Lens Flares

Posted June 1, 2013 by ViRo
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I think it’s funny that some reviewers of Star Trek: Into Darkness are up in arms about J.J. Abrams’ use of lens flares. I didn’t even notice them the first time around, so I made sure to look for them during my second viewing of the film. They are mostly noticeable during shots of the bridge, and I like how they make the bridge feel bright, dynamic, and exciting.

Here’s a video from DNews that explains how they’re created:

Click here for a compilation of all the lens flares from the 2009 Star Trek film, via College Humor. It’s like watching an 8-minute version of the film! Pretty cool, actually.

VERDICT: I’m in favor of the lens flares.

Star Trek: Into Darkness – First Impressions (Spoilers)

Posted May 28, 2013 by ViRo
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I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness the Saturday after its release, at the biggest & best theater in my city, and I am happy to say that I LOVED it. Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for giving me exactly what I wanted! For those of us whose love of Star Trek is based primarily in the Kirk/Spock friendship and Enterprise crew relationships, there was so much to hang our hats on in this film. But beyond the iconic characters, the film was simply an exciting and vibrant space action movie, with plenty of humor and a kick-ass villain. Here are some comments on my favorite/least favorite aspects of the film:

What I loved:

  • The density. I’m amazed at how much content was crammed into two hours. Not a second was wasted, but the pace didn’t feel too rushed, either. For me, this was pure escapist entertainment.
  • Star Trek references, character traits, & inside jokes. Bones’ metaphors! A tribble! Mudd’s ship! Gorn babies! Spock has emotions! I know that some reviewers find these things annoying or unoriginal, but I don’t want to see completely original reboot – I’m happy to see the writers borrow from the great stuff of the past.
  • Chris Pine’s acting. Christ Pine’s lips. Chris Pine’s blue eyes. Chris Pine. Although I am eternally Hot 4 Spock, Chris Pine really impressed me this time around. He got to display just about every human emotion throughout the film, and he did it all convincingly. He seemed to embrace every aspect of his role wholeheartedly. And he is so very pretty to look at.
  • Spock’s pursuit of Khan. I loved the sequence where a distraught Spock chases down Khan through the streets of London and unleashes all of his rage on the villain. Even though this is a distressing moment in the film, I always love seeing Spock’s physical power.
  • All things Scotty. Simon Pegg has incredible comedic timing and brings such heart to the role. I laughed out loud whenever he spoke to his little alien assistant.
  • Who’s the real villain? I enjoyed that back-and-forth ride of uncertainty as Kirk and Spock had to determine which side was in the right – Khan? Admiral Marcus? …Or neither?

What I didn’t love:

  • John Cho as Sulu. I’m not sure that I like Sulu’s character in the reboot films. George Takei’s Sulu seems to be lighthearted and a little bit dorky, with a serious/intense/swashbuckling side. John Cho’s Sulu seems quite steely and too-cool-for-school – almost bored. Hopefully I’ll change my mind with further viewings.
  • Plot holes. I don’t need a seamless plot by any means, but the film did leave me with a fair number of questions: Does Starfleet seriously think it’s a good idea to have all captains and first officers gather in a single, windowed room in times of emergency? How did Carol evade the ship’s security so easily, and why is her accent different from her father’s? Why couldn’t McCoy just use the blood of one of Khan’s friends to save Kirk? How did Khan’s ship survive the torpedo explosions to stay mostly intact and crash into London?
  • The gratuitous shot of Carol Marcus in her underwear. Seriously, she needed to get changed right then and there? I was as baffled as Kirk was.

No, the movie wasn’t perfect in every respect – but what movie is?? Part of what I love about Star Trek: TOS is the cheesy/bad/poorly-written moments, so I might as well embrace those moments in the reboot films as well. I would not change one thing about the new film with respect to the Kirk/Spock relationship. I experienced plenty of that excited, stomach-flipping feeling that I love. Bring on Star Trek #3!!

P.S. I don’t think this exact frame made the film cut, but the image is floating around the internet. I love seeing my heroes in peril – and Spock’s hands on Kirk!


1×21 – The Return of the Archons

Posted May 27, 2013 by ViRo
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Premise: The Enterprise discovers a population controlled by a powerful being called Landru. Most of the citizens walk around slowly and placidly, speaking of peace and tranquility, except during a strange brawl called a “festival.” While investigating, Captain Kirk and his landing party are taken captive and slated to be “absorbed” into Landru’s control. The few rebels who have evaded Landru’s possession think that the Enterprise crew are the Archons, come back to save them. Kirk has to figure out who or what Landru is, in order to save his landing party and his ship.

