Saturday, December 19, 2009

Health Updates and Star Trek


Well, Lana is feeling a bit better, although she still has plenty of pain. She’s doing some passive exercises on her arm to keep the range of motion up. Unfortunately, I just got a call from my brother this morning to tell me that my step-father is in intensive care after a heart attack. We’ve been so worried about mom, and Ray has been a rock. But rocks crack, too, I guess. Two other family members are facing serious health issues as well. It’s been a hard couple of months for the family. Our world will change dramatically in the next few months.

But I didn’t start this blog to talk primarily about personal issues. I started it to talk about writing and reading, etc., and right now I need the distraction. Last night, before I got the latest bad news, Lana and I finally got around to watching the new Star Trek movie. I really enjoyed it. Watched it twice, in fact. I thought the characterizations were pretty spot on. The new Kirk, Christopher Pine, was the most different from the original character, but I really liked the character as he was envisioned. He’s a little harder edged maybe.

The writing was crisp and the overall story was excellent, even though I’ve not always been a fan of time travel stories. You can see that the writers and director paid close attention to the things that made Wrath of Khan such a great movie, and they riffed off of that pretty hard. I didn’t mind in the least.

I had wondered how I’d feel about the alternate universe storyline, but in retrospect I think it was an excellent as well as necessary choice. Should we call this series, Star Trek AU (for alternate universe)? It sets up dramatic future opportunities for a completely altered Federation, and I like the characters enough to want to see more. In fact, I thought the choices for the characters were truly inspired and they played off each other very well. And, the nice touches, like having the “red-shirt” get it on the space drop, were appreciated.

Of course, I could mention a few quibbles. I wasn’t enamored of the relationship between Uhuru and Spock. I can see that they are setting things up for Spock to be a much more emotional character in this series, and that may weaken future storylines. I’m also not sure about Scotty’s “sidekick.” Not sure what they’re going to do with that. The ship itself is also much “busier” on the inside, and that detracts a bit for me from the visuals, although it is probably realistic. These don’t really detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, though. The new Star Trek was a rousing good adventure and I highly recommend it.

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45 comments:

Randy Johnson said...

Sorry about your family health problems. We've gone through a bit of that recently as well. Hope all will be well.

ivan said...

Don't we all love Startrek?

It's all so intellectually and emotionally together somehow, isn't it?

Perhaps Startrek should be even a wider unofficial religion than it is,since it's obviously based on all the great religions....And all the world't great books. Hey.

Steve Malley said...

Sad to hear about the whanau (that's 'family' in Maori, pronounced 'fawnow'), but on to distraction.

I actually thought Uhuru was the most-changed. Kirk, you could see where he'd have it in him to grow into The Shat. Spock I seem to recall (resisting the urge to google) fancied the ladies in general and Uhuru in particular every time the writers gave him 'temporary emotions'. But poor old Uhuru, she just sat there in that little bitty dress and kept quiet-- until it was time to pick a landing party for the Planet of Aliens Who make You Wear Even More Revealing Frocks...

I dug the strong, confident girl in the reboot. She has her own drives, her own needs and sees right through Kirk's sex addiction to the lonely, angry child he hides inside. And she picks Spock.

I guess Uhuru's big change is that she actually *got* a character!

Steve Malley said...

Oh, and for me, the biggest, and best, difference was that, like my other great GeekPleasure Doctor Who, the effects and the budget finally caught up with the scripts.

The Enterprise was always so sparse and sterile because extras cost money. Sets cost money. Corridors cost money (horrible, horrible amounts of money, apparently. They only had like five feet of hallway.)

David Gerrold's book about writing the Tribbles episode is a great look at the writer's vision versus what the budget allowed...

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, yes, as we get older I guess it's inevitable.

Ivan, Star Trek also dealt with the religious thing in a bunch of story lines, and the Vulcans were always very spiritual. Good stuff.

Steve Malley, I take it back. You're right. Uhuru was the most different. I think there were flashes of this character in the original but it was never developed. Good points. And yes, I think the more "detailed" sets now, such as the bridge, are more realistic. I guess after watching the old show so much though, I got used to the minimalist approach they had to use. They made it work.

jodi said...

Charles, a friend and I were just conversatin' about how eventually it's just all about health issues. We are at that age where our parents and older friends are getting sick with a few young family/friend tragedys thown in there too boot. Awful, that circle of life thing.

Rick said...

You guys need a break, don't you? Sorry about your step-father, but I'm glad Lana is doing better.

You are right on the money about the Star Trek movie, right down to Scotty's weird little sidekick.

David J. West said...

Glad things went alright with Lana-can only take it all as it comes I suppose.

I just saw the new Star Trek too. I was little hesitant at first. I had heard the story was changed to make Kirk a "Chosen One" and I had-had enough of those-but turned out that it was more cream rising to the top so I liked it a lot.

Charles Gramlich said...

jodi, I know. All my brothers are older than me and my own health isn't that great. It's worrisome to see how it is all happening.

