REVIEW: Up (2009)

The answer to the immortal question: "Where do these stairs go?"
The answer to the immortal question: "Where do these stairs go?"

Went to Holiday Drive-In last night with some free tickets.  Here is the first movie we saw, Up.

Summary: An old man who always dreamed of adventure finally gets to have one, taking his house (and a stowaway) to South America via balloons.

Thoughts: Who thinks of this stuff?  Save for Cars (which reminds me of Doc Hollywood for several reasons), I’ve found every Pixar movie to be wildly unique and incredible (pardon the pun).  This movie is no different, even though it goes down emotional alleys I didn’t think kids’ movies would go into.  It’s deep, it’s sad, it’s heartwarming, it’s goofy, it’s beautiful, it’s funny, and the heroes are the most unlikely heroes in a movie probably of all time (unless you count Bubba Ho-tep, which I’ve not seen yet).

The voice acting is perfect, the visuals are amazing, and everything about it was truly unique, something I feel Disney lost a long time ago (if they ever had it to begin with).  I’m glad Pixar is not being suppressed by being bought out by Disney, although the idea of a third Toy Story worries me.

I can’t say enough about Up‘s uniqueness and its combination of elements are perfect.  There were parts where I almost cried, and not because it was the climax of the movie, but because it was so heartwarming.  It’s a great movie, for real.

Overall: Unique and heartwarming, something every other movie wishes it could be.
4.5/5

Sorry for the shortness, the trailers were so vague its hard not to spoil things about it.  I will not be so kind to the second movie we saw: Hannah Montana.

RANT: The ONLY doubleofive

I’m proud of my screenname.  I really am.  I picked it out around 1998 or so and have never failed to get it for any website: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Xbox LIVE, MySpace, Twitter, WordPress, tons of forums…  If you see the name doubleofive, you can be assured its me.

Except for Facebook.

As of midnight EST this morning, you could pick screennames so that people could search and find you by username and not just your real name.  I was up at 3am and thought I should save my “doubleofive”, but figured it would be OK for me to get some sleep, who would take it after almost 12 years of getting it every time?  Apparently I was wrong.  Some kid in Minnesota took it before I could.

It’s stupid, but I feel like my identity has been stolen.  I actually submitted a “Violiation of Intellectual Property” to Facebook about it!  Figured being able to prove that every other doubleofive is me would gain me back the one I lost.

I was so proud that if you searched “doubleofive” on Google, every result pointed to me.  Now I’m afraid that the top result will be some kid I’ve never met before in my life.

I hope Facebook agrees with my sentiments…

UPDATE: As I wake up more, I’m calming down.  Its not like using http://www.facebook.com/drew.stewart will kill me (it’s actually really cool), or that he’s funnelling potential clients or money away from me (for which I have nothing to offer but this blog).  It would have been nice to have “doubleofive” everywhere, but I had to start losing somewhere.  I mean, Robot Chicken had to take “CyborgTurkey” on Twitter, and I’m sure they actually have a copyright!

REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Just What It Says On The Tin
Exactly What It Says On The Tin

Summary: A young, smart, trying to be successful woman refuses a loan extension to an old lady, who is upset at what she perceives to be callousness and proceeds to attack and curse her.  The next few days the young woman is visited by a demon, who wants to do Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

Thoughts: First off, you have to understand where I’m coming from here: I don’t like scary movies.  They stress me out.  I’m sure that’s what a lot of people like about them, but I spend the whole time so tense that its uncomfortable.  And its embarrassing for me to have to admit that I didn’t see something because I had my eyes closed.  So even though the trailer looked pretty cool, I didn’t want to see Drag Me To Hell because I figured it would be more of the same (a la The Grudge, The Ring, etc.)  Even though it was Sam Raimi, who did the Evil Dead movies (which I love), I still figured it would be the generic scary movie they show in the trailers.

It took my friend Desiree who went to see it to truly sell it to me.  Despite what the trailers show, its more Evil Dead than The Grudge.  Not quite as ridiculous and over the top as Evil Dead, but definitely funnier than most horror movies I’ve heard of.  I spent most of the time on the edge of my seat waiting for the Jump Moment, but after it arrived most of the time I ended up laughing.  It’s not that it was funny because it was stupid, it was funny because it was so over the top.  And its designed to be just that, a perfect balance between horror and funny.

