Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Not long after the events of the Jurassic World theme park incident a group of mercenaries arrive on the island tasked with getting a sample of DNA from the Indominus Rex remains that are at the bottom of the park’s lagoon.  As the team evades various attacks, they accidently release the Mosasaurus from the lagoon into the ocean.

Three years later while the U.S. Senate debates whether the dinosaurs should be saved from a sudden but inevitable eruption from Isla Nublar’s volcano John Hammond’s former partner, Ben Lockwood, sets up a team with aid from Claire to relocate as many of the dinosaurs as they can to the California estate that Lockwood owns.  Claire speaks to Owen Grady to get his help…particularly to assist with getting his beta Velociraptor, Blue, off the island.

Unbeknownst to Claire, Eli Mills (Ben Lockwood’s aide) is planning to only acquire Blue to use in his experimentations to develop a new dinosaur to be used exclusively for war and combat…. And that Claire and her team are just collateral damage.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action-Adventure

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of smoking and alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

Ooof.  I just don’t really know what to truly say about this film.  Its better than The Lost World? That isn’t saying much though. 

I actually enjoyed the film overall but was really upset about the fact that we once again seemed to get a lot more of the “real” world and not as much of the island.  It’s a really fascinating study about the stupidity and greed of man…but that isn’t exactly what I wanted to watch when I chose to go and watch a Jurassic Park film.  I expect the morality discussions of bringing back and modifying long extinct animals…but the morality of man is something I wasn’t expecting from this film.

Generally good and I’m interested to see where the third film in Jurassic World is going, but I’m not sure when we are going to see this film come out.

And why waste such a treasure as Jeff Goldblum by sticking him behind a table….its just…sad.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic World, based on the world created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Back on Isla Nublar, Jurassic World has been in business for many years.  It is a vastly popular attraction for families to come and explore, watching resurrected dinosaurs live in custom-built habitats. There are educational programs to attend, and even rides that take you out into some of the enclosures.

Zach and Gray Mitchell are sent to visit their aunt, Claire, who is the operations manager of the park. But when they arrive, she is far too busy with the latest attraction that will be opening in a matter of days: a new breed of genetically altered dinosaur named the Indominus Rex, developed by Jurassic Park geneticist Dr. Henry Wu.

Meanwhile on the island, Owen Grady (a US Navy veteran and ethologist) is training a small group of Velociraptors to see if their pack mentality can be utilized in other ways while researching their intelligence.  He has a group of four, that he has raised since birth, with Blue as his beta.  The research that he is doing seems to stem from the theories of Dr. Grant.

As Claire shows off the Indominus Rex to the owner of Jurassic World they discover that the enclosure may not be enough to keep everyone safe.  So, they task Owen with determining it’s security.  But during the course of the briefing, they discover that there may be more to the Indominus Rex than meets the untrained (and uninformed) eye… she seems to have disappeared, yet the enclosure is intact.  When a small group including Owen enter the enclosure to observe where she may have gotten to and fully assess the security Indominus shows just how clever and devious she truly is, using their desire to escape her jaws as way to become loose on the property.

With one of the most dangerous dinosaurs ever created on the loose, her nephews missing, and millions of dollars (as well as park full of guests) at risk, Claire needs to think fast, and act even faster if she is going to prevent a major tragedy from occurring.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the world created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes, large monster action sequences)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Irrfan Khan

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I really enjoyed this film.  The feeling of the first Jurassic Park movie is felt all throughout the film and it is a really great call back when the boys end up in the old facility.  There is the great unknown moments and yet the whole movie has the feeling that everyone really should have known better and had better security protocols in place…especially since the park had been open for quite a large amount of time.

The boys are smart and use every opportunity they find to get out of the situation they end up in.  The big bad is actually a set of horrible humans and not just an accident or a moment of happenstance.  And we get an appearance by the ORIGINAL T-Rex from the first film!

