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Movie Review Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

May 17, 2013 2 comments
Star Trek Into Darkness Movie Poster

Into Darkness brings several shades of shady into the Light.

Movie Review Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

A sequel that boldly goes where we’ve gone before.

When director J.J. Abrams took the reins of a long-beloved franchise and breathed new life into a series that gave us some of our favorite sci-fi concepts…a few…um…fans were rather displeased. No, let’s call it like it is: diehards were very upset. Not Trekkies or Trekkers, but die-hard Trekkerds. See, there’s camaraderie in isolation. There’s something cool about being uncool- especially when there’s enough of you(s) to make an army. Star Wars, fortunately or unfortunately doesn’t have as many levels of fandom. What? Let me explain. Both franchises have catch phrases. Both have attire to cosplay in. Both have obscure side-characters and small moments with big implications and impact, BUT Star Trek has episodes. Lots and lots of material to pull from. And that’s where the problems start for the Trekkerds.

If you want, Star Trek is about the peaceful exploration of new worlds, scientific discovery and a human statement- all wrapped in the futuristic fabric of a space adventure. But that’s not every episode. If you remember the original T.V. series (across 3 seasons from 1966-1968) you’ll find that many episodes were action-orientated with hand-to-hand combat, shoot outs and ship to ship (or alien thingie) warfare. There are also episodes that… well, were kind of boring and goofy. If you want to show the depth of your devotion, don’t tell me a back-story about the Storm Troopers genetic disposition to bumping their heads on low doorways. Don’t waste you time making obscure references to the Force or drop clever movie quotes in every conversation. Simply say your favorite Trek episode is one of the terrible ones and demand they use its plot for a summer blockbuster.

J.J. Abrams violated a major unspoken rule and made the somewhat obscure totally accessible. Star Trek became cool for EVERYBODY. Yep, people that did not previously watch ANY Star Trek title- loved the 2009 movie. That’s their Star Trek…and it stinks that they got a good one. There’s a happy-sad moment in the new Star Wars movies being a disappointment. Those that were there can claim we had the right Star Wars movies. So where to? Helmsmen, take us out.

Star Trek Into Darkness image

We capture the essence of villainy

The writers behind Star Trek (2009), Robert Orci and Alex Kutzman did an outstanding job bringing back well-defined characters and giving a fresh coat of paint to a sagging franchise. There was something in it for everyone and you could get in at your own level of familiarity. They even took the time to fix some of the glaring plot holes in both the original series and in the motion pictures. [No, you didn’t find it strange that Uhura, the Communications Officer can’t speak the language of our sworn enemies for over two decades in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?] This time around, they’ve added Damon Lindelof (writer for T.V. show Lost) and a writing credit for Star Trek series creator Gene Roddenberry. That seems highly appropriate because Into Darkness places us at the proper beginning of the science and exploration mission of the original series. We now have an alternate-reality-prequel, if you will. The recent Star Trek tried to treat your memories as gently as possible by leaving your version of Star trek alone and adding a new timeline so no Prime Directive was violated. Well, that’s the first thing that happens here.

I won’t spend any time convincing you to see this movie or not. You will all see it no matter what. Some to love and some to hate. A minor issue I had with the 2009 Trek was some of the characterizations- it was a gross generalization- especially for our Captain, James Tiberius Kirk. It was as if someone just wrote down what happens in [almost] every episode (Kirk fights and Kirk mates) and summarized that as his entire being. That sits at direct odds with Kirk at his best, which is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and loves his ship and crew. For many, including me, that is the essence of Star Trek. I fully understand that you don’t have 79 episodes (like the original series) to flesh out characters and build relationships. I accept that movies are expected to have much more happening in a shorter amount of time. I don’t want a T.V. series made for the big screen like Star Trek: The New Generation movies were becoming. I expect something big and a lot of changes while it all stays the same. This new Star Trek is that.

Star trek Into Darkness Dreadnaught

My Ship is bigger than yours

See this Abrams Into Darkness because it does well again what it did previously: add on to the lore, fix a few issues, build relationships and thrill us while setting a course for future bold adventures. This is a part two that makes part one better. There are tons of spoilers in this movie- many surprises and treats for those that know the series well. I would suggest you see the previous new Trek again/first as this sequel does lean heavily on the previous stage. You won’t ever be lost, but some of the clever writing and motifs might slip by.

