make you laugh, let me tell you.

karl-urban-almost-said-no-star-trek-beyond

The new comers to Star Trek, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella, are well done also. You’d think Idris Elba, being so buried in makeup would be a mistake. When I first saw the trailer, I was reminded of the Remans from Star Trek: Nemisis, shallow Nosferatu like aliens that were flat and dull, more monster than villain. But Elba pulls it off well. He has a certain speaking cadence like Bane from The Dark Knight Returns but it’s actually much closer to how Ceaser speaks in the Planet of the Apes remakes. It draws you in, eager to hear every word, it keeps you hanging on his words. The villain interestingly enough has a not too subtle character arch that when it reaches its climax is interesting and adds to both the story and characters motivation, if a little to late.

bts-idris-elba-justin-lin

Sofia Boutella’s female heroin character, Jaylah, has some range as well. She portrays her as a strong and cunning independent survivor. Yet Boutell gives Jaylah a much needed vulnerability at times. Something that other space fairing, sci-fi flicks didn’t do with there stick fighting female leads (cough, cough Force Awakens). It’s Jaylah’s vulnerability with her strength that makes her compelling in the opposite way of how Rey was handled in Star Wars.

jaylah-franklin-chair

Script:
Much of the charm and fun from Star Trek Beyond comes from the clever script. Cheeky one liners and interactions between characters are what makes this film exciting during the down time between the action scenes. McCoy and Spock’s interactions are some of the best moments with the film. But every character has his or her scenes and contributions to the plot; no character is wasted and everyone has a reason to be there.

jaylah-scotty-scanning

The only draw back at the end is the problem solving felt a little too collaborative. Like cheesy 90s sitcoms where couples finish each others sentences when faced with a problem, it felt like they where kicking a ball back and forth and it felt a bit too forced.

Action:
The action is real good but perhaps not as good as something like Force Awakens. True, there are some moments where Star Trek Beyond introduces some very interesting shots and camera work that depict actions scenes in zero gravity in a new way, both in space and hand to hand combat. But these shots don’t always pay off. When they do, they’re something special.

kirk-motorcycle

Oddly enough though, the infamous motorcycle scene is actually pretty darn good. When I saw it first in the trailer I was reminded of the lame dune buggy scene from Star Trek: Nemesis. But it fits with the story and is fun to watch. I actually liked it. Kirk was the action hero we always knew he was.

Lastly, the space battles where good but not overly so. Much as with the plot, the strength is with the characters not the space ships.

Special Effects:
Actually, I was slightly disappointed with the special effects. Generally most sci-fi films do a great job at this, heck even fan films can have some great stuff. But there are some moments here and there where I guess they got overly ambitious with shots and angles and didn’t have the budget to make everything look perfect. I mean don’t get me wrong, the film overall looks great but early on in the above mentioned motorcycle scene for example,  it looked sub-standard, perhaps because they wanted an interesting pan shot for the camera. It may be from lack of budget more than lack of vision though.  I got to hand it to them for trying an interesting shot though. I’m no special effects purists.

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Overall:
Star Trek Beyond is a fantastic film but if you’re an old school Trekkie that hated the previous two films then there really isn’t much here you’d like. As for everyone else, you’re going to enjoy yourself with Beyond. It feels like a love letter to The Original Series, at many times echoing it in form and function. Though not a film with intellectual depth, it stands on par with the complexity found with Star Trek: First Contact easily and in many ways surpasses it. It’s an incredible bounce back from the shortcomings of Into Darkness and though in may not have the charm of the 2009 entry, it feels much closer to the source material than many other Star Trek films. In many ways, it was much closer to Star Trek: The Motion Picture as far as look and feel to The Original Series. That’s pretty darn impressive in itself.

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What did you think of Star Trek Beyond? Do you think Justin Lin was up to the task? Comment below with your thoughts!

Live long and prosper.

Star Trek Beyond: The Spoiler Free Review, It’s Fantastic

Star Trek Beyond: Trailer Reaction

The new Star Trek Beyond trailer dropped earlier this week, with rumors of it showing before the much anticipated upcoming Star Wars film. The first thing I noticed was how crude the first scene was with Kirk and Scotty. It looked so mashed together. They pasted scenes from the film together to sell the Beastie Boys song, “Sabotage”. Recycling from the first film’s music. This isn’t unusual for a teaser though. Neither is a simplified representation.

Typically trailers try to put all films into cookie cutter genres; action, romance, comedy, etc. So don’t get your feathers all ruffled just yet if this one comes across as an action adventure romp. Hollywood is expertly adept at twisting and turning films to fit their cookie cutter image of what they think will get the most butts in seats in July. They rushed this one out to hit with Star Wars. I know first impressions aren’t that good but teaser trailers usually suck, instead lest take a closer look at some of the more interesting details.

If you haven’t seen the first Star Trek Beyond trailer yet, check it out below before continuing.

