New Celebrities for Star Trek

09-Sep-10 12:57 PM by
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When Star Trek: First Contact premiered, the Boston Herald published a rather incendiary review by James Verniere. Though he was judging the film from the perspective of a non-Trekkie, many of his comments were baseless, such as the utter confusion he experienced over Picard's history with the Borg. Did the film not feature a monologue addressing that very point?

One of Mr. Verniere's more interesting comments was that Star Trek had to stop recruiting from within its own ranks (the film's director was Jonathan Frakes). Why not have Antonio Banderas as an ensign on the Enterprise, he suggested? I presume the critic was trying to expand the franchise's appeal by giving non-Trekkies a point of familiarity by which to be introduced to the series. Though it would be jarring for an established cast to suddenly be joined by an actor known for non-sci-fi work, Mr. Verniere's suggestion proved correct in the appropriate context: the presence of Bruce Greenwood, Winona Ryder, Zachary Quinto, and others didn't detract from but added to last year's reboot of Star Trek: TOS, which provided an entirely new slate on which these actors could gel as a team.

What other celebrities might Star Trek benefit from introducing? We still don't know what's to come in the sequel, slated for release on June 29, 2012 — but we can imagine what it might look like if Nicolas Cage, Summer Glau, and David Tennant joined the ranks of Starfleet, courtesy the Photoshop machinations of Rabittooth.

Several of the stars in this small sampling would surely be scene-stealers; Kevin Spacey warrants nothing less than prime antagonist, for example. But Brandon Routh, whose one leading role as Superman was fleeting enough to allow him to turn in a stellar yet innocuous performance in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, could be a subtle yet effective addition to any bridge crew.

This isn't the first time non-Trek actors have been inserted into Gene Roddenberry's universe. Alex Luko transposed one show's entire cast onto the Enterprise with a result that left geeks salivating:

Firefly Star Trek

I had likened Serenity's crew to the Enterprise's myself so can totally see such a shift of universes as successful.

Who would you like to see in the next Star Trek movie, and why?

License to Crash

21-Apr-08 1:57 PM by
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The car being used in the latest James Bond film plunged into a lake in northern Italy while being driven to the set. [Story continues]

When I first read that news story's headline, I didn't think much of it; property damage and death-defying stunts are staples of the action genre. But the article goes on to clarify that this was no stunt; the vehicle was being delivered to the set of the 22nd James Bond film when it went off the road, over a cliff, and into Lake Garda. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt — but my heart weeps at the damage done to this beautiful machine:

The accident was blamed on recent rainfall having slickened the road … but really, if you were driving the Bondmobile, wouldn't you too feel invincible?

Dirty Bond

13-Sep-07 3:51 PM by
Filed under Films; 9 comments.

It took awhile, but RiffTrax was motivation enough for me to finally get around to watching the new James Bond.

Two years ago, I watched the original 1967 Casino Royale, a comedy starring David Niven as James Bond that was so unexpected that I couldn't help but enjoy it. On the surface, the film and its characters appeared to take themselves seriously — which made the strangeness of the encounters and accessories (think Get Smart) all the more laughable. IMDb describes this adaptation as follows:

Sir James Bond, a spy from the old school (a good spy is a pure spy) is called back to service by the death of "M" and the imminent collapse of civilization. The opposition tries to compromise him, but even as nubile young agents are thrown at him, he remains above it all. Going beyond parody to sillyness, every agent is renamed James Bond, 007 to confuse the enemy, including Woody Allen who plays Little Jimmy Bond.

Compare that plot with that of the 2006 film, and you'll find almost no similarities. I expected as such; what I did not expect was to enjoy the 1967 film more. I take no exception to Daniel Craig as James Bond and don't see what all the fuss was about his casting. My more pressing concern is the direction Craig was given.

Despite being set in 2006, this film is a prequel: only M (Judi Dench) returns, with Q (John Cleese) and Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) nowhere to be seen. But whatever the cast, the setting — with Bond having recently gained his double-oh designation and having had few true adventures — puts our protagonist is in a place where he is coarse and unrefined. Craig comes across as more of a thug than the elegant, svelte super-spy to which we've grown acquainted. I'm told audiences approved of theis film's grittier nature, but I watch Bond films to escape the dark reality I see mirrored in so many other media. I want a hero who's fighting Russians, Germans, and other classic, archetypal, even stereotypical adversaries — not his own ego and dark impulses.

I don't know which model Ian Fleming intended, but the Bond character has transcended his roots and now is held accountable not to his creator, but to pop culture and his audience. Maybe they've covered that ground in the last 20 films, and it's time to move on. Or perhaps now we're through with the the awkward introductions, the next Bond film will have a suaver star. I enjoyed Casino Royale's villains and action sequences enough to see what happens next.