Review of Star Trek

A little late, but here is my review of Star Trek.

The film was well cast and paced. It starts off by stating it has been at least three years since into their space exploration mission. It is obvious that these three years have allowed the characters to grow and bond. Kirk is no longer the hothead he was in the last two movies. Chemistry between the characters has improved, and Spock is even more literal by constantly spewing technobabble.

Action sequences are intense without being too over the top. Even at the climax as rock music blasts through hoardes of drones.

The real life death of Leonard Nimoy is integrated into the plot and causes an identity crisis with Quinto-Spock. A rather clever way to spin the plot and explain why original Spock won’t be in any more movies, and a way to send off a beloved actor. Whether Scottie will get the same treatment in the next movie remains to be seen.

Overall, this was a very good movie and I have almost no complaints.

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Suicide Squad

I saw the Suicide Squad film yesterday. I had high hopes from the trailers, though I was a little put off when I read that it was poorly received by critics. But then, so was Batman vs Superman. But then, that also wasn’t terribly good. And now I know, neither is Suicide Squad.

First, the plot. It has probably the most generic antagonist motive of all time. Since the trailer went to lengths not to spoil specifics, I’ll respect that and simply say the antagonist’s whole motive is to destroy the world…because she can. That’s it, no other motive. No revenge plot, nothing. The effects were also laughable, since the antagonist turns people into giant blackberry…things. Even with this silly effect, this could’ve been explored by the antagonist overwriting people in the city. But nope. Joker’s inclusion also felt incredibly shoehorned in and like he didn’t belong at all.

Another big issue with the movie is the terrible pacing.  Batman vs Superman had issues with this too. It’s incredibly obvious DC is playing catchup to Marvel and is trying way too hard to force an ensemble. While I do enjoy the development of the characters and the end products are nice, their journey to get there was stiff and wooden. Like the movie had to force too many characters onscreen and develop them ASAP. Like aforementioned Joker. Almost nothing is explained in the film itself and it relies on you knowing the comics.  For instance, Harley falling into chemical vats is included with almost no explanation for why or what they do. Deadshot’s fake eye is introduced, but he sees fine without it.  In fact, Deadshot only wears his mask for one scene.  From the introduction this mask got (every time I put on this mask someone dies), you’d think it’d be an amazing scene, but no, it was just another shooter scene where they take out a bunch of blackberry soldiers and then he just takes the mask back off.

Overall, the film was basically just a big dose of fan service, though surprisingly little of the sexual kind. 2/5

My thoughts on Pokemon Go

Like most nineties kids, I’ve been a Pokémon fan since generation one.  Admittedly, I lost touch with the series after a while, but I can probably recite all 151 of the original Pokémon.  When the trailer for Pokémon Go released last year, it rekindled my fond memories of Pokémon, and I was stoked.

When it came out a week ago, I downloaded it as soon as I could.  As soon as I did, I just felt underwhelmed by the lack of features and gameplay.  It felt like a hollow shell of a game. Everything that made Pokémon fun was gone.  Catching them is nothing but flicking a ball at them and hoping they stay caught with no strategy involved.  Training them is also boring since all it involves is catching duplicate Pokémon, sending those Pokémon to the professor for candy, and hitting the evolve button once you have enough candy.

Fighting, which can’t even be against friends and only done in gyms consists of tapping the screen repeatedly in hopes that the other Pokémon faints first.  No trading and no battling with friends.  Supposedly, this will be in a later update, but I’m talking about features in the present, not the future.  Worst of all, it’s a freemium game where you spend real money on game items (though, considering the franchise stems at least partially from cards that people pay money for, I guess the whole thing has come full circle).

Servers are shoddy and barely work.  Since this game can’t be played without an internet connection, that means you have to wait on its time.  Pokémon are also not distributed well, and if you live in a low populated area, no Pokémon for you.  Since the game is the equivalent to having your GPS on, you better have a really good dataplan for all those Pokewalks.

There’s no strategy in the game and there’s very little of what passes for gameplay.  Since there’s no real moves in this game, there’s no benefit to having a Pokémon except to say you have it, so Pokémon are just kind of collected with no rhyme or reason.

Everything about this game screams crappy cellphone freemium game.  The game isn’t all bad though.  The game has a heavy social aspect to it, and can be great fun if you have a group of friends to play with.  I admit, before deleting the app, I had good fun with my friends as we searched parking lots and Walmarts for Pokémon.

Many fans are starting to get defensive against any criticism, as if they themselves have just been insulted.  Maybe it’s because this is from the childhood of most present day twenty somethings, but it feels like this game gets away with a lot of crap just because it’s Pokémon.  Rarely do people say let everybody enjoy something, especially in the gaming community, which thrives on hating things for no real reason (console wars).  Look, if you genuinely like the game, then like it.  Nobody is stopping you from enjoying it.  However, there will inevitably be people who disagree with you.  Lots of people enjoy Call of Duty, yet few hesitate to shit on that series every time they release a game.  Likewise, people also defend the game by saying more features will be out later.  Don’t we hate EA for doing pretty much the exact same thing with releasing half a game to update it later?

In conclusion, look, if you enjoy the game, fine.  I know a lot of people do, and it at least is getting people to exercise more and socialize.  However, I found it to be boring as hell.  Now that my Poke-nostalgia is up, it makes me want to play a real Pokémon game.  Maybe I’ll hit up my local Gamestop.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – no spoilers

I won’t post any spoilers, so in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, feel free to read on.  No more spoilers than those in the trailers.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a refreshing addition to the Star Wars series.  It touches a lot on the original trilogy, while adding a lot of new stuff to the table.  George Lucas is no longer running the show, and that is very apparent.

The characters in this one are much more believable than the jokes from the prequel trilogy.  Characters seem to have real motivation and you understand why they are doing what they are doing.  You feel Rey’s struggle in the home she made for herself on Jaku, Finn’s rebellion against the Stormtroopers is nicely handled, and Han Solo is a great character as always, becoming jaded from the passing decades.  I could go on about Han Solo and Chewbacca, but I said no spoilers.  Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford are the same great actors we knew, playing the same great characters we knew, albeit aged quite a bit.  Rey, Finn, and Poe are also great.

To be honest, when the trailers first showed Finn, I was skeptical.  Not due to race or anything stupid like that, but because they were humanizing a stormtrooper.  They’re supposed to be faceless goons!  But the movie calmed my worries, and indeed he turned out to be my favorite new character.

JJ Abrams adds his own take on Star Wars, and that definitely shows in his alien designs.  They closely resemble the designs seen in the new Star Trek movies, especially Maz who seems to be this trilogy’s Yoda.  However, we never lose touch of that Star Wars feel, which is important.  At the very least, let’s be grateful the aliens aren’t the transparent racist stereotypes we saw from the prequels.

Pacing is very good as well.  There is never a dull moment in The Force Awakens, and the action never truly stops.  No political debates, and no awkward teenage dates.

In conclusion, I high recommend this movie.  This movie has everything you loved from the originals with some new special effects and leaving behind everything you hated from the prequels.