 

Enterprise Destruction

You clearly see the port-side nacelle separate and the neck linking the primary and secondary hull take heavy damage. There are also hints of the saucer separating and the crew using escape pods. This wouldn’t be the first time the Big E was taken out in a film (see Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek: Generations ) and even more times on the television show; this is a popular way to ramp up the drama and excitement if it’s done right. Ultimately the ship is a part of the family and when it dies you can feel its loss. Hopefully, the ship isn’t sacrificed on the altar of action and adventure. Maybe they’ll try to evoke the sadness of the Search for Spock. One thing to note is that the Enterprise was attacked by a swarm, kamikaze style. Star Trek usually doesn’t touch on either of these often. The only exception being Voyager’s episode, “Swarm”.

Star Trek Beyond: Nacelle Damage

New Aliens

There looks to be at least two new aliens introduced in Star Trek Beyond; one enemy, one friendly. The hostile one (Idris Elba) looks to be a mixture of perhaps Jem’hadar and Reman, and probably with the same disposition to match. The other is a more friendly, black and white toned alien with a wielding a staff, presumably played by Sofia Boutella. What these two characters represent in the story is unknown but it may be related to the two different types of locals in the film cities and wilderness

Star Trek Beyond: Idris Elba Alien
New Uniforms

The obvious one would be the previously leaked Guardians of the Galaxy style worn by Kirk. Though unoriginal, it looks good. Maybe Paramount is hoping to cash in on the casual fun of Guardians of The Galaxy. But more the subtle change would be the regular duty uniforms seen on the ship and on the surface of the planet(s). It looks like a high mandarin collar has been added with some slight shoulder pads. And it looks like the fine texture that gave the uniforms a jersey, modern sports look has been dropped. With the high collar, plain texture, and shoulder pads it shares many similarities with the TNG uniforms. We don’t get many clear shots of the new regular duty uniform so it’s hard to say if it’s an improvement. Usually, high collars and shoulder pads add a certain professionalism to the look, a seriousness. Maybe hinting at the true tone of the film. I guess we’ll find out in July if they actually pull it off.

Star Trek Beyond: McCoyStar Trek Beyond: McCoy

Star Trek Beyond Plot Speculation

Creeping on forum boards, hoping to get glimpse of movies before they release really isn’t my thing. It’s just that I prefer something more tangible than rumors. From what I’ve seen, the ship takes heavy damage and the crew has used escape pods. But I wonder if this happens at the start of the film instead of at the climax at the end as it looks like they continue on the planet surface for a bit. The film may have a survivalist aspect with the ship being lost and the crew captured as POWs with Kirk saying “we have no ship, no crew” supporting this. A sort of Great Escape style story of the crew fighting to survive and get the upper hand of their captors. Perhaps Starfleet has gotten too ambitious pressing Beyond civilized space and found that “this is where the Frontier pushes back.” I love that line, I just hope it’s better than Voyager’s “Back to Basics” episode if this is the case. Either way this is just idle speculation.

Star Trek Beyond: POWs

Note Scotty’s little alien friend

Conclusion

The newer Star Trek films have been hit and miss with Trekkies and critics alike. After the less than perfect Into Darkness iteration they’ll need Star Trek Beyond to do much better, well at least if they want to keep making movies. Add to that a strong desire for the studio to get that huge Avengers and Guardians kind of revenue, you have some potential for Star Trek Beyond to be a hit. Consider also that they’re already taking steps to make another film after this and it makes me wonder if it will be a semi-cliffhanger like the end of Star Trek III. But when it comes to trailers, I’m too jaded and I try to stick to the look and feel of it, ignoring the studio’s attempt to cookie-cutter categorization. It looks like they may be setting audiences up for an emotional loss and comeback story. Are they bold enough to end it like Empire Strikes Back? All in all, just try to remember teaser trailers are rushed and try to fit cookie cutter ideas of genres. Let’s be a little patient shall we. Isn’t Star Trek about optimism. Keep your chin up Trekkies!

What did you think of the trailer? Comment below with your thoughts!

Star Trek Beyond: Trailer Reaction

Mission: Impossible – Treating Women like People

I didn’t intend to write anything about Mission Impossible, even with the latest installment of the series debuting in a few days.  But Netflix conspired against me and put the first two movies in the series up on the Recommended for You list.  Inevitably I ended up watching both of them, and there are some things that I feel need to be said about them.

We give Disney and Marvel a lot of grief since, despite all of the things they do right, they have continued to be extremely hesitant to dedicate any time or money to developing their female superhero characters into being much more than supporting characters.  Black Widow easily deserves her own movie.  Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more of Wasp after Ant-Man…but who knows at this point?  We’ll get Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers in a few years, but until then, that’s pretty much it.

The renewed attention to this inequality made it impossible for me to watch the Mission Impossible films and not apply the same concerns here.  So lets look at each movie briefly to see how it treats the female characters vs male characters.

There will be spoilers for the first 4 movies in the franchise, but not for Rogue Nation.  Since the previous entry in the series was released in 2011, I feel no guilt about discussing spoilers.

