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Star Trek: Enterprise – Silent Enemy (Review)

Next year, Star Trek is fifty years old. We have some special stuff planned for that, but – in the meantime – we’re reviewing all of Star Trek: Enterprise this year as something of a prequel to that anniversary. This January, we’re doing the first season. Check back daily for the latest review.

Silent Enemy is very much a game of two halves.

It’s an episode that suffers from the decision to incorporate two radically different plots into a single episode. In many respects, it’s a show that suffers from Star Trek: Enterprise‘s decidedly old-fashioned storytelling aesthetic: the sense that most hours of Star Trek need to have two plots running through them for pacing and structural reasons. This storytelling technique is a decidedly outdated approach to television, reflecting the narrative conservatism at play in the first season of the show.

We come in peace...

We come in peace…

Silent Enemy is built around two plots. The primary plot sees the ship coming into conflict with a bunch of strange predatory aliens who do not respond to attempts for contact, and who grow increasingly belligerent over the course of the episode. Archer and his crew find themselves facing an opponent far stronger and more aggressive than they are. It’s a pretty bleak, pretty heavy plotline. Inevitably, the show decided to pair it with something a bit more light-hearted, so we get Hoshi trying to figure out what Reed’s favourite food is that Chef can bake him a super-special birthday cake.

While the combination of plotlines isn’t the worst in the history of the franchise – the episode doesn’t feel like Frankenstein’s monster in the same way that Life Support does, for example – it’s still rather incongruous. Silent Enemy is an episode weakened by the decision to combine these two into a single story; the desire to offset the doom of the “Enterprise under siege” story with something a bit more easy-going and comedic.

Alien aliens...

Alien aliens…

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The Silicon Chip Inside Her Head Gets Switched to Overload: On-Screen Mania and Off-Screen Motives….

And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was good as gold
And he can see no reasons
‘Cos there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be show-ow-ow-ow-own?

I Don’t Like Mondays, The Boom Town Rats

I have to admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for cheesy horror films. Not necessarily all of them, as there’s a lot of dross out there, but I have to admit that there’s nothing like a well-constructed scary movies. I was watching Scream again, this time with my gran in preparation for Halloween, and I enjoyed it yet again – I think it’s a fascinatingly clever look at the slasher genre, and a movie which is as relevent today as it was when it was released, untouched and unspoilt by the wave of inferior imitations that we’ve seen in the years since. There’s a line towards the climax of the film which got me thinking about these sorts of films, and how they’re scary. Asked to provide a motive, the killer responds, “Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lector liked to eat people? Don’t think so! See, it’s a lot scarier when there’s no motive.” Is the unknowable that much scarier?

Psyche!

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Oh Heck(le): When Is It Appropriate to Heckle?

I attended the Irish premiere of Unknown last night as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. It was a fairly bland film, but what really stuck out to me of the night was a heckler during Grainne Humphreys’ introduction to the film. The guy was a bit of a dick, and it got me thinking – when is it appropriate to heckle?

What a muppet...

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Non-Review Review: Unknown

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Unknown is not, despite what it may want you to believe, anything to do with Taken. I have a sense that audiences catching the film without that pre-existing expectation might enjoy it more than others, but I can’t help but feel the movie suffers by comparison to the earlier film in the “Liam Neeson as badass action hero” subgenre.

Taken for a ride?

Note: By its very nature, this review will involve the very slightest of spoilers. I will literally be discussing the first twenty or so minutes of the film, and I doubt it’s any more than you could discern from the trailers, but I figure it’s worth flagging with the spoiler-conscious out there.

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