Yes, Mr. Scott, you can call me Captain Legolas.
Predicting the quality and durability of a movie can be tougher than walking into Mordor with a Ring of Power. Predicting the quality of a trilogy is even harder. I, however, am ready and willing to take on such a monumental mission….quest…thing.
How can I be so confident? I called it right on the brilliance of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy before The Hobbit was even released. (See The 3 Hobbit Trilogy Thrill-ogy)
Since the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, reviewers have squawked about various aspects of the project: making a trilogy out of a short book, the experience of High Frame Rate 3D, the problems of pulling a sled with rabbits. While reviewers fuss, movie goers have been flocking to theaters world-wide and having the time of their lives.
If you read this blog, you know I’m a fan of director Peter Jackson and of All Things Tolkien, so you might think that I am unqualified to objectively review The Hobbit or to predict the likely quality of the remainder of Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy. You would be wrong. Wrong like “Saruman thinks he will one day rule Middle Earth” wrong.
The proof of my ability to gauge a franchise’s performance? I’m a huge Star Trek fan, but despite my fan-boy status, I’ve always known when a Star Trek movie was going to stand the test of time and when it was a flop. The first Trek movie was released before I had a license to drive, and though I’ve largely enjoyed the Trek movies on some level, my responses to them when they were released have played out to be accurate over time.
So, I submit to you…
My Reactions to the Star Trek Movies At The Time of Their Release That Now Validate
My Overwhelmingly Positive Reaction to The Hobbit.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Wow! Star Trek is back! The ship looks AWESOME! I love the 25 minute scene where Kirk’s shuttle flies all around the outside of the ship! Golly, Scotty gained weight! Gosh the acting is wooden, but STAR TREK IS BACK! (Cut me some slack, I was 15)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Oh, that’s right, THIS is what Star Trek is supposed to be. Gosh, that Vulcan girl is pretty… is her hair style regulation? Wait, Spock dies. I’m not supposed to cry at a Star Trek movie. That’s OK, it’s dramatic, and I know Trek… this means there will be another movie, and Spock will be back. This rocks.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Darn it, I got choked up again because they repeated Spock dying at the beginning. Why is Jim from Taxi playing a Klingon? That’s weird. Why is the pretty Vulcan played by a different person now? This was enjoyable, but more of a “fan” movie… I’m sure they’ll make another one. Fun.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Scratch that, THIS was fun! Time travel, colorful metaphors, danger, whales, and the Punk on Bus (bless you Kirk Thatcher). The new, funkier Spock is awesome. Non-fans will love this, and it was so much fun and wrapped up so nicely, they could stop making Trek movies now and I’d be happy. Brilliant.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (aka The Search for God)
I was partly right, they SHOULD have stopped with Star Trek IV. Weird. Bad. Had a few funny lines. Sad.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
What? Captain Von Trapp as a one-eyed, Shakespeare-quoting Klingon? Perfect. There’s another pretty Vulcan girl! Oh, and she’s eeeeevil. Awesome. Nicholas Meyer is my favorite screenwriter! (He wrote Trek IV too) This is a great send off for the original cast. Classic.
Star Trek VII: Generations
I like Next Generation and I like Kirk, sooo this was fun, except that they killed Kirk and his last words were “It was fun.” Ronald D. Moore is my least favorite screenwriter. Some day, he’d better re-boot Battlestar Galactica as a really cool, dark TV series. Only then will I forgive him.
Star Trek VIII: First Contact
OK, I’ll go ahead and forgive Ronald D. Moore NOW. Borg! Time travel! The end of life as we know it! Hey wait, I’m starting to notice that I like the even-numbered movies best. Superb.
Star Trek IX: Insurrection
Proof of that even-numbered thing. This feels like an episode of the TV series, but not a great one. Now I miss Ronald D. Moore. Riker flies the Enterprise like a video gamer with only a joystick for a control. That was kind of techie cool, but that was about it. Flat.
Star Trek X: Nemesis
In a word: Emesis.
Oh, and they killed Data. He won’t be back. Star Trek may not be back either. Bummer.
Star Trek XI: Star Trek
Alias…LOST…Now Star Trek! JJ Abrams, you are my hero! Completely awesome.
See? I got them all right.
So, now that I’ve seen The Hobbit 3 times, I have validation that my Hobbit enthusiasm is well founded. The story moves along with great purpose. Each scene is motivated and advances both the plot and the characters. Great pacing. Great casting. Great music. Great effects. And High Frame Rate 3D? It’s definitely different, but I’ll give it credit that I didn’t feel cross-eyed watching it and the clarity is remarkable.
Now if we could just get Peter Jackson and JJ Abrams to work together to create Star Trek Into Middle Earth. Hmmm….logical.