REVIEW: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ & A Message To Star Trek Fans: Get Over Yourselves, You’re Not That Important

stidThis summer director J.J. Abrams takes “Star Trek Into Darkness” as the young officers of The U.S.S. Enterprise set course for their most epic journey yet. Abrams reunites with the team that created the fun, the humor, and the spirit of 2009’s acclaimed hit reboot of the beloved franchise. On this second voyage, they’ve amped the action, raised the emotional stakes and launched the Enterprise into a high-wire, life-or-death game of chess with an unstoppable force of destruction. With everything the men and women of The Enterprise believe on the line, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn and sacrifices must be made for the only family Captain Kirk has left: the crew he commands.

It begins with a homecoming, as The Enterprise returns to earth in the wake of a controversial galactic incident, its brash Captain still itching to head back into the stars on a longer mission of peace and exploration. But all is not well on the Blue Planet. A devastating act of terror has exposed an alarming reality: Starfleet is being attacked from within and the fall-out will leave the entire world in crisis. Captain Kirk leads the Enterprise on a mission like no other spanning from the Klingon homeworld to the San Francisco Bay.  Aboard The Enterprise the enemy among them has a shocking talent for destruction. Kirk will lead them into a shadowy mirror-realm of doubts where they’ve never gone before – navigating the razor-thin lines between friends and enemies, revenge and justice, all-out war and the infinite potential of a united future. – Paramount


Our Score: 92/100

A Very Non-Plussed (Perhaps, Terrified) Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Myself, 2008

A Very Non-Plussed (Perhaps, Terrified) Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Myself, 2008

I have to be honest, as much of a fan of Star Trek that I am (to the point where I have a room in my house dedicated to my fandom, I paid for a lifetime membership to Star Trek: Online before it was free-to-play and I have gone to Star Trek Conventions every year since 2003), after the first installment from J.J. Abrams of the rebooted franchise, I wasn’t really expecting that much from Star Trek Into Darkness.  Don’t get me wrong, the first film was a lot of fun and it was certainly great to see the franchise being given the big-budget treatment it deserves and has been lacking and it was also great to see Trek introduced to a whole new generation who overwhelmingly embraced the 2009 film (to the tune of almost $400 million worldwide).  When I reviewed the first film, however, my biggest complaints were that Abrams was playing it safe (other than the gratuitous and unnecessary destruction of Vulcan) and basically delivering us a cookie-cutter summer blockbuster that was really shiny but lacked substance with its plot and had holes big enough to drive a truck through.

Four years later, although I stand by that assessment, I’ve realized that upon reflection, there were a lot of things about the first movie (that I generously gave a 7.5/10 when I reviewed it) that didn’t sit well with me and mostly because it appeared that though Abrams and his go-to-team of Damon Lindelhof, Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci and Bryan Burk (who are all admittedly passionate fans) had an appreciation and reverence for the franchise as a pop-culture icon, they didn’t seem to have any interest in keeping the core principles and concepts of the franchise intact.  Granted, Star Trek was created for television and television shows never translate well to feature film (see: Star Trek: Insurrection which is basically a two-hour episode of the Star Trek: The Next Generation with a $58 million budget) and the price of making a successful Trek film is that you have to sacrifice a lot of what the franchise is about to capture the imagination of the audience.

Yes, That Is Indeed Tom Hardy and He Pretends That Star Trek: Nemesis Didn't Happen, EIther.

Yes, That Is Indeed Tom Hardy and He Pretends That Star Trek: Nemesis Didn’t Happen, Either.

That being said, just looking back at the first nine films (as far as I’m concerned Star Trek: Nemesis never happened), even though they lacked a lot of the more cerebral elements and social commentary that the franchise is known for, they still had the sense of adventure and exploration that are certainly hallmarks in their own right.  This wasn’t the case with Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) and all indications were that this new film was going to be more of the same and although I expected it was going to be big and loud (and mind you, I do love big and loud), it wasn’t going to have much in the way of substance or plot.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, and old-school Trek fans who hate the Abramsverse are going to hate this review and me by the end of it.

STID begins with a fantastic opening action sequence a la the Mission Impossible films with Kirk (Chris Pine) and McCoy (Karl Urban) being chased by a bunch of less-than-friendly natives who are obviously part of a primitive aboriginal society.  In the background, there’s a pissed-off volcano that’s ready to blow.  Through all of the madness we discover that Kirk and McCoy (who were in robes to hide their identities) are frantically trying to avoid contact with this alien culture in order to not violate the Prime Directive. For those who aren’t Trek fans, the Prime Directive is the most sacred law in Starfleet. General Order One prohibits, among other things, interference with the natural development and evolution of less-developed cultures.  So, while all this is going on there’s a little bit of exposition and they explain why they are trying to avoid the native folks and why it’s so important.  As a Trek fan, I sat there, cautiously optimistic and thinking,”OK… this is a good start.  They’ve incorporated the Prime Directive and they are more-or-less accurately explaining it.”

Then the other shoe drops…

Kirk and McCoy manage to make it back to the Enterprise by jumping off of a cliff into the water and swimming to her.  Y’see, they hid the Enterprise underwater.  Now, unlike the other butt-hurt fans out there who have been bitching about this scene for the last six months or so, I don’t really have a problem with that because other than an episode of Star Trek: Voyager (30 Days) where they had to send a shuttle into a planet that was basically a big ball of water floating in space because Voyager couldn’t handle the pressure of the water at a significant depth, there has never been anything mentioned in the franchise that said it was impossible for a starship to be submerged underwater (seriously, it can travel exponentially beyond the speed of light through the pressures of the vacuum of space but the damned thing can’t survive in a few feet of water?).  No, what I had a problem with was what came next and we find out what the true purpose of their mission was: to go into the volcano and put a device in there that will render the volcano inert, thereby saving the lives of the primitive culture.

Stop. Right. There.

kirk ruleJust when I was thinking that they had FINALLY gotten the essence of Trek right (open with a scene exploring a planet, inclusion of the Prime Directive), they have Spock (Zachary Quinto) intentionally violating the Prime Directive… which they had just said they were trying to adhere to no matter what the cost.  This really caught my attention because the dilemma of allowing a culture to go extinct in order to follow the Prime Directive’s position of the natural development of said culture has come up on more than one occasion on Trek and it’s been dealt with in a variety of ways.  The difference between how the issue has been dealt with before and this time, however, is that in the past they at least acknowledged the conflict with the Prime Directive, sometimes followed the Prime Directive despite the ethical conflict and sometimes just said, “F*ck it… we’re violating the Prime Directive.” Kirk, McCoy and Spock in this film, on the other hand, are yapping incessantly about how important the Prime Directive is in these sequences when the concern is about being seen… and then they don’t even acknowledge that they are violating it by saving these people to begin with.

