My text response to Confused Matthew's Star Trek review...

Let me start by saying, I really enjoyed your review, even if I disagreed with a large part of it. I didn't disagree with all of it, just certain things... however, your insight was extremely interesting, and you brought up a lot of good points.

Before I actually talk about the review, I'd like to explain something. My comment on your video stated that "1. Loved your insight, even if I don't agree. 2. Not so much Stan's... he struck me as a person who went into the movie hating it, thus wasn't open to anything BUT hating it. I think your review would have been better had he not been involved." I feel like I need to clear this up... I don't mean to insult Stan, or say he doesn't know what he's talking about or anything... what I mean is, a lot of his review just seemed like he wasn't willing to give the movie a chance, like he went in hating it already, and just spent the movie picking out things that he hated about it. The only reason I say that is because I went into the Dark Knight the same way, and had a similar reaction to that movie. IMO, his flat out, no matter what the movie did I hated it attitude kind of pulled away from your (Matthew's) review. It made it seem less credible.

Now, a lot of your points I completely agree with. For instance, Nero was not my favorite character... he was definitely interesting, but in terms of villains, I felt he was extremely weak. I don't know if it was Bana's execution of the character, or the character itself, but I just wasn't enamored with him... he was no Khan, and he was CERTAINLY no General Chang. He didn't say a whole lot, and the scenes where he was supposed to be "silent and intense" were pretty pathetic. Nero would do well to take a few lessons from Kirill*. And his motivation? I agree... pretty weak. My planet suffered a fate, so I'm gonna destroy all the planets in the federation? Good plan, man. You know what they say, and entire federation of planets for an eye.

HOWEVER - I do want to point out one thing. I think you're wrong about Nero knowing that Spock was trying to save his planet. It was my understanding that Spock told the Romulan Ambassadors that he would try to save their planet, and that he was too late, and as he was creating the black hole, Nero showed up from a mining expedition he was on, to find Spock, a black hole where Romulas was, and no Romulas. He then drew the conclusion that Spock had used the Red Matter to destroy Romulas... and he went street rat crackers, feeling the need to destroy Spock's planet and making him feel the pain he himself felt. It doesn't make his plan any more interesting, but it does make it a tad bit less weak.

Also - I'd like to address your problem with Red Matter. You stated that (and it could have been Stan, I don't remember) Red Matter did one of two things, even if you used it the exact same way: destroyed planets, and sent you back in time. If I'm correct, when Red Matter was used to create a singularity, the matter upon which the singularity was created was destroyed as the black hole was created. Because the black hole is created in the center of the planet, the planet thus collapses upon itself. However, after the black hole has been established, anything that's sucked into said black hole suffers a different fate than that of the planet. Let me also point out that the physics of the movie did not only hint at time travel, but alternate/parallel realities. Seeing as no one has ever been in a black hole, the physics and laws of how one operates are completely theoretical... so, anything is possible.

I didn't feel product placement was that bad, I saw the Nokia plug as sort of a cute little shout out, kind of a "hey, we're in the future, but some things withstood the test of time." I didn't even catch the Budweiser one, I was far too focused on Slusho in that scene.

The biggest thing I disagreed with was your complaint that we didn't get to know the characters. You were correct to a degree... we didn't get to learn every aspect of every character... but we did learn a bit. Enough to understand why each character reacted the way they did, and enough to want to know more about each character. I don't feel like this was a bad move... the contrary, I think it was a smart one.

As we've seen displayed many times in movie adaptations of comic books, it's never a good idea to put all your character's cards on the table in one movie... and definitely not in the first movie. It makes the movie slow and uninteresting... sure, you get GREAT character development, but the main conflict ends up arising and being dealt with in the last 30 minutes of the movie. I.E. X-Men, Spider-man, The Fantastic Four, etc. etc., so on and so forth.

