Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Star Trek & Terminator Salvation

So, whilst in Crete we sat and watched the new Star Trek movie. I’d heard some bad reports about it and later, when back here, I read the same on the Internet from various people in the SF world. Apparently it was crap, and the film we should all be praising is Moon. I have to say I did dislike the modern tendency in it of getting in close with the shaky camera, and I disliked a certain disjointedness to the story and action, but…

Recently we sat and watched Terminator Salvation. In some parts it didn’t flow very well and, in an attempt to give the action more impact, clarity was sacrificed, but…

I do understand the reaction to these films from some quarters of the SF world. The former film had plenty of exploding spaceships, phaser fights and a planet-busting weapon, whilst the latter had too many lethal robots and too much ball-busting action. Both films didn’t contain sufficient angst, liberal-left didacticism or enough politically-correct homilies. They were, therefore, insufficiently worthy.

I loved them both and will watch them both again. 


Mark T Croucher said...

Have to agree Neal, Star Trek was the best film I saw last year. Anyone that found that wanting must be a weird kind of sci-fi snob or just plain bloody minded.

Terminator I also enjoyed although I had to keep differing to the wifes unnatural knowledge of the time lines in the story.

However, really if you don't go and see Avatar then you really have no comment on sci-fi movies at all. Its a thing of sheer beauty and even if the story maybe to simple for some peoples enjoyment you have to marvel at the skill and vision that went into making it. It really is outstanding.

Moon was also very well made, low budget and a cry back to some of those 70's masterpieces. Bowies son has an eye for a good movie it seems.

Neal Asher said...

I will be going to see Avatar, Mark. We've got some coupons to use up anyhow!

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Star Drek: just felt insulted having sat thru a Heinlein kids book with a swollen appendages joke stolen from the Metalocalypse cartoon. the cliches ran rampant, the plot driven explosions and the cool beastie didn't make me feel as much of a hopeful chump as i shoulda. you will love Avaturd if you love the new ST. to me it was like someone wiping pretty dogshit on my face and going, this is your sf, you've been waiting for this moment havent you? since Starshit Pooters (which aside from the cardboard actors was at least humorous cool looking) the jingoist gone starway book adaptation? totally insulted by this inviso foot rubbing my face.

"if you don't go and see Avatar then you really have no comment on sci-fi movies at all."

its got all that same Star Drek stuff that is the biggest weakest problem i have. nods to Episode one, the ewok blueman group (note the same J Williams music punctuations here and there) who dances with wolves. just lame all around. same same. some 'go go go!!' and even a 'come to daddy.' ...but no 'i'll be back' for all you who were expecting a silver Harlan Ellison lawsuit to pop up. just fixed up the Aliens 2 gear (with bullets!) and the familiar, similar knuckleheads saying things only an excited cliche on screen could say. ok, the future is full of "locked in, lets rock and roll!" idiots. got it.

this shit embarrasses me, sorry guys, no-brainer thin plots with dummied down lines suited for the guys who can't wait to watch the football game. that's just not me. been an enthusiast since i was ...not sure. i have pics drawn with the stupidest looking monsters in kindergarten. every little story i wrote had a nasty ending with something being eaten and the bones spit out. sf hasn't gone beyond that on the big blockbusters and maybe that will save that poor poor so sad the sky is falling again dying genre. at what cost (as i look at the empty wallet that is).

i keep seeing this shit and keep feeling chumped out. what the hell is wrong with me? hoping for another, what, Final Programme or something.
this is an opinion. easily dismissed.

GraemeGRFinch said...

I thought Terminator Salvation, missed certain plot points from the third film (which was a bit pants). Other than that they did a good job of ensuring Terminator 5 (it's getting like Rocky movies).

It must be said though, that Christian Bale is a bit too.... er fuck knows but something isn't right about his character... And how comes he wasn't the over all leader?

Lawrence said...

Oh come on Neal, I'm no liberal (hardly) yet Star Drek and TS are simply dreadful fare. It's not because they are not liberal or PC or angst-ridden enough that they were rightly derided and dismissed, it's because they were simply crap with no thoughtful plotting or thoughtful anything.

