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Star Trek: Nemesis

Watch it for the SFX.
And then use the DVD as a Frisbee, or microwave it or something. this is, without a question, the absolute second-worst Star Trek movie ever made. Only Insurrection was more utterly cringe-inducing than this movie.

If you're looking for something positive to say about this film then the special effects and space combat shots are nothing short of awesome, the space battles are exciting and well paced, and you get to see massive damage being inflicted. But lets face it, you expect movies to look great these days don't you? Especially CG space battles, where the computing demands for good looking shots are relatively light compared to scenes with organic forms.

The script is an attempt to recreate the greatness of Wrath of Khan, an attempt that falls flat on its face. None of the regular characters give performances that are bad as such, but I don't imagine any of them will be putting this stuff too near the front of their acting portfolios. it seems most of the scenes where any real character development ended up on the cutting room floor, probably due to the total contempt the director obviously has for the Trek franchise and characters.

In the end this movie is totally predictable and derivative and it's tragic that this and Insurrection is how most younger fans are going to remember Trek movies. The only way you could salvage this movie would be to cut the effects shots out and edit them into The Wrath of Khan instead.


Visually stunning but badly flawed
There is no denying that Appleseed is a striking film to look at with its use of cel-shaded 3D characters, but I had expected a lot more from this movie and was disappointed.

First the imagery, while stunning, had a lot of problems. For me, the biggest problem with it was that while the characters were cel-shaded, the backgrounds has a pseudo-photo-realistic look and so the characters really felt out of place. I would have felt happier with the look of this film if the backgrounds were more in keeping with what you would expect from animated features, ie, hand-drawn backgrounds.

Another problem with the imagery showed up during action scenes. At first I couldn't put my finger on it but eventually I realised that there was no motion blur. The result was fast-moving action was extremely jarring and disorienting to watch. Even a limited amount of motion blue here would have helped greatly.

However, for me the biggest failing was in the execution of the story. Exposition was handled extremely sloppily in my opinion, with vast amounts of information being reeled off in a couple of scenes that threw off the pacing of the whole movie and were just plain boring to watch. I think the story might have flowed better if the same information was given to us in smaller chunks distributed more evenly throughout the film. The fact that the plot relied heavily on things that sounded like unbelievable pseudo-scientific hand-waving didn't help matters much either.

All in all, I'd say go see it for the remarkable CG work, but don't build up expectations of this being a great movie, because it isn't. I couldn't recommend that you buy the DVD of this either, because the bonus material is all in Japanese with only subtitles. An English soundtrack would have made all the difference here.


How this movie has a score of nearly 6 out of 10I will never fathom.

Bruice Willis is an oil worker who thinks shooting at anyone who comes within 100 miles of his daughter is acceptable behaviour. He and his band of equally dysfunctional coworkers are called upon by NASA to SAVE THE WORLD! from an ENORMOUS METEOR! that threatens the existence of all life on Earth, and ONLY America CAN SAVE MANKIND! They plan to land a crew on the asteroid and drill a hole in it, then drop a nuke down the hole and blow the asteroid clean in half, which each piece heading off at an angle that means it will miss the Earth. Once again, NUKES SAVE MANKIND!

I'd sooner stare directly at the sun through a telescope for a few hours than watch this piece of trash again, it would certainly be less painful. The acting was diabolical, the special effects hideously overblown and the science was just plain wrong. Bruce Willis should stick to wearing vests and saving the world from megalomaniacs, it's what he does best.

The Office

Just One Calorie, Not Funny Enough
The original Office was the surprise hit of 2001, when it hit BBC 2 it was the only thing anyone was talking about for months to follow. It was hysterically funny and brilliantly conceived.

When I heard there was going to be a remake, I thought I'd better give it a look, because the original run had deliberately been kept short and I definitely did want to see more.

As they say, Always leave them wanting more.

This version has all the same gags as the original Office, but they've been watered down. One of the funniest aspects of the characters of David Brent, Gareth Kenan et al was their political incorrectness, especially David who didn't even realise what a bigot he was being. It seems that somebody has decided that it needed to be toned down for the American remake, and toned down it was. Most of the jokes have lost much of their impact.

The same thing goes for the swearing. The language of the original was extremely blue, as the workplace depicted in the show was massively male-dominated, and as anyone who knows who has happened to work in such an environment will know, manners just seem to completely evaporate in such an environment. Again, this has been toned and again this has hurt the show.