Now, I feel I should say, I'm a sucker for character development... I love it, and a movie without it isn't worth my time. But character development without a plot isn't worth my time, either. I'd much rather have a number of movies, over which the characters are developed slowly, than 1 movie where the characters are completely understood, followed by a pretty good sequel with a GREAT conflict, but little to no character development, and wrapping things up with a third installment, in which we try to do everything we could have done well, had we not spent so much time talking about what Kirk was like when he got his first set of leggos. Look at the original series. Were the characters developed in one episode? No. They had season after season, episode after episode, to explore themselves, find out what they wanted, who they were, why they were that person, etc. etc. Which was then followed by movies that still further developed the characters. Even when it ended, there was still so much about each character we didn't know. That, to me, is AMAZING character development.

This movie doesn't have the luxury of following a tv show, because it's set before it, and it's directed toward a crowd that didn't watch the tv show. However, that doesn't mean it needs to spend all of it's time developing the characters. Abram's has always had a Mystery Box approach to his productions... he shows us this thing, and while he may show us a lot or a little about this thing, he will never show us EVERYTHING. It's what keeps people coming back for more... the need for answers you know you probably won't get. In Star Trek, I think he applied that to his character - we learn a bit about them. Who they are, where they stand in Starfleet, a bit about their personalities... but we don't learn them 100%. Or even 50%. We learn enough to get to know them, and enough to want to know more. And, as I said before, slow character development is a beautiful thing.

I'm going to be a nerd and use the Halo games as an example. I realize they're extremely popular, and surprise surprise, someone likes them, but my reasons for liking them surprisingly aren't like everyone else's. They're my favorite games because of the storyline and character development... and I feel like they're the perfect example for what I'm trying to explain.

Halo 1 introduced us to Master Chief, Sergeant Johnson, The Covenant, the Flood, Cortana, all that good stuff. We learned little to nothing about them, but we learned enough to want to play the second game and learn of their fates. In the second game we learn a LOT more about Master Chief and The Arbiter, while still having that air of mystery about them. (At the end of the second game, I was still unsure as to whether or not the Arbiter was on our side.) And finally, in Halo 3, we learn a bit more, while STILL having that slight air of mystery, the need to know more, even though we've learned so much already. The story comes to an end, whilst still leaving small room for expansion and elaboration.

I feel that, if the new Star Trek movies take this approach, not only will it help the movies, but it'll be reminiscent of the old series.

I don't want to spend too much time defending the characters themselves, but I will say, I don't think Kirk was too obnoxious, or that Scotty was merely comic relief... and I adored Bones.

Like I said, I respected your review, and honestly, it was a really good one. Most of your reasons for disliking the film were well thought out, and make sense. Regardless, I still love the movie, and want to see it again.

I'd also like to say that your review of Nemesis has made me want to rewatch the movie... I didn't really care for it the first time, but I wouldn't mind giving it another shot. Again, GREAT review, and I hope this isn't taken the wrong way - it's merely my response to your review. :)

(EdWood Scissorhands)

*I hated the Bourne Supremecy, but I felt the portrayal of Kirill was amazing... he had very few lines throughout the movie, and the most powerful/intense scenes he was in, he said nothing. It's why I used him as an example.

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Renovations, Thank-you's, Bowling Nights, and Barbecues

For those who haven't noticed, I've redone the blog! :D Made a new banner, new color scheme/layout, even a new font! It took a while to dig through the HTML code and tweak everything so it was JUST right, but I feel I've been rather successful... I think the blog has more of a... not so much sophisticated feel, but... well... something a little more muted, a little less... loud. And I feel the banner better represents the blog than the other one did, which was focused more on me.

Now, before anyone asks, I did not pick the subject matter in the banner. I left that up to my readers... I still followed the rules of the banner, which was pick the first picture that shows up when you search a term, but the terms were picked by others. The breakdown goes as such:

1. Leonard McCoy - Stephanie
2. The Game - Melissa
3. Passion - Courtney
4. Pandas - Christina
5. Baking - Jordan
6. Star Trek - Jordan
7. Oit-meal - Melissa
8. Kevin Spacey - Jordan
9. Musicals - Jordan
10. Nanny - Melissa
11. Sylar - Christina
12. iPod - Melissa

Some of those probably mean nothing to some of you, but each has a story behind it, and I may blog about that at some point in time... but not now. I have far too much to cover. BUT - thank you to all who contributed and made my job easier by picking my new banner FOR me! :D Also, a big thank you to Melissa, who gave me a number of suggestions on a new color scheme, that ultimately lead to my picking the one I currently have. :)

SO - Question of the Blog:

What do you think of the new layout and banner?

