Kurtzman & Orci Returning For Third Tour Of Star Trek Duty

star trek into darkness After looking around Hollywood for new takes on the Star Trek film universe created by J.J. Abrams back in 2009, Paramount decided to go back to Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to write the third installment, The Hollywood Reporter says. The deals haven’t been finalized just yet, but the genre writing duo who worked on the previous films are expected to join back in on the Trek fun. Meanwhile, Abrams might be busy helming Star Wars Episode VII, but the studio’s trying to get him on board as a producer of this film as well.

As THR points out, 2016 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gene Roddenberry’s most famous franchise, so don’t be surprised if you see Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and the crew back on the screen by then.

Just Finished Doctor Who The End Of Time

As anyone who read my post about Torchwood’s awesomeness knows, the missus and I have been waiting on the second disc of Doctor Who: The End Of Time for months. We got the first disc and sat on it because we have enough trouble remembering the last season we watched and what happened and just wanted to view the whole thing in one sitting on our awesome TV that’s actually being compeltely un-awesome and not getting along with our cable. Anyway, it plays DVDs, so we didn’t have any problems once we FINALLY got the second disc on Saturday.

So the big question is, was it worth the wait? Pretty much. Of course, I think we both could have watched David Tennant’s last episodes when they first came out on BBC America and followed that up with the new season, but as we don’t have said channel and don’t want to watch on our computer, we had to wait.

Let’s call this SPOILER TERRITORY if you’re like me and haven’t seen the ending yet (which, now that I think about it, is probably my fault, so double sorry). The plot of this special seemed kind of all over the place, but it completely worked. First the Ood are evolving too fast, then there’s a cult and the Master’s back, then they die and he’s all jacked up, then the Master and Doctor fight, then Donna’s grandpa talks with the Doctor again after seeing some woman–who I think was Donna from the future somehow, though I have no idea how that would work out time-wise–, then the rich people have a gate and the Master uses it to turn everyone into himself, then Timothy Dalton’s talking to the Time Lord’s senate (not the only Star Wars reference this episode), then the Master turns almost everyone on Earth into copies of himself, then the Time Lords are coming, then they do come and Timothy Dalton waves his hand and the Earth people are back to being themselves, then fighting and shooting and planets moving around and radiation and goodbyes being said (kinda) and then A NEW DOCTOR. Whew, gotta catch by breath after all that.

Even with all that going on, I felt like it was a really well put together finale for Tennant’s Doctor, though I wish he hadn’t complained so much to Donna’s grandpa. Kind of makes him sound like a bitch even if what he said was understandable. I liked the moments with him popping around and seeing everyone before he took off, especially because it involved seeing Captain Jack in a space cantina. I really can’t get enough of space cantina scenes. Every movie should have one.

I guess that’s a good segue into the obvious references in the special. The other really obvious Star Wars reference is when the green cactus man and Donna’s grandpa jump into the spaceship’s laser cannons and start blasting away. Then, later, when the Doctor gets his radiation dosing, there was some of Spock’s death in there. I don’t mean to say they’re complete lifts from those movies, but I don’t think it would be beyond the realm of possibilities for the Who writers to have thrown those bits in there as homages to other high points in sci-fi.

So, all in all, I’ve got to say that I liked Tennant a lot as the Doctor. I was skeptical at first because I liked Eccleston so much and, though I had a hard time caring about the third season with Martha (why is she so much cooler now that she’s not the Doctor’s companion?), the fourth season really brought me back. I’ve heard good things about this new kid and while the missus hates him for not being Tennant, I’m excited to see what he can do. I just hope it doesn’t take months to get caught up with that. Anyone know when the DVDs will be out or if they’ll be on Netflix Instant?

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci Are Awesome!

Damn, these guys are awesome. For those of you who might not know, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are the screenwriters behind Transformers, it’s upcoming sequel (which I’m very excited about), The Legend of Zorro, Mission Impossible III, Fringe, Star Trek and The Island, the last two I watched recently.

Right off the bat, I’ve got to admit that I don’t really remember Legend of Zorro or MI3, so I can’t speak to their ability writing those or for shows like Xena, Hercules, Jack Of All Trades and Alias, but everything else I’ve seen that they’re written has been rad. As you might have noticed, Kurtzman and Orci have a history of working with producer, writer and director extraordinaire J.J. Abrams (Alias, Fringe and Trek). Not shabby company to keep if you ask me.

