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Star Trek

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Ten Forward Couture.

“And then the Enterprise also travels to the planet where everybody dresses like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.” From successful sci-fi costuming to something of the more hit-and-miss variety, io9 takes a gander at the costumes of the first three Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons. Points for creativity, I suppose.

Chief O’Brien, Working Stiff.

“We know that Miles O’Brien had a lot more fun serving aboard Deep Space Nine than he did aboard the Enterprise, and these ennui-filled comics help explain why. Hanging out alone in the transporter room all day is bound to drive a fellow a bit mad.”

Need more ST:TNG-related humor? io9 also recently pointed the way to this amusing webcomic about Chief O’Brien’s daily grind (before getting reassigned to Deep Space Nine.) Can an actual honest-to-goodness Colm Meaney cameo be far behind?


“You know cold fusion isn’t actually cold, right? It’s only ‘cold’ in the sense that opposed to regular fusion it’s not a bazillion degrees hot…And did you say Spock was in the volcano? Why the hell didn’t they just beam the bomb in there?…And why did Spock have to go with the bomb to set it off? Are you telling me in the 23rd century that people don’t have a way to detonate bombs remotely?”

Io9′s Rob Bricken offers a much-deserved evisceration of Star Trek: Into Darkness (and he doesn’t even bring up the “why Khan’s blood but not one of the other 71 guys” problem.) The first one had a number of egregious plot holes too, of course, but it at least had a charming cast and the benefit of novelty. The charming cast remains, but since Into Darkness is otherwise just a lousy and ultimately insulting remix of Wrath of Khan with a frisson of 9/11, the extreme dumbness here is even more aggravating.

I would say this does not bode well at all for the upcoming Star Wars films, but it seems pretty obvious the main problem here was the writing. Star Trek: Into Darkness is the most blatantly nonsensical film since Prometheus, which I called the most disappointing film of 2012. The most disappointing film of 2011? Cowboys & Aliens. All three were co-penned by Damon Lindelof, who’s clearly supplanted Akiva Goldsman as the hackiest hack in Hollywood. He’s like franchise kryptonite.

Do Green Lights Cause Lens Flare?

“My life, Old Sport, has got to be like this.” Two new TV spots hit for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, now only a little over a month away. As I’ve said before, this looks like it’s either going to be amazing or a total train wreck.

Also in the bin of late, Kirk steps up after a few anti-Federation terrorist attacks in the newest trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness. Man, Benny Cumberbatch talks a lot of smack, doesn’t he? Well, if that’s what it takes to get into Smaug shape, so be it.

Still Scruffy-Looking.

Latino Review scores big news from the emerging Star Wars empire at Disney (and many Bothans died to bring them this information): Harrison Ford is officially signed to return as everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler in the next set of Star Wars movies. Presumably he’ll be joining Luke and Leia in the JJ Abrams sequel trilogy, not the rumored Han Solo spin-off movie. Either way, don’t blow this, Han.

FWIW, as a Star Wars kid, I’m mostly OK with this ginormous SW revival over at the Mouse. The prequel trilogy — especially Attack of the Clones — already broke the seal in terms of bringing bad Star Wars into the world. So, even if this all seems extremely commercialized even for a franchise that was always driven by toy sales, I’m still curious to see other diverse and talented filmmakers playing in the great sandbox Lucas made. But JJ Abrams? Eh. I already saw his Star Wars movie back when it was called Star Trek.

Update: Mark Hamill discusses the current situation.

Sail on, Sunjammer.

The Sunjammer mission – the name is borrowed from an Arthur C. Clarke short story about an interplanetary yacht race — will unfurl a solar sail that dwarfs those that have thus far been tested in space. Where NanoSail-D’s diminutive sail measured just 100 square feet and Japan’s IKAROS measures something like 2,000 square feet, Sunjammer’s sail possesses a total surface area of nearly 13,000 square feet. Yet collapsed it weighs just 70 pounds and takes up about as much space as a dishwasher, making it easy to stow in the secondary payload bay of a rocket headed to low Earth orbit.

Popular Science previews the flight of NASA’s Sunjammer, set for launch in 2014. “The destination for Sunjammer is the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot way out there between us and our nearest star…Sunjammer will be carrying the cremated remains of various individuals, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry.”

It’s Spock!!! Do You Care?!?

Well? Do you?!?

From Hell’s Heart…

After relying heavily on Star Wars for their first outing, J.J. Abrams and co. now borrow from the Dark Knight and the Nolanverse — especially the Inception button — to lend heft to the teaser for Star Trek: Into Darkness, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the new, still unidentified Big Bad. (Khan? Gary Mitchell? Garth of Izar? Smaug? Severus Gruber?) Eh, I’m in…but we just did the vengeance-upon-the Federation schtick with Eric Bana in the last movie.

Secrets of the Supercut.

“Many supercuts provide hard evidence of the existence of tropes long suspected but never quite proved: imperiled characters fretting that they have no cellphone signal; high-tech investigators asking their imaging software to “enhance“; action movie toughs girding for battle by announcing, “We’ve got company.” But what motivates the supercutter to slog through hours of footage to compile these minute observations? And what distinguishes the masters of the form?

