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Old 07-31-2009, 12:22 PM   #26
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

#3 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)


In this installment, the Enterprise crew are 3 months from retirement (sans Sulu, whom is now a captain on his own ship). However, the Klingon Empire has suffered a devastating blow with a major accident, and are now ready to make peace with Starfleet. Spock volunteers the Enterprise to bring the Klingon Chancellor to Earth, despite Kirk's strong stance on hating the Klingons due to them killing David in Trek III. However, things go wrong when the Chancellor is assassinated, apparently by the Enterprise. Kirk is blamed, and stands trial. It is up to the Enterprise to uncover the mystery of the assassination, and help ensure that peace between the Federation and Klingon Empire creates a better world in the Undiscovered Country (the future).

This film was written and filmed at precisely the right time. While the Soviet Union was slowly dying and the Cold War coming to an end, the creative team of Trek opted to make a film echoing the end of the Cold War in time for the anniversary of Trek first airing. This film captures the Cold War ending well. The Klingons play the role of the Soviet Union and the Federation the US. One thing I loved about this movie is it doesn't slant either side as evil. Cause it doesn't matter in the context of this film which of the two sides is wrong. The only thing that matters is achieving peace between the two powers. The ambiguity both sides are given is very welcome and helps the story keep away from some cliches in Cold War based films.

As always, the crew of the Enterprise are great to see interact on screen. This cast has such a great chemistry going for them, and has made some bad Trek films better just by watching them interact. The fact this film is well written, paced, and thought out only makes watching these characters together more fun. Shatner does a great job with Kirk in this film, as a man whom needs to find out what peace with his rivals mean. Spock in this film doesn't act like a social moron like he did in the Trek films after Wrath of Khan (finally!!!), and seeing Spock back to old form is very welcome. DeForest Kelley brings great charm and sarcasm once again as McCoy, in sadly one of his final performances (and likely his best performance in the Trek films). I must also give credit to Christopher Plummer, whom plays a good Shakespeare spewing Klingon villain.

Nicholas Meyer, the architect of the Star Trek classic The Wrath of Khan, finally returns as director for this installment, which is welcome after Shatner's failed directorial debut. Meyer paces the story well, crafts a satisfactory mystery, and delivers some of the better action scenes in the series. The idea for a Bird of Pray that can fire while cloaked is a simple one, but yet refreshingly new to the audience. Plus, Meyer juggles comedic scenes and serious scenes well, and helps keep his films even.

Another thing I loved about this installment is it felt epic. From the ominous score to the well paced story, this film felt like the stakes were high and failure would be catostrophic. I didn't feel like the story was over-the-top or rediculous, mostly thanks to the emphasis on story over comedy. This film doesn't get overshadowed by stupid bits for laughs like Final Frontier does. Everything feels natural.

This films also has awesome effects. One sequence in particular is worth noting, and that is the zero gravity assassination of the Klingon Chancellor. This scene is possibly my favorite action sequence of all the Star Trek films, which says a lot since the series has some great sequences. The zero gravity effects are outstanding and very visually appealing. The scene is also well paced and scored, which adds to the atmosphere of the film. This was a perfect and original idea the creative crew behind this film came up with, and it works on every level.

I don't think this film would have been as good if it wasn't made when it was. This film took the end of the Cold War and the outlook of our world as it was then, and crafted one of the best Star Trek films of the series, ripe with the feeling of hope and a better future that was started by the vision of Gene Roddenberry. This was a great send off for the original crew of the Enterprise, and I'm glad this got made and Final Frontier wasn't their last voyage on screen.

9/10


Last edited by Spider-Fan; 08-01-2009 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

And then there were two...which film will reign supreme? Will First Contact shock the world? Will Wrath of Khan take #1 as predicted? Stay tuned and find out

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Old 08-01-2009, 02:29 PM   #28
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

#2 - Star Trek: First Contact (1996)



History itself is on the line in the 2nd film to feature the crew of the Next Generation. The Borg, an alien race that have a unified intelligence and are combonation of man and machine, have travelled to the past to stop Earth's first contact with alien life, which led to the eventual changing of ideals all over the world and the founding of the Federation. To do this, the Borg intend to stop Dr. Zefram Cochrane from completing the warp drive test run that gets the attention of aliens. Captain Picard and his crew follow the Borg to the past, and the task seems dfficult. Especially with the Borg teleporting onto the Enterprise and slowly taking it over. The Enterprise must not only face the Borg, but face their own realities in order for the mission to end in success.

