The World’s End

New from The Movie Snob.

The World’s End  (B-).  This is a crazy little movie from the same team that brought us Shaun of the Dead (which I liked) and Hot Fuzz (which I have not yet seen).  Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness) stars as a middle-aged ne’er-do-well named Gary King.  Having nothing better to do, King decides to round up his four best mates from his teenaged days, drag them back to their small hometown in the British countryside, and attempt to complete a legendary 12-pub crawl called The Golden Mile.  The movie starts out seeming to be a thoughtful story about lost youth, trying to go home again, the sacrifices entailed in growing up, etc.  Then it suddenly turns into a Stepford WivesBody Snatchers type affair, and the half-sozzled quintet find themselves fighting for their lives (and, in King’s case, fighting to finish The Golden Mile).  The lovely Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) appears as the sister of one of the buddies, and Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day) unexpectedly shows up for a couple of scenes as well.  It’s a bit half-baked, but I still got a kick out of it.

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Star Trek

Movie review from The Movie Snob

Star Trek (B+). How curious that in all my years of blogging I have never reviewed a Trek movie. But, as it happens, we started The Movie Court in February 2003, and the last Trek movie, Nemesis, was a 2002 release. As everyone knows, the guy behind TV’s Lost, J.J. Abrams, is directing this reboot of the franchise with an origin story about James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the original crew. The result is a solid action/science-fiction movie. I would (and did) complain that one or two of the hand-to-hand combat scenes were very badly and choppily edited so that you couldn’t even tell what was going on. (I seem to notice this problem in a lot of movies these days–is it getting more common, or am I just more aware?) But if you like sci-fi and action movies, you should enjoy this film even if you don’t like Star Trek at all. And if you do like Star Trek, as I do, I think you’ll like it a lot because it has plenty of little nods to the original series. (For example, the assured presence of Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood, National Treasure: Book of Secrets).) And the young actors and actresses who take the helm are generally well cast and do a fine job. (Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), however, seems like a poor choice for Scotty.) But Trekkers may not love it, for reasons divulged after the spoiler alert.

*** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT *** SPOILER ALERT ***

Actually, I don’t think I’m committing too much of a spoiler, but better safe than sorry. As you may already know, the movie involves time travel. Specifically, the villain is from the future, and he’s eager to deal out worlds of hurtin’ to the young Federation of Planets, home to our young Kirk, Spock, et al. My beef, which I suspect many hardcore Trek fans will share, is that this villain performs deeds that effectively rewrite longstanding Trek history. Without being unnecessarily specific, I can say that certain characters are killed and certain planets are destroyed such that certain familiar events from the original Star Trek series can never happen the way we remember them. And these events are of such a magnitude that it seems safe to say that the history of the whole Federation will have to be different. A reviewer in The Weekly Standard complained that this is a lazy use of time travel that is unworthy of serious science fiction, and that the 1960s series handled a similar scenario much better and more memorably in the famous episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” I would agree, and add that it seems lazy to me as well because it relieved the filmmakers of the obligation to be faithful to the various TV incarnations of Trek, since they can chalk any inconsistencies up to the changes in history caused by their own movie. So although I enjoyed the movie–and I give high marks to most of the young actors and actresses who step into these familiar roles and make them their own–it did not leave me entirely satisfied. I think The Borg Queen will agree with me.