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The Dark Knight Rises

Exciting to watch, frustrating to think about
This is a good movie. It has decent action, some well-developed character arcs and a few frightfully effective scenes. However, because of its pedigree (the director, budget, actors and predecessor), I expected more.

I wanted a brave thought-provoking finale that would have turned Nolan's Batman trilogy into an all-time masterpiece, on par with Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies. A lot of over-excited cool-aid drinkers think he pulled it off too, but I think, over time, the film's problems will become more and more apparent and eventually overshadow the initial positive reaction, the way it happened with The Episode One.

Problems such as:


I'm not a big fan of batman character and superhero comics in general, but even I think the middle part, with Bruce out of the picture, was too long. This was a proper story arc for the first movie, not the ending of a trilogy.


The movie tries to introduce both Catwoman (never called as such) and Robin. It definitely needed Robin, as Batman's successor, but Catwoman? Her arc was well executed, sure, but it didn't really tie into any of the major themes of the movie and trilogy, making it ultimately pointless.

This 45 minutes would have been better spent putting some more 'meat' on the whole 'Gotham under siege' situation, which brings us to...


Batman and Gordon say Gotham is saved thanks to their lie. Bane says Gotham is a cesspool of corruption and that 99% is silently stirring with resentment. Bane takes over the city and gives it to the masses. What do they do? Revolution? Resistance? In between? Was Bane right? Was Batman right?

We just don't know. Other than a few contrived kangaroo court scenes (which seems to be under control of Bane's fanatics), we never really see how the ordinary people experienced the crisis. Think back to The Dark Knight and the two boats scene. This movie needed scenes like that. But whether because of political hot-potatitis or PG rating or simple lack of screen-time, we only see a few vague training-montage-like snapshots of what should have been the meat of the story.

And of course, this also brings into question...


Bane makes his move and brings down both Batman and Gotham City in one fell scoop. Brilliant! He takes Batman to his super prison, shows him a TV and gloats how he's going to torture Gotham before Batman's eyes. "You have't seen anything yet", he crows.

YES! Can't wait to see the rest of his plan! Will he turn the poor against the rich? Neighbor against neighbor? Will he trick one strata of the falling society to take out another, like Joker did with criminals in The Dark Knight's opening? Will he spread his madness to the society at large? The USA? The world?

.... or will he simply sit on his ass and wait for the bomb to explode, taking both him, his protégé and the last remnants of the secret society he claims to champion? WHAT!? Come on, what kind of nonsense is this? He didn't torture Batman. He didn't torture Gotham. He didn't seem to have a plan at all.

If he actually did something with the city he took over, he might have given more meat to another aspect that sorely needed more time, which is...


Robin starts a perspective pro order cop. In the 2nd act, he starts losing faith in the system he is sworn to protect. In the big finale, he casts off the chains of ineffective government bureaucracy and steps in to take Batman's place as Gotham's reigning vigilante.

At least that was the plan. The problem is, we don't ever see the reasons behind his decision. Was cops blowing the bridge to prevent Bane from killing the entire city such an unreasonable decision, to push this law & order guy into vigilantism? Even though I knew they were grooming him for Batman's replacement/sidekick, it came as a real surprise for me when he threw his badge away.

Even worse, the cops in this movie aren't ineffective. They are the ones who take down Bane's army and stop the bomb from exploding. Batman is mostly just flying his little high-tech chopper around, which anyone could do (very over-used plot device, BTW). The cops here are the heroes! And Robin is somehow disillusioned by them? How? Why? This is another place where the minutes taken from Catwoman's pointless arc could have come in handy.

Of course, all this might not have mattered, as some of the movie's major problems lie outside Nolan's jurisdiction, the largest one of them being…


Batman was conceived a long time ago, when punching up obvious square- faces criminals and throwing them into jail seemed like a proper way for a vigilante to deal with crime. Nolan is aware how naïve this idea is. In his realistic take on Batman, he's constantly trying to appease this comic book background with modern reality. At times, he event succeeds.

And then, he has thousands of cops charge machine-gun-wielding paramilitaries with basically nightsticks. There's a rousing music and the good guys eventually win, of course, but in my mind, the whole time, I was like "Bullshit". It just doesn't work.

Nolan had stretched it too far and the thin line of believability has snapped. Even his major villain resolutions demonstrate the bankruptcy of Batman's ideas: both Bane and the girl are taken out by HE rockets, not handcuffs and the due process of the law.

Welcome to the 21st century, Batman fans. Take off your shoes and produce your biometric IDs in an orderly fashion.

