Vintage Franchise – Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Rick Berman, Michael Piller (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, F Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy

 

Plot: When the crew of the Enterprise learn of a Federation conspiracy against the inhabitants of a unique planet, Captain Picard begins an open rebellion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best of the New Generation Films

 

Story: Star Trek: Insurrection starts as Data (Spiner) goes rogue against the Federation who are monitoring a seemingly primitive group of humans on an unknown planet, Picard (Stewart) must take the Enterprise to this planet to solve Data’s problem only to learn the planet knows and has travelled the universe.

When Picard investigates Data’s malfunction more he learns that Admiral Dougherty (Zerbe) and Ru’Afo (Abraham) have plans for the planet and the people living on it, leaving Picard to rebel against the Federation.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek: Insurrection

 

Characters – Picard continues to be strong leader who challenges his authority while defending his crew and the rights of the people on the planet from Federation law. Data uses his programming to make himself a threat to the Federation showing his loyalty to Picard. Ru’afo is the leader that wants control of the planet because of what the planet possesses and he will do what he wants to make it possible to work with the Federation.

PerformanceThe performances across the board are the best from the main cast of the crew in the franchise to date with the addition performances all coming off good through the film.

StoryThis is the first of the new generation Star Trek films that follows the characters on an adventure which feels original and not part of the television series, this helps us enjoy this movie because it shows our trusted crew doing the right thing, defend the peace in the galaxy from a new threat. The story also feels like what the point of Star Trek would be, to go in peace to new worlds to defend the people on the planet.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure part of this story brings our crew to a new world, one that is off the grid in a battle against the people they are meant to be working with, which brings us to the mystery which circles around just what is going on with the two sides interested in the planet.

SettingsThe settings show us just what the Federation will fight for, they have the technology in their ships but the peaceful planet is what the people want.

Special EffectsThe practical effects used through the film are good but the CGI ones end up looking cheaper than they were.

Scene of the Movie – Magic trick.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We lack the use of the supporting crew enough in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the best of the next generations film, it has an original story that feels like a movie over an extended television moment which the previous films have felt like so far.

 

Overall: Entertaining addition to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

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Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Ronald D Moore (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, James Cromwell, Alice Krige

 

Plot: The Borg travel back in time intent on preventing Earth’s first contact with an alien species. Captain Picard and his crew pursue them to ensure that Zefram Cochrane makes his maiden flight reaching warp speed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Struggles to Make Impact

 

Story: Star Trek: First Contact starts as Picard (Stewart) is having nightmares of being capture by the Borg (This must have happened in the television show, so I have no idea), this stops him going into battle against the Borg but like all Enterprise captains he goes against these orders finding the ship going back in time following a Borg vessel that has changed the past.

The Enterprise crew goes back in time to the time before First Contact by Zefram Cochran (Cromwell) is made before the Borg Queen (Krige) destroy the moment and take over the Earth.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek: First Contact

 

Characters – Picard is haunted by his past having been captured by the Borg on the television show, he must lead his crew in a mission which needs to stop the change of human history. Borg Queen is the leader of the Borg, they all work for her with her power and now she wants to take out human history before they can get into the space race. Zefram Cochran is the man who made intergalactic travel possible and makes first contact with the Vulcans, he turns out to be a drunk and the crew must work to get him ready for this mission.

PerformancePatrick Stewart did become a good captain and easily people’s favourite and it shows why here, Alice Krige brings us a villain which works well while Cromwell seems to enjoy being the drunken history maker.

StoryThe story here gives us a chance to see how the first contact happened which is nice to see, but the problems in the story comes from bringing in an established villain that has a past with Picard which was a problem for last film too. We have the same peril you would come to know but mostly just entertaining for the fans of the television show.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure takes out crew back in time, which is what has worked before in the franchise, the sci-fi comes from the idea of time travel because saving humanity is what the Enterprise does.

SettingsThe settings are disappointing mostly, we have the ship and random location in the woods on Earth, we don’t get somewhere to fight for and the Enterprise gets destroyed yet again.

Special EffectsThe effects do continue to improve through the film with the Borg looks terrifying at times.

Scene of the Movie – The Borg Queen introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t know the back story for Picard and the Borgs enough.

Final ThoughtsIf you were a fan of the television show you will find yourself enjoying this one because you need to know some of the back story but as a singular sci-fi film it is fine.

 

Overall: Simple Franchise filler.

