Monday, 19 December 2016

Rogue One

This commentary is about Rogue One.

But before I get into that, it needs to be said that I was disappointed with the Force Awakens. I know there are differing views, even legions of people out there who thought Episode VII brought back the spirit of the original trilogy. So let me first express that this is my view, my feeling about how the Star Wars universe has evolved, having been a fan of Star Wars for about 40 years now.

I watched the original trilogy. I read the novels. I watched the prequel trilogy. I read more novels related to the prequel trilogy. I know a lot of materials are non-canonical, but they were the only available source that connected us to the Skywalkers/Solos era and a lot of fans grew up on those. Luke Skywalker grew from farmboy to being the sole Jedi in the galaxy. And then he went on to start a Jedi Academy, and fought off a series of villains. Along the way, Skywalkers and Solo had children, and then there were stories about their children. The galaxy faced and defeated an alien invasion.

Therefore, to start with the new trilogy where the original heroes are just a sad shadow of their former glories is heart breaking. Against Leia's (supposed to be the stronger of the twins) better judgment, she send Solo to his death. Solo, being the survivalist, and against his better judgment, decided to take the chance of being killed by his son. Luke, being totally out of character, the friend-saviour that he is, decided to abandon everything and everyone and go into hiding. There is just no cohesion to who they were. Disney, JJ Abrams, could have done any number of things:

1) reboot with a new cast with reference to their lineage/heritage without showing up the old folks - they could have become glorious footnotes that can be brought back through cutting edge CGI like what Rogue One has done with Grand Moff Tarkin (and to a lesser extent Princess Leia). Instead of 30 years post Return of the Jedi, why not 50 and have a clean slate?

2) Solo could have saved a few planets on his way out ala Bruce Willis' final act of heroism in Armageddon - at least he made that sacrifice knowingly. The way he went out was pathetic.

3) Created a Kylo Ren that is truly a monster. The one we saw on the screen seemed bad ass at the beginning, stopping a bolt of laser, but deteriorated into a tantrum throwing oversized teenager, and in the end, an evil but very beaten villain - I couldn't even remember the character's name few months after watching the movie.

4) There are many dangerous weapons out there in the universe, why must it be another recycled doomsday weapon of epic proportions? Star Wars is supposed to be an old galaxy where technological innovation and invention has plateaued. What's the value of up-scaling the Death Star to a planet? What's the value of sucking energy off a star? That's the danger of JJ Abrams. He does not have original ideas, he just ramps up and makes bigger the original idea to the extent they become disbelievable even in the realm of fiction.  Just look at how Star Trek reboot started. A graduate off Starfleet Academy commanding the Federation's flagship vessel? It's abuse of creative licence.

I'd like Disney and JJ Abrams to explain away these inconsistencies and incoherence. There has been some news how there is a fall out between Lucas and Disney. If it is about the plot and the concept, I stand by him. Lucas was an uninspired story teller in the prequel trilogy, but I think that he focused more on coherence of HIS universe. So I could relate to the prequels even though I didn't like the story telling. And I suppose when the story is then told by someone else, in some other medium, they became successful - like the Clone War tv series. In ignoring the novels that came before it, Disney destroys the whole coherence continuum that so many people have painstakingly adhered to. It is heartless and totally unnecessary. It is also puzzling how Star Wars Rebels introduce Grand Admiral Thrawn, but Timothy Zahn's series is not recognised. Or is it the case that Timothy Zahn's series is recognised, but the rest are not?  If Timothy Zahn's series is recognised, then too must be the twins that Han and Leia had. What happened to them by the time of the Force Awakens? What's the basis of selection then? Or is it that the animations are also not canon?

Star Wars is a culture and Disney is just its paid guardian. It needs to be treated with respect and fans deserve answers to all these questions. I guess I am passionate about this because I used the concept of incrementalism in Star Wars to explain how judges make decisions under common law system during the year when I read jurisprudence many years ago. Without following incrementalism, it is a betrayal of the Star Wars culture.