Overall, a good film. Just not all it could have been.

Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean you aren't right
I'll admit I came into this movie with a pretty bad attitude. Many reviewers labeled it as Serb propaganda, and knowing how awful we are at it (noted by the filmmakers themselves :-)), I was expecting a lot of nationalistic chest-beating and bitter anti-west propaganda.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The movie was most harshly critical of foreign powers (US and Germany), while treating the sides directly involved for what they truly were - bumbling idiots, too blinded by dreams of nationalistic fairylands to see they are being led around by higher interests.

Factually, the documentary seems pretty solid. Statistical facts came from reputable sources (Hague, Red Cross, etc...). Testimonies were represented by people involved in the conflict, but not directly affiliated with any side (British, Americans etc). The director's surname sounds vaguely Serbian, but it could have easily been Bosnian or Croat. Either way, most of the facts are presented by talking heads and hard data, so the only way he could have influenced the message was through choice of themes and editing.

And... that he did. I agree with detractors that the bias of presented data is heavily pro Serbian. On the other hand, this documentary was clearly intended as a response to what the author sees as heavy anti- Serb bias of the official reports. It never tries to deny Serb war crimes, including Srebrenica, it just doesn't dwell on them. The author simply assumes the viewer is already familiar with the anti-Serb stuff and is instead interested in hearing the opposing point of view.

There were, however, a few WTF moments. Like the time they (desperately) tried to tie Osama Bin Laden with Bosnian Muslims. Nonsense. Sure, there's a recent upsurge of fundamentalism, but in general, Bosnians (and Albanians) are (or were) pretty mellow Muslims. Foreigners never understand that religion around here is tied more closely to national identity than any holy book or a fundamentalist cause.

Oh, and the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in 1999 was handled a bit too lightly. A few drunken idiots shooting up houses wouldn't have sent hundreds of thousands of Albanians fleeing out of Kosovo. The documentary doesn't exactly say, but it does heavily imply that there wasn't official ethnic cleansing policy during the bombing, which IMO is wrong.

Other than, the film is a pretty solid presentation of the 'other side' and, in my admittedly biased opinion, a much closer stab at the truth then the official version. If you're somewhat familiar with the Balkan situation, this documentary is pretty good food for thought. If not, you should probably try familiarizing yourself with the party-line first, as this film presents only the other side of the story. And it does it good.


Movie that tries much and fails at everything
I had high hopes from this movie. If someone knows how to make an exploitative quasi-B movie gore-fest, it's Rodriguez. It started good, too. The first scene and opening credits were exactly what was needed to put me in the right mood. And then, the rest of the movie happened.

Roughly speaking, there are three types of scenes that are mashed together into this film - politics, sex and action.

1. Politics

I'm not really invested in the whole immigration issue (not an American), but even to me it was obvious Rodriguez chose to present his view with all the objectiveness and finesse of a bulldozer. OK, so not every movie has to pussyfoot down the middle lane and try not to offend anyone, I get that. The problem is, even from the pure propaganda standpoint, Rodriguez did a terrible job of turning me against American immigration policy!

Not a single Mexican character in this film came out overly sympathetic or righteous. Instead of showing me why the deportation of illegal immigrants is wrong (waste of effort, breaking up families etc), the film takes its assortment of morally gray Mexican criminals and pits them against cartoonishly evil Americans, hoping they might look better in contrast. The ending was particularly distressing, what with every day laborer in town receiving a signal from this underground organization, taking a gun and rising in a bloody revolution against the locals. If I was a Texan, I'd definitely start keeping a closer eye on old Pedro in the backyard and call my Congressman about that border fence they were promising to build.

Good job, Rodriguez, you really made your point.

2. Sex

So, here's this middle-aged, scared, barely speaking, scary looking Mexican guy, wooing literally every female he stumbles across. A cop who's supposed to arrest him for the admitted attempted murder, an underground leader whose organization he had just compromised, a rich girl and her mother who think he's a day laborer... it matters not to MACHETE, within minutes each one is putty in his hands. He usually doesn't even have to open his mouth, one look of his soulless murderer eyes is enough to completely break their defenses.

"Relax, it's not supposed to make sense, it's just an exploitation movie, man!", positive reviewers would say, I gather.

Only, it's not. Not really. An exploitation movie is just that, exploitation of a theme through action and sex. It doesn't try to have a point or a political agenda. This one does.

Here's the thing. You can't have me all invested into immigrant plight at one moment, and then jump straight into instant-seduction in next. When are you joking and when not? What parts am I to take seriously? Is this happening in real world or a cartoon?