In Slate, old friend Seth Stevenson surveys the practice and methodology of supercuts. At the very least it’s both funny and instructive to see how many times, to take the example of ST:TNG, Worf gets denied and bad things happen to Geordi.

Letters from a Birmingham Trek Convention.

[W]hen I told Dr. King I was leaving the show, I never got to tell him why, because he said, ‘You can’t.’ He explained to me just what I’ve just said. ‘Here you are on the command crew in the 23rd century, fourth in command, while we’re marching in the streets for equality.’” Nichelle Nichols, a.k.a. Lt. Uhura, relates the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Trekkie.

Some Jobs are Better than Others.

All he wanted to do was go to the movies.” In the most recent trailer bin, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) has a little too much fun as Public Enemy #1 in the second trailer for Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, also with Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup. Siblings Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo ill-advisedly go for one last — complicated –heist in the trailer for Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, also with Rachel Weisz, Rinko Kikuchi, and Robbie Coltane. There’s more trouble at work (this time of the factory variety) for Michael Bluth and Office Space/King of the Hill creator Mike Judge in this first look at Extract, starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristen Wiig, Beth Grant, and Clifton Collins, Jr. And writer-director Robert Rodriguez continues in the Spy Kids vein in the cloying new preview for Shorts, with a gaggle of kids, Jon Cryer, James Spader, and William H. Macy.

Last but not least, seemingly content they’ve got a winner on their hands, J.J. Abrams and Paramount begin an early publicity rollout for their big summer tentpole with this collection of new clips from Star Trek. Still unsure about both SylarSpock and the general tone of this thing, but Chris Pine’s Kirk and especially Karl Urban’s Bones look like they’ll be good fun here.

The Summer Contenders.

I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life, this day of reckoning.” Some choice offerings from the rest of the Watchmen trailer bin, which are now online: Harry digs deep into the memory hole to Anakin up He-Who Must-Not-Be-Named in the second preview for David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (To be honest, I think I might’ve missed the first trailer from last November (at the same link) — that one’s not bad either.) Iowan ne’er-do-well James Tiberius Kirk straightens up and flies right in a preview for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek of epic scope. Hugh Jackman dons the claws once more in another look at Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Meh, bub.) And an animated Ed Asner braves floating houses, boy scouts, and talking dogs in the newest trailer for Pixar’s UP. Pixar will go wrong someday — this doesn’t look to be it.

An All-New Away Team (Minus One Redshirt).

Captain, the second wave of posters from the Star Trek reboot has hit off the starboard thrusters, and this time it’s Bones, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov. Hmm…ok. Simon Pegg seems bizarrely unrecogizable at Montgomery Scott here (despite the hairline), and Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban look quite like their original counterparts. But, while I dig Harold as much as the next guy, the distinctively Korean-American John Cho seems a somewhat lazy and distracting choice for Hikaru Sulu. Couldn’t they find anyone of Japanese lineage, or did they just expect us not to notice?

On the trail of Trek.

In advance of ComicCon, the preview poster for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot hits the tubes. (That’s Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura, (Zoe Saldana), and the Big Bad (Eric Bana) — click through for the individual one-sheets.) Still unseen: Bones (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

Hmmm. I’m only a casual Trekkie at best, and everything I’ve ever seen with Abrams’ name on it (MI:3, Cloverfield, the occasional episode of Alias and Lost) has been underwhelming. And I can’t say frontlining Uhura as the eye candy or introducing yet another putty-ridged-forehead baddy (He’s meant to be Romulan, apparently) gives me much enthusiasm for this. But I’ll probably see it nonetheless.


Ten stunning ultra-geeky home cinemas. (Via the Daily Dish.) If I ever become inordinately, stupendously wealthy, this sort of thing would be on my short-list (after setting up a progressive think tank and working to end world hunger, of course.)

A Constructive Enterprise?

In case you were savvy enough to take a pass on Cloverfield, the teaser for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot is now online. I have my doubts.

Wrestle and Trek.

Mickey Rourke signs on to play The Wrestler for Darren Aronofsky, set to begin shooting this January. (He replaces Nicholas Cage in the role.) And, more casting on the Star Trek reboot front: Bruce Greenwood is Capt. Christopher Pike, Winona Ryder is Spock’s mother, Amanda Grayson, and House‘s Jennifer Morrison and P2‘s Rachel Nichols are in too, possibly as Yeoman Rand and/or Nurse Chapel. Well, ok then. Update: Another Trek addition: Clifton Collins Jr. of Capote will play Big Bad Eric Bana’s #2.

Scot Fuzz?

He’ll need more dilithium crystals, Captain…Following news that Chris Pine has been offered the role of James T. Kirk and that Eric Bana will play the villain (“Nero”) in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, Simon Pegg joins the Enterprise crew as Montgomery Scott. Ooh, that’ll be fun. Perhaps we’ll get Nick Frost as a Redshirt? Update: And another. John Cho, best known as Harold of Harold & Kumar, will suit up as Sulu. Update 2: And now McCoy…Karl Urban.