Sam Raimi used to live for this kind of movie and perfected it years ago.  He definitely knows how to push the audience’s buttons, like some kind of scary movie conductor.  There are some things you can see coming, and you say to yourself “they can’t do that”, then it’ll happen, and even though you’re grossed out, you’re still laughing.  So even though I was scared the whole time, I enjoyed it immensely.  If you like the generic scary movies and are looking for a change of pace, go see it.  If you don’t like scary movies, I’d tell you to see it anyway.  It’s definitely not more of the same.

Overall: Evenly scary and funny, with perfect pacing and just enough character to make it interesting.
3.5/5

Blogs I Check Daily

I’m sure no one really cares what blogs I check on a daily basis, but each of them deserves to be read by more people.  I’ll try to classify them for you:

Visual Effects Guys

Darth Mojo: Adam ‘Mojo’ Lebowitz. Visual Effects Supervisor for “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Babylon 5” and Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Director’s Edition.  Visual Effects Designer for the new “Battlestar Galactica” and worked on Serenity.  Shares some behind-the-scenes stuff, but its mostly his thoughts on other work (the new Star Trek most recently).

Drex Files: Doug Drexler.  Former Make-Up Artist (won an Oscar for Dick Tracy).  Visual Effects Supervisor for the new “Battlestar Galactica”.  Artist/Production Designer for all things Trek since 1993.  Usually shares CG ships he’s worked on.

Eavesdropping with Johnny: John Eaves.  Concept Artist for all things Trek since 1993.  Shares his concept drawings, sometimes corresponding with what Drexler has posted, or vice versa.

DarenDoc’s Slightly Nifty Musings: Darren Dochterman.  Concept Artist for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, X-Men: The Last Stand, Get Smart, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Dragonball: Evolution, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Iron Man 2.  Visual Effects Supervisor for Star Trek: The Motion Picture: Director’s Edition.  Also pitched the idea for “Star Trek: TOS: Remastered”, only better.

Actors

WilWheaton.net: Wil Wheaton.  Played Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Gordie Lachance in Stand By Me.  Grew up to be a nostolgic writer, a voice-over actor, and a professional nerd.

Dispatches From The Island: Jorge Garcia.  Plays Hugo on “Lost”.

RiffTrax Blog: Michael J Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett.  The stars of the Sci-Fi Channel seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000 who now do RiffTrax, downloadable MP3s of them making fun of movies you own on DVD.

Strange Reviews

Cake Wrecks: A blog showcasing “When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.”  It’s sad what some people receive on their cakes…

X-Entertainment: A blog that needs to be updated, but when it is, it has hilarious reviews of toys and shows from our childhood.

Slacktivist: Left Behind: A weekly updated, ongoing review pointing out the terrible writing and theology that comes from the Left Behind series, both books and movies.  It took him almost 5 years and 190 posts just to tear apart the first book.  Fun reads, and really makes you think about what life would really be like after over half the planet disappeared. (Link goes to the Index)

Eleven Foot Pole: A daily review of each part of the premade 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons adventures that I’m running, with criticism and how to improve it for your players.  Very helpful to me, at least.

Not A Blog, But You Should Read It

Not Always Right: Hilarious stories of stupid customers, submitted by Readers Like You.

REVIEW: Terminator Salvation (2009)

They came back.
They came back.

Summary: The year is 2018.  It’s been 14 years since, Judgment Day occurred at the end of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  John Connor is a leader in the Resistance against the machines, fulfilling his destiny, looking for his future dad.  But then he meets a guy named Marcus, who was put to death in 2003, but not before signing his body away to be experimented on by Cyberdyne Systems.  What could this mystery man be?  What does this mean for John Connor?

Thoughts: I love the Terminator movies.  From the first low-budget sci-fi film, to the blockbuster T2, and I even appreciate elements of the cheesy Rise of the Machines (how many movies have the guts to end with the end of life as you know it?  They LOSE for goodness sake!).  I even had a comparison of the timelines of the different futures created by the events in each movie and the TV series, Sarah Connor Chronicles (may it rest in peace).

However, Terminator Salvation is none of these things.  It’s the first movie to take place solely in the post-Judgment Day future, which actually makes it a prequel.  It tries to be serious the whole time, which shouldn’t be hard when something like 90% of mankind is dead and actively being hunted by nearly-unstoppable machines designed specifically to kill them.  But you know what kills this movie?

