Thursday, October 05, 2006

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

You know, typically, I would say that the old Star Trek serves no purpose whatsoever because it does not have Commander Data in it. That's the only element of The Next Generation that made it cool. Without Data, Star Trek is just--eww--science fiction.

But you'll see no tribbles here. You'll see no blonde aliens in mini skirts and go go boots. Sure, you'll see bad special effects. And you'll see bad acting, but hey, they had to hire William Shatner. But Wrath of Khan is a long way from what I remember about the cheesy old show that is the stuff that Mystery Science Theater is made of.

I forgot that the characters in the original Star Trek are really quite good. They are diverse and play well together. The irrational and emotional Kirk and his best friend? A vulcan. A vulcan, I tell you--who uses the word logical every 5 seconds. And Bones is the best. He is curmudgeonly, and his relationship with Spock is absolutely priceless. They hate each other, even though Vulcans, who are incapable of emotion, are therefore incapable of hate. This is what makes that relationship so ironic and interesting.

The story itself is exciting, I guess, but too science fictiony for my standards. However, the ending is emotional and moving. Spock's "death" is an act of bravery and an act of humanity from a character who has purposely rejected his own human nature. He is, of course, not dead, and the film leaves the story open for him to resurface in later films and what have you.

All in all, not bad for a Star Trek that doesn't contain everyone's favorite android.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Goonies

This is the 80s. This is what it's all about.

The Goonies, Sean Astin's first big film, is one of the great brat pack films of the decade that perfected the lovably imperfect genre. It's both silly and serious, unrealistic and compelling. But mostly, it's a group of great characters who don't want to be split up by the evil bank repossessing the house of two of the boys.

The pirate treasure map story may be cheesy, but it's completely charming, especially in a film that stars almost entirely children. It adds an element of fairy tale to a story that would otherwise just be another tale of class struggle and injustice.

The stereotypical bumbling bad guys add a lot of charm to the film, as well. Serious villains playing against a group of kids would not have the same appeal. The fact that they are clumsy ensures that they do not pose much of a threat to the children, creating a fun story rather than a dangerous one.

It's the characters that really make the film, however. Each is so exaggerated. The strong older brother, the beautiful rich girl and her sidekick friend, the wimpy little boy who turns out to be a hero, the fat oaf, the genius, the wise guy. Each contrasts the others, and each is so exaggerated that it is unbelievable. However, that is what makes the characters and the interactions between them so amusing and appealing.

The Goonies is one kickin' movie--far different from any other. It is truly timeless because "Goonies never say die!"

Temple of Doom

*Bum...bada-bum bum! Bum...bada-bum bum!*

...If Adventure has a name...

*Bum...bada-bum bum!*

It must be Indiana Jones!

*Ba bada BUUUUUUM! Ba baduuuuuuuuum!* (you know the rest...)

The year is is 1935. America is crawling its way out of The Great Depression, a man named Adolph Hitler is taking control over Germany, and there's nothing but hard times ahead for the planet Earth. But let's not worry about that too much, because in a remote part of asia, in an abandoned palace, the young Maha'raja's mind is being controlled and people are getting their still-beating hearts ripped out of their chests right before they're lowered into a pit of lava.

Never mind where this spiraling, geologically impossible pool came from and pay no attention to the fact that the bald guy with the creepy head dress seems to be breaking through the human ribcage with relative ease...because if you do, you're going to ruin this movie for everyone. Have a little common courtesy.

Although this has been called "The worst Indiana Jones movie", that still puts it way above a lot of other films about swashbuckling archaeologists (but I won't mention Tomb Radier by name). Independantly of the rest of the trilogy, this film proves that George Lucas has the ability to avoid destroying everything he touches. Yeah, Yeah, Star Wars was amazing. We all know that. Shut up.

All I can think about when I see Temple of Doom is the tumor LucasFilm Ltd gave me when I contemplated how I paid $30 to go see Episodes 1 through 3 (George has refused to comment on the correlation between the growing occurances of prenatal anurisms and that look on Hayden Christensen's face when he's "angry")...but I digress...It may not have the same happy-go-lucky feel that the other two had, but that's because it's NOT THE SAME!!! Wouldn't it be amazing to see a sequal to a movie that had nothing to do with the original? Oh wait, I just did...HOORAY!

What's great about this movie is that its so much darker than the other two. It dosn't matter how many nazi Indy mows over with his semi-automatic weapon because nobody likes nazi's. What I'm talking about is the villager who's done nothing but live his life for the past 20-some years. An yet, here he is getting his heart ripped out and then getting deep fried in the hottest vat of oil in the eastern hemisphere! That's some scary stuff! This is the kind of stuff Indy deals with when he's looking for an artifact nobody's heard of.

Also, you can't discount the side-kick factor. Don't get me wrong, I love Sala and Marcus and Henry Jones Sr, but there's just something about a chauvanistic chinese kid in a yankees cap telling the awful lead actress exactly what she can do with that sequined dress. Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. In fact, I'm gonna watch it again right now...and so should you.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Best of the Best


Recently I saw the 1989 film Best of the Best when it was on the USA network. This is a great sports movie even if you don’t enjoy karate. Plus how can you not like anything that includes James Earl Jones? The film follows the USA national karate team in their quest to overtake the ever dominant Korean national team. Coach Cuzo (Jones) selects the “best of the best” of American martial artists and trains them for battle. The team consists of Philip Ree and Eric Roberts as well as Chris Penn. They undergo grueling training and encounter self conflicts before going to Korea as underdogs to partake in the tournament. Throughout the whole movie the Americans are paralleled with the Koreans in their styles of training and intensity and are made to look inferior. Ultimately the film sets the audience up for the classic underdog comeback story, however, in the end the Koreans end up winning. Although their win is due to the fact that Tommy Lee (Ree) refuses to finish off a helpless member of the Korean team, it is still unconventional in its delivery. Several sequels followed yet none of them worked as well as the original. I recommend that if you are interested karate or like a plotline of America vs. anyone that you see this movie.

Check Out This Movie...

Memorable quotes:

“Drop him like a toilet seat Tommyy...”

“You have been chosen because you are… the Best of the Best”