Star Trek into the Darkness

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Dazzling special effects and engrossing storylines usually characterized a J.J. Abrams produced sci-fi film. “Star Trek into the Darkness” is no exception. Excellent acting, eye-popping visual stimulation and a well-written, symbolic storyline lend this long-standing franchise’s one if its best films to date.

The story wastes no time diving into the question of morality. The center of this film is the essential question of “How far would you go for your loved ones?” Under the umbrella of this question, the main characters, Captain Kirk and Spock, question their handling of life and what they stand for.

Captain Kirk consistently challenges authority until one day his deicion to do so disrupts his command of The Enterprise. Kirk begins to questions his ability to be a good leader. He constantly attempts to prove to others — and to himself — that he is more than capable of the job.

As for Spock, he continues the battle between his Vulcan and human side. Spock tucks away his emotions for protection after his planet’s destruction. He uses logic in nearly every situation. However, events force him to question if logic really reigns the day.

The movie has little wrong with it. The special effects shall give any nerd tremors of delight down their spine. With the exception of the warp speed transition scenes, the sets looks so realistic, one may believe somewhere out in the world nearly identical technology truly exists.

However, the movie’s one fault is the assigned villain. Khan proves to be an excellent, conniving villain, somewhat reminiscent of The Joker from “The Dark Knight” (except far less sadistic). The storyline squanders Khan’s potential to be a villain remembered for years to come. As said, Khan takes a backburner to the true enemies of the Enterprise — the crew’s inner-self. He touches the brink of utter maniacal, skin-crawling villaintry, but falters at the last minute. His falter shows the one weakness of allowing internal struggles to outdo the villain. Although the story has more emotional depth, the quintessential villain’s role is diminished and has its’ punch whisked away.

Nevertheless, “Star Trek into the Darkness” adds a bright spot to the “Star Trek” legacy and manages to show more emotional depth than even some modern drama films.


Fall Out Boy’s “Save Rock and Roll” does little to save the genre

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Re-forming after a breakup is nearly unheard of in the rock world. However, Fall Out Boy did just that. Four years after creating no music together, the band reunited to create their latest album, “Save Rock and Roll.”

Taking a turn for a much poppier sound and unfortunately poorer writing, Fall Out Boy revamps their image. They have transitioned from the emo-punk-rock band to a band verging on the cusp of pop-rock. Their songs have less of a rock edge and feel too polished.

However, the transition in sound is not that surprising considering Patrick Stump’s desire to infiltrate the pop world. Because his brief pop career faltered, he’s taking out his failed dreams on his rock band. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to mind.

The songs on this album bounce between being suited for pop radio or rock radio. Generic lyrics and polished music filled with syths and little guitar fit purely into the pop world. Darker lyrics with messier guitar fit into the rock world. One song fits oddly in-between both worlds, but strongly leans towards pop (“The Mighty Fall”). Considering Fall Out Boy made a name for themselves being able to fit into both worlds, this could pose as a problem.

“Save Rock and Roll” does little to save the genre from its most troubling issue: stale writing and actually sounding like rock ‘n’ roll. So many “rock” bands have no edge to them. Their music is polished to a shine. The guitar riffs have been heard a hundred times.  Fall Out Boy stood out because their sound was loud yet sensitive, their lyrics were clever yet down to earth, and their humor sardonic yet not completely obscure. They were punk in the sense that their sound was wild, energetic, and messy. They found a balance that appeased many ears and brought fresh air to the stench of sewage that filled the rock scene. They have lost that beautiful balance with this album.

As a fan of Fall Out Boy, I am disappointed with “Save Rock and Roll.” The album’s highlights “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” ”Just One Yesterday,” and “Rat a Tat.” Usually an entire album of theirs lands into my music library, but not this time. Unfortunately, this shift in tone for Fall Out Boy is likely permanent. This album has been well-received in comparison to other rock-pop artists out there. However, in comparison to themselves, “Save Rock and Roll” is a poor example of their talent.

(This is a copy of an album review I did for the student newspaper. So if you have seen this before, don’t be alarmed or think I’m stealing someone’s work. It is my own work. This is just a taste of what I have to offer in terms of album reviews. I shall start posting reviews original to this blog very soon.)