Star Trek Generations 20th Anniversary

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As amazing as it seems (at least to me) it is 20 years ago today that Star Trek: Generations hit movie theatres. The last on-screen outing for William Shatner’s Kirk and the very first big screen outing by the crew of the Enterprise-D has become on of those Trek movies that has polarized fans in that either they enjoyed it or absolutely loathed it. It is certainly true that the movie won’t ever make any Number 1 spots on the lists of best Star Trek movies but is it really that bad?

I don’t know.

I don’t think it is as bad as some people try to make it out. Sure it had its faults with a rather topsy-turvy story and obvious questionable decisions made by the characters; the classic being if Picard could return to any point he wanted why not return to the point where he first meets Soran and spare us the rest of the movie (and the Enterprise-D)? What always annoyed me was how much of the film felt recycled from previous movies. In some instances they were directly recycled. I am of course talking about the fact that the Duras Sisters’ Bird-of-Prey exploding is simply the reused footage of Chang’s ship exploding in the previous movie. Eeep! I do wonder also why if a ship with its shields and hull would get ripped apart getting close to the Nexus why doesn’t the same happen to Soran and Picard on that hillside?

But what did the film do right? Well, Malcolm McDowell as Soran was an inspired choice and I will say that not since Khan in Star Trek II did we have such a genuinely motivated enemy. He was actually quite sympathetic in his cause and actually does a pretty good job of convincing the audience why he is doing it. How many films can claim to give you a dose of Helsinki Syndrome while you are watching it?

A lot of fans (and I mean a hell of a lot of fans) hate how the Enterprise-D was destroyed in this movie and I really can’t see why. Their argument is how could the ship have survived so much throughout the series only to get taken out by a single Bird-of-Prey? Well in the series the ship faced enemies trying to destroy it conventionally and the Galaxy-class was just too tough for that. So how do you destroy a tough ship you can’t match? Well you cheat obviously and thats what the Duras sisters did. I don’t see the problem. Also with the Enterprise-D out of the way we got to see the incredible Enterprise-E that was much more suited to the big screen. Interestingly, ILM actually put NCC-1701-E titles on the Galaxy-class model in preparation for Star Trek: First Contact before they were told they were given a budget to make a new ship.

Well anyway. Love it or loathe it this movie did get the TNG crew we all loved so much on to the big screen and that’s not a bad thing. The movie certainly had a tough job acting as the intermediary between the 23rd and 24th centuries and for that we should cut it some slack.

10 Super Cheesy 80s Horror VHS Covers

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The 80s produced a great deal of awesome cover and poster artwork, which we have shared in previous posts.  There are some exceptions however.  Here are some of the cheesiest VHS covers we’ve come across.

1.   Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984)

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I’m surprised this doll isn’t as well known as Chucky.

2.  Bodycount (1986)

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Somebody please tell me what the hell is happening on this cover.

3.  Forever Evil (1987)

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Here you go – every horror art cliché ever jammed into one cover.

4.  Anguish (1987)

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This art is certain to cause some anguish.

5.  Night Visitor (1989)

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Your guess is as good as mine.

6.  Terror on Tour (1988)

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One of many bad 80s metal-horror movies.  The cover just screams “terror” doesn’t it?

7.  Interface (1985)

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Apparently they’re dead serious.  You could’ve fooled me.

8.  Horror Planet (1981)

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I’d like a count of how many 70s and 80s sci-fi/horror movies  have a…

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Defence of the Realm on Facebook

Defence of the Realm

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“Defence of the Realm” now has a Facebook page for all of you in to social media. The goal of the page, as well as to keep abreast of the latest developments on “Defence of the Realm”, is to provide a forum for debate and to help with introductions between like minded British military enthusiasts.

The page is still looking a bit bare as its only two days old now but if you are on Facebook you are welcome to LIKE the page and contribute. I look forward to hearing from you.

Click here to view – Defence of the Realm on Facebook

Look forward to meeting you

– Tony

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COUNTDOWN: Top 5 Things Star Trek: Enterprise Did Right

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In many ways Star Trek: Enterprise has become Star Trek’s Phantom Menace in that it is a prequel that has become almost cliché to poke fun of. I am not going to stand here and argue that Enterprise was the best series of Star Trek because it wasn’t. What I am going to say in this article is that it wasn’t as bad as many make out and while much of the first two seasons were mostly recycled plots from previous Star Trek shows there were some hidden gems and a sign of the promise the show had.

PLEASE NOTE; This is just my opinion but I would be interested in hearing what you have to think.


