Wednesday, August 31, 2016
--Drew and Blair probably got back to the camp via bus but how did they figure out that Amy was actually a murderer and not just possessed by a demon?
--So all the parents came and picked up their children but didn't bother to ask why their children were dropped off in a blood soaked van by two campers instead of licensed driver? Or, you know, why camp ended early?
--All the child acting in this show was pretty bad but nothing beats Anton turning around and telling Drew and Blair in a flat, monotone voice, "Go back..."
--"It's going to be me and you forever." Cricket and Blair really did have a special friendship. I'm sorry we didn't see more of it.
--Blotter's head swinging from a tether pole. That was a sight.
--So much for any kind of answers about Deb! I've heard rumors that should there be a second season, the show will become more of an anthology and move back to the 70s to visit Deb's stay at Camp Stillwater.
--RIP Garret and Alex. Oh, and Amy, I guess.
--Well, barring any movie reviews, that's it for the summer! The next time we talk, dear readers, we'll be staring down another 22 episodes of Once Upon a Time. See you then.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
--This was easily the best episode of the season and certainly the best since Drew's centric. Does this episode make up for the blah nature of those that came before? Not really, but it's a step in the right direction.
--RIP Deb? But I'm guessing we haven't seen the last of her yet. And I bet there's more to our camp leader than meets the eye.
--Really wonderful (and wonderfully cheesy) special effects with the bloody rain.
--Garrett's Latin needs some work.
--So do Drew and Blair play any part at all in the actual story or were they just there as part of some diversity quota?
--Final death predictions? I suspect one more camper will die (Alex) and I think Amy will bite the dust, both her dark soul and the demon Malphas going down to the watery depths of Camp Stillwater to wait for another opportunity to rise. Jessie and Garrett will marry, move on to the camp property and keep a watchful eye for anyone who might awake the demon.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
--So no one ever taught the counselors and kids of Camp Stillwater to not stare into an eclipse?
--The eclipse apparently made Deb remember a bunch of stuff from her time at Camp Stillwater in the 1970s. Anyone wanna place some money on Deb being a member of the masked group but better at hiding it?
--"What they know for sure is..." "...that Stillwater sucks at vetting cops?" Drew needs more to do.
--Seriously, where was Blair this entire episode? And why did Cricket choose to appear to Jessie of all people?
--Sympathy for Jessie doesn't erase the fact that she was a stuck up bitch for the first 7 episodes or so.
--Malphas is an actual figure in demonology. The writers did research (or at least looked at Wikipedia!)
--So is Joel really dead? The show was pretty explicit when Cricket died. Also, should we talk about how out of the three counselors to have died thus far, two were people of color?
--"But I don't want to be saved" Sorry, Amy. But that's not how this narrative works.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
--Amy, after she dressed herself in a traditional white gown, cut her arm to allow her blood to flow into the bottomless lake. It bled so much that it trickled out into a stream deep enough to wade in. And she neither died nor passed out and was able to scream in her increasingly irritating voice. This is not how the human body works.
--Blair and Drew were the only good thing about this episode and the show, to give credit where it's due, is actually trying to explore the complexities of relationships that have many hurdles to over come, both personally and culturally.
--Actual line of dialogue: "I heard your call and I am ready." This was said while a guy blew into a ram's horn that had been bathed in tongue blood.
--"You want to bring violent criminals into a camp? With kids?" Oh saints be praised, someone remembered that there are little kids at this camp and maybe we need to get them off the property! But no, they'll be fine. The color wars start today!
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
--Possessed Amy is 100% more interesting than Normal Amy.
--Why is Amy the Doorway? Why is she so important? Again, we've got 4 episodes to go and still need to see episodes centered on Blair and Jessie and perhaps Garret so I suspect answers might not be forthcoming anytime soon.
--The Ouija Board scene was actually well shot, if slightly cheesy in that quaint 1980s way.
--To contact spirits on the other side, you need ginger and chicken blood. Check!
--Who is in the mask helping out the bad guys? It's obviously a camper but which one? My guess in on Possessed Amy. We've already seem that she has a connection to the Lake Demon and loses time while under its influence.
--Keith really did walk backwards into a massive cloud of smoke/smog. There are quaint 1980s visuals and then there are cringe worthy ones.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
--Why does the Tall Man want Amy to die? I don't really know but it could have something to do with her needing to read a manual to roast a marshmallow.
--It is interesting that neither Amy nor Deb seem to remember their romantic encounters from the night before, though I suspect Deb is faking and Amy's confusion is genuine.
--So there are bear traps in the woods but these campers have been running around, in the dark, since day one and Cricket is the first to fall victim to it? Also, parents are letting their kids go to a summer camp that has bear traps cleverly hidden in the woods?
--"Have fun pitching Deb's tent." Ew.
--Garrett finds a ring in the cabin with the initials JS and instantly deduces that the ring had to belong to his father and was there because his father was investigating the mystery of Camp Stillwater. Sure, Garrett. Whatever gets you through the day.
