Gene Kelly

Every now and then I’ll head over to YouTube and take a look at some Gene Kelly videos and I tend to come away with this thought: why can’t we have more of this in cinema today instead of what we are currently subjected to?

Great music. Great talent. Great charisma. Great fun.

Entertainment through and through.

Star Wars Gets Its Director

And it is … J.J. Abrams!

Lucas and AbramsI don’t really know what to think of this. The director behind the new version of Star Trek (including Star Trek Into Darkness) has now been confirmed as the director for Star Wars VII. It really is an extremely conflicting feeling. While I don’t feel betrayed in any way (understanding that Abrams has declared himself a huge Star Wars fan), it does make me a little scared for what is going to happen to future Star Trek movies.

I’m certain that the next Star Wars film will be a ton of fun, but I can’t help but imagine this means that Abrams will have much less involvement in the Trek franchise since he will be spending a ton of time with Star Wars. Who is going to take the helm from here? Will this delay any further Star Trek movies?

There are just a ton of questions outside of the singular one of whether it is good for the same man to direct both Star Trek and Star Wars movies. Of that I really don’t care all that much. I’m more worried that this will mean a serious blow to Star Trek right when it seemed to be getting some wind back in its sails.

Star Trek Movie Rankings

I posted my Star Wars Movie Rankings this week, but this post is a little harder to get out. See, Star Trek has eleven movies to Star Wars’s six, and those eleven are not as clear-cut as Star Wars either.

So, I’m just going to go ahead and get started. I have seen all eleven, multiple times, and these rankings are due to charge quite often, especially as more movies are released.

11. V: The Final Frontier

Where else am I going to turn here? It was a mess (and the inspiration for the name I use for my little company … Deck 78), but it is still Trek. This will famously go down as “Shatner’s Trek”, but I don’t know if anyone could have saved this mess of a movie. Just bad.

10. I: The Motion Picture

This was the hardest movie for me to place, mainly because it has some really good scenes (the reveal of the Enterprise still gives me goosebumps). However, it has earned its name as “The Slow Motion Picture” with pacing that is lethargic at best and catatonic at worst. Would have made an excellent episode, but not a good store for a film.

9. X: Nemesis

A decent space battle, but overall a disappointment. The cast seemed to be phoning it in even more than Insurrection, but it did have a few redeeming qualities (like Troi and Riker finally getting married, Data, etc.), but the weakest antagonist since Sybok (hello Star Trek V) didn’t help things at all. A bad sendoff for the TNG crew.

8. VII: Generations

Think the death of Data was disappointing? The death of Kirk was criminal. Overall the movie wasn’t terrible, but the death of Kirk in such a … oh, I can’t even go there. It was bad. The guy deserved better!

7. IX: Insurrection

Riker’s moment finally comes and he doesn’t disappoint (wish we had more Riker in these movies). A decent look at how depraved a bureaucracy can be, it is the second-best TNG movie (which isn’t saying much so far). I like it quite a bit and a more renegade Picard is always fun to hang around with, but overall the storyline is just a little weak.

6. III: The Search for Spock

The end of the first Enterprise is sad. The middle film in what might be considered the only Star Trek Trilogy is a fun look at just the main characters and some extremely good lines from Scotty. Stealing the Enterprise is a great bit of music and mischief and Kirk is at his best when he is playing the pirate, or sorts. The Spock reincarnation is a little hokey, but I’m willing to let it slide. Also … Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon. Yessir.

5. IV: The Journey Home

The final movie of the Star Wars Trilogy is the lightest as well. It involves whales, it has quite a bit of comedy, and you get Kirk and Spock wandering around in 20th century San Francisco. Also, Scotty tries to use a Macintosh … which is good stuff. Still a good watch even today.

4. VI: The Undiscovered Country

Definitely a period movie, filmed as a commentary on the end of the Cold War, it is still great to watch as old enemies dine together and ultimately get together to try and forge ahead into the future as partners. They should have just left the TOS crew alone and had this be their final sendoff instead of making Generations. I’m still upset about it. Also, Sulu and Kirk both giving commands to fire on the Bird-of-Prey … priceless.

3. VIII: First Contact

The best TNG movie by far and a good movie in its own right. A massive space battle against the Borg and one of my favorite ships makes an appearance (hello there Defiant). A good look at the seduction of power, First Contact, and the hopelessness of the idea of defeat from the enemy you know too well. Just a great movie.

2. XI: Star Trek

I like it. I like it a lot. The Abrams Star Trek has finally given me hope that there is a future for Trek and that it is bright. It was great to see the crew get back together and have an entirely new playground to work in. The destruction of Vulcan is a huge gamble and we will have to see how it ultimately pans out.

1. II: The Wrath of Khan

How could it be any other. It’s Kirk vs Khan and … it is amazing. The pacing, the cinematography, the actors, the script, the music … everything is top-notch in this movie. So many little threads can be followed, so much good dialog, and the final battle just tops it all off. Couple that with the death of Spock (a scene that still makes me tear up) and you have the best Star Trek movie by a mile and it will take quite the effort by Abrams and company to top it. Live long, and prosper.

There you have it, my completely biased rankings that will ultimately change as time goes on.

Star Wars Movie Rankings

With the news of Disney buying Lucasfilm, I thought it would be a good time to post up my Star Wars Movie Rankings. I’ll go in order from worst to best … and I’m thinking this won’t be too controversial.

6. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

I can’t really get over my disappointment in this movie. There might have been some not-quite-as-dim-as-everything-else spots in the movie, but overall it still feels like a complete and total mess. The only redeeming quality is the fact that we were able to see the Star Wars universe again … but sadly, this was a poor introduction.

5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Slightly better than the last one, mainly held up by Ewan McGregor and a crazy Yoda … but still, the casting really needs some serious help. The name should have been a dead giveaway for what was to come, but the music drags this movie out of the pits. Eh.

4. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I guess you can say that “at least they got better as time went on” … and you would be right, but you are setting the bar EXTREMELY low at the same time. I think that the best musical work of the prequels happened here and it is cool to watch some vestiges of the Original Trilogy make their way into the movie. Also … Yoda.

3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Now, we are finally out-of-order. A fitting conclusion to the Original Trilogy and you get to watch the beloved characters defeat the Emperor and the final redemption of Darth Vader. Sadly, though, Ewoks make a rather awkward protagonist … but the space battle is amazing and the lightsaber is emotional. A HUGE leap forward over the bottom three.

2. Episode IV: A New Hope

Started it all off and a great movie in its own right. So many good lines, so many great introductions and … THE MILLENNIUM FALCON! The Death Star assault is still fun to watch and it sets up the entire universe that is still going on to this day.

1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The very top of the heap, this one was never in doubt. So many great lines (almost everything between Han and Leia), the introduction of Lando, bounty hunters, a broken Millennium Falcon, Bespin Cloud City, etc. … there is too much to name here. The dark, yet hopeful ending is pitch perfect and everything from the music to the pacing to the dialog is well done. It is a great movie by itself.

So that is it. Those are the ratings and they’ve been set-in-stone since the release of Revenge of the Sith. With Episode VII coming out in 2015 (for now), who knows what the future will hold.