Character interactions and writing are well done. And the effects truly look spectacular.  They took a page out of the book of the original trilogy using both CGI and animatronics to create a large number of the dinosaurs in the park.  Its things like this that cause the movie to hold up well over the years.

The velociraptors being an asset is new and I like that they seem to be building on the research of Dr. Grant from the first trilogy.  They have moved onto the fact that not only are the raptors social creatures but that their intelligence can be curbed for more productive actions and not just the instinctual actions of an animal.  It brings another level into the film.

What I didn’t like was that a few of the deaths and some of the action sequences felt unnecessary or brutal in ways that weren’t needed (like that of Zara, Claire’s assistant who is trying to look after and then find the boys when they dodge her)…

In the end I really did enjoy the film and since I haven’t seen the second I hope I like it as much as I liked this one.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park III, based on characters created by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In the waters surrounding Isla Sorna (now deemed a restricted access territory) Ben Hildebrand and the twelve-year old son of a good friend, Eric, have gone parasailing.  When the boat they are attached to is attacked and heads on a crash course for a rock formation the pair release the rope and crash land on the island.

Weeks later Dr. Alan Grant is working with a team that is making new discoveries about Velociraptors: that they were socially sophisticated.  And if they had not gone extinct maybe they would have continued to evolve, eventually becoming the Earth’s dominant species.  He and his assistant are approached during a conference by a wealthy couple to hire them for an ariel tour of Isla Sorna.  He reluctantly agrees to the trip after receiving funding for his research.

When they are in the air, Grant is knocked unconscious when he learns they are planning on landing on the island. When he finally wakes up and realizes they have landed, the group is attacked by a Spinosaurus which wrecks the airplane they came in on.

As he truly learns about what is going on with the couple and the actual purpose of the trip – to find the couple’s son, Eric, who was last seen parasailing near the island – Grant tells them his experience was on Isla Nublar…not Isla Sorna.  He is just as lost as they are.

As the group tries to find their way through the island and hopefully save Eric in the process they are chased by several different predators…who will make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on characters created by Michael Crichton

-Length: 92 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Willam H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola Trevor Morgan, Michael Jeter

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Watching this right after Jurassic Park II is actually fascinating because, while there is just as much action as there was in the second film, the action here feels more productive to the story.  It either is caused or causes character development or push the plot forward.

This isn’t to say that everything is good in the film.  Honestly, there are huge parts of it that aren’t as good as the original film. But I do like this one a lot better than The Lost World.

My favorite is that the raptors talk to each other… like birds or other flock/pack animals.  Their little interactions are absolutely lovely.  And the Spinosaurus isn’t half bad as the “big bad” for this film.  It’s a really interesting dinosaur and after seeing the T-Rex in the last two films a new dinosaur is kind of a welcome relief.

I liked the overall story here better than the last film and really enjoyed the fact that the kid was actually super smart in this one like the boy was in the first film.  It was a great little call back and really impressive that he managed to survive out in the wilderness, with dinosaurs, for EIGHT weeks.  With no supplies with him when he crashed into the island.  Not a lot of kids could do that. Even without the added danger.

The injuries, deaths and survivals fell more in line with the story line instead of some of the ones that feel out of place in both the film before and the film following this one.

I enjoyed this film and most of it seems to really stand the test of time.  Its all pretty solid from CGI to storyline.  A great way to end the original trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: The Lost World: Jurassic Park, based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Four years after Isla Nublar is abandoned by Hammond and his team due to the incidents of Jurassic Park, an upper-class British family has docked their yacht at Isla Sorna, located in the same grouping of islands.  While getting ready for lunch their young daughter is attacked by a group of Compsognathus, small pack-like dinosaurs who are looking for food.

Due to this problem John Hammond’s company has been taken over by his nephew, Pteter Ludlow, who wants to end the project Hammond is currently working on- a new interactive park that is built for conservation of the existing dinosaurs that have bred from those left behind during a new experiment on Isla Sorna- and instead, exploit the dinosaurs to save the company from bankruptcy.