I've read a lot of rave reviews about an 'exploitation flick with a brain' and stuff like that. For me, it's the exact opposite. Instead of complimenting one another, the two parts clash, leaving only a mess behind.

3) Action

OK, so the plot and the message are a little shaky, but we've all seen that fantastic trailer in Grindhouse. You have a huge Mexican dude chopping guys to pieces in creative ways, hot chicks with big guns, minigun bikes and Steven Seagul with a katana. How can you go wrong with that?

You'd think you can't, but Rodriguez somehow managed to screw up action even worse than in Planet Terror. Whether it's editing, choreography or directing (probably all of the above), action sequence in this movie just don't work.

Danny Trejo is especially problematic. He may look tough, but seeing him lumber through fight scenes, it's obvious he has neither the physique nor charisma to sell himself as a big action hero. It's only through copious editing that he manages not to get shot (standard trick of him just appearing where he needs to be to chop guys down).

But even if he were the new Schwarzenegger, it wouldn't improve the overall impression. Bad choreography and the complete lack of fluidity and realism would still kill any momentum an occasional neat move might generate.

The funny thing is, this realization sort of creeps up on you, so by the time you realize that what you're watching is just BAD, it's too late to shut it down (or walk out). Instead of upping the ante as the plot rolls by, leading up to an explosive finale, Rodriguez somehow managed to do the exact opposite. The best action 'Machete' has is in its opening sequence. The tempo and quality gradually drop throughout the movie, to reach the rock bottom in the end.

The less said about the ending, the better. All the worst action and political 'messages' (calls to lynch, more accurately) are crammed in those awful 5 minutes. I fast forwarded through some of it, but what I saw was enough to cement my opinion of 'Machete'.

Bad politics, bad acting and bad action don't make a movie worthy of such a high score on IMDb (7.4 at the time of writing this). A few juicy gore shots (that you probably saw in trailers anyway) and the solid first 30-45 minutes barely raise 'Machete' up to 4 stars on my scale.

La habitación de Fermat

A thinking man's Saw
A group of mathematicians is invited to a mysterious meeting where they are to discuss high-level math with their secretive host. The whole thing turns out to be a trap and now they are forced to solve riddles while brainstorming who's trying to kill them AND trying to find a way out.

In short, it's a thinking man's Saw. Instead of pain-tolerance and the will to survive, character's wits and cool heads are tested. Instead of horror and gratuitous gore, we have a much more coherent story and nicely-done tension building. Don't let the first half an hour fool you. The mystery is much deeper than at first seems and extremely well presented and paced. You won't be disappointed by the ending, as is often the case with movies such as this.

The only problem for me were the characters. None of them was sympathetic enough for me to really connect with and root for. I was more intrigued by the plot and puzzles, than worried about any of their fates. I suppose that's the price many mystery movies must pay to keep the audience guessing, but it does take its toll on the tension-filled-death-trap aspect of this one.

Overall, this is an excellent film. High recommendation for fans of tense thrillers and closed room mysteries. And if you liked the storyline and tension in 'Saw', but averted your eyes during the torture scenes, this is an absolute must.

On the Beach

Just too unbelievable
I know this movie comes highly recommended, but I just found it too unbelievable to fully enjoy it.

Nuclear fallout doesn't act at all as depicted in this film. There'd be no cloud of 'radiation' (as if it's a physical thing) slowly creeping over the globe and 'eating up' everything that lives. And even if there were, underground shelters should be able to keep at least some people alive, even if this 'cloud' sticks around for centuries (not likely).

However, much greater transgression than goofy science is characterization and behavior of everyone involved. Even if we imagine no one ever thought to stack up supplies or set up some hydroponics in the basement, the fact is that normal people wouldn't be as rational and accepting of their imminent death as characters in this film. Survival instinct is one of the strongest forces in any living thing, and yet it's the one thing everyone here appears to be devoid of. Maybe I'm just more cynical than the authors or a product of a different time, but it seems to me the last few months of human civilization would be a chaos of skyrocketing crime, drug-filled parties, crazy religious cults and death-seeking thrills, most likely resulting in a complete breakdown of society.

I see the author was aiming for a sentimental and yet uplifting message, but that's just not the way human mind works.

But hey, if you have abnormal faith in humanity or equally abnormal capacity to suspend belief, you'll probably like this more than I did.