Rating

 

 

Sasq-Watch (2017)

Director: Drew Hall

Writer: James Weldon (Screenplay)

Starring: Paul Brittain, Adam Herschman, Christinee Betley, Neil Flynn, Tim Meadows, Dean J West, Sherri Eakin

 

Plot: Uber geeks Nigel and Oscar want nothing more than to capture definitive evidence of a Sasquatch. When their guide bails on them, they must resort to using a mis-matched group of outdoor enthusiasts. Meanwhile, their rival Claus, also on the hunt for the “Squatch”, races to beat them to the prize in this documentary style comedy.


Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Parody Film

 

Story: Sasq-Watch! Starts as we meet brothers Nigel (Brittain) and Oscar (Herschman) who have been searching for sasquatch for years, knowing this is the last year to claim a reward for proof of its existence they head off on their next expedition to prove it is real.

Needing a guide they brothers must look to the estranged Samson (Flynn) and sister of one of their late friends Jamie (Bently) a young woman that would rather be going to a party area, but it is the appearance of the brother’s rival Claus (Meadows) that completes the expedition challenge for them.

 

Thoughts on Sasq-Watch

 

Characters – Nigel is the leader of the expedition, he hosts the show, he shows the knowledge of bigfoot and is determined to make the discovery over his enemy Claus. Oscar is the brother of Nigel, who is happy to go along with Nigel’s plans because he also saw sasquatch once, he does have a crush on Jamie, but does seem out of place in the forest. Jamie is a young woman that was friends with one of Nigel & Oscar’s friends, she is forced into going on this by her father that will pay her tuition if she goes. At times this character is the fish out of water stating the obvious when things are going wrong. Samson is the guide that believes he has once encountered bigfoot, he has wild stories that could easily be true, but it is the unease of his telling them that scare the group. Claus is the rival of Nigel that has spent years staying ahead of him even though he isn’t a scientist who likes being in the wild.

PerformancesPaul Brittian does bring the most energy to this film with his positive character that keeps us wanting to see where things can go. Adam Herschman does bring the slapstick to this movie getting laughs when needed but also showing us how to do the serious side of the film. Christine Bently brings the beauty to the film being great as the one that doesn’t want to be there without becoming whiny. Neil Flynn does give us a performance which is like his most famous role in Scrubs while Tim Meadows delights as the over the top out of his comfort zone rival.

StoryThe story plays into the idea that people will give up large parts of their lives searching for bigfoot, giving us a comic parody tone to the film. We have people lost in the woods and needing to look at moments in their lives to find the true answers to this expedition. This is a fun simple story that works for comedy without being a laugh a minute and does fall into the quirky side of things.

ComedyThe comedy uses mostly parody at people who hunt for bigfoot, it has moments of slapstick as well as moments which involve a story going further than the characters are comfortable hearing.

SettingsMost of the film is set just in the forest which is fine, it works for the film and gets a good pay off in one of the final jokes.


Scene of the Movie –
Separate moments in the woods.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Samson does seem to disappear for moments in the final part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy, the fans of comedy will enjoy it, it doesn’t fall into stupid levels of comedy and gets plenty of good laughs when needed.

 

Overall: Fun little comedy.

Rating

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson (Screenplay) George Lucas (Characters)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Kelly Marie Tran

 

Plot: Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.


Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacular

 

Story: Star Wars: The Last Jedi starts as the Force Awakens ends, Rey (Ridley) has tracked down Luke Skywalker (Hamill) in an attempt to bring in to join the rebel forces in the in battle against the First Order. Princess Leia (Fisher) is evacuating the Rebel Forces after the previous attack, with the First Order waiting to pick them off.

General Hux (Gleeson) is leading the assault from the First Order, with Poe (Isaac) leading to defensive assault, while Finn (Boyega) must go on his own adventure to bring down the First Order and help the Rebels escape. Kyle Ren (Driver) is trying to battle his inner demons deciding whether to make the transition to the Dark Side or not. This brings the characters into the next chapter in the saga who will have the upper hand by the end.

 

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Characters – Let’s look at the newer characters first, Rey locates Luke and must try to convince him to return to help the Rebels only to need to learn her place in the battle, she starts to go through Jedi training showing the powers she has deep down ready to become a powerful force in the rebel battle. Fin spends most of the film wanting to find Rey, only to go on a secret mission to help stop the First Order from tracking the Rebels. Poe is still the trigger happy pilot that wants to fight more often than just survive, he has thee biggest arc to learn about through the film. Kyle Ren is now being questioned on his dark side alliance from Snoke, he must prove his alliance by taking out the threat which stands in their way.

Original characters, Luke has been in hiding after what happened with Kylo Ren, he doesn’t want to see another student influenced by the Darkside and is reluctant to help Rey, but he must learn from his own past to guide the future. Leia is leading the Rebels escape, knowing that they have dwindling numbers, she knows they must regroup in order to survive for the next battle, she does clash with Poe’s battle heavy beliefs.

