Thor is revealed!

Hi all…

Yes, more comic book movie news. Thor, another in the line of Avengers-worthy films from Marvel, is coming next year – May 6, 2011. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, known for his acting and directing talents, Thor will likely have a very different look and feel from The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man franchises.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering who they would get to play the mighty Thor and his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake – and it’s none other than George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk from the JJ Abrams-rebooted Star Trek film – Chris Hemsworth.

Yahoo Movies somehow managed to snag the first image of the costumed Hemsworth as Thor, and I have to say it works for me. And yes, even the cape works.

This is another comic book movie that has attracted some top-shelf actors… Natalie Portman, Idris Elba (as Heimdall!), Anthony Hopkins (totally believable as Odin), Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Stevenson, Rene Russo… So this should be interesting.

Also out next year will be Captain America: The First Avenger on July 22, 2011. Director Joe Johnston will direct current hotshot actor Chris Evans as the titular Steve Rogers / Captain America character. How will Evans pull off the seriousness of Cap when all he’s done is a bunch of smartass characters? Heck if I know. But it should be interesting to see how it works out.

Then the big event – The Avengers movie, due out on May 4, 2012 – will bring together Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Nick Fury, and others under the watchful eye of director/writer extraordinaire Joss Whedon.

Marvel has the potential to knock all of these movies out of the park. And I have to say I’m extremely geeked up to see Iron Man 2 next weekend. Can this all-star cast – Favreau, Downey Jr., Don Cheadle (stepping into Terrence Howard’s shoes as James Rhodes), Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow), Paltrow, Sam Rockwell (as anti-Stark Justin Hammer), Mickey Rourke (as Whiplash/Ivan Vanko), Sam Jackson (back as Nick Fury) – pull off another home run this season?

Let’s hope so. The next couple of years will definitely be interesting whether they do or not…

–Fitz

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Movie Review: Star Trek (2009)

Hi all!

Star Trek: The Original Series will forever have a place in my heart. It was one of the few series both my father and I could enjoy together when I was growing up. As such, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for William Shatner‘s Captain Kirk.

When it was announced a couple of years ago that JJ Abrams would be making a new Star Trek movie, I viewed it with trepidation. Abrams has provided some worthwhile entertainment over the last few years, from Alias and Lost to Cloverfield and now Star Trek. And when the ads tell you that this isn’t your father’s Star Trek, after seeing the movie, I tend to agree.

[rating:3.5/4]

Add to that the fact that Kurtzman and Orci of Transformers fame were writing the script and I was still frightened of what the result might be. Though the script would most likely be entertaining, would it have the social power of the original and honor Roddenberry’s memory?

But I started hearing good things. Yes, there were the images of the Cloverfield-type monster on the ice planet and the eclectic cast with the blockbuster director and writers on board… but what if the final product was actually good? Early reviews were positive. I began to gain some hope.

So on opening day, my wife and I went to the first show that morning and waited to see what would happen.

Lo and behold, we both liked it. Imagine that. It wasn’t the train wreck it could have been (like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) and it actually delivered on the promise of so much talent involved with the production. Amazing.

That isn’t to say that there weren’t some things I could have done without. And there were a few things I could have seen more of. But overall, I think it was a heck of a success and should spawn one or more sequels that should provide entertainment in the future.

So what did I like? First and foremost, the cast was awesome. Chris Pine had the swagger of Shatner’s Kirk without the speech impediment inserting pregnant pauses throughout his dialogue. Zachary Quinto did a fine job as a younger Spock. Karl Urban fit the role of Bones (more on him later). Simon Pegg did a hilarious job as Scotty. John Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Checkov were respectable and Zoe Saldana’s Uhura was smokin’ hot.

The special effects, done by Industrial Light and Magic, were beautiful. Any time you get to pan across a Federation starship and can see the tiles being scraped off by a close call with a destroyed vessel in Earth orbit, I think they have just enough detail without going overboard. The battles were very reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (arguably one of the best movies from the original series) and violently beautiful.

I was worried about Eric Bana in the role of the Romulan Nero. The trailers provided glimpses of the Romulans, but never really gave us much background about Nero’s beef with Spock and Kirk. He was a very sympathetic villain I thought, which gave him a texture that appealed to me in a similar way to Khan.

Overall I think they honored the spirit of the original series in many ways. Gene Roddenberry should be smiling. There will be a new generation of Trekkies after they see this film.

What didn’t I like? First of all, Urban’s McCoy seemed to have Tourette’s syndrome. Every other line started to sound like “I’m a X, not a Y” and I know it was supposed to be funny, but it became annoying for me.

And my two biggest complaints are the lens flares and the fact that they tried to cram too much into one movie.

This YouTube video sums up the lens flare issue quite nicely, applying the flares to footage from the original series.

But I think, though Kurtzman and Orci did a great job of rebooting the universe, they tried to get too much into this film. Why not break it up a bit? I don’t know how they’d pull it off, but it was a solid 2+ hours. I can hardly wait to see what they put in an extended version or what scenes got cut when we see the film on DVD. If this is the slimmed version, I’d hate to see a four hour version (not that they have another 2 hours, but you know what I mean).

Overall, I thought this was an amazing effort by all the cast and crew. Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci deserve huge kudos for pulling it off. It’s the first movie of the summer I want to see again (sorry Wolverine).

If you have to make a choice between X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Trek, I’d choose Star Trek every time.

Let me know what you thought. Leave me some comments!

–Fitz

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J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek

Hi all!

I’ve written about J.J. AbramsStar Trek movie before, talking about the interesting casting he did. But there’s a sense of dread each time I see a new trailer.

Star Trek (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Some punk little version of Kirk driving a car into a ravine? The same punk riding a motorcycle past the site where they’re building the Enterprise? Was JJ channelling Thelma and Louise mixed with Top Gun?

And what’s with Uhuru ripping off her shirt? There’s been much debate whether Nichelle Nichols is yelling or not about that.

And then over at Geek Tyrant, I saw this today and it made me laugh. So I thought I’d share it. 🙂

I’m starting to worry about this film. I’m interested. I want to see it, but there’s this feeling of dread building each time I see more footage. Will it be worth the agony? We’ll have to wait and see…

–Fitz

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