What the holy f*ck was that?  At this point, I started looking at my clock on my phone and wondered how much longer I was going to have to sit through this nonsense… and then it happened; the most important scene of the film (that most people probably didn’t realize was the most important scene) and how I knew STID was vastly superior to its predecessor.

After the scene was over and Kirk again violates the Prime Directive by flying the Enterprise out of the water in order to save Spock from inside of the volcano in the nick of time (thereby exposing the big freaking spaceship to the guys in loin-cloths with spears… whoops!) they go back to Earth and Spock is mad because Kirk violated the Prime Directive to save him and Kirk is annoyed because Spock doesn’t seem to understand that saving his friends is far more important to him than that pesky Prime Directive. They both get called into Admiral Pike’s (Bruce Greenwood) office and he dresses both of them down for the violation of the Prime Directive (and the fact that Kirk lied in his Captain’s Log about the incident… again… whoops!).  Pike explains (basically to the audience) that their mission was ONLY to observe and report.  Kirk objects asking if he was supposed to let those people die and Pike tells him, “Yes!” which is exactly what he should have told him. So now, as Pike explains, there are consequences.  Kirk gets his command of the Enterprise taken away and is ordered to go back to Starfleet Academy to finish his coursework (remember, they give him a field commission at the end of the first film in his third year).

So, not only did the film redeem itself by addressing the morally questionable side of the Prime Directive, it also addressed the issue of consequences for following a moral code that is sometimes in contradiction with your orders.  This sets the tone for the entire film. Classic Kirk, classic Trek.  Bravo, and it’s about flippin’ time.

Section 31: Starfleet's Very-Own Men in Black.

Section 31: Starfleet’s Very-Own Men in Black.

It only gets better from there, with a storyline full of moral conflicts, wonderful references to fan-favorite aspects of the franchise spanning everything from the Klingon homeworld (although, it’s Qo’noS not  Kronos, you dopes) to model ships of the NX-01 Enterprise (Star Trek: Enterprise), the Phoenix (Star Trek: First Contact), The XCV-330 (an Original Matt Jefferies design for use in a Gene Roddenberry project that never happened in the 1970s ) and the NX-Alpha (from the ENT episode First Flight) as set pieces and of course an epic adventure spanning across the stars (you’ll recall that the space adventure of the last film was fly to Vulcan, watch it blow up, maroon Kirk on Hoth to get eaten by a vagina monster and then they go back to Earth).  But the best fan-favorite inclusion in this film and perhaps of any Trek film ever is the active role of Section 31, the rogue, technically non-existent, clandestine shadow organization operating within Starfleet Intelligence first seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that is determined to protect the the Federation regardless of the costs, how many laws it breaks or how many people it kills. It’s one of the darkest and most unseemly aspects in the Trek Universe and it’s in complete contradiction with all of the values and principles of the Federation and Starfleet… which is exactly why we love it.

old school scottyOne of the great things about this film from the perspective of a Trek fan that wasn’t really present during the first go-around is that these actors, although bringing their own unique style and personalities to these classic characters, really feel like their beloved original counterparts from the original series and the original feature films. Chris Pine is a young James Kirk, Zachary Quinto is a young Spock, Karl Urban… well it is quite possible that Karl Urban is actively channeling the spirit of DeForest Kelley and he may have been doing so since he learned the role was available and lobbied for it. He’s even more McCoy-like in this film (as if it was possible) than he was in the last one.  With the exception of Urban, this “becoming the character” didn’t happen in the last film.  Yes, Chris Pine may have been called James T. Kirk, but I really didn’t feel that he was Kirk.  This positive development of the characters was present for the entire ensemble cast.  Zoe Saldana is very convincing as the self-assured and passionate Uhura, Anton Yelchin plays the part of the brilliant, albeit young and self-conscious Pavel Chekov with aplomb and Simon Pegg nails Montgomery Scott (Scotty) as well as James Doohan did, bringing a sense of comic relief while at the same time applying his brilliant engineering skills to prove to be the miracle worker he is known for being. And yes, I know that’s blasphemy to even suggest.

As far as villains go, this time around we are given two of them but in true Trek-fashion, they are very complicated, shades-of-gray adversaries… again, as opposed to the very one-dimensional, bent-on-revenge Nero (Eric Bana) from the first film. Peter Weller makes his mark on the franchise again (he also appeared as the main villain, John Frederick Paxton in the ENT penultimate two-parter Demons and Terra Prime, arguably, the two best episodes of the series) by playing the dedicated but ruthless Admiral Marcus whose goals are slowly revealed to the audience.  Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) plays the mysterious and elusive Starfleet Officer John Harrison who is responsible for a horrific terrorist attack and finds an unlikely ally with Kirk and crew until his true identity is ultimately revealed as is the danger he presents.

Icrying spocks the film perfect? Please, it’s a summer blockbuster and a Trek film… how could it possibly be perfect?  Even if you’re not a Trek fan, you have to laugh at some of the absurdity when it comes to the science in the film.  I was hoping to forget about Scotty’s magical transporter that can “beam” people across the galaxy and even onto starships traveling at high warp speed, but of course they had to use that dopey piece of tech again in ST:ID. I’m just wondering: has it occurred to anyone that a transporter capable of doing this would make starships completely unnecessary, and thus, make Starfleet pointless? And I seriously could do with a whole lot less of Spock crying.  Spock is only allowed to cry when he is under the influence of a space virus that makes him drunk.  He is not allowed to cry simply because he is sad.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Harrison O'Halloran)

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Harrison O’Halloran)

If you are a Trek fan like myself, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments that induce serious eyeball-rolling where they just absolutely rape the original source material with their references to the original series and films (these moments are VERY integral to the film and not casual) and to be quite honest it seems  intentional.  It’s kind of a big “F*CK YOU” to the old-school Trek fans who are critical of the Abramsverse and hate it for the sake of hating it.  On the other hand, looking at these references from the perspective of objectivity, the truth is that no one except for the most dedicated fan would know any different (they dipped their toe in the water in the first film with this approach with the Kobayashi Maru scene but it wasn’t very effective because there was no context). The real purpose of these references, however, which we grant completely violate the established storyline (because… y’know… the franchise has NEVER contradicted itself over the past 46-plus years) is to make a very strong statement to the fandom about where these new adventures fit within the franchise.  You’re right, this is not the Star Trek that you remember but it is indeed Star Trek and we are firmly establishing ourselves within the franchise by taking the spirit, theme, characters and even the established plotlines and re-envisioning them all for a contemporary audience while staying true to the original principles of the franchise… and you’d better get used to it because the fact of the matter is that your kids like our new Star Trek far more than your old Star Trek.

batman-lens-flareThe bottom-line, though, is that as much as the old guard fandom complains about nonsense like the overuse of the “lens flare” effect technique (it’s been four f*cking years… sing another tune, already), the Anheuser Busch brewery used as the engineering set (which no one would have even known about to complain about if the producers hadn’t made such a big deal about it during the last film), the design of the Enterprise herself, experimentation on Tribbles, the ship in the water, the obnoxiously oversized U.S.S. Vengeance and of course all of the other goofiness that does rear its head in the film that I spoke about, none of these issues detract in any meaningful way from the quality of the film and its “Trekness,” as it were. This film is so well-done that I’ve even come to accept the biggest blasphemy of the first film, the destruction of Vulcan, which is something that I never thought I would accept.  To make matters worse for the anti-Abramsverse Trek fan, audiences love these films and by the end of the summer, these first two Trek films by Abrams will mostly likely have grossed more globally than the previous ten films combined… which brings me to the portion of the show where I address the fanbase directly.

