Star Trek Into Darkness: Yeah, They Lied About Khan

(Update: This was a review I did for Into Darkness back when it came out. Yes, I’m just as mortified as you that it’s already been three years. With Star Trek Beyond being released tomorrow, it seemed like a good opportunity to share my thoughts on the first two Trek films in this series. I just didn’t feel like writing a brand new post for it. Plus, it’s always interesting as a writer to revisit old material and see how your style and voice has grown. The original review will now commence)

Depending on where you fall in the whole Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate, you may view the upcoming slate of films to be a period of intense competition or a window of rare opportunity. I’m inclined to side with the latter. After all, it’s not every day that the same promising young filmmaker is chosen to helm the two most iconic science fiction franchises in modern history, much less tackle them back-to-back. Myself, I’ve loved Star Wars since the opening credits crawled across my screen for the first time, while I never quite saw the appeal in Star Trek (go ahead Trekkies, have at me). However, J.J. Abrams won me over with his 2009 reboot and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the sequel ever since. As it turns out, my enthusiasm was well-founded. Darkness is my favorite movie of the year so far and now I’m more eager than ever to see what Abrams can accomplish with Star Wars, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it (only 2 more years!). Minor spoilers below. 

Continue reading

When J.J. Abrams Made Star Trek Mainstream

Before 2009, Star Trek was about as cool and hip as a pair of men’s jorts or New Balance sneakers. It wasn’t something you admitted to liking if you ever wanted to get lucky with a girl. As a wrestling fan, I can identify with this. And like wrestling, Trek has a massive cult following of fans who may be unlucky in love but damn it, they are passionate about it and that’s never going to change.

Then J.J. Abrams showed up and made Star Trek… cool? A lot of people who normally wouldn’t have given Trek the time of day, including yours truly, found themselves completely immersed in Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the iconic nerd franchise. This accomplished two things: 1) It established Abrams as one of the most reliable blockbuster directors in the game and 2) Forever earned him the ire of hardcore Trekkies who resented him for altering something they loved in order to make it more accessible to general audiences.

To those Trekkies, I’d like to respectfully request that you give Abrams a break. He gifted us an entertaining movie series that is still going strong to this day and you guys still have all the old films and TV episodes to cherish and worship. Don’t you see? This was a win for all of us!

Continue reading

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Review

I thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil? The Dark Side? The Light? The crazy thing is, it’s true. All of it. The Jedi? They’re real. 

There are some things in life that are indescribable. One of the most endearing effects that a movie can have on us is how they make us feel, for that is how we truly measure what they mean to us and how much we enjoy them as an audience. Maybe that sounds a little corny, but being corny is one of the time-honored traditions in Hollywood. The frenzy that surrounds the release of a new Star Wars movie is another one.

As I sit here and at long-last share my opinion on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it’s important to keep this in mind. I will analyze and critique the film to the best of my ability, but one thing I could never do justice to is describe the overwhelming feeling of joy I had while once more returning to a galaxy far, far away. It’s more than just nostalgia or the emergence of my inner-child. It’s the kind of feeling that takes place when you are experiencing something you know that you’ll remember forever, and so I could never accurately convey to you in words what that’s like. You just have to live it for yourself.

I lived it. I still have the smile on my face to prove it.

Continue reading

“Star Trek Into Darkness” Review by Jesse Schaffer

Depending on where you fall in the whole Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate, you may view the upcoming slate of films to be a period of intense competition or a window of rare opportunity. I’m inclined to side with the latter. After all, it’s not every day that the same promising young filmmaker is chosen to helm the two most iconic science fiction franchises in modern history, much less tackle them back-to-back. Myself, I’ve loved Star Wars since the opening credits crawled across my screen for the first time, while I never quite saw the appeal in Star Trek (go ahead Trekkies, have at me). However, J.J. Abrams won me over with his 2009 reboot and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the sequel ever since. As it turns out, my enthusiasm was well-founded. Darkness is my favorite movie of the year so far and now I’m more eager than ever to see what Abrams can accomplish with Star Wars, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it (only 2 more years!). Minor spoilers below. 

Continue reading