Impression of… Star Trek Into Darkness
I was never really that much into Star Trek. I remember sitting in the same room while my father watched Star Trek: the Next Generation on television, though I might have been too young to really appreciate the stories at the time. The fact that Star Trek has what is possibly the most widely parodied fandom probably hasn’t helped. I decided to give Star Trek Into Darkness a try. Was it the 3D option that lured me in? That might be partly true, but again I just decided I would give Star Trek a try.
What do I have to say about it? From what I remember of the older TV series, this movie definitely feels a bit different. It does feel more like summer blockbuster action movie. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that—again, I don’t enough of an attachment to the long-running franchise to call foul, though one can argue that the famous adventurous tone had faded. Does it work in this context, though? It’s still a decent night out at the theater. There are plenty of the prerequisite big-scale setpieces. The story can be convoluted and you do need to pay a bit of attention to follow it, but it’s basically coherent. Cumberbatch does well as the antagonist. Quinto well enough as Spock. Speaking of whom, there is a later scene in which a widely parodied line becomes very effective (once again, I’m keeping a potential spoiler as vague as possible). I guess the point that I’m making is that this is decent.
Impression of… Comic Books Picked Up on Free Comic Book Day
The first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book day at the comic shops in North America. I went on Saturday and picked out four comic books from among the options then I brought them home. I planned on doing a short write-up on those comics early in the next week. I have a rule against more than one post per day so I figured that now would be a good time to tell you a bit about these comic books.
One that I brought home featured Axe Cop. The Axe Cop series has actually been a cult favorite on the web for years. I only recently looked through the first couple dozen strips and found them to be delightfully insane. The comic book that I brought home turned out to be just a hard-copy of a handful of the strips that I read, much to my disappointment, but it was still delightfully insane.
Speaking of reprints of comic strips, another one featured a storyline from the old Prince Valiant series. Here Prince Valiant sails back to Thule with a group of Vikings and then gets entangled in a rivalry with a lesser prince. The artwork is famously detailed and naturalistic and the prose works very well in complementing it.
Another comic book is from the Walking Dead series—from what I read, I assume that it’s a brand new side-story in additions to some reprints of scattered shorter material. The grayscale drawings suit a gritty story of people attempting to survive a zombie apocalypse.
The last one that I picked out is from a cartoonist with a cult following of his own, Gilbert Hernandez. The comic book Marble Season is apparently an excerpt from a brand new graphic novel. It seems like a fairly typical coming-of-age story, featuring a young boy and his friends and rivals growing up in the 1960s. The artwork is simplistic but expressive and the dialog can be clever, with pop-culture references of the time that actually fit the story. Perhaps I might go find the full book.
I might participate in next year’s Free Comic Book Day. Who knows what I might find?
Impression of… Iron Man 3
It may still be the middle of Spring, but the 2013 summer movie season has begun! Iron Man 3 also marks the start of the second cycle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing Thanos for myself, for now I’d be seeing Iron Man’s third solo adventure. Evidently, the Iron movies have been important for Marvel Studios and Disney. The trailers have shown Tony Stark facing intense chaos and near-defeat as he fights against the forces of a dreaded mastermind, the Mandarin. The filmmakers also promised that we would delve into the character as he faces this challenge and makes difficult choices and goes through tie trials. Some early reviews and the blurbs that I peeked at were promising—very promising, in fact. Some other people, however expressed disappointment. Still I hoped for the best.
Let me be blunt. I found it to be a disappointment indeed. After the threat of the Mandarin was built up, I saw what might be the biggest disappointment within this picture followed later by a rushed reveal. Anyone else who saw the movie may know exactly what I’m talking about. The story as a whole seems a bit jumbled. I also would have liked to have seen a bit more about the aforementioned emotional turmoil and its longer-term impact. As for the extra scenes shot for Chinese theaters? From what I heard, I’m not missing much.
On the other hand, Robert Downey Junior played Tony Stark very well and offered some amusing droll one-liners. The special effects, action scenes, and even the post-converted 3D are all done well, particularly at the end. I’d say that Iron Man 3 was just another decent thrill-ride at the theater but not really worth either the hype or the price of three IMAX tickets, two of which I bought in advance and one I bought that day to make sure they don’t run out before Jason or Megan arrived.
Impression of… Big Fish
Here is another motion picture that I streamed on Netflix. It is directed by Tim Burton and tells the story of a man trying to reconcile with a father known for telling wild stories that are only loosely based in truth. Performances were effective all around. The special effects were also effective in creating the fairy-tale scenarios that the father develops. It honestly sets out to explore how stories, especially personal stories of human lives, shape our lives and set us on our paths.
However, I also believe that it sometimes drags or goes and circles and becomes quite a bit sentimental, especially towards the end. Ultimately, I believe it is a bit overrated. I didn’t like this picture very much, but I most certainly can respect its efforts to create a very human drama of magic realism.
Impression of… The Grey
I had been thinking of streaming another motion picture from Netflix since I don’t use the PlayStation to play games as often as I used to. While looking through the current selection I found The Grey. I recently read a bit about it. I thought I would comment on something a bit different this time. Thus I streamed The Grey.
The opening panorama, deep within the wild regions of Alaska, firmly establishes the desolate atmosphere that will burden the entire picture. Liam Neeson’s character and the rest of the crew of an oil rig ride on an airplane, only to go through a fiery crash. They soon discover that they are within the territory of a pack of deadly gray wolves and try to escape. The story is intense, bloody, and downright grim. Most of the characters come off as foul-mouthed punks, but we do see real humanity as they struggle in vain to survive. The most prominent aspect is that the characters wonder out loud about the whether a good and loving God exists. Towards the end, when Neeson’s character cries out with profanities and desperate pleas for help, it seems as if there is none. Brutally honest or simply nihilistic?
This movie was was worth seeing once. It might help give a bit of a boost to my training as a writer and artist. Still it is not something I would imagine seeing again in the foreseeable future.
About the Bombing in Boston
I didn’t know if I could take up a post writing on such depressing news. I wanted to focus this weblog on showing my own artwork and writing about other people’s creative works. Since it has been such big news around the world, I felt the need to say something, particularly since this would be the first such post for the White Rose Weblog.
There are in fact so many sensational crimes and acts of terror around the world every year, not just what is widely covered in mainstream media outlets. Could I really allow my daily life to be bogged down in light of that fact? That’s a question that I cannot answer. Such incident raise difficult questions. What is the true nature of humanity? How can this happen under the eye of a good and loving God? Why does this happen at all in such a fragile world? We would all do well to ponder those questions.
Very often I pray for peace. Peace seems to always be further and further away. I still pray for peace. I believe that peace is a gift from heaven, but I also believe that people need to work for peace. That is why I pray for peace. That is all I can do. That is what I willingly offer. In the meantime, I would also like to offer my own condolences for the victims and their families.