Moving right along.

Today was the 4th of July Barbecue at church. Honestly, I didn't expect to have much fun, because of how hot it was... but it was a blast! And how easily amused are we? There was a HUGE group of us, sitting at one table, getting endless entertainment out of making up dumb challenges and spinning something called "The Decider" to see who had to carry them out. Poor Brandon, he had to do pretty much all of them, because it kept landing on him. No joke. He even got up and moved, and it still landed on him. :D It got to the point where we just started laughing when it landed on him, because we all knew it would.

But laughing is fun so who can complain? I also got to walk around and take pictures and hang out with various people... including Kim and her adorable kids.

You can't tell me that isn't the cutest little face in the world! It ended up being a WHOLE lot of fun.

After all of that, a bunch of us headed to Bellevue Bowl for Christian Bowling Night. My brother DJ's for CBN, and it's only 5$ a person, so it was a blast to get to just hang out with people and bowl... even though I suck. Lots of laughs were shared, and it was just a genuinely good day... all the way around.

Oh, and yesterday (Saturday) I went to the lake with a bunch of people from the college group and we had a barbecue and just sat around and talked and got to know the newer members... that was pretty fun, too. :D Add that all together with the week of housesitting/movienights/zombie slaying all-nighters, and it was a pretty successful week. All hail summer! lol.

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Heroes, Lies, Zombies, and The Sound of Madness

I'm getting excited for Heroes again... now, when I say that, I realize it looks like I'm saying I lost interest in the show. Let me say now, that isn't true. I'm actually surprised with how I've stuck with the show...

What I mean by my statement is, I can no longer choose to ignore the fact that Heroes isn't on. After last season's finale, which was both infuriating and epic, I did what I do after every Heroes season finale: turn my brain off and try to forget that it's not going to be on until September or whenever. I carry on with my life, and try not to notice that I no longer have to be in front of the TV on Monday's at 9.

It's usually easy till about Summer time... so it's about right that I start getting antsy now. However, it started differently this time. I wasn't snatched by promotional photos, or articles, or previews on TV... no... I was bit by the Sylar bug. Now, what that means is, I've been listening to songs that make me think of Sylar. The first one was Eminem's 3 A.M. That song is SO Sylar... but it got me thinking about him and how he was left at the end of Season 3, and I started doing something I usually don't allow myself to do until Heroes is closer. I started wondering what they were going to do with the character, where they were going to take him. There have been other songs in the past few days that make me think of him, but the other one that stands out in my mind is "Devour" by Shinedown. I can just see Sylar stealing brains to that song. XD

"Devour" leads me to my next topic - Shinedown's "The Sound of Madness" album... wow, I TOTALLY love it! Now, this isn't the first time I've heard Shinedown. I had stumbled upon them a few years ago, because there was a Heroes music video to the song "Save Me." But, I only ever listened to "Save Me" and "Dare You", never really had time to branch out into the band... however, last night while waiting to watch the Curious Case of Benjamin Button - which I didn't get to watch, btw. Stupid DirectTV lied to me - DirectTV played "Second Chance" and I LOVED it. I got to the part about Hayley's Comet and needed the song. I didn't know it was by Shinedown at the time, but when I found out, I was like... dude. So I went online and listened to the whole album... and holy crap! I'll say it again, I TOTALLY LOVE IT! Along with "Second Chance" and "Devour", there are a number of AMAZING songs on the album. I like them all, but current favorites are "Sin with a Grin", "The Crow & The Butterfly", and most of all, "Cyanide and Sweet Tooth Suicide". BOY do I love that song! The album starts out with "Devour" and wraps everything up with the epic "Call Me". It's totally worth your time to give them a listen... if anything, just make a Pandora radio station inspired by them. :)

It's not the only album I've listened to lately that I've loved... Don't You Fake It, Chroma, and Unbreakable are pretty epic, as well... but those are for other blogs.