So in the end, the Force Awakens failed me. Which is where Rogue One came in. It restored my faith a little in the Star Wars grand saga. Say what people may about whether it is even a necessary movie, or why everyone had to die, or that at some parts the music is just jarring, but I loved it. Here are the 3 reasons:

1) Every key character died, as it should be.

2) They finally plugged a gapping "coherence" hole about how after the Empire has invested enormous resources, over a period of more than 20 years, to build a space station (or as it turns out, more than one), that they left it vulnerable to torpedo attack by a single star fighter. It is finally explained that the flaw is there by design, and the weakness isn't because of an uncovered or unshielded exhaust vent, but the reactor itself is vulnerable; thereby providing a brilliant solution to an age old issue.

3) There are not significant flaws which is a big welcome compared with Force Awakens, Phantom Menace, or a New Hope.

Gareth Edwards and Michael Giacchino should helm the other Star Wars movies and JJ Abrams shouldn't be involved anymore.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Best RPG ever

That is, up to 2016. It's called Witcher 3.

By the way, I'm a big fan of pc gaming. But good games are hard to come by. I remember when I started PC gaming, it wasn't counterstrike. It was Lode Runner. 2d, played over a 386 or a 486 as the intel platform was then known - and at that time, it was ms dos, and not even windows. That was more than 30 years back. I didn't experience the first few generations of Optima. My next big experience was Red Alert. Russia invaded the US. It was the first time in my life glued to my pc playing overnight as mini pixelated soldiers and military units fought with tesla coils (electro turrets), chronospheres (teleportation device) and red (invulnerability) curtains. Lode Runner was platform game. Red Alert was RTS. I remain hooked to RTS for a long time leading to in more recent times - Supreme Commander, Homeworld Deserts of Kharack.

On the other hand, my first RPG experience was Knights of the Old Republic where dialogue choices lead to different outcomes. My next big addiction came in Mass Effect trilogy. Between then and now, there're a load of really good first person games including Crysis, Hitman, Deus Ex, Remember Me etc. Didn't really catch my imagination though they have really good graphics. Then I dabbled, and was hooked for a while with Fallout 4. There as a bit of hiatus between Fallout 4 and Witcher, but I finally came about to play the Witcher series. The first one was a bit dated in terms of graphics, and the inventory system was just tiresome. Witcher 2 had a great story, but I didn't like the time sensitive reactionary boxing matches, and I couldn't jump or fall off the ledge even if I wanted to.  Then came Witcher 3.

Here's why I love it.
1) The graphics is excellent - the sunsets make you want to just ride your horse around the countryside without caring about your quest
2) The story line is gripping, even the key side quests
3) Multiple outcomes - the team must have really cracked their heads together considering all the permutations of one side quest finishing before or after another - how that would affect dialogue - and they are cohesive
4) The characters - both NPC and playable characters were all beautiful - we could be talking about a peasant girl or elf right up to the townfolks or the tavern help
5) they must have spent considerable time designing the costumes and weapons because the variety is just mind boggling - just building up a witcher school full gear will take you some time that it is effectively a full storied side quest - but it's worth it
6) the opening music to Witcher 3 was wistful, haunting and in a way majestic at the same time - the music is just lovely
7) every time your quest deals with ghosts or vampires, and you are in a dungeon or cave, you can bet that your hair will stand up - now, try playing this part at 2am in the morning for maximised scare factor
8) there's a subtle reference to Star Wars - some NPC soldiers/guards will pip the tune that sounds like the Star Wars theme. There is light reference to Star Wars in that Witchers are warrior monks, taken away for training at  young. Substitute the Force with magic and mutations, lightsaber with steel/silver swords, and you have a relevant comparison - nothing like this archetype for people to relate to
9) the entire witcher concept makes sense - in the end, the hero has to fight vastly more powerful monsters and enemies - how could be survive, unless he has extraordinary powers  - therein lies the justification of mutation
10) the magic users have a lot more depth - they cast a variety of spells, not just raining meteor from the sky, but teleportation, seeing into the past/future, lighting up a dark place, or closing inter-dimensional portals. Magic towers can be teleported in entirety due to magic based security system. There's handheld device that looks like modern day long distance walkie talkie. All these references to conventional and futuristic technology makes it so relatable
11) the hero does not just brood - he has a wicked sarcasm and humour about him, and has a good way with children and women, even though he is wont not to dabble into politics. He whines to people he knows and who cares for him and he is lazy at times - which sounds like any man worth his salt. The two leading ladies are diverse, yet both in some ways loveable, so much so that it is difficult to choose between them
12) I don't have a problem with the gameplay mechanics at all, except perhaps you can't dump any quest items even though they carry weight
13) For educational value, it is worth playing Witcher 3. Grey moral decisions that require some thinking, very good English (except when they purposely replace words like "thought" with "thunk").

