Well it’s true, I don’t really have too much to write about other then maybe a couple of mildly intriguing experiences that I have had this week so it’s going to be this and then……well…
So anyway, I did eventually get to see Star Trek and unfortunately it did not live up to the hype. I guess it has something to do with being a huge Star Trek fan and seeing all of this 4 star reviews from the Toronto Star to Rotten Tomatoes and hearing friends and co-workers going on about how awesome it was, but then I go to see it and it turns out to be your typical summer blockbuster. Maybe The Dark Knight set the bar way to high last year, but I just wasn’t all that into the story for the most part. There was also a noticeable degree of plot convenience behind a lot of the things that happened to get Kirk in the captains chair and all of the TOS cast in their relevant positions, but I think the worst plot device had to go to Spock’s mothers death with the ground just happening to give out from under her right as she was about to be beamed up so that Spock could have his emotional turmoil to struggle with and try to supress. It just felt so….forced. And don’t even get me started on Nero because I think he might have actually made the likes of Shinzon and Ru’afo look like compelling villains. The guy just had nothing going for him (literally) at all other than to be an antagonist and I never for a second felt an ounce of pity for his loss. This was a huge let down since Star Trek has in the past had some pretty compelling villain characters in the films such as the Borg Queen, General Chang and of course the legendary Khan Noonien Singh.
It wasn’t all bad though and the interactions between the various crew members helped to make up the lack of interest the plot failed to provide. Everybody was incredible on the Enterprise side of things and you could feel the chemistry between Pine, Urban and Quinto. Even Uhura was for the first time in Star Trek history somewhat of an interest. However, the real show stealer, and by god I wish he had shown up earlier, was without a doubt Simon “Hot Fuzz” Pegg as Scotty. Good lord does this guy have screen presence and an incredible sense of comedic timing. So in the end it’s a yes to character interactions, but a no to the plot of Star Trek for me. It almost seems like the cast was bigger than the movie they were placed in and that the lameness of the story was holding them back rather than them having to overcome any significant limitations or to develop to the point where they could meet the challenges ahead of them.
So do I think I got my money’s worth at $12.00 admission? Probably. I mean there are far worse ways to spend $12.00 then to sit in front of a popcorn flick in the theatre and be entertained and not every summer movie can be The Dark Knight. I just hope the next Star Trek movie has a better plot for this incredible cast because they deserve it and so do we.
As for the other interesting thing that happened this week, the first game I’ve been looking forward to this year came out. I’m talking about FFIV: The After Years for WiiWare. Previously released as a sequential cell phone game in Japan, Square Enix saw the potential for it as a low cost base and expansion pack set for the WiiWare, and so for 800 points you can purchase the main story and then proceed to add any of the additional character stories for 300 points a pop to your base game as they are released over the course of the summer. At the end of it all there’s supposed to be a final story to tie it altogether which will pull in all of your stats from the previous characters for one final battle. So basically it’s like Mother 3 or Dragon Quest IV meets Final Fantasy. Cool idea and a neat introduction to Japanese style cell phone games.
So the main story seems to centre around Cecil and Rosa’s son Ceodore’s (who for some reason looks like he belongs in a Tales game design wise) quest to rise out of the shadow of his father’s shadow and make his own name as a Red Wing, but of course we all know there’s got to be more to it then that and that there will be other new as well as old characters returning. The game also seems to make use of the FFVI engine disguised to look like the FFIV engine, because the sprites are instantly recognizable as the size of those from the latter SNES era game and so are some of the attack effects. There’s also two new systems to keep things interesting. First is the moon phase system whereby as time passes in game (every 30 minutes I think) the moon goes through it’s various phases, and with each phase certain elements of combat become weaker or stronger. For example where I am now at the Full Moon physical attacks are halved, white magic potency is doubled and black magic and throwing remain the same. It’s different for different phases naturally.
Also there is the Band system which is very reminiscent of the combo attacks in Chrono Trigger. Basically in combat you have the option to search for bands between characters that have some sort of bond and you do this by intiating it with one character and then selecting a command from another. If successful the characters will perform a band attack which costs some MP, but has various effects that are always more beneficial then a standard attack. For example Wedge and Biggs in the intro mission can use Vibra Edge which is basically a cross slash that does good physical damage to all enemies on the screen. There’s a ridiculous number of these though from what I could tell just by scrolling down the blank Band list in the menu and I’m sure a lot of the game will involve searching for good Bands, manipulating the moon phase in favour of your party’s benefits and to minimize it’s weaknesses and of course time honoured levelling and item finding. Fun stuff really and at a fair price. Also it’s in WIDE SCREEN! Definitely got my money’s worth on this one.