Technological Inferiority

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Like many fans, when I saw the Enterprise NX-01 for the first time my response was “That looks like the Akira-class from Star Trek: First Contact! I thought it was supposed to be set before Kirk?” The most important thing about first impressions of a new Star Trek is the ship and the creators seemed to get it wrong. However…While it took a long time for people to warm to the Akiraprise, as some call it, one thing I have to say I really liked about it was that it was inferior to most of the enemies it faced. For the 30 years leading up to Star Trek: Enterprise we saw our heroes flying around the universe in the most advanced ship of its day. Now we had a ship that really felt like it was the cutting edge of human technology but since humans were new to spaceflight they weren’t the best on the block. In fact the ship didn’t even have shields and in an early episode we saw one of the really awful early torpedoes get shot out of the sky. Over time the NX-01 became more advanced and we started to see some of the more familiar technologies enter service like Photonic torpedoes but even in the last season the Enterprise was still largely the underdog. I really liked this.

“Evil” Vulcans

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OK they weren’t evil exactly but certainly there was an antagonist element about how they were portrayed in Star Trek: Enterprise. This was another of those decisions that seemed to anger militant Trekkies because since the very early days the Vulcans were seen as both peace loving and close friends with humanity. What those Trekkies seem to forget however is that we are seeing an earlier Vulcan people here who aren’t the intellectual element of an alliance of planets but rather they are their own people who have enemies and are cautious about their dealings with humanity who after all hadn’t long come out of a Third World War and were now joining the space faring nations of the galaxy. There is even a brilliant line where Suval actually tells Admiral Forest that humans achieved far more than Vulcan did in the same timeframe and that many Vulcans are fearful of what humans will achieve in the future. Translated, this means that some Vulcans in the 22nd century are afraid of being displaced by humanity in terms of galactic importance which in a roundabout way is exactly what happens. From the Vulcan point of view therefore it is understandable that they are distrustful of humans. One final note; we need to remember that there have been ‘bad guy’ Vulcans before including one who wanted to play Baseball with Sisko to prove Vulcans are better than humans – that’s racist isn’t it?

Racist Humans

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Overnight humans became wonderful and peace loving? CRAP! Perhaps the biggest thing Star Trek: Enterprise contributed to the Star Trek universe more than anything was showing the transitionary period for humanity and how that by the 22nd century there were still those who were fearful of aliens because they were different. Even better and perhaps more relevant for the 21st century audience was the fact that this racism was largely caused by an alien attack which lends weight behind why these racist elements are still thriving. This mirrors the post-9/11 world where many Muslims feel that the West has the view that all followers of the Islamic faith are terrorists which of course is absolute nonsense. I would have liked to see more of this but sadly the show finished before it could be explored further.

Trip and T’Pol

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Romances between central characters has been met with mixed responses from fans in the past. Some really worked well (Worf and Jadzia Dax in DS9) and some really didn’t work well at all (Chakotay and Seven in Voyager). Trip and T’Pol did work for me. Not only did it work but it actually interested me. In a pseudo kind of way we saw a little something of what Spock’s parents went through with all the dilemma of a love across species although in this case the genders are reversed. Connor Trinneer and Jolene Blalock had wonderful on-screen chemistry and many of their scenes were emotional in the later seasons. Their relationship showed how their characters had evolved over the course of the show; they were perhaps the only characters who really did.

The Augment Saga

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In the show’s final season multi-part storylines became the order of the day. Without a doubt the most exciting was the three-part Augment story arc which saw Brent Spiner make a guest appearance as Arik Soong, a predecessor of Data’s creator Dr Noonien Soong. When first advertised, this fact was seen simply as a gimmick to try and pull back some of the old school fans who had given up on the show but this episode was much more than that. What we got was a thrilling trilogy that explores more of why genetic engineering is banned in the future and makes us question more about what it means to be human; something Star Trek has repeatedly done with mixed success. It was also brilliant to see the Augments demonstrate their agility and strength far more than we have seen before and it would be something we would see again in Khan himself in Star Trek Into Darkness. Spiner’s performance was flawless and it was great watching him play a character who has not only an abundance of emotion but is actually manipulative and antagonistic. Perhaps Data’s evil brother Lore has more in common with Arik Soong than Dr Noonien Soong would like to admit? This was Star Trek: Enterprise at its best.

There is no escaping it; Star Trek Enterprise was heavily flawed but does it really deserve the disdain it has received? No. Not in my opinion. I am not being a blind Trekkie here as I have already highlighted some of the show’s problems but there was some gold mixed in with the bronze.

Ghostbusters vs. Mythbusters Rap Battle

OK I am not the biggest fan of rap music and R’n’B (that’s my wife’s thing whereas I am more of Johnny Cash kind of guy) but a few years ago I stumbled across these guys. Epic Rap Battles of History pit figures from history, movies and literature against one another in a rap battle but rather than just have them swear at each other, which is how I perceive rap battles to be like, they have to use as many references from the theme of the characters as possible. A lot of work goes in to these short videos and the wordplay is brilliant. In the latest video we see the Ghostbusters (in case you haven’t guessed I am something of a fan) against the Mythbusters from the Discovery Channel. To help produce this one they have help from the Key of Awesome crew who are the masters of music parody on YouTube. This was just superb and if you haven’t heard of these guys I suggest you check them out.