The best things about this episode are the landing party’s costumes and the humorously archaic special effects. Here’s a taste of both:




30:55 – Spock attempts to do a mind meld with Dr. McCoy, who has been “absorbed” into Landru. He says that it’s impossible because McCoy is “under extremely powerful control.”


36:08 – I believe this is the first mention of the Prime Directive!

Kirk: “The plug must be pulled.”
Spock: “Sir -”
Kirk: “Landru must die.”
Spock: “Captain…our Prime Directive of non-interference…”
Kirk: “That refers to a living, growing culture. You think this one is?”

37:40 – Spock punches a guard and looks a little bit surprised at himself. Kirk says to him, “Isn’t that somewhat old-fashioned?” We’ve seen Spock punch people before, but it’s true that he prefers the nerve pinch. Speaking of nerve pinches, Spock uses nerve pinch #6 in this episode at 40:10.

46:53 – Kirk somehow talks Landru’s computer into destroying itself. The machine ran for 6,000 years with at most minor repairs, but then overheats when Kirk challenges its conception of how to create a peaceful, perfect society. Wow! Seeya, Landru!


48:30 -Back on the bridge:

Spock: “Marvelous.”
Kirk: “What?”
Spock: “Landru, Captain. A marvelous feat of engineering. A computer capable of directing the lives of millions of human beings.”
Kirk: “But only a machine, Mr. Spock. The original Landru programmed it with all his knowledge, but he couldn’t give it his wisdom, his compassion, his understanding, his soul, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: “Predictably, metaphysical. I prefer the concrete, the graphable, the provable.”
Kirk: [Smiling] “You’d make a splendid computer, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: [With sincerity] “That is very kind of you, Captain.”

Haha, it’s cute that Spock takes it as a complement to be called a computer. I am certain that he would make a superior computer to Landru.


This is a strange,  annoying, and repetitive episode, one of my least favorite of the season. It’s made a bit more worthwhile by seeing Kirk and Spock in some adorable suits. The name “Landru” must be spoken 65 times, with “peace” and “tranquility” not far behind. I still have no idea who/what the Archons are, and I’m really not sure what the purpose/meaning of the 6pm-6am festival was. Despite its flaws, this episode is important in that it contains the first reference to the Prime Directive.


Four Years

Posted May 17, 2013 by ViRo
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It’s been four years since the first Star Trek reboot came out in theaters – May of 2009. For four years I have been patiently, excitedly, anxiously waiting for the sequel. During those years, I’ve experienced quite a lot:

  • Broke up with my ex, dated a few people, met my husband, and got married
  • Finished graduate school and moved to a new city
  • Traveled to France, Vietnam, and Thailand
  • Welcomed a new nephew
  • Went on a road trip across the United States
  • Worked several different jobs
  • Started this blog, then got way too busy and never finished my episode reviews

Now, the time is finally here – tomorrow, I will be seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. My expectations are high. My fangirl excitement level is through the roof. Most importantly, I feel poised to resume Hot 4 Spock!

Here we go!


1×20 – Court Martial

Posted November 11, 2010 by ViRo
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Premise: After surviving an ion storm, the Enterprise is orbiting Starbase 11 for repairs. One man was killed in the storm – Lt. Commander Finney, who had been aboard a research pod. Kirk submits a testimony that he jettisoned the pod after red alert, but the ship’s log shows he did so before red alert. Finney’s daughter and other officers at the Starbase all think Kirk murdered Finney. Kirk is put on trial…

16:15 – The computer in the courtroom reads Spock’s credentials:

Serial number: S179-276FP
Service rank: Lieutenant Commander
Position: First Officer, Science Officer
Current assignment: USS Enterprise
Commendations: Vulcanian Scientific Legion of Honor, Awards of Valor, Twice Decorated by Star Fleet Command

I want to learn more about the “Vulcanian Scientific Legion of Honor” – it sounds pretty awesome. Think they have a yearly research symposium?

Vulcanian vs Vulcan

17:45 – Spock calls himself a “Vulcanian.” Is this interchangeable with “Vulcan”?

Spock: “I’m half Vulcanian. Vulcanians do not speculate.”

18:00 – Spock defends Kirk’s honor, like a good first officer (and good friend) should.

