Tag Archives: George Takei

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) Review

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
William Shatner as James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
Persis Khambatta as Ilia
Stephen Collins as Willard Decker
Director: Robert Wise

The Federation calls on Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the Starship Enterprise to contain an immense nimbused object that’s on a crash course with Earth. After investigating, the crew discovers that the alien cloud harbors artificial intelligence with an ominous primary directive. Crisis strikes when a probe dispatched by the energy cloud attacks the crew, abducting navigator Lt. Ilia (Persis Khambatta). An android look-alike containing her memories shows up soon after.

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Star Trek had been going on for a while, with the original television show starting in 1966. Over a decade later, in 1979, Star Trek took its first attempt at a live action movie… unfortunately it really didn’t go all that great. While it had some pretty visuals for its time, it doesn’t have much else to offer.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is 2 hours and 12 minutes long and it definitely felt it. The movie really feels like a lot of padding, everything took too long with countless sequences of just nothing happening, focussing on ships going places. For instance, Kirk and Scotty, from the moment they first see the ship, it takes at least 4 minutes for them to actually arrive on it, and nothing really happens within this 4 minutes. And there are at least a couple more of these 3 to 4 minute long unending sequences of ships going in a certain direction and absolutely nothing happening. Without these drawn out sequences, the movie must’ve been more like 1 hour and 30 minutes long. The story itself isn’t handled all that great either. There are aspects that definitely had potential but the end result is actually quite boring and uninteresting. By the time the plot actually really kicks in and things actually start happening, it’s way too late for us to care.

Something I noticed about the actors in the original Star Trek movies is that the quality of their performances usually depends on the level of the quality of the movie, mostly due to the writing of the characters. For example, William Shatner’s Captain Kirk makes a lot of bad decisions and really doesn’t give you a sense that he’s any good at being a captain (at least in this movie). Early in the movie, Kirk takes command of a ship which he is completely unexperienced with commanding over someone who was much more experienced, things didn’t go so great, especially when his actions led to the deaths of 2 people. There is also some forced romantic subplot between the characters played by. Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins that we don’t really care about. I guess on the whole the acting was fine enough but not enough to really add anything to the overall movie.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture does have some impressive visuals for the late 70s, however they don’t really hold up today. It honestly feels like the effects overshadowed the rest of the movie. As I said earlier, there is way too many drawn out sequences focussed on ships and nothing ultimately happening. It’s like they tried to make a Star Trek movie like 2001: A Spacey Odyssey and it really didn’t fit at all.

For the first live action film version of Star Trek, this movie really was a disappointment. There’s honestly not a lot to say about Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it kind of looks good, you don’t care about the rest of it and it’s way too slow and drawn out. If you are an old school Star Trek fan you may like it. It’s not the worst thing ever, but it isn’t by any means even close to being one of Star Trek’s high points in terms of films.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Review

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Art Parkinson as Kubo
Charlize Theron as Monkey
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle
Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King
Rooney Mara as the Sisters
George Takei as Hosato
Director: Travis Knight

Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

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This is a movie that interested me ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the voice acting cast with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes involved. Also this film is made by Laika Entertainment, a stopmotion animation studio who’s made quite a few animated movies. Admittedly before this movie the only other film by Laika that I’ve seen was The Box Trolls, which I liked quite a bit. But I know that they are generally well liked with films like Coraline. After seeing Kubo and The Two Strings, I have to say that this is not only my favourite animated movie of the year so far, it is also one of my favourite movies of the whole year. Everything from the story to the animation is so well done. I hope we get more animated films like these.

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I found myself invested in the story from start to finish. All things considered, this film is darker and more mature than most animated movies, both in regards to visuals and some of the things that happen during the story. The film is also willing to slow down for some great character and story moments. This is something that I wished more animated films did, be more willing to be a little more different and challenging for children. I do think that children will enjoy Kubo (even if the film might be a little too scary or slow for them) but adults will enjoy it much more.

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The characters for the most part were also written well and were quite memorable. Kubo was a likable and relatable protagonist. The show stealers for me though, were Monkey (Charlize Theron), Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). I guess if we are talking about weak links in regards to characters, it’s the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), the main villain of the film. He’s not written badly but he doesn’t have enough screentime and felt a little weak. He’s fine overall though. I thought the other villain(s), The Sisters (Rooney Mara), Kubo’s aunts who are sent after Kubo were much more effective and memorable, they were also showstealers in the film and I loved watching them when they were on screen.

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If you know Laika, you know that they use a lot of stopmotion animation. I don’t know how it compares to most of their other films as I’ve only seen The Box Trolls but I thought the animation for this movie was absolutely fantastic. This movie is beautiful from start to finish, the environment and locations were great, they really blended CGI and practical work well. The costume designs and actually the designs for everything was fantastic. It’s a very well designed movie overall.

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Kubo and the Two Strings is absolutely fantastic and is one of the best films of the year. From the beautiful animation, to the well written and memorable characters (which is helped by the brilliant voice actors) to a great story, this movie was great at pretty much every level. It also goes further than most children’s animated films, both tonally and structurally. Go out and see this movie as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.