There's only 1 reason I don't like it - I hate that it eventually came to an end and there's no further expansion. And there are some bugs yet to be worked out. For instance, upon finishing a stage to a quest, the next goal may not be correctly prompted - and if you skip that goal, you cannot continue.

For me, Witcher 3 sets the benchmark as to what a story based RPG ought to be. I hope there will be more of the Witcher in the future.  In the meantime, the developer is making an epic modern game called Cyberpunk 2077. Can't wait to play it.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Star Wars VII The Force Awakens: Did Disney Just Condone Patricide?

Before the show, rumour has it that:
1) Ren and Rey are siblings
2) Rey fixed the Milenium Falcon
3) Finn is son of Lando Calrissian
4) Someone will die at the end of the movie

Build up before the movie:
JJ Abrams tried to deflate fan expectation. I felt nervous - what if it's another disappointment like Phantom Menace? 2015 has been such a tumultuous year for Malaysia, for me to some extent, that a really wonderful, hopeful movie would be such a nice way to close off the year. Lucas and Disney did not see eye to eye on what, we don't know. At the end of this analysis, it would be fair to say that Lucas may well be vindicated.

How it turned out - spoiler alert.

Ok, I won't go into the plot. I think it's out in wikipedia. Here, I'm just going to dive into how I felt about the movie from start to end, and especially what bugged me.

It's been a long time, 10 years ago since the last Star Wars movie was made. There is a lot of expectation. It's a wonderfully strange sensation to be watching the words springing up on the screen, this time without 20th Century Fox prelude theme that we have been so used to for the other SW movies.

From then on, the galactic confrontation seems reduced in enormity and gravity. From then on, at certain milestones in the movie, I began to find more and more disturbing things about the movie. Here they are:

1) If Finn has such conscience issue about wiping out entire village, how did he make it past quality control in the First Order? Captain Phasm ordered him to be reevaluated and reorganised. How did he go around finding Poe freely?

2) Kylo Ren could stop a blaster fire in the middle of the air, as if in suspended animation. It makes great visual and story telling. But just like Abram's love to stretch it a bit more, this one falls into that category of not being necessary, and not impressive. And Adam Driver - he's just not evil enough. And praying to Darth Vader - that's just odd. The New Republic would have battled many enemies, the latest the First Order - and the boy has little appreciation of what the dark side could wrought on the galaxy? Didn't his uncle tell him Darth Vader was redeemed in the end? Plot disorder.

3) It is not true, that Rey fixed the Falcon. Some junk dealer on Jakku did. It defies believe that the Falcon is introduced as a comic plot device - that old junk that won't get far. The fastest ship in the galaxy just lying there in the open, not under guard, not under lock and key, for any random scavenger to steal. And yeah, of course for Rey and Finn to steal.

4) How in the galaxy did Han Solo and Chewbacca find the Falcon dead in space? Did they have a tracker on? We're not talking about a Jakku village. We're talking about a big wide galaxy.

