Posts Tagged ‘Richard Nixon’

Watching Watchmen

Watchmen is a very entertaining, interesting, and very graphic take on the world of superheroes.  The movie is adapted from a one shot 12-issue comic series released in the 1980s.  The setting is an alternate world circa 1985 in which President Richard Nixon is still in office (apparently, the 22nd amendment was appealed).  Instead of the disgrace of Watergate, Tricky Dick’s actions concerning Vietnam painted him a hero.

The masked heroes of the piece are in danger of being outlawed by order of the president.  One of these, the Comedian, is murdered.  The rest of the members of the disbanded group of characters, known collectively as the Watchmen, investigate to determine who was behind the death of their fallen comrade.

During the movie there are flashbacks which delve into  the past of each hero.  Silk Specter, Nite Owl, and Ozymandias are the supporting heroes but it is the mysterious Rorschach and the tragic Dr. Manhattan who held my fascination throughout.  Rorschach wears a mask that continuously changes revealing different ink blots (his own personal Rorshach test, yes?).  Dr. Manhattan started life as a physicist but following a catastrophic nuclear accident was transformed into a blue, glowing mutant with several powers (oops… and for the most part, naked with glimpses of all his outer extremities… not enough to warrant anything but the R-rating).  Some of the good guys are so conflicted that it is difficult to say that they are indeed heroic or just as evil as the people they fight.

As I touched upon, there is a lot of graphic violence here.  Lots of crunching bones, blood, and slo-mo action. One scene involves a baddie having his henchmen’s arms sawed off his body.  Definitely not for the young or sqeamish. Plus, the nearly three hour film could turn off some people, but I enjoed it.  A very different comic hero film.

taH pagh, taH be?

While searching for the perfect DVD to view on the new Blu-Ray (yes DVDs are able to be played on the machine), I decided to give Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country a long overdue view.  Released in 1991 (I remember seeing the film in a GOOD theatre setting while taking a break from holiday shopping in the city), the sixth film was the final voyage of the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain James TIBERIUS Kirk.  I still say no one chews scenery better than William Shatner.  I was not disappointed in the experience as the space battles were given more punch and bang when viewed in high definition.

The tale begins when an important Klingon moon is destroyed forcing the empire to enter into peace talks with the Federation.  In short, the race has roughly 50 years of life remaining.  In a show of “arrogant presumption,” Spock volunteers Captain Kirk and crew to lead and escort the Klingon High Chancellor to peace talks.  In defense to Kirk’s bewilderment, the first officer offers an old Vulcan proverb: “Only Nixon could go to China.”

While the Enterprise leads the Klingon ship, the Chancellor is assassinated and Kirk and Dr. McCoy are found guilty of the crime and are sentenced to serve on the gulag Rura Penthe with no possibilty of parole.  Of course, the duo is eventually sprung from the penal asteroid and rejoins the starship to discover the truth behind the assassination and attempt to again begin the peace process

Several factors make this one of the finest Star Trek movies.  The plot parallels the climate in real world 1991: the end of the Cold War.  The veteran actors shine in their prospective roles and new characters are dynamically introduced.  Kim Catrall is introduced as Lt. Valeris who (as the first Vulcan to graduate at the top of her class at Starfleet Academy) is Spock’s personal choice to succeed him as science officer aboard the Enterprise.  Christopher Plummer is deliciosly hammy as the villainous Colonel Chang, a Klingon who is forever reciting Shakespeare either in English or the original Klingon.  Dr. McCoy becomes so annoyed with the outbursts that he would “pay real money if he would just shut up.”  Michael Dorn appears as Colonel Worf, attorney for Kirk and McCoy and grandfather of the security officer from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Captain’s Log, stardate 9529.1. This is the final cruise of the Starship Enterprise under my command. This ship and her history will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun, and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man… where no *one* has gone before.