Star Trek Rankings

Star Trek Rankings

I know this is way random, but a friend of mine was picking my brain about Twitter and trying to get my opinion on various Star Trek things. I ended the writing portion of MovieByte so it feels a little weird to write a single random article there again. So I’m writing this here to answer the questions put to me.

A ranking of various Star Trek incarnations

The Original Series (TOS)

TOS has some very good episodes, some in each season — though season 3 has the least I think — even though it is certainly very much a product of its time and has many ’60s tropes. The HD re-mastering has helped it out a lot and I enjoy watching my favorite episodes that much more.

Some favorite TOS episodes

  • Dagger of the Mind (S1E9)
  • The Corbomite Maneuver (S1E10)
  • The Conscience of the King (S1E13)
  • Balance of Terror (S1E14)
  • The Galileo Seven (S1E16)
  • The Squire of Gothos (S1E17)
  • Arena (S1E18)
  • Tomorrow is Yesterday (S1E19)
  • Space Seed (S1E22)
  • A Taste of Armageddon (S1E23)
  • This Side of Paradise (S1E24)
  • The Devil in the Dark (S1E25)
  • Errand of Mercy (S1E26)
  • The City on the Edge of Forever (S1E28)
  • Operation – Annihilate! (S1E29)
  • Amok Time (S2E1)
  • Mirror, Mirror (S2E4)
  • The Doomsday Machine (S2E6)
  • Journey to Babel (S2E10)
  • Friday’s Child (S2E11)
  • A Piece of the Action (S2E17)
  • Patterns of Force (S2E21)
  • By Any Other Name (S2E22)
  • Bread and Circuses (S2E25)
  • Assignment: Earth (S2E26)
  • The Enterprise Incident (S3E2)
  • For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (S3E8)
  • Wink of an Eye (S3E11)
  • Whom Gods Destroy (S3E14)
  • Requiem for Methuselah (S3E19)

The Next Generation (TNG)

I always having a hard time deciding whether I like TNG or DS9 more (stop asking me to chose favorite children!). Ultimately it comes down to this: TNG has great characters and many amazing stories. But all those stories are one off episodes. DS9 is more arc based — particularly when the Dominion War starts. DS9 also has great characters. I like both shows.

Also note that the HD re-master is fantastic!

The list of favorite episodes is going to be long because there are A LOT of favorites. I recently just went through and watching all my favorite episodes so I remember more easily which ones are. I will not be able to do that with DS9 because it’s been about 4 years since I watched it. I’ve actually just started re-watching.

