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October 26th, 2018 Movie – Thor: Ragnarok

thor ragnarok

Since the beginning of the year, there have been several new entries in the MCU to come out on video. Of course, I was going to be getting them when they came out so I am excited to be getting into these movies now. So, first on the block is the most recent entry in the Thor franchise. Now many people tended to be disappointed with the Thor entries in the MCU, especially The Dark World. However, I knew things were going to be different when I saw the trailer for the new movie. It seemed like they decided to take a page out of James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy playbook and have some fun with this movie. Now the fact that this movie was also how we were going to get a live action version of Planet Hulk had me doubly excited to see this movie when it came out. So as soon as it hit theaters, I was there with some of my friends and we all enjoyed watching Thor: Ragnarok.

The plot: After roaming the cosmos in search of answers regarding the reemergence of the Infinity Stones, Thor finds himself captured by the massive fire demon Surtur. As Thor tell Surtur that he had a vision of him destroying Asgard, Surtur tells him that he has seen Ragnarok, the prophecy where Surtur brings about the destruction of Asgard. Surtur tells Thor that all he has to do is unite his crown with the Eternal Flame on Asgard and Ragnarok will begin. When Thor says that Odin will stop him, Surtur says that Odin is not on Asgard, which shocks Thor. Thor breaks free from his chains and after fending off Surtur’s minions, he battles Surtur and manages to knock his crown from his head. After grabbing the crown, Thor calls out to Heimdall to send the Bifrost Bridge for him but when he gets no response, he is forced to flee from Surutr’s dragon before the bridge finally appears. Arriving on Asgard, Thor finds that the Bifrost is being run by Skurge, as Heimdall has been declared a traitor to Asgard. Thor heads into the city and finds Odin watching a play depicting the death of Loki, only written to make Loki seem more heroic. Thor confronts Odin and, realizing who he really is, forces him to reveal that he is really Loki. As Loki tries to explain that things were fine while Thor was gone, Thor tells him that the Nine Realms are in chaos and demands to know where Odin is. Loki reluctantly agrees to show Thor where he left him and they head to Earth, only to find that the building Loki left Odin in is being demolished. Suddenly, a portal opens up underneath Loki’s feet and he disappears, with only a card with an address written on it left in his place. Thor heads to the address and is greeted by Dr. Stephen Strange, Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme, who questions why Thor brought Loki back to Earth. Thor tells Strange that they are looking for Odin and when they find him, they will leave and Strange tells Thor that Odin is in Norway, then summons a portal and sends Thor and Loki through it. Thor and Loki find Odin on a cliff staring out at the sea and he greets his sons, then tells them that Ragnarok is upon them. Thor tries to tell him that he defeated Surtur but Odin tells him Ragnarok had already started, as he is dying and with his death, Hela, his firstborn daughter, will return. He tells them that her appetite for conquest grew beyond his control and he was forced to imprison her. Telling them that she gains her power from Asgard and if she returns there, her power will be limitless, he then fades away into a shower of energy that heads out into the sky. Thor faces Loki, blaming him for Odin’s death, but before they can start fighting, a portal opens and Hela emerges. Hela demands that they kneel and when Thor refuses and throws Mjolnir at her, she catches it in her hand and shatters it. Loki summons a Bifrost to take them back, despite Thor warning him not to, but Hela follows after them and knocks both Thor and Loki off the bridge into the abyss. Hela arrives on Asgard and is confronted by Volstagg and Fandral but she kills them, then allows Skurge to work for her. Meanwhile, Thor ends up on the planet Sakaar, where a group of Scrappers capture him. Before they can eat him, Thor is saved by a slave trader called Scrapper-142, who radios her boss and tells him that she has something special. Back on Asgard, Hela speaks to Hogun and Odin’s army, demanding they swear allegiance to her but when they refuse, she slaughters them all. Meanwhile, Heimdall scales the cliff at the back of the Bifrost Bridge and steals the sword, ensuring that Hela is trapped on Asgard. Back on Sakaar, Thor is brought before the Grandmaster, the ruler of the planet, who pays Scrapper-142 for Thor, then proceeds to bring Thor with him while he tells him about Sakaar. When Thor spots Loki, he tries to get him to help him escape but Loki says he can’t, explaining he had been there for weeks and just now gotten in the Grandmaster’s favor. The Grandmaster tells him that if he defeats his champion, he can go home and Thor agrees to fight him. Thor is transported to the gladiatorial holding area, where a Kronan named Korg introduces himself and his friend Miek, and when he hears that Thor plans on fighting the champion, he warns him that everyone that faces the champion is killed. Back on Asgard, Hela enters the throne room and finds that Odin has rewritten the history of how Asgard’s kingdom was founded and she reveals that she was the one to lead his armies until she was banished. She then heads down to Odin’s treasure chamber and takes some of the flames from the Eternal Flame, then heads down to where her army was buried and uses the Eternal Flame to resurrect the giant wolf Fenris and the rest of her army. Back on Sakaar, Loki pays Thor a visit, trying to convince him to join him and they can overthrow the Grandmaster and rule Sakaar but Thor refuses. After trying to convince Thor to give up on trying to save Asgard, he tells Thor that he placed a large wager against him, then leaves. As Thor is preparing the fight, he sees Scrapper-142 and Korg tells him that she is an Asgardian. Thor attempts to talk with her and, noticing a tattoo on her arm, recognizes her as a Valkyrie and attempts to appeal to her sense of honor but she tells him that he is on Sakaar, not Asgard. After being outfitted with weapons and armor, Thor enters the arena and is surprised to discover that the Grandmaster’s champion is the Hulk. Thor tries to talk to Hulk butHulk ignores him and begins fighting. Not wanting to be killed, Thor fights back, shocking the Grandmaster when Thor appears to get the upper hand. Thor moves to knock Hulk unconscious but Hulk catches the hammer and punches Thor, then proceeds to pummel Thor into the ground when Thor suddenly channels lightning into his fist and blasts Hulk. Using this new found power, Thor moves to finish off Hulk but the Grandmaster activates the slave disc on Thor’s neck