Monday, 31 March 2014

Stalled Trek: Amutt Time



One of the first Kick Starter projects I backed and the movie was great fun, I own the DVD and have backed the upcoming The Wobbling Dead which has launched a mini campaign to cover additional costs in DVD replication.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Devil's Bargain

Devil's Bargain was the first book from author Tony Daniel that I've read, a stand alone original series Star Trek novel which proved itself to be rather entertaining despite a rather ominous cover on the paperback.

The story begins with the Enterprise on a humanitarian mission to the planet of Vesbius which was once a Federation world but took an independent path while still keeping close trading ties to nearby Federation worlds. An asteroid is closing on the world and Kirk is shocked to find that the people are not going to leave but have been digging huge tunnels believing they will survive the initial impact and immediate fallout but Spock is clear in that it's an extinction event. As the story unfolds we find that the 20,000 or so people on the planet have a very good reason for not wanting to leave their world and it is tied to their talents in genetic manipulation which has also given birth to an element of xenophobia within their culture.
I stayed away from the feature that was done on Devil's Bargain and Tony Daniel in the Trek.Fm podcast Literary Treks Ep 14 last year, in any media I don't like to be spoiled beyond in a books case the blurb so the story and it's twist came as a nice surprise. It's an interesting idea that ideas and beliefs no matter how they have been worked through by generations past continue to raise their heads sometimes in a similar situations and sometimes in a totally different situation.
Without giving too much away one of the best aspects of the book was the interweaving of an original series species into a significant aspect of the story, when Tony writes about them experiencing their first taste of space travel and the freedom offered by what amounted to an unexpected space walk it was inspirational. The way the minds of the youngsters were expanded to encompass the wonders and joys the universe could offer counterpointed some of the attitudes on Vesbius clearly defining the goals of Star Trek story telling.
Devil's Bargain is currently available as a paperback and ebook from Amazon UK and US and other many other retailers such as the Book Depository.
Literary Treks 14
Tony Daniel Facebook Page


Bill & Ted Steelbook

The Blu-ray steelbook of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure arrived this week, the movie is twenty five years old if you can believe that:)


Such a fun movie, not without it's flaws and with an interesting back story but it's so easy to sit back and simply enjoy the exploits of these two young men as they journey through time.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure IMDB  WIKI
Bill & Ted's Excellent Online Adventure And Podcast

Monday, 17 March 2014

North To Alaska

A package from Amazon US just arrived and contained the Blu-ray of the John Wayne comedy North To Alaska which also stars Stewart Granger and Capucine, a fun movie even though from what I have read not the best experience to make. Initial impressions are of a very nice transfer, audio nothing to shout about but video is more important for these older movies otherwise you might as well stick to the DVD. IMDB


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Rewatch Part 5

Return of the Fighting 69th

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Episode 8

A freighter is stolen from the hanger of the Earth Defence Directorate and is chased down by a squadron comprised of Buck, Wilma and two younger pilots on a training mission. The stolen freighter gets away and it is revealed that it was carrying some recently discovered weaponised nerve gas agent due for destruction and we learn that two arms dealers with a grudge against Wilma and the Earth now have the capability to wipe all life from the face of the Earth. Corliss and Roxanne have their base within an asteroid field making it almost impossible to navigate with modern fighters and so in an inspired twist the idea is proposed to bring out of retirement Wilma's former instructor who along with his former squadron (Fighting 69th) using slower and older fighter/bombers to raid the base and destroy the nerve gas.
Buck and Wilma are captured during the mission and the remaining ships hide in the asteroids, within the base they team up with a deaf human slave girl (Alicia played by Katherine Wiberg) who helps them to escape just prior to the base being destroyed by the relics of the Directorate.
Never too old to fly
First off I didn't buy a freighter could outrun Starfighters even with modifications, lets not even get into how it got into another star system. Once again we meet some fighter pilots who are simply not even close to being the best of the best, they were not professional and ultimately downright stupid. Interesting to see that Earth humans are slaves in some areas of the galaxy and that yes there is another spy in the directorate, how else would they know about the nerve agent and it's transportation. A good use of the bar scene from the last episode, painted yes but the same and Wilmas nick name being Dizzy Dee, never was going to be Double D was it but she's still rocking those oh so tight pants. There was some good interaction between Wilma and her former instructor who she had to force into retirement,  Peter Graves played Major Noah Cooper and it was a good touch to have what could have been a filming model used as a prop. Corliss and Roxanne were wonderfully over the top, both scarred and damaged after their ship had burnt and crashed after Wilma brought them down a few years previously.
Corliss and Roxanne
Good to know that sign language doesn't change in 500 years even though Alicia acts rather recklessly but it's perhaps a part of the story that added some depth and gave us the extra happy ending yet for all that it's pure nonsense scifi when it comes to the attack on the base. Spaceships acting like they are craft dependent upon gravity and lift to fly but in the spirit of many a story we get the big payoff with a little twist to just delay the cheering the writers expected of us:)
A rather good episode, very good if often used central plot and cheesy enough to make you smile without the need to condemn the episode from the couch.