As noted by the four year campaign of hate against the Abramsverse films, some corners of Star Trek fandom continue to be under the impression that hundreds of millions of dollars should be spent to make the Star Trek movie that coincides with THEIR vision of what the franchise should be about. This makes me giggle to no end because not only has that never been the case in the films (following the formula of Crisis/Introduction of Villain, Action, Resolution, Roll Credits), but it was also never the case for the television franchise.

picard wtfAt the height of the franchise’s popularity, Star Trek: The Next Generation was getting 14 million viewers per week; guess what percentage were actually “fans,” i.e., those viewers who followed the franchise religiously and spent money on the merchandising…

It was 2%… and do you know why? Because the franchise on television, like ALL television shows that’s not on a niche network wasn’t and isn’t made for niche science fiction audiences or even the Star Trek fans. It’s made for the general 18 – 49 demographic with the purpose of getting as many of those viewers watching from week-to-week as possible because that’s what advertisers pay the big bucks for.

Advertisers do not give two-shits about 2% of the viewing audience, they care about the other 98% and how many of them fall into that coveted demographic. Ergo, Paramount/CBS Television or whoever is producing the shows don’t give two-shits about the fans, either. What they care about is producing a show that makes them as much money as possible from advertisers and that means that the primary goal in production is to have as much mass-appeal as possible.

star-trek-warsIt is no different for the Abramsverse films or the ten films that came before them. We as Trek fans seriously need to get the f*ck over ourselves and understand the reality of the situation: Star Trek is not only not specifically made for us, but the fact is that it’s made for everyone else BUT us, regardless of the visual medium.  Hell, the first film (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 1979) was produced as a response to the success of Star Wars and its mass-appeal, not because Paramount thought to themselves,  “We have to bring this franchise back because a cult fanbase is clamoring for it.”  They weren’t looking to get Trek fans into the theater, they were looking to get EVERYONE into the theater… just like Star Wars did.

And not for nothing, but Trek fans should be worshipping the ground that Abrams walks on because he was the only one with any clout in Hollywood who saw any value left in what was a completely dead franchise after the disasters of both ENT and ST: NEM.

And why were they such disasters? Because producer and Roddenberry heir apparent to the franchise, Rick Berman, was so obsessed with this nostalgic notion of remaining true to Roddenberry’s vision to the exclusion of all else that he allowed the franchise to be stuck perpetually in 1990 well into the new millennium. The 18 – 49 demographic evolved generationally and their tastes changed while Trek stood still.  No offense is intended toward Berman (who many fans do hate) who is responsible for many great things in the franchise but the facts are the facts.

ron moore bsgDon’t want to believe it? Just look up some interviews with Ronald D. Moore (former writer/producer on TNG, DS9 and VOY and creator of the Battlestar Galactica reboot) as to why he was so frustrated on TNG and VOY and why he ultimately left VOY.  He talks about it at length with Rod Roddenberry (Gene Roddenberry’s son) on the Trek Nation documentary but if you really want to get some insight, just listen to the audio commentary on the Battlestar Galactica DVD/Blu-ray sets.

Moore recognized how stale and repetitive the franchise had become by the mid-1990s and understood that it was not keeping up with the changing tastes of its target audience. As he explains it, he wanted to do the things on VOY that he ultimately did on BSG but was told he couldn’t because it wasn’t in strict keeping with Roddenberry’s vision. The result: Trek goes into a 10-year tailspin culminating with the untimely cancellation after a mere four seasons of its last series that was getting a lousy two million viewers per week (ENT).

And what does Moore think about Star Trek (2009)?:

“The bottom line was, it really worked. I enjoyed it. I think most people enjoyed it. And I think it opened the door to a new generation of fans, because the franchise up to that point, as I said earlier, was so encumbered by its own continuity and its own back stories that I think it was really, really difficult to get new people to try Star Trek, because there was just such a huge learning curve they had to go through. Now, with the re-imagining of it, people could just start over and enjoy it and then go discover all the various permutations and spin-offs later on. It has to be inviting for people to sample it for the first time, and it did.”

grumpy stidStar Trek (2009) made nearly three times as much money as its next closest competitor within the franchise. It’s not Roddenberry’s vision? Good. The reality is that audiences (excluding the insignificant numbers that comprise Trek fandom) don’t want Roddenberry’s vision of how a Trek show or film should be made anymore. It’s old, tired and outdated and it doesn’t coincide with their worldview or expectations when it comes to television and film viewing options.  It’s simply not sophisticated enough for today’s contemporary audience and it certainly doesn’t work on television when audiences have 500 channels to choose from.

That being said, they do once again want Trek and regardless of whatever anyone may think about the content of these new films, it is simply foolish to not recognize the positive role that Abrams has played in reviving this, until recently, very dead franchise.

Trek fans who hate the Abrams vision need to go see STID twice, maybe even three times and bring three friends each time because how well this film does will have a direct impact on the possibility of Trek returning to television in the near future (where it truly belongs to begin with). But whatever the pouty fandom does, it’s in their best interest to get over their inflated sense of self-importance, stop complaining and simply be thankful that Trek has a future now thanks to the likes of Abrams… which is something that couldn’t be said five years ago.

‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Kickstarter Campaign More Than DOUBLES Goal of $2 Million


Now, I’ve never actually seen a single episode of Veronica Mars but this news is very cool because once again, it’s indicative of the new direction that the Internet is forcing the television industry in.

If you haven’t heard by now, on March 12th, series creator Rob Thomas started this ambitious fundraising project to raise $2 million to produce a Veronica Mars feature film.

Almost since Veronica Mars went off the air, there’s been talk of making a movie. In that span, I’ve taken different tactics in dealing with the question of whether it might happen. To be clear, I’ve always wanted to make a Veronica Mars movie. I love writing these characters and working with these actors. Kristen Bell has always wanted to make the movie.