Fame | Set Phasers on NIN.

Is it any wonder I reject you first? David Bowie rips up Ricky Gervais on Extras. And, while I’m snarfing arch Youtube links from Ed Rants, see also Kirk and Spock get “Closer,” in the Trent Reznor sense. (Some profanity…but you’ve probably heard the song by now.)

Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Comic, Chameleon.

As most of y’all likely already know, this past weekend was Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, which means an exceedingly large amount of news in the fanboy department. To wit:

  • Regarding perhaps the most anticipated comic-to-film property nearing post-production, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3, the attending panel offered a number of new shots of the main characters, including an iconic poster of Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman and — at right — That 70s Show‘s Topher Grace, a.k.a. Venom, having a painful-looking first run-in with the black suit/symbiote.

  • Also in Marvel’s wheelhouse, Jon Favreau premiered the teaser poster for his take on Iron Man, and confirmed the villain of his film, the Mandarin.

  • In other Marvel news, Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk has picked a villain, too, that being the Abomination.

  • On the DC side, Bryan Singer is looking to revisit Superman in 2009, even though the jury’s still out on Superman Returns.

  • The inimitable Peter Jackson, via remote (and still not making The Hobbit) showed off a scene from his extended DVD version of King Kong (my love of the extended LotR versions notwithstanding, count me among those who thought Kong needed tightening more than anything else.)

  • Not Comic-Con news, per se, but worth mentioning here: Former Jedi Samuel Jackson and Hayden Christensen may reunite for the film version of Steven Gould’s Jumper, a surprisingly solid little take on the hoary old teleportation meme, to be directed by Doug Liman of Swingers and The Bourne Identity.
  • J.J. Abrams of Lost, Alias, and M:I:III brought along a teaser poster for his Trek reboot, which, word has it, puts young Kirk (Matt Damon?) and Spock back at Starfleet Academy.

  • In other sci-fi television news, J. Michael Straczynski announced he’ll be revisiting the world of Babylon 5, albeit in straight-to-video spinoffs.

  • Also regarding sci-fi on the telly, Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore showed up to kick some more k-nowledge about BSG Season 3, due in October (which complement the recent spoilers here.)

  • And lots of other news, including Kurt Russell in Quentin Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, a look at Zack Snyder’s 300, talk of the Star Wars spinoffs, teaser posters for Michael Bay’s Transformers, and descriptions of clips from Neil Gaiman/Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust. Yep, Comic-Con seems like good fun…perhaps I’ll make it out someday.
  • Their continuing mission.

    Paramount enlists Alias, Lost, and M:I:III guru J.J. Abrams to revive the Star Trek film franchise. Well, ok, but are the Starfleet adventures of young Kirk & Spock really the right direction to boldly go? That lame plot device sounds like a Kobayashi Maru.

    Beam Him Up.

    R.I.P. James “Scotty” Doohan 1920-2005. From the beaches at Normandy to the Enterprise engine room, he was a good man in a pinch.

    Kirk has some explaining to do.

    Be careful at those conventions, folks…According to a grisly recent LA Times story on the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit’s attempts to curb kiddie porn, “All but one of the [over 100] offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.” (Others have rightfully cast doubt on this rather dubious claim.)

    Red Quadrants, Blue Quadrants.

    ‘A good war is based on honor, not deception,” says K’tok (Earth name: Clyde Lewis), a 40-year-old Klingon from Lair Hill.’” Finally, some good news on the political front…Kerry is winning handily among Portland-area Klingons. Hopefully, they can offset Dubya’s considerable pull with the Ferengi in and around Salem.(By way of Usr/Bin/Girl.)

    Bring in Da’ Noise, Bring in Da’ Funk.

    Two fanboy icons get the Remix treatment…First, Tyler Durden gets all Tekken up in here with Fight Club: The Game. (Hmm, sadly, it looks Ikea-Nesting-Instinct-lame.) Meanwhile, Kirk & co. get their funk on in this strange ad for the Star Trek Original Series DVD. Well, it’s definitely more fun than an Odd-numbered Trek.

    Jeep Trek.

    Also in fanboy news, the new Trek trailer has snuck onto the web (scroll to the bottom for mirror sites), a weekend before its official web release. Cheesy taglines, and my love of the genre just doesn’t go far enough to incorporate interstellar jeep chases, but at least it looks better than the last one. Update: It’s now officially up.


    Not to denigrate another science fiction franchise here, but the NYT has deconstructed the next Trek film, placing it squarely among the five reusable plots in the franchise. In the unforgettable words of Homer Simpson, “It’s funny because it’s true!”

    Hobbits and Vulcans.

    I found this on Napster a long time ago, but had never seen the Ming Tea-like accompanying video. The one and only Leonard Nimoy (and the Nimoyettes?) sing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. (Via Monkeyfarts.)

    Get your Patrick Stewart On.

    More films ready for the July 4 advertising blitz, X2 (X-Men 2) and Star Trek: Nemesis. And, for a more adult (or racy) minded crowd, here’s the trailer for Julio Medem’s Sex and Lucia.

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