The outer reaches

It is the 30-year anniversary of the release of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) which may the most underrated of all the Star Trek films. In it, a charismatic seeker of “ultimate knowledge”, who seeks God, Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) takes over the U.S.S Enterprise while the ship’s on a mission. Sybok’s quest for God, in his case, seems more like a quest made in his own image, one which he is consumed by his underlying self-centeredness, albeit unknowingly, to even be God and have his knowledge. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) says Sybok, a fellow Vulcan, is a man ruled by his passions. Perhaps there is a sense that this Star Trek is a tad slight, but I was drawn into the story and it takes one on a journey which plays on the imagination. William Shatner co-wrote the story, as well as direct and star as Captain Kirk. Although it doesn’t live up to its epic standards is still an entertaining show, and the film starts with a spiritual tone to proceedings, and ends openly spiritual, leaving food for thought as to whether God exists for those who are not so sure. To boldly go…this Star Trek takes us past the Great Barrier into the final frontier where there is or isn’t God, but may be a projection of the beholder, perhaps God in one’s own image. The film still leaves a question about God open: is there a God? And how do we know God? It’s a spiritual question in what seems to be a spiritual age.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com

Strange invader

The original Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) is about preventing earth from becoming victim to an unknown alien threat. With Kirk (William Shatner) as leader, and a natural one at that, the Enterprise will investigate the alien presence and stop it from wrecking mayhem on the earth. The story doesn’t go much further but there are also allusions to finding more beyond the bare bones of being human, finding satisfaction for the soul in a soulless existence, and finding this in the “creator” whoever or whatever that is supposed to be in this film. This “creator” may be linked to evolutionary references, which I didn’t go for. Being left in the dark with a vague, complicated ending is disappointing because I really wanted to know how the “creator” part of the story resolved itself. I don’t know if that’s just me or the fault of the filmmakers. It’s not a great even good film, the special effects are uneven and at times noticeable. However, I enjoyed the pleasantries of congenial-on-the-senses mis-en-scenes, and a lack of off-color proceedings. It was refreshing just watching the film unfold. There was a total lack of depravity. Add this to a splendid cast from the 1960’s television series who all came back a decade later to feature in the first Star Trek motion picture.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com

On a mission

Krull (1983) promises an exciting and thrilling combination of Star Wars meets Excalibur. While it doesn’t completely resonate, it is still a pleasing fantasy, for young and young at heart. A other worldly beast, in a fortress, mysteriously moves from planet to planet. It lands on the planet Krull to enslave the people there, which is what all devils would do, without a slither of humanity or logic. A king and his subjects are ransacked by the Beast’s soldiers, the Slayers, and capture the princess. The prince—the film’s hero—with a hardy bunch of accomplices—including a Cyclops, a boy and a fool-hardy magician—set their minds on finding and destroying the Beast and rescue the princess. There’s substance to this tale of good versus evil; it takes a belief in love, faith in action, and courage to overcome evil; Krull comes from a pure soul, it’s lack of cynicism a defining feature, it’s belief without doubting in good and right, a clean-cut film and a good ‘soul’ that seeps onto the edges. Included in the trail of good is a former criminal, played by a young Liam Nesson; he gallops on his horse, suspended by the illusion of special effects, with several others galloping through air and time with him. Stirring, as the trail of good, once earth bound, lifts off quite literally to face the foe, while James Horner’s propelling theme score rings true across the soundtrack. The hardy bunch are on a quest; believable as a team, in a spirit of unity and brings the audience on board.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com

Slice of life

Places in the Heart (1984) is a pleasingly leisurely and ultimately worthwhile slice of life drama set in the 1930’s—if one can manage sitting through the slow troughs. Memorably, as people are sitting in a church to remember, through a communion service, the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made 2000 years ago, there, a young black man, who had been lynched because he shot the sheriff, are both present. The young man and the sheriff, though dead, share communion (wine and bread), and the scene resolves the relationship between the young man and the sheriff in the best way possible: they experience reconciliation through the symbols of communion. Before this, an older African American, Moses (Danny Glover), comes into the life of the widow of the sheriff, Edna Spalding (Sally Field) although it’s through a sense of “luck”. However unlikely, Edna Spalding is kind and gives Moses work. In the 1930’s in America, this would be unusual. Moses encourages Edna to pay off what she owes the bank by using his cotton-picking knowledge. For one season, he helps her raise a cotton harvest. Even if Moses must go, because of the Klu Klux Klan around the neighborhood – one of which, a businessman, feels threatened by Moses’ skills at negotiating cotton prices – Edna will know how to pick cotton next season. Moses, like the Moses of the Bible, is her deliverer. Places in the Heart unfolds beautifully, is worthwhile, well-meaning, sincere, and features a vivid cast of characters. Very well acted. Beautifully filmed.

Published 2020, http://www.peteswritingnotes.com