I’m busy preparing for visitors, but perhaps I’ll post more later.
Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t shy about appropriating material from classic Trek lore. To say much more would require spoilers, but some fans may find this latest re-imagining too derivative of the earlier and perhaps better version. I can see their point, but I’m also a sucker for new spins on old stories. And J.J. Abrams brings some interesting twists that improve upon the original formula. For example, a certain alien species looks way more badass. Benedict Cumberbatch (I still say he’s a refugee from a parallel Dickensian universe) is also one of the more memorable Trek villains to antagonize Kirk in a while.
But I’m still trying to understand why “Lens Flare” isn’t listed in the cast credits.
Over at Slate, blogger and fellow geek Matt Yglesias offers a strong defense of Star Trek and its various iterations. He argues that what continues to make Trek relevant is its firm grounding in progressive values. It offers a vision of a better future that has been made possible by hard work and a commitment to improving the condition of the human race. He then goes on to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each series. He even says some nice things about the much-maligned Voyager.
While my cynicism can sometimes get the best of me, I’ve always appreciated the shiny future depicted in Trek. It seemed like it might be possible to live in a precursor to that world and, in many ways, we do. Star Wars is also wonderful, but its universe can be heavy on the feudalism (what with all the knights and princesses and mystical powers). In the world of Trek, success is determined by smarts and competence; everything else is secondary. That’s a world I want to keep visiting.
If you’re looking for some lunchtime distraction, you can now play several classic Sierra adventure games in your browser. I wasted much of my youth playing these games, so the nostalgia factor on this stuff is pretty high for me. Your mileage may vary. The graphics and interface on these games are both crude, but nothing explodes and spelling counts.
Having thoroughly conquered the American cinematic landscape, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios have decided to focus their superhuman powers on television. ABC has picked up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a new series focusing on the spy agency from The Avengers film and countless comics. The trailer below looks promising and I’m curious to see how much of the existing Marvel Universe will make an appearance. It seems unlikely that Thor or Spiderman would star in an episode, but perhaps we’ll get a Gambit or Black Widow.
Any guess on how many seasons this will last? It’s certainly got geek cred and all the power of Disney behind it, so the show may have staying power. Or it could flop hard if it can’t connect with viewers.
The design for the new Vikings stadium is one of the more striking visions for a sports arena. Its angular shape and glass walls should make for an interesting addition to a skyline that can still be fairly described as generic. I’d still prefer that public dollars not be used to fund its construction (particularly since the plan for producing those public dollars is looking more and more ill-conceived). But if we must have a new stadium, it should at least be appealing to the eye. Let’s hope the design also incorporates strong accessibility principles that make the stadium welcoming to everyone.
And I suppose I can be persuaded to shell out what is likely to be an exorbitant amount to watch the Packers smack the Vikings around in their new home.
Governor Dayton will sign marriage equality into law tomorrow after the bill cleared its final legislative hurdle today. Congratulations again to the legislators and advocates who helped Minnesota take this next step into the 21st century. Special kudos to those legislators who voted in favor of equality even though they hail from districts that supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Such displays of political courage are all too rare in our polarized era.
I’d urge my brother and his partner to come to Minnesota to get married, but they seem willing to wait until equality comes to California. And with a little help from the Supreme Court, they may not have to wait long.
Your reading recommendation for the weekend is the first volume of Locke and Key, the brilliant comic scripted by Joe Hill. The story introduces us to the Locke children, who suffer a horrific family tragedy in the first few pages and find themselves moving across country to start a new life in their father’s New England hometown of Lovecraft. The Lockes are the heirs to the Keyhouse estate, a Gothic mansion that looks like something out of a, well, Lovecraft novel. The children soon discover why their new home is called Keyhouse as the supernatural begins to make its presence known.
I recently read the first volume again and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. Hill’s tight plotting doesn’t skimp on character development; all three Locke kids have distinct personalities that come into full view as they struggle to understand the strangeness creeping into their lives. Subsequent volumes delve into Keyhouse’s history, but Welcome to Lovecraft begins the bizarre tale on a deeply human note.
I’m not in the habit of posting car commercials, but this car commercial features Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto and enough geek references to choke a tribble. And check out the hair on Nimoy! Are those plugs? Either way, he looks damn fine for an octogenarian. Perhaps he could provide some nutritional counseling to Shatner.
Sadly, this is probably the closest we’ll get to seeing them together in another Trek movie.
A few thoughts on the Ender’s Game trailer, which you can watch below:
- Harrison Ford seems like a good choice for the intense Colonel Graff.
- The scenes of the bugger invasion of Earth are a nice touch; the book only mentions the invasions obliquely.
- Those tribal tatts on Mazer Rackham’s face are another nice touch. I had forgotten that Mazer is half Maori.
- I wish we heard more from the Ender and his classmates. Perhaps in a future trailer.
- SPOILER ALERT: I’m not sure why the studio decided to include a rather pivotal scene from the book in a trailer. It’s not obvious to those unfamiliar with the novel, but including this bit seems like an unnecessary reveal.