Tag Archives: action-adventure flicks

Star Trek

MV5BMjE5NDQ5OTE4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTE3NDIzMw@@._V1__SX1859_SY893_Obviously, you are aware of this movie, and you’ve probably already formed your own opinion. And anyway, I’d be leery of spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen it. In theory, this constrains my review by quite a lot, but I figure it leaves me free to talk about what I really wanted to anyway. But, first things first. Did I like it? Enough to see it three times on opening weekend. Did it have flaws? I can think of a couple offhand, one extremely nitpicky and one that, absent, would have failed to feel like a Star Trek movie anyway. Plus, I think I’m willing to claim that at one point, there was actually an insufficient amount of technobabble. Was it accessible to non-fans? I feel as though it really was, and the reviews I’ve heard from non-fans (and in one case, an actively anti-fan) have borne this impression out. So you should really go see it, if this has not already occurred.

Because what J.J. Abrams made here was a philosophical, character-driven action movie, and really, how many of those do you think exist? Of the ones that exist, how many do you think aren’t insufferably smug about it? This right here is a narrow field to occupy! Action: ’cause, you know, space battles and laser gun fights. Character-driven: the driving forces of the story are all based in interactions. Kirk and McCoy’s friendship. Kirk and Spock’s rivalry. Spock’s relationship with his human mother. Nero’s irrational impulse for personal rather than systemic revenge. (He’s the bad guy.) Philosophical: take a group of people that shook the foundations of the Federation (and, projecting outward less than you’d think, the galaxy) and drastically change their history. Okay, many of the changes were not drastic, but one was, and there are clear, subtle ripples from there even before the main plot of the movie takes over. And then explore the question of random chance versus unalterable destiny.

I liked that by the end of the movie, the history of the Federation is vastly divergent from the one that fans of five TV series and ten movies know. And I like that it’s not going to be “fixed.” It was a bold move that I think is going to pay off in spades for the future of the franchise. But as much as I approve of that, I absolutely adored watching as, moment by moment, destiny pushed beloved characters into roles that they had fallen into by seeming happenstance in the original timeline. This new Trek may have surprisingly non-causal time travel that never really existed in “my father’s” Star Trek, but it also has some modicum of fate. And that’s kind of cool.


Stealth, aka I Saw It So You Don’t Have To. Only, it had things going for it. The obvious ones are lots of explodey action sequences, and that’s virtually always enough to keep me entertained. I will say that I kinda thought Jamie Foxx was at a point in his career where he could do better than this, though.

But, I was talking about things going for it. Some eye candy, and the explosions, a shadowy government conspiracy, Russian MIGs, and a wise-cracking AI that is just waiting for a chance to go rogue. So, all that, sure. Plus, the script was written by someone with ADD. I’m serious about that. Basically, if at any point you find that you’re bored of the plot, then have no fear; it changes directions completely with every single reel change.

I know it sounds like I’m down on it, and I want to be, but I can’t quite manage to be. At the end of the day, it was a workmanlike, by-the-numbers action flick, and those are worthwhile. It had nothing as bad as the romance scenes in Armageddon or the pet scenes in Independence Day. And when you think about it, Top Gun is really only as good as it is in our memories because we haven’t watched it lately. (Trust me on this one; it’s not worth it.)


The thing about buddy action-adventure flicks is: hard to talk about. Because, we’ve seen it all before. In Sahara‘s case, it’s James Bond (they nearly always are), but if he had retired from the secret service to become a deep-sea diver, and also if he had made friends with some guy at some point in his life.

The rest of it is exactly what you’d expect. Is there a pretty girl in danger because she’s stumbled across a secret that could threaten the fate of the world? Is there a power-mad industrialist willing to protect that secret at any cost? Is there a boss somewhere that wants the world safe, of course, but wishes his stuff would not get destroyed quite so often? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then there are more seminal works that you ought to see instead. If you do, though, this one is pretty good. They found the right balance of drama, comedy, and explosions. Plus, there’s a civil war treasure hunt, just to add a new flavor for the palate.

This Dirk Pitt guy seems alright. If I can figure out what the first book of the series is, I’ll probably pay Half Price Books a visit and attack the stories from multiple angles. The problem being, my to-read shelf is failing to get smaller. You’d think with the moving and packing things up, I’d have a little bit more discretion. Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I really thought I would. In fact, though: I would not.