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Being a cultural essayist of any kind is a bit of a balancing act, especially if there's actual history involved. There's this notion on a lot of blogs nowadays that critics and essayists are the same things, which they're not, although plenty of writers wear different hats. The good ones know what they're wearing on which days. 

Pauline Kael's ferocious rep as a film critic preceded her, but she clearly had her favorite auteurs whom she reined in the claws for. AA GIll burned away any goodwill he might have had as The (UK) Sunday Times' TV critic precisely because he was too obviously in love with his own writing - the funnies soon gave way to too many odes to himself. He wanted to be Clive James, but he had none of James' heart, insight or curiosity. Charlie Brooker, on the other hand, always spiced his wit and satire with a lot of love and surrealism - it wasn't always at the expense of the subject matter. Both those writers are sublimely funny and still relevant, and they reinvented the role of TV critic. Eric Rohmer moonlit as a film critic before becoming a director and leading light of French cinema. His essays read like treatises on filmmaking - he once wrote a fantastically influential book about Hitchcock. This from the man who made Pauline à la Plage. He had great taste and a desire to celebrate the medium and the achievements of those he admired.

So it's a difficult job, especially if you genuinely want to inform, share and entertain - even enlighten. I think there's a sleight-of-hand necessary, which is to have an ounce of humility along with your searing insight and biting wit. And if that's not on show it can come across as too self-congratulatory. Astute readers (if they're decent students of behavior) can detect dishonest intentions or hidden agendas in a writer, especially if they follow them regularly.

Of course, the biggest sin to commit is to be boring. Repetitive, self-admiring writers who pretend they're being funny or think they're perceptive when they're eaten up with malignant intent are the worst. You can practically smell the sweaty staleness of their need, like lingering farts or bad breath present around their writing table, and that's unpleasant. But there's plenty of them out there. On the whole, I think this guy is pretty entertaining, just not when he lets his desire to impress be the only engine of his pieces. I do appreciate the strange angles he comes in at, sometimes.

Roll on the article for Insurrection!

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Being a cultural essayist of any kind is a bit of a balancing act, especially if there's actual history involved. There's this notion on a lot of blogs nowadays that critics and essayists are the same things, which they're not, although plenty of writers wear different hats. The good ones know what they're wearing on which days. 

Pauline Kael's ferocious rep as a film critic preceded her, but she clearly had her favorite auteurs whom she reined in the claws for. AA GIll burned away any goodwill he might have had as The (UK) Sunday Times' TV critic precisely because he was too obviously in love with his own writing - the funnies soon gave way to too many odes to himself. He wanted to be Clive James, but he had none of James' heart, insight or curiosity. Charlie Brooker, on the other hand, always spiced his wit and satire with a lot of love and surrealism - it wasn't always at the expense of the subject matter. Both those writers are sublimely funny and still relevant, and they reinvented the role of TV critic. Eric Rohmer moonlit as a film critic before becoming a director and leading light of French cinema. His essays read like treatises on filmmaking - he once wrote a fantastically influential book about Hitchcock. This from the man who made Pauline à la Plage. He had great taste and a desire to celebrate the medium and the achievements of those he admired.

So it's a difficult job, especially if you genuinely want to inform, share and entertain - even enlighten. I think there's a sleight-of-hand necessary, which is to have an ounce of humility along with your searing insight and biting wit. And if that's not on show it can come across as too self-congratulatory. Astute readers (if they're decent students of behavior) can detect dishonest intentions or hidden agendas in a writer, especially if they follow them regularly.

Of course, the biggest sin to commit is to be boring. Repetitive, self-admiring writers who pretend they're being funny or think they're perceptive when they're eaten up with malignant intent are the worst. You can practically smell the sweaty staleness of their need, like lingering farts or bad breath present around their writing table, and that's unpleasant. But there's plenty of them out there. On the whole, I think this guy is pretty entertaining, just not when he lets his desire to impress be the only engine of his pieces. I do appreciate the strange angles he comes in at, sometimes.

Roll on the article for Insurrection!

Well, if he rips INS a new one I can't say I'll lose much sleep over it.   I've done a whole mini-essay on why I hate that movie... :laugh:

^

* putting fangs and venom sacks back into my mouth....  * :giggle:

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Being a cultural essayist of any kind is a bit of a balancing act, especially if there's actual history involved. There's this notion on a lot of blogs nowadays that critics and essayists are the same things, which they're not, although plenty of writers wear different hats. The good ones know what they're wearing on which days. 

