Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Star Trek * * * *

I just watched Star Trek for the fourth time.  The first two times were in the theater.  I enjoyed the movie better on video only because some later action scenes were too loud in the theater.

In case you are not aware, Star Trek is the "reboot" of the old TV series and movies into a new series of movies.  It follows the adventures of the old Star Trek characters when they were younger.  In this particular series, the "reboot" happens when Romulins travel back in time and change the course of history resulting in the death of Captain Kirk's father.  In this timeline, Kirk grows up without a father and is more of a miscreant.  A series of events propel him into Starfleet and ultimately toward leadership.  Along the way he has encounters and run-ins with other Star Trek characters, most noticeably a young Spock which the young Kirk doesn't like very much.

This is nearly a perfect movie.  The execution from start to finish is brilliant.  Every scene and every piece of dialog serves to propel the story along at a light speed.  The opening shot is a slightly surrealistic fly-by of a Star Fleet ship cleverly letting us know that reality has changed; This is not your Daddy's Star Trek.  It is cooler looking and more action packed, and more fun.  The movie takes liberties with the Star Trek characters, but these liberties make sense and fit well in the context of the story.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gone With the Wind * * *

I went almost a lifetime without seeing Gone With the Wind.  I finally decided to see it.

The opening sequence practically endorses slavery, which I find almost unforgivable.  The question is should I blame the movie or blame the book?  I have an expectation that any movie based upon a book should be somewhat true to the book that it represents, so I partially blame the book.  It is like asking if "Das Boat" is pro-Nazi?  But I find it questionable that someone chose to make a movie based off of a book that has a sympathetic view toward slavery.  The slaves portrayed in this movie are happier than they should be and incapable of independent existence.

I think that the people who saw this movie in 1939 weren't interested in the pro-slavery aspects of the film.  Gone With the Wind was a very popular romance novel.  People wanted to see the book/soap opera on the big screen.

A person could view this movie as an historical account, even if that history is not totally accurate.

Gone With the Wind is about the turbulent romance between the rogue Rhett Butler and the manipulative Scarlet O'Hara during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  It is not just just a movie.  It is an event.  At almost 4 hours in length, it takes some patience to get through.  The last hour and a half is nothing but a soap opera, and the rest of the movie is heavy in soap opera elements.  I would have been pleased if the movie had ended an hour early with Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara married and living happily ever after.  However, the movie is not content to let its characters be happy.  They must be in constant strife.   Still, I thought that the ending, which I found somewhat moving, was worth waiting for.

This is an epic film with a fantastic musical score and great cinematography.  Although the movie might be true to the novel, I think that it could have been more than just a romance picture.  The best part is the first 2.5 hours that deals with historical events, so it is too bad that last hour seems almost pointless.