Being a fan

Being a fan of anything is an interesting process. It stems from the word fanatic and there are times when you realize that is very apropos.

For myself, I am a big fan of four things: Phoenix Suns, Indianapolis Colts, WWE, and Star Trek. These are the four things I would say I am the most into, but there are many other things I enjoy immensely as well including Star Wars, anything comic book related, collecting sports cards, and the list goes on…

Being a fan can be very rewarding in the pleasure it can bring you. Watching a great wrestling match, enjoying a Star Trek marathon, seeing the Colts and Suns win, etc…can bring an immense sense of joy. Collecting merchandise that ties into these things can be very fun as well.

Sometimes being a fan can provide some sad moments as well. Watching your favorite team lose is simply not fun. Even though it shouldn’t, it can slightly ruin your day when your team gets knocked out of the playoffs. With fiction it is quite different since it is essentially make-believe. WWE is story line driven and the outcomes of matches are pre-determined so even if your favorite did not win you know they will win again soon and are happy if the match they lost was at least highly entertaining. They may kill off your favorite character in Star Trek, but there will always be new characters to come along and become your new favorite.

There are downsides to this fandom though. I consider myself well balanced and knowledgeable enough to get over things quickly, but some people are the complete opposite. They become so obsessed they cannot function normally in life. They stalk their favorite athletes or actors. They do not have the ability to function normally in life without those things they enjoy. Sometimes these individuals just do not know what to do with their lives without these ‘things’.

I consider myself a very well functioning fan. When my teams lose it bums me out for a bit, but I get over it pretty quickly. I am able to find the most joy in my family and being able to share the things I love with them puts a huge smile on my face.

I do wonder what it would be like without my favorite things. I would have more room in my house and more money in my bank account, but I cannot help but think things would be a little more boring. I do not ‘need’ these things, but I do get a big smile on my face watching the next Star Trek movie or seeing the Phoenix Suns win a big game.

What is nice though is knowing that without this stuff I would still feel immensely satisfied and happy with my life since I have my wife and daughter by my side. Without them things would be much different and not for the better. Enjoying things is fine as long as you have bigger priorities in life.

Being a fan is okay, just don’t become a fan-atic!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation

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The Next Generation crew appeared in 4 movies with only one of them being a real standout with the other 3 being okay, but could have been much better. It would have been nice to have one more big movie for the TNG cast to go out with a bang but it was not meant to be.

Generations:

This was the movie that had a goal of successfully transferring the movies from the original crew to the new guys. It was a decent effort, but could have been significantly better if they could have gotten the entire original cast to participate. Due to egos and script conflicts it was not meant to be.

Overall, the movie was perfectly fine. Seeing Kirk and Picard going after Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell) was a blast and I felt that Kirk’s death was fitting, but it would have been fun to see him in maybe one more film even if it was nothing more than a cameo.

I liked the addition of Lursa and B’Etor into the movie and their death was appropriate and humorously done. McDowell did a great job as Dr. Soran and displayed just enough emotion to make you sympathetic towards him, yet still want to see him get his comeuppance in the end.

This was not the classic it should have been, but the movie was good for the most part and made me excited to see what they could pull of in the first movie featuring only the TNG cast which leads me to my favorite Star Trek movie yet…

First Contact:

YES! This is the best Star Trek movie in my opinion. It was practically flawless in the way it balanced humor with tremendous drama and tension.

The movie had great moments for the entire TNG crew with one of the standouts being Marina Sirtis’ drunk Troi scene with Zefram Cochran (wonderfully portrayed by James Cromwell) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Sirtis was fairly limited in what she could do with Troi in the television show so it was nice to see a different side of the character and actress.

Alfre Woodard’s Lily was perfect played directly opposite Patrick Stewart’s Picard. I really wish they could have found a way to make her a permanent addition to the franchise since I would have loved to see her character’s relationship with Picard blossom.

The Borg, along with the awesome Borg Queen played by Alice Krige, were great adversary’s for this movie and really made you feel that the crew of the Enterprise was in genuine danger.

This one falls in to the category of being not only a great Star Trek film, but a fantastic film period.

Insurrection:

This was definitely a step down from First Contact but it is not as bad of a movie as people would make you believe. The main issue of the movie was that it seemed more like a great 2 part television episode and not a film. I enjoy movies with moral messages from time to time, but would prefer to have that message not be so blunt in it’s delivery.

I really do not have a lot to say about this film other than it was cool to see F. Murray Abraham as the main villain Ru’afo and the final battle between him and Picard was pretty entertaining.

Nemesis:

The final TNG movie. Better than Insurrection, but not as good as First Contact.

This is another heavily criticized movie that I feel gets better with repeated viewings. The premise was a little bizarre with the clone of Picard (a very young Tom Hardy as Shinzon) seeming like a bad choice initially for the main villain, but I feel Hardy did a great job in the role and the feelings of deep violation was played masterfully by Stewart.

I also enjoyed the introduction of the Reman’s into Stark Trek lore. They were delightfully creepy and could have been a solid menace in future films.

