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It’s fall of 1994 and on my television set is a preview for the next Star Trek: The Next Generation adventure. There is one crucial difference between this adventure and the usual episode: it can only be seen at a theater near you.

Star Trek Generations

On November 18, 1994, Star Trek Generations premiered in movie theaters.  It was the first Trek series not to be canceled. It had been decided to move these characters from small screen to silver screen. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was in its third season.  The word on the street was that come the new year, a third spin-off (the fourth Star Trek series) called Star Trek: Voyager would be premiering.

For the first time in history, there was a LOT of Star Trek.

Continue Reading »

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As I write this, summer is coming to a close.  Outside there is the slightest crisp of autumn in the air. JJ Abram’s Star Trek is out of theatres and we can only wait for the DVD release this fall. Holy Frak — It’s September and I haven’t updated my series retrospective on Star Trek!!

Let’s delay no longer. When we last left our intrepid heroes, the original crew of Star Trek had moved on to a series of movies and signed off with The Undiscovered Country in 1991.

But let’s step back about four years to 1987.  Before making peace with the Klingons, Kirk and crew, in a commandeered Bird-of-Prey had just left the 20th century and saved the Earth from a mysterious probe  by bringing back Humpback Whales from extinction.  It was a high time for Star Trek.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home turned out to be the most mainstream success of all the Star Trek movies.  Continue Reading »

Entering District 9

Every once in a while, a film comes along which belongs in the annals of SciFi.  The last time this happened was in 2006 with Alfonso Cuarón‘s Children of Men. The Day the Earth Stood Still, This Island Earth, Forbidden Planet, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, Star Wars, E.T., Blade Runner are among the titles which represent the best traditions of Science Fiction. Are they all my favorite? No.  But to not be familiar with these entries, is to not be familiar with SciFi.  District 9, written and directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson, is one of those films.  Made for under $30 million and starring a brilliant unknown actor Sharlto Copley, District 9 represent what’s best in SciFi.  It is allegorical, it has memorable characters, it has aliens, spaceships, cool guns, baaaad villains, and lots of action.

I want this to be spoiler-free, so I won’t go into the details of the film.  Suffice it to say, go see this movie. Just go see it.  The films draws from familiar elements of previous sci-fi installments such as V, Alien Nation, and Men in Black, but it does so in a way that you have never seen before.  Setting it in Johannesburg was a stroke of genius.  Yes, it’s a little heavy handed, being the notorious site of apartheid, but the authenticity it lends is priceless.  As a New Yorker and an American, there’s a part of me that goes along for the ride in movies which take place in New York and in the U.S. in general, but there’s always a part of me that knows it’s just not happening, because I live here.  But to set it in far away South Africa, gives it a CNN realism that I really enjoyed.  Yeah, I still know it’s not happening, but I don’t know a lot of what happens in South Africa right now, and it just added to the suspension of disbelief.

The aliens are terrific.  I, frankly,  forgot that they were all CGI and I became as attached to them as I was the humans.  Speaking of humans, Sharlto Copley is genius.  A cross between Inspector Clouseau and David Brent, he manages to make you root for a schmuck of a character.  The villains (yes there are villains) are the kind that you can’t wait to get what they deserve.  They are familiar enough to a 21st century audience that we know they have motives for their evil ways, but we don’t care.

The worst thing that could be done to District 9 is to make Distract 10.  This is a stand-alone film in the best sci-fi tradition that comes in, tells a story, and discretely leaves.   Thank you again, Peter Jackson and Company.

Article by Matt Rashid

Who Watched the Watchmen?

Who Watched the Watchmen?

You know all of that rain we had in June up here in the Northeast? That’s pretty much how I remember my one miserable year at Ithaca College. Except it was freezing rain, mixed with snow, started in October and ended in April, and went sideways. This sideways business was likely on account of the wind that came off of Lake Cayuga nearby. Somebody who went to class more often than I did could explain that better. This was in the fall of 1986 and I start with this exposition because the weather and the desolation suited and fostered the state of mind that made me so completely receptive to the arrival of the twelve-issue run of Watchmen at the comic shop which was upstairs of some store in the Commons.