Some favorite TNG episodes

  • The Battle (S1E8)
  • Hide and Q (S1E9)
  • Datalore (S1E12)
  • 11001001 (S1E14)
  • Too Short a Season (S1E15)
  • Home Soil (S1E17)
  • Symbiosis (S1E21)
  • We’ll Always Have Paris (S1E23)
  • Conspiracy (S1E24)
  • The Neutral Zone (S1E25)
  • Where Silence Has Lease (S2E2)
  • Unnatural Selection (S2E7)
  • The Measure of a Man (S2E9)
  • Contagion (S2E11)
  • Q Who? (S2E16)
  • The Emissary (S2E20)
  • Peak Performance (S2E21)
  • The Ensigns of Command (S3E2)
  • The Survivors (S3E3)
  • Booby Trap (S3E6)
  • The Enemy (S3E7)
  • The Vengeance Factor (S3E9)
  • The Defector (S3E10)
  • The High Ground (S3E12)
  • Déjà Q (S3E13)
  • A Matter of Perspective (S3E14)
  • Yesterday’s Enterprise (S3E15)
  • The Offspring (S3E16)
  • Sins of the Father (S3E17)
  • Allegiance (S3E18)
  • Captain’s Holiday (S3E19)
  • Hollow Pursuits (S3E21)
  • The Most Toys (S3E22)
  • Sarek (S3E23)
  • The Best of Both Worlds (S3E26, S4E1)
  • Family (S4E2)
  • Reunion (S4E8)
  • Future Imperfect (S4E8)
  • Final Mission (S4E9)
  • Data’s Day (S4E12)
  • The Wounded (S4E12)
  • Devil’s Due (S4E13)
  • Clues (S4E14)
  • First Contact (S4E15)
  • Galaxy’s Child (S4E16)
  • The Drumhead (S4E21)
  • The Mind’s Eye (S4E24)
  • Redemption (S4E26, S5E1)
  • Ensign Ro (S5E3)
  • Disaster (S5E5)
  • The Game (S5E6)
  • Unification (S5E7, S5E8)
  • A Matter of Time (S5E9)
  • Conundrum (S5E14)
  • Ethics (S5E16)
  • Cause and Effect (S5E18)
  • The First Duty (S5E19)
  • I Borg (S5E23)
  • The Next Phase (S5E24)
  • The Inner Light (S5E25)
  • Time’s Arrow (S4E26, S6E1)
  • Realm of Fear (S6E2)
  • Relics (S6E3)
  • Rascals (S6E7)
  • Chain of Command (S6E11)
  • Ship in a Bottle (S6E12)
  • Face of the Enemy (S6E14)
  • Tapestry (S6E15)
  • Birthright (S6E16, S6E17)
  • Starship Mine (S6E18)
  • Lessons (S6E19)
  • The Chase (S6E20)
  • Rightful Heir (S6E23)
  • Second Chances (S6E24)
  • Timescape (S6E25)
  • Descent (S6E26, S7E1)
  • Gambit (S7E5, S7E6)
  • Attached (S7E8)
  • Inheritance (S7E10)
  • Parallels (S7E11)
  • The Pegasus (S7E12)
  • Lower Decks (S7E15)
  • All Good Things (S7E25)


Voyager was not as good as it’s predecessors, but it wasn’t a bad show. I particularly always enjoyed The Doctor. I believe he had the best arc on the show without contest.


Enterprise Seasons 1 & 2 are some of the most consistently worst Star Trek ever made — boring, dull, lifeless — with a very occasional decent episode thrown in there. Also, that theme song. Can I just say WORST EVER?!? Seasons 3 and 4 are actually somewhat decent with some really great episodes. Unfortunately I think most people had quit watching the show by the time it recovered from seasons 1 and 2.

The Movies

The only bad Star Trek movies are The Motion Picture and The Final Frontier. The reboot has obviously breathed new life into the franchise. I was very much opposed to it when the first reboot film was in the works — and I still think it would have been better to move forward — but I was quite happy with Into Darkness even though the film had its annoyances.

A ranking of Star Trek films

  • The Wrath of Khan (2): 5 stars
  • The Undiscovered Country (6): 4.5 stars
  • First Contact (8): 4.5 stars
  • Into Darkness (12): 4 stars
  • The Voyage Home (4): 4 stars
  • Insurrection (9): 3.5 stars
  • Nemesis (10): 3.5 stars
  • Star Trek (2009) (11): 3.5 stars
  • The Search for Spock (3): 3.5 stars
  • Generations (7): 3.5 stars
  • The Motion Picture (1): 3 stars
  • The Final Frontier (5): 2.5 stars

A ranking of Star Trek Music

Ranking of Film scores:

  1. The Motion Picture
    Jerry Goldsmith really brought ST to the next level and established themes and motifs that still live on. While the film is kind of terrible, the score if FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.
  2. The Wrath of Khan
    This is basically James Horner’s great take on what Goldsmith did before him with a tone that matches the more action filled and much less boring film in question. And it feels like it has the heart of the original series.
  3. Into Darkness
    Michael Giacchino did some fantastic work here with a major update to his 2009 Star Trek score, introducing new and touching themes and motifs. I enjoy this one a lot.
  4. The Final Frontier
    Goldsmith returned to build upon his original work while establishing themes and motifs that would continue to carry the franchise. Again, the film was the worst in the series, which some of the best music — truly frustrating.
  5. The Undiscovered Country
    Cliff Eidelman’s score didn’t sound very “Star Treky” in some ways, but a lot of interesting is going on in his score and I always enjoy listening to it and it fits the film very well.
  6. First Contact
    Goldsmith is always fantastic and he always finds a way to build on his previous work in a way that references it but doesn’t feel like a completely re-use.
  7. The Search for Spock
    Mostly a more melancholy re-hash of Wrath of Khan with an added new Klingon theme that would go on to be heavily borrowed from in his Aliens score.
  8. Insurrection
    I think Jerry Goldsmith added some really nice and touching bits to build upon his previous work.
  9. Nemesis
    This is my least favorite work from Goldsmith in this franchise. It felt kind of tired, and he was experimenting with some sort of sound that I do not favor. That said, there are some great no motifs and awesome tracks here.
  10. Star Trek (2009)
    While I think Into Darkness takes the score to a whole new level that is much better, I don’t think the original film is Giacchino’s best work and feels a little like it ignores Star Trek’s legacy. I enjoy some of the tracks in this score, but overall a bit of a miss.
  11. Generations
    While I have enjoyed Denis McCarthy’s work on the various series (the first episode of Deep Space Nine is phenomenal), I don’t feel like he hit this one out of the park. Nevertheless, I do listen to the soundtrack sometimes. It’s okay, just not great.
  12. The Voyage Home
    Perhaps the worst misstep in the Star Trek movie franchise. Some of it works, some of it is mediocre, and much of it is terrible.

The Shows:

My favorite theme is probably the original Deep Space Nine theme. Also, the score for the first episode of Deep Space Nine is on Apple Music and I highly recommend it.

I also quite enjoy the main theme of The Next Generation. Goldsmith’s Voyager theme is top notch, but not my favorite.

Overall, starting in season 3 of TNG the scoring of each episode was usually good. The first 2 seasons of The Next Generation — while always composed and not canned music, felt way to synthesized and icky. Though the synthesized sound was sometimes still present in TNGs music from time to time in Season 3, it largely began to go away and was replaced by the symphonic sound we think of with Star Trek nowadays.

The only music I really don’t enjoy that much is pretty much the entirety of TOS. I’m not a fan of the theme, and most of the music is canned and reused throughout all three seasons. They basically wrote some various Star Trek mood motifs and reuse them all throughout. That was kind of the thing to do at the time.

Releasing Collective: Clarifications and Apologies

Releasing Collective: Clarifications and Apologies

I don’t maintain a separate blog for development stuff anymore because I’ve found two blogs hard to maintain. But posts like this make me think I should. In any event, if you’re not interested in my development stuff, then you may want to skip this one.

I recently released Collective for ExpressionEngine. I’ve been using it on my own projects, and projects I work on at my day job for a couple months. It fills a need for me/us and I wanted to go ahead and get it out into the world to help others.

As with a couple of my other add-ons, it is my habit and wont to tease the release in the last week or two leading up to release. So, I teased the upcoming release on Twitter. But I made a strategic error and offended a lot of people, including one (or more) of the pillars in the ExpressionEngine community. I deeply regret how it all transpired.

Though I am in my early thirties, I am young as a developer — I came into it later in my life than most. I love writing code and particularly enjoy at this time writing add-ons for ExpressionEngine. I also love a lot of the people I have the pleasure of interacting with or just following online in the community. And to some extent (okay, a large extent), I feel like I’m trying to elbow my way in and enjoy the company and prove myself a little bit. But I made a mistake. In teasing Collective, I mentioned Low Variables. I thought I was giving props to another great add-on developer while giving a head nod to some of my inspiration for Collective and for writing EE add-ons in general. I immediately got a negative response, followed by a few other negative responses. Later, Low himself became involved and it was clear that I had offended him. I was quite dismayed. This was the last thing I wanted.