What I love about these guys is how thoroughly they think through genre stories that, a few years ago, would have probably been tossed to guys who were just looking to get a paycheck. Transformers didn’t have to be a good movie (and many of you might disagree with me on this), but it was. It was also full of crazy fun action scenes. Aside from the incredible stories you see on the screen, I’ve heard a number of interviews with the writing duo thanks to the Creative Screenwriting Podcast. Most recently I listened to the Star Trek one and it blew me away at how well they were able to address and answer logically many of the geek and logic-based questions. A few holes in the movie were filled in the original writing stage, but were later cut and there’s all kinds of other information they have to offer in these interviews. I highly recommend them.

Like I said, I watched The Island (2005) and Star Trek (2009) last week. I’m thinking of going back and listening to the Island podcast interview actually because I’m curious to hear what they have to say about their first original movie, which ended up getting directed by Michael Bay (who I’ve gone on record as loving). The Island is a very cool movie though it seems at first to have a ton of plot holes (how do they go from naive teenage-level beings to pulling off this crazy scheme?). But, the more I think about the various apparent holes, the more I can explain them. Ewan McGregor’s character is growing memories right? So maybe he’s growing a few character traits here and there. It’s these kinds of questions I think would be addressed in the podcast, which I will, now that I think about it, definitely be downloading from iTunes tomorrow.

What I do know just from watching the movie without any background is that it was clearly influenced by some of the classic 70s sci-fi flicks I watched back in January. It was fun watching the movie, kind of knowing what the twist was, but not really knowing how completely it would flip. SPOILER: I knew they were clones, but I didn’t know the details, like that they were living in a complex created by someone who saw Logan’s Run a time or two too many. Even knowing what I knew, I still couldn’t figure how it would be revealed, so that’s a testament to the writing.

I definitely recommend The Island to anyone. It’s got the assumed Michael Bay chases and explosions. Even a car chase with a truck dropping big scary things while being chased by a smaller vehicle (cars in Bad Boys II, train wheels here). Plus you get McGregor, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi who are always good, and Scarlett Johansson who’s at least nice to look at. Plus if you like their later movies, I think it’s always cool to go back and see how they broke into the movie business.

So, from their first to their latest, I have to throw my hat in with just about everyone else in the world and say I really dug Star Trek. I didn’t come out of it feeling like I did when I left Iron Man (PUMPED!), but I still really enjoyed it. It might be because I’m not a Star Trek fan. Before trying to tackle the Original Series this past year, I had seen only a handful of episodes from any of the series’ (that one episode of DS9 where they Tag and Bink their way through the Tribble episode) and the movies starring the original cast. I knew the basics, it’s hard not to when you’ve worked for some of the geekiest magazines in the world (don’t forget, I was in the research department while InQuest was still around). But, even not knowing much, I had no problem watching this flick, which was great, but I still got some of the nods to past stories.

I appreciate the amount of thought that Kurtzman and Orci along with director J.J. Abrams and producer Damon Lindelof put into this epic story, especially the way they made everything you know still make sense while starting this new continuity. Honestly, I really wish this cast would get together and just do a TV series. How cool would that be? Just forget about Heroes (I dislike that show so much that I actually wanted to hate Zachary Quinto as Spock, but he was so damn good I just couldn’t) and fly Simon Pegg and John Cho in between movie roles and get that DONE!

Also, how cool was that drill scene? I started laughing as soon as the guy in the red suit showed up while Sulu and Kirk were wearing different colors. Em asked me what I was laughing at and I whispered “That guy’s gonna die.” She asked me how I knew and I told her just to watch and, man, they did NOT disappoint with that moment. Even better, though, was how Sulu and Kirk handled themselves given a crappy situation. I love how Chris Pine perfectly embodies that “never say die no matter how bad things look” mentality. Obviously, I’d like to see everyone return for a sequel, but I really hope Pine does a superhero movie. He could do justice to a bunch of heroes.

So, next up from Kurtzman and Orci will be Transformers: Rise of the Fallen and the last two episodes of Fringe that I missed and I’m pretty psyched about both.