Friday, January 25, 2008

Trek Remastered -- "The Enemy Within"

"I'm Captainnn Kirrrrk!!!"

This weekend's episode is an early First Season effort, "The Enemy Within". A transporter accident splits Captain Kirk into a good half and an evil half. Scotty must repair the malfunction before the rest of the landing party freezes on the surface of planet Alfa 177!

This is a great episode with many interesting trivia bits to it. It's the prototype of the "evil twin" stories that would show up in Trek and elsewhere, and the script was written by Richard Matheson.

In two weeks we get the Remastered episode that all the fans have been waiting for: "The Ultimate Computer". Keep watching!

UPDATE: screenshots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Two-Gun Bob!

Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of pulp writer Robert E. Howard. It has become a tradition on this date for Howard fans to read a favorite story and toast to his shade with a favorite beverage. My usual choice is "Worms of the Earth" and a bottle of Sapporo -- a blend of East and West, as it were.

For more information on his life and career, start with the following sites:

I also emphatically recommend Mark Finn's Howard biography, the Locus and World Fantasy Award-nominated Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cloverfield and Star Trek Teaser Trailer

I saw Cloverfield on Friday. I can't really give it a proper review without giving too much away. I will say that I thought it was good. I also found it very intense in the same way as The Blair Witch. I know that the shaky-cam style can make some people sick. I have a sensitive stomach but I was fine with both movies -- it wasn't the camerawork that made me uncomfortable.

For a lower-budget film ("only" $30 million), I thought the cast did a fine, believable job. Most of that money must have gone to the special effects budget.

The POV "you are there" style of shooting is really one of the best ways to do a giant monster movie like this. It's easy to incorporate those half-glances where you're not sure what you saw (possible spoiler below). Maybe when Toho goes back to producing Godzilla films they will use this method.

Like most of J.J. Abrams' work, there is a rich and ongoing viral marketing campaign on-line. Check out the fan-site Cloverfield Clues for more. You can follow the rabbit hole as deep as you want to go. I'll take a pass on drinking the Slusho, thanks.

About 50% of my excitement and reason for seeing this in the theater was about Cloverfield itself. The other 50% was about the teaser for Abrams' Star Trek film. This was our first look at the new Enterprise. As you can see from the offical photo, it is just a tease. Not enough to see it fully but enough to get your attention.

As each little bit of news is revealed, I'm more confident that this will be truly spectacular. The franchise is in good hands. What I'm most surprised about is how good a match they made by casting Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy. At first I didn't think it would work, but now that shooting has started he really looks like a young DeForest Kelly.

[Cloverfield spoiler?]

We do see some full shots of the monster. I didn't expect the filmmakers to go that far. I'm not sure if I liked the effect of seeing it fully. I'd prefer more mystery.

[End possible spoiler]

Trek Remastered -- "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

"It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed....Lokai is white on the right side. All of his people are white on the right side."

This week's episode is "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", the Original Series' most direct look at race hatred. Frank Gorshin, who played The Riddler on the Batman TV series, is one of the guest stars (pictured above, on the left).

I seem to remember reading that there were some problems in production on this episode -- that may be why this was Gene L. Coon's last script for the series and credited to a pseudonym. Although it has an important message, it's not one of the better episodes. It does have some bits that make it worth watching, however. As mentioned in its Memory Alpha entry, it's the only ep where we see the transporter room from the POV of the transporter pad. There are some unique close-up exteriors of the Enterprise found only in this one. I'm curious to see if CBS Digital changes those shots or recreates them.

Also, Captain Kirk, Scotty and Chekov set the self-destruct sequence for the first and only time in the series -- which was duplicated in Star Trek III.

Just a reminder: In the Michiana area, new episodes are on Sunday night/Monday morning at 1am EST on The CW, and a repeat of the last week's ep is on Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1am on My Michiana. For everyone else, "check your local listings"...

"There was persecution on Earth once; I remember reading about it in my history texts."
"Yes, but that was back in the 20th century -- there's no such primitive thinking today."

UPDATE: screenshots and FX video.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Trek Remastered -- "Who Mourns for Adonais?"

This week is the Second Season episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?". In this one, the crew meets a powerful alien who claims to be the Greek god Apollo. Gene Roddenberry's hand was used for the special effect shown above.

Poor Scotty. He's always having trouble with women. They either get attacked and/or killed by energy creatures, cause accidents in Engineering, or fall in love with a Greek god.

Trek Remastered -- "Day of the Dove" review, screenshots and FX video

Click on the link.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Trek Remastered -- "Day of the Dove"

Welcome to 2008! First post of the year!

This week's Trek episode is "Day of the Dove". This is the one where a mysterious energy being that feeds on anger traps a group of Klingons on the Enterprise to fight the crew. Serious injuries are healed by the creature so the conflict can continue. Only a truce with the Klingons can break the cycle.

Michael Ansara is The Man.

This one has that same feeling that most of the 3rd Season episodes do: that the show is coming to an end but there are still some interesting stories to tell. This is a good story and the conflicts between the Enterprise officers under the influence of the alien entity show some different sides to their characters -- particularly the words between Scotty and Spock.

Spock is not amused by Kang and Kirk's "good spirits".