Hammond contacts paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding to document the dinosaurs and how they are living on the island.  As Dr. Harding takes off, her boyfriend Ian comes to see Hammond.  When he finds out what is going on at Isla Sorna he loses it and storms off to find Sarah on the island and keep her from a similar incident that he suffered on Isla Nublar.

Things seem to be going alright on the island when suddenly a large group of game hunters, clad in Hammond’s company logo show up on the island…and things start to go south very quickly.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on the book The Lost World by Michael Crichton

-Length: 129 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Arliss Howard

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I honestly don’t remember a lot of this movie.  I know I watched it when I was younger because it was part of the Jurassic Park series…but other than that I really don’t remember much of what happened.

I find a few of the scenes to make little sense.  The T-Rex attack doesn’t seem to have a place (maybe a little when their baby has been taken, but coming back doesn’t feel right for animal behavior).  It seems borne of the desire for action and a big explosion verses actually progressing the story. And then the explanation feels forced for the scene to make sense.

The velociraptor scene is hard for me because I love the idea of the homage to Jaws with people getting pulled randomly down into the grass by the dinosaurs but again it doesn’t feel so much as a driving force to the story so much as another action/slightly horror element to keep things off kilter.  But I have to admit watching the raptors come in to the group in the tall grass is a really cool effect.

Besides that, the story feels sound. Its nice that some of the same actors were brought back even just for small cameo appearances. And I do love some of the other dinosaurs that they introduce in the film like the tiny, pack hunting Compsognathus. So cute. So vicious. So deadly…

 So not necessarily my favorite of the Jurassic Park films but pretty decent.  You do have to suspend a bit more of reality to make this one feel real in the reality of the Jurassic Park.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Jurassic Park, created by based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Isla Nublar, just off the coast of Costa Rica, is being developed into a new theme park by entrepreneur, John Hammond.  He’s developed a new idea for a unique zoo/theme park hybrid featuring genetically cloned dinosaurs…but when a handler is killed by one of the velociraptors his investors begin to threaten to pull their funding.

He goes out to find a few reputable people to endorse the park to appease the investors.  He invited paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler as well as chaos-theorist Ian Malcom to come to the park before they open to see what is being offered.

The visitor center and a subsequent tour of the island in the fleet of electrical vehicles doesn’t necessarily go as planned…especially when one of the programmers is in cahoots with a rival group trying to jeopardize the entire project.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: based on character from the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

-Length: 128 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild language, smoking and mild use of alcohol, moderate intense and frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

It has been a really long time since I have seen this series and I forgot how good it was.  The graphics and animatronics are killer good and hold up nearly 30 years later.  The writing is fantastic. The actors do a spectacular job and of course Spielberg is a incredible director.

There are so many little moments that I love in this film.  Moments where the kids do a great job acting terrified of the T-Rex or do stunts that would make adults freak out.  The drama of the velociraptors (which in my research I learned aren’t as tall or heavy as they are in film…which is crazy because I picture them the way they are in the movie) …and the scenes with the T-Rex are so impressive.  They are big and dramatic and drive the film forward.  But aren’t over the top and superfluous like they could be.

The science may not be as sound as it could be. Yet it isn’t completely unbelievable.

Generally, a great idea and wonderful execution.  I’d be interested to read the book and see how the final screenplay and characters differ from how they were written.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Universe, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Icarus Base is located on a remote planet as part of the SGC.  The current team run by Dr. Nicholas Rush believe that they could extend the range of the Stargate by utilizing the naqudria located in the core of the planet that is currently powering the Stargate.

To date only 7 chevrons have been used with regularity on any Stargate allowing travelers to pass through to other planets within their galaxy.  Adding an 8th chevron allows for travel to another galaxy but takes on a huge amount of power usually from something like a ZPM (a very powerful battery).  To fathom a 9th chevron is seen as boarding on insanity.