Rick, yeah, the sidekick angle smacked more of Star Wars than Trek to me.

David J. West, yeah, I didn't get a chosen one feel. The right guy at the right time, more so. Anyway, good film.

Cloudia said...

Hang in there you two.
Enjoying your holidays give the devil the finger LOL!
Best wishes to Ray too



Aloha, Charles!


Comfort Spiral

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hope your step-father has a speedy recovery. My family had to place my grandmother in a nursing home this week.

As for the new Star Trek movie, my wife saw it at the theatre and liked it as well.

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, thanks.

JR., Ray has been doing much to take care of my mom, so she and he both may end up in the rest home soon. We will have to see. Although it would not be ideal certainly.

the walking man said...

Aging seems to be the only malady we can't easily escape. Best to your kin Charles and if Star Trek ever finds an interest in me i will have a lot of catching up to do.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, indeed. Maybe I'm beginning to understand the urge to turn vampire.

Don said...

I just wanted to reiterate w/ the others that I'm sorry to hear about the family health problems. My dad is 70 and a little bit of a hypochondriac and hates doctors, so we're always somewhat worried about him. Emphysema from smoking since he was 15 or something, etc. I have high blood pressure and arthritis etc., which is a drag. Anyway my best to you and your family.

P.S. I switched for the time being from the sword and sorcery blog to a noir/sleazecore blog, at www.whiskeybottleoverjesus.blogspot.com. Check it out when you have a chance. Feedback always welcome!

Michelle's Spell said...

Hi Charles,

So sorry to hear about your stepfather! When it rains, it's pours sometimes. I'm glad you and Lana got to enjoy the Star Trek movie. My friend Shawn tried to make me go to it when I was visiting him in New York before we went to the Betsty Johnson sample sale. I hope Lana is feeling better soon -- post-surgery is evil, but I'm hoping she's so much better by Christmas.

sage said...

Glad your wife is doing better but sorry to hear about your step-father. I don't write much about family either, but have on occasions had to talk about my mother--I'll head down South to see them on the 29th. I haven't seen the new Star Trek movie

Danette Haworth said...

Charles,

I'm sorry to hear about all this; wishing a speedy recovery to all.

BTW, great review of Star Trek! I really wanted to see it theaters, but we just couldn't seem to get a babysitter. You've just reminded me to get the DVD!

Spock and Uhuru--NO WAY!

Merry Christmas, Charles!

Charles Gramlich said...

Don, I've got the high blood pressure thing myself, and some back problems. It's alway something. I had your other blog in my google reader. Didn't realize you'd added a new blog.

Michelle, at least Lana is improving steadily. She seems a lot better today, though both of us have colds now.

sage, I was up with my family for Thanksgiving so was planning not to go back for Christmas. I hope my step-father isn't too serious.

Danette, yeah, we never made it to the theater for Trek either. We don't get out to many movies. But we watch some at home. yeah, I know, Spock and Uhuru.

ArtSparker said...

Sometimes a bit of escapism is just what the doctor ordered. Sorry to hear that you are dealing with more shakiness around family health.

Shauna Roberts said...

My sympathies on all the health issues your family is dealing with now. I'm glad Lana is feeling a little better day by day and that her surgery had no problems. Please give her my best wishes. I hope she is feeling good enough later this week to enjoy Christmas.

BernardL said...

They've completely washed the slate clean. The writers can take the series where no Star Trek has ever gone before.

laughingwolf said...

hope all goes well with the ill folk, charles...

as for the st film, i agree with much of your take, but found the new scotty totally out to lunch... even with his heavy brogue, he was not believable

Rachel said...

Charles, first, hope things get better with the family, and second, yes, I agree, ST was much better than I thought it would be. I was ready to hate it. I loved Karl Urban, though (Bones). He was PERFECT! And I loved the character of Uhura even if I wasn't quite sure about her relationship choice. I can see why they took it there. Uhura was second only to Nurse Chappell when it came to being sensitive to Spock's needs. Simon Pegg as Scotty was inspired, but that side kick? I think that's because Abrams is a fan of Star Wars. A lot of those scenes were straight out of Star Wars, I think. But on the whole, I enjoyed it. I would see it again.

Middle Ditch said...

Sorry to hear about your family health issues. The same here. Pretty rough.

As for Star Trek, who doesn't love that show. I haven't seen the latest but could not quite get used to the second anyway but loooooooved Kirk, Scotty and Spock.

Tell Lana to take it easy and wish her well.

Bernita said...

"I wasn’t enamored of the relationship between Uhuru and Spock."
I wasn't either and thought Kirk had the living shit beat out of him one time too many. Still, I liked it.
A bit corny in places, but rather sweet.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Lana and your family. Please, Charles, don't let yourself be a rock that breaks on an anvil of sorrow.

Charles Gramlich said...

ArtSparker, I'm the kind of person who dwells on negativities too, unless I do something to distract myself.