and paralyzes him, allowing Hulk to knock Thor unconscious. Back on Asgard, Hela moves to begin conquering the Nine Realms, naming Skurge as her executioner, but when they head to the Bifrost, they find the sword is missing. Back OnSakaar, Thor regains consciousness and finds himself in a room with Hulk. Thor asks how Hulk got there and Hulk says his quinjet crashed, then points it out to Thor. Thor wants to use it to leave but Hulk refuses to go and when Thor does try to leave, he finds the slave disc won’t let him leave the room. As Hulk goes to train with Valkyrie, Thor makes contact with Heimdall, who tells him that he is saving as many of the people as he can but if Hela discovers them she will slaughter them, take the sword, and conquer the cosmos, then tells Thor how to escape from Sakaar before breaking the connection. Thor convinces Hulk to get Valkyrie there and he tries to convince her to join him to help rescue Asgard. When she refuses, he tells her that Odin is dead and Hela has returned and Valkyrie said she faced Hela once, along with the rest of the Valkyrie, and refuses to do it a second time. She goes to leave and Thor thanks her, as he had lifted her control rod for the slave disc, which he uses to power it down so he can remove it, then smashes through the window to leave. Thor makes his way to the Quinjet and gets it ready to take off but Hulk, wanting Thor to stay with him, smashes the ship. As Thor tries to stop him, he activates a video replay, showing Black Widow’s conversation with Hulk trying to get him to return after the events at Sokovia. Seeing Widow causes Hulk to turn back into Bruce Banner and Thor attempts to calm him down when Banner learns that he has been the Hulk for two years. As Thor attempts to explain where they are, they see an announcement from the Grandmaster saying that his champion is missing, stolen by Thor, and tells the people to head out into the streets to celebrate him so that he might return. In the Grandmaster’s palace, the Grandmaster tells Loki and Valkyrie to find Hulk and Thor but as they leave, they start to fight. When Loki discovers Valkyrie’s identity, he brings back her memories of Hela slaughtering the rest of the Valkyries and Valkyrie knocks him out. She then find Thor and Banner and after bringing them to her quarters, explains that she will help them get off Sakaar. Showing them that she has Loki prisoner, they make their plans to escape but when Thor says they need to go through the central wormhole, which is known as the Devil’s Anus, and Loki says that he knows the security codes for the Grandmaster’s garage and they come up with a plan. Valkyrie breaks into the arena pens and deactivates the slave discs, then arms Korg so he can lead a revolution. Meanwhile, Thor and Loki head to the garage, discussing their lives and how their paths have separated over the years. They reach the garage and Loki double crosses Thor but Thor, knowing Loki would do this, had placed a slave disc on Loki’s back when he wasn’t expecting it, then activates it, leaving Loki writhing in pain on the ground. Thor takes off with the Grandmaster’s ship, but the Grandmaster sends several ships after them. Valkyrie starts fending some of them off and when her ship is destroyed, she does so hand to hand and Thor helps her, then they get back on the ship and make their way through the wormhole. Meanwhile, Korg leads the other gladiators to the garage to steal a ship when they discover Loki and turn off the slave disc, inviting him to join them. On Asgard, Hela discovers where Heimdall is hiding and heads there only to discover that he has already evacuated. Thor, Valkyrie, and Banner arrive on Asgard and Thor tells them to help Heimdall get everyone off Asgard while he stalls Hela. Thor heads to the palace and bangs Odin’s staff on the floor, which Hela hears and heads there to confront Thor. Meanwhile, Heimdall is leading the Asgardians to the Bifrost when they find their path blocked by Fenris, just as Skurge and Hela’s soldiers show up behind them. Valkyrie and Banner arrive and attempt to shoot Fenris but he ignores the bullets so Banner jumps out of the ship, only to land on the ground seemingly dead, but as Fenris passes him and attempts to attack Heimdall, Banner turns into the Hulk and begins fighting Fenris. Thor fights with Hela but she overpowers him, cutting out one of his eyes and pinning him to a balcony so he can watch his friends die. Suddenly, Loki and the gladiators arrive and as they begin fighting with Hela’s soldiers, Loki tells everyone to get on the ship. Hela taunts Thor, saying this changes nothing, but as she chokes the life from him, Thor has a vision of talking with his father, who tells him the Mjolnir was never the source of his power, simply a means to control and focus it. Thor summons a massive lightning bolt to attack Hela, then heads off the fight on the bridge, joining Valkyrie, Heimdall, Loki, and the others there. Skurge, sensing the tide might be turning decides to leave Hela’s service and sneak onto the ship while Hulk and Fenris continue fighting with Fenris being knocked off of Asgard while Hulk manages to hang on. When Hela appears on the bridge, Thor realizes that this won’t stop so long as she is able to draw strength from Asgard and tells Loki they have to set about Ragnarok. Loki leaves to place Surtur’s crown in the Eternal Flame while Thor and Valkyrie try to stall her. When Thor tells the ship to leave, Hela uses her powers to spear it with a massive spear, allowing her soldiers to get on board but Skurge, overcome with guilt over his actions, begins fighting the soldiers, breaking the spear and allowing the ship to leave. Hela kills Skurge and beats Thor and Valkyrie but Loki had placed the crown on the Eternal Flame, allowing Surtur to be reborn in his gigantic size As Hela reacts in shock, Thor and Valkyrie are able to knock her in the water below and watch as Surtur begins to ravish Asgard. Hulk returns and goes to fight Surtur but when Surtur throws him aside, Thor and Valkyrie convinces Hulk to leave Surtur alone and Hulk grabs them and jumps onto the leaving ship. Hela reappears and begins fighting with Surtur but he is able to ignore her attacks and plunges his sword into the heart of Asgard, destroying it. As Thor is fitted with an eyepatch over his missing eye, Loki returns and Thor thanks him, thinking it is a hologram but Loki reveals that he is really there. As Thor takes the throne as the king of the displaced Asgardians, They try to figure out where they should go and Thor decides that they should head to Earth. AS they are making their way there, Loki asks Thor if it is a good idea for him to go back to Earth and Thor tells him not to worry when suddenly, they are confronted by Thanos’ flagship. Back on Sakaar, the Grandmaster emerges from the wreckage of his palace and is confronted by some Scrappers and tries to talk them out of killing him as they have succeeded in their revolution.