When Dr. Rush creates a video game to try and find the most brilliant minds across Earth to help him solve and test his theory he is presented with Eli Wallace, a mathematics genius.  Rush is joined by Wallace as well as Chloe Armstrong (the daughter of the Senator funding the Icarus Project) and several of the military members on the base in order to solve what the Ancients have laid out as a possibility.

As the group tries to figure out how to achieve the connection of a 9th chevron, they get devastating news.  The core of the planet is rendered unstable after an attack from an alien race known as the Lucian Alliance.  Attempting to contact earth Rush realizes that the impending explosion of the planet will just follow them through the wormhole and takes the chance at dialing a 9th chevron.  As it locks the survivors make it through the gate and end up aboard an old starship.

Destiny has its own abilities and mission, only dropping out of hyperspace in order to connect its Stargate to others in the network.  No one can control the ship.  The survivors are at the mercy of the ship itself as it drops in and out of hyperspace for limited amounts of time.

What are the survivors to do when they have no control over the ship they are stranded on?  Will they ever get back to Earth?  And just what problem is Destiny supposed to be solving…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Military

-Creator: created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 2 Seasons, 40 Episodes (43 minutes each), with an additional 34 Webisodes

-Rating: currently unrated- most likely TV-14 based on other country codes (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and other substances, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carlyle, Lousi Ferreira, brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na Wen

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m only 3 episodes into this series at them moment.  Who ever had the genius idea to make the first five episodes of this show a 3-part episode and a 2-part episode was seriously overestimating the fact that people can or will want pay attention to brand new characters for that long…  it was a bad move on the part of Wright and Cooper in this case. 

Even with SG-1 and Atlantis the first few episodes did introduce new characters but they were amidst characters we were already familiar with from either the film or the previous series.

There just isn’t a lot to say at this point…I really think going with the set up they did with the first season was not only detrimental to the composition of the show but is also difficult for long time fans. Especially on the heels of a BRILLIANT series in the Stargate world with Atlantis.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Rating:

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Atlantis, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

After the (accidental) discovery of a second Stargate on earth by the original SG-1 team, a new team has been studying the technology in the areas around the gate.  They have found that the gate system wasn’t actually created by the Goul’d as originally thought.  Another alien race, called The Ancients, are actually the ones who created the Stargate.

With this information the team working at the second gate finds even more technology and the information that the gate (which up till now has only been able to utilize 7 of the chevrons on the gate) is actually capable of FAR more so long as it has a power source to do so.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir is granted the opportunity to take a team on a mission through the Stargate to another galaxy powering the gate long enough to dial the 8th chevron and establishing a wormhole to the distant Atlantean gate.  As they proceed with the mission it becomes apparent that while the team made it through (one that is quite a bit larger than the teams we are used to seeing go through the gate) they may not be coming back to the Milky Way Galaxy anytime soon.

Pair that with a new big bad and suddenly the reason the Ancients left their beloved Atlantis is vitally clear.  What will the team do? And how will they survive the strange and frightening war they have somehow awakened by simply being in the city?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 5 seasons, 100 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (rare sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and smoking, intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library

-Main Cast: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This was a really great start to the spinoff of the wildly popular Stargate SG-1.  It has a great cast, some familiar and some new which is nice for the transition to the new show.  This season takes place during season 8 of Stargate SG-1 so there is some but not a lot of overlap and while the show can be watched independently of any other knowledge of the other show it is helpful to have some of the background for a full experience.

The new Atlantis team is comprised in a similar format to the team we fell in love with during Stargate SG-1.  You have the brainy scientist, the headstrong military man, a kickass lady and a strong but kind alien who they pick up on some mission.  Occasionally they get joined by other characters.  Mostly the head of medical who adds a sweet but sassy tone to the group.