5) How did Ren turn to the dark side? Apparently, mom didn't send him to uncle Luke. Really? Seriously? After Lucas through the expanded universe tells us that Luke is building the next Jedi Order, and there's an Academy on Dantooine etc.? And when Ren turned to the dark side Luke just ran away and go into hiding? Yoda and Ben Kenobi went into hiding because the Jedi Order was wiped out and there was nowhere else in the galaxy they could strike the Empire from. Why would Luke go into hiding when there is still the Republic?

6) It is not like Luke to abandon Solo and Leia. He almost died to save them at Bespin City in Empire Strikes Back. His absence from galactic affairs resulted in the apparent destruction of the Republic and the death of Solo.

7) The Republic fleet was apparently wiped out in a single strike from Starkiller Base against Republic capital on Hosnian. Now, was the Starkiller Base really so well hidden? A construction that scarred the face of the planet that is not visible to any Republic surveillance?  Why is the Republic fleet all congregated here? If Starkiller Base is the HQ of the First Order, its defences are pretty crappy.

8) Rey discovered she could manipulate minds, and wield a lightsaber better than Kylo, just based on instinct. Apparently, you don't need training to be a Jedi anymore. She is obviously carved after the character of Jaina Solo, the most powerful Jedi of the Solo clan and one hell of a pilot and engineer.

9)  The map to find Luke - B88 had a part of it. R2D2 was on low power mode as he scoured the galactic internet to find the rest of the map. The two droids put it together in the end. There was no reconfiguration of the map. It was there for people to see in plain sight. Yet remember what some characters say? "We only have this piece - it does not correlate to any known maps that we know". It may be an insignificant plot progression piece, but it shows that having been in post-production for such a long time, they failed to say something at least sensible about this, is disappointing. Especially to the techies, cryptographers etcs who are surely amongst the legions of SW fans.

10) And finally - and this is my ultimate peeve - it may well be called literary licence/business calculation, and there's probably good reason to finally kill off Solo, but there is a sea of difference between who Quigon Jin and Ben Kenobi were to the movie audience before they were killed off in the first movie of each trilogy. Solo is clearly of a different class. He provided the humour that has endeared SW fans for decades. He never did accepted the odds and always came out winning. And this very dark episode of Star Wars introduced something which has never been introduced for real in the SW universe before - Patricide, and especially one which is completely outside the conflict between Jedi/Sith. I find this very disturbing and disappointing. There could have been so many ways for heroes of the past trilogy to go out. The whole Episode 7 could have taken place after all their demise, and you can bring them to live by holocron records etc. Luke and Leia could have appeared as Jedi spirits. If Disney's idea is to kill off our beloved heroes one by one in each episode counting to 9, I think it will be a brutal blow to fan psyche. Rotten Tomatoes rated Episode 7 on a scale of 95% on a review by 200+ reviewers. The numbers will come down once people have digested and realised the travesty done to the original characters. I cannot believe JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy did this to us. It is as if they never learnt how the Next Generation was panned when Rick Berman, Ronald Moore and Brannan Braga killed off James T Kirk. The worst part - he didn't even get a proper burial -  fell into the chasm of Starkiller Base until it imploded into a sun. And it is also to Disney's discredit that Leia and Solo were reduced to the role of a dysfunctional family, not especially when the expanded universe have planted so much hope on what this power couple could do to the galaxy. Why the hell did Solo go back to what he does best when by ROTJ, he already turned into a respectable general? He was reduced to captain a scarvenger ship, and disrespected by other smuggling/pirate groups who told him there's no one else he could swindle in the galaxy. A hero of his stature did not deserve this movie characterisation.

I came out of the movie feeling disappointed and troubled. Never had that feeling before even in Episodes 1-3, because in a way, we expected that the ending will be a sad one - it was always just a question of waiting for Lucas to convincingly enthrall us that Anakin turned to the dark side in the most conflicted way possible. Of course Lucas failed to do that. You train a Jedi for almost 2 decades, and he end up believing in some hyperbole of being able to bring back to life the dead. It was bad then. But this is worse. It makes me not interested in continuing to watch Star Wars Rebels. What's the point? Solo is going to die an unheroic death in the future, and our heroes displayed a collective act of failure in leadership. All of them, including Luke.