Star Trek: First Contact does something various installments in the franchise failed to do, which was capture the essence of Star Trek perfectly. We can attribute this achievement to the director of this film, Johnathan Frakes. Many well known directors were approached to do this film, but Frakes was chosen. Frakes prior to this had only directed episodes of various Star Trek shows, and had no feature film directing experience. But he did bring the valuable asset of knowing what Star Trek was about, and this essence elevated the film immensly.

This film also featured an interesting race in the Borg. While the Klingons got mass use and later films featured less interesting races, the Borg are truly unique. The idea of a race combining organic with synthetic in order to evolve into the perfect being was a phenominal idea, and without the budget restrictions of television, they could finally use them without worrying about cost. The film does add a Borg Queen, much like James Cameron did in the Alien franchise, and it works for the Borg I feel. The Borg do have a hive mentality in many ways it seems, so creating a central Borg character made sense, and it gives the audience a face to the villain, as opposed to just dronish characters.

Like all the other installments in the series focusing on the Next Generation, the film centers around Picard and Data mostly. However, the arcs for the characters in this film are not forced like in the other films. Picard had been assimilated by the Borg in the past, and his knowledge in attacking the Borg is valuable in the film, but he is also on a quest for revenge on the Borg, which he constantly is in denial about. As the Borg grow stronger, Picard grows more desperate and his decisions grow more rash. The scene where the Earth woman of the past, Lily, confronts Picard about his Moby Dickish crusade and makes Picard realize she's right is one of the best scenes of the film. Likewise with Picard, Data has a great story. He gets captured by the Borg, and the Borg Queen sees a potential soulmmate in Data. Like the Borg, Data wishes to evolve, but while the Borg are growing more distant from humanity progressively, Data is trying to become more human. But, the Borg Queen tempts Data with "gifts" like sythetic skin that feels real, which makes Data face his inner desires and tests Data's loyalty to the Enterprise. Truly incredible writing for these characters.

While the writing on the Borg plot end is strong, I feel the writing on Earth of the past might be where the film truly shines. Ryker, Geordi, and Deanna Troi get the assignment of helping Zefram Cochrane build the warp drive rocket. Zefram Cochrane, played brilliantly by James Cromwell, is a man that in the future is seen as a visionary, but the reality is quite different. The real Zefram Cochrane is a drunken, selfish man whom wants nothing more than money so he can retire on an island with hot women. When the crew gushes over meeting this "visionary," Cochrane tries to abandon his rocket. He doesn't feel worthy of the respect and doesn't see this great man he keeps hearing about. This is when we get the best character moment of the film when he looks at Earth from space and simply says "it's so small." That subtle line is a great character moment, and shows a complete shift for Cochrane. Again, absolutely ingenius writing.

The film is not just well done character wise. The film is also very well paced. It keeps you in suspense the whole time and never let's go. The film also wastes no time in getting to the point, as the Borg attack and time travel happen almost immediately in the film. The film pretty much follows the stories on the Enterprise and Earth the entire film, and wastes no screentime. Another shining star in the film is Jerry Goldsmith's score. The score is full of both suspense at the appropriate moments, but also wonder. The music playing when Cochrane is staring at Earth from space or when a pivitol discovery is made, it adds a sense of awe to the film. That sense of awe compliments the history being made before our eyes aspect of the film, which provides a perfect atmosphere for the audience.

Star Trek: First Contact manages to provide action and suspense, while managing to be deep and meaningful. This is a film that shows the most unlikely of people can have the greatest impact on everyone, and what it means to look inward on our actions and desires. This film is entertaining, awe inspiring, and leaves you on a note of hope, which as I've pointed out many times, is at the heart of Star Trek. I highly recommend this film, as it will suck you in once the credits roll. When it comes to this film, resistance is futile!