There is one more character I feel deserves a mention, that is Rose, she is an engineer for the rebels, she goes on the mission with Finn and we learn just how many people have been affected by the First Order and how they are all doing their part to help somehow.

PerformancesWe can spend time going through all the individual performances here, but it would be hard to find a fault with any of them. The whole cast picks up where they left off last time around and the addition in Kelly Marie Tran and Benicio Del Toro shows we can get stars from different scales of the experience walk into the franchise without looking out of place.

StoryThe story continues from where we left off nicely, it does branch out into the four main stories with Rey & Luke, Finn, Rose and BB8, Poe trying to save the rebels and Kylo Ren showing his true colours. This helps continue the saga on to the next chapter, gives the characters the development needed for the next stage of the battle and gives the story a real time feel about it, as the film follows the Rebels trying to escape from The First Order for the most part of the film. it does have a darker town to everything, but this is needed because this is the middle of the trilogy story and now we are ready to see how the saga concludes.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action here is big battle set pieces, we have space battles, land battles and one wild race through a city, they entertain throughout the film. the adventure takes some of our characters to new worlds, with new fantasy creatures which helps them grow and learn the size of the battle they are part of.

SettingsEach world has its own unique style, the island Luke lives on feels abandoned and isolated for a reason, the rich person planet shows the type of people that could be using the battles for their own good and the space sets look brilliant too.

Special EffectsThis is one of the best looking special effects filled films in this whole saga, nothing looks out of place for this movie and it shows from the first shot to the final one.


Scene of the Movie –
Lightspeed, this moment had the whole cinema gasp in amazement.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did find the timeline slightly confusing, Rey & Luke seem to be together for days maybe even weeks, while everything else seemed to be one or two days or nights only.

Final ThoughtsThis movie has bought the saga to new levels, our characters know their place in the battle and now they are ready to get to the next level of this battle, we know the stakes are at a critical level in the battle as we wait to see where things will go next.

 

Overall: This is the best addition to Star Wars since the Original Saga.

Rating

 

 

Vintage Franchise – Star Trek VII: Generations (1994)

Director: David Carson

Writer: Rick Berman, Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga (Screenplay) Gene Roddenberry (Characters)

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Malcol McDowell, William Shatner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton

 

Plot: Captain Picard, with the help of long presumed dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter an energy ribbon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining But Confusing

 

Story: Star Trek Generations starts when the Enterprise is having its first outing without Kirk (Shatner) as the captain, he is there as a guest for the grand launch along with the press who take the ship on a small galaxy tour only to find themselves needing to respond to an emergency call, do the best he can Kirk saves the day but is believed to have been killed in the incident.

78 years later, Picard (Stewart) is now captain of the Enterprise with his new crew including Riker or Number One (Frakes), Data (Spiner), Geordi (Burton) Worf (Dorn) and Beverly (McFadden) who answer another distress call from Soran (McDowell) a survivor from the opening incident. Soran has a plan to destroy a star to head back to Nexus a place where his people were taken from and only Picard must stop him from cause a devastating effect on the galaxy.

 

Thoughts on Star Trek Generations

 

Characters – Picard is now the captain of the enterprise, he is less flamboyant that Kirk but equally as strong in a leader role, but the problem with everything involved Picard and his crew is that unless you have seen the series most elements just seem to be continuing life aspects we learnt from them. Kirk only gets involved in the opening and final moments of the film, this gives us a chance to see the big leaders a chance to be on screen together. Soran does seem to become the most intense villain since Khan, he is a broken man wanting his peace in life but it will cost millions of lives to get.

PerformanceThe performances from Stewart and the rest of the crew are good even if Brent Spiner is trying too hard for comedy. Malcolm McDowell makes for a good villain with a constant look of menace in his eyes through the film.

StoryThe story does feel like an extension of the Voyager television show, we have the new established crew taking on a villain who wants to put his personal gain over the lives of the many. The idea works fine if you are a fan of the television show but if you have never seen the show you will be left wondering why Data acts the way he does, why suddenly Picard has a family he is caring about and a few other dynamics between the crew.

Adventure/Mystery/Sci-FiThe adventure the crew goes on does take the crew to a new species of aliens in the galaxy to save but otherwise it is more of the same, the mystery comes from what Soran wants from the Enterprise crew and his great plan in the mission.

SettingsThe settings once again offer us nothing new, spaceship and dusty planet, been here seen this.

Special EffectsThe effects have improved since the last outing and actually look like part of a sci-fi film now.

Scene of the Movie – The Nexus vision for Picard.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understanding the characters personal backstory.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the franchise that is mostly for the hardcore fans of the show and films though.

 

Overall: Clash of captains worth watching.

Rating