Thor: Ragnarok was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise — and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” This marks the first time in the MCU that the Hulk was not voiced by Lou Ferrigno, as he had voiced him in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Age Of Ultron. The movie was a box office success, earning $854 million off of a $180 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the Thor franchise.

This was such a fantastic movie and definitely the best of the Thor movies. The acting was great, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston doing great jobs reprising the roles of Thor and Loki. Mark Ruffalo was also great as Banner/Hulk and I liked Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Cate Blanchett as Hela, but I was disappointed in Karl Urban’s portrayal of Skurge and while he was funny, Jeff Goldblum’s portrayal of the Grand Master was also a little disappointing. Of course, I am basing both of them on the differences of their characters from the comics, which isn’t fair but they really did make a big change with them. The story was pretty good as a whole, but I will admit to some disappointment that the Planet Hulk story line, which was such a huge story line in the comics, was reduced in the way that it was. One thing I did enjoy was the added comedy in the movie, as it added a layer of entertainment to the movie that really was missing in the earlier films. The special effects were great, and definitely showed the improvements in technology over the years, especially in bringing to life the various locations, such as Sakaar and Asgard. A great movie and a good lead up to the upcoming Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 1st, 2014 Movie – The Bourne Supremacy

the bourne supremacy

Well, I just have one month of flashback reviews to go, then the couple of movies I have bought this year and I will be able to take my break. Now for the matter at hand, this was yet another movie whose trailers had piqued my interest but I did not see in theaters. In fact, I didn’t see The Bourne Supremacy until I rented it along with The Bourne Identity several years after they had come out on video. Now obviously I wanted to watch it, and my buying the movie not withstanding, but the question remains as to just how good of a movie this actually was.