There was a moment, a few years ago, when we thought we had a real shot at making it happen. I developed a pitch that revolved around graduation day at Hearst college — Wallace and Mac were graduating at least, Veronica had been sidetracked by freeing Keith from prison. Plus, there was a murder in Neptune that was affecting the beach city’s spring break business in much the same way a great white shark affected the beach community of Amity. I probably stoked fan fervor in my optimistic comments about the prospects. Warner Bros. wasn’t convinced there was enough interest to warrant a major studio-sized movie about Veronica and the project never got off the ground.

After that, I tried to tamp down expectations. I didn’t want to be guilty — at least not twice — of building up hope when the odds seemed so long. Still, without fail, in every interview I do or every place I speak, I get the “will there be a Veronica Mars movie?” question. Even after a couple of years of downplaying the chances, I’d still run across blog postings headlined, “will Rob Thomas shut up about the Veronica Mars movie, already!” I was trying to. I promise.

I first found out about Kickstarter a couple of years ago from an Austin musician friend of mine — Robert Harrison, lead singer of Cotton Mather, the band that gave us “Lily Dreams On,” our closing song of season 1. He financed a rerelease of the band’s fantastic Kontiki album. Later, I was marveling about Kickstarter with another buddy of mine who said off-handedly, “You should use Kickstarter to raise the money to make the Veronica Mars movie.” I chuckled. That seemed like a silly idea in the moment. We’d need millions. But for the next few weeks, the notion was never far from my mind. I started doing the proverbial back-of-a-cocktail-napkin math. The average pledge on Kickstarter is $71. Hell, if we could get 30,000 people to give the average donation, we could finance the movie, particularly if the cast and I were willing to work cheap. The most common donation amount on Kickstarter is $25. Surely, 80,000 of our three million viewers would find that price-point viable!

Of course, Warner Bros. still owns Veronica Mars and we would need their blessing and cooperation to pull this off. Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board. So this is it. This is our shot. I believe it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s nerve-wracking. I suppose we could fail in spectacular fashion, but there’s also the chance that we completely revolutionize how projects like ours can get made. No Kickstarter project ever has set a goal this high. It’s up to you, the fans, now. If the project is successful, our plan is to go into production this summer and the movie will be released in early 2014.

Life has taken Veronica away from Neptune. In the years since spoiling Keith’s chances to be reelected sheriff, Veronica hasn’t taken a case. But something big is about to bring her back home and back to her calling. My goal is to include as many of your favorite characters as possible. It is, after all, time for Veronica’s 10-year high school reunion. Keep in mind that the more money we raise, the cooler movie we can make. A two million dollar fundraising total probably means cross words are exchanged at the class reunion. Three million? We can afford a full-on brawl. Ten million? Who knows… For some reason the Neptune High class reunion takes place on a nuclear submarine! A Hobbit shows up! There’s a Bollywood end-credit dance number! I’ve always wanted to direct Bill Murray. We’ll figure out something cool. Hey, if that total goes high enough, I’ll bet the good folks at Warner Bros. will agree a sequel is a good idea.

Thanks to everyone who hasn’t lost faith.


And with that the project hit its goal of $2 million… on the first day.  Since then, that total has more than doubled and currently stands at about $4.4 million.

We here at the ‘Tastic plan to kick-in $50 just so we can get all that cool swag which includes a T-Shirt, DVD and digital download of the film and give it away to a lucky subscriber.  We’ll give you more details on that soon.

To donate to this ambitious project and to be a part of film and television history click the link below!

The Veronica Mars Movie Project

GEEK ALERT! Straight Outta Vic’s Movie Den, New Hi-Res Pics From ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ & J.J. Abrams Grants Dying Trek Fan A Final Wish


ShawnShawn: Most of our readers know that Vic De Leon is a regular contributor to The ‘Tastic but what most people don’t know is that he occasionally scoops even me… as he has done with these pics below. As blasphemous and shameful as it is for me to admit, I got scooped on Trek. So, yes, below is a straight-up jack of my colleague’s piece.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to make a mention of a very touching story in regards to Star Trek: Into Darkness that has been making its rounds over the past couple of days. About six weeks ago, devoted Star Trek fan, Daniel Craft was diagnosed with terminal cancer and found out that he had only weeks to live.  Wanting to make his last days as happy and comfortable as possible, his friend Doug posted a plea from his wife, Paige, on Reddit 11 days ago to just make it possible for Daniel see the first ten minutes of the film that was shown at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey because, for some reason, the theater they went to didn’t show it.

Well, the impassioned plea went viral and made its way to J.J. Abrams and he and Damon Lindelhof got in touch with them and had a producer personally hand-deliver them a DVD of a rough cut of the feature film that premieres in May.  After, resting for a day to have the strength to watch the film, Paige made popcorn and she and Daniel watched the film and had a blast.  After the film was over, Daniel went to bed and didn’t get up again.  Friday morning, Paige took Daniel to the hospital for hospice care and with his wife and his brother at his side, he passed away at 10:15 p.m.  You can read more about this wonderful story and the amazing, albeit, sadly short life of Daniel Craft in this piece from THR.

We at The ‘Tastic want to commend Mr. Abrams, Mr. Lindelhof and all of those involved who made this act of kindness and generosity possible.  Now, without further adieu…



Here are some new Hi Res Pics from the upcoming Paramount / J.J. Abrams motion picture – Star Trek – Into Darkness the direct sequel to the 2009 reboot also directed by Abrams.

In the following epic pictures we see more of Spock, Uhura, Scotty and Kirk along with a cool shot of Bruce Greenwood (Captain Chrsitopher Pike) and Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk) engaged in conversation. But the bad ass of the lot is hands down Benedict Cumberbatch as “John Harrison” He just looks totally hardcore.

The film will be released may 17th, 2013. Enjoy!

“After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.”

Click on the pics in the Gallery below for full size. Thanks for stopping in!

– Vic

Tom Hardy On Board For ‘Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell’ Film Adaptation

Things are taking off right now for video game software giant Ubisoft and Tom Hardy.  Just last month we reported that Michael Fassbender had been recently tapped to star in the film adaptation of the popular Ubisoft video game series Assassin’s Creed, and in November, it’s finally been announced that Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell will be hitting the big screen, as well, with Tom Hardy cast in what can only assumed to be the role of the series’ main protagonist, the gruff super-spy/assassin, Sam Fisher (voiced by fan-favorite, Michael Ironside in the games). Eric Warren Singer (The International) will pen the script.

