Monday, December 12, 2022
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Friday, December 09, 2022
They grow old, they grow apart, and they move on with their lives. Chekov changed jobs for The Motion Picture (1979), took a posting on Reliant in The Wrath of Khan (1982), and Sulu assumed command of the Excelsior in The Undiscovered Country, for example. The universe didn’t remain static, like a TV show...which hopes never to end.
The film’s opening wedding scene -- while generally horrendous in terms of dialogue, tone, editing and overall execution -- reminds us that we have known these characters for fifteen years, and that the times are indeed changing. Riker and Troi are finally getting married, and Riker is headed off to command the Titan…after a decade-and-a-half serving in Picard's shadow. Data is moving up to the role of first officer. Worf is just visiting (conveniently, again…).
Certainly, by the 24th century, cars would be out-of-fashion, and wheels wouldn’t be employed when a hover-craft would so, so this vehicle looks and feels terribly out-of-place in terms of the franchise continuity and history.
The result is that the Argo sticks out like a sore thumb.
Disregarding the Prime Directive entirely, Picard, Data and Worf utilize their advanced phaser technology to fight back, and also deploy their advanced shuttle craft. The scene evokes the Road Warrior (1982) in a kind of bad way, but primarily raises so many questions. Why does Picard ignore the Prime Directive? Why are the inhabitants hostile to our heroes? If Data can scan for positronic life signs, why can’t he also scan for the aliens ahead of time, and avoid contact with them? Why can't the Enterprise just beam everyone (and all the tech...) up quickly, and minimize the cultural interference?
If Shinzon had wanted to bring the Enterprise and Picard to Romulus for peace negotiations, he would have had to merely request Picard and his ship. He is now a recognized Head of State, after all. He can pretty much negotiate with anyone he chooses. Instead, the excuse seems to be that Picard was in the area (Kolarus III), and thus the closest ship available for peace talks. It’s all terribly trite and poorly-written, and worse, unnecessarily trite and poorly-written.
It is set on 24th century Romulus, but doesn't make even a passing comment about Amabassador Spock and his unification movement, which we remember from the series.
In 1982, fans had to wait for two whole years for Spock’s return in The Search for Spock. There was no instant gratification at all in that case. By the end of Nemesis, B4 is already whistling Irving Berlin tunes, and there is no doubt that Data lives. This short-period of mourning manages to take away from Data’s noble sacrifice. We have a replacement right here, for the beloved crew member who died...
This is a strong idea, and one that augments the relationships between the crew. Yet the idea fails somewhat because the film’s form doesn’t reflect the narrative's conclusions about the brothers and sisters "you chose." Nemesis focuses on Picard and Data to the exclusion of almost all other characters. Though Troi gets a larger role than usual here, Riker, Worf, Crusher, and La Forge all feel like after-thoughts. A chubby, Shatner-esque Riker battling the Viceroy mano-e-mano is hardly a substitute for meaningful time spent with the character.
Today, the Next Generation crew is arguably just as beloved as the original crew, and it deserves a proper send-off too. Nemesis just isn’t that movie.
Monday, December 05, 2022
For longtime fans of this blog and my writing, my 2007-2009 web-series The House Between (which was nominated for Sy-Fy Portal Awards back in the day....), is on the verge of an exciting new re-birth in the weeks and months ahead.
A new audio drama series is due to premiere in Spring of 2023 with original stories (more info to come), and Powys Media is publishing novellas based on the original program as well
The first two novellas, "Arrived" and "Settled" are now available for purchase at the Powys Media web-site!
Now available to order here.
Saturday, December 03, 2022
MOVIES MADE ME: Book Review: Horror Films of 2000-2009:
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Yet that’s precisely the case with Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris (2002) starring George Clooney. Although this remake diverges from both the Stanislaw Lem novel and the 1972 Tarkovsky film, the director’s post-millennial iteration of the tale nonetheless succeeds as a consistent and imaginative work of art.
Thematically, Solaris can be interpreted on two tracks.
In the near future, mourning widower and renowned psychologist Chris Kelvin (Clooney) is sent by the DBA Corporation to investigate a dangerous situation on Space Station Prometheus, a facility orbiting the mysterious world called Solaris.
“Are we alive or dead? We don’t have to think like that anymore…”
Unlike the source material created by Stanislaw Lem, the 2002 version of Solaris --- at least from a certain perspective -- offers something of a religious, Christian parable.
|The Hand of God|
|The Hand of God?|
|The Hand of God|
|The Hand of God?|
Ensconced in that afterlife, Kelvin soon finds himself back in his apartment on Earth. But he is not alone this time. He is with Rheya…forever. And his guilt over her death is now assuaged. For her part, Rheya informs Chris that this is a place of eternal peace:
At the heart of Solaris is this crucial character, the nihilist, Chris Kelvin. He goes on a mission that makes him re-examine his beliefs and feelings, and runs square up against the human concept of identity. He comes to realize that the Visitor version of “Rheya” is created exclusively from his memory, from his mind.
Or, if one chooses to consider the image symbolically, these composition choices represent Soderbergh’s reminder that even Kelvin – our protagonist – is a man of layers and contradictions. Ultimately, we can’t understand more of his identity than what he reveals to us. This interpretation fits in with the notion I described above, of Kelvin as both firm nihilist/atheist and Kelvin as secret “believer” (or want-to-be-believer, if you will). Can we really know him? Can he really know himself?
|What's denied us in this image?|
|Trapped in the prison (notice the bars?) of his own beliefs?|
|Separated from the world outside.|
|Lost in a blur of unimportant faces.|
How can we know anybody, in fact, if “nobody can even agree [about] what’s happening” as one character describes the central mystery in the film. The issue: We are all victims of and slaves to our own unique perspectives.
|Who is looking at us from behind those eyes?|
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