I grew up on superhero comics and movies: X-Men, Daredevil, Superman, Captain America, and others. I was a child of the Reagan 80’s, pretty confident and in love with my country. Heroes were there to learn from. They fought for truth, justice, the American Way, and they roundly defeated bad guys.

But that fall in Ithaca, I had gone from fairly popular in a suburban high school to fairly unpopular in a cold ass college town. Heroes weren’t helping me out. They weren’t stopping the brinkmanship between us and the Soviets (who had now been in Afghanistan for years). Superhero stories seemed stupid and irrelevant. I was ready to see what else comics had to offer me. That is how, I’m sure, I came to pick up the first issue of Watchmen. And the first issue was all it took to know that I would follow the entire run. The Comedian was dead, Rorschach was on the case and scaring the hell out of friend and foe alike, Dr. Manhattan was untouchable, and Dan and Laurie were bound to hook up.

I followed the run of Watchmen right out of Ithaca and back to my hometown. Each month’s issue seemed to exemplify my growing social discontentment and disdain for abusive authority and creeping colonialism. Reagan wasn’t listening to the world and the cavalier cowboy actor was dragging us all to the edge of the abyss. At the conclusion of the comic, I was okay with what Veidt had done. People were savage and government could not be trusted with society’s welfare. He’d broken a lot eggs but he’d made a huge omelet. I was okay with Rorschach’s death because he was a loose cannon. I hoped that the fat kid at the New Frontiersman would miss the journal or nobody would read the column. It was all for the greater good and it meant peace with the Russians.

Watchmen will always have significance for me. I say all of this because I finally saw the film. In March, I missed the theatrical run of the movie because it just didn’t last out here where I am. I waited for the dvd release this week and watched it after it arrived yesterday. Zack Snyder’s style of directing a comic book film seems to be to faithfully transcribe the panels to live action. I for one am cool with that. The art of Frank Miller in 300 and that of Dave Gibbons in Watchmen warrants that treatment. Some of the song selections were arch, but I will accept that in a comic book movie, which is a rightful place for archetype. My main issue with Watchmen is that this story, which was so relevant—revelatory even, at age eighteen in 1986 and 7, doesn’t speak to me in the same way at age forty in 2009.

What was new when writers like Allen Moore and Frank Miller were crafting it twenty-plus years ago, has become the new cliché in superhero storytelling. Noam Chomsky could be ghost writing War Machine at this point and it would hardly come as a surprise. And the biggest change for me is me. I am married, a father, working at providing a stable home in unstable times. The world today is at least as complicated and scary as it was in 1986. These things foster my current frame of reference. I support my government and military in looking out for our national interests. I believe in good and evil. I miss Reagan.

I still love the story that Alan Moore put together. I will buy the next Watchmen dvd collection with Tales of the Black Freighter woven in. I will always appreciate the intensity of the source material and its lasting effect on me. But I have changed back to the lover of true superhero archetypes that I was in childhood. And that means a new perspective for me on watching the Watchmen.

This time, I want the New Frontiersman to publish Rorschach’s journal.

Article by Space Commando

Thanks to SciFi Now for this bit of info on the elusive series. Click here to read.

As we continue through our series of looking back at Trek history we come to 1979 and the debut of the movies with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

As we said in part one with the Original Series, there was no other Star Trek around in 1979.  We had a brief resurgence with the Animated Series in the early 70’s. James Blish Novelizations, Photonovels and a spat of novels depicting new adventures were all we had.   There was a brief moment there when we thought we were going to have a new live action series called Star Trek: Phase Two, but that was it.  By this point, we had come to love Star Trek warts and all.  We were in the driest period imaginable and there had been plenty of room to just live with these characters as they existed in the 3/5 year mission. We were starving for more! Continue Reading »

Trekmovie.com talks with Leonard Nimoy about the future of Star Trek and the role of Spock Prime in it.

What do you think of Spock Prime appearing again? An assett or hinderance?

Read the article here?