Posts Tagged ‘star trek’

As a follow-up to Desert Island Discs, the team at work have been doing our top ten films, and this week was my turn. The only condition was that one of the ten had to be set in London. Once again, I’ll be buggered if I’m writing all this lot up and not turning it into a blog post.

Forbidden Planet (1956)

I remember watching this, aged about 8, sitting on the floor at school during one of our headmaster’s film nights. As most people know, it’s Shakespeare’s Tempest mixed with a bit of Freud and set in outer space. The special effects contain some real “how did they do that back then?” moments. And notice that the starship is a flying saucer and the crew are all men – that was the status quo in almost all science fiction back then and would be for another ten years, until Star Trek rewrote the rules. The “sequel” is also well worth seeing 😉

Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966)

My London film. Well the first half is set in 22nd century London (that looks awfully like 1960s London).
This is the second of the two Peter Cushing Doctor Who films, big(-ish) budget, technicolour, remakes of the first two Dalek TV stories. To be honest I prefer the TV version – the scenes of Daleks patrolling an abandoned London are much more atmospheric in B&W. But this film is more important because this was repeated on telly almost every summer holiday from the mid-70s onwards so several generations of Doctor Who fans grew up with this version in their childhood memories. So much so, that at least one later TV episode references events as they took place in the film, not the original.

The Italian Job (1969)

(Also got some London bits) I haven’t seen the remake. Why would I want to?

Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Just a private enterprise operation.

The Sting (1973)

Probably the best confidence trick movie ever. And parts of it are ripped off by almost every episode of Hustle.

Star Wars (1977)

I am a member of the Star Wars generation. This film came out at the exact moment in my childhood for me to be hooked. And that’s why we have the original here, not the “more grown-up” The Empire Strikes Back. This was when George Lucas knew how to have fun, before CGI, before the “expanded universe”, before we all became cynical.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

There have been 11 Star Trek movies to date. Some of them are rubbish; some of them are good fun; two of them are really quite splendid. This is the film that saved Star Trek. After the worthy but dull and expensive Star Trek The (Slow) Motion Picture, this is the film that remembered that Trek should be fun and brash and really over acted. This is the film that gave us some of the finest Shatnerisms. (Including, of course, Khaaaaaan! )

Aliens (1986)

I think that the Special Edition of this was the first film I owned on video tape. An incredibly influential film – twenty years later and films, comics, computer games are still playing with variations of the future-war look created here. “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

The Usual Suspects (1995)

This was from a period when I was going to the cinema a lot and seeing a lot films that have really stuck in my mind (Unforgiven, Apollo 13, Once Were Warriors, Quiz Show, Strange Days, Ed Wood) but this one stands out. Repeated viewings are about spotting clues and inconsistencies but if you saw it first without any spoilers, watching the story unfold without knowing how what came next was something special.

Hot Fuzz (2007)

(Also got some London bits) Best British film of the decade? If you grew up in the home counties, where winning village of the year was a big deal, then parts of this film are worryingly accurate…

To describe someone as “the best actor in TNG” obviously falls into the category of damning with faint praise. 😉

What prompted my previous post was going to see Waiting for Godot on Wednesday, this production has a very impressive cast list: Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Ronald Pickup and Simon Callow. And it struck me that Patrick Stewart looked a little uncomfortable and stiff, in particular with the physical comedy aspects of the production.

Basically, what Linnie said.

I would sit down and watch Patrick Stewart in almost anything (but I gave up on Eleventh Hour after one episode ‘cos it was just dull) but there’s a certain type of part he does very, very well and outside of that he’s still good but not the greatest.

We only think of Patrick Stewart as a really good actor because he was the best actor in TNG.


The new Star Trek film rocks.

Everything that mattered was right, and many of the things that didn’t matter as well (they even did the sideburns).

However, I have a problem with Scotty, it’s quite simply that Simon Pegg + scottish accent = Wee Hughie from The Boys and that brings to mind all sorts of very strange crossovers.

Seen the pics from the new Star Trek film yet? Spoilers ahoy ‘cos here are the treknical ones…

Hands up who thinks that this ship looks like it should be an intermediate stage between the movie-era Enterprise and the Ambassador class? I can hear the fanboys screaming…

So this is the USS Kelvin, destroyed some time before the main timeframe of the movie. NCC-0514. Hmm, I want to see more. And, on the really pedantic level, how does this fit into the same registry scheme that includes the NCC-638 USS Grissom form ST III?

