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Star Trek: Voyager – Parallax (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Parallax feels like a seventh season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation nested inside a first season episode of Star Trek: Voyager. It’s Brannon Braga’s first script for the show, having opted to join Star Trek: Voyager rather than moving over to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Braga would go on to become one of the longest-serving creative forces on televised Star Trek, becoming an executive producer on Star Trek: Voyager and creating (and producing) Star Trek: Enterprise.

Braga is a fantastic high-concept science-fiction writer. His scripts for The Next Generation count among the best the show ever produced – Cause and Effect, Parallels, Frame of Mind. The team of Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore ranks as one of the most consistently great collaborations in the history of Star Trek. On his own, Braga writes fascinating sci-fi concepts. His scripts for the various shows support that.

The problem is that Braga isn’t the franchise’s strongest character writer. Indeed, among the staff writers working on the first season of Voyager, Braga seems like the worst candid to draft in to write the big “establishing character dynamics” episode directly following the pilot. The problem with Parallax is that it’s a nice premise featuring a bunch of characters we don’t care about yet, and the script is more interested in the anomaly of the week than it is in getting us to care about those characters.

"It's like looking into the future..."

“It’s like looking into the future…”

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Five More Creative Ways to Make Green Lantern 2 A Better Film (Rather Than Just “Darker and Edgier”)…

Green Lantern was a disappointment. Along with Marvel’s Daredevil, the Green Lantern series has been perhaps the strongest mainstream superhero title published in the past decade, and Warner Brothers couldn’t manage to produce a decent film. This was supposed to be the company’s first superhero franchise outside of the tried-and-tested Batman and Superman properties, and it fell flat. Nevertheless, Warners have vowed to press on with the sequel, daring to produce a “darker and edgier” follow-up to the film. Ignoring the fact that not all superheroes need to be “darker and edgier”, it still ignores the fact that the problems with Martin Campbell’s would-be franchise launcher had very little to do with being too light or soft. Here are five pieces of advice that the executive would do well to take on board, before deciding to simply “go darker.”

The sequel... Dark Green Lantern...

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Something Sinestro This Way Comes…

Note that this article contains spoilers for Green Lantern. So I waited until the movie was released to post it. They aren’t exactly huge spoilers, but consider yourself warned.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Sinestro is going to end up evil. Created in the sixties, the character was introduced to fans as a rogue Green Lantern, so he wasn’t ever designed to be seen as a good guy in four-colour style. In fact, the guy is red, has an evil moustache and is played by Mark Strong. Although the name Sinestro could arguably refer to the fact he wears his ring on his left hand, it isn’t exactly a name that inspires implicit trust. So his path to the dark side in the intended-franchise-launcher Green Lantern shouldn’t be a surprise.

However, it really demonstrates a lot of the key flaws with the movie.

Not quite mellow yellow...

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is solidly middle of the road as far as superhero movies go. Perhaps in a less crowded (and less high quality) summer action season it would seem a stronger contender, but the film really shows as Warner Brothers’ first major attempt to produce a big-budget superhero film not directly related to Superman or Batman. It’s perfectly functional, managing to do everything it sets out to in a relatively efficient manner, but there’s never really a sense that the film exists as anything more than a series of plot points that need be checked in order for the movie to cross the finish line. Given the potential of the source material, as well as its relatively unique nature amongst the slew of generic superheroes, a functioning and formulaic adventure can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

Hal Jordan: Space Cop? It has a nice ring to it...

Note: We also have an introduction to the Green Lantern mythos available, if you’re interested in checking it out.

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Absolute Green Lantern: Rebirth (Review/Retrospective)

Face facts, John. The real Hal Jordan is back. And he’s bringing the past with him.

– Batman

Batman states the above as if it’s some sort of dire threat. Perhaps to him, one of the darker of the superhero community, it is. However, to writer Geoff Johns, it’s a mission statement. Let the reconstruction begin. It’s easy to balk at a relatively recent superhero comic being given DC’s prestige ‘Absolute’ format (it’s even easier when you realise it’s only six issues long for that hefty price tag), but Green Lantern: Rebirth deserves it. Not because it’s as iconic as, say, Alan Moore’s Watchmen or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, because it isn’t. Nor is it because of the series’ increasingly important place in the DC canon. It deserves the treatment because of what it represents. This was the moment that the pendulum swung back in mainstream comics, a conscious rejection of the “darker and edgier” philosophy that gripped the medium in the nineties. It’s also a pretty good read.

Shine a light...

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