Also... um... Left 4 Dead 2 in November. I'm so jazzed... I played L4D on Xbox Live for the first time and it was soooo much fun... but seriously, the only way that game isn't fun is if you don't play it with other people. It's always better to fight zombies with real people instead of computers. I can't wait for L4D2... CHAINSAWS! And I played Versus today... oh man, that was fun! I'm horrible as the zombies, though. I do much better when I can kill zombies, rather than humans. Just goes to show, I'd be a better zombie slayer than a zombie. Bring on the Apocalypse.

Wow... I finally updated just to update! :D That's a good sign. :) Expect a new layout/banner soon!


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Reimagining the Blog...

So, I'm thinking about taking up hard core blogging again. Starting in July, I'm going to resume the NaBloPoMo challenge, during which I write a blog every day. I'll use June to get back into the swing of things... I won't blog every day, but I'll try to keep up with blogging... I already have 3 posts this month! That's just as many as I wrote in May! XD

Anyway, I had a few things in mind for the blog...

For starters, I was thinking about giving Limitless Ramblings a new look. It's been this way for a while... I love the banner, I love the look, but I think it's time for something new. I want to do a similar banner with new things, but I don't know what to put in them. The current banner is from the survey done in this post. SO - What I need from you are 12 things... 12 things that remind you of me. The first 12 people who respond to this with something that reminds them of me (be it a movie, a character, a food, a color, a book, etc.)will have, in turn, helped me create the new Limitless Ramblings banner! I also need a new color scheme - the green is awesome (in honor of Wicked) but I'd like something fresh... so, if any one would like to suggest a new color scheme, that would be welcome, as well!

Also, I'm thinking of segments... I have a few old segments from before that I may bring back, but I'm looking at 2 specific ones right now...

1. 'Nuff Said. I say this a lot, and by a lot, I mean a LOT. Looking back on my previous attempts at NaBloPoMo, and found that one of the problems I faced was the NEED to write something everyday. WRITE something. That's incredibly difficult to do... not to mention, stressful at times. So, I decided... what if I took one of the things I say a LOT, and turned it into a segment in my blog? So, on days where I can't think of anything, or I just don't have time to write, I'll pull my "'Nuff Said" card, at which point, you'll receive a post with a self explanatory news story, or a picture, or a link to a cool website, whatever. Anything that I don't feel like I need to explain, I'll post as that days entry, with the words "'Nuff said."


'Nuff Said.

2. Top Ten Lists. I always catch myself talking to my friends and using the phrase "it's one of my favorite *insert topic here*", and it dawned on me that it would be fun to do a top ten segment on my blog... once a week or once a month or whenever the spirit moves me, I can do a top ten list of anything: favorite cheesy scary movies, favorite words that aren't real, favorite phrases, websites, etc. etc. Just something to pass the time, if I don't feel like being deep and insightful

I'm also tempted to do a number of themed posts... for instance, I doubt I can make it a month without mentioning Star Trek once, so maybe having Star Trek themed posts once a month or week or whatever... and I'm seriously considering profiling a new band every month, be it a new band or an older, already established one that I just love... music related posts are soon to come, as well. And I'm working on a reader's choice type thing... I'll let you all know ahead of time, and you guys can suggest things you'd like to see a blog about... :D

Anyway, that's the direction I'm thinking about taking Limitless Ramblings... Hopefully it'll interest me (and all of you) enough to keep it going again... because it's definitely been a while! :D

Send in those banner suggestions! :)

L e t 's G e t T h i s ! ! !

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Apparently, I've gone street rat crackers

I've HAD to have gone completely insane... that's all I can say... I mean, seriously... we're talking about a person that can do MAYBE 1 push up before she collapses on the floor in a weeping, crying, puddle of uselessness, taking on a challenge that's supposed to end with her doing 100 consecutive push ups... hahahaha. Yeah right.

BUT - it's a challenge... and I'm not one to stand down from a challenge.

