NEW TRAILER: Star Trek Into Darkness

Watch this –

A few things…

  • Ah yes, but if you take Inception-boom and add sci-fi-with-a-bit-of-screaming? That’s PROMETHEUS.
  • Villainy voice-over with destruction of cites and innocents though, that’s new right? OK, so AVENGERS may have got there first too.

I dunno.

Look, I’m fairly sure STID will be fairly awesome; JJ Abrams is a more than competent director (whose last STAR TREK couldn’t have been any better*) but in a world where fans drool over mere FRAMES of their favourite franchise, I think the trailer could’ve been a lot stronger.

And while some of you might already be cowing about the complete lack of originality in Hollywood today full stop, ‘how can anything be classed as ‘original’ these days’? I have two answers for you.

  1. Fair enough, but these films I’m talking about are super recent (and you expect more from Abrams).
  2. Try. Harder.

All of the above aside, there’s still Benedict Cumberbatch – who, to be frank, will be amazing. In closing:

Bring it on…

but please make the next trailer a little more original, yeah? Please?! And show me something new, too. I mean, even the new poster (above) looks like it was borrowed from elsewhere.


*Aside from one teeny tiny issue with evolution, obviously.

Kinect me up, baby

Recently, I decided to treat myself to the technological wonder that is the Xbox Kinect. But, before we crack on, let me make one thing absolutely clear –

The Xbox Kinect is, without doubt, the most exciting piece of technology I have ever brought into my house (by a clear country mile) and, quite possibly, the most amazing thing I have ever bought. Ever. Full stop.

It really is that good.

What’s worrying, however, is that for a short while I didn’t even realise it.

Xbox Kinect

Returning from my parents this past Christmas (I believe it was Dec 27th), I stopped off in town to pick up the Johnny-5 head-shaped bad boy and left him by the TV for a couple of days, before breaking it open just before New Year and cracking on.

“This’ll be fun” I thought “I’ll give it a whirl”

See, as you may know, I am a gaming geek (some would argue more so than a mobile geek), and so getting my hands on the latest awesome periphery for my current console of choice was fairly high up on my list of priorities.

“Gaming is going be awesome with this…”

Honestly? It’s been over a month now and I’ve hardly played the games at all. Don’t get me wrong, Kinect Adventures IS fun and I’m informed that the yet-to-be-opened Dance Central is pretty damn good also. However, the Kinect has changed something so significant, so utterly mind-blowing that most of the time, I switch it on just so I can play with IT.


It’s all about the interface. Things that live on my Xbox (aside from the games) include (but are not exclusive to), Sky TV, Twitter, Facebook and – thanks to a handy piece of software called Connect360 (no relation) – my entire music, photo and video collection that resides on my Mac.

[Nearly] everything is available to Kinect with… and it rocks.

Introducing such a fundamental step-change into the way I interact with my main media channel has, perhaps unsurprisingly to some, drastically shifted my usage patterns along with it., formally an Xbox Gold ‘nice to have’ extra that I only used on occasion is now the main reason for switching the Xbox on in the morning/afternoon/evening…

Forget the wavey-roundy, gesture sensitive motion capture stuff (although that’s quite cool also) the Kinect, for me at least, is all about the voice activation.

Let me show you:

I can be in the shower in the next room and be yelling out my instructions AND IT STILL HEARS ME! Music, is everything…

In the same way that nobody knew they needed an iPad (and yet now suddenly they now wonder how they ever did without them), the Xbox Kinect slips into your day to day life like the smoothest of gloves onto a well-worn hand. Within a couple of days you catch yourself wondering why on Earth everything in your household doesn’t run in the same way.

“Kettle? Boil.” or “Shower? On.” and of course, Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. are suddenly so desperately close to hand but also, in the same breath, achingly far away. The Xbox Kinect really is the technology of the future boys and girls and believe it when I tell you; we’ve not even scratched the surface.

Microsoft have already said that they expect to double the resolution of the on-board camera within the next 6-12mths and the face tracking technology they demo’d at CES recently was again, an equally fascinating glimpse into the very near future.

Maybe it’s the hours upon hours that we spent back in my SpinVox days talking about the future of speech technologies that has got me so excited about all this, maybe it’s because at heart, I’m a massive Star Trek fan and being able to talk to my computer is a pipe dream I’ve lusted after ever since I first saw Jean-Luc do the exact same thing all those years ago… or maybe, just maybe it’s just because that deep down, I am a geek – through and through – and I just love new technology.

In closing:

Got an Xbox? Get a Kinect. It’s that simple.

Star Trek

‘things that annoy me in film’


This post has been a long time coming. Mostly coming out at parties over a particularly intense bout of drunken geekery, it’s a point that has niggled with me about Star Trek ever since I first saw it that day back in May.

The. Best. Film. I. Have. Ever. Seen.

Thing is, I’m a bit of a film buff. I’ve loved film for as long as I can remember. My Dad taking me to see Superman IV at the cinema when I was kid. Holding hands, walking around in the dark. THAT theme tune. It was amazing. Better yet, it was believable.