There was new material here but I didn't think it was all that funny.

But the biggest disappointment is that the actors sound like actors. The original sounded like a real documentary because of the style used, with the actors stumbling over their lines and uming and erring a lot as people in real life tend to do. The remake just seems too real.

There is still some good humour here, but it feels like it's been diluted and watered down, like the same amount of material has been made to stretch over more episodes. It's like Caffeine-free The Office.

Jake 2.0

Lame lame lame
Jake 2.0 is the story of some low-level IT grunt who, due to a freak accident, is exposed to experimental nanobots that boost his physical attributes. They make him stronger and faster, gift him with better eyesight and hearing, give him the ability to interface with computers and apparently also boost his whineyness at least 300%.

This show is clearly aimed at geeks, and there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but unfortunately the technobabble that the writers try to scatter liberally through the scripts is used so ineptly that any self-respecting geek will be laughing hysterically within 3 seconds flat. This show patronizes its target audience big time.

For example, in one episode a bank is robbed electronically. Jakes' agency take down the perpetrator but when they get there they find he's formatting his hard drive. Jake does his nanobot thing to abort the format but, 1) the format is already about 95% complete when he aborts it - Most of the data on the drive would already be erased, 2) A good computer forensics expert can retrieve data from a hard drive, whether the owner formatted it or not, and 3) pulling the power cord would have had pretty much the same effect, making the nanobot crap completely redundant.

The utter whineyness of the hero is another big point against this show, I can't watch for more than 5 minutes before the urge to slap him senseless becomes overwhelming.

It was apparently cancelled, and I'm not in the least bit surprised.

Die Another Day

The first action hero rides again
Times have changed a lot since Dr. No. Movies contain a lot more sex, violence and explosions. Yet somehow, the old Sean Connery Bond movies still keep you coming back with their wit, charm and the fact that they never take themselves too seriously.

But with the fiercest competition ever seen in it's 40 year run it was inevitable that Bond had to change somewhat to keep being a box-office draw. When it's up against The Matrix, the new Star Wars movies and other effects-heavy films it was obvious right from the get go that this Bond film needed as much eye candy crammed in there as possible.

Of course, we all want the good old stuff that Bond has always delivered. Guns, fast cars, fast women, big explosions, gadgets and those dreadful, awful, mind-wrenchingly bad puns that we've all come to know and love.

There is a lotto recommend Die Another Day. We get a rare glimpse under the surface of Bond's character, (SPOILER) we get to see he isn't invincible afterall when he is captured and spends 14 months in a Korean prison, his only escape coming when he is traded for a particularally nasty Korean agent in a hostage exchange. (SPOILER) We get to see an unexpected change in the relationship between Bond and M after his release, when you can feel some real contempt from Bond for M's and his government's actions surrounding his capture and eventual release. These are interesting new directions for the Bond franchise. Another unexpected new direction for a Bond film is a villan you can almost find yourself rooting for and that you really believe might be in with half a chance against Bond afterall. He's charismatic, fearless and like Bond will do whatever it takes to win. They even played around a little with the titles, making them part of the narrative, something we've not seen in a Bond film before.

All the old favorites are there too. The silly overambitious plot for world domination involving a space laser (though in this case the actual particulars of said plan are rather too close to Diamonds Are Forever for my taste, I'm sure they could have found an original twist to the story here), the banter between Bond and the new Q, played by John Cleese. He actually makes a very good Q, though Desmond Llewelyn will always be remembered for making that particular role his own and will be sadly missed. The unfeasable car chase with rockets and guns and, thank God, an Aston Martin. Bond in a German car? PAH! He shouldn't drive anything that's not made in England.

All in all, a very entertaining film with a new harder edge to it, and something of a return to form for the series after the very average The World Is Not Enough.

However, there are bad points. As mentioned before, the space laser is way too close to the weapon from Diamonds Are Forever for my liking. And I really feel that time compression, while it can be a powerful tool if used judiciously and sparingly, looks like just an overused gimmock if it is not, and this film suffered quite badly from Matrixitus in places, especially during the otherwise very grand carchase. I give it 7 out of 10, would have been 8.5 but I needed to knock some off for the needless and overused time compression tricks.

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