QUOTE: How did the war start?

I posted this on my military site first as I felt it has more relevance there as it is Remembrance Day.

Defence of the Realm

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In the UK we have a saying; It’s like Marmite. What this saying translates in to is that you either love or hate something with no middle ground. One British television show that sums up this saying is the 1980s vintage Blackadder. Through four seasons we saw a member of the Blackadder family, faithfully supported by a member of the hapless Baldrick family, plot and scheme throughout British history. The show barely survived its first season but nevertheless developed a small and loyal fan base. The show was often controversial, not just for the vulgarity of its jokes and characters, but for the way it viewed British history often poking fun at respected historical figures.

The last season of the show is largely considered to be the best. Set in the trenches of World War I it showed the absurdity of the conflict and how Victorian ideals that…

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Don’t Worry – His Sega-Phaser was set to stun!

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Every Sega fanboy knows that outside of Japan the one country where the Sega Master System was loved the most was Brazil. This country kept their beloved 8-bit system alive until 1997 long after other countries had not only moved on from it but the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive too and were now on the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. One of the accessories of the Sega Master System was the Light Phaser.

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The Light Phaser was intended to compete with Nintendo’s Zapper and there was even a similar game to Duck Hunt, the most iconic Zapper game ever, for Sega’s rival. Known as Safari Hunt (well imitation is the highest form of flattery), the game had the player shooting at all kinds of animals such as ducks, monkeys and endangered species such as the Jaguar (perhaps someone had a premonition about Atari on that one). At the end of the game there is a message that would never appear in a game today (see image on the right).

Classic Japanese-English translation spelling mistakes aside; the game actually says that the player is ready to go hunting with a real gun now. Can you imagine the response this would get today? Anyway, moving back to Brazil a minute the message must have lost a little more in the translation into Brazilian and came out as “the light phaser is now a real gun” because in 2009 armed Police went rushing to a 60 year old woman’s house after she had been taken hostage by a man brandishing a “long barrelled gun”. The Police tactical response teams sealed off the house and began negotiations by which time they had realized that the “gun” was in fact a Sega Light Phaser with the cable cut off. At this point however he had ditched his Light Phaser and was now brandishing genuinely lethal knives he had taken from the woman’s house. Fortunately after a 10 hour stand off he gave himself up.

Thank God he was a Sega fanboy however. Imagine how the Brazilian Police would have responded if he was a Nintendo fan and used one of these…

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REVIEW: The Real Ghostbusters 2×03 “Ragnarok and Roll”

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Jeremy is a young man hurt by the woman he loves who can’t return his affections and so decides that there is far too much pain in the world. Aided by his loyal yet reluctant companion DyTillio whom he saved from being run over by a car many years earlier he sets about a chain of events that will bring Ragnarok… the end of the world! The Ghostbusters devise a plan to stop Jeremy summoning Ragnarok but will involve the four of them being killed in a blast that will destroy a quarter of a mile of New York around them. Fortunately however DyTillio manages to convince Jeremy that what he is doing is wrong and Jeremy reverses the spell to summon Ragnarok.

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This was a surprisingly emotional episode being very character driven around the antagonist Jeremy and his companion DyTillio. Honestly, it feels like it’s their story and that the Ghostbusters are just there in the background. Their relationship is an interesting one. I found Jeremy very selfish in his motivation and to me the fact he is doing this because a girl didn’t return his affection made him seem like an angry teenager who hates the world as a result. That was probably Straczynski’s intention while writing this episode perhaps to help it relate to some of the older members of the audience. DyTillio seems to be following Jeremy through blind faith and later it becomes clear that he doesn’t support Jeremy’s actions. DyTillio was very obviously intended to be a Quasimodo type of character being physically unattractive but having a beautiful soul. The last scene of them with DyTillio hanging over the side of the building was especially touching.

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The first scene in this episode with the Ghostbusters in it has them facing these gargoyle-type creatures on the streets of New York. I don’t think it was intentional but Ghostbusters: The Video Game has a similar scene after the Sedgewick Hotel level. On a similar note however I felt the climax of this episode on top of the building was almost a complete rehash of the original movie complete with demonic voice in the cloud and the Ghostbusters ready to use their equipment to sacrifice themselves in order to save the world. They even had the Ghostbusters saying good bye to one another. I didn’t like it to be honest as I felt it was cheap in terms of writing. I also thought that the image of the demon in the sky was very Walt Disney looking like it had been taken from Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. This episode did have its light hearted moments however in particular with Peter and Cindy although again in this instance she was simply taking the role of Dana Barrat from the movie; i.e. she is simply there for the villain to have an interest in and for Peter to flirt with.

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On the whole this was an episode with a great start, an interesting villain with a strong emotion-based motivation for his actions and a sidekick who starts off quite low and then seizes the moral high ground at the end. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold well throughout becoming what feels like a retelling of the movie and therefore losing the worth it had established in the beginning.