Enterprise Rising

30-Sep-09 7:49 PM by
Filed under Star Trek; 1 comment.

Remember the scene in Star Trek XI when the Enterprise hides within the atmosphere Saturn's largest moon, only to majestically emerge out of its cloudy skies like a breaching submarine?

Okay, so some artistic license was taken with those visuals, as astronomer Phil Plait (a self-professed Trekkie) describes — but it was still immensely cool. Now, Diamond Sky Productions, a "small company devoted … to the scientific, as well as artful, use of planetary imagery and computer graphics", has made available for download some extremely high-resolution images depicting that scene:

Star Trek XI: Enterprise Rising

To boldly rise out of implausible starscapes ...

These pictures, originally courtesy Cinefex magazine, are just a few of the gorgeous intergalactic images to arise from Gene Roddenberry's universe. For others, check out the "Ships of the Line" 2010 wall calendar, or even the latest Star Trek trade paperbacks, like Open Secrets.

The Day the Earth Previewed

16-Sep-08 4:30 PM by
Filed under Trailers; 8 comments.

More than a year ago, I blogged about the announcement of a pending remake of the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Due for release on Dec 12, 2008, the Keanu Reeves film's first trailer was released this past July, but more telling is this seven-minute preview that aired just last Sunday.

This footage gives us a much better sense of the film, while still leaving some questions. The remake appears to have a dark, threatening tone — appropriate for today's world and a departure from the original. It's been awhile since I saw The Day the Earth Stood Still, but I remember the primary danger being merely the loss of power, not the disintegration of entire stadiums. The only threat to the civilizations of 1951 came from the implied capabilities of an out-of-control Gort, who I presume we've seen no hint of in the above trailer.

Oh, and Keanu Reeves' Klaatu is a terminatrix.

What are your thoughts on this remake: More unnecessary Hollywood regurgitation? Another mindless Keanu Reeves film? Or a modern and significantly original reimagining?

Return to the Forbidden Planet

06-Oct-07 11:27 AM by
Filed under Star Trek; 4 comments.

After a week of blogging about Star Trek: The Next Generation, you might get the impression it's my favorite of the Trek series. Even I haven't decided if that honor belongs to TNG or DS9 — but definitely not in the running is TOS.

That's not an indictment of the show's datedness or lack of quality, but more simply a lack of exposure. The Original Series' debut predates my own by a decade, and since it has the least number of episodes of any Trek series and I cancelled my TV service eight years ago, it's simply not something I have much opportunity to watch. But I love the characters and have found that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy make for much more captivating novels than any other crew (especially Voyager's — blech).

Now comes the opportunity to watch The Original Series in a way previously afforded to only The Next Generation: on the silver screen. As a promotion for the November 20th HD-DVD release of Star Trek Remastered, the updated "Menagerie", which features footage from the rejected pilot "The Cage", will be shown in 300 theaters nationwide the evening of Tuesday, November 13th. "The two-hour screening includes a special introduction by Eugene 'Rod' Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Remastered series," says StarTrek.com, which has links to both the press release and theater listings. (Yet another tip of the hat to Dayton Ward)

"The Menagerie" is one of the few episodes I have seen of TOS, but not like this. I already have my tickets and will my calling my father shortly to introduce him to this event, just as he did me to TNG two decades ago. If you've never seen Trek before, this might be the franchise entry point you've been looking for.

Reinventing the Reel

28-Aug-07 12:53 PM by
Filed under Films; 6 comments.

"Twentieth Century Fox has set Keanu Reeves to star in The Day the Earth Stood Still, its re-imagining of the 1951 Robert Wise-directed sci-fi classic." Story continues at Variety.

I've never quite understood (from a critical, not business, perspective) Hollywood's proclivity for remaking classic films, as it seems to be a formula for failure. When a seminal movie defines an era or genre, not only does it set a nigh-unreachably high standard, it also defies the need for reinvention. What could a remake do that the original did not? Has a remake ever surpassed its source? Instead, directors should take quality concepts with flawed executions and bring out the potential that was previously unrealized. They can't do it any worse, can they? Granted, remaking Clonus into The Island wasn't the most brilliant display of strategery. But I, Robot could've been either a good Isaac Asimov adaptation or a good Will Smith sci-fi action thriller — two good concepts which drowned each other in execution. Pick one, remake it, and you might have a single good film.

As for the specific remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, Star Trek author Dayton Ward has already envisioned a worst-case scenario better than I could, so I'll leave the acerbic commentary to him.

Now, With More Bits!

19-Feb-07 11:33 AM by
Filed under Showbits; Comments Off on Now, With More Bits!

I first became a sysop 14 years ago on Washington's Birthday — so today seemed appropriate to reflect on various aspects of this new domain, Showbits:

I've upgraded the site's blogging software to WordPress v2.1. Numerous bug fixes and enhancements exist primarily on the administrative side — but let me take this opportunity to ask, what changes or features would you like to see? I've disabled the unused "Rate this post!" feature, which I'd hoped would provide some feedback on the kinds of posts you most wanted to see. So let me ask directly for your thoughts on Showbits style, content, presentation, and mechanisms — by either leaving a comment here, or sending a private email.

Speaking of which, here's some reader feedback. First, from Dayton Ward:

I enjoyed your piece about going to see the re-issued Star Wars in '97. I went to those, too, but I'm also old enough to have seen the original SW in '77. (Yes, I do feel old.)

And some (unintentionally?) double-edged commentary from an old friend, fearhubris:

I'm gonna bookmark these and read some of your stuff, it sounds intelligent yet I can tell it's yours.

If I've not been writing much to appeal to those readers lately, it's partly because I've been acclimating to a new workplace, which has granted me yet another blog. Fortunately, I have plenty of movie material for this week. Stay tuned!