The plot: Two years after the events in Paris, Jason Bourne is living in Goa, India with his girlfriend Marie. Bourne still can’t remember everything about his past with Treadstone but sometimes, he has flashbacks of things when he dreams and has taken to writing them down in a notebook. Elsewhere, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy is in Berlin overseeing a $3 million payoff to a Russian source who has with him the “Neski” files, details about a $20 million theft several years ago. As the source arrives at the building and makes contact with Pamela’s buyer, Kirill, a member of Russia’s Federal Security Service, plants some explosives on the power junction box, planting a fingerprint on one of them. Kirill then sets off the explosives, with the one that has the fingerprint planted on it failing to detonate, then heads up to the now darkened room, where he kills the source and everyone there, then takes the money and files. The next morning, Kirill meets with Russian oligarch Yuri Gretkov, who gives him his payment for the files, then tells Kirill he will get the rest when he finishes his job, passing him the information on his next target. Some time later, Kirill arrives in Goa and asks the manager of the telegraph office if he has seen Bourne, but Bourne spots him and, figuring that Kirill is after him, quickly heads back to his home to get his jeep. Driving into town, he sees Marie at a diner and honks his horn to pick her up, telling her that their blown, and spots Kirill on the nearby beach. Believing Treadstone is after them, Bourne drives off with Marie and after he manages to lose Kirill, he has Marie switch places so she is driving. They head for a nearby bridge, where Bourne plans on jumping out so that he can ambush Kirill when he follows after Marie but Kirill had gone to a nearby hill and fires at the car, hitting Marie and causing the jeep to crash off the bridge and into the river below. Bourne survives the crash and after getting Marie’s body out of the car, he kisses her goodbye before letting her float to the surface while he swims off in another direction. Back in Berlin, the investigation team finds the fingerprint on the explosive and when Landy’s team goes to match it, they find themselves blocked by a demand for clearance due to the print being flagged by Treadstone so she orders her team to head back to Langley. Kirill heads back to Russia and meets with Yuri to tell him Bourne is dead and Yuri gives him the rest of his money, telling him he will contact him in a month. Back in Goa, Bourne watches as Marie’s body is fished out of the river, then heads home, grabbing all of the weapons and supplies he stashed there, burning several of his fake passports and pictures, then leaves India. In Langley, Landy tells the director that she needs level 5 clearance so she can follow up on their lead and he gives it to her, allowing her to match the fingerprint to Jason Bourne. After reading up on the files, Landy meets with Deputy Director Ward Abbott and talks to him about Treadstone, Bourne, and Conklin but he doesn’t say much to her. Landy is attending a meeting with the Director and the other Deputy Directors, where she tells them about the theft of $20 million and how a Russian politician named Neski had contacted them and said it was an inside job but before he could give them the information, he was killed. The case had gone cold until their recent contact but he was apparently killed by Bourne, whom Landy believes was working with Conklin and had stolen the money, then killed anyone that could prove it. Meanwhile, Bourne is picked up and detained in Naples and when Landy hears this, she asks what assets they have there and rushes to contact the local police to let them know who they are holding. In Naples, Bourne is being interrogated by the local CIA agent when Landy’s assistant calls him to tell him about Bourne but when the agent hangs up, Bourne quickly knocks out the agent and the guard watching him. Bourne then takes the agent’s phone and copies the sim card before grabbing his stuff and leaving, blocking the door so they can’t follow him. As Bourne gets in the agent’s car, Landy calls the agent and Bourne is able to listen in, learning about his being blamed for the deaths in Berlin and that Landy is the one looking for him now. Landy is heading back to Berlin, and the Director orders Ward to accompany her so they can finally capture Bourne. Bourne heads to Berlin and as he does, he has another flashback from an assignment Conklin gave him. Meanwhile, Ward heads to the Netherlands to pick up Nicky Parsons, Bourne’s Treadstone handler in Paris, and Landy questions her about Bourne and Treadstone. Elsewhere, Bourne heads to Munich, where Jarda, another former Treadstone operative, lives. Bourne subdues Jarda and questions him about Conklin and Treadstone and learns that Conklin is dead and Treadstone has been shut down. When Jarda apologizes, Bourne realizes that he must have somehow contacted the CIA and goes to leave when Jarda attacks him. Bourne manages to kill Jarda, then rigs the house to explode just as the CIA show up. Bourne then heads to the Berlin Airport and after placing some of his items in a storage locker, he calls several hotels until he finds the one that Landy is staying in, then figures out who she is and follows her to the Berlin office. As Landy, is speaking with her team about Bourne, Bourne heads to a nearby rooftop so he can observe Landy and her team, then calls Landy. As he talks with Landy, Landy’s comments prompt another flashback, causing him to hesitate. As Bourne recovers, he notices Nicky standing next to Landy and tells Landy he wants to come in but wants someone he can trust to bring him in. When Landy asks who, Bourne tells her Nicky and where to meet and when Landy asks what will happen if she can’t find Nicky that quickly, Bourne tells her that she is standing right next to her, revealing to all of them that he was watching them. Landy and her team work to figure out a plan for the meeting but Ward wants to use the opportunity to kill Bourne, prompting an argument between Landy and Ward. Nicky heads to the meeting spot and as the CIA agents keep track of her, a crowd shows up just as Bourne calls and tells Nicky to get onto an approaching tram. As the tram approaches it’s next stop, Bourne grabs Nicky and forces her off the train before Landy can have her men get her out of there, then starts questioning her about Landy.  