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Thread: Star Trek (2009) by J. J. Abrams

  1. #61
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    My last year in Hollywood turned out to be 1979. My buddy on the Hollywood Reporter knew of my penchant for science fiction. He called me one morning and invited me to the 70mm premiere of a new film at The Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. When I got there, the place was a mob of people, press and movie stars. He held a place in line for me and we were the first to enter. The entrance to the Egyptian sits back from the road. We had to walk through this field of "eggs" that had dry ice fog running through it. We went through "mother" and emerged on the other side to a gigantic sculpture of something that looked pure alien. It had an enormous end that shot up at a 45 degree angle with some sort of alien resting in a chair. Its chest had a hole in it. I had no idea what the movie was about. I only knew would see the first showing of a 70mm print.

    Instead of the thundering Fox opening, strange music emitted from the speakers. One word formed across the top that huge screen, "Alien." The movie started with a huge mother ship called the Nostromo moving over us. The whole thing delighted me since this was clearly a departure from "Star Wars" still playing up the street held over since 1977! About five minutes into the film, we watched with horror as the print jumped the sprockets and got stuck in the projector. Instantly the print began to burn before our eyes. People screamed. Panic broke out. A spokesperson for the theater asked everyone to be calm. Ridley Scott was there. He was furious.

    My buddy pulled me to one side. "Let's go to Westwood," he suggested. "It's showing there in about an hour!"

    "What about the 70mm print?" I asked.

    "It's showing in 70mm in Westwood!" he told me.

    We didn't even wait for a refund. Off we flew in someone's car and arrived to find we were at the back of the line. My friend went to the front of the line and then came back to find me.

    "Just follow me and don't ask any questions, "he said.

    I followed him to a side door and someone let us in. We had perfect in the middle of the middle seats. My friend asked me if I wanted to meet the person who let us in. I said yes. George Maharis (star of Route 66 and many other television shows) turned around.

    "I'm that person," he said with a grin.

    "Alien" turned out to be a classic from day one. I would say it is one of the finest science fiction films ever made. All cheers to Ridley Scott for that and the first sequel. The rest are/is crap.
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  2. #62
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    Revealing my website then reveals my persona on this site. I have remained anonymous for so many years. This will also reveal my name to anyone else who reads this site. However, I would like you to read my novel... so here goes.

    http://www.williamstolley.com/

    link off the main page on my website to the synopsis. From there you can link to my list. If you ever consider reading a science fiction novel, you may not be interested in my work, but at least read something from that list. I am nothing without them. They speak with a far more profound voice that I ever could. I can only stand in their giant shadow.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  3. #63
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    Boldly Going Where No Man Has Gone Before

    This thread has gone beyond STAR TREK literally, but what the heck!

    Cinemabon's comment regarding ALIEN has stirred me to reflect on my fifth best movie of all time 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, a sci fi classic and my tenth best movie of all time ALIEN (BLADERUNNER incidently sits in twelve place on my list). Oops, Cinemabon's stated that ALIEN was "one of the finest science fiction films ever made" well nevertheless, Cinemabon's comment still made me wonder about why 2001 ranks higher than ALIEN for me. What was stellar with both movies was the realism and authenticity that both movies present to the audience, minus ALIEN'S engine sounds in space - the acting was spot on. 2001 incorporates a larger cosmic embrace of science fiction while ALIEN focuses on an intimate personal horror experiential experience, including a feminine/masculine quality in Ripley that denotes a balance between aggression and compassion. 2001 has the larger, universal message with greater impact while ALIEN, for me, went inwards into the human psyche of what is best in humanity.

    However, it is this inner spirit from ALIEN as well as the fascinating alien/human fusion in a sequel that compels me to recognize the strengths and insights found in ALIEN RESURRECTION (1997) which I thought had solid merits as a quality sci fi movie, if not classic movie which I felt it didn't achieve.

  4. #64
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    Unmased!

    In the age of Facebook have we any place to hide?

    Good story. I wonder what happened at the Egpytian Theater after the film burned. When you said George Maharis I confused him with George Chakiris, of West Side Story. But Maharis sounds familiar too. He seems to have been in so many, many things, mainly on TV, that we've all heard of him. He was in Logan's Run, but only one episode. He was 50 when this happened.

  5. #65
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    Science Fiction Literature - Cinemabon

    Cinemabon revealed his sci fi literature preferences on his website - while this is probably a topic better suited to a book forum, it still overlaps topic-wise with an alternative sci fi media format. I used to be a rapid sci fi reader, but later fizzled out when I became an adult having to work and struggling just to live in the real world. Nevertheless, Cinemabon's list brings back memories.


    10. Fredrick Pohl's "Gateway" I probably read this book, but I can't remember it at all.

    9. Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles" Instant classic with dazzling vignettes of personable intimate stories (like a sci fi twilight zone).