Moon was widely praised, including by me, I loved it, because it was intelligent SF with obvious influences from the best in the genre including PK Dick and Lem's Solaris and of course 2001. Moon had nothing to do with politics, PC or otherwise, liberal or conservative. It was an apolitical movie, yet critics liked it because it was intelligent and thoughtful. In other words Moon was praised because it was good and ST and Terminator damned because they are crap, politics has zilch to do with it.

GraemeGRFinch said...

The voice of reason says that we that read SF expect more from those that produce the visual stuff, because we expanded our horizons using the minds eye, rather than letting the film makers do the work for us.

How we the Sf book buffs get the SF visuals people to tailor movies more to our intellectual tastes and expectations is a big issue.

And unfortunately, what we would like to see, in terms of science, language, depth, and imagining is possibly a little too much for the average cinema goer to be bothered with.

I imagine that most of us have a rough idea conceptually of why light speed isn’t quick enough, and that point to point wormholes, underspace and such are required to cover true galactic distances etc, we understand Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and it’s memory and processing demands in relationship to actually teleporting things from transporter room one to sickbay . The mass market doesn’t and doesn’t give the proverbial flying fuck either, they want to be entertained, that’s what the ticket price is about, that’s what the movie industry is about.

We should agree between ourselves, that we the readers are richer for using our minds eye, and that as long as we read them; Mr Asher and Co will write them.

Jebel Krong said...

star trek was an awesome film - easily one of the best of last year. most of the whiners seem to be die-hard old fans that don't like their continuity being messed up tbh.

personally i felt it was a surprisingly traditional-feeling star trek adventure, really harking back to the early days but updated where it matters - action, effects, concepts. yeah you can nit-pick some of the logic-flaws but original trek certainly wasn't perfect. at the end of the day spock was simply awesome, kirk surprisingly so (in arguably the hardest role) and all the others were, too. and it did what the franchise so desperatley needed: made it relevant and exciting again (perhaps that is what the trek whiners hate most - being popular). oh and leonard nimoy just added the finishing touches of awesomness on top.

i like christian bale, but terminator wasn't good by comparison, sure there were some nice concepts but sam worthington as the other lead was charisma-free and his plot went nowhere, and special effects and a bleach-bypass alone do not make a movie. shame because the trailers were good - maybe McG should stick to them though. i mean, really, what did everyon expect from the guy who gave us the Charlie's Angels films?

Mark T Croucher said...

Well some of your fans Neal obviously spend most of their time hiding in very dark holes thinking very dark thoughts (akin to Morlocks). We all stuck to the topic matter that being S.T., and T4 and Moon and I added Avatar to the mix yet none of the disenters managed to suggest anything as an alternative to what rocks their boat.

Sci-fi is a minority fare when it comes to book fiction, in film in rises a lot higher up the public radar of interest. As I said, I liked Moon, mature sci-fi. Most people I know and the local blockbuster chart say that the movie is 3 out of 5 at best. It's as Graeme expressed, just because it does not appeal to a sci-fi snob or darkly introverted fan base does not mean it is bad, turd referenced or holds some dark apolitical messsage that the average punter cannot see through. Its goal is to make money and if it does then it is because it has mass appeal. The majority only understand simple sci-fi I'm afraid.

Conversely, can someone explain how Dark Star fits into this particular discussion?

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

Dark Star was what you could do with the budget you have. a triumph, it blows that Hitchiker's Guide stuff out of the water. maybe its the pacing? not sure. Douglas Adams is way too glib for me for some reason. just an opinion all you crazy fans...its only me, the town nut.

i put Dark Star up there with The Tenth Victim (subtitled!) for sf satire top of the heap film winners. 10th Victim holds up against the Sheckley story it's based on. sort of a james bond super killer with a baby crawl away robot pal.

i take it all you explosion freaks have fast fwd'd thru Zabrinske Point?

GraemeGRFinch said...

Two words " Silent Running".

Anonymous said...

To keep things simple, Star Trek I enjoyed (opening 10 minutes were great), Terminator not so much.

For me it comes to to entertainment. I want to be entertained, I personally don't go to watch something just to pick holes in it. More often than not, it's the pacing I find issue with.

At the end of a film, I walk out of the cinema and think, was it any good. Nowadays very little is really any good. Mostly in the 4 - 7/10 range.

For instance Book of Eli, just okay. The Road good, depressing but good. Law abiding citizen, switch off your higher brain functions and it's great.