Hardy, who you can’t back out of your driveway without seeing nowadays, has been one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood for the past couple of years with hits such as Warrior, LawlessThis Means WarInception, and of course, he was the main villain Bane in this summer’s blockbuster finale to the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises will be assuming the iconic SciFi role made famous by Mel Gibson in Mad max: Fury Road which will be released next summer.  He’s a perfect fit for the role of Sam Fisher and like Fassbender, he brings a level of credibility to the project that video game-adaptations have often lacked.  To put it simply, if it’s going to be crap, he wouldn’t attach his name to it, because he doesn’t need to the paycheck.  As exciting as the addition of Hardy is, it also can’t be understated how cool the addition of Warren is.  If you’ve seen The International you know that this guy can certainly write a spy-thriller in his sleep.

Jean-Julien Baronnet, chief executive officer, Ubisoft Motion Pictures:

“Tom Hardy is one of the biggest talents in the film industry, and he has a phenomenal ability to take on complex and varied roles with his broad range of acting skills. His involvement in the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell movie is exciting news for movie and video game fans alike. In addition, Eric Singer is one of the most talented writers today. We’re confident he’ll bring a fresh approach and create a thrilling story for the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell movie, while still respecting all the codes and traditions of the franchise that are so important to fans.”

GEEK ALERT! ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ Trailer Released… We’ve Got It For You! (HD VIDEO)

Sometimes all I can say is, “Wow” because I’m just speechless.  This is definitely one of those times.  Simon Pegg announced the other day that there would be a teaser trailer for the new J.J. Abrams film Star Trek: Into Darkeness, the sequel to 2009’s blockbuster hit Star Trek,on Thursday and true to his word, at 12:00 a.m., this one-minute-and-six-seconds of awesomeness was released.

Guess why I don't think he's Khan (Besides the fact that he's British).

Guess why I don’t think he’s Khan (Besides the fact that he’s British).

Now, for the record, as you may or may not know (scroll down and read my bio if there is some confusion), I am a huge Trek  Fan but when I saw the first film, although I was impressed by the visuals and the more contemporary and inclusive approach to the franchise, I felt the story left a lot to be desired and I had that feeling going into it because I knew they were going to spend half of the film as an “origins story.”   I only gave the film a 7.5/10.  This sequel appears to be a lot different. Established characters and a strong plot led by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) as the terrifyingly haunting (as of yet, unnamed) villain (and I don’t think it’s Khan only because of the description from Paramount and the pic to the right) make even this little snippet of a trailer look far more epic in scale and story than the first film.

Dr. Carol Marcus, perhaps?

Dr. Carol Marcus, perhaps?

Oh, and who is that unnamed pretty blonde played by Alice Eve?  Could that possibly be Dr. Carol Marcus?  And did we mention that his awesomeness, Peter Weller (Robocop) is also in this and not to mention Nathan Drake himself, Nolan North (Sony Playstation 3’s Uncharted video game series).  Cool stuff, indeed.

Star Trek: Into Darkness  opens May 17, 2013.

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew. – Paramount

The Redeye Rogue Report: ABC Greenlights Avengers’ S.H.I.E.L.D. Series

(Originally posted at

ABC and Marvel have confirmed that Joss Whedon is developing a TV series spinoff from The Avengers, based around S.H.I.E.L.D.  Whedon is signed on to co-write the pilot with his brother Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.  Whedon is bringing in all the previous brain trust from Firefly, Buffy, and Angel on this one so it should be a fun ride ahead. If ordered to series, Jed Whedon and Tancharoen, alums of Joss Whedon’s Fox series Dollhouse, will serve as showrunner-exec producers with Jeffrey Bell. Marvel TV exec Jeph Loeb, who previously worked with Whedon on the ill fated animated Buffy the Vampire Slayer will also be an executive producer.

According to Variety, the series will revolve around the activities of the top-secret S.H.I.E.L.D espionage organization featured in The Avengers.

Trent Moore, writing for says:

“For us, that means all these excellent writers are going to have big budgets and a bigger platform to play with, and with some autonomy from the films, they may get a long leash to really dig in and make this a compelling series.”

So far, Avengers has racked up $1.5 billion world wide. To capitalize on this, ABC is fast-tracking this series.

RedEyeRogue has gotten this advance sneak peek of a rough cut from one of our inside sources:

STAR WARS SPECIAL: The False Reverence Of Darth Vader (Or Stupid Crap That George Lucas Made My Generation Believe)

To celebrate Intergalactic Star Wars Day and the 35th Anniversary of the release of the greatest Science Fiction film of all time, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss the biggest flaw of the entire Star Wars franchise that we’ve all bought like idiots for pushing nearly four decades, now; the redemption of Darth Vader after he kills Emperor Palpatine at the end of Return of the Jedi.  Because, after all, that is what the film saga is all about; the rise and fall and ultimate final redemption of Vader.  Seriously, I’ve not only not understood this premise since I’ve been a rational thinking adult, but I really find it a bit disturbing that the general public and the universe of Star Wars geekdom has accepted it for as long they have without batting an eye.

THIS GUY figured it out… and should be revered in death.

First let me start by saying that unlike other characters in classic literature and mythology or popular film and television, Vader didn’t have a “come to Jesus” moment and see the error of his ways like, for example, Legate Damar did when he turned on The Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and began to see how truly evil they were (By the way, like Vader, the Dominion got off way too easy, as well, and Section 31 was right to create the disease that would have killed them all, but I digress…) and actually evolved his thinking. No, in typical Anakin Skywalker-fashion, he was motivated by narcissistic self-interest.

C.monnnn… think of all the fun we’ll have raping and pillaging!

In Attack of the Clones he killed the Tusken Raiders, also known by their dehumanizing and slightly racist other name the “Sandpeople” (women and children, too) out of a need for personal revenge, he joined Palpatine and the Dark Side to save Padmé, he decapitated Dooku because it was less of a hassle than taking him prisoner and he ultimately killed Palpatine to protect his son. Hell, in The Empire Strikes Back, he didn’t try to recruit Luke by saying, “Luke, join me so we can stop this madness and I can make amends for all of the pain I’ve caused,” no, he says, “Join me and we can rule the Galaxy as father and son.” What the sh*t?  Hey, Darth… it’s not always about what works for youdick.

Yep… as you can see, the sh*t works as advertised. So, how many Death Stars can I put you down for?

This guy’s track-record as far as we know from the six films is that he has personally murdered women and children, baby Padawans, and was instrumental in committing genocide throughout the galaxy. Oh, and yeah… he destroyed an entire planet with no defensive capabilities thereby killing billions of innocent people in one shot… as a product demonstration! This guy made Hitler look like Walt Disney, yet he’s revered at the end of Jedi like he’s some kind of tragic hero. “I can still feel the good in you, father.” Eff that, Vader never expressed even one ounce of regret over the evil things that he had done, even at the end.  Nope, the only thing that he regrets is the fact that he disappointed his kid!