This season is a lot of set up but not in a way that is condescending or heavy.  We learn as the team learns.  Action and exploration reign over the story which is one of the best parts of Stargate and one of the reasons I love it so much.  It has some serious Star Trek vibes but way more action.  This is a great start to the new series.

Season 2:

Michael…. Oh Michael.  Not really sure what to say about this season.  Between the experiment to change the Wraith to humans and Ford getting changed into a superhuman/Wraith hybrid…thing… there is just a LOT going on.

Rodney has a lot in this season between blowing up a star system, getting someone stuck in his head, getting caught in a virtual reality, gets caught in a sunken jumper and

We get introduced to Ronin and he joins the team.  Hilarity and danger ensue.

Shepard and the team discover how Wraith became Wraith and Shepard ends up feeling a little bit of how the whole process goes.  He even gets the chance to Ascend…though that doesn’t go as well as one would hope…or maybe it does since he is still with the team.

The Genii come back in and Atlantis comes to their aid. The team messes up a bunch and ends up with a Atlantean warship. And they learn a lot along the way.

Overall a great season full of action and intrigue. A definite push into the third season with some great storylines coming to fruition.

Season 3:

This season was full of ups and downs for the team and for my emotions. By now we have gotten to know the team and things have gotten hairy. It is important to note that this season takes place during the same time as season 10 of Stargate SG-1.

We have a few big things that happen: the ancients appear, the replicators (yes like the ones from Stargate SG-1) have taken a unique form, we lose someone dear to the team, McKay nearly ascends, Atlantis is attacked (as usual), and we end up in a vicious attack that almost ends in the destruction of the entire crew.

Between the explosions and the nanites, the replicators and the general battles that the Atlantis crew must deal with, this show is constantly full of action.  It is one of the most captivating and entertaining science-fiction shows ever created.  And this season didn’t disappoint.

I had to hold off on watching the finale episode because I had the foresight (watching this on Amazon Prime Video/DVD much after the show was over) that this would be a three-part episode and that some very upsetting things happen in the episodes… it took me a while to get into the headspace to watch it.  I’m glad that I did because boy was the end of this season heavy and I’m super glad I didn’t have to wait the summer to get to the next two episodes

Season 4:

So, season four starts off high on the emotions.  With the first two episodes being the continuation of the season three finale, we start the season off on a really nerve-wracking foot.  We nearly lose Dr. Weir…and then we lose her in a different way. We nearly lose Atlantis all together. And they have to find another new planet.  Not exactly the smoothest moments for the team.

The Replicators have become another big bad though Atlantis has reactivated the Wraith attack code in their makeup.  They seem to also want Ascend…which isn’t as easy as it seems for some bits of metal with incredible technology. 

We get more information on Ronin’s past. There is a lot of body hijacking, kidnapping, loss of memory and other diseases…just a lot of general insanity. We get to see how awesome the new head of medical is and how she will fit into the general makeup of the team and everything as a whole.

Rodney’s past comes back, and his sister gets kidnapped to solve a problem on Earth.  He also learns that maybe he isn’t the most adept at things outside of his world of technology.

The gate bridge to get from Atlantis is created and invaded during the course of this season.  Ronin and McKay have to join up to save Earth and Atlantis.

We get more information about Tayla and the missing Ethosians from earlier in the season. Beckett makes a surprise return in an incredibly interesting way (I was super thrilled to see him because his death at the end of season 3 really hit me hard).

This was really a great season. A lot of action. A lot of intrigue. And one of the craziest ends to a season…and I really enjoyed seeing how they solved a problem thousands of years in the future.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the next season.

Season 5:

This feels like the start to an excellent ending of the series though I do believe that the show could have fun for another 2-3 seasons without becoming tiresome or repetitive.  Todd becomes a big character which is incredibly interesting to see, especially as he is a Wrath and normally not someone the team interacts with kindly or well.  We get to see more aspects of the Atlantis team.