Editing.  I’m not sure if it was to keep it PG-13 (I know one bad edit was), but this movie is sloppily edited, with no sense of scenes, pacing, or coherence.  Just as you get into a scene it hard cuts to the next one, taking place with different characters on a different day.  The aforementioned “let’s keep this PG-13” edit sticks out (a girl is about to change her shirt in the rain with Marcus nearby, she’s in motion and the scene hard cuts to her picking something up, dry as a bone with no one around) along with a random one that irked me (it’s rainy, humans are being herded into a building like cattle, the camera cuts to a T-600 turning his head for less than a second, then hard cuts to a completely different indoor scene).

Editing is not the only problem.  The action sequences are well done, but most of them could be cut out and no one would be the wiser.  They have absolutely no point, and no real since of danger since in all reality its a prequel (of course Kyle Reece can’t die!  Even the Terminator series wouldn’t end a movie with all reality being erased due to a temporal paradox).  The Terminators also seem to have a problem killing people.  I mean, hand-to-hand, a certain Terminator versus John Connor.  Instead of ripping off his arms, crushing his head like a watermelon, or just breaking his neck, John is constantly being thrown around.  Ouch, that hurts, but its far from deadly (at least in an action movie).

The plot is minimal, but it tries to have a message tacked on to it (What makes us human?  Our heart!  Literally!).  The plot involving Marcus doesn’t make sense (hard to talk about it without spoilers).  Let’s just say that Skynet makes some obvious mistakes.  And the ending… I’m glad they changed it from the original one, but it was still pretty stupid.  Sets us up for a sequel of course, but the next one is supposed to take place before this one!

The acting is pretty bad.  I think Anton Yelchin (New Chekov) is great as Kyle Reece, but everyone else, from the Claire Danes replacement, to Marcus, to Christian Bale are pretty terrible.  Bale seems to have two settings in this movie: bat-growl or shout.  (side note: Why would anyone want to follow John Connor?  This guy claims to have information about the future because he’s going to send someone to the past to sleep with his mom, who leaves him tapes about the future, but its a different future now that he knows about it.  And if you disagree with him “WE ARE DEAD!  WE ARE ALL DEAD!”)  The guy who plays Marcus (Sam Worthington) is Australian, who fakes a pretty good American accent except when he says random lines with his Australian one.  Moon Bloodgood, who plays the girl who falls for Marcus for no reason at all and nearly takes her shirt off, is terrible.  Just terrible.

All this being said, there were parts I liked.  The special effects were great for the most part, but I really liked the references to the other Terminator movies.  From lines being quoted word-for-word (so that’s where they learned it!), to visual cues, to complete action sequences.  But that’s the problem.  I found myself wanting to watch the originals instead of the new movie I was watching!  It’s one thing to have clever references to other movies, but try to make your movie good enough that the viewers aren’t taken out of the one they’re watching.

I’m going to lay the blame for everything solely on one person:  McG, the director (I can’t blame it on the editor, Conrad Buff, who was nominated for an Oscar for T2 and won for Titanic).  “McG” (which apparently he has been called since childhood) had previous directed both Charlie’s Angels movies for Drew Barrymore and We Are Marshall, being a famous music video director before that.  He was also going to be responsible for the American remake of the British Simon Pegg series “Spaced”, which was created without the knowledge of any of the original creators.  It seems he brough his poor choices to the editing room.  He killed a franchise that admittedly should have stopped at the second one.

Overall: Poorly edited, badly directed misfire.
2/5

UPDATE: It took me a while, but I finally figured out what this movie reminded me of: a bad fan edit.  But cuts, scenes that just end, obviously missing plot and character development…  It’s like McG didn’t like parts of his own movie and just chopped them out at will.

RANT: CBS Represents All That Is Wrong With TV

So the networks have been announcing their new lineups this week.  Today was CBS’s turn.  Here’s what is returning:

Comedies:

TWO AND A HALF MEN (womanizing is hilarious! Going into its 7th season with the same plot)
THE BIG BANG THEORY (nerds are hilarious! Actually a really good show)
GARY UNMARRIED (divorce is hilarious!)
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (dysfunctional friends are hilarious!)
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (single mothers are hilarious!)
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (different levels of relationships are hilarious!)