The overall darkness of the movie seemed a little overwhelming at times, but was appropriate for the story.

This movie is better than a lot of people say and is definitely worth a watch.

There were a lot of rumors that they were going to do one more movie before the eventual re-boot that would have featured the TNG crew, Deep Space Nine cast, and some of the characters from Voyager together. That would have been incredible, but Nemesis tanked at the theaters preventing it from happening.

It would have been great to get one final big movie out of the crew, but what we got was fun overall and a great addition to my film collection.

Star Trek I – VI

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My favorite movie and television series of all time is Star Trek. I have an equal love for both the original series and The Next Generation crew. Last year I purchased all of the movies on blu-ray in their respective collections and was blown away by the quality of the blu-rays and the hours of behind the scenes info. for each movie. If you are a fan of the Star Trek movies and do not own these collections already then you need to stop reading and buy them now. Even if you have the special edition DVD’s you still need to pick these collections up to own these movies in the best representation possible.

This week I will concentrate on the Original Crew’s 6 films:

Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture

This is possibly the most maligned of all the Star Trek movies. In all honesty it is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It is really a decent start to the film franchise and had a lot of good moments. The whole V’Ger story line is interesting and when I first watched this as a kid many moons ago it was a genuine surprise twist. The movie looks beautiful on blu-ray and it is pretty cool to have the full 143 minute version, but at the same time that is my main gripe with this film. The movie is far too long. Once they enter the structure housing V’Ger the movie goes into slow down mode. They could have cut 30 minutes out of this part of the movie and possibly improved it many people’s minds. I was amazed that they spent so much time just slowly moving through the structure. Editing was the one major weakness in this film.

Overall, this was a good re-introduction to the franchise and paved the way for many more great movies to come.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

This movie was fantastic and holds up very well over time. It was exciting throughout and the over-the-top performances from both Shatner as Kirk and Montalban as Khan was perfect for the tone of this film. No matter how many times I have watched it over the years I still enjoy it immensely. The blu-ray transfer is incredible. The movie still retains that ‘grungy’ feel yet looks clearer than it ever has.

Even knowing the outcome of the third film it is still one of the most emotional moments in film history when Spock sacrifices himself to save the crew.

This movie is exciting from the first minute to the last and is definitely one of the best Star Trek movies, and one of the best overall science fiction films, of all time.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Another solid movie that does not always get the respect it deserves since it follows one of the best movies in the franchise. It is a little slower moving than the second film, but has enough big moments to keep your interest and found an intriguing way to resurrect Spock.

Christopher Lloyd’s Kruge was wonderfully off the wall which is usually what one hopes for from a Lloyd performance.  Robin Curtis as Lt. Saavik was a great casting choice. I am not a big Kirstie Alley fan and felt that Curtis performed the role perfectly.

Another good thing about this film was it paved the way for the fourth movie which was my absolute favorite for quite a long time.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Possibly the perfect Star Trek movie. It melded all the great sci-fi tropes that Trek established and added in the perfect amount of humor. After the dead seriousness of the first three films this was a wonderful ‘breather’ so to speak. There was genuine tension with the Earth’s future in balance, but there were enough lighthearted moments that you never felt weighed down by the drama.

The entire original crew had great moments in this film and the introduction of Catherine Hicks’ Gillian was a welcome addition to the franchise. It would have been interesting to see her in at least a small role in the next movie, but it was not meant to be.

For some people the ‘save the Earth” message may have seemed a little preachy, but I felt it was appropriate not only for the time, but also today.

Once again the blu-ray transfer is amazing. All of the movies in this collection look better than ever.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Okay, possible the only movie in the franchise hated more than the first one. For the longest time I enjoyed this movie and did not understand all of the negative reactions to it. Watching it again as an adult, I now understand the hate for this film. There were some good moments, but the script seemed disjointed and I really got the feeling that the cast felt the same way as was reflected in their performances. The whole finding God theme was a bit to ‘head-y” for a Star Trek film and the movie was less than 2 hours long yet seemed to go on forever.

I did not hate this movie originally, but after watching it for the umpteenth time I finally realized that it deserves the title of worst in the franchise.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

This was a fitting end to the voyage of the original crew of the U.S.S Enterprise. It was great to see the feud with the Klingon’s mostly put to rest by the end of the movie and the commentary on racism was very appropriate.

You could tell the cast really wanted to go out with a bang and they all put on wonderful performances.

One of my favorite characters from all of Star Trek is Christopher Plummer’s General Chang. He was simply amazing. His quoting of Shakespeare in the “original Klingon” added a sense of gravitas to the character and he was the perfect villain for this film.

This was a nice, emotional goodbye for the original cast and really set the stage wonderfully for the Next Generation cast.

The bonus features are seemingly endless for these movies and are worth spending more than a few extra hours watching every last minute of them.

If you love Star Trek you probably already own these or are at least planning too. Even if you are not a fan of the franchise but just like good entertainment, then these films are more than worth a view.

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