Pauline Kael's ferocious rep as a film critic preceded her, but she clearly had her favorite auteurs whom she reined in the claws for. AA GIll burned away any goodwill he might have had as The (UK) Sunday Times' TV critic precisely because he was too obviously in love with his own writing - the funnies soon gave way to too many odes to himself. He wanted to be Clive James, but he had none of James' heart, insight or curiosity. Charlie Brooker, on the other hand, always spiced his wit and satire with a lot of love and surrealism - it wasn't always at the expense of the subject matter. Both those writers are sublimely funny and still relevant, and they reinvented the role of TV critic. Eric Rohmer moonlit as a film critic before becoming a director and leading light of French cinema. His essays read like treatises on filmmaking - he once wrote a fantastically influential book about Hitchcock. This from the man who made Pauline à la Plage. He had great taste and a desire to celebrate the medium and the achievements of those he admired.

So it's a difficult job, especially if you genuinely want to inform, share and entertain - even enlighten. I think there's a sleight-of-hand necessary, which is to have an ounce of humility along with your searing insight and biting wit. And if that's not on show it can come across as too self-congratulatory. Astute readers (if they're decent students of behavior) can detect dishonest intentions or hidden agendas in a writer, especially if they follow them regularly.

Of course, the biggest sin to commit is to be boring. Repetitive, self-admiring writers who pretend they're being funny or think they're perceptive when they're eaten up with malignant intent are the worst. You can practically smell the sweaty staleness of their need, like lingering farts or bad breath present around their writing table, and that's unpleasant. But there's plenty of them out there. On the whole, I think this guy is pretty entertaining, just not when he lets his desire to impress be the only engine of his pieces. I do appreciate the strange angles he comes in at, sometimes.

Roll on the article for Insurrection!

Well, if he rips INS a new one I can't say I'll lose much sleep over it.   I've done a whole mini-essay on why I hate that movie... :laugh:

^* putting fangs and venom sacks back into my mouth....  * :giggle:

Haha! Well, Insurrection commits the same sin as the self-satisfied writer... It's incredibly dull. All that stuff you and others list, but it's also a retrograde evolution for every damn character in the film too, just the opposite of what was intended. It's my least favorite ST movie too, by some margin. All the other "bad" Trek movies are still entertaining in some way, whatever their flaws. Like I said upthread (Gus noted it too) there's that unpublished book by Michael Piller about the writing and making of Insurrection, which goes a fair way to explaining how the movie ended up so beige and such a charisma-suck. There are a lot of things I love and feel must acknowledge about Piller, including the fact that he basically turned the unwieldy behemoth that was Roddenberry's TNG into good TV, but I'm not sure that even in the pages of this book, he fully acknowledged what a backwards step Insurrection was. Along with Nemesis, it basically killed TNG as a viable big screen enterprise - and those two movies are such wasted opportunities. 

So it'll be interesting to see what angle our EW eassyist comes in at; if he makes reference to that book or not. 

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Sim   

Hm, I guess "dull" is pretty much the most concise word for INS.

A while back, I still somewhat enjoyed it as an heir to TNG that has elements of the same "family feeling" (unlike FC or NEM)... maybe on par with the less successful two-part episodes of the series. But last time I rewatched it, that didn't impress me anymore.

The worst thing about INS and maybe major reason for its dullness, IMO, is that it's just a "best of-medley" of plot elements we've seen in half a dozen TNG episodes already. Cloaked observance station? Check ("Who Watched the Watchers"). Data running amok in a protection mode? Check ("Brothers"). Data showing interest in a kid? Check (various episodes). Secret attempt of relocation via a holodeck? Check (that 7th season episode with Worf's human adoptive brother). Evil corrupt admiral? Check ("Ensign Ro"). And so on ... I guess I even forgot some more.

Edited by Sim

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Hm, I guess "dull" is pretty much the most concise word for INS.

A while back, I still somewhat enjoyed it as an heir to TNG that has elements of the same "family feeling" (unlike FC or NEM)... maybe on par with the less successful two-part episodes of the series. But last time I rewatched it, that didn't impress me anymore.

The worst thing about INS and maybe major reason for its dullness, IMO, is that it's just a "best of-medley" of plot elements we've seen in half a dozen TNG episodes already. Cloaked observance station? Check ("Who Watched the Watchers"). Data running amok in a protection mode? Check ("Brothers"). Data showing interest in a kid? Check (various episodes). Secret attempt of relocation via a holodeck? Check (that 7th season episode with Worf's human adoptive brother). Evil corrupt admiral? Check ("Ensign Ro"). And so on ... I guess I even forgot some more.

Even if INS were a two-part episode of the series, I still wouldn't like it.   I realize some people say that they like it because it feels the most like the series, and that's valid, but I go to the movies expecting a movie; not an overlong and plodding lesser episode of the series. 

Say what you will about GEN and FC (and our EW critic does) but at least they looked theatrical. 