Return of the Fighting 69th IMDB

Unchained Woman

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Episode 9

Buck once again goes undercover for the Earth Directorate in an attempt to remove a prisoner from a prison facility on a world with no set extradition treaty with the Earth. The woman Jen Burton played by Jamie Lee Curtis was the girlfriend of the space pirate Malary Pantera and they believe she will know the identity of his source within the directorate who is supplying the shipping information allowing him to attack the convoys. The escape goes well but the bad guys thanks to their spy know of the plan and capture Wilma while Buck and Jen have to deal with a very very driven andorid guard who just doesn't know when to quit.
Big on Red
So a prison break story, had for a second the hint of a tale of turmoil within a women's correctional facility but wasn't to be yet who are the bad guys? Wilma and company illegally seize a spaceship, stun the android guard and remove the prisoner to allow Buck to take his place, they then engineer a explosive and break out again from a legal facility. It was also a little obvious who the spy within the Directorate was, he came across all shifty right from the get go but at least we had the writing and delivery to support his existence and ultimately his reveal and capture. Credit to the android guard who really has a boner for Buck, ignores dozens of escaping prisoners to follow Buck and Jen and then take on the whole town it seemed and yes a good use of an old western set on a studio backlot. The young Jamie was full of beans, a snug outfit and buns of steel when dragged covered in sand from the clutches of the sand eel (?) and lets not forget watching get on all fours facing away from the camera, oh my:)
A nice set piece as the wall exploded and the android raided the party, lucky for Wilma and Buck but a little silly to see that just removing the prison bracelet was also that was required to fool this obviously advanced android. I did laugh myself silly as Buck threw away his blaster and proceed to fight hand to hand, granted it looked good but come on.
Unchained Woman again it had it's moments, a little slow and drawn out in places but the eye candy was rather impressive, the android guard very Terminator and we had a excellent performance by Robert Cornthwaite as the Ambassador.
Who hired the stripper then?
Unchained Woman IMDB

Just Because.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Rewatch Part 4

The Plot to Kill a City, Part 1 and 2

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Episodes 6 and 7

Buck goes undercover to aid in the capture of a notorious criminal and when a threat to the Earth is uncovered he agrees to pose as this criminal and infiltrate the group who are targeting New Chicago. You know as plot synopsis goes that pretty sums up the episode and this is a two parter so hopefully a lot more was going on but surprisingly not that much.

Party got out of hand.
So the episode in a little more detail, not quite sure why Buck was helping Wilma capture Raphael Argus since as we know he is not officially part of the the defence force infact they make a point of asking for his help when he poses as Raphael. We'll let it pass otherwise there wouldn't be a show called Buck Rogers and come on who would want to miss Buck hairy chest an all not to mention Wilma rocking the slinky dress as they go on their mission. The Legion of Death were a little bit comic book and hard to take them seriously, there is nothing about them that really provokes fear and since the Directorate have files on them it seems strange they are freely moving around the galaxy but I guess in this "universe" the Earth is really a second rate player. Anyhow Buck successfully infiltrates the group and even dodges the proverbial bullet when he meets Joella Cameron played by Markie Post a former girlfriend of Argus who for her own reasons plays along with Buck, fortunate that:)
Joella with Twiki
The Directorate is attacked once again when it's launch bays are sabotaged revealing a paid traitor in their midsts, it seemed strange the guy was casually watching the mayhem considering if the place blew he was going with it but it does explain how bombs were being planted in the complex. It seems easy for any bad guys to directly enter a secure complex or simply bribe a human into acts of treason but again it has to be or the story goes nowhere. Buck having passed the initiation is learning of the ultimate goal of striking New Chicago via it's power generation complex which uses a matter/anti-matter system which to me seems suicidal on a planetary surface, I would have thought cooling would be a serious issues since it's built in a wasteland so no water and of course no benefit from the vacuum of space.
Well to cut a long story short and believe me this two parter had plenty of padding Buck is unmasked but successfully convinces the League his is a freelance assassin looking to score big which gives him time to make an escape with the aid of a Varek and eventually follows the League back to Earth where they have already secured access to the power plant by threatening one of the few engineers who have access. Now this was very clever, intelligent use of influence to get what they want combined with convincing the mark they are thieves rather than terrorists. It was however a little silly how such a high value facility is so lightly protected especially considering we know the galaxy is a dangerous place and Earth no longer seems to have a defence shield. So the terrorists disrupt the magnetic containment of the matter and antimatter and then Varek again makes the decision to act and a fight breaks out which gives the defence force enough time to arrive and secure the control room. It was rather amusing how often these bad ass Legion of Death use stun weapons, I thought the engineer had bought it but no he was up and about in time to offer the almost suicidal task that was required to prevent the explosion. Varek again steps forward and phasing through the containment and resets the controls but is tagged by a stray atom of antimatter, no sure how he survives but it gives us that "all will be well" moment as Wilma treats him as normal person and offers help to ease his pain. 