To be fair, here are a few (not many) good things:
1) The visuals are alright even though JJ Abrams almost spoilt it with his signature over-the-top action with ridiculous flying of the Falcon. I especially liked the choreograph when Finn was shooting stormtroopers on the ground while Poe was decimating targets both on the ground and in the air in the background over Takodana.
2) B88 is an interesting droid concept
3) The new X-wing is sleeker, looks more menacing
4) Chewbacca gets a more powerful crossbow blaster
5) Finally, there is no single exhaust port that allows a ship and single proton torpedo to blow up the damned battle station, and no huffing and puffing about unrealistic risk assessment - just evacuate!

But that's hardly enough to stem my disappointment. I'm going to sleep over this and hope I feel better tomorrow.

By the way, back to the speculations:

1) Ren and Rey are siblings - status unknown
2) Rey fixed the Milenium Falcon - not true - wish it could have been to do justice to our favourite freighter
3) Finn is son of Lando Calrissian - status unknown
4) Someone will die at the end of the movie - true, which is tragic, and an abuse of literary licence by Disney - maybe I'll start boycotting Disney films too

I said in my facebook that if JJ Abrams screwed up, Lucas may well be redeemed. How true. Well, at least for me.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

To boldly motivate where no motivators have gone before...

Dear reader,

This blogsite started off as a commentary for things quirky, so far, largely on science and science fiction. Along the way, I realise how science and science fiction is very much part of life, and hope. Hope offers motivation, the engine that keeps us going in life. I used to have another website dealing with motivation. I've decided to use this blogsite as the 'go to' blogsite for motivation issues and close down the other site. Let me share the opening letter in my other website:

Are you bored with work, studies or your social life?

Do you feel like waking up in the morning as a chore and you dread going to work or college?

Do you dread doing what you’re doing now, or feel that life is taking a direction you’re not happy with?

Do you feel like your life’s direction ought to change, but you’re not certain how?

If you have these pressing issues, you’ve come to the right place.

Clear Blue Skies

It started off as a profound philosophical question – what do we want out of life? The general answer is surely to maximize a state of well being and happiness, and to reduce the state of discomfort or unhappiness.

Some aspects of happiness are best answered through lessons in fitness and health – eating right, sleeping right, exercising etc.

Others are more subtle – habits and patterns formed through our family and social interactions, the relationship choices we make, our values and personality, or our spiritual choices etc.

Yet perhaps the mother of all questions would appear to be finding oneself and one’s purpose in life. Keeping busy doing what we fundamentally want to do is probably the most satisfying experience one can have.

Discovering personal goal could take years for some. For others, it’s the first thing they find, and become their source of bliss and contentment. It’s the same for love sometimes.

Then, there’s a different question of what you do with your purpose once you find it.

There are many books written on how we go about finding our purpose, and what we do once we find it, but what most people find useful, is a made-to-fit coaching.

This coach listens, analyses, resolves and encourages, and if circumstances call for it, prods, reminds, challenges and cajoles you out of your occasional stupor. It’s not counseling. More like live action.

We’ll have many stimulating conversations, to cultivate into habit the baby steps you’ll take as you develop the skill to find yourself and the courage to develop your personal goal. And what’s unique about this coaching, is that along the way, we’ll have a blast of a time while finding yourself, finding your purpose, and acting on that purpose. We’re not going to be sitting in the office, but we’ll be out there – walking in the park, bush walking, enjoying a cuppa al fresco style, having a sumptuous meal, attending a theater etc.

My personal experience in the past 15 years as a recruiter, trainer and motivator to the law firm in which I am a partner, and our lawyers; and my experience with myriad people whom I’ve had the privilege of coming across in my life and my profession, provides me with a unique perspective of personal goal finding and goal implementation.