    8. John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" A classic that is considered one of the best immersion into an alien culture.

    7. Larry Niven's "Ringworld" One of the best adventure sci fi novels in the traditional captivating journey/voyage mold.

    6. Arthur C. Clark's "A Childhood's End" A wonderful almost epic novel, that if I recall correctly extends a lifetime.

    5. Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" Missed this one.

    4. Issac Asimov's "The Foundation Trilogy" Voted the best sci fi series of all time. It's possible, never to be overtaken.

    3. Frank Herbert's "Dune" An epic novel with some of the most densely, richly alien dynastic vision in sci fi literature.

    2. Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a strange land." Considered the most enthralling alien perspective.

    1. Ursula K. LeGuin's "The left hand of darkness" Oh, my. Read it, can't remember it - forgive me.


    "The Lord of the Rings" by J R R Tolkien. This classic was bested later by Stephen R. Donaldson in his six novel series THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT

    "Nine Princes in Amber" by Roger Zelazny. Never read.

    "The Dispossessed" by LeGuin. Never read.

    "War of the Worlds" by H G Wells. Never read.

    "Ender's Game" by Orson Card. Read, but can't recall much, but it was my home state author's brilliant sci fi outing.

    "Downbelow Station" by C J Cherryh. Never read, but the authori is considered among the serious sci fi authors.

    "20,000 Leagues under the sea" by Jules Verne. Never read.

    "A Spell for Chameleon" by Piers Anthony. Read it, but there were a number of great novels he wrote, it's hard to choice among his many books.

    "The Book of Skulls" by Robert Silverberg. Never read this novel, but definitely one of the classic sci fi authors.

    "Contact" by Carl Sagan. Never read.

    "A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter Miller Never read.

    "Dragonflight" by Anne McCaffrey. Wonderful - fantasy world along with the rest of her books.

    "The Sword of Shannara" by Terry Brooks. Never read, but came on the scene later than many of these authors.

    What a trip down memory lane. Maybe when I retire. Reading books is so different from watching and experiencing films. Some of my best memories.

  6. #66
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    Dune is a work that is just stunning.
    I only read the first book and was so weighed down by it that I just can't read the others. I'd become a totally immersed Dune-Nerd and I just can't have that!

    It's like Lord of the Rings. In space.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #67
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    I think I read somewhere that Ridley Scott was inspired by 2001 and the "dirtiness" of the ships in Star Wars. He thought that the ships looked "used" and thought that was great.
    When I watched Alien for the first time (about 7 months ago! yikes) I noticed that it had really inspired shots. Shots that were trying to evoke Kubrick. I'll have to get myself a DVD copy. I think the first 2 Alien movies are outstanding. I've only seen each of them once. But the more I think about them the more I know they're classics.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #68
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    Dune - The Book

    DUNE by Frank Herbert was the only book that I read that I couldn't read. It is the one book where I'd get reading it and then I'd get 25, 50 pages into and stop. It took me about five attempts when I was young to eventually get to a point where I just ended up reading the whole book. I never did get to the rest of the series.

  9. #69
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    As the storyteller, I have one for 2001....

    It premiered at the Cinestage in Chicago in 70mm with "Reserved seating only!" So my cousin and I reserved some seats and made a date to see this film. It was August 1968 in Chicago... ring any bells yet?

    We got off the "El" train (nicknamed for being elevated) from Oak Park to downtown (back then they bragged, "downtown is only nine minutes away!" Ha! More like ninety!) So we met some of my cousin's friends. They had tickets, too. We started up this street when this truck pulled up and about two dozen soldiers got out. Some had machine guns. They told us that the street was being blocked off. So we backtracked and made our way to the cinema from a different route. We noticed increased street traffic and pedestrians for a weekday.

    The film in 70mm was just the most outstanding film experience I ever had... at least of what I can remember from the first showing. You see, we were all very stoned at the time. I did see it several times after that, but on this first occassion we were all very toasty. When the film ended, we went to the front of the theater to leave and they had the doors chained shut! Outside on the sidewalk we could see soldiers with guns that had bayonets on them. The street was packed with young people, long hair, blue jeans, they were marching up the street. They were also waving an enormous flag.

    "What country is that?" I asked one of the people next to us.

    "North Vietnam," someone commented.

    They herded us out the back of the theater. I practically ran over Roger Mudd who was standing on a street corner shooting material for a report on CBS. We decided to stay downtown as what was happening around us seemed more interesting than the film.

    Of course later that night...

    "The whole world is watching... the whole world is watching... the world is watching..." in Grant Park.

