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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ultimate Geek Fu

We are in the middle of one of the two biggest months of the year for movies, with some truly major releases coming out. Harry Potter is back. Narnia is back. The computerized world of Tron is back. And a Disney princess is back. All of these movies come with big hopes and big expectations; expectations we truly expect to be met or at least come close to meeting.

But what about those movies which fail to even come close to meeting our expectations? What about those movies with big budgets, star power, perhaps major brand recognition, and major marketing campaigns that still come no where near meeting our expectations? What about them?

That brings up the question, what do you think is the most overrated science fiction movie you've ever seen? Remember, it can't be something with a piddly budget and people you've never heard of that you just happened to stumble across one night in the university theater. What major science fiction movie release just didn't do it for you?

To show I'm a fair guy, I'll get the ball rolling by naming my most overrated science fiction movie. Now, there was a strong temptation to just go ahead and pick Avatar and be done with it. It does meet -- surpass, really -- all of my requirements and it wasn't all that good. But it was about as good as I expected it to be. And, while there are those who think it truly is a cinematic work of art, there were more than enough people who agreed with my take on the movie that I don't honestly think it can be called the most overrated science fiction movie I've ever seen.

No, the most overrated science fiction movie I've ever seen is Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. In the 28 years since this movie was released, I've yet to run across a single person who agrees with me on this, adding further justification to my claim. Why is it so overrated?

Come on, people, the only reason people love it so much is because it restored their faith in the Star Trek franchise. There was more improvement between and Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan than there was between any two other Star Trek movies. But the first movie was so bad that the second one couldn't help but be amazing in comparison. But as more Star Trek movies came out, there was less and less reason to worship at the alter of Khan.

Another reason the movie scored big is that it brought back someone from the original series. I'd have preferred Harry Mudd. The problem is that Khan is supposed to be this amazing genius, a warlord from old earth, blah blah blah. If he's so damned smart, why does Kirk keep out-thinking him? In the big spaceship battle near the end of the movie, Spock tells us that the genius Khan is using two dimensional tactics. Armed with that knowledge, Kirk uses two-dimensional tactics in response. Who doesn't remember the shot of the Enterprise rising from the space dust (or whatever it was), like a shark coming up behind a swimmer? Kirk gets the ship on the same plane as Khan's ship then blasts it with everything he's got. Both ships are always following an X/Y axis, an X/Z axis, or a Y/Z axis. Imagine if just one of them decided to use all three axes at once?

Then there was the whole bit about Kirk getting a commendation for reprogramming the Kobioshi Maru (or however, you spell it). One thing I really liked in the 2009 movie was that Kirk was about to get kicked out of the academy for cheating, not given a commendation for "original thinking."

Finally, the whole Genesis Project is just incredibly lame. Seriously, an entire solar system created by Science! in just a few minutes? (That level of technology simply required the capital S, the italics, and the exclamation point.) Where did this incredible technology go after it was fired for the first time? How come we never hear about it again? Probably because it was incredibly unrealistic and so powerful the Federation would have either killed everyone who knew about it or used it to wipe out the Klingons and Romulans and anyone else stupid enough to stand against them.

So, there you have it. The most overrated science fiction movie I've ever seen.

Disagree with me? Then, let the arguments begin!
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