Zelinka gets the chance to shine throughout the season as does Dr. Keller.  We get to see the strong character we knew she would become (and know from her performance as Kaylee in Firerfly).  Woosley also gets the chance to step up in, what is my least favorite television trope: the clip show.  It was nice to see him step into the role that was so beautifully performed by both Elizabeth Wier and Sam Carter (of SG-1 fame).

The social interactions of the team as well as things like the reintroduction of Dr. Carson, Michael and Todd are all things that create a solid show.  It really is this aspect that makes me sad to see the show end after only 100 episodes.  Rarely do I wish for a show to continue to past its expiration date but this is one that I do wish had continued on past its final season.

Having watched the season finale I have just two things that bothered me.  One is that I felt the second to last episode was quite out of place with its style.  I understand that it was to set up what happened in the final episode but still…. very odd, yet very well-done CSI episode.  Second was that the final episode should have been at least two episodes long.  There were a few times in the series where a two-part episode didn’t feel needed but then this time it should have and they didn’t.  Just a weird choice in my opinion.

I highly recommend this show.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate, created by Roland Emmerich: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In 1928 a giant ring was discovered in the sands of Giza.  The symbols on the ring were foreign but the cover stone placed in front of it had ancient Egyptian markings on it.

When a young Egyptologist and linguist, Daniel Jackson, gets laughed out of every single institution he has tried to pitch his bizarre idea that aliens might have been involved in many ancient societies, mainly Egyptian culture, he is approached by Catherine Langford to come and translate a series of symbols her team has been unable to make heads or tails of.

As he studies the cover stone, he translates one set of glyphs as “stargate” which use constellations to coordinate the destinations of the stars.  When they use the symbols that Jackson discovered the Stargate, an actual entity that was pulled out of the desert in Giza, a wormhole is created, and a probe is sent through to see what may be on the other side.

They get the all-clear to go to the other planet, a team of military men accompanied by Jackson step though the Gate and enter the arid desert planet of Abydos.  They locate the way to get back home but without the correct combination the team may never get back.

As they explore the outlying area near the gate, they discover a civilization not much more advanced than where the Egyptians were thought to be when they buried the Gate themselves.  As Jackson tries to communicate with the people of the planet, which they discover is called Abydos, his necklace (given to him by Langford) is revealed and the people drop to their knees.  They believe that he is sent from their god Ra to speak on his behalf.

The team begins to uncover what is actually going on upon the planet and who Ra actually is…a threat to both Abydos and Earth alike.  They begin to formulate a plan.  And when Colonel Jack O’Neil reveals that he has been sent on this mission with a nuclear bomb the whole team wonders if it may not be the fact that they cannot find the coordinates to get home that will be the end of their lives.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Adventure

-Creator: Roland Emmerich

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate science-fiction violence and gore, mild sex and nudity, moderate profanity, mild use of tobacco and alcohol, moderate frightening scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jayne Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Alexis Cruz, Mili Avital, Leon Rippy, John Diehl, Erik Avari, French Stewart, Carlos Lauchu

-Page of Reference in RP1: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my favorite science-fiction film of all time.  I watch a lot of sci-fi but rarely does a story capture my attention the way this one does.  For me it has a similar idea to Star Trek…exploration of another world and culture.  Daniel Jackson is by far my favorite character.  And this carries into the show even after the actor changes.

I love the world that they set up in this film.  The creatures that enslave people in the name of a god they take the mantle of.  It left so much potential in the universe for the world to be expanded…and expand they did.

There is so much here that can be noted and explored.  The psychology that Ra uses to suppress the people from the banishment of written language to the suppression of technology.  The fear and the legends.  The pain that the team is running from. Jack from the death of his son and Daniel from the death of his parents. 