Dramas:

CSI (solving crimes in Las Vegas!)
CSI: MIAMI (solving crimes in Miami!)
CSI: NY (solving crimes in New York City!)
THE MENTALIST (solving crimes using a fake psychic!)
NCIS (solving crimes in the Navy!)
CRIMINAL MINDS (solving crimes by profiling the criminals!)
NUMB3RS (solving crimes using math!)
COLD CASE (solving old crimes!)
GHOST WHISPERER (she can talk to dead people!)

Reality Gameshows:

SURVIVOR (contestants compete in a remote location! Going on 10 years and 20 seasons)
THE AMAZING RACE (contestants compete in a race!)

So what have they added to this lineup of sameness?

NCIS: LOS ANGELES (solving crimes in the Navy in LA, starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J!)
MEDIUM (solving crimes by talking to dead people! A transfer from NBC)
THE GOOD WIFE (a lawyer who’s a single mother!)
THREE RIVERS (a medical drama, yay!)
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (unplanned pregnancies are hilarious!)
MIAMI TRAUMA (a medical drama, yay!)
THE BRIDGE (solving crimes while leading the police union!)
ARRANGED MARRIAGE (reality show where 3 couples have volunteered to have arranged marriages!)
UNDERCOVER BOSS (“The Prince and the Pauper”, but with CEOs!)

So, more sameness (even taking another network’s sameness!), plus the same things that are on the other networks (who doesn’t have at least 2 medical dramas nowadays?), plus some weird FOX-like reality shows/experiments.  Hooray for CBS!  Looks like I will still only watch 30 minutes of your network a week!

REVIEW: Star Trek (2009) – General

Boldly Starting Over
Boldly Starting Over

This review will remain relatively spoiler free, except for the items I mentioned in the PREVIEW.  After you’re done with this,  go here for the Trekkie-fied spoiler companion to this review.

Summary: Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the original crew of the Enterprise meet for the first time, again.

Thoughts: This movie is excellent, no matter how you look at it.  It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s action-packed.  Does it force you to think about issues in a different light, as “true science fiction” is supposed to?  No, but I don’t think it needed to do that at this point.  That’s what the inevitable sequels are for.

Overall, its an origin story.  But unlike most movies focusing on the origin of characters you know, besides the fact that these characters are different versions of the ones you may know, I believe the movie stands on its own without considering anything that came before it or what might come after it.  It’s fun and unpredictable, with an amazing cast and special effects.  The whole thing (sound design, production design, costume design, characterization, plot) keeps enough of what made The Original Series and its characters great while changing things enough to keep even the most die hard Trekkie interested in what’s going to happen.  It also managed to give every crew member (especially the usually underused Chekov and Uhura) an opportunity to contribute more than in any Star Trek (movie or episode) before, which is an impressive feat.

Honestly, the stuff that I explained in my PREVIEW was the only part that really bothered me.  After seeing the movie, I can see that they could have marketed and sold this movie as a reboot of the franchise (like Casino Royale) and the general audience would be fine with it.  Adding the elements from the “Prime” reality and having to explain what happened in the future (and having to explain that its not the future of what we’re watching now) slowed the film down a bit toward the middle, but it does tie into the plot directly and allow 40 years of Trek history not to be erased.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the concept, I just think it could have been handled a bit differently.

Some people may complain about the coincidences that led to everyone being at the right place at the right time.  I’d admit that some of it was a stretch, but unlike most origin stories, we didn’t have to spend the whole movie maneuvering to get to certain positions to make a difference; they were all thrust into the positions, through coincidence or willpower or simply because they belonged in those positions.  And that’s good enough for me.

Usually during movies, no matter how much I look forward to them, part of me is wondering how long its been on and how much is left in the movie.  That didn’t happen in this movie.  I got lost in the film, and even thought I knew the basics of what was going to happen because I can’t resist spoilers, I was still surprised and pleased every second.  That’s the sign of a good movie, at least to me.

Overall: A fun movie for all audiences.
5/5
Don’t forget to go here for the Trekkie-fied spoiler companion to this review.

REVIEW: Star Trek (2009) – Trekkie

This is the spoiler-filled companion piece to my “General” Review.  This is more from a Trekkie point of view, but should be understandable to those who have seen the movie already.