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A really great STAR TREK V THE FINAL FRONTIER review/article was posted today at Den of Geek website

"At its heart, Star Trek V is a glorious and powerful tale of extremism and the lengths we can go to combat it. Friendship is the ultimate triumph, as bookended by the campfire scenes, and the four note leitmotif in Goldsmith’s heartbreaking score. Friendship builds resolve, exposes darkness and defeats evil. True friendship means acceptance, not change. Catharsis, not salvation. Resolve, but without violence. Trek ideals to the core, but perhaps not the most important. Superficiality is a sin. Sybok’s undoing was taking the superficial as something more. A superficial understanding of God without considering the underlying motives. A superficial understanding of the human condition, without the contradiction. Kirk needed his pain, Spock’s pain was accepted, and perhaps God needing a starship was not such a bad thing afterall. To concentrate on the superficial without examining the essence of the moment is to fail."

"That is why you must not dismiss this film out of hand, unless you wish to make those same mistakes yourself. The worst science fiction film of all time? No, far from it. In fact, this, for me, might just be one of the greatest."


Gus

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A really great STAR TREK V THE FINAL FRONTIER review/article was posted today at Den of Geek website

"At its heart, Star Trek V is a glorious and powerful tale of extremism and the lengths we can go to combat it. Friendship is the ultimate triumph, as bookended by the campfire scenes, and the four note leitmotif in Goldsmith’s heartbreaking score. Friendship builds resolve, exposes darkness and defeats evil. True friendship means acceptance, not change. Catharsis, not salvation. Resolve, but without violence. Trek ideals to the core, but perhaps not the most important. Superficiality is a sin. Sybok’s undoing was taking the superficial as something more. A superficial understanding of God without considering the underlying motives. A superficial understanding of the human condition, without the contradiction. Kirk needed his pain, Spock’s pain was accepted, and perhaps God needing a starship was not such a bad thing afterall. To concentrate on the superficial without examining the essence of the moment is to fail."

"That is why you must not dismiss this film out of hand, unless you wish to make those same mistakes yourself. The worst science fiction film of all time? No, far from it. In fact, this, for me, might just be one of the greatest."


Gus

"One of the greatest"??   Wouldn't quite go that far... 

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I would ! LOL

Gus

I know.

Maybe you should email the author of that STV article... something tells me you two would become really hit it off.  ;)

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Gotta partly side with Gus here. I'd rather watch Final Frontier ten times than sit through GEN, INS or NEM once. :P

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Gotta partly side with Gus here. I'd rather watch Final Frontier ten times than sit through GEN, INS or NEM once. :P

B-b-but I like GEN... :P

* scurries and hides... * 

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Gotta partly side with Gus here. I'd rather watch Final Frontier ten times than sit through GEN, INS or NEM once. :P

B-b-but I like GEN... :P

* scurries and hides... * 

I know... and I love the first two TNG seasons so much that they're my favorites. We all have that "weird" thing we love. ;)

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[I wrote this just before i saw MrPicard's reply! :)]

...

I love GEN, but Gus helped me to find my love for STV: TFF too. Although I still believe it's far from being one of the greatest SF films of all time... :P:laugh:

Weirdly, time's been kind to it. And I'd rather watch something flawed and and ambitious than something routine and by-the-numbers.

TNG season 2 is soooo underrated...

Hm, I guess "dull" is pretty much the most concise word for INS.

A while back, I still somewhat enjoyed it as an heir to TNG that has elements of the same "family feeling" (unlike FC or NEM)... maybe on par with the less successful two-part episodes of the series. But last time I rewatched it, that didn't impress me anymore.

The worst thing about INS and maybe major reason for its dullness, IMO, is that it's just a "best of-medley" of plot elements we've seen in half a dozen TNG episodes already. Cloaked observance station? Check ("Who Watched the Watchers"). Data running amok in a protection mode? Check ("Brothers"). Data showing interest in a kid? Check (various episodes). Secret attempt of relocation via a holodeck? Check (that 7th season episode with Worf's human adoptive brother). Evil corrupt admiral? Check ("Ensign Ro"). And so on ... I guess I even forgot some more.

That's really true. Which goes a good way to explaining the sense of having seen it all before the first time i watched it.

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Well, Robin, I feel honored to have changed your opinion on STAR TREK V. I just love that movie and I dont wanna change people about the movie. And yeah Sir Patrcik, I will put STAR TREK V above any TNG movie, including GENERATIONS, which I love.

The fact is I love all 6 TOS movies, including TMP and STAR TREK V.

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Sim   

I join the choir of those who find TNG season 2 underrated.

Just love that season. Especially the more ... what's the term? "High concept" episodes? "Where Silence Has Lease", "Contagion", "The Royale", "Time Squared"... I just love these episodes. :) And regret that hardly did stuff like that later.