When Nicky tells him about the matter in Berlin, Bourne tells her that he was in India watching Marie die when that happened. Bourne asks her what Landy was buying and when Nicky says information about Conklin and a Russian politician, Bourne recalls Neski’s name and asks Nicky when was he on assignment in Berlin but she tells him that he was never on a job here or if he was, it wasn’t in his file, and Bourne threatens to shoot her but then leaves, leaving her frightened in a bathroom stall. Landy, who had overheard everything Bourne had said due to Nicky’s wire, begins checking to see if what Bourne said is true, though Ward argues against it. Ward’s assistant, Danny Zorn, then has Ward follow him to where they botched buy occurred and tells him that he believes Bourne was set up to cover for someone else’s crime and Ward ends up killing him. Meanwhile, Bourne looks up the information on Neski’s murder, then heads to the hotel where the death occurred, remembering everything that occurred and how he killed both Neski and his wife. As Bourne is in the room Neski died in, the hotel manager had gotten the report to hold Bourne for questioning and calls the police, which alerts the CIA to where he is. Bourne makes his way to the roof and manages to get away from the hotel but when a patrol officer spots him, he is forced to make a run for it, eventually managing to get away by jumping onto a passing barge, then using a boat hook to grab onto the underside of a bridge as it passes underneath it, then climbing up the bridge and boarding a train. Landy and her team investigate the hotel when they learn about Danny Zorn’s death and Landy tells her assistant to stay on Bourne while she goes to see Ward. Meanwhile, Ward calls Yuri and tells him that the CIA is onto the Neski murder and that he needs to kill Bourne but Yuri says that he doesn’t need him anymore and then hangs up. As Ward hangs up the phone, he senses Bourne behind him as Bourne asks him why he killed Marie. Ward tells him it was an accident as he was supposed to be killed so that when the files went missing and he was blamed, the CIA would be chasing a ghost for years without learning his involvement. Bourne moves to kill him but then stops, saying that Marie wouldn’t want him to kill him, then stops the recording of their conversation and leaves. Later, Landy goes to Ward’s room to confront him about Zorn’s death and Ward tells her he isn’t sorry for what happened, then kills himself. Later, Landy is listening to the recording Bourne had made, as he had left it at the hotel addressed for her, and her assistant tells her that Langley wants to know what the update on Bourne is when her team sees Bourne boarding a train for Moscow and LAndy contacts the Russian Interior. In Moscow, Yuri approaches Kirill outside the club he had been in and tells him Bourne is alive. Bourne takes a taxi to an address just as the police arrive at the train station and start questioning people about Bourne, eventually learning where he went. Bourne arrives at the address he wanted and as he asks where the Neski’s daughter is, he learns that she had moved out of the city. When his taxi suddenly takes off, Bourne realizes the police are close by and he rushes off before they can get there. Kirill is driving to the location when he spots Bourne and he quickly gets out of his car and shoots at him, hitting him in the shoulder, but the police show up and detain Kirill, allowing Bourne to get away. Bourne tries to evade the police but then ends up in a brief altercation before stealing a cab and driving off. As he works on stopping the bleeding in his shoulder, Bourne drives through traffic and manages to elude his pursuers until Kirill catches up to him but Bourne manages to shoot out Kirill’s tire, then force him to crash into a barricade. An injured Bourne gets out of his car and approaches Kirill only to find him near death and he quickly leaves the scene. As Landy arrives in Moscow and helps the FSB arrest Yuri, Bourne heads to where Neski’s daughter lives and breaks into her apartment to wait for her. When she arrives home, Bourne tells her that her mother didn’t kill her father and then kill herself like the papers said, but that he killed them and staged the scene, then apologizes for the pain he caused her as he leaves. Some time later, Landy is in her office in New York City when she receives a call from Bourne, asking her why she is still looking for him. Landy thanks him for the tape that he sent her that closed the case on the Neski files and Bourne goes to leave when Landy stops him. Landy then tells him his real name is David Webb and gives him his birth date and hometown and asks him to come in but Bourne doesn’t respond for a while, then tells Landy to get some rest as she looks tired, revealing he had been watching her when he made the call.

