During an on-going expedition into deep space, the crew of the Starship Enterprise arrive on a colonized ‘city planet’ where they stumble upon the plight of a female alien who requests help to journey to an uncharted planet to rescue her stranded crew mates. However once there Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew discover a powerful enemy.
The creators of this newly rebooted franchise in the Star Trek universe have indeed done a great deal right … the casting alone is excellent with actors not only doing fine impressions of the earlier incarnations, but also bringing their own personality to the characters. I got a serious kick out of the last two movies, so it’s with a (slight) heavy heart that I found this one left me wanting. That’s not to say it isn’t good – at times very good, with some spectacular action and again great chemistry between the main actors, something that made those old movies so watchable in the first place. However three movies into this new era, we find the writing getting a little lazy with a generic villain once again going all megalomaniac after being wronged by the federation (er…we get it, the federation are assholes). All that stuff with the artefact got a tad confusing at times also. Heavily advertised bad-ass female warrior ‘Jaylah‘ who despite looking cool, also has very little depth and really, pluck her out of the movie, would the experience be any worse off? Someone like that should have been pivotal, not disposable to the plot.
Yet what remains is a couple of hours of fast-paced, action packed, fun entertainment. Justin Lin’s direction perhaps lacks the ‘class’ of J J Abrams … but doesn’t detract from great casting and some fun nods to yesteryear and nice in-jokes. Chris Pine is the perfect new Kirk and suitably supported by Zackary Quinto’s Spock and Simon Pegg’s Scotty is also excellent, not that there’s a bum note amongst the ‘crew’. However Idris Elba’s bitter ‘Krall’ is one-note and doesn’t get all that interesting until the end and even then its a bit deja-vu. With that said, as a Trek fan I still enjoyed this, but it’s clear to me the franchise should be taking a few risks by now, especially if it wants that ‘Beyond’ in the title to be anything more that a good name for a sequel.
I was saddened to hear the news this evening that icon of science fiction, stage and screen Leonard Nimoy has passed away. He was 83.
Nimoy was of course the legendary Spock from Star Trek, in both the short-lived TV series, the movie franchise as well as the recent re-boots (as future Spock) and was always a charismatic, at times dead-pan funny and always likable presence. He will be very dearly missed by the movie industry, Star Trek fans and many others. My thoughts go out to those closest to him.
As a self-confessed Star Wars fan, even if I don’t gush over the movies as much as some of those oddball enthusiasts … the mythos and lore surrounding them will always be attractive and keep me coming back for more. In the more than capable hands of J J Abrahms, who did a very good job on the recent Star Trek reboots, I have to admit I’m quite excited. Here’s the trailer if you’re one of the 2% that hasn’t seen it yet…
Mass Effect 2 is the best game I have played in quite a long time. It’s deep narrative, wealth of absorbing and always fun missions, cast of interesting and well-realised characters, and gameplay mechanics that blend straight forward arcade action with the complexities of RPGs, makes for one of the most fully rounded games I think I have ever got my hands on. Following on from my initial, positive ‘impressions‘ a little while back, I have since played through the campaign and completed all side missions including downloadable content. I must also salute the game’s art style, which although using Unreal Engine 3, felt much classier and stylish than you see in the likes of Bullet Storm or Gears Of War.
To those unacquainted with the Mass Effect series, they are basically Star Trek the video game in all but name. You start out creating your own character, then become the captain of a starship, and are sent on missions around a huge galaxy filled with planets where you can recruit new members of your crew, solve conflicts and take on evil races, such as the Geth and particularly this time around, the Borg-like Collectors. The game’s RPG elements allow for branching conversation paths that lead to different outcomes depending on your answers to certain questions, which basically means a second or third play through could lead you into previously unseen situations. I particularly liked how, whilst the game was challenging in parts, it was never too hard that I stopped enjoying myself, and with brilliant implementation of a cover system and generous checkpoints, this was always a pleasure and never a chore. Now taking into consideration that I’ve never been able to complete an RPG before, shows that this game (with 37 hours clocked in by the time it ended) offered something games like Final Fantasy XIII or Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion clearly lacked.
If by some major oversite you haven’t played this game yet, I urge you to pick up a copy straight away – you won’t be disappointed.
What I played of Mass Effect 1, I enjoyed. But something about it did not grab me like other cames can. It was a little too slow, clinical and old-fashioned, even though the concept was an intriguing one. You see, the Mass Effect games are basically Star Trek in all but name. You take control of the captain of a starship (replace Kirk for Sheppard, and the Enterprise for the Normandy) and travel the galaxy completing missions, hiring new crew members, and over the course of the game building up your abilities and upgrading weapons, whilst following a deep and complex narrative.
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