But I guess I wouldn't extend that enthusiasm to season 1. Yes, I do appreciate that it was really bold at times, ambitious about the ideas... but in the end, it was too uneven and lacking in execution, on the bottom line. The interesting ideas failed more often than they worked.

But I do feel that in the last 3 episodes of season 1, TNG was picking up steam for the first time: "We'll Always Have Paris", "Conspiracy" and "The Neutral Zone" IMO ended the first season on a high note.

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I join the choir of those who find TNG season 2 underrated.

Just love that season. Especially the more ... what's the term? "High concept" episodes? "Where Silence Has Lease", "Contagion", "The Royale", "Time Squared"... I just love these episodes. :) And regret that hardly did stuff like that later.

But I guess I wouldn't extend that enthusiasm to season 1. Yes, I do appreciate that it was really bold at times, ambitious about the ideas... but in the end, it was too uneven and lacking in execution, on the bottom line. The interesting ideas failed more often than they worked.

But I do feel that in the last 3 episodes of season 1, TNG was picking up steam for the first time: "We'll Always Have Paris", "Conspiracy" and "The Neutral Zone" IMO ended the first season on a high note.

S2 was amazing.   And yes, even S1 had its moments... I've had new appreciation for it since joining Trekcore/OS four years ago.

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I join the choir of those who find TNG season 2 underrated.

Just love that season. Especially the more ... what's the term? "High concept" episodes? "Where Silence Has Lease", "Contagion", "The Royale", "Time Squared"... I just love these episodes. :) And regret that hardly did stuff like that later.

But I guess I wouldn't extend that enthusiasm to season 1. Yes, I do appreciate that it was really bold at times, ambitious about the ideas... but in the end, it was too uneven and lacking in execution, on the bottom line. The interesting ideas failed more often than they worked.

But I do feel that in the last 3 episodes of season 1, TNG was picking up steam for the first time: "We'll Always Have Paris", "Conspiracy" and "The Neutral Zone" IMO ended the first season on a high note.

S2 was amazing.   And yes, even S1 had its moments... I've had new appreciation for it since joining Trekcore/OS four years ago.

I wonder who is responsible for that. :angel_not: 

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I join the choir of those who find TNG season 2 underrated.

Just love that season. Especially the more ... what's the term? "High concept" episodes? "Where Silence Has Lease", "Contagion", "The Royale", "Time Squared"... I just love these episodes. :) And regret that hardly did stuff like that later.

But I guess I wouldn't extend that enthusiasm to season 1. Yes, I do appreciate that it was really bold at times, ambitious about the ideas... but in the end, it was too uneven and lacking in execution, on the bottom line. The interesting ideas failed more often than they worked.

But I do feel that in the last 3 episodes of season 1, TNG was picking up steam for the first time: "We'll Always Have Paris", "Conspiracy" and "The Neutral Zone" IMO ended the first season on a high note.

S2 was amazing.   And yes, even S1 had its moments... I've had new appreciation for it since joining Trekcore/OS four years ago.

I wonder who is responsible for that. :angel_not: 

tumblr_inline_n4wmdqVphI1qh2kpf.gif

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As I said before, I love the first season and the second season of TNG they are highly underrated. Some of my favorite episodes come from those seasons.

RIP Maurice Hurley

Gus

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Brace yourselves... the Insurrection review is here.

The guy again rambles on about irrelevant details and behind the scenes stuff for AGES before he gets to the actual movie review... but I must admit I lol'd at the snarky comments towards Blandij and her gang. :P And he likes Sir Patrick's arms AND the white dress uniforms, so there are two more plus moments.

And... I DIDN'T feel the need to defend Insurrection. Phew.

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Brace yourselves... the Insurrection review is here.

The guy again rambles on about irrelevant details and behind the scenes stuff for AGES before he gets to the actual movie review... but I must admit I lol'd at the snarky comments towards Blandij and her gang. :P And he likes Sir Patrick's arms AND the white dress uniforms, so there are two more plus moments.

And... I DIDN'T feel the need to defend Insurrection. Phew.

I half agree regarding his comment about the dress uniforms:

Insurrection-Fashion-1.png

They are gorgeous, but they also kind of remind me of...

tumblr_mz80hzNiaI1qewm9xo1_500.png  :giggle:

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I adore BOTH of these uniforms. :P

I mean really though, how is this NOT attractive? I know I'm cheating, it's a Nemesis pic, not Insurrection, but still.

DRESSUNIFORM.thumb.png.1cca0d0223e3b84b6

HNNNNNNG.

tumblr_nottlydLbk1qj6sk2o4_400.gif

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