And has it really been four years since I updated my Star Trek ships web site? Ouch.


Went to see 10,000 BC this afternoon. Oh boy, history, biology, geography, astronomy – they all get a hammering in this film. I can’t be bothered to even start listing everything that was goofy here.

It was one of the most by-the-numbers renditions of (the easy to understand bits of) Joseph Campbell’s monomyth that I’d seen in a while. I smiled at the bemusement when hunter-gatherers first came across the evidence of agriculture, but of course in Campbell’s scheme there has to be a ‘boon’ to take back home at the end (sorry, that was a spoiler). There were also bits lifted from the Bible, Stargate, Conan and 300, just in case the mention of Campbell misled you into thinking there were highbrow sources being used.

The action and CGI were very good, the actors managed to keep straight face. It’s not a bad movie in the sense that it’s exciting and visual, but it’s certainly one to watch with the brain switched off.

Oh, by the way, the Doctor Who and Star Trek trailers look amazing on the big screen.

I was tagged by Jack on the grounds that I’ve “not done a meme for a while”.

Total Number of Books Owned

According to my LibrayThing profile, 858. I know I have at least one more to add to that list and I’d also need to subtract the 27 tagged as !borrowed or !sold. So 832. Minimum, as there may be more hiding somewhere that I haven’t added yet.

Last Book Bought

A couple of out of print role playing games from eBay. Last ‘real’ book would appear to be Clarissa Oakes by Patrick O’Brian which I found in a bookshop in Amsterdam and made Lettice buy because I’d only just bought something else there and the shop assistant was a bit on the scary side.

Last Book Read

I finished re-reading Human Nature this morning. I’ve been wanting to refresh my memory since the TV version came out. The book is bloodier and does a better job of creating the historical context. However it does have a number of elements that are really superfluous and which the TV version correctly ignored.

Five books that mean a lot to me

In reverse chronological order in my life:

  1. Life by Richard Fortey

    I bought this whilst on holiday in Tennessee visiting and so it reminds me of a great time as well as being a great book. Fortey takes a look at the history of life on Earth from the moment if started to the dawn of human history. Richard Dawkins did the same trip backwards in The Ancestor’s Tale but for me Fortey’s book is more engaging.

  2. Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One

    Very, very geeky. But as well as being one of the best Treknical fandom works ever it’s also the first book I bought online.

  3. Thieves’ World

    I could have listed several works of fantasy or science fiction that I read during my adolesence – The Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Pern novels and The Colour of Magic prime amongst them, but this collection of low fantasy stories set in a seedy city at the arse end of an empire is the one that stuck in my mind the most.

  4. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

    I was the pefect age for this when it was first published. And from this book sprung my interest in RPGs and wargames. It has a lot to answer for.

  5. Read About Me and the Yellow-Eyed Monster

    A childhood treat – a book with me and my family and my friends in it.

Four People You’re Tagging With This Meme


Got a short e-mail today about my StarDate Converter:

Have you considered making the current stardate available via RSS?

Hmm, interesting. First of all I’d have to translate the calculator to PHP or whatever to do the calculations on the server, but after that making the output available via RSS would be easy enough.

But would it be practical: the second decimal place represents a period of little over five minutes, so if someone wanted this to create a stardate ‘clock’ they’d be hitting my server at least that often. Not a disaster on its own but something that would need keeping an eye on if it proved popular.

Maybe I should test it out with the French Revolutionary Calendar first (I really need to convert that to PHP anyway so that the dates on this blog aren’t reliant on JavaScript). Hmmm, let’s see where this leads.


It’s one of those funny but not especially surprising things that fan activity for some well established shows is more creative when the show is off the air and loses momentum somewhat when new material is actually being produced.

Just as a new TV season starts in the US, the first second (bugger, things never sounds as good when the facts are right) without a new Star Trek series for nearly two decades, so two lang standing stalwarts (what I suppose we’d call BNFs in other circles) of treknical fandom produce new material. David Schmidt’s Strategic Design produces a new range of blueprints and Eric Kristiansen releases a new edition of Jackill’s Volume One.

Well, I’m excited even if you’re not.


Discussion last night about the new Doctor Who with someone who is a sci-fi geek but not a long term DW fan. Now we all know that the Cybermen came first but are they better?

Opinions please.

Update November 6th 2012: Thank you everyone for your comments over the last seven years. But it looks like an official answer is here in the form of the Assimilation2 comics. So I’m closing comments on this post.