The Bourne Supremacy met with mostly favorable reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.” To give this movie its gritty, documentary-style appearance, director Paul Greengrass used mostly handheld cameras, and a muted color palette. Greengrass also made sure to avoid computer graphics at all costs, and all of the stunts shown in the movie were achieved practically.The movie was a box office success, earning $288.5 million off of a $75 million budget.

I have to say, I honestly liked this movie a little better than the first one. I thought the acting was good, with Matt Damon doing a great job reprising his role as Jason Bourne. I also thought Brian Cox (Ward) and Julia Stiles (Nicky) were good as well, while Joan Allen made a great new foil for Bourne, though she seemed to also be somewhat of an ally at the end. Though it differed from the book that it was titled after, the plot was actually pretty good. The only problem I had with it is that they seriously had this set up as the middle part of a trilogy, without really announcing that there was going to be a trilogy. Everything in the movie seemed to be set up to give more background into Bourne’s past with Treadstone, while the ending was a total set up for a future movie. The action scenes were incredible and definite some of the best coordinated stuff I had seen in a while, at that point in time. The fact that they didn’t use any CGI in the movie really made them seem that much more impressive. A great movie and definitely an outstanding follow up to the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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November 7th, 2017 Movie – Star Trek (2009)

star trek 2009

So let me go ahead and put this out there. I am not a Trekkie, but have seen a fair amount of the Star Trek movies and the original series and Next Generation TV episodes but not so much any of the newer shows. Even though I am enjoy sci-fi shows and movies, I was honestly a little indifferent when I heard they were going to reboot the film franchise. However, several of my friends went to see it and said it was really good but I never got around to seeing it in the theaters. I finally got a chance to watch it at a friends house when they rented it after it came out on DVD and had to agree, it was really good. So I decided to buy my own copy of it, making Star Trek (2009) the only movie in the franchise that I own.