The movie is complex and deep with so very many layers.  There are heartfelt moments, bits of comedy, drama and fear…it really is a very beautifully put together film that I have watched many times and spawned one of my all time favorite television series.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

REPOST: Star Trek Beyond, created by JJ Abrams, based on the work of Gene Rodenberry: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After several years of space exploration, the Enterprise has arrived at Yorktown Space Station to resupply and grant some much-needed shore leave for the crew.  As they get the chance to have a bit of downtime the struggles of being away from civilization on a long-term mission start to become clear.  Sulu gets to spend time with his family, Spock and Uhura break up, Ambassador Spock passes away, and Captain James T. Kirk applies to a Vice Admiralship on Yorktown itself.

As the crew grapples with the meaning of their explorative mission amid the chance for a bit of space amongst the crew and civilian contingency of the space station a mysterious escape pod appears out of an uncharted nebula.  The Enterprise is dispatched on a mission to save the crew and ship that the occupant of the escape pod says is stranded on a planet deep inside of the nebula.

Upon approach the Enterprise and her crew are attacked by a swarm of fighters and are overcome with the damage, left to crash into the planet.  As they scramble to save themselves amongst the wreckage of their beloved ship and to formulate a plan to save their crew, they soon realize they cannot do things alone.  They must reunite in order to save themselves and all of Yorktown Space Station from a sadistic and manipulative maniac who only has eyes on the total destruction of Starfleet.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: JJ Abrams, based on the work of Gene Rodenberry

-Length: 122 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity including the incomplete use of the word fuck, some alcohol use and intoxication, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba

-Page of Reference in RPO: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

By far the weakest of the Kelvin Timeline films.  While the writing is still great and the acting is phenomenal, the plot is just….okay. 

Relationships that should have been strengthened over the years have fallen by the wayside for no really discernable reason (I’m looking at you Spock and Uhura…get it together), our valiant captain is struggling and suddenly there is a psycho out there that is trying to kill everyone.

Of course I still loved the film.  I’m a big fan of the Kelvin timeline.  So that was never going to be a question for me.  I just wish the plot had more substance to it.  I do feel like the writers did what they could with what they had.  They cultivated relationships that had been implied in the original series, introduced some new awesome characters…and repaired some of the damage done in the gap between films.

Decent but not overwhelming.  And it didn’t feel like an ending.  I wish the fourth movie would move forward but I am afraid it may be too late…who knows.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

Star Trek: The Motion Picture, created by Harold Livingston based on characters created by Gene Roddenberry: a Film Review

Synopsis:

James T. Kirk has been promoted to Admiral at the end of his successful captaincy of the starship Enterprise which is currently docked on Earth for a refit.  When a Starfleet station, Epsilon Nine, detects a strange energy cloud that has the power to take out three brand new highly advanced Klingon warships the Enterprise is assigned to intercept the cloud and discover just what is going on.

Citing his experience Admiral Kirk lobbies to take command of the ship much to the ire of the current captain Willard Decker.  As the ships testing of new equipment go from bad to worse things seem to start looking up with Commander Spock returns to the ship.

What will happen when the crew finally gets to intercepting the cloud?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Creator: Harold Livingston based on characters created by Gene Roddenberry

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Persis Khambatta, Stephen Collins

-Page of Reference in RP1: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

There is just so much to say about this film.  Firstly, I can’t decide if this is the perfect continuation to the story that TOS started…or the worst way to bring back Kirk as the captain of the Enterprise.

And second, as much as I love Leonard Nimoy I have to say that his Spock that undergoes the ritual purge of emotion is really hard to digest sometimes for me.  Having him try to mind meld with the cloud was just bizarre to me…but you know…I don’t write this stuff.

I’m so glad they kept the style of TOS when they did this film.  It really does feel like a continuation of the series. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

The film isn’t as philosophical as the show is.  It has a few cerebral moments that are reminiscent of other science-fiction works of the times…but honestly, its just…ok.

Once again it’s a great start to where things ended up and as a fan I am so glad I can go back and watch these to see where things came from…but really.  Its not my jam and I love the later series and movies a lot more.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.