Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Star Trek Continues Episode 3 “Fairest of Them All” Review:

Star Trek Continues Episode 3 “Fairest of Them All” Review:

“Space…the final conquest.”

 -  Evil Kirk’s intro.

      I enjoyed Star Trek Continues third episode “Fairest of Them All”. First, I liked that it was set directly after “Mirror, Mirror” in Star Trek TOS. It even begins with Good Kirk’s iconic speech to Mirror Spock about the illogic of tyranny. I like that the episode is set in The Mirror Universe, and I love Vic Mignogna as Good Kirk/Evil Kirk! (He’s just a great Captain Kirk!) But, that’s where I think the episode loses focus. I think the focus should’ve been on Evil Kirk’s command, and perhaps Spock’s sacrifice in the name of logic/democracy.

Rather than this, Evil Kirk (Who is every bit the great commander Captain Kirk is, only evil.) is thwarted at every turn during Spock’s realization that empire can’t endure. Firstly, I call bologna on that! Even if Spock believed in democracy, there’s no way he could’ve assimilated all of Good Kirk’s philosophy in that one speech, beyond: “In every revolution there is one man with a vision.” Even for Star Trek, I feel that Spock’s stubborn insistence on Good Kirk’s logic disregards his friendship with long friendship with Kirk, and comes across as heavy-handed. Evil Kirk even  says as much, though through different, more passionate words: Spock’s willing to throw everything away on the words of a stranger, and in the end will probably be hunted down.

Now, the real fun comes from watching Vic Mignogna as Evil Kirk, in my view. Spock’s refusal to follow him, and his eventual mutiny sends him into MADNESS. Kirk loves his ship, and he’s not about to let anyone take it from him, or disobey his imperial orders. I love whenever he flips out on his crew. There’s a real human element to Evil Kirk, with as much passion for command as his counterpart.  Beyond this, he feels betrayed by his friend. Yes, maybe the empire is evil, but it is human! He still doesn’t want to lose his friend, but almost kills him in a rage.

Another thing I didn’t like about the episode (Although it looked great!) was how many people joined Spock’s cause just after hearing about it! The empire is still in power, and one crew isn’t likely to make a difference. One man, yes! As Good Kirk says. It might’ve been more effective had Spock made a sacrifice to get them to think about democracy. But, what is one ship to the empire? It likely won’t end well. I would’ve liked to see a couple scenes worked differently so that Spock makes a sacrifice in the name of democracy, rather than a black and white “Good always wins, Evil always loses.” characterization.

Okay, but even if you want to say “That’s how they would’ve done it in the ‘60s.” there’s still one more scene that really bothered me, and that I thought was against the spirit of Star Trek. In this Mirror Universe, counselor MeKennah is seen in bed with Sulu, covered by a sheet. In TOS, all romantic interludes were “signified” by cutaway. I don’t think they ever would’ve allowed partial nudity from women. Not only that but I felt it didn’t really tell me a lot about Mirror McKennah, and I was looking forward to seeing her character be evil. But, here she’s just being cute. McKennah is worth more than that, and I feel the whole scene was just a distraction from the spirit of Star Trek: The Original Series.

So, I guess it all comes down to no one in this Mirror Universe was evil. In fact, the only one who tried to be Evil, in a Mirror Universe built on Evil, was Mirror Kirk, who was betrayed and thwarted by his best friend at every possible turn. Remember, Trekkies, Mirror Kirk’s only experience with the Good Universe was being arrested by Spock. He has no idea what this crazy “Good Captain” could’ve said to Spock to make him mutiny. And he certainly didn’t experience kindness. All he knew was that the counterparts took away his power, and now they’ve gotten to his best friend.

Star Trek TOS had investigated the redeeming qualities of evil before, as well as mankind’s dual nature. Think “Space Seed”, think “The Enemy Within”! Even "Obsession"! While I loved the look of this episode, and I will always love Vic Mignogna for bringing back Kirk and crew, this episode deserved more than the black and white “Good guys win, bad guys lose” approach it received. But, there is a brilliantly captivating portrayal of Evil Captain Kirk’s descent into madness by Vic Mignogna! Overall, I give the episode 3/5 stars!

You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJf2ovQtI6w

Thursday, June 5, 2014



 “If you find yourself troubled by something mysterious or a problem that's had to solve, there's a place you can go where you always find help. You just need to look for it.”