Taxi 3

Good bits lost inside a bad movie
The best thing I can say about this movie is that it made me laugh. Some of the jokes and scenes were easily on level with the first two movies. Add to that healthy chemistry between the two leads and you get all the ingredients needed for a good buddy-cop movie.

Unfortunately, Besson simply fails to string these bits and pieces into a coherent whole. Bad guys are the repeat from the second part, only without kung-fu and cool cars (pretty stupid decision for a movie targeting car enthusiast), and their plans and actions are complete nonsense. The whole plot seems to be there just as an excuse to throw in a bunch of obvious self-references, lame cameos (Sylvester Stalone as a secret agent?) and extreme sport mix-tapes (Besson's latest fetish, it seems).

Action scenes are the final nail on the coffin. The Taxi series never had really spectacular car chases (the closest they came was the Paris scene in Taxi II), but they at least HAD some chases. Here, it's all bikes, monster-trucks, roller-skates and skis. Daniel's taxi performs several stunts and grows a few more SF accessories, but it doesn't really have much to work with, given the opposing arsenal.

Overall, the movie has some funny bits (even more if you speak French), but the rest of it was pretty disappointing.

Inglourious Basterds

Solid movie, but only a D on Tarantino's scale
After fantastic Kill Bill, expectations from Tarantino's next movie were naturally high and the wacky experiment called Death Proof did little to shake them. Inglorious Bastards are finally here (on DVD) and my impressions are mixed.

The plot is a typical Tarantinian affair - it's laboriously long, filled with all kinds of wacky comic-book characters and seemingly so complicated that it had to be separated into 'acts'. Yet, in its core, the story behind it is surprisingly simple and one-linear.

Here it is: the entire Nazi high command will gather in a Parisian cinema to watch the premiere of Goering's new propaganda movie. Two factions are planning to blow up the cinema and all the big shots in it - a group of allied commandos (the Bastards) with the help of a German movie star turned traitor and a secretly Jewish girl who owns the cinema.

Thus, in the course of this movie, we are introduced with the characters, we are shown the circumstances under which the girl gets to host the event, then we see a failed attempt of the Bastards to meet their contact and finally, the big night, where both plot threads converge. That's pretty much it for the plot. Not exactly mind-blowing stuff.

Of course, most Tarantino's films have generally simplistic plots, it's the details where they shine. And this is IMO, where the biggest downfall of this movie lies.

In a nutshell, the problem is that the film takes place in Europe. During the forties.

Remember all those super-interesting slang-filled conversations and pop culture references? You know, the ones that made even the non-driving parts of Death Proof kinda sorta fun? Well, imagine all the conversations being about silent films and pop stars that had died decades before you were born. And spoken mostly in German and French. Unless you're a European retro-art fan, you'll spend about 2 hours out of 2:30 squinting at subtitles and sighing under your breath.

Even worse is how thematically dull all these speech scenes are. More than 90% of them involve the good guys forced into an interaction with the bad guys (usually this one creepy SS officer nicknamed 'the Jew Hunter'), where they desperately struggle to keep the charade going. What does the German know? Is he on to us? Uhh, the tension! Whew, he's leaving. No wait, he's back. etc... rinse and repeat 5 or 6 times, over about 70% of the movie time.

Neither of these two problems would be much of an issue on their own. It's Tarantino, for gods sake, great convos is what he does the best. However, combined, they do tend to dull the interest, especially during the second part of the movie.

The action and gore scenes are excellently produced (easily on level with Kill Bill), but they do little to shake things up as there's so little of them. Actually, now that I think about it, the film doesn't have even ONE REAL HONEST ACTION SCENE. All the shooting is either mutually destructive or one-sided, while the gore is inflicted mostly on helpless victims. A real shame, considering how good those few bits we've seen are.

That said, the characters, the back-stories and all the little touches and details are pure Tarantino, which is to say, they're excellent! Brad Pitt did kind of crappy job, but everyone else were very good, especially the aforementioned creepy nazi.

The best thing is the ending (and here we go neck deep into the SPOILER territory). Remember all those WWII movies where the good guys make all these plans to kill Hitler and stop the war, but you sort of know they'll somehow screw up in the end? Well forget about that crap here. Inglorious Bastards ends up wading heavily into the alternate universe territory, with a cathartic release of lead, fire and all sorts of other deadly things into Hitler and his pals. Pretty sweet ending and something we've seen too rarely (or never?) in WWII movies.

Overall, not the worst Tarantino's effort, but nowhere near the best.


