Wednesday Review: Star Trek, Taking Chance, Valkyrie

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This past three-day weekend I watched three pretty good movies.  They don’t really have anything in common, except the obvious.  One starred Tom Cruise and one starred Kevin Bacon, who once starred together in A Few Good Men, and Tom Cruise also stars in the Mission:  Impossible movies, which are based on the late 60’s early 70’s TV series which starred Leonard Nimoy (1969-1971) who also starred in the original Star Trek television series and the new Star Trek movie which was directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed Tom Cruise in the third Mission:  Impossible movie, which also starred Lawerence Fishburne, who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon.  But that’s so obvious its barely even worth mentioning.

On Sunday afternoon Jen and I went to your our local movie house to see Star Trek.  Gotta say, not a Trekkie.  In fact of all the 57 Star Trek related movies that have been made, I’d have to say my favorite is Trekkies, which more or less makes fun of Trekkies, in a friendly my-big-brother-is-teasing-me sort of way.  I wasn’t too hip to see this new treatment at first, but heard some good things via word of mouth and Jen wanted to see it, mostly due to hunky Chris Pine as James T. Kirk I suspect, so I went for it.  Besides, I’m a fan of J.J. Abrams work.  I dug Cloverfield, was a late but now devoted Lost convert, and I even liked Alias.  And the aforementioned MI: 3, which felt a lot like a souped up episode of Alias except with Tom Cruise in the role of Sydney Bristow instead of Jennifer Garner, which seemed oddly appropriate.  I gotta say, I was impressed with this latest foray into the final frontier.  The action was great, the story was pretty good, and the characters and the actors who played them I thought were a good mix homage and originality.  I was just familiar enough with the Star Trek culture to catch most of the inside and self-referential gags.  It didn’t take itself too seriously, which in my estimation has always been a negative hallmark of the Star Trek world, but seriously enough not to be a parody.  All in all, well worth the time and money spent at the theater.  So if you’re a non-Trekkie (or Trekker, as I understand they prefer to be called) go without fear.  You will probably enjoy it.  If you are a Trekker, check out this review from Kludge for that perspective.

Monday morning, Memorial Day, I watched a timely and appropriate film called Taking Chance.  Made for HBO and based on a true story, Taking Chance stars Kevin Bacon as Marine lieutenant colonel Mike Strobl, who co-wrote the movie, who escorts the body of a Marine killed in Iraq back to his hometown.  That’s really it.  Its a simple and moving tale, not dressed up with phony emotion or preachiness, about a man stung by guilt for what he feels is his not doing enough.  His task is both simple and difficult, in a way merely tagging along with the remains as they pass from plane to plane to hearse, but burdensome in dealing with the emotions of what he is doing, both his own and those of the people he meets along the way, including the family of the deceased.  A perfect movie for Memorial Day, to remember those who have fallen and appreciate those who honor them by watching over them as they make the final trip home.

The movie weekend wrapped up Monday night with Valkyrie, the story of the attempt on Adolph Hitler’s life during WWII that nearly worked.  Being a WWII aficionado, I was aware of the story and thought it was definitely fodder for a thrilling motion picture.  And it still will.  Not to be too hard on it, I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t as thrilling as I had hoped.  Much has been said about Tom Cruise in the roll as Lt. Col. Karl Stauffenberg and his being the only character without an accent of some kind, but it wasn’t quite as distracting as I thought it’d be.  The movie is pretty accurate historically, as historical dramas go, which is a plus, and it is a fascinating story, but I don’t think it reached its full potential.  Worth watching, especially if you’re a WWII buff, but a better renter than go-to-theaterer.  Which is good, because it hasn’t been in the theater in months.

So there’s my first Wednesday review in quite a while.  What?  It’s Friday?  Fine, disregard everything I just wrote.

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One thought on “Wednesday Review: Star Trek, Taking Chance, Valkyrie

  1. Thanks for the link, and yea from a non Trek fan perspective, I think it was a well rounded action movie. I do plan on owning it.

    Okay, heard a funny quote yesterday. “Valkyrie is a great movie if you can accept the premises that Tom Cruise infiltrated Nazi Germany.” Guess they didn’t find him too convincing.

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