It's not done though, the rest of the Legion flee the planet and Buck and Wilma in their starfighters give chase, now we get the ridiculous use of telekinesis to control Buck's ship which given the speed, mass and range seems a little bit much. Not to worry though Wilma saves Buck and the crowd cheered, even a couple of decades ago the hero being saved by a sidekick let alone a woman was rare in an action show. The episode wraps up with a comic moment as the gang get together and we see that Joella will be starting a new life and Twiki may be channeling Buck a little too much:)
The Plot to Kill a City isn't a bad episode, the plot isn't good enough to sustain two episodes though which is where your attention could end up going bye bye, edit it down and it would be a pretty tight story with some very good ideas. On the eye candy front they went to two, Markie and Wilma were rockin' and even the naughty Sherese could turn a few heads if she smiled once and a while:)

Just Because:)
The Plot to Kill a City: Part 1 IMDB
The Plot to Kill a City: Part 2 IMDB


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Goodies

I picked up a few things from Amazon this week, the first the German Blu-ray boxset of the cancelled Primeval New World after it had a small but significant price cut. The others were two original series Star Trek paperbacks, the first by Greg Cox and the second by Tony Daniel.



Sin City: A Dame To Kill For - Official Trailer


I still enjoy watching the original movie but it's not exactly a story telling masterpiece and neither is this one but no doubt it'll be fun to watch.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Rewatch Part 3

Vegas In Space

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Episode 5

A young woman Felina Redding is kidnapped by rivals of her employer as she has seen some critical data that will allow them to undermine the criminal operation she is unknowingly involved in. Her employer the often investigated by never proved crime lord Amos Armat approaches the Dr Huer with an offer, rescue the girl and he will turn over all his records which include the smuggling, slave trading, extortion etc etc he has been involved in and as a bonus the specs for the latest design of Hatchett fighter that is proving to be too good for the Earth's Starfighters. Buck along with Major Marla Landers go undercover at the huge gambling city that is run by the criminal syndicate controlled by Morgan Velosi and who is responsible for the kidnapping. Buck is in heaven out playing the computer based gambling machines and befriends a hostess Tangie but the mission eventually is discovered and they have to fight their way out of the tightly controlled city with the help of Tangie and with the successful rescue Armat provides the proof and data he agreed to and we find that for his daughter he would sacrifice everything.
Buck with Tangie
Vegas In Space was entertaining but lets go into a little more detail. Loved the kettle drums in the opening sequences, very 2001 and really added value to the show, a nice callback (and money saving idea) to continue with the Hatchett fighters but with new operating software which was also central to the plot. How great was it to see Cesar playing the bad guy of course but really grabbing the scenes he was in and of course Alicia became a familiar face from the more popular US soaps and really hit the mark with her scream not to mention looking stunning. I did think it was a little much that Buck was practicing his putting in his room with a hole in the floor, not sure how sensible that was but of then Wilma appeared in the spandex and well everything else became background:) I'm pretty sure it was Major Landers who went on the mission with Buck because Wilma couldn't get out of those pants fast enough to join him but interesting at this stage to sideline a lead actor.
Landers in disguise with Velosi
I loved the idea that computers couldn't cheat, poor deluded fools and of course surely card counting was not reintroduced to this century by Buck Rogers but good to know prostitutes and indentured slaves are still a viable proposition as we see with Tangie showing quite a bit of skin for a family scifi show. The rescue was pretty well done, it relied on the stupidity of the goons of course and some strange designs of the complex with no sound proofing, two doors on private rooms but not to worry. I laughed myself silly wondering where Tangie was supposed to hide the blaster, there are limits and Buck seemed to have little regard to casualties when blowing up the hidden charges he had placed earlier. Finally we get the conclusion with Felina meeting Amos and the bargain being honoured and we learn why he was willing to sacrifice everything, family it seems despite his own terrible crimes meant something to him and the line "Good, it's best that you don't" sums up the episode nicely.

A fun episode with a nice idea behind it despite the cheese with Buck being the gifted one bringing his "human" touch to this world computerised gambling systems, he thinks for himself as he says but it's basically a variant of card counting. An excellent line up of guest actors starting with Cesar Romero playing Amos Armat and Richard Lynch as Morgan Velosi, Juanin Clay played Maj Marla Landers, Pamela Susan Shoop played Tangie and Ana Alicia was Felina Redding.

Vegas In Space IMDB