The plot:In the 23rd Century, the U.S.S. Kelvin is sent to investigate a strange gravitational anomaly, which they describe as “a lightning storm in space.” Suddenly, a huge Romulan ship exits from the anomaly and begins firing on them, severely damaging the Kelvin, before the vessel contacts the Kelvin and demands that the captain come aboard to discuss a cease-fire. Captain Robau makes his first officer, George Kirk, acting Captain, then boards a shuttle and heads over to Romulan vessel, commanded by Commander Nero. Nero’s first mate Ayel, begins questioning Robau about another ship, then asks about Ambassador Spock, but Robau says he is unfamiliar with either the ship or Spock. When Ayel asks him the current star date, Robau’s answer enrages Nero and he kills Robau, then renews the attack on the Kelvin. George orders the ship to be evacuated, ensuring that his pregnant wife Winona makes it to a shuttle but George is unable to join them as the auto pilot has been damaged and he must stay behind to pilot the Kelvin. George uses the ship’s weapons to destroy the enemy missiles that are fired at the shuttles, then pilots the Kelvin on a collision course for the Romulan vessel. As he heads towards the ship, he hears his newborn son’s cries through the communicator and discusses the name with Winona before he impacts with the ship. Years later, James Tiberius Kirk is a reckless teenager, having stolen his step-father’s antique convertible when he was a kid and driven it off a cliff while being pursued by the police. Meanwhile, on planet Vulcan, a young Spock is constantly tormented by his peers for being half human while growing up and chooses to go to Earth to join Star Fleet as opposed to joining the Vulcan Science Academy, a move which shocks the Vulcan ministers. On Earth, Kirk starts flirting with Starfleet Cadet Uhura when he ends up being in a bar fight with some of her fellow cadets before it is broken up by Captain Pike. After sending the cadets outside, Pike speaks with Kirk, questioning why someone with his aptitude didn’t join Starfleet, commenting about how in the brief time his father was captain, he had saved over 800 lives including Kirk’s, and dares him to do better. Kirk decides to join Starfleet and on the shuttle to the Academy, befriends Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Three years later, the Romulan ship is still in space when another anomaly appears and they capture the ship they were searching for. At the Academy, Kirk is about to have sex with another cadet but is forced to hide when her roommate Uhura walks in, commenting about picking up a long range transmission from a Klingon prison planet being attacked before she discovers Kirk and kicks him out of the room. The next day, Kirk takes the Kobayashi Maru simulation, a scenario that has never been beaten, and somehow manages to beat it. Kirk is brought up on for a disciplinary hearing and ends up butting heads with Commander Spock, who had designed the simulation to be unwinnable in order to test the cadets on their decision making abilities in such a situation. Before the hearing concludes, the council receives an emergency transmission from Vulcan and since the main fleet is occupied elsewhere, they are forced to send the cadets off to help. Kirk is placed on academic suspension so is not assigned to a ship but Bones, feeling sorry for his friends, injects Kirk with a vaccine in order to give him the symptoms of the disease, then brings him aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise as his patient so he can continue treatment. As the fleet heads off to Vulcan, the Enterpise is slow to start due to it new helmsman, Sulu, but eventually heads off after the fleet. During the journey, Ensign Chekov gives a ship wide message explaining the situation and Kirk realizes that the ship is heading into a trap. Kirk locates Uhura and has her follow him and  Bones to the bridge, where he tells Pike his theory, with Uhura backing him up. When they come out of warp, they find the fleet has been destroyed and are attacked by the Romulan ship. Before they are destroyed, Nero recognizes the ship and contacts the Enterprise, speaking to Spock briefly before demanding that Pike come aboard to discuss a surrender. As they are unable to communicate or use the transporters due to the Romulan’s drill attacking the planet, Pike has Kirk, Sulu, and Olsen go with him in the shuttle, making Kirk First Officer while having Spock take over as acting Captain. During the shuttle flight, Pike has Kirk and the others do a space jump onto the drill to destroy it but Olson pulls his shoot too late and is killed. Kirk and Sulu land on the drill and engage two guard before Sulu kills them, then he and Kirk use the guards rifles to disable the drill. On the Romulan ship, Nero is informed of the drill’s sabotage but that they had reached the planet’s core so he orders the red matter used on the planet, which causes a singularity to develop and destroy the planet. Kirk and Sulu are beamed back onto the Enterprise and Spock heads down to the planet’s surface to evacuate the Vulcan high council, including his parents, but as they are about to beam aboard, the ground collapses underneath her and she falls to her death. Nero leaves Vulcan and heads towards Earth, explaining to Pike that he comes from a future where Romulus was destroyed and Spock and the Federation did nothing to help, the begins torturing Pike in order to get the security codes for the Starfleet defenses around Earth. Back on the Enterprise, Spock and Kirk argue about their next move and Spock ends up using the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to render Kirk unconscious and has him ejected off the ship onto the planet Delta Vega. Regaining consciousness, Kirk exits the pod and ends up being chased into a cave by a monstrous creature when he is saved by an older version of Spock. Spock explains that he comes from 129 years in the future and had attempted to stop a supernova that threatened to destroy Romulus but before he could do so, the supernova destroyed Romulus. Spock used the red matter to destroy the supernova to keep it from destroying other planets but he was attacked/confronted by Nero and his ship and they both ended up going through the black hole. Due to the size of Nero’s ship, Nero emerged first in the past and waited 25 years for Spock to arrive, though it was only seconds for Spock. Nero captured Spock, then maroons him on Delta Vega so that he can watch the destruction of Vulcan and feel helpless to stop it. Spock leads Kirk to a Starfleet outpost, where they find Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in command there and Spock, knowing Scotty’s history, is able to show Scotty the formula to transport onto a ship moving at warp speed, then tells Kirk the only hope Earth has is if he is captain of the Enterprise before beaming Kirk and Scotty on board. After appearing in the engine room, Kirk and Scotty are captured by security and taken to the bridge, where Spock questions them on how they got on board. Kirk starts taunting Spock and eventually causes him to become enraged and start attacking Kirk and choke him before Spock’s father tells him to stop and Spock, realizing he is emotionally compromised, relinquinshes command, making Kirk now the captain. Kirk heads towards Earth to stop Nero and they come up with a plan to hide behind Titan and have Scotty beam them aboard the ship so long as the drill isn’t activated. Spock, after speaking with his father, returns to the bridge and says he will go and Kirk decides to go with him. The two beam aboard the Romulan ship, and almost immediately confronted by the ship’s crew. Kirk stuns one of their attackers so Spock can mind meld with him and learn where Pike and the red matter is. They find the future Spock’s ship and Spock is surprised to learn it recognizes him and accuses Kirk of keeping information from him but Kirk tells him to fly the ship and get out of there while he gets Pike. As Nero orders the drill activated, Kirk tries to get them to stop but is attacked by Nero. Spock flies the red matter ship out of Nero’s ship and destroys the drill, enraging Nero, who lets Kirk go as he orders his men to destroy Spock’s ship. Spock warps away from Earth and Nero follows only to find that Spock has turned the ship around and is on a collision course with his ship. Nero orders all of his weapons to fire but the Enterprise arrives and destroys the torpedoes. Kirk manages to rescue Pike and orders Scotty to beam them all back to the Enterprise, including Spock just as the ship impacts with Nero’s ship and triggers the red matter. Kirk and Spock return to the bridge and Kirk offers Nero assistance with escaping the singularity but Nero refuses so Kirk orders Sulu to fire all weapons and they destroy the ship as it falls into the singularity. The enterprise tries to escape the singularity’s gravitational pull but starts to get pulled in until Scotty ejects the warp core and detonates it, using the explosion to push them to safety. Back on Earth, Spock meets up with his future self and the future Spock tells him to stay with Starfleet while he works with the Vulcan High Council to find a new planet for their species to call home. Kirk is honored for his actions and given command of the Enterprise and Spock offers to join as first officer, which Kirk happily accepts as the ship begins it’s new mission.