10/10

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Old 08-01-2009, 04:20 PM   #29
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

Good reviews.

Maybe what could be interesting would be reviews of all the Stephen King's big screen adaptations.
I know I would be interested in reading them.

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:24 PM   #30
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Hmmm...that is a good idea. I have seen a good portion of his film adaptations, and there are many to look over. I'm going to remember that idea

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:28 PM   #31
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90's video game adaptations. You have to do those.

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:36 PM   #32
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

First Contact over ST 2009?

I also disagree with your rating of Star Trek The Motion Picture. You give it way too much credit.

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:38 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gilpesh View Post
90's video game adaptations. You have to do those.
YES! I want a Super Mario Bros. reveiw RIGHT NOW DAMN IT!

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:42 PM   #34
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

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90's video game adaptations. You have to do those.
Do I have to?

Quote:
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First Contact over ST 2009?

I also disagree with your rating of Star Trek The Motion Picture. You give it way too much credit.
I stated my reasoning for it's somewhat high ranking

But First Contact I do feel is almost as strong as Wrath of Khan. Choosing which was better was not easy to do, but I decided to give the knod to Wrath of Khan.

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:48 PM   #35
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Do I have to?
Mortal Kombat 1+2
Street Fighter
Double Dragon
Super Mario Bros.
Wing Commander

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:50 PM   #36
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Mortal Kombat 1+2
Street Fighter
Double Dragon
Super Mario Bros.
Wing Commander
......This will be a hard block of films

I could probably add a few 2000 movies to this too (like Resident Evil and such)...but, this list is bad enough already

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:52 PM   #37
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No. Just the 90's ones.

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:55 PM   #38
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Default Re: SF's House of Countdowns and Reviews

I guess I can swing that...I'll post my Wrath of Khan review later, and next thing I'll do will be Mortal Kombat. Since this block is smaller than the Stephen King one, I'll do these first, and then the Stephen King Adaptations.

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Old 08-02-2009, 12:20 AM   #39
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I guess I can swing that...I'll post my Wrath of Khan review later, and next thing I'll do will be Mortal Kombat. Since this block is smaller than the Stephen King one, I'll do these first, and then the Stephen King Adaptations.
.

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Old 08-02-2009, 12:24 AM   #40
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*suscribes*

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Old 08-02-2009, 01:10 AM   #41
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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)



In the 2nd film of the Star Trek franchise, Admiral Kirk is overseeing the training of new crewman aboard the Enterprise, but that training session becomes all too real. Kirk, whom is having trouble facing the fact he is old and not a starship captain anymore, must once again command the Enterprise. This time against an old enemy. Former foe, Khan, has taken command of another starship, and wants to exact revenge on Kirk for marooning him and his people on a dying planet. He also wishes to take command of what might be the greatest discovery in the history of man, and what also might be the worst: Project Genesis.

After Star Trek: The Motion Picture didn't make the money the producers anticipated, a television special was once again being made. But, the producers loved the script so much, they upped the budget and made it a major motion picture. While it is the 2nd film in the series, Wrath of Khan acts more as the beginning of the series. The costumes and such from the firsy film were all scrapped, and changed to red uniforms that everyone wore. These uniforms would be featured in the remaining films of the original crew, as well as various plot points and characters introduced in this film reappearing in subsequent films. The style of the film was also smaller. While the first film tried to have many epic shots and a grand look, Wrath of Khan tried to be smaller and more personal than the previous film. Even the choice in director shows this, as big name director Robert Wise was replaced by lesser known Nicholas Meyer.

Nicholas Meyer succeeds where Wise hadn't in providing a Trek film that was not just more mainstream, but equally as deep as Wise's more complex and oddly paced film. Meyer opted to make a film about life and death, which can be seen all over the film. Right off the bat, we have trainee Saavik taking the infamously impossible Kobiyashi Maru test, a test designed to see how a captain faces death. The Genesis project, and later planet, is also symbolic of life and death. Much like it's biblical meaning, Genesis represents life from death, since it takes a dead planet and makes it one that can sustain life.