I mention Star Wars a lot in this review and it’s fitting as news of J.J Abrams directing the new series of Star Wars movies. If he can bring the same energy and respect he has for Trek to Star Wars, I expect to have a phaser in one hand and a saber in the other. I’m not a movie critique; I’m just critiquing a movie.

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Battlestrux Graphic Novel: Dreadnaught Fantasy

July 8, 2010 1 comment

Battlestrux Graphic Novel: Dreadnaught Fantasy

Dreadnaught Fantasy is a digital graphic novel I created a few years ago. I was experimenting with photo manipulation and rendered an early Battlestrux story as my demo. In other titles, I used models as my digital actors and so, this is one of the few books that remain in its original style. I hope you enjoy my work.

The Story centers around the first Earth Battleship that is capable of unassisted space warp. The E.B.S Odyssey represents mankind’s first leap into outer space and the hopeful ambassador in an alien universe.

You can read the full novel which is found on TheDynamicUniverse.com website link Dreadnaught Fantasy

-Dynamica Comics

Page sample

Dreadnaught Fantasy Page 32

Read the Graphic Novel here.

FREE MUSIC “M.O.P.H.O. The Last Analogue Transmission”

FREE MUSIC “M.O.P.H.O. The Last Analogue Transmission”

DSI MOPHO illustration from Producer's Edge digital magazine

Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship Track Spotlight

A lot of my earlier albums had songs called Captain Dynamics Plus and then a more specific subtitle like “Planet Industry” or “stardust Memories”. These are short stories based around the idea of Dynamics Plus being a starship captain and having adventures. I enjoyed making and listening to them, but I didn’t know how to expand the idea beyond an album interlude.

Enter the MOPHO

Whenever reviewing a piece of gear for Producer’s Edge digital magazine, I always crank out a good number of tracks to both explore the unit and to familiarize myself with its workflow and tendencies. The Dave Smith Instruments MOPHO is a monophonic analog synthesizer that I found to be a joy to work with. You can read the review here. I was using both the surface knobs and the soft-editor and generating a ton of usable sounds. That inspired me to start using the MOPHO to create entire tracks by itself. If you are unfamiliar with synthesizers, you can think of a monophonic synthesizer as only being able to generate one sound at a time. Not entirely true, but true enough to realize that it takes a lot of programming and recording in passes or layers to make an entire song. It’s the equivalent of having one musician play every instrument. Easy enough, but now add in the fact that the musician has to make the instrument (sound) first!

One of the tracks caught my ear with an arpeggiated phrase that sounded like something I would have used in a CDP interlude. I hadn’t made one in a while so I thought ‘why not?’ and began writing. I now had a song as full as “Cosmic Centipede Episode V” from Foresight Wars. That in turn inspired a full length album based in the Captain Dynamics Plus universe. I had a lot of fun creating this song and we can explore some of the lyrics in the following Track Spotlight.

* The samples used in this song and more are available for sale on the www.StudioAVX.com Website.

Product page = Griffin Avid presents: MOPHO Drum Kits and Samples

M.O.P.H.O. Last Analogue Transmission

Chorus:
And this composition (Captain of a starship!)
The Xodus Phoenix expedition (Blast off Rocketship!)
My Final mission (A-shaped spaceship)
The Captains’ last Analog Transmission (The Last Transmission!)

My survey ship
the Phoenix Xodus receives a transmission

Xodus Phoenix is the nick name for a Producer’s Edge staffer. Xavier said that his name sounds like a cool Lenzmen alter-ego so I used it here knowing he’d get a kick out of that.

-it’s a series of blips from a far distance
set a course for it
[here’s your mission:] Ascertain the source and maintain an orbit
Sir, I have visual, it’s a spaceship (of an unknown kind)
It’s sending us a analog signal (well, let’s reply)
We can’t respond in digital (we’ll have to go inside)

A small reference to the difference between analogue and digital synthesizers- that the signal coming from the spaceship is so old, our modern equipment can’t understand the message.

The line has died A magnetic storm has arrived
take the ship down planet-side.
Send an away team while we wait for the waves to subside

Part II [Down and Away]

Can you hear me captain? Yes barely, boost his chip
It’s clearly an earthship, buried up to its tip
fairly certain the ancient rocketship has real analog circuits
powered by Curtis chips.

Dave Smith Instruments, the company that makes the MOPHO, has used Curtis Chips in its analogue synthesizers.

