Star Trek Into Darkness
Two years too late describes how best I feel about this sequel to the highly enjoyable 2009 reboot of the adventures of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Two years earlier and my expectations would not have been as demanding. Two years ago another exploration of these characters before they started their 5 year mission would have been something agreeable.
But 4 years later, my expectations were higher. A highly polished script and a brand new adventure to go boldly once again were want I wanted – and I suspect a lot of the fans of the Trek franchise before this reboot started. Instead we get a perfectly serviceable summer blockbuster that the general movie going public and critics have found enjoyable.
As a summer blockbuster movie I found it enjoyable. And instantly disposable.
As a long time Trek from when the original series aired I found this a mediocre Trek movie that recycled elements from the original series and the second movie. The recycling lacks the impact from the original iteration because the events that take place in The Wrath of Khan work so well because of what transpired in the original Space Seed TV episode. Khan works as a threat in the movie because he and the crew of the Enterprise have a shared history. In STID, Khan means nothing to these new versions of Kirk and Spock et al. So their moments together have no way of carrying the same dramatic tension.
I remain hopeful the next movie will finally deliver some new and original ideas. The cast is fantastic and they really deserve their own adventure.
It’s time for them to see what’s out there.
Black Hills aka Paha Sapa by Dan Simmons
This book totally caught me off guard and blew me away. Plain & simple. Partially because it does not seem to garner the same attention Simmons’s other recent books do. And partially while I enjoy reading Simmons’s books, he favors world building to that of character and I always find his characters somewhat cool and aloof. Not so with Paha Sapa. What a remarkable character and what a remarkable story Simmons tells about and through him.
I found the integration of his story with the history that was taking place during his life, plus the glimpses into other times, the most compelling of any book Simmons has done to date.
In some aspects, and I mean this in the most complimentary way, this is like Simmons’s version of Stephen King’s – The Dead Zone. The tragedy that Paha Sapa endured for the majority of his life was heart breaking and I loved how Simmons handled his life after meeting his granddaughter.
The recounting of the construction of Mount Rushmore, the Chicago World Fair of 1893, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the exploration of George Custer and his wife, plus the glimpses of the world past, present, and future; all so engrossing and fascinating.
Just looking at all the research material and people Simmons conversed with is staggering.
And it all comes together so seamlessly to so poignantly tell the life story of this Sioux, or Lakota or Natural Free Human Being.
This is now my favorite Simmons book.