My friend Jordan - who is also taking the 100 Push Ups Challenge - was the one who turned me on to it. Basically, it's in stages (duh).

First, you take the Initial Test. Basically, that means you do your stretches, get warmed up, and do as many push ups as you can before collapsing into the aforementioned weeping, crying, puddle of uselessness. That number then tells you where to start.

Based on your IT results, you then proceed to the week one workout schedule. From this point forward, it's pretty self explanatory. You start your week's work out based on the number of push ups you finished the prior week with. For instance, if your IT results showed you that you could do 4 push ups before dying, then you would start with the first column. Week 2 begins in the same column as week 1, but at the end of week 2, you do what is called an Exhaustion Test. The ET results then tell you where to start in week 3. After Week 4, you do another Exhaustion Test... based on those results, you either proceed to week 5, or repeat week 3 or 4. Once you are able to complete enough push ups in the ET to move on to week 5, you continue. By the end of the 6 weeks (I'd rather they be called levels than weeks, if you have to repeat a week, it throws it all off), you take the Final Test... which is, of course, the 100 push ups.

I think it's a great idea, and even if I fail, I at least ACCEPTED the challenge... honestly, I think it would be amazing if I could do the 100 push ups by the end of the 6 weeks, but if I have to repeat a few weeks, then I will. Hopefully, I can stick to this, and not give up. Even if I fail, I should be stronger at the end then I was at the beginning... and it's a workout... of sorts.

So... seeing as the reason I got into this was because Jordan asked who would like to do it with her, I'd like to extend the same offer to any of my readers:

Who's willing to take the challenge with me??

Also - I will be keeping a journal of my progress, and will update my blog weekly. Or at least, that's the plan. I'm starting level 1 tomorrow - who wants to join me?? LET'S GET THIS! :D

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Originality is SO 2008... or is it?

I love movies, and I love movie trailers... but honestly, I've felt like I'm trapped in a time capsule. Every movie that's coming out seems to be a remake of a movie I've already seen... and let's be honest. 9 times out of 10, it just doesn't work out... and I've always kind of wondered, why is that? Especially when the original is SOOOO good. Is it because the director/producer/actor combination can't be recreated? Perhaps, but if that's the case, why do certain remakes do better than others? (i.e. Star Trek vs. The Planet of the Apes)

I recently read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about The Taking of Pelham 123. Now, to be honest, I had no idea that was a remake, nor did I know that the original did SO well. However, despite this, the article was still able to catch my attention, and gave me something to think about. The article - entitled "Train Hijack? That's so '70's" by Mick LaSalle - contained 2 specific pieces that caught my eye.

Every movie involves two realities, the one onscreen and the one in the theater, and the interplay between the two is sometimes dynamic. "The Taking of Pelham 123" has all the usual virtues of a good action suspense drama, but it lacks that extra something - that context, that vital interchange - that made the original "The Taking of Pelham 123" such a memorable experience in 1974.

That's the opening paragraph, and that itself has a lot to say. It's soooo completely correct: part of what makes a suspense or adventure movie so interesting - on most fronts - is the fact that it exists in two realities. There's the reality happening in the movie, what's playing out in front of hte viewer, and there's the reality of the viewer... the viewer is watching and wondering if said reality on screen could really happen. And let's face it - most of the time, there's always a chance it could. However, if a movie lacks that second reality... if you can sit throught a movie and never once have to remind yourself that it isn't real, that it couldn't happen, then you won't be as emotionally involved, and the movie won't be as good. If the movie is BANKING on those feelings and thoughts - if it's banking on that second reality - then the ability (or lack there of) to create said reality is going to make or break the film, simple as that. Still, the article continues.

So, an evil mastermind decides to hijack a subway train and hold up the city of New York for an enormous ransom. Today, we watch and think, sure, that could happen. There are bad people in the world, and anybody could become the victim of some random, senseless act of violence.