Years passed. Burton’s Batman came and went. The older I the more adventurous my taste in film became; I remember one afternoon after college I bought Romper Stomper, Scum, Mean Streets and Taxi Driver (all on VHS – thank you very much Mr Light), in a rather awesome four for £20 bargain.

“You need to lighten up mate.” said the chap behind the counter. I laughed, said it was research for a new project (I was studying performing arts, specialising in directing for that particular term – I was soaking up everything I could get my hands on), he looked at me funny and it was only when walking away did I realise what I’d said.

The Matrix arrived. I remember thinking ‘THIS is the Star Wars of our generation.” Up to this point, in the history of film, no one had ever achieved anything like it. Neo and his acolytes were about to tear up the sci-fi genre and hand it back to Hollywood; “Thanks, we’re done.” But they didn’t. They went and released Matrix: Reloaded. While I’m a big fan of The Animatrix (the nine animated shorts released before the first sequel), the next two parts of the trilogy left me a bit empty. The effects are good, the story isn’t that bad. They just aren’t as good as the original. It happens.

However, Matrix Reloaded sticks out for me for one thing and one thing only. What am I talking about? The first 20 seconds of this…

See it? That bike stunt? Right. Stay with me on this one.

In a world that is governed by rules, how is it that this street bike is able to drive off the top of that truck, from a standing start, land and continue – at top speed – without the truck catching up and crumpling the rider(s) under its wheels?! It’s an impossibility defined by the laws of physics. Yes, the laws of the Matrix can be bent, even broken, but by people. NOT by machines. A bike is as much a bike in the Matrix as it is a bike out on the streets right now. When this happened on screen I snapped back into reality and was suddenly more concerned about my next helping of popcorn than I was about Trinity and her high-speed escape.

Illusion, shattered.

Which brings us back to Star Trek.

In the film (and if you’ve not seen it, you may as well stop reading right now), Spock jettisons Kirk off the Enterprise for insubordination and he finds himself wound up on an ice planet not too dissimilar from Hoth. The landing pod tells him to remain where he is (his escort will arrive shortly), but naturally, being James T. Kirk, he decides to get out and find his own way.

This being Star Trek, of course things don’t run smoothly. Within a few minutes Kirk’s being chased by a snowy-white sabretooth tiger-esque creature [UPDATE: turns out this is a ‘Drakoulias‘] who clearly fancies him for lunch. Kirk runs. The ground rumbles and said feline bear gets picked and hurled into a nearby mountain…  by something much bigger.

This thing –

A bright red, prolapsed rectum-basedHengrauggi‘. The design story behind this particular creature is pretty awesome; the way chief concept designer Neville Page finds inspiration from animals that already live and breathe in our world today is quite extraordinary. Everything from the way the jaws work, the positioning of its joints, all the way through to which way the cameras will be pointing when ‘Big Red’ finally erupts onto our screens.

The work of a truly talented artist.

But there’s just one issue I have with it – Evolution.

In what universe would evolution create such a creature? And I’m not talking about the size of the Hengrauggi or in fact the scarily fast oral appendages that it uses to capture its food (completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen before).

No. I’m talking about the colour of the damn thing.

This is an ICE planet. How would a huge creature such as the above get away with being BRIGHT RED on a planet that seems to spend the majority of its time covered in a blanket of white snow? You can’t be a hard-ass predator if your prey can see you coming from bloody miles away!

Case in point; sharks.

Dark on top, white underneath. Why? They’re predators. One of nature’s oldest and most perfect of killing machines. Swim above and look down, you’ll struggle to see it. Swim underneath and look up? The same. Not being seen (until it’s too late at least), is a defining feature of any decent-sized hunter. Yes the Hengrauggi starts off underground, perhaps burrowed under the surface awaiting its prey in the same vein as a trapdoor spider. Even so, surely then this would create a darker, more naturally-coloured creature. One that blends in with its surroundings, not stick out like a sore thumb.


Look, I know this isn’t a massive point and overall Star Trek was by far and away one of the best (and most successful) films of 2009, but still. If you’re intent on keeping the world and universe that your characters exist in believable, then being mindful of the rules that you’ve created (or those that already exist) will go a long way to keeping it real.

From the IMAX I was transported into the Star Trek universe and there I stayed. Until Delta Vega. From there I was thrown back to my seat with a bump. Damn you Hengrauggi. Damn you to hell.

Antigua -> St Maartens

The Caribbean - Sep 13th

Molekskine entry: September 12th, 2009

No call lights on this flight, we have to wave our hands to get the stewardesses’ attention, like school children. Heh. Star trek is on the film selection screen. In fact all the options are pretty damn good on this flight. But I’m drawn to Star Trek, again.

It is a great film.

I’m reminded of a clip I once saw with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy —

Brilliant. It’s a nice thought as we approach our final trip. Our final Lucozade Challenge.  Friendship is for life.

44yrs on and they’re still best of friends.