And, by the way, yes, nerds, I am completely aware that Luke never uttered the exact words, “I can still feel the good in you, father,” but that, of course, was the big theme. Besides, if Lucas can change the entire make-up of characters than I sure as heck can tweak a little dialogue for the purpose of driving a point home.

Moving along…

Hope & Change: Bringin’ It.

So, when Luke is dragging him up on that ramp on the shuttle saying, “You’re coming with me.  I can’t leave you here. I’ve got to save you,” what was he thinking… that the rest of the Rebel Alliance and trillions of oppressed citizens of the Empire would just let him off the hook because he did one good thing and helped his kid? I hate to be the one to break this to people but Vader killing Palpatine was a meaningless gesture thanks to the badass of all badasses, Lando Calrissian taking care of business with the Millenium Falcon, a forty of Colt 45 and that little frog-looking dude in the copilot’s seat. Again, all Vader did was save his own kid which is something I do every day when they climb on top of the fridge and they aren’t pinning any medals on my chest and I’ve certainly never killed a bunch of five year-olds.  Luke or no Luke, Vader or no Vader, that Death Star gets blown up and the Emperor gets vaporized along with everyone else on that thing.

All he needs is a gallon of Kool-Aid and he’s ready to party.

And another thing…. why was Luke crying?  He’s had contact with his old man a grand total of three times in his life.  Let’s examine the outcomes of those events, shall we?  The first time, he watched Vader murder his mentor Obi Wan (mind you, he did just meet that guy a few hours earlier, but losing the leader of cult can be very destructive for an impressionable young man like Luke who became a religious zealot within only a couple of hours of actually hearing about the religion) and of course it turns out that he was directly responsible for the murders of his aunt and uncle.  The second time, Dad freezes his best friend in a block of carbonite and cuts off his hand while letting him fall presumably to his death without even checking to see if he’s OK and the third time, he tries to kill him, considers letting his boss the finish the job and then changes his mind.  Yeah, those are real Kodak moments to get all misty-eyed over, Luke.

Warmin’ up for ya, Darth. Nub, Nub, indeed.
BTW, I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to find a photo of an Ewok on a toilet.

Redemption, my ass. What most likely would have happened if Vader would have survived like Luke tried to make happen is that Vader would have bit it like Mussolini albeit with representatives from the 50,000 Old Republic planets all throwing stones at him and the Wookiees and Ewoks taking turns, respectively, taking a dump in his open mouth, and chances are, Luke would have gotten whacked just for being associated with his ass (which Luke probably knew which is why he didn’t make a big issue out of Vader’s protests).

But no, what does Lucas give us? He gives a happy little scene where Vader is honored with a funeral pyre and we see the spirits of Kenobi, Yoda and the genocidal, narcissistic, child-killing, mass-murderer smiling on in Jedi Heaven like nothing happened. Eff that. There’s a special place in Hell for Darth Vader and for George Lucas for trying to make us believe that empty gestures can wash away a history of pure, unadulterated evil.

As a reminder… Han fired the ONLY shot.

And why not, I guess?  After all this is the same guy that has changed the history of his own work to make an obvious scoundrel and cold-blooded killer seem like a hero, even going so far as to definitively say that Han Solo was always meant to shoot first.  I’ve heard people say that Lucas has raped their childhood, no, Lucas has been raping our intelligence since we were toddlers and continues to do so as we march toward middle-age… and, of course, we gladly accept it and ask for more (and I freely admit that I am just as bad).


Seriously… What the Hell is wrong with us?

So now that the rant is officially over, please enjoy Red Letter Media’s review of Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace, by Harry S. Plinkett.  It’s an hour and eight minutes long so I had to split it into two parts but it’s well worth it.

REVIEW: Game Change (Film – HBO Films)

Game Change is a 2012 American HBO political drama film based on events of the 2008 United States presidential election campaign, starring Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson. Written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, the film was adapted from the 2010 book of the same name documenting the campaign, written by the political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The film focuses on the chapters about the selection and performance of Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin (Moore) as running mate to Senator John McCain (Harris) in the Republican presidential campaign. The plot features a 2010 interview of the campaign’s senior strategist Steve Schmidt (Harrelson), using flashbacks to portray McCain and Palin during their ultimately unsuccessful campaign. – Wikipedia

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:  I’ve made no bones in the past about my personal political views when posting on this blog but I’ve always strived to be objective with my reviews, judging television and film from an entertainment standpoint and not a political standpoint.  As I’ve mentioned several times, I have no tolerance for political soapboxes being used in dramatic scripted television, regardless of the political persuasion, because it always serves to alienate at least 50% of an audience who turn on their normal prime time fare as an escape and not to be lectured to.  Being apolitical is a rather difficult task to accomplish with Game Change because the film by its very nature is a biographical political piece, from a specific perspective.  This isn’t a David E. Kelley show with a fictional attorney grandstanding in court about a contemporary social issue, it’s a docudrama involving characters who are real people and actual historical events.

Therefore, while at the same time I recognize that the subject matter of the film gives it a free pass for its political nature that I normally wouldn’t give to other television fare, at the same time it’s only fair that I honestly assess all aspects of the film including the details that are clearly fantasy that detract from the entertainment value. So, this time, I will say that this review represents my opinion exclusively and is not necessarily the opinion of staff at TV-Tastic.  That being said, I have encouraged my staff to submit their own reviews of this film which I will gladly publish to allow our readers to make their own judgments based on different perspectives.

70 out of 100

I have to say, as an objective conservative who closely monitors the political landscape and is well-versed in current events and history, I went into Game Change with a sense of enthusiasm and trepidation for a number of reasons.  My enthusiasm came from the fact that HBO Films has always maintained a high standard with their productions so I knew that I could expect a well-produced film if nothing else.  The casting of Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson and Julianne Moore also gave the film credibility like no other HBO film has ever had.

My trepidation came from the fact that the book of the same title that the film is based on, written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, has been roundly criticized by both sides for not citing sources for its assertions and furthermore, the filmmakers, instead of choosing to adapt the book as it was written, which was in three parts covering both political primary races and then the general election, chose to cover only the third part of the book and more specifically only the McCain campaign as it pertains to Sarah Palin.  So, you have to know where this is going and the fact that the top stars and producers of the film have donated $200,000 to Democrat/Liberal causes and ZERO to Republican/Conservative causes is also a tad bit disconcerting if you’re expecting objectivity.

And objective this film certainly isn’t, however there is just enough of a positive portrayal of Ms. Palin to present the illusion that the filmmakers were not only fair in their representation of her, but that the unattributed and unconfirmed rumors that are rampant in this film (as well as the portrayal of Republicans at McCain events) are actually factual. And that is where the film falls off the rails and fails because it paints a very disjointed picture that lacks rational cohesion.