Spock: “Gentlemen, human beings have characteristics, just as inanimate objects do. It is impossible for Captain Kirk to act out of panic, or malice. It is not his nature.”
Prosecutor: “In your opinion.”
Spock: [Unhappy with the qualifier, but acquiescing.] “Yes. In my opinion.”

45:30 – Hooray, it’s the return of ripped-shirt Kirk! Finney has sabotaged the Enterprise, and Kirk has moments to “effect repairs” before the ship falls out of orbit and burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. Apparently, “effecting repairs” consists of nothing but crawling through a tunnel and yanking a few rubber tubes out of the wall.

49:20 – A shot of our threesome at the helm:

Star Trek References – The X-Files, Criminal Minds

Posted January 9, 2010 by ViRo
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I’ve been sitting around watching way too much TV this evening. To my surprise, both The X-Files and Criminal Minds brought me back to Star Trek!

The X-Files, Demons:

Mulder: “You’re a doctor, not a lawyer, Scully.”

OK, this obviously isn’t intended to be a Star Trek reference, but for the rest of my life, every time I hear someone say “I’m a doctor” or “You’re a doctor,” I’m going to think of Bones.

Criminal Minds, Compulsion:

Garcia: “Okay you know how on Star Trek when captain Kirk asks McCoy to do something totally impossible and McCoy says ‘Dammit Jim I’m a doctor, not a miracle worker?'”
Morgan: “Hey, what are you telling me, not to expect a miracle?”
Garcia: “No, I’m saying I’m not a doctor.”

Here are two more Criminal Minds Star Trek references:

1×19 – Tomorrow is Yesterday

Posted January 8, 2010 by ViRo
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Premise: After accidentally traveling back in time to 1969, the Enterprise rescues USAF Captain John Christopher from his crippled fighter jet. The crew struggles to return to their own time, while simultaneously returning Christopher to the Air Force, removing his knowledge of the future, and all record of contact with the Enterprise. (I took this from Wikipedia…too lazy to write my own summary this time.)

My first thought — oops, did I put on the wrong show? I’m not certain, but I think every episode so far has started with a shot of the Enterprise. This episode begins with a shot of an Air Force jet. But soon I realize that we are on Earth in the 60s – somehow the Enterprise has traveled back in time! Look at how adorable the cardboard cut-out Enterprise looks against the blue sky:

3:00 – Ooh, it’s a Spock/Uhura moment! Er, sort of. Uhura is lying pitifully on the floor, after the ship has been violently rocked by a cosmic event. Spock asks “Are you alright, Lieutenant?” Then, in one swift and rather unsympathetic motion, he hoists her up and puts her back in her chair, revealing a sliver of her white underwear in the process. Be a little more gentle, Spock!

13:03 – Eye roll!! We’ve got some blatant sexism here…but that’s part of the charm of Star Trek, right? The ship’s computer is broken – it’s stuck speaking in a sexy female voice, and it keeps calling Jim “Dear.” Spock gives a huge eye-roll (which unfortunately is too difficult to capture in a still). The computer is “affectionate” and “has an unfortunate tendency to giggle.” Spock gives a second mini eye roll when he explains that the computer was previously repaired on a female dominated-planet where they gave it a personality – “female, of course.” Their disdain for the female computer is irksome, but I’ll admit I wouldn’t want my computer talking to me in a phone sex voice either.

25:35 – We learn that Spock is an amazing multitasker and can do complex theoretical mathematics in his head. Spock is standing at a podium with his hands behind his back when a frantic McCoy comes up and asks him a few questions. Then McCoy interrupts Spock’s answer:

McCoy: “Shouldn’t you be working on your time warp calculations, Mr. Spock?!?”
Spock: [Eyebrow raise] “I am.”

McCoy looks shocked and annoyed. Ha.

31:00 – This is a hilarious fight sequence – you have to watch it. It makes me want to take a stage fighting class. The best part is when Kirk leaps into the guards’ arms:

I also love his skillful jump over a crawling guard:

38:24 – Sulu performs an amazing neck-chop that seems to work equally well as the Vulcan nerve pinch:

Baby Boomers, admit it – you tried both the neck-chop and the nerve-pinch on your friends. And someone always wound up crying.

38:50 – Spock touches Jim’s hand!!! After Jim punches out another guard, Spock takes Jim’s wrist and asks, “Don’t you find that painful, Captain?” Jim’s response: “Yes, I do.”

Cute cute cute!

Just a nice picture of Spock with a new hand position:

Note: Vulcan nerve pinch #4 and #5 occur in this episode.

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