My self discovery took a while, and may well be a continuing, refining process. I’ve set out to accomplish some of my goals, and then there are some left unfulfilled. What I will aspire to do for everyone I coach, is that I not only share with you what I already know, but what the continuing process might be like. As much as it is coaching, it is also sharing, and I look forward to learning from you, with the hope that we all stay true to our real purpose in life and make the most happiness out of acting on them.

I can’t be everything to everyone. That’s true not only of leaders, managers, friends, lovers etc., but it’s also true for coaches. Since chemistry matters, my coaching will only work if we have chemistry. If you wish to find out more, we can have a brief conversation. Drop me a line at klclearblueskies@gmail.com

In the meantime, be well, and be safe.

Yours truly,
Hiro

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Super 8

Was it a great movie?

1) It's typical Spielberg fare in recent years, reminiscent of War of the Worlds + ET.

2) The only outstanding character is Elle Fanning, only 13.

3) Typical misguided US military.

4) Starting, leading up to the derailment, was great movie making. It went downhill after that. Ending was plain cheesy. The characters were not instrumental in anything except to tell the alien that he's been through bad times but he can still leave (big deal). And it was so easy for it to leave - makes you wonder why it needed to go through an elaborate process of stealing components to build some subterranean base, and what's his use of those people he captured. And knowing that the cubes build the ship, what were the trucks still doing in town? The plot and the circumstances just don't add up.

5) The only consolation was to watch the zombie movie in the end.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Star Trek, going where no wrong has gone before

It's been a year since Star Trek movie no 11, on the alternative timeline, has been shown, and won the franchise' first academy awards for best make-up. When I first saw it, suspending any expectations, I liked it just that much that I was not motivated to watch it again. A lot of people said they found it enjoyable. Why wouldn't it be? Topless handsome male lead roles, hot Uhura reboot, an Enterprise on steroids that jumps to warp speed like Star Wars ship jumps into hyperspace, phasers that shoot more like pulse guns... I guess you could say the packaging was good, and the fact that you don't disturb the "canon" timeline seems to justify doing whatever it is necessary to reboot the franchise. Yet I felt a disconnect.

Star Trek TNG cast featured movies weren't a particular hit save for First Contact, but after rewatching them, I couldn't help feel a connection. There is consistency in characterisation, in the characters, and most of all, there is continuity. The story telling wasn't great, and the stories could have been grander but for the budgetary constraints, but at least it was a case of right people in the right time being caught in an event doing the right things. Because it is coherent, it ended up potentially boring.

Take Generations. Enterprise D need not have found Dr Soren, it could have been another ship. Could they have stopped him? Who knows? But even if they didn't, it would just have been Dr Soren ending up in the Nexus, with hundreds of millions dead when the Veridian sun explodes. The galaxy would have continued, and Enterprise D would have continued exploring the galaxy.

First Contact was different. Enterprise E was uniquely qualified to be part of the event, because Picard had special knowledge of the Borg. To up the stakes, the Borg planned to assimilate Earth in the past so that Earth will never make contact with the Vulcans, without which there would be no United Federation of Planets posing a threat to their advance. This makes good story telling.

Insurrection was a nice story. But the stakes were not high enough, therefore it didn't make grand space opera. But it was nevertheless consistent with Picard being the philosopher, the Captain that preserves the best traditions of Star Fleet - preventing forced relocation. Perhaps the folks in US and Europe didn't quite like the movie because it reminded them of what Israel stands for.

One pertinent aspect to note, both First Contact and Insurrection was directed by Jonathan Frakes, otherwise better known as Commander Riker, the Number One to Captain Picard. He's a good director.

I'm not certain why Nemesis did badly. Was it because they killed Data? Or because it's another story of Picard in emotional conflict? Was it the absurd idea of a single Romulan Warbird annihilating Earth with Polaron radiation weapon? Or the irritation of using a dune buggy? If Data was not detected when he first went on board the ship, why didn't he scout around to find a weakness, or plant a bomb, or a computer virus, as a tactical advantage as he so eloquently put it? Shinzon didn't look like he's a poker face - why didn't Troi detect his scheming? It would seem like Nemesis is a trap onto itself, full of pitfalls... making it a sad ending for TNG cast featured movies.