Mission: Impossible – Franchise Analysis

 

Mission: Impossible

Mission: Impossible

The movie seems to start out well, as the 6 person team that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is a part of is split right down the middle: 3 men, 3 women.  But that observation falls apart as soon as you examine what each character does.

For the men, we’ve got the Team Leader (Jon Voight), the Point Man (Cruise), and the Computer Guy (Emilio Estevez).  What do the women do?  One of them got a job at the embassy before the action even started, so anything cool or impressive that she did happened completely off camera.  The second’s entire job seems to be to simply stand around, wearing sunglasses indoors, watching how a specific person moves through the crowd.  Definitely not a job that could be performed by a computer or someone hacked into security feeds.

And the third female member of the team?  Her sole qualification seems to be that she is the wife of the Team Leader.

By the time that first team mission is over, the first two female characters have been killed off and the Team Leader’s wife also dies towards the end of the film.  Where her loyalties lie is one of the turning points of the plot, but it’s never particularly clear what skills she brings to the team or why she is even there, other than “the plot demands it”.

 

Mission: Impossible II

mi2

Right off the bat, this movie commits the sin of sending Ethan Hunt to recruit Nyah (Thandie Newton), ostensibly for her skills as a thief, only to upend that assumption when it is revealed that her entire purpose is due to her previous relationship with the movie’s villain.  Whatever skills the character may have are irrelevant.  What’s important is that the character is a woman, and that she’s pretty, and that the villain wants her in the worst kind of way.  At no point does the movie treat her as anything more than a prize to be won.  In fact, it gets worse once she injects herself with the movie’s supervirus, which turns her into a literal prize to be won and woman to be saved.

 

Mission: Impossible III

Mission: Impossible IIIThe only female characters of note in this film are Lindsey Farris (Keri Russell) and Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan), respectively Ethan’s protege and fiancé (and later wife).  Lindsey dies at the conclusion of the mission that opens the movie.  Julia is largely a non-presence in the movie, and primarily seems to serve as a plot device so that Ethan can be killed via an electric shock and then brought back, since Julia is a nurse.

 

We do get a female agent, Zhen Lei (Maggie Q), but it’s been a long time since I watched Mission: Impossible III, and the Wikipedia page for this movie doesn’t say anything about this character or what she does in the movie, other than the fact that she exists.

 

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Apparently the marriage to Julia was never meant to last (who knew?), because at the start of this movie she is believed to be dead.  At the end of the movie she is revealed to be alive and well, and that her death was faked in order to protect her while Ethan continues to do crazy stuff for the IMF (while threatening to quit at the end of nearly every movie).  Once again, the character is used as more of a plot device than a character.

It took until the fourth movie in the franchise to give us a female agent that doesn’t die in the opening sequence and isn’t a traitor.  I can’t help but think there’s something wrong with that.  Yet Jane Carter (Paula Patton), for as competent as she is in combat, is effectively a blank slate.  We learn nothing about her history or her character, other than “competent, loyal agent”.   And yet in the same movie we get William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) who actually has a story and character arc built around him in the movie.

The Verdict

I suppose an argument can be made that these movies are primarily Tom Cruise movies.  He is the star of the movies, after all, right?  Except that as the movies have progressed we get more and more characters that stick around for the next movie.  Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) has been in every single one of the movies along with Tom Cruise.  Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) joined the team in Mission: Impossible III, with Brandt in Ghost Protocol.

So whoever is running the franchise has absolutely no problem creating new characters to add to the team and building new movies around, so long as they are male.

And that’s the biggest issue I’m having with these movies right now.  The feeling I get coming away from them is that the movie thinks, ultimately, women are interchangeable with each other.

From what I’ve seen of the marketing for Rogue Nation, I can’t say that I’m particularly hopeful that this movie will change things at all.

What do you think about the Mission: Impossible movies? Are we missing any strong, significant female characters? Comment below!

Mission: Impossible – Treating Women like People

Star Trek Beyond First Image

Well folks, Star Trek 3 or Star Trek Beyond, is currently in production and we have our first image from the set. It comes to us via Justin Lin’s Twitter account in the form of the new Starfleet patch on a character’s uniform. Justin Lin will be the director of this first non-JJ Bad Robot Trek film. Lin is known for directing The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast & Furious 6. This has some Trekkies\Trekkers concerned that Star Trek 3 will be turned into some big car chase in space but Simon Pegg (The World’s End, Paul, Hott Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), who is writing the film, is assuring us that we’ll get the Trek we deserve.

https://twitter.com/trailingjohnson/status/615644713824051204/photo/1

What do you think of the new Starfleet badge from Star Trek Beyond? Clearly, it’s very similar to previous incarnations but it does look a little worn, perhaps it’s been used on some away missions already.

Star Trek 3 (Star Trek Beyond) is slated for a July 8th, 2016 release, in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary. It will star returning cast Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), and John Cho (Sulu) along with possible new comer Idris Elba, among others.

 

Star Trek Beyond First Image