    I was there. My cousin and I barely escaped. We did not go to jail that night.... a night burned in my memory forever. Yes, I love 2001. I believe it is the greatest science fiction film of all time. But oh the baggage I carry with that day.
    Last edited by cinemabon; 05-31-2009 at 02:48 PM.
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  10. #70
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    Star Trek


    Finally saw Star Trek and it gets a big thumbs up from me.
    What I liked:

    - the costumes. Number 1 reason is the costumes. They went back to the original costumes, albeit with a slight tweaking.
    I even like the cadet costumes from the Starfleet Academy.
    They seem slightly military to me, formal.
    Humanitarian explorers yes, but they have a code of conduct...
    Those primary colors are eye-pleasing.
    I noticed the insignias on some of the badges were different than others. Maybe cinemabon can explain that one.

    - the special effects. They've obviously been mentioned and trumpeted here and everywhere else because of their really high quality. Amazing sfx wizards worked on this film. Of particular note for me was the camera (dolly? no way!) shot where the camera reverses from the Enterprise bridge window and the image just tilts and tilts until you see that *MONSTER* Romulan ship. That was pure cinema right there. Pure glorious spectacle.
    The black hole was very awesome as well, not to mention the sequence where Kirk and Sulu and that other dumb dude skyrocket in their flightsuits. That was really really great CGI.
    All around the special effects are just Oscar-worthy.
    They make this movie. That's it, that's all.

    -Spock. The actor playing this young Spock is spot-on. I had no trouble believing him as the great Vulcan. All of the others replacing the classic crew members irked me one way or another.
    They *basically* got it right, but it's just not the same.
    The guy playing McCoy had the perfect voice. Voice was dead-on.
    But when you look at him it's like, "that's Bones?!"
    Sulu doesn't look anything like George Takei and neither does the woman playing Uhura. I thought it was Jada Pinkett!!
    Kirk is actually not bad. He's obviously no William Shatner, but if you're gonna get a guy to play James T., he's it.


    Things that bugged me:

    - the bridge.
    It doesn't bother me in the sense that that is how a bridge of a high-tech Starship should look, but when I think of the old set from the TV show, WOWZA. The difference is staggering.
    Those transparent techie screens, the sleekness, the chairs- man, this is quite an upgrade from that old TV show! It just shocked me how off-the-charts futuristic it was when the original set was so.....basic.

    - the rapid-fire lines. Can't get a handle on all that jargon, man.
    They rattle this shit off like a bat out of hell- especially during the space wars: "Influx decapitators at 56%!!" "Double up on your gamma liquidating molecules Mr. Sulu!!" "Eradicate First-Force-Thrust Dildoinators- shields down!!"
    It's crazy, that dialogue.
    I'd fail Starfleet Academy. No question.

    -the villains. Eric Bana is great as a baddie, but these are your stock "enemies" in Star Trek. They brood, they make threats, they have disturbing visages, they utter ultimatums, they scuffle with the good guys... Man, why can't they get some villains who're more than one-dimensional?
    I want Galactus!
    I want Magneto!



    Great movie overall.
    I'm glad that Star Trek films now have some serious juice to them. Cinematically, it's suceeded in spades.
    And that's all you can ask for.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #71
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    Thanks for all the additional detail. Delivered like a true Trekkie, which I'm not. As I can say is that among summer blockbusters 2009, this stands out as well done and enjoyable.

  12. #72
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    Chris Pine just irked me

    Of all the characters from STAR TREK (2009), Chris Pine's performance as Captain Kirk was the singular performance I had the most problem with. I don't know if it was the script, Pine's acting, the continuity with the original William Shatner character, but something just didn't feel right all the way through the movie almost. The other characters fit right in for me.

  13. #73
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    I on the other hand who am not a Trekkie and never watched the original shows all the way through ever, loved Chris Pine and thought he was a good character, and from what people have told me the character in mature form is full of spunk like Pine. But if you don't like Pine that would ruin the show. Too bad, because it's better than the other summer action blockbusters so far.

  14. #74
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    Yes, this Star Trek is the best summer blockbuster so far.
    (I saw Transformers last night and while I personally loved it, after comparing the two in my head, Star Trek edges it out).

    I bought my tix for Les Vampires yesterday.
    $40 for the whole ten episodes. On the big screen, the way it was meant to be seen. It's the first film I'll see at the Ontario Cinematheque and it seems quite appropriate. Live musical accompaniment too...there is a God.
    I'll post about it in the classic film section.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  15. #75
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    I was planning to see Transformers but I'm not encouraged by Manohla Dargis of the NYTimes calling it "cretinous." Variety predicts big Box Office bucks and says it has an "enhanced arsenal of special effects, which helmer Michael Bay deploys like a general launching his very own shock-and-awe campaign on the senses." Variety is much less condescending than Ms. Dargis but notes the new Transformers features"machines that are impressively more lifelike, and characters that are more and more like machines."

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