I made things far worse by engaging and trying to fix it. I have new understanding and respect for people who just don’t engage on Twitter! I thought I could clarify. I thought I could fix it so we could all be friends — and I certainly still want that. But I was very, very wrong. I finally realized I was compounding the situation and bailed.

Story time: at the last ExpressionEngine conference, I saw Low sitting at one of the tables in between sessions and I thought, I should go up and say hi to one of my EE heroes. But then I thought, well, I don’t know what I would say, I’m not great at small talk, it would feel forced, he doesn’t know who I am, he’s busy, he’s talking to other people, etc. In short, as stupid as this sounds, I intimidated myself into not talking to him.

I tell that story to show how dismayed I was that I seemed to have offended Low. And I didn’t (and still don’t) quite know what to do about it. For a time I debated not releasing Collective. If you followed what happened at all, you will note that this all happened almost two months ago. I had planned to release Collective imminently. But I was so discouraged, and so at a loss for what to do that I tabled the release.

But, I did keep using it internally, and I had a couple of friends testing it. They liked it, I liked it a lot (of course), and I finally decided to put the finishing touches on it and release it. If possible, I’d like to make a little money on it, while benefiting others.

Here’s the deal though. The idea that it was anything like Low Variables actually came later in the development process when I realized there were some similarities. I actually started developing it to replace another add-on out in the community that appears to no longer be maintained and that I had some ideas about. That add-on — which I used regularly for quite some time — is Republic Variables. I only mention it now out of clarification, not because I don’t like Republic Labs or their add-ons or anything like that. Collective is simply not meant to be a direct competitor to Low Variables.

After release earlier today, I have again become depressed because of a negative rating on Collective on devot:ee from someone who has not bought or used the product (I know because there have, as yet, been no sales).

Update: the person who left the negative rating emailed me explaining that it was a mistake so at least on that front I feel much better.

So here I am, not quite sure what to do. But I do know that I can try to mend fences. I offer my apologies to anyone I offended and hope that you can forgive me for my carelessness on Twitter and for continuing to offend and not just disengaging and re-evaluating. I would still like to be a part of the community and I would like to be friends with everyone. I would like to support other developers and be supportive in any way I can. I like to see us as all in this thing together. I love hanging out with everyone virtually, and hope to hang out more in person, despite how awkward I sometimes feel with people I don’t know.

If there is anything I can do for anyone in the ExpressionEngine community, any apologies I can make, and conversations that need to be had, please do let me know.

Christians Should Be Libertarians

Christians Should Be Libertarians

Why Christians Should Immediately Become Libertarians — Ben Lewis »

Even Christians’ advocacy for laws against gay marriage is problematic because it rests on the assumption that the power of government can be harnessed in order to impose one group’s opinions on the rest of society. While Christians should have been defending their rights to make their own determinations on these issues, they instead tried to leverage the strong arm of government to enforce their point of view.

Clumsy, inarticulate pieces of legislation like that in Indiana will do nothing in the long run to achieve this goal.

In doing this, Christians will have to come to grips with the reality that this means they will no longer be able to use government to stop people from making poor moral decisions. They must realize that they cannot continue to try to use laws to control other people and then be surprised when the government decides to control them.

These are just some choice quotes that I enjoyed, but all of this is highly recommended and I completley agree.

Conservative and Liberal Immigration Logic

Conservative and Liberal Immigration Logic

(by the way, the post image I used above makes me sick to my stomach)

When it comes to immigration, why do conservatives suddenly start using liberal logic and liberals start using conservative logic? Liberals argue that immigrants strengthen the economy by adding value to our workforce. Conservatives argue that we’re adding competitors to the workforce in an economy where it’s already hard to find a job.