Shauna Roberts, thanks. Lana is definitely improving every day.

BernardL, yes, which I can see as a good thing. A good idea.

laughingwolf, they definitely made Scotty a bit more sleazy but that was hinted at in the youth of the character. I don't much care for his side kick though. But I guess we'll see how they develop it.

Rachel, yes, I definitely saw the STar Wars influence, especially in the sidekick but in some other places too. If Uhuru was going to have a relationship I'm glad it was with Spock instead of Kirk. That did add a nice twist. Urban was good.

Middle Ditch, thanks. tis the season it seems. yeah, Trek made a nice distractor.

Bernita, yes, I kind of thought they went overboard a touch with Kirk getting beat the hell out of about every fifteen minutes. Perhaps a more judicious use of Kirk as a punching bag would have been desirable. Thanks for your kind words.

Demon Hunter said...

I hope that you get some good news about the family health issues. Those are always tough to deal with. Tell Lana to get well soon. :-D

Stewart Sternberg said...

Usually, we agree with one another, but I part company here. I despised this film. I remember seeing Kirk being chased across the ice field by a monster and asking myself: "Why is this meaningless scene here?"

Still, I should note that when I first saw "Superman", "Excalbur", and "Ordinary People" that I HATED those films as well. Now, I love them. I sometimes think that a strong reaction to a film is something to reexamine.

writtenwyrdd said...

I'm sorry to hear about all the health woes, but glad Lana's surgery went well. Despite the troubles, I hope you all have a lovely holiday season.

Voidwalker said...

Good to hear she's recovering well. Not glad to hear about your other family members and their health issues. I'll shoot a little prayer up for y'all.

As for the Star Trek Movie, I'm late on watching it myself. I am very interested in seeing it! Can't wait for a free moment to sit in peace and watch.

Lauren said...

I'm glad to hear that Lana is doing better, but sad to hear that she still has pain :( I hope that her recovery goes quickly--and I hope that your other family members recovery quickly as well.

I did like the new Star Trek too, but I thought that the character progression of Kirk went from jerk to hero a bit too fast. That being said, I did think that it was a fun story and am looking forward to future installments.

Charles Gramlich said...

Demon Hunter, thanks, and will do.

Stewart Sternberg, well that scene certainly wasn't needed. Smacked very much of Star Wars rather than Trek. But generally I thought it was good. I liked Excaliber from the start. Didn't care that much for Superman. Still haven't seen Ordinary people.

writtenwyrdd, thankee. I appreciate that.

Voidwalker, will be interested in seeing your take on the movie when you do get to see it.

Lauren, that's probably true about Kirk. But their time frame is so limited. Such characterization could be done much better in a book.

Erik Donald France said...

Best of luck, Charles, I'm sorry to hear about your family. Glad that Lana is able to do excercises, for sure. Good wishes, the best, for the holidays and beyond'

Star Trek is a reboot, for sure. The possibilities are pretty wide open, as with the 007 reboot -- though I'll always like the originals in both cases.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, thanks. Yeah, Makes me want to do some writing for them again.

SQT said...

Stewart and I argued the merits of this movie, in depth, on my blog. I was an advocate for this re-imagining and I like it more now that I've seen it again.

Ocean Girl said...

Great movie review! I'll check it out.

Hope Lana will get better and hope your family will be strong and patient. Merry Christmas Charles and family.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, It's fun sometimes to second guess movies. But ultimately I have to think about whether I just enjoyed it or not. And this one I did.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ocean girl, Thankee!

cs harris said...

Glad to hear Lana is doing well, but that's rough about your stepdad and other family members.

I enjoyed the Star Trek movie when I saw it, although after I walked out of the theater I felt a nagging dissatisfaction, probably because of the big plot hole, which drove me nuts. But it was fun.

Charles Gramlich said...

Candy, I don't seem able to find movies these days without plot holes. I think it's a sign of the times.

jennifer said...

Charles, I will say a prayer for your family. The life changes we face are not always easy.

I hope that Lana continues to heal well and quickly.

I REALLY want to see the Star Trek movie but I am going to wait til the kids go back to school. I don't want any distractions when I view it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jennifer, thanks.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I hope Lana and Ray are doing better.

I tried to like Star Trek but I still had problems with the plot holes. Mainly, why the heck didn't the future Romulans just go to Romulus and warn them? Then I heard Nero was captured by Klingons - but once he escaped, he still had the same option.

In the outtakes, they show a Klingon scene. The Klingons are hidden by robes and Predator/Darth-Vader masks - like the producers couldn't decide which Klingon make-up to go with!

I was disappointed (and surprised, frankly) with Simon Pegg. I thought he'd be a great Scotty. I didn't feel much Scotty there. The other actors did seem to find the right tone of their characters - I'll give them that.

I think a second movie will be stronger, now that they've got the reboot/origin story out of the way.

Charles Gramlich said...

Paul, the new Scotty was the hardest fit for me too. I just couldn't quite buy it, and didn't like the side kick much.