But my question is this - does bad story telling make it justifiable for one to abandon the canon timeline to explore an alternative timeline? Couldn't they have fixed TNG movie at 12 or 13? Bring in DS9 or Voyager crew perhaps? What was wrong with finishing Star Trek Enterprise into Season 7, and perhaps bring Enterprise E back to when Jonathan Archer became President of the Federation? Time travel is always fascinating. You just need to find a compelling reason or excuse to do so.

In contrast, yes, Star Trek 11 is enjoyable, but Kirk was not the right person to be at the event. NCC1701 was a new ship. It's Captain and Science Officer would perhaps be outstanding. But of all people, why did Captain Pike make Kirk first officer to Spock when he was called to the Romulan ship? On hindsight, that could have been an impressive command decision, but there is no way in hell StarFleet would have made a StarFleet cadet who is not even an ensign the first officer of any starship, least of all the Enterprise. Yes, I have a bone to pick about this, and it is a very large bone. And also consider all the new faces. Is it possible that in alternate reality, people look different? That must be the first this happens in our science fiction universe.

Question - what if Star Trek 12 flops? Sure, it can be entertaining, but usually, you need to break a few rules of consistency just to do so. Just think Transformers 2. If the Alternative Timeline flops, it's too late to go back to reconnect the dots between Star Trek Enterprise all the way to Voyager. The circle is already broken by this bastard child called the alternate universe.

I didn't like how Star Wars Episodes 1 - 3 were told. I had a wish list. Despite the eventual turn to the dark side for Anakin Skywalker, it could still have preserved some levity of the original trilogy. But at least I appreciated the attempt at consistency, even as I was appalled by the story's gaps. Could you imagine George Lucas realising how the Phantom Menace irked a lot of people, and decided to pull the plug on Episodes 2 and 3, and decide to reboot with an alternative timeline? It would have been unimaginable, and unbearable. Why then are we asked to accept Star Trek's audacity to do so?

Star Trek should have gone where no one has boldly gone before. If the studios were courageous enough to put a new face to old characters, they should have been just as bold to create a totally new set of cast, and throw them another ship, and set them off to an amazing adventure. Star Trek is a universe. It is not the playground of Kirk alone. Look at how Star Wars has expanded the Clone Wars, which is a force onto itself. Or the Old Republic, an actually completely new universe. And look at what they are trying to achieve by bringing to fore the minor characters, so that they become major roles in the live action series, now put off for another few more years due to budgetary constraints.

Star Trek 12 may well be entertaining, but I will always feel a disconnect, because it isn't my reality. As far as I'm concerned, it's gone where no wrong has gone before.

Monday, 7 February 2011

3D - Benefit or Bane?

There seems to be an ongoing argument about the benefits of 3D movies - does it add an immersing visual experience? Or is it one additional gadget moviegoers can do without + some people are just not suited to watch movies with goggles - gives them headache, visuals seem darker etc..?

Frankly, in my view, if a movie is good enough, no 3D experience is going to enhance it greatly. If it is a bad movie, no visual enhancement is going to safe it. I haven't come across a viewing experience where I exclaimed "wow, wait til I see this in 3D". It'll be a different story if it's 3D as in Star Wars hologram (with high resolution and colour)! That way, the value-added viewing experience is you get to see the same scene from any angle that you choose.

Anyway, I have no quarrel with cineplexes showing movies in 3D. My pet peeve is if they stop doing films in 2D and put it all in 3D. That will be the day when the masses will rise against movie-makers and distributors, for crossing the line for greed. Imagine the number of goggles people need to buy/rent. The day will probably never come, because just like Blueray, what's not acceptable to the torrent community will unlikely make it big in main stream.