SF thriller tackles a burning controversial topic... that's neither burning, nor controversial
Surrogates are sort of robots through which, according to this film, people in near future (10 years from now) will conduct most of their lives. You can immediately see the problem with this - this just isn't very believable.

Aside the issue of wholly functional android being developed within a decade, I just don't see why would anyone want to live their life by controlling a prettied up robotic version of themselves from their bed AND doing everything they would normally do as humans - drag themselves up in the morning, go to work, stew during rush-hour etc... I mean, I'd understand if you could order the robot to do your chores, or even just have a copy-surrogate at work, school etc... so you don't have to travel every day. But no, the best the folk in this film can come up with is sort of escapism from their ugly, unwashed selves.

The script-writers should have really read on this little thing called the Internet, that serves pretty much the same purpose today. Or at least browsed through David Brin's "Kiln People" novel, that tackles this same subject, only much much better. Oh well, this isn't the first modern movie that tries to pretend these are still the 70-ies, only with cellphones.

Aside from the idea, the movie is pretty much standard SF-thriller ride, not too dissimilar from I-Robot, for example. Bruce Willis does a solid job, although his character is too unremarkable for his part to really stick in my mind. There are a few nice action scenes, which serve as little more than trailer-filler, since they do absolutely nothing to move the plot forward.

Even if we disregard the shaky premise, the fact remains the movie did little to discuss the central issue of the film (whether surrogates are healthy for humanity) and instead concentrated more on the thrills and the mystery. Overall, a decent effort, but don't expect much.

The Taking of Pelham 123

Forced action scenes and nonsense script ruin what could have been a good thriller
WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS! This film started out good, but it soon became clear that the director (Tony Scott) and the source material had a bit of a falling out somewhere along the way.

The story was obviously meant to be a sort of a low-key thriller, where most of the action takes place on a psychological level, in the interaction between the hostage taker (Travolta) and a hapless train operator (Washington) who happened to be on the shift when the takeover took place. And at times, it is exactly that. The scenes where Travolta forces a confession out of Washington and offers hostages in exchange for the mayor (the Soprano guy) were great. This is where the movie shines, where it's the way it was meant to be.

However, Scott apparently thought this tension-filled psychological mind-game would be too high-brow for the average consumer. So he decided he must do everything in his power to make the sucker more EXTREME, you know, the way modern kids like it. And how in the would would a prolific Hollywood director like Tony Scott make a bunch of tension-filled conversations more exciting?

You've guessed it. This is yet another modern movie suffering from the infamous shaky camera syndrome. If you enjoy your POV flying loopdeloops around the room, shaky closeups of character faces and stop-motion intermezzos (and all that during an average dialog scene), you're in for a treat. A direction style normally reserved for action scenes was used to effectively detract the viewers' attention (and source of their tension) from the events inside the plot to the director outside it.

Scott obviously knew this, which is why he made sure the little action this movie has (and NEEDS) is as EXTREME as humanly possible. Thus, a simple matter of transporting two bags from point A to point B is turned into an idiotic and completely needles car chase, that destroys more property than there's money inside the bags. Then, there are Travolta's nameless henchmen, who are apparently there solely to die gruesome bloody (and EXTREME) deaths. And finally, there's the main bad guy himself, who isn't content to simply head-shot his helpless victims but must empty his entire clip into their jerking bodies, while droplets of blood and guts spray over the screaming hostages. EXTREME!

Really, if Tony Scott wanted to make an action movie, why he didn't just order an action script? It's not like he's some rookie who must film whatever is given to him.

Speaking of the script, forced action is hardly the only thing wrong with it. Throughout the movie, police snipers have hostage-takers in their sights and can end the crises in the moment they are ordered to shoot. But for some reason, no one gives the order, nor is anyone apparently in charge of giving it (where is the police captain coordinating the hostage negotiations and SWAT shooters)? What government would rather pay millions than try a rescue operation if there's even the slightest chance of success? And where's the FBI and SEALs taking over and icing Travolta in a minute?

On the other hand, why bother at all? Very soon, the police finds out identities and faces of everyone involved in the heist. With traffic cameras on every street corner and other assets of the 21st century law enforcement, the criminals are screwed, whether they escape the train or not. Doesn't Travolta know that? After becoming a YouTube legend, how long would it take someone to recognize his face and twitter him over to the police (LOL ITS THE SBWAY DUDE !1!!)?