The two main characters, Spock and Kirk, are also facing how to life and die. Kirk not being captain makes him wonder how he is going to face living the rest of his life without the adventure he desperately craves, and Spock never took the Kobiyashi Maru test, and wonders how he would face his own death. Meyer also keeps the life and death aspects subtle, and doesn't spell out the message like many Trek films tend to do. The development of both characters is fantastic, with bits like Kirk cheating on the Kobiyashi Maru and thus cheating death in order to pass, and both stories resolve themselves perfectly. The adventure makes Kirk once again feel young, and gets to at least briefly live his passion. Spock, in one of the all time greatest self-sacrifice scenes in history, fixes the warp drive in an extremely radioactive area, and chooses to die in order to save the rest of the crew since he believes the needs of the many outweigh those of the few. In the face of death, Spock is brave and doesn't sacrifice his morals. The death scene of Spock and subsequent funeral are poetically done, right down to Spock's casket landing on the Genesis planet, symbolizing how his death provided life.

Also unlike many other Trek films, Wrath of Khan is villain centered, and the villain at the heart of this film is the greatest villain in Star Trek history. Ricardo Montalban's performance is both colorful and menacing. Though Kirk and Khan are never in the same room in the film, you can feel the hatred ooze out of the screen everytime they talk on the communicators. Lust for vengeance is nothing new in the realm of film as motivation for a villain, but Khan pulls it off far better than most villains before him had. While Khan is a genius, his lust for revenge clouds his command decisions, which makes him Kirk's opposite since Kirk keeps a level head in dealing with Khan. His desire to use Genesis for destructive means is also great writing on the part of the creative team, since it shows how seeing death has consumed him into using a device meant to give life as a tool of death. For these reasons, Khan has enjoyed a rich legacy.

The score and visuals of the film never really take over the film, but they do stand out when they are supposed to and remain subtle when they have to. This mix helps maintain a perfect atmosphere for the film. Things like the Kobiyashi Maru test depend on the actors to get the desired feel, while moments like "Amazing Grace" playing during Spock's funeral make a sad moment far sadder. But, the atmosphere of the film really shines through at the end. While we see one of the two main character's of the series die, his death still provides a glimmer of hope in a dark hour.

Wrath of Khan is not the loudest, funnest, biggest, nor most obvious film in the Star Trek series, but it is the best. The film is pleases on both a mainstream level and on a deeper level. The film has enjoyed a rich legacy, even having a phrase in the industry made about it in regard to sequels exceeding the original film, and there is a reason Wrath of Khan has stood out in the series for so long. Wrath of Khan is the Star Trek film all subsequent films wanted to be as good as or better than, but that feat has yet to be achieved. Perhaps one day it will be dethroned, but that day seems to be far off at this moment.

10/10

AND THAT COMPLETES MY STAR TREK COUNTDOWN!!! Hope you enjoyed it,and you look forward to my next reviews on 90's video games films. Though I don't look forward to watching some of those

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Old 08-02-2009, 01:59 AM   #42
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After 90's video games, maybe you could do the Slasher Genre. Nightmare On Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Friday The 13th, Scream, ect.

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Old 08-02-2009, 09:41 AM   #43
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I can do slasher films after Stephen King films. There are so many slasher films though that I would have to make a list on which to include and not include. If I were reviewing every film in say NOES, they have like 8 films. F13 has over 10 itself, Halloween is somewhere around 10, etc. I'd either have to do selective series or just do a top 20 or something.

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Old 08-02-2009, 09:44 AM   #44
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No. Just the 90's ones.

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:05 AM   #45
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I will be posting my first review in the 90's video game movies set tomorrow, likely at night. Be on the look out ya'lls

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Old 08-13-2009, 02:14 PM   #46
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I'm elated that I inspired you to do countdowns to, SF! Great job with the 'Trek' films, man...slightly different from my ranking but that always bound to happen.

Now with a fellow countdown-er around, I'll have to step up my game when (hopefully) I can start my next one in September

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