Star Trek (2009) met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Star Trek reignites a classic franchise with action, humor, a strong story, and brilliant visuals, and will please traditional Trekkies and new fans alike.” Director J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman all went to personally ask Leonard Nimoy to reprise his role of Spock, as he had turned down previous offers to return to the character, but he liked how the script went into the history of Spock’s character and agreed to be in the movie. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $385.7 million off of a $150 million budget and spawned two sequels.

Whether you are a fan of Star Trek or not, this was a fantastic movie to watch. The acting was great, with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto doing a great job putting their own take on the iconic characters of Kirk and Spock. I also liked Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Karl Urban (Bones), John Cho (Sulu) and Eric Bana (Nero) in their roles and thought Simon Pegg was hilarious as Scotty. The story was really interesting, with it basically being a prequel to the Star Trek series but the twist of Spock and Nero coming to the past from future causing events to play out differently helped make it so that you don’t have to know everything that happened in the original series and movies as this is all new. As far as the updated look to the Enterprise, I thought they did a great job in keeping it true to the original look and design, with some updates in the form of it’s weaponry and how it was used. As for the rest of the special effects, they were top notch and were all you could wish for out of this movie. The only thing that I honestly thought was out of place in this movie was the strange creature that chased Kirk into the cave on Delta Vega, as that honestly felt like it was a bit much. All in all, this is a great movie and well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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