Category Archives: Ideology

‘Discovery’ First Look

Well that’s disappointing. It might seem like I’m deciding to hate this series before seeing it, but what’s really happening is that I’m simply not liking most of what they’ve shown. On the plus side, I think the cast looks great. Beyond that, there just isn’t very much to cheer.

The prequel setting has been covered by many as a terrible idea. It’s just never going to be as interesting as pushing forward into the future; into the unknown. That’s what Star Trek used to be about, before it was hijacked by JJ Abrams and his cult of Boomer nostalgia mongers.

My big problem with what we see in this trailer is the production design. Everything about it looks like JJ Trek. The overly colour graded look of the shots. The high contrast lighting style. The shiny, grey metal surfaces. The lens flares. That does not look like an environment I’d want to visit, let alone live in. Who didn’t wish they could visit the old Enterprise, or have a drink in Ten Forward, or walk along the Promenade and meet friends at Quark’s? Those places were warm, inviting, and optimistic. This series looks soul crushingly bland, and most importantly, it doesn’t look fun. How a show looks tells you all you need to know about it. It’s the body language of a series. Here, even the Klingons, one of science fiction’s all time classic aliens, have been completely redone. Star Trek’s motto from now on: needlessly redesigned.

I read an interesting commentary on this trailer and how it compares to the way the Star Wars franchise treats its history. When ‘The Force Awakens’ or ‘Rogue One’ were made, no one came up with a new look for the Millennium Falcon. No one offered their take on the X-Wing. Sure, the models and assets were beefed up and improved for a modern film, but there’s no confusion that they are the same ships we’ve all grown up with. The people working on contemporary Star Wars love and respect it. So when the time comes to create something new, they work around what’s been done before and make sure it all fits together. Not so with Star Trek. The people working on modern Trek think it’s tacky and dated. They don’t love or respect the original works and therefore are willing to wipe the slate clean and update everything, keeping only the tiniest forms of fan lip-service the marketing department has asked for. They think old Star Trek sucks.

Marketing is what is really driving this new show. It looks this way because the JJ Abrams movies look this way, and CBS has decided to try and leverage them to build their ridiculous online streaming service. Revere Trek’s history? Who cares! Appreciate continuity? Boring! Now Star Trek on TV looks like those movies you saw a few years ago, so come and watch, for just $10 a month!

No sale here.

Uh oh!

What the Fuck Is Going On With ‘Star Trek: Discovery’?

Here’s a great summary of everything that’s been going on with the new Star Trek series, and it doesn’t sound promising. Even without these issues, I don’t know if I’d be on board with the concept. Why set it ten years before the original series? Why do we always have to come back to Kirk and Spock? It’s pathetic.

Star Trek is supposed to be about looking forward. All it can do now is wallow in the past.

There hasn’t really been any great Trek made since The Next Generation. Deep Space Nine is a war story set in a static location. Voyager is literally about going home. The other prequel, Enterprise, is the dramatic equivalent of looking through your parents’ photo albums. The nuTrek films are Boomer nostalgia trips.

This new show takes place in the past and they have the nerve to call it ‘Discovery’?

The entire concept is a sad joke.



There’s plenty of blame to go around for the election of Donald Trump to the office of the President of the United States of America. A lot of it rests with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party. Even more with the growing urban/rural divide and globalist ideology that’s crushing small communities’ sense of identity. Some is just boring demographics. As much as the US is changing, a lot of that change hasn’t come fast enough to make a difference right now. It’s painfully clear that white baby boomers, with their 1950s nostalgia worldview, are not going to give up control of society until it’s pried from their cold, dead hands. Florida proved that…again. Younger people, most of whom lean left and vote Democrat, seem unwilling to put in even the bare minimum of effort to have their voices heard. That is, actually voting on election day. All of the ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ in the world don’t mean as much as a single vote in the booth. There’s no guarantee that the idealistism of youth will stick around, either. Don’t go betting on future decades of nothing but Democrat victories.

Fuck Everything And Blame Everyone

With this election, the writing was on the wall through the primaries. Democrats chose the insider candidate over the one that generated more buzz and who people actually seemed to like. Republicans begrudgingly did the opposite. Clinton has too much baggage, and is not relatable or likeable. I honestly believe that if she were a Man, she wouldn’t have won the nomination. But the party elite believed in her manifest destiny to become the first Woman to hold the office, and after 8 years of the first black President, ‘progress’ seemed an unstoppable trend. What could possibly go wrong?

