In the annals of human history, there have been many grand and historic achievements. The wheel. Fire. The steam engine. Sliced bread. Computers. Putting a man on the moon. Marion Cotillard. The Blogalong. History may not yet have fully grasped the significance of the Blogalong, but the collective analysis and critical celebration of some of the finest movie series the world has ever been produced will one day become recognised for the… Oh, who am I kidding, while it is big and it’s generally been clever, it’s probably never going to be any more than that. However the Blogalongs have, as much as anything else, been a personal journey for those involved in them. (Probably. I’ve not actually asked.) There’s the original, masterminded by the powerhouse that is The Incredible Suit, that is Blogalongabond. Simon Kinnear at Kinnemaniac then took the idea on with his thorough exploration of Tarkovsky in BlogalongaRusskie; the masterminds behind All Of Whine and Space are currently bringing us BlogalongaPotter; and last year I was joined by four other intrepid bloggers to explore the career of Kermit and Miss Piggy in BlogalongaMuppets.
I had seen all of the Bond films before I joined BlogalongaBond, but BlogalongaMuppets was a great introduction to me for the world of Muppet films. Both have taught me things about those films that I couldn’t have imagined beforehand, such as how Sean Connery invented standing on top of lifts in films, or how it’s apparently perfectly acceptable to repeatedly assault a talking pig in a children’s film. There is, though, one series of films which is part of a larger phenomenon, one which I became utterly obsessed with for a large part of the 1990s, and the time has come for me to start what could be my most personal journey yet: BlogalongaTrek. The good news us, you are all invited too.
In the fine tradition of Bond / Russkie / Muppets / Potter, I will be blogging about a Trek film a month until the catchily-titled new film, Untitled Star Trek Sequel (2013) comes out, supposedly on May 17th next year. Twelve films, twelve months, a marriage made in heaven, unlike hot dogs and hot dog buns, which despite being made for each other never come in the same amount. (Seriously, what’s with that? Last night shopping, six buns, ten dogs. I swear they do it deliberately. But I digress.) If you’re a fan of Star Trek, or somehow the Trek films have passed you by for the last thirty-three years, then you could also avoid split infinitives and go boldly with me on the following schedule:
- June – Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- July – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan
- August – Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
- September – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- October – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- November – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- December – Star Trek: Generations
- January – Star Trek: First Contact
- February – Star Trek: Insurrection
- March – Star Trek: Nemesis
- April – Star Trek
- May – Star Trek II / 2 / 12 / whatever
It’s almost frighteningly simple. Here’s how it works:
- Watch the movie for the month in question.
- Write about that movie on your own blog.
- Post a link to that blog post on the Facebook page, which you’ll find here.
- I will then add the link to the BlogalongaTrek page here.
- I will also pimp your blog on Twitter to my followers, for retweeting and general larks.
If for any reason step 2 presents a problem, and you’re reading this but don’t have your own blog, but would like the world to know just why you think that one with the whales and the curly blond woman is the best / worst / most confusing film ever, then I’ll happily host your thoughts on this blog right here, giving me the air of a madman with multiple personalities.
So what qualifies me to be the person to captain the USS Blogalong on this voyage? Well, apart from the fact that it’s MY IDEA, only a little shamelessly ripped off, I have long had a Trek addiction, which reached its peak at around 1994. But it wasn’t always this way. I can remember skipping over parts of II and III when they were on TV in the Eighties, not really sure why they were trying to rip off Star Wars – badly – and blissfully unaware that there was a TV series behind it all. Then Star Trek: The Next Generation started on TV, and I quickly became sucked in, starting to buy the VHS tapes, each with two episodes, so I could see them before they were on TV. By the time Deep Space 9 started, I was buying rental copies at £35 a pop of key episodes to get them early, I went to my first sci-fi convention to see Denise Crosby – who was lovely, I might add – and then, in a comic book store, I purchased a life size cardboard cut-out of this woman, in this uniform, which I had in my room at uni for the last two years despite it being only 9′ by 6′.
For much of the Nineties, I was a hardcore Trekkie, then Voyager came along and helped to bring me back to normality. Well, almost.
If you don’t already own them, the good news is that they’re dirt cheap – a box set of the first ten is around £30 on Amazon, or DVDs are about £4 each, with Blu-rays a snip at £7 a pop, if you’d prefer to pay in installments. I can’t sugar coat it going in, this is not eleven masterpieces of cinema that you’ll potentially be watching. I would say four of them are genuinely great, and two are genuinely awful, with the other five so far falling somewhere in the middle. But that’s just my view. You’ll get to hear a lot more of it over the next twelve months, but what do you think? Get watching, and get writing, and may the force be with you. Or something.
My iPhone obsession, part 3: My experience of watching movies on my iPhone (and my tiny Nokia before that)
So now, an adventure into the land of hypocrisy, from where I am likely to emerge bruised and battered. For here I am, writing a blog whose primary function is to advocate that people go to cinemas to see movies, as that’s the best possible way to see them, talking about watching movies on a device with a screen that measures just 3.5 inches on the diagonal. Note to self, this better be good.
And it seems that the debate is raging as hard as it ever has over whether using a mobile is right for watching movies. Roger Ebert tweeted on the subject this very week, and then there’s some good blogs here and here arguing for both sides. So let me explain – I’m in the “it’s OK” camp, but that comes with a few heavy caveats.