It’s so weird because it’s like liberals suddenly understand how the economy actually works and conservatives suddenly get belligerent (well, moreso than normal) and decide that the economy does in fact work the way liberals normally say it does. They suddenly view wealth and resources as fixed, and that we are giving away that wealth and those resources to the immigrants. But that is never how any economy has ever functioned. Wealth is not a fixed resource, and work is not a fixed resource. They are fluid resources, expanding and contracting. More people in the workforce makes for a stronger economy. There’s more people working, there’s more people buying, there are more people selling, there are more people creating wealth.

We normally view competition as a good thing. But suddenly, with immigration, we view it as bad because they might come in and undercut us. But have you stopped to think that maybe you just need to up your game? I am not too worried about an immigrant taking my job. Why? Because I try to be the best at what I do. I’m paid fair wages for what I do. And if my job is taken by an immigrant, or anyone else, then I need to examine myself, my abilities, and the job that I am doing. It’s possible that an immigrant (or anyone else) could come in an undercut me, and do a poor job and ruin the company, and/or the company would wish they had not replaced me with a lower wage worker who could not do the job. But that’s all part of doing business.

Now, there is a problem with illegal immigrants in this country. It is a pre-existing problem though. I said that more people makes the workforce and economy stronger. I also said that there are more people creating wealth. In general, when the government is not involved, that’s true. But the fact is, the government is involved and creating problems. Illegal immigrants and legal immigrants have access to resources no one should, and they take advantage of it. Instead of creating wealth, they come and drain the economy by sucking tax funded benefits. You don’t have to be an immigrant to do that, so the issue is not immigration. So the answer to the problem is neither conservative nor liberal. It is an issue of free market and government interference. As in almost all things, I believe we would have a stronger economy, and a stronger nation if we would get the government out of the immigration business.

The founding fathers never envisioned the government having the right to restrict immigration, and Biblically, I cannot come up with a single reason why an expansive federal government should have any say over the free movement of peoples of any race or region. So the idea of “illegal immigration” is not even one we should entertain in the first place. Instead, let’s get the government to quit providing benefits that drain the economy. Let’s stop regulation immigration so that we only attract criminals. Let’s cut the red tape from the process and make immigration something free and clear so that others may come and strengthen the economy. Let’s stop being liberal or conservative, and instead make this country free again. Let’s remember to have compassion on people of other countries and races. Let’s stop being stupid on both sides of the aisle.

Hungry Birdman Had a War in the Stars

Hungry Birdman Had a War in the Stars

Here are the things I’ve been talking and writing about over at MovieByte.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Last week, the focus was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. I quite liked the film. Fizz joined me on the podcast since Joe needed to take a week off, and he didn’t like it as much as I did.

I wrote a review as well:

The MovieByte Podcast #114: Anti-Captain America »

TJ and Fizz discuss what’s good and bad about ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’. As ever, they don’t always see eye to eye, but that will give you, dear listeners, some fun things to chew on. They also discuss the redesign of the MovieByte website, Disney’s live action ‘Cinderella’ trailer (no, really, it’s a thing), the Russos possibly directing ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ parts one and two as opposed to Joss Whedon — which leads to a lot of discussion — and of course what theaters will have the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 — Review »

Don’t let the critics fool you. They are such a fickle lot. The Rotten Tomatoes Critic Consensus says that the film comes up short on the action. As if the critics think action is the end all and be all — what a joke. I found the film to be compelling, it did in fact have some action which I deemed to be enough for me, I liked the pacing and much of the acting, the story is improved upon from the book, and I quite enjoyed watching the film in the theater.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

Last week, Disney and Lucas Film released the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Despite some misgivings, I’m super excited!

The ‘Star Wars VII’ Teaser Trailer is HERE!!!! »

Overall, I’d say this teaser is trying to strike a balance between making us feel nostalgia for the old Star Wars (and I certainly don’t mean any of the prequels), and making us feel like this is something altogether new and interesting and different.