After the scandal broke that the Democratic party had been fixing the primaries to favour Clinton, she was shockingly tone deaf on the issue. Disgraced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a long time Clinton friend, was given a position in Hillary’s campaign. Already swimming in muddy accusations surrounding her private email server, that action confirmed people’s worst fears about her casual, above the law elitism. A vast majority of Americans consider Washington to be broken. Clinton is a 30 year veteran of that system, and she put it on full display.

Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there

Whether it’s an American Presidential election, or a British referendum on EU membership, liberals everywhere will always struggle appealing to rural, working people. Humans instinctually tribalize themselves, and most liberals spend almost all of their time in cities amongst people with university degrees and cosmopolitan attitudes. They are a culture that believes education is equal to intelligence, and only the intelligent should qualify as leaders. They have no relatable experience with millions of their fellow citizens who grow the food and build the infrastructure that keeps a society running. The vast hinterland of ‘stupid, ignorant, racist bigots’ who live beyond city walls. We’ve all seen the memes and Saturday Night Live skits. Well, farmers have television and the internet, too.

Rural Democrats were not willing to double down on at least four more years of the same. What’s a little racism or sexism compared to a vote against the corrupt, corporate, global elite who’ve been ruining rural economies for decades? It got Hitler elected. It got Chavez elected. It got Trump elected. Democrats had a populist candidate, and they rigged the game against him. Ignore the grassroots at your peril.

Unless and until liberals can cure themselves of that thinking, this will continue to happen. Liberals will continue to be viewed as out of touch ivory tower residents by a rural population only too happy to tear the whole thing down. Learn from this, and don’t let it happen again four years from now.

‘Beyond’ terrible


Wow. I’m not even sure where to begin. ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a terrible film. That this is what’s produced to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary surely means that there is no genuine love for Star Trek anywhere inside Paramount. It’s simply a brand to be exploited. What’s more shocking to me is that the film is still sitting at over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The creative team might take some solace in that figure, but I’m sure the bean counters are less impressed with the number that counts.

If ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ isn’t a home run, it’ll probably be time for me to give up on Trek all together. The direction the franchise has been taken feels so wrong and so far from the old shows I still love. There’s no thoughtfulness, no subtlety, no intellectualism. Everything that was interesting has been stripped away in favour of explosions, fight scenes, stunts, and guns. ‘Beyond’ doesn’t pretend to be about anything or deliver any kind of message. The villain has no motivation other than ‘being evil’, and his ancient super weapon may as well be a magic jewel. The Enterprise still looks awful, the Yorktown Starbase seems to be designed solely around Director Justin Lin’s wacky camera moves, and even Spock’s hair looks bad. The cast seems completely uninterested and already looks old and tired.

For me, ‘Beyond’ is right at the bottom of the Star Trek film pile with ‘Nemesis’ and ‘Final Frontier’. Though at least those movies had interesting premises. At least there were nuggets of cool ideas. ‘Beyond’ has nothing. I’m absolutely finished hearing from Trek film’s writers and directors that they ‘love Star Trek’ and ‘grew up with the show’. Either Simon Pegg and Justin Lin were lying through their teeth, or the studio deliberately removed anything that might have been novel. Either way, the result is the same. A formulaic sci-fi action movie with no surprises, no messages, and loads of cliches. This film is just…boring. Even writing this has been boring. I’m done.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Woah! A movie review post? It’s certainly been a long time. It’s been an even longer wait for the latest installment of the Star Wars saga. Ever since Disney bought the franchise from George Lucas, announced the making of a third trilogy, and hired J.J. Abrams to direct Episode VII, people have been anticipating this film. I have to admit I haven’t been much of a Star Wars fan since the prequels were released, and the original theatrical cuts of the old movies became nearly impossible to find. Life without Star Wars has actually been pretty good. A real shock, I know.


I did not wait in line to see this film. I did not purchase reserved seating on opening day. The thing’s been out for weeks and I’ve just gotten around to seeing it recently. Most of that has been because of the busy Christmas season, and a desire to avoid crowded theatres. I have to admit, though, that a part of it was because my expectations were pretty low, or even non-existent. Look, we all knew ‘The Force Awakens’ would look great, sound incredible, and be entertaining; with great action scenes and some humourous, snappy dialogue. Those are all things J.J. Abrams does well, and Disney wouldn’t tolerate anything else. This film is expertly made, and best of all, it feels like Star Wars. It all looks right and sounds right. What should be real is real, and what needs to be a visual effect is done extremely well.