- The Baron

What if I told you that Anne Hathaway was actually a catgirl before she became Catwoman? In The Cat Returns, Hathaway plays a schoolgirl named Haru, who is whisked away to The Cat Kingdom after she saves a cat who is actually The Cat Prince. Stan Girl gets lost in magical king while she’s in the Cat Kingdom, she finds out she’s becoming a cat, and is set to marry The Cat Prince!

There’s sort of a Standard Studio Ghibli plot. Girl gets lost in magical kingdom then reclaims her identity (Like Spirited Away, with cats!), and comes back to the real world. I have to say though, it’s beautiful, and the human-like cats make me laugh! I dunno, maybe I just like to laugh at really fat cats. Either way, it is magical, and a beauty to behold!

You see, like most Studio Ghibli films, the character designs and animation are where this film really shines. She is guided to the Cat Kingdom by a charming top-hatted cat from The Cat Bureau, The Baron (AKA: Baron Humpert von Gikkingen, played by Cary Elwes.) A statuette of a raven by the name of Toto also assists  her, as well as a fat cat Muta. All the cats start walking in the cat world. But, as soon as she enters the cat world, the fat, mustachioed Cat King seems determined to marry her to The Prince. Let the cat chase begin!

In addition to being a wild cat chase, Haru has to escape from The Cat King and stop transforming into a cat. So, it’s kind of like Kafka mixed with LOLcats, visually inspired by Alice in Wonderland! It’s great fun, has fantastic designs, and even swordfights! Talk about adventure! All to stop being chased by cats! And just when she thought she was having fun!

There’s a good lesson here. Sometimes imagination is good, but if it runs wild, it can become scary! What starts off as a playful romp through the Cat Kingdom twists into Haru almost becoming a cat! But, as The Baron says, you can always ask for help! A fun movie, with plenty of surprises and enough eye candy to satisfy even the grumpiest of cats! (Or people!) If you have time, and like fantasy and anime, definitely give this one a watch!

 Anyway, I’ll give it 4/5, but maybe I’m just really soft on Studio Ghibli! They have a way of infusing even the characters mundane life with such life and detail, that I was drawn in immediately! Of course, Haru’s mundane school life serves to highlight the strangeness of seeing walking-talking cats! And puts you in her shoes, confused amid a fantastical world full of cat-astrophe! Okay, I couldn’t resist! Great comedy, good story, great animation… it’s nearly purrfect! (Last cat joke, I promise!) Highly recommended!

Monday, June 2, 2014




                                                              (Colossus vs. a sentinel!)                                                

(The sentinels!)

Future Professor X: “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn't mean they can't be saved.”  

   So, as a fan of Professor X, I have to talk about X-men: Days of Future Past. There are even two Professor Xs in this one. Specifically, I liked the dystopian Terminator feel, which loosely matched the dystopian Terminator feel of the comics. It was basically Terminator with the X-men in it, but I like both those things! Everyone uses their powers, so if that’s what you wanna see, you’re in luck. Wolverine really stabs people, guys!

In fact, one of the angles about superpowers that I liked about this movie was that even though there are two Prof Xs and one (The younger version.) walks, when he walks, he can’t use his telepathy. I thought that was cool. He needs his disability. Now, there’s a lot of people complaining that this time travel stuff and the time doubles erase the current continuity, blah blah blah…I don’t care. The wonderful thing about fiction is you can choose which parts happened. If you like the old trilogy, you can say it happened. Personally, I like this one!

This timeline starts in the 1960s and goes through the 1970s…but there are giant robots in it, and an assassination attempt on Bolivar Trask…the creator of them. Mystique is the would- be assassin. Also, I think Peter Dinkelage is a great Bolivar Trask. He’s not pure evil. He thinks he’s protecting humanity from the mutants. His fault is he doesn’t see them as humans, which they are. And there’s a nice little lesson in there about not judging people based on fear. Future Professor X is a lot more optimistic than the past one!

But, Future Professor X needs to contact past Professor X to move forward, with the help of Magneto. Personally, I think all he’d have to say is “Don’t worry! You get my sweet hover chair in the future!” But, it takes a lot longer than that and they have a big showdown with giant robots, and Wolverine and Professor X have to stop him. Good stuff!

Overall, a good action movie that establishes a neat new continuity. I’d give it 4/5 stars. It’s a little weird to cover the sentinels in just one movie, as in the 90s cartoon and comics they lasted many years. They definitely upped the action. And I like how every movie covers a different era. I predict next will be the 80s. It keeps getting bigger and better. Mutant battles, robots, and good disability messages. What’s not to love? Go see it.  

                                               (Mutants face extinction in an apocalyptic future.)

(Beast, Wolverine, Prof X: 1970s.)