The MovieByte Podcast #115: Bonus Episode - ‘The Force Awakens’ Teaser Trailer »

It’s a special bonus episode of The MovieByte Podcast where TJ, Joe, and Clark talk about — actually dissect might be a better word — the first new teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. There’s no shortage of opinions, fun, and just generally geeking out. You won’t want to miss this!


Joe and I had intended to review The Immitation Game on The MovieByte Podcast this week, but it turns out that film is in an extremely limited release at the moment. We didn’t feel like driving a few thousand miles to see it. So we decided to see Birdman and talk about it instead.

The MovieByte Podcast #116: It Felt Purposeless »

TJ and Joe didn’t get to watch the movie they wanted to watch because it was in limited release, so they watched ‘Birdman’ instead. And they are glad they did. There’s a lot to chew on with Birdman and TJ and Joe relish in the analysis. Also don’t miss some follow up on ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer, news of the ‘House of Cards’ season 3 premiere date, and Batman vs. Darth Vader. It’s most impressive!

Birdman — Review »

This film is filled with fantastic performances, not the least of which is, of course, Michael Keaton. There is hardly a moment when the film leaves his headspace. He plays someone who has become quite the odd-ball.

So if any of that interests you, be sure to check out MovieByte!

Immigration and Executive Orders

Immigration and Executive Orders

So many people seem to be misunderstanding the issues at hand with President Obama and immigration.

Issue 1: The executive order is entirely unlawful. So are most executive orders. Big deal. I mean it is a big deal, but in the grand scheme of things, why fuss about this one? (Oh, I know, it’s because Bush didn’t give it. Bleh).

Issue 2: Congressional restriction on immigration is unlawful. They have the authority to restrict naturalization, but not immigration. We have become quite the xenophobic culture — at least on the conservative side of the isle — and we are trying to keep people out of the country. We have no right to do so. The constitution of this United States knows nothing of this “illegal” immigration which conservatives love to talk about. Immigration was always meant to be unrestricted. Also, try to remember, every single one of us who is not an American Indian descends from immigrants to this country.

Issue 3: Conservatives love to talk about what a drain illegal immigration is on our society. I beg to differ. The drain they speak of is already present, immigration just tends to really emphasize it. We have the government doing things it’s not supposed to do, providing benefits it should not be providing, meddling in things it ought not to be meddling with. “Illegal” immigrants come and take advantage of our broken system, receiving welfare, food stamps, and all manner of benefits that no one at all should be receiving. Immigrants otherwise present a net positive to our society. Without government benefits in place, they would be forced to work for their living like decent and able bodied humans should, they would use their wages to buy things, and our economy would be strengthened. So the real issue is not immigration at all, that’s just a smoke screen — a scapegoat conservatives love to point to. The real issue is the size and scope of the government and what it is doing with the money it has extorted from us.

Issue 4: Conservatives love to talk about how “illegal” aliens are already criminals and tend to do criminal things which is harmful to society. The problem is our immigration laws do indeed keep the more law abiding types out, but let in those who are cunning and tend toward illegal activities. It’s sort of like the war on drugs in that way. By criminalizing certain substances, it has been made attractive to criminal types and created a black market and trade that otherwise would not exist. Two solutions to this problem are apparent: 1). stop restricting immigration, 2). properly execute justice on immigrants the same as we do for citizens. They should not get a pass because they are not a naturalized citizen. If they steal, they should make restitution. If they kill, they should face the death penalty. If they damage property, they should repay. In short, it should be the same experience for them as it is for us natural citizens (and yeah, I realize that the justice system in general has issues which are exacerbated by immigrants).

A couple other thoughts

Are you conservatives all up in arms about “amnesty” really telling me that you want the same government you say you distrust to be in charge of restricting immigration? Why do we suddenly trust the government with the power to do that, but we don’t trust it with the power for other things? This is inconsistent. Let’s get the government out of the immigration business.