The cast is excellent. Performances are spot on. It’s so nice to say that about a Star Wars film again. That’s where having Abrams in the director’s chair really shows through the most. He seems to do a good job of pulling believable performances out of his cast. Finn is really enjoyable, and as the first Stormtrooper the audience has ever gotten to know, probably the most interesting character. He’s also easily the most original addition to the franchise. Rey, the modern-but-female equivalent of Luke, and Kylo Ren, this film’s version of Darth Vader, are well done but predictable. Originality is sorely lacking in ‘The Force Awakens’. Abrams has even felt the need to openly defend the film from critics. The entire first scene is an almost exact copy of the beginning of the original ‘Star Wars’. Secret information gets hidden in a droid. Stormtroopers, led by a masked figure in black, give chase to a desert planet. A young person befriends the droid and is led on a galactic adventure aboard the Millennium Falcon, discovers they are strong with the Force, and helps to destroy a giant weapon that obliterates entire planets. There’s even a trench run. It was all a bit too familiar for me, as if this was supposed to be an homage and not a continuation. Abrams says “those simple tenets are by far the least important aspects of this movie”, and that what really matters is “introducing brand new characters using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new”. If those tenets aren’t very important, why use them again? Why tell a “new” story that isn’t very new at all? “The Force Awakens” wants to tug on every single Star Wars heartstring, but instead hits them with a hammer.

This film hasn’t changed my opinion of J.J. Abrams as a director. His talent for exciting set pieces, visuals, and action is obvious. So is his shallow emotional language and penchant for vague, nonsensical plot twists. ‘The Force Awakens’, like Abrams’ Star Trek efforts, feels like a series of trailer shots and epic moments were conjured up first, then strung together by a loose and fickle plot afterwards. It’s also apparent that scenes were left out of this film that probably should not have been. We’re never given enough explanation about why Kylo Ren is so angry at his Father, so when he finally and predictably kills him, there’s no weight to the moment. Rey comes to use the Force more easily and naturally than any character in the history of the franchise, doubling down on the notion that people are born and bred to be Jedi. Years of training and discipline? Boring! And why must we have yet another secret Master of the Dark Side? Where was he during the original Trilogy? It would have been more interesting and dramatic if Kylo Ren came to the Dark Side all on his own, and was figuring it out as he went along. Anger, fear, hatred, and all that the Dark Side represents is tempting enough on it’s own to a young Man, and suggesting he was coaxed into it just cheapens his motivations. I find myself agreeing with almost everything in this piece: Everything That’s Wrong With Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

At the end of the day, ‘Star Wars’ is back. It’s just that this film didn’t really make me care. It had all of the sounds, all of the imagery, but just felt like history’s most well executed paint-by-numbers piece. I hope the next two episodes are different.

Live now

2015-07-02 - Denise card

Atmosphere Visual Effects is a small company. Many of us have been there for a long time. Worked with the same colleagues, and eventually friends, for years. We’ve seen each other’s lives change; seen each other grow as people, and now, we’ve seen one of us die. I won’t forget Tom gathering our attention to let us all know that Denise had gone to the hospital feeling ill, and within a couple of days, had passed away. It was unbelievable. She’d just had her second child a few months ago. It felt like only the week before that she was in for a visit to say ‘hello’ and introduce the new baby. She was energetic and cheerful. She was happy.

A memorial fund has been setup for Denise’s family. I’m glad to see so many people contributing to it.

Death has a way of focusing one’s attention on life. Even more so when it’s the sudden death of someone so young. It’s a selfish reaction, but an understandable one. I was doubting my upcoming travel plans. Not seriously; not considering changing my mind, but doubting if more extended travel was a smart life choice. Is it the best use of my money at this point? Is it the best use of my time? Shouldn’t I focus on my career? On building a more permanent existence here?

“Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.”

A healthy 34 year old, living in one of the world’s best countries, can be cut down by life without a moment’s notice. That’s the reality of our existence. It’s a sad thing that, even with such knowledge, many of us put off living. We spend too much time working. Too much time commuting. Too much time watching TV. Not enough time with our families, our partners, our friends. I finally let work know that I’m going travelling again. At least six months through the Americas with the Balkan Boyz.

We Humans might not be able to do everything in just one lifetime. But we can at least try to make sure that whenever our number comes up, the bucket list has more things crossed off than left over. Go out there and live. Do stuff. It might be your last chance.