But in 1974, this premise was received in a much different way, not as an outlandish scenario that could happen but as a variety of madness that probably would happen, sooner or later, because everything was falling apart. You know the litany: Vietnam. Then Watergate. New York City was going broke. Just getting into a subway car was dangerous, even without kidnappers or hostage takers. Back then, civilization seemed to be heading off a cliff, and New York, always on the cutting edge of fashion, looked destined to hit bottom first. Thus, "the Taking of Pelham 123" was more than a suspense drama in 1974; it was a vision of urban apocalypse.

Today, we have our own visions of the apocalypse - Terrorism, civic catastrophe, economic collapse - and this new "Pelham" might have gotten some extra juice had it tapped into those. But the remake eschews the social context that made the original so compelling. Instead of a terrorist for a villain, or someone equally mysterious, the movie gives us a lone nut and his small band of thugs. ("Pelham" even guesses wrong: When a character tries to manipulate the stock market, we look at his laptop to find the Dow Jones at 12,000. It can't be scary if our own apocalypse is bigger than their apocalypse.)

Bingo. There it is. One of the biggest reasons remakes just don't work out: Things change. Times change. Situations, fears, catastrophes... they all change. What was absolutely terrifying back then will no longer be terrifying now. What we connected with emotionally then, we might not connect with now. Probably won't.

In the instance of "Pelham," there are a number of reasons why the idea just wouldn't reach audiences. For starters, like they said, they used a lone nut and his band of thugs instead of a terrorist... perhaps they changed it in an attempt to not offend anyone, especially in New York... but after 9/11, I'm sure no one would have found it hard to believe that a terrorist could hijack a train. Also - like stated - if the economic crisis in the movie isn't as bad as the one we're already going through, then it isn't going to stir fear or suspense in anyone. We've been there, we survived, and the world didn't end. Who cares if some nut job on a train does the same thing? 12,000? That's nothing.

And, perhaps, these are the same reasons Star Trek did so well - it changed it up. It took an old story line and remixed it. Had they just stuck to it, there would be no suspense... there would be no "my favorite character could die." It would be, "he won't die, because he didn't." But they created an alternate timeline, made anything game, and it was a HUGE hit. They kept some things the same, but there's still the possibility that your favorite character could die, that an old villain could show his face again, and that the new villains could be bigger and badder than anything that has ever appeared in the Star Trek universe.

Same with James Bond. The new 007 movies are FANTASTIC... I don't have a single bad thing to say about them. The new Bond movies took an established character, and established idea, and took it back to it's roots, reimagining the series, rather than remaking it. You got to learn the origin of Bond, and watch him take a new path. The same debonair, charming agent is there, but his fate is in the air. You never know how many movies he'll be around for.

Perhaps that's the other big thing: Don't reMAKE, reIMAGINE. Remakes can't ever really seem to get off the ground... but reimaginings? Almost always a homerun. For instance:

  • Planet of the Apes: Remake - horrible movie. Ask anyone, Mark Wahlberg couldn't even save this flick.
  • Ocean's Eleven: Reimagining - GREAT movie. Spawned 2 sequels, the second of which was mediocre, but the third of which was just as superb, if not better than the first.
  • Poseidon: Remake - meh at best. It was interesting, but didn't hold the attention. It definitely lacked that second reality.
  • The Shining: Reimagining - technically, it was a mini series, but it was still much more amazing than the movie, and sooooo good. Best 5 - 6 hours of my life. :)
  • The Mist: Remake - Horrible. There was one scene that made me jump, that was it. The rest of the movie was spent staring at Tom Welling and begging for End Credits.
  • Salem's Lot: Reimagining - also a mini series, but still... AMAZING. So much better than the original. :)
  • The Ring: Remake - seriously... I've never been more unscared of a movie in my entire life. And I've seen Night of the Lepus.
  • The Italian Job: Reimagining - I can't stop kissing this movie's feet. :) So funny, so good!

And that's just a brief glance... now, this isn't like the ten commandments of remake rules... there are usually exceptions... but presently, I can't think of one. But, that's my take on it... remakes just don't work, reimaginings soar... and with a remake of Footloose, The Karate Kid, Child's Play (gimme a second to CRY about that), Nightmare on Elm Street, and possibly The Breakfast Club, I think it's an important thing to look into.

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