Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia


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Serious Acting from the Smith Family

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, but there’s a good reason for it. I’ve been putting myself back on the school bench, doing some research and learning to get better at what I do for a living and will do even more of it until some time in the middle of next year. No worries, I’ll still update this blog with something when I come across something worth mentioning, like I’m doing today. Just keep in mind that my updates won’t appear as often as I would like…

When you’ve seen Will Smith as a rapper and sit-com actor, you always expect something funny or goofy about his films, no matter how serious his films are. If you pay attention, you can always spot him doing something that lightens the mood in every movie he’s ever acted in. I also have a habit of questioning the acting-skills of his kids after watching Jayden Smith in the remake of The Karate Kid, which can only be described as a “for dummies”-version of the original with kung fu instead of karate. But the Smiths’ latest project, After Earth, showed some promise when I saw the teaser, so I took a shot and gave it a chance a couple of weeks ago. I can indeed say that this movie had some surprises in store…

The movie takes place in the future, where Earth is no longer suited for humans and aliens had killed and scared people into moving to another planet to live in. On that planet, a teenager named Kitai is trying to become as good of a soldier as his father, General Cypher Raige, in hope to impress him. After Kitai fails to get a rank, Cypher decides to take Kitai with him on a last mission. On the way to their location, they crash down onto a planet inhabited by dangerous animals, toxic atmosphere and ice-cold nights – Earth. Being the only two survivors of the crew, Cypher and Kitai must fire a beacon to summon a rescue party to Earth to get out of there, which is easier said than done when the beacon is in the part of the ship that landed on a different part of the planet. Since Cypher is unable to move due to a broken leg from the crash, it is up to Kitai to go out into the unhospitable air and fetch the beacon. To make the task even harder for Kitai, another survivor breaks free and is on the loose…

I never expected to give this movie a 3/5, but it earned it. The story has the right amount of darkness to pass as acceptible for this kind of movie and there wasn’t a lot of useless lines or scenes that didn’t really belong there. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t really much of anything, really, just a kid who had to move from one location to another. It makes the movie feel empty and short when you look at it like that… still, I never expected this kind of simplicity in the directing and story-writing of a Smith-movie, nor did I ever expect Will Smith to be able to play such a serious character throughout an entire movie, which is impressive. As for Jayden Smith, you can tell that his acting has improved a great deal, but he’s still got a long way to go. In all, this is a good movie for a casual evening, when the last thing you want is too much talking, too much high-tech or too much action. Strange, considering that this is supposed to be a Sci-Fi/action movie, but too much of everything would have ruined this movie completely, believe me…

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Warp Speed to Hollywood Again, Captain!

A couple of days ago, I got invited to go see Star Trek Into Darkness. After watching the previous movie, I knew that Hollywood would once again insult my intelligence and love for the Star Trek franchise, but curiosity and hours of work got the better of me, so I tagged along anyway.

Those who saw the prequel remember that James T. Kirk was studying at the Starfleet Academy. In this movie, he’s got his Enterprise, his crew and his rank as captain – until Spock’s complete honesty made him lose all of that. When his superiors are being attacked during a meeting, Kirk gets it all back along with a mission to get the one responsible, which is easily said than done when you have to fly through enemy territory that belongs to the Klingons to get the job done…

You can really tell that the director, J.J. Abrams, and the rest of the crew are happy about the time-travel storyline in the previous movie, because it gave them a lot of freedom to play with. As much as I love seeing the Klingons again (along with some other surprises that I can’t spoil for everyone), I noticed that they decided to speed things up a little storywise by adding details and characters that weren’t suppose to appear that early in the story. One detail especially that I can share, is the part about the Klingon foreheads. Those who remember the original TV-show that the movies are based on might remember that the Klingons looked very human during Kirk’s days, so how in their world did the Klingons get that huge forehead so soon? My theory is that a certain person had something to do with it. If you have no idea who I mean, I’m sure there’s a trekkie somewhere who’s screaming that person’s name somewhere as you read this. As a movie, however, it was an acceptable sequel, but there is something that a moviemaker must understand. When it comes to Star Trek, you don’t mess with physics. Observant fans with scientific knowledge will spot the flaws and insult you in “Klingonese” for it, because Gene Roddenberry, the one who wrote Star Trek, did a good job to keep most of the scientific parts of the TV-show as accurately believable as possible whenever it was possible, something that’s really hard to do in Sci-Fi stories. There was even an article a few years ago about a theory for the warp drive during the time when nations competed to send someone to the moon, but that idea had to step aside for the rocket fuel. I don’t know how accurate that article was, but I do hope that rocket fuel won’t be the only way to juice up a spaceship-worthy engine, because that stuff won’t last long in outer space…

Enough digressing. The movie gets a 3/5, which is too high of a score. But if you’re a true fan of Star Trek, not just a simple amateur fan like me, you’ll enjoy the entertainment value and the surprises enough to let the score stay the way it is. You’ll also smell the hint of a sequel coming, because there’s one character who’s has yet to appear in these new movies and if J.J. Abrams is going to speed everything up like he did in this movie, this character (and hopefully the actor who plays him) will most likely appear in it. I may not be referring to the Borg, but their line still fits very well here – resistance is futile.