Considering all this, you'd think the bad guys must have a really good reason for engaging in such a risky enterprise. And really, throughout the movie, Travolta makes it a point to portray his character as a desperate man living on the edge, staking his life in an all-or-nothing game against the might of the city that had let him down. Only later, we learn his entire scheme-within-the-scheme depended on him investing $2 million from an earlier robbery, so he could make hundred times as much on the market, when... wait, what!? He'd rather risk his life, kill a bunch of innocent people and spend the rest of his life in hiding, than retire with *just* two million!? That burning urge that drove him through his crazy scheme wasn't idealism or revenge or even the simple desire to get rich, but the desire to get even RICHER!? He must be the craziest, greediest, most idiotic millionaire on Earth. And a douche bag to boot.

These baffling inconsistencies in the plot make much more sense when we take in account this is a remake of a movie originally published in the early 70-ies. Back then, they didn't have the Internet, cameras and Nazis in charge of airports. The bad guy actually had a chance of getting away with his ingenious plan. The least script rewriters could have done was give Travolta and his men masks, or some other way of concealing their identities.

On the other hand, watching a pair of eyes talking into a radio for 90 minutes would have hardly made for an exciting film, so I guess I can see why they decided to sacrifice believability for the sake of character interaction. Now if only Scott would slow down the camera enough so we could actually see that interaction...

So, was there anything good about this movie? Surprisingly Travolta's acting. All the Scientology stuff aside, you can see why he was once considered an A-class star. Great job. Washington was very good too, you can really tell the panic taking a hold of his character when Travolta forces him to confess. As I mentioned earlier, radio dialogs between the two of them were truly the highlight of this movie.

Too bad the rest of it was sacrificed on the altar of blockbuster popcorn fun.

Star Trek

Mindless summer blockbuster disguised as Star Trek
I'm not a "Trekkie". I never watched the original Star Trek series, New Generation, Voyager and that last series, whatsitsname. I saw several episodes of that space station thing and wasn't very impressed. I also saw all the Star Trek movies, and found them ranging mostly between above and below average.

So while I'm obviously not a Star Trek fan material, I always had sort of weak spot towards the whole concept behind the franchise. Rosy, idealistic future, science-worship induced optimism and cerebral atmosphere were so much different than anything else on TV or big screen, like a little part of the 60-ies that somehow just wouldn't die.

Well, it's sure dead now.

A franchise reboot is only as good as the part of the franchise it manages to revive. Which makes this movie a very, VERY bad reboot. And not much better film either.

I won't dwell much on scientific inaccuracies, plot holes, unmotivated characters and forced action scenes that perforate the script into a giant incoherent mess; you can read about them in all the other 2- star reviews on this site. For me, the biggest letdown of this movie lies in the very idea behind it - trying to make an intense, hip, COOL action film out of a material that was never meant to be intense, hip or cool, let alone action.

Apparently, the producers' idea to revive Star Trek was to keep only the outermost shell of what constitutes this franchise (basically, uniforms, character names and starship models) and replace everything else with a grotesque combination of a Jason Bourne-esquire shaky-camera action and Han Solo mentality. In the process, Star Trek ceased to resemble itself. Clean-shaven well-mannered space cadets from the 22nd century communistic utopia suddenly started backstabbing each-other over rank (including stranding a rival crew-member on an icy planet), performing parachuting stunts through hundreds of kilometers of outer space and going alone into shootouts against an entire crew of a death-star-esquire spaceship. If the CGI department changed the ship models and pasted on different uniforms over the characters, the producers could have easily sold this as "Star Wars 7" and no one would have noticed the difference.

Of course, some would say, what's wrong with that? Who doesn't like Star Wars? Well, I like Star Wars plenty enough, but I like Star Trek too. Just because one seems to be more popular at the moment, doesn't mean we should just throw away the other one. Even if the pendulum of general public interest never swung back towards the more cerebral overtones of the classical Star Trek, there would have always been fans willing to keep the fire going; maybe with switching to lower-budget series and films, or even just comics and novels, but Star Trek franchise would have kept its place in history.

By turning it into a pale imitation of Star Wars, the producers had sold that place for a one-time profit of a summer blockbuster. It's their right, sure, but it sucks for the rest of us.

OK, so why did I give this 6, instead of 1 or 2 stars, like other critics? Well, even through all its rampart stupidity and missed potential, the movie was sort of fun in an empty-headed blockbuster sort of way. The actors did a splendid job of recreating old characters in their own way and CGI scenes were at times truly beautiful (especially during the no-sound scenes of outer space).

If you've never seen a 'real' Star Trek, are a Star Wars fan or just want some light-headed action-sf goodness, you'll probably enjoy this movie very much and subsequently contribute to its overinflated rating. Cheers.

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