Tag Archives: Prequels

The legendary men I know.

ThanksI’m fortunate. I have not lost anyone to war…no one personal, no one dear. On the contrary, I am blessed to know marines and soldiers who’ve returned safely every time.

For that, I thank their comrades, particularly the ones who didn’t make it.

Here is what your blood bought for your brothers back home.
Read More →

Why didn’t Peter Jackson consult me?

Peter Jackson has recently confessed — pardon me — announced that adapting THE HOBBIT to the silver screen will be a trilogy.


Lord of the Rings was long but cut the content to movie length. Fans raved about the extended editions, but to me they were a cheap marketing ploy to prey on fanboys chomping at the bit for “MORE” regardless of quality of relevance. The extended editions weren’t truer to the books, didn’t reveal hidden depths of character or explain cut content. On the contrary, things I expected to be explained were simply glossed.

All the extended editions offered were more scenes much like the ones you’d already seen.

So if LOTR could capture 3 volumes in 3 movies, how many movies would it take to capture THE HOBBIT, adapted to screen, which is much shorter?

One. Read More →

Cliche Dodging: The Heroes’ Council

Council of ElrdonI’ve reached a point in FRAGILE GODS that’s annoying me. And the reason it’s annoying me is that it’s been done to death.

The first dangers have been survived, the early challenges surmounted. Now the author needs to explain to the reader some of the wider politics of our fictional world, while the heroes need to understand their course of action for the next book (or in some cases, three).

Enter the  Heroes’ Council, where high ranking members various factions congregate to explain to protagonist (or have him explain to them) just what to do next. Tempers may flare, sides will quarrel, heroic sacrifices might be offered.

Tolkien had the Council of Elrond. George Lucas used war rooms congregated around a holographic presentation, or in the prequels, the Jedi Council.

Brandon Sanderson’s version was to have a heist gangleader outline ideas on a chalkboard while his crew chimed in.

I’ve reached a point in the plot where just such a council has occurred, and I’m thoroughly nonplussed by the idea. Yet in terms of plot, it was necessary; Azai is heading north specifically to convince several tribe chiefs of his plan. And the big chieftain would be out of character not to involve trusted advisors and friends.

Are there alternatives to the cliche scene?

Even with high hopes, Star Trek does not disappoint

Star Trek 2009With the unenviable job of portraying favored iconic characters, the cast of the new Star Trek delivers with (if you’ll excuse the expression) flying colors.

It’s no mean feat to pick up the franchise that spawned no less than five television series and ten films (now eleven) in addition to countless conventions, clubs, fanfics, and pop culture references; dust it off, and re-polish the ship’s original crew to take a new look at an old idea. In addition, prequels in general aren’t easy to pull off, particularly with high expectations.

The leads were played by Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock), most famed for playing villain Gabriel “Sylar” Gray of Heroes. Pine manages some of the original Kirk’s swagger with forgivable differences. Quinto plays what seems to be a slightly darker Spock, but one that’s no less believable or lovable for that.

The show is almost stolen, however, by promoted fanboy Karl Urban, the young Doctor McCoy (whose first lines identified the character immediately, even from off camera) and comedian Simon Pegg, playing an unforgettable Scotty.

The film’s overall plot mostly serves as a loose framework within which the characters are allowed to develop. The interplay between them is what sells this flick, and the fact that the actors (minus a couple of rough patches in which your mileage may vary) nailed their respective parts. The story is less about how the crew of the Enterprise can defeat the Big Bad and more about the relationship between Kirk and Spock (and to a lesser degree, everyone else).

If the larger plot took a backseat to character dynamics, it was a sacrifice worth making to see Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Checkov so compellingly brought back to life.

The film carries a clear continuity reboot, allowing a new franchise to develop with these actors, while remaining true to the original personalities in delicious ways. Each gets his/her own continuity nod, the delivery for which often qualified for a crowning moment of funny. It was primarily the humorous interplay between the personalities of the characters which drove home that these are, in fact, the same characters we know and love.

The movie’s more serious side allows for multiple crowning moments of heartwarming, and more importantly for the genre, crowning moments of awesome, even culminating in an awesome moment of crowning.

The largest flaw this film had was its soundtrack, by Michael Giacchino (The Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Incredibles). I found the score to be heavy-handed and obvious, lacking the deep subtlety of James Horner or the building intensity of Hans Zimmer. Giacchino hammers home the already-viewed explosions with action beats coming a bit too late, and emotional moments with huge cheesy swells that feel more like something you’d get from a video game (with apologies to Nobuo Uematsu) than a great movie.

The script is not without its flaws, most of them on the order of Space is Noisy and Sci Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. And some of the changes (both character and continuity) may be difficult for part of the fanbase to accept.

That said, if you approach this film with even a partially open mind, you will find it enjoyable.