--God bless those ugly 80s prom dresses. Oof.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Can you get lost in space? I suppose, in a literal sense, yes of course you can. You find yourself on the wrong end of a magnetized polar variation and bam, you're stuck in the Delta Quadrant for seven years (no offense Captain Janeway). But what Star Trek: Beyond wants to tackle is whether a person's identity can get lost in the vastness and sameness of space; whether it's possible that the day to day living aboard a vessel can leave people questioning their own purpose and general direction in life and whether the solution is a new tactic or the same shtick ad nauseum. In other words, when things begin to feel a bit episodic (pun intended), what keeps us, and the fearless crew of the Enterprise, going at warp speed toward the next horizon? Those types of questions are explored in Star Trek: Beyond. There is a throughline in the movie that should the crew of the Enterprise break up, the individuals of the ship would cease to be the people they need to be. Uhura tells the main antagonist that there is strength in unity and the film goes to many great lengths, via both intense action sequences of everyone working together and quiet musings, to demonstrate that the team, the crew, and the sum total are greater than the parts. But what happens if individuals were to carefully remove themselves from the equation? Take away the linchpins and slowly people lose themselves. Kirk contemplates taking a Vice Admiral position; Spock wonders if he should aid in the re-population of New Vulcan. As fans of the Original Series, and just Star Trek generally, we know, of course, that Kirk and Spock (and Bones, Sulu, Checkov, Scotty, and Uhura) all belong with each other aboard their beloved Enterprise. We know that in another timeline Kirk did achieve the Admiral status and gave it up because his true love, passion, and reason for being is Captaining the Enterprise. In another life, Spock left Vulcan (twice!) to be with his friends. However, the crew members themselves are not privy to the same history that we have; they are living it, making the history we already love. They have to figure out for themselves that there is beauty in the episodic, a sort of mundane glory in wearing the same shirt day after day and recording the same sort of stories time after time; that while chaos gets the blood thrumming and the heart racing, it's the day to day adventures, twists, turns, and sometimes negotiations gone horribly wrong that are their first and best destiny. With that in mind, it's easy to see how Star Trek: Beyond is a coy wink and a nudge from the writers to the fans. This "episode" might be on a much grander and more blockbuster scale, but the script and plot could have come, broadly, from any individual episode of Star Trek (take your pick for series; they all have episodic one-offs). While the crew of the Original Series Enterprise never engaged in this many space battles, the crew landing on some far off planet and dealing with someone who's own ideas stand opposed to the Federation, but is dealt with by Kirk and company, feels all too familiar. The broad strokes of the story could have played on a smaller screen and been a perfectly fine episode and that's what we're dealing with here. The writers want us to love the episodic, to embrace the formula that their Star Trek series is going to stick to. Just like Kirk accepts the glorious mundane, so too we accept and love the comfort of the known. It may not be fresh, innovative, or groundbreaking, but it will feel like the Star Trek you watched as a kid. Even with the many space battles and inexplicable lens flairs.
--If this movie did one thing exceptionally well, it was mixing up the normal pairings of crew members to allow those not often seen together a chance to play off each other. The heart of the franchise will always be the incomparable trio, but too often the other crew members are sacrificed for the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and Bones--and quite often even my dear Bones gets the short stick. The movie took a chance by having Kirk working with other people and keeping Bones and Spock together for a change. It worked! One of my favorite episodes from the Original Series is "Bread and Circuses" in which Spock and Bones have some time apart from Jim and you really see that while they might be wholly different in terms of philosophy, they still care for each other a great deal and would die for one another if they had to.
--"You gave your girlfriend a tracking device?"
"...that was not my intent."
--The moment when Spock opens up Spock Prime's belongings and finds a picture of the Original Crew tore my insides up and it was all I could do not to cry in the theater. It keeps with the throughline of being your best self with others but it was also a very nice acknowledgement of the past history.
--Modern day science fiction has a nasty habit of thinking that it needs big battle sequences in order to be classified as Science Fiction. Nothing could be further from the truth and if you go back and watch many episodes of Star Trek (again, any series) you'll see that big battles in space are few and far between. Star Trek is more philosophical and introspective than constant torpedoes. While I understand that a big summer blockbuster is going to have at least one action sequence, having more than 4 in a two hour movie wears on the eyes, the ears, and patience.
--Props to Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the movie, for putting the humor back into Star Trek. There have always been witty exchanges among the Star Trek crew; in the last film that felt decidedly lacking.
--I think the film writers want me to be impressed with the Jaylah character but while she's a "tough female character" she's also in the mold of what men think a tough female character should be. In other words, they give them hallmark male characteristics--fighter, handy, intrepid, tough--and expect us to applaud their feminism. While women are certainly all those things, feminism isn't about taking male characteristics and simply putting a vagina on them. It's about who controls the female's agency--her or a man. Jaylah might be a pretty tough fighter and she certainly plays a part in the grand plan to get off of Krall's planet, but she's heavily reliant on the male Starfleet officers to progress her story off the planet and, in the end, into the academy. Cool makeup, though.
--Some nice canon touchstones like reference to the Xindi wars and Jim Kirk not wanting to celebrate his birthday (but Bones really should have presented him with some Romulan ale and Spock gifted him a copy of A Tale of Two Cities).
--I honestly have no idea why this movie is called "Beyond."
--For the next Star Trek film, should there be one, I'd like more exploration before the problem falls into Kirk's lap. One of the best things about the franchise is the creative imagination that spawns brand new worlds, new races, and let's us traverse a new landscape. Going along with this, please stop destroying the Enterprise. It doesn't have the same emotional impact as when Kirk blew it up in "Search for Spock" because unlike that ship, this rebooted one doesn't feel like one of the main characters. The original ship, in all its NCC-1701 glory, was "a lady. You treat her right, and she'll always bring you home."
Final Ratings for Star Trek: Beyond: B
It's very much a summer blockbuster but because the story feels more like a classic episode of a most beloved franchise, it evens out all the very tedious fight scenes and dull villain. It's still Star Trek, after all, and that will always mean something.