Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond a Good Time

 I have to admit, I was never a, "Trekkie." I was always more of a Star Wars guy. I have been a fan of the Abrams reboots. I even liked the last one even though I agree it went, " Wrath of Kahn," too soon. The crew is back with Justin Lin at the helm and for the first time boldly goes where the other reboots haven't gone before. You see what I did there?

 Kirk is struggling with his purpose in the fleet. Spock is struggling with emotion and sense of duty. The crew has been in space for three years. They complete a peace mission and earn some downtime at a orbital space station. After receiving a distress call, they are thrust into a conflict that will either bring them together or tear them apart.

  The film is Kirk's movie. We finally see Chris Pine owning the role. It's taken three films, but it is worth it. The story is simple and goes back to the cinematic story telling that has made the franchise popular. It looks incredible. The space battles are cool and the look is superb. It's on par or better than anything we have seen.

 It does a good job of balancing comedy with the weight of the situation. This cast really gels together and it helps with the pacing of the movie. It doesn't feel like your dad's trek and that is why I like them. They do a great job of handling the passing of Leonard Nimoy and incorporate the original cast.

 Edris Ilba's villain is simple. He isn't frightening and has a twist that you can pick up on a mile away, but it still works. The one flaw I have was the need to make Sulu gay. It isn't because I don't think it's great to have a strong gay character, but he was better served as a strong Asian character. Him being gay is just not needed. George Takei, the original Sulu, is openly gay and felt the same way. All in all, it 's fun and what a summer movie should be. The Trek is back and beyond worth watching.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan....Again

This is far from the first time that Tarzan has hit the big screen. He is one of the earliest characters to find his way on television and into cinema. He is a part of American Mythology. He is one of our earliest heroes like Zorro and The Lone Ranger. This might be part of the problem. We will revisit that concept later.

 This time around we join an older Tarzan who lives in his family home with his wife Jane. London is far from the African Congo, but when he is asked to be a special emissary he is called to return. The wild lands have been corrupted by greed and slavery. The home Tarzan left is different than the one he has returned to. When Jane is taken to lure him into a trap, he enlist the help of Samuel L. Jackson to save both his wife and the land he loves.

  When you watch the film, it is hard to believe that it was mostly shot on sound stages. It looks really solid. Obviously swinging through the jungles requires heavy CGI, but the it's the animals that look the best.  The interaction between real and computer generated characters is top notch. It is truly something to appreciate visually. The problem is an odd one. The leads. Alexander Skarsgard looks the part, but doesn't have much dialogue. Margot Robbie does her best to not be a typical damsel in distress, but that is Jane. Samuel Jackson has the most dialogue and is the most expressive. He is almost too Nick Fury for the time period. His character is based on a real person.

   Christoph Waltz is a good  bad guy. He is a liar, a cheat, and need diamonds to purchase an army. His goal is to enslave people for his monarch. Simple. The problem is simple. The plot is simple and drags. Tarzan's origin is covered nicely in flashback. It is a nice movie. It's a little long, but not complex at all. Tarzan suffers from a problem of relativity. He is a hero of a different time. He is your grand parent's hero. I think the movie is great, but I am not sure today's movie goer was begging to see a man swing through the jungle. He might look incredible doing it, but it's a tough sell. 

The Purge : An Election Almost as Scary as The Real Thing.


     The Purge movies strike a chord. This is obvious or they wouldn't keep making them. This year the election is a hot button for a lot of people so why not have this one based around politics. Secretly the government has been using the Purge to eliminate the poor and homeless. It's become a tool to shave billions off of the deficit. When one presidential candidate ( Elizabeth Mitchell) decides that it's time to end the Purge, the twelve hours of legal crime is used to try and end her. She gets help from random strangers and her head security (Frank Grillo). He is still living with the regrets he has about almost doing some horrible things in a previous purge.

   The scary part about these movies is their ability to make you think. A lot of the issues mirror today's state of affairs. We don't have twelve hours of legal crime. Thankfully. We do have a nation filled with racial tension and economically challenged people who can't seem to get ahead.  These movies are great for making you wonder, "What if?" It's violent and filled with creepy characters. The plot is simple. Survive. It is the same thing you've seen before, but that is what makes these things appealing. Enjoy this for what it is and hope that we fix some of the issues in this country so we never end up like this version of the U.S.A.