Khan, failed savior: A better alternate history

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KhanMust be all these hours snow-bound in front of my computer… maybe the sub-zero cold is starting to freeze some (some?) of my brain cells… but it occurred to me the other day that Khan Noonian Singh must have been railroaded.  (And so were we.)

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Star Trek’s Federation history includes, among many other things, the fact that Earth had a World War III, and later, a Eugenics War, the combination of which tore Terran countries and societies apart.  It was from this series of disasters that Earth’s leaders finally started working together on a platform of mutual trust and cooperation, rebuilding the first truly global society.  This society eventually came to provide a universal living wage, food and housing for all, worldwide access to medicine, education and opportunities to do what they wanted beyond basic subsistence.

We also know, from the Star Trek Original Series episode “Space Seed,” that Khan and his followers were part of a group of genetically-engineered superior humans who tried, in Khan’s own words, to “give the world order.”  He and his people were soundly defeated in the Eugenics Wars and forced to flee Earth to escape prosecution.

But I now believe there’s more to the story than that… and a hint as to how Star Trek Into Daftness could have actually become a great movie. Continue reading

Six Ways Franchises Go Terminal

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I just want to go on record as loving this Observation Deck article about Six Ways Franchises Go Terminal.  My favorite reason is #2, not only for itself but for the franchise they chose to illustrate the point:

2. The Creators Have No Frickin’ Clue What The Franchise Is About

967536594816583461And the example they chose: None other than Star Trek, and the J.J. Abrams-inspired clusterf**k of movies that totally manage to miss the point of the franchise and Gene Roddenberry’s vision (because all Abrams really wanted to do was make a Star Wars movie). I have especially warm feelings for this bit, about Star Trek Into Darkness‘ use of the character Khan:

The story makes no sense, and serves no purpose other than to reboot Khan and make him into a Dark Knight Joker-style übervillain, which he never was on the original series or in Wrath of Khan. (The thing about Montalban’s Khan is that despite his supposed genetic superiority he’s actually kind of a histrionic, swaggering dumbass, and not a cool Hannibal Lecter type.)

Nail head, meet hammer.  Much more goodness in the article… go and see.

Review: Star Trek Into Daftness

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enterprise crash and burn

Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount)

Okay, right off I’m going to say the very first thing that came to mind when this movie was over:

“Thank the Great Bird of the Galaxy that I did not waste $28 to see this in a theatre.”

Yes, I easily resisted going to this movie when it hit the circuit, due to expectations that it would be a sloppy retelling of The Wrath of Khan, which wasn’t a great movie to begin with.  But a colleague asked me to see the movie at some point, because he wanted to know my opinion of it, especially given my love of Star Trek and my opinion of Wrath of Khan.  It just came available for rental on cable, so I’ve dutifully thrown away $6 and watched it with my wife.

So, without further ado, I am here to report that this Star Trek movie was ridiculous.  Patently.  Ridiculous. Continue reading

Video review: Star Tr… uh… Steamboy!

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Steamboy

Steamboy, Sony Pictures.

Yes, due to the innumerable requests I’ve had to weigh in on the latest Star Trek movie, I’ve decided to… review Steamboy!   (Because I’d much rather avoid the trainwreck of the latest JJ Abrams Trek movies and enjoy a great steampunk animated feature instead.)

Steamboy: Creation of Katsuhiro Otomo, the incredible artist who brought us AkiraSteamboy, the animated feature-length film that took ten years for The Steamboy Committee (a conglomeration of production houses that cooperated on the film, much like the production arrangement for Akira) to produce.

Alas, Sony Pictures did not expect much of a reception by American audiences (must have been all those British accents… Americans apparently hate accents that aren’t attached to supermodels), and gave this a limited release… so don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying, “Steam-wha?”  But having adored Akira, and being that I am currently exploring the realms of Steampunk fiction, I’m glad I finally had a chance to see this film. Continue reading