I’m sorry, but as a rational adult,  I simply cannot buy that Ms. Palin was as stupid in regards to foreign policy/history as she is portrayed in this film. Are they seriously trying to make us believe that she didn’t understand why there are two Koreas? She really had to have it explained to her who the belligerents were in the two World Wars? She really thought that we were in Iraq because Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11? Now, the issue with the Fed and Behr/Stearns, I get because I’m still trying to figure that mess out four years later but the rest of this is just as silly now as it was when the book was published.  Again, the main criticism of the book is that it cited no sources for these claims and if the filmmakers could see beyond their own political ideology and actually maintain a level of professional objectivity and integrity, they would never have included these outlandish and unproven claims.  This approach turned what was an excellent insight into the behind the scenes events of an historical presidential campaign into a tawdry, tabloidish hit-piece.  Seriously, how could she have been elected dog catcher nevertheless governor of Alaska if these assertions were true?  Unless, of course, the producers just think that the people of the State of Alaska are just as stupid, which they probably do.

The other problem that the inclusion of these, to put it politely, “questionable” claims has is that they serve to make the Palin character very inconsistent and honestly, the inconsistency gives you pause as to the believability of the material.  Julianne Moore’s portrayal is excellent, albeit at times a little over-the-top, but the way in which they had to include all of these claims makes it as if there are multiple Sarah Pailins in this film. There’s the bright, confident and strong renaissance woman and then there’s the complete f*cking idiot. In the next scene she’s portrayed as an excellent public speaker who has a unique ability to connect to the people and then she’s portrayed as an uncompromising lunatic who won’t listen to the advice that the smart people are giving her. No one can have a personality that divergent and have no one notice it that long while attaining the success that she already had achieved at that point. It’s just not possible.

I think the only truly honest moments in her portrayal were when she was shown at her most vulnerable, when she was stressed and depressed about the process, wasn’t eating well and probably more importantly than anything, missed her family.  Hell, I don’t like being away for my kids for more than a couple of hours so I can relate to that.  When the film focused on that aspect of her emotional state, the film exceled because those genuine scenes served to highlight Ms. Palin’s biggest issue of all which was that she was in way over her head and not ready to be a candidate for national office, and perhaps never will be.  But the problem is that they had to cheapen these moments by suggesting that her anxiety level was a sign that she was mentally unstable.  That’s not only offensive to Ms. Palin, but it’s offensive to the tens of millions of people who have suffered with anxiety issues and of course her anxiety was perfectly understandable considering the stress she was under.

Now, generally speaking I have no doubt that the many behind the scenes events that are portrayed in the film actually happened (and this has been confirmed by Steve Schmidt, the Republican strategist who was instrumental in Palin’s selection and portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the film) because a lot of these events, without the details, were public knowledge at the time.  Quite often, Ms. Palin was her own worst enemy when it came to her image and that is accurately represented in the film, however, the film intentionally dismisses the personal beatings that she took by the media against her and her family under the guise of, “well she was warned that this would happen before she accepted the nomination.”  That’s a really lazy and intellectually dishonest position to take especially considering the vile things that were said and continue to be said about her to this day.

Remember the blogger who suggested that her newborn son Trig, was not her own and was actually the child of her 17 year-old daughter, Bristol, and how some members of the media ran with it?  Well, they do address that, but they gloss over it and don’t treat it with nearly the amount of outrage that they do over the random attendee at a McCain rally  who would spout vile things.  Again, the film has a huge credibility gap because of the blatant bias that turns what could have been a great film into only a good film.  But hey, why shoot for excellence when you can get good enough and placate the folks who think like you?

At the end of the day, though, overall, Game Change is still very enjoyable, but if you have any sense of objectivity and intellectual honesty then you have to filter out the blatant nonsense and bias that just oozes from the film.

Also, there may be unintended consequences of the film that the filmmakers probably didn’t take into consideration when they made it because they assumed that everyone who would watch it thinks the way they do.  Y’see, the main themes in the film are the dangers of not vetting a candidate and how disastrous a lack of experience can be as well as  how style is no substitute for substance.  Interposing those themes with excerpts of Obama  populist speeches may actually have the effect of making your audience think twice about voting for a candidate who has all of those same qualities again this November.

REVIEW: Skyline (Film – Universal, 2010)

Jarrod and his pregnant girlfriend Elaine travel to Los Angeles to meet his old friend and successful entrepreneur Terry, and his wife Candice. Terry gives a party in his apartment for Jarrod and offers a job position to him in LA. Terry’s assistant and lover Denise (Crystal Reed) and his friend Ray (Neil Hopkins) sleep on the couch in the living room, but in the dawn of the next morning, the group is awakened by mysterious beams of blue light. Ray stares at the light and is taken by the mysterious force. The group of friends try to escape from the alien invaders. – IMdB

Strange lights descend on the city of Los Angeles, drawing people outside like moths to a flame where an extraterrestrial force threatens to swallow the entire human population off the face of the Earth. – Universal

20 out of 100

NOTE:  For the record, we have so little respect for this film, that we’re not even giving spoiler alerts in this review.  There are a couple of spoilers in here, but we’re not particularly worried about ruining anything for you because it’s kind of hard to ruin a film that ruins itself.

We not understand strange spirits projected on wall and concept of metaphor and allegory.

OK, to be completely honest, we fell asleep 15 minutes before the end of Skyline last night because it was all the same thing for the first hour and 15 minutes and it was getting repetitive. Even one of the characters made a point to say, “What does it matter?” Yes, indeed… what does it matter?  Seriously, the whole film was completely devoid of any real plot and to make it absolutely pointless, there was no character development whatsoever.  It was simply a series of running from aliens and getting “consumed” by aliens with every lame movie and Science Fiction cliché thrown in for good measure.  What was worse was that the directors/writers had to insult our intelligence at every turn by regularly spelling out the ridiculous clichés for us… as if we’ve been living in a hut in a tribal village in South America and have never seen a movie before and couldn’t possibly understand all of the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances.

You too can write in Hollywood.

Example: Elaine (Scottie Thompson… the poor man’s Olivia Wilde) is vomiting in the opening scene of the film right after the blue light wakes her up.  Then, we have a flashback to fifteen hours earlier when she is on a plane getting ready to disembark in L.A. when she’s nauseous, as well, and her boyfriend, Jarrod (Eric Balfour… the poor man’s Eric Balfour), comments on her apparent queasiness expressing concern and in obligatory fashion, direct from the Television/Film Writing Mad Libs, she dismisses his concern out-of-hand and everyone in the audience knows somethings’s up.

And how do we know something’s up?  Because, under normal circumstances when Sigourney Weaver isn’t involved and we don’t know about any parasites about to hatch and explode out of someone’s chest, people are generally nauseous in films for one of two reasons: they’re either drunk/hungover or they’re pregnant.

