This new guy really is a Bad Robot

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Space. The Final Frontier.

First it was Star Trek. Now it’s Star Wars. I don’t like where this is going.

You know who I’m talking about, right?  J.J. Abrams?  The wunderkind of movies these days?  In my little world, he’s trashed the Enterprise, and now he’s killed Han Solo.  Is nothing sacred?

OK, I suppose *he* didn’t kill Han.  The story is Harrison Ford wanted the character to die back in the carbonite block, but was talked out of it (read $$$).   But still.  Bad Robot.

First, the Enterprise.  I really like the bridge of the new version starship.  Especially the ’embedded-in-the-window’ viewscreen.  That was a cool idea.  The engine room, and whatever those huge tank things were, is just… not.  Unless the Enterprise is really a TARDIS, there’s just no way all that inside fits the outside.  Huge gaping spaces for our heros to dangle from is just nuts.  That thing-a-ma-jig that Kirk kicks back into alignment? Bad scripting there, plain and simple.  Really poor starship design.  The same engineers that came up with the viewscreen-window couldn’t come up with a better doo-dad for Kirk to fix at the last second? Really?  And those lens flares. Really annoying. Bad Robot.

I just saw Star Wars – The Force Awakens.  Not much force awakening going on there.  A lot of spaceship-blowing-up and what-not, but the force is not strong in this one.  More vast spaces to dangle the hero from, but mostly a re-hash.  We’ve pretty much seen this movie, before we’ve even seen it.  Bad Robot.

Nit-picking.  Did nobody do an after-action assessment when they lost the Death Star?  Nobody noticed the glaring design flaw in the super-weapon?  They basically built the same thing again, only bigger?  And using a star as a power source?  In such a way that you suck up the star itself to power the weapon?  Seems like a lot of money and resources to put into a weapon with a limited shelf-life! The Dark Side seems to have a rather large blind spot. Probably as big as the ego of the latest evil leader.  Bad Empire/First Order.

And haven’t we already seen this plot device?  The weapon is charging/coming into range!  We have only minutes before the rebel base is zapped!  Everyone’s about to die!  But wait! Our heroes blow up the Death Star/Star Killer in the nick of time, saving everyone!  I suppose if he’s going to re-hash old Star Trek movies, J.J. doesn’t worry about doing it in Star Wars, too.  Bad Robot.

I wonder if Mark Hamill is going to be able to pull off his own Obi-Wan in the next movie? Can we believe Luke going full-Yoda on us?  Time will tell.  JJ Abrams won’t be directing it, so maybe we’ll get something more George Lucas-like.  But it’s Disney, now, so maybe not. Especially after George’s crack about them.

This movie didn’t seem to really advance the story much.  I suppose it’s more a hat-tip to the previous films, and to set up the two to follow.  Seems a bit weak to be a top-grossing movie, but it does show the desire of the public to revisit this galaxy.  Disney and company seem determined to give them what they want.  The merchandising for this episode has just been insane.  Even a YouTube light saber gizmo on the control thingy?  Really?  Bad Robot.

The 3D version was pretty neat.  I enjoyed it, and most of the time didn’t realize I was watching a 3D movie.  When you don’t notice the effect, they’re doing it right.  Good Robot.

I went to the last showing on a Sunday night, and had the auditorium to myself.  Just me and the movie.  That’s both cool, and a little creepy at the same time.  Watching the opening crawl and then the closing credits in 3D was strangely mesmerizing.

Overall, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.  Excellent effects, especially in 3D, likable new characters, and the possibility of decent follow-on stories.  Dinged for re-hashed story and plot, no clear emotional buildup on Ben’s part to Han’s death (Ben did not seem conflicted, nor did the murder seem like his climax to completing his journey to the Dark Side), and it’s poor use of R2-D2 and C3PO.

Blogging the night away

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IMG_3978

I should be writing, but that seems to have stopped, so now I’m wasting time with a phone camera and the editing software update that just came to my MacBook Pro.  I think I still need more practice.  With both.  Or maybe all three.

Or maybe I just haven’t had enough Pepsi yet.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Space Station Science Officer joins Trek designer for Leonard Nimoy/Spock tribute

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spock_tribute_ISSGreat tribute image by NASA, ISS science officer Samantha Cristoforetti, and Star Trek designer Michael Okuda. I’ll let slide the Next Generation communicator pin and it’s too-high placement on the tunic, and just enjoy the Enterprise NCC-1701 no bloody A, B, C, OR D! floating outside the window.  I would say the shirt is the wrong shade of blue, but with the recent flap about the color of clothing flying around the Internet these days, I’ll just let it pass.

“… his was the most human”

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Interstellar – a short review. Matthew McConaughey saves the world, but not in a Lincoln

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interstellar-movie-science

It’s a long movie.  I mean, really long.  At 2 hours and 49 minutes, it requires you devote a lot of time and attention to a story line that does not move quickly.  The unfortunate thing with that is there are enough plot holes that are large enough to fly a spaceship through, and the science is murky, at best.  With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

A quick synopsis: Continuing crop failures on Earth predict the collapse of human civilization.  Our only hope?  A secret plan from a NASA in hiding.  Send exploratory missions through a recently discovered, and not natural, wormhole, to another galaxy to find planets capable of supporting human life.  (they might have reasonably called the movie “Intergalactic”, since the new worlds are in some unspecified galaxy, far far away.  I suppose it didn’t test as well as “Interstellar”. Pity.)

The hero of the story is a former NASA engineer-turned-farmer who, after a convoluted story that leads him to the secret NASA facility, must go and find out what happened to the exploratory missions.

Worm holes, black holes, snarky robots, time dilation, relativistic issues, and love all work their way through the story, mostly killing people.  But in the end, our intrepid hero saves the day, saves humanity, and then steals a spaceship to join the woman he didn’t realize he loved on a desolate planet in another galaxy.

If you can ignore the glaring science fails, like a space station in Saturn’s orbit that is way too small for a 1g environment as shown, and too far away from the Earth to be as big as it is, and the seemingly random use of relativistic time issues while ignoring them elsewhere, to list just two, and focus instead on the story, then you’ll enjoy “Interstellar”.

Unless you’re really a sci-fi geek, however, I’d recommend waiting until it’s on DVD, Blu-Ray, or a streaming service to watch it.  That way you can take a break or two, and not feel like you’re a prisoner of doomsday.

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine.

Three and a half stars (or galaxies?).

Monday: Geek attire arrives

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Arrived in today’s mail.  Science doesn’t care. Reality is what is real, not what we want to be real.

Beefcake, interstellar

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Eta Carinae and the Expanding Homunculus Nebula (2014 Dec 02)

Eta Carinae and the Expanding Homunculus Nebula, 7,500 to 8,000 light years from Earth.  NASA

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