The other thing is that the Bible is not silent on the issue of foreigners in the land. There are two verses that immediately come to mind. Exodus 22:21:

Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

And Deuteronomy 10:19:

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Note that the children of Israel were not told, make sure the paper work is in order, make sure they came here “legally” then treat them right. No, the expectation was that people would be coming and going, there would be foreigners in your midst and you must not oppress them. Seems pretty simple, really.

So let’s stop getting outraged over the wrong issues and start being outraged that this is even an issue over which Obama could illegally issue an executive order. Why were these strangers in our land considered illegal to begin with? Why are we oppressing them? We need to stop it.

Which goes right to my final “other” though. Let’s remember that these immigrants we speak of are real people that God has put here on this earth. We must treat them with the respect due to our fellow human beings. I don’t think trucking people off and dumping them back where they came from is the respect that is due to them. Unless one of these immigrants is harming you, damaging your property, or otherwise doing you harm, I suggest you shut your flapping lips and live in peace with your fellow man. Romans 12:18:

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Seeking to deport your fellow men (or women) who are not harming you in any way is not living peaceably with all men.

Lastly, I will recommend a resource to you on this very issue with only the caveat that I don’t agree with Bojidar Marinov on very many things. And yet, despite some wide chasms, I consider him a fellow laborer for Christ. And on this issue, I can wholeheartedly recommend and commend his material. Go here and listen to an episode of Apologia Radio where he and Jeff Durbin address this issue in a Biblical manner.

A Biblical Look at Immigration – 8/2/2014 »

I’ve Been Talking and Writing about ‘Big Hero 6’

I’ve Been Talking and Writing about ‘Big Hero 6’

The topic over on MovieByte this week has been Big Hero 6. Tuesday, I wrote a review:

Where Big Hero 6 really shines is the thematic elements it brings to the table. I think this is again where we see John Lasseter’s influence over Disney Animation Studios most strongly. Think about the films he has either directed or overseen. They had strong thematic elements in the same vein. The Toy Story series is applicable again here in the themes it tackled. Yes, like Big Hero 6, all three of those films were ostensibly children’s films. And yet the themes were big, grown up themes. Love, sacrifice, forgiveness, selflessness, character growth, everything that goes into good filmmaking is present both in that series, as well as this film. The themes this film tackles are what makes it such a strong film. It offsets the comic humor, some of the goofiness, the intentionally cartoonish animation, and more, by connecting with us on a deeply emotional level. Like the best of those Pixar films, the characters have a way of becoming quite real and meaningful to us. We feel their losses keenly, we grieve and weep with them (as usual, I may have had wet eyes a time or two), we identify with them in friendship and in hurt. We desire the revenge our characters desire, and we grow with them. This is the strength of this film. And this is sometimes where we can feel uncomfortable.

Catch the full review here.

Joe and I also talked about the film on The MovieByte Podcast. Did you guys know that podcasts on MovieByte have an embeddable player? Well, we do, and I’ve embedded it below for your listening enjoyment. But if you would like to download it, or subscribe in iTunes or other podcast client, head on over to the episode page.

My Podcast on ‘Interstellar’

My Podcast on ‘Interstellar’

The MovieByte Podcast #112: Michael Pain »

Our intrepid podcast explorers are on a journey across the vastness of the movie landscape to see what can be deciphered from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’. Is it “stellar” or not so much? On this once in a lifetime quest, TJ and Joe are joined by none other than former co-host of the show, Chad Hopkins, to see if they can discover the true meaning behind podcasting and wether they might even be able to bend the fabric of space time enough to affect what happened all the way back at the very first podcast. You can also find out in the episode about Johnny Rockets bringing back drive-in theaters, Matt Damon returning to the Bourne franchise, ‘Toy Story 4’ happening in 2017, and the new title for ‘Star Wars VII’.

Obviously, I recommend you listen to us talk about this film. It wasn’t a “great” film, but it’s thought provoking and makes for great conversation. Joe and I were also joined this week by Chad Hopkins, who used to be full time host with me of the show. Fun times!