You didn’t have to go to film school to see where this was going.

Well, we didn’t know during the opening scene why she was throwing up (she could have been hungover, it could have been caused by the strange blue light… whatever) but we sure as Hell knew that she wasn’t drunk on the plane and there was no blue light and it was  pretty clear that within the five minutes between the time we see her throwing up in the present and when she’s expressing that she has nausea in the flashback that they want to make a point that her medical condition is significant to the plot.  So, we are left with only one possible explanation for her illness; that being that she’s pregnant.

Dr. Einstein, the correct term is actually, “Duuuuhhhhrrrrr!”

Despite the fact that they couldn’t have made it any clearer that Elaine was pregnant if they had used a chalkboard, an overhead projector and a PowerPoint presentation, what do these directors and writers do?  They hit you over the head with it immediately following the exchange between Elaine and Jarrod about her queasiness and include a wide-shot on the plane of the two of them and another passenger who has a baby and Jarrod is offering the mom assistance with her bag in the overhead compartment. Duhr! Thank you Captain Subtlety! And that’s how the directors/writers treat the audience throughout this entire film… like complete flippin’ idiots.

Like Lord Helmet said….

Oh, and for the record, perhaps the stupidest moment in this film regarding the pregnancy is when Candice (Brittany Daniel… the poor man’s Ali Larter) lights up a cigarette in the kitchen right after she watched her boyfriend/husband (the status of their relationship is never really explained.  Again, as noted, there was no character development so what do you want?) appear to get eaten whole by an alien that’s “mouth” looks like a big vagina.  Elaine has a fit about the cigarette smoke claiming she can’t be there because she’s pregnant.  This was the most puke-inducing scene of the whole film, which is pretty lame considering that this is basically a horror film.

So, let’s get this straight: the world has just ended, this nice young lady who you just met (and by the way, who’s swanky penthouse you’re a guest at) watched her significant other get consumed by a fifty-foot vagina alien, and you want to give her sh*t for lighting up in the one place that she can because you’re concerned about the effects of second-hand smoke on your two week-old fetus?  Somehow, we’re thinking that second-hand smoke would be the least of your concerns but more importantly, with all that’s just happened, poor Candice seriously can’t have a butt?

…Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

To make it worse, Candice actually snuffs out the cigarette!  She literally concedes to this idiotic line of thinking  over the second-hand smoke harming the fetus instead of just saying, “Listen, bitch:  this is my house, everyone in L.A. is dead, I just watched my man get killed and chances are that we’ll ALL be dead within the next eight hours.  Needless to say, I’m not particularly concerned over your misgivings about me lighting up.  If you don’t like it, there’s the door.  Have fun trying your luck with the blue light, vagina monsters on the roof.  Either way, blue light and vagina monsters notwithstanding, I’m having a g*ddamned cigarette. ”  But, again, this is how stupid the directors/writers think the audience is that they’ll just dismiss a scene like this that is in complete contradiction with human nature.

The heir to the ‘Tastic Kingdom c. 2076

This all being said, we decided to watch the last 15 minutes on my iPhone tonight while at  Cici’s Pizza when the kids were doing their damnedest to NOT win an Angry Birds plush toy from the Crane Game despite having it explained to them that that the Angry Birds were far too big for the claw even under the best circumstances.  Y’see, Princess ‘Tastic got lucky on her first attempt ever with a Crane Game a couple of years ago and now she’s like a 70 year-old at a penny video poker machine on Fremont Street with the g*ddamned things.  We’ve lost far more money in Crane Game attempts than that original Dragonball-Z vinyl action figure she initially won was ever worth.

Anyway, the last fifteen minutes are playing and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Can what’s happening in this film here at the end really be what seems to be happening?” As the credits roll, frustration settled in and this thought materialized “Aw sh*t… we’re going to have to go home and watch the whole flippin’ thing over again to make sure we’re getting this.”

Carl WInslow wondering what the f*ck he’s stumbled into… just like we did.

But, then a funny thing happened: the Black Saint, over at Horror referred us to this piece he wrote, The Answer to Skyline’s Ending and it confirmed our worst fears; We were absolutely correct in what we thought happened at the end of this dopey film. What’s funnier is that Black Saint came to all of the same conclusions that we did, EVEN the Republicans vs. Democrats, Red vs. Blue metaphor that we thought of as a little joke and were giggling about because it was just so obvious that the directors/writers thought the audience would be too stupid to figure out who the characters were if they didn’t change the colors up.

Here’s the best part: Black Saint wrote that piece, admittedly, when he was “a little high.” We were stone sober and came to the same conclusions.

Nukes: They f*cking work.

One more note about the lunacy of this film: we’re sick and tired of SciFi films trying to convince us that’s there’s some kind of alien technology that a modern nuclear weapon won’t take out.  Sorry, but that’s just not happening, so enough of the defying of the laws of physics.  We’re not scientists, but if we recall our Astronomy 101 course, that’s how the sun works so we’re pretty damned sure that there isn’t even a possibility of a ship being able to  withstand a direct hit of a nuclear explosion.  The moment they launched the nukes and they hit their targets in this film the credits should have rolled like they did in Independence Day (and even that movie, which we love, subscribes to this same dopey nonsense that the aliens have a “super shield” impervious to nukes externally).  Skyline is by no means the first film guilty of this but they happen to be in our cross-hairs at this moment.

When good SciFi goes bad…

We have to say, the film in and of itself is one of the worst SciFi films we’ve ever seen, now that we know what we know. Seriously, the film was tolerable as a horror/SciFi flick until the last ten minutes but it honestly ended as stupidly as the last ten minutes of the infamous Star Trek: Voyager episode, Threshold. The only thing that was lacking as the icing on the cake was at the end, nobody turned into a giant salamander (but it certainly was g*ddamned close, wasn’t it?).

By the way, Threshold (for those who haven’t seen it) and Skyline have ZERO in common as far as story is concerned. We just always refer to Threshold as the benchmark for poorly-executed SciFi that just completely falls off the rails. Some people think it’s the worst Star Trek episode of all time. It’s not. It’s just a prime example of what happens when writers have a clever idea but have no f*cking clue as to how to wrap up a story. That’s Skyline in a nutshell; a great concept that fails miserably in execution and conclusion and we firmly believe that if you can’t wrap up the story effectively, don’t make the film or television episode.

Not for nothing, this is a beautiful film and we saw it on Netflix streaming in HD on the Mitsubishi 65″ 1080p DLP and not on Blu-ray on the Sammy LED. We imagine it kicks even more ass visually on a higher quality source and display. It really is a testament for what can be done technically on an extremely low-budget with decent CG and that’s the only reason it got the 20 points that it did.