We’re stopping the rover and walking closer
There’s lettering on the hull, but its’ covered over
It reads MOPHO what?
M.O. in Code
Mike, Oscar, Papa, Hotel, Oscar
come in over?
Mopho. Find me a reference
the storms too intense
We’re losing communiqué
there’s too much interference
Captain, we’ve entered the main bay
proceeding down main passageway into the command gangway
Captain, the signals split
I can’t receive you but I can still transmit
I hope you’re getting all of this
Look here, we have a dead astronaut slumped over holding a yellow box.

The MOPHO looks like a yellow box in appearance and the dead crew member is holding one in his hands.

Sir, data package, live feed, it’s the ship’s ID
This doesn’t make sense; it’s logged under military defense.
MOPHO the letters meant Mass Obliteration Planetary Heavy Ordinance
There’s a red button sir.

The MOPHO features a red “Push It” button. Before the unit was released, many of us synth-heads were speculating what the button does. It starts the sequencer running and in context of this song, it’s the Red Button that arms/ detonates the MOPHO bomb.

I’m sure it’s a control
Yes, wires leading to the console.
No! Don’t press it.
I’m sure this resets it.
Blast off, emergency Lift-off

The Hull is peeling away!
Atomic yield phase shields raised
Planet Surface giving way.
massive waves of radioactive rays
displayed in an azure haze of Fallout blaze
(planetary shockwave!) gaining a range, mass action engine engage
burning inertial stage, surfing immersing in flames

The above section describes the scene of the starship Phoenix Xodus pulling away from the planet as it breaks apart after being destroyed by the MOPHO device.

Part III [Doctor Atomics sees the Light of Destruction]

The Ark is part of the pardon of Cain

Biblical and religious references abound. The flood, in this case, is a flood of flames and destruction. The Ark is Noah’s Ark which is the spaceship ferrying the crew members away.

the arc is part of the stay from acidic rains in face of his reign

This arc is the rainbow, a promise that the world would not be destroyed again by flooding.

shaping the plane and breaking the chains lights fade in the age of half-life decays
awaken a wraith and awaiting his rage

Describes the anger in using a weapon of this nature to wipe out a planet and its entire civilization. If our concept of God can wipe out the surface of a planet, what kind of terrible entity (us) would use a weapon to destroy an entire planet?

We become gods ourselves based on our destructive abilities.

[it’s the God]
birthing and cursing in his domain
[insert control rods]
the world spins on his lathe
action reaction a vain
attracting your acting a play
a pact to enact a delay
it’s an act of faith

The chance for a few humans and animals to survive gives us another chance to live properly.

we wait as he pulls the reins
plays the strings of fate
it’s the endgame of your ways

There is a pause while we wait. The reins hint at the four Horsemen.

But yet, there is a warning, which is about a coming Judgment Day. That’s considered the Endgame of our Ways.

Sir the gravity gauge
well, check the display
It’s confirmed we’re pulling away.
We were almost burned
Set course for return
Close mission.
Coded: Analog Transmission

Summary

A ship receives a mysterious transmission and investigates. They find a powerfully destructive device at the source of the signal. The explorer group triggers the bomb and escapes as the planet breaks up. This is a song inspired by the DSI MOPHO, I hope you enjoy it.

-Dynamics Plus

www.TheDynamicUniverse.com

Dynamics Plus new album- Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

THE LENZMEN DYNAMICS PLUS
PRESENTS:

Battlestrux Year One
Captain of a Starship

Battlestrux Year One album cover

The Lenzmen Dynamics Plus and the Battlestrux comic series merge into Dynamic Universe Volume 12 Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship. The full length album chronicles the earliest adventures of the Mantis One starship crew.

The Album synopsis:
It’s a mission to investigate the mysterious disappearances of ships near the edge of a Gravity Well. You will follow the first voyage of the newly appointed captain. It’s Time for Action as you man your battle-stations and make ready for sci-fi hip hop. When you put a masterful lyricist over out-of-this-world beats, you get Battlestrux Year One.

Video Trailer for album:

Read and hear more about this album and the lyrics at http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com


Robotica; a still-frame-animated series based in the Battlestrux Universe

June 16, 2010 1 comment

Robotica: Still-frame animated movie featuring music by Lenzmen Dynamics Plus.  It happens in the Battlestrux Universe. Basically it’s about the robots that followed in the footsteps of long extinct humanity verse the aliens who wiped humankind out.

http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com

Thanks for checking this out. I’m been toying with idea of reviving this series or converting it into a straight comic book series.