——————————————————

As a Star Trek film, I think its definitely one of the best, if not the best.  Unlike Wrath of Khan (generally regarded to be the best), it doesn’t require any assumptions about the characters or any of the Original Series episodes, since this movie literally starts at their births.  I also think it changes enough about the characters to bring some depth to characters who originally had none (Chekov as a barely-understood boy-genius is much better than the “look, a Russian guy with a Monkees haircut” lack-of-introduction in TOS) and keep things interesting.

Things I loved:

  • The casting: Every main character was perfect.  Each actor brought their own interpretation to the role and even though they looked and sometimes acted different than the Original character, you could tell that they were the same ones.  Yelchin brought a thicker, more real Russian accent to Chekov while keeping it over-the-top (a bit too far maybe?), and Pegg actually made Scotty sound Scottish (since his in-laws are Scottish and he’s British, he knows the accent).  Pine brought an arrogance to Kirk that was reminiscent of Shatner’s most shining moments.  Quinto played Spock so cold that even the slightest hint of emotion on his face was like an explosion. Saldana made Uhura more real than just the girl who answers the phone.  Urban seems to be the only one who tries to actually sound and act exactly like the real McCoy (HA!), but he does it perfectly.
  • The nods to the Original universe: Besides Urban’s McCoy, there were many things kept from the Original that I appreciated being there.  The primary color uniforms, along with the sound of the intercom button being pushed and the communicator being opened were the most obvious.  So was Chekov’s inability to pronounce the letter “V”.  Putting Pike in a wheelchair and having him wear a modified admiral’s uniform from The Motion Picture at the end were a bit more subtle.  Seeing Kirk cheat on the Kobayashi Maru test while chewing on an apple (just as he was doing when he told his son about it in Wrath of Kahn) was just plain awesome (having Spock be the designer of the test was just icing on the cake).  Also, everyone got to say their classic lines and none of it felt forced or made me cringe (see Fantastic Four, which does make me cringe)
  • What happened to Vulcan: Nothing says “everything is different now” more than blowing up one of central planets in the Federation and making Vulcans an endangered species.  It changes Spock and even the face of the Federation.  Killing Spock’s mom fits into that too.  I didn’t expect that at all.  And people watching the movie wouldn’t either.  “Of course Kirk and Sulu will stop the drill in time to save Spock’s home— oh, wow, I guess not.  Spock will save his mom— oh, I guess not.”
  • The characters’ reactions to time travel, alternate realities, and older versions of themselves: All these huge concepts are being thrown around and their reactions range from “Bullsh**” to not even reacting when they see themselves 120 years older (they are Vulcan, of course).  Scotty was also very accepting of Spock Prime also.
  • The special effects: From the epic space shots to the extreme close ups of the hulls to the viewscreen that is actually a window, Star Trek has never felt more real.  The ships fly with weight behind them and “up” is relative, which is rare for any movie.
  • Simon Pegg: His portrayal of Scotty is an instant classic.

Things I’m not so sure about:

  • Spock/Uhura: It gives Spock an emotional bond that he never had before and gives Uhura more depth, but it just seems weird.  It’s hard to get used to Spock kissing anyone.
  • Engineering: I’m torn on the industrial complex as the secondary hull.  I mean, it makes sense to have the contrast between the shiny main areas of the ship and the grungy below decks, it just seemed off or too contemporary.  Again, its probably just that I’m used to the shiny engine room with the one warp core at the center.
  • Trans-warp Beaming (a real nit pick): I liked Scotty’s explanation that he couldn’t make it work because it was like “shooting at a bullet with a smaller bullet while blindfolded and riding a horse”, but the logic behind Spock Prime telling him that Scotty Prime figured it out didn’t make sense.  First off, the transporter technology in this new reality seems far different from the one in the Prime universe, what with its swirly lights and taking forever.  Second, when did Scotty Prime figure this out?  And why did they never use it?  I’ve not seen the official explanation, but I assume that since Scotty is still alive in the Prime universe (he was in an awesome episode of TNG called “Relics” where he helped the Enterprise-D and then took a shuttle and was not heard from since) that maybe he just came up with it after Nemesis but before the events that send Spock Prime to the alternate reality.  But I had to make that up to make it fit, and that’s not right.

Things I really didn’t like:

  • Nothing: Honestly, there was nothing I didn’t like about this movie.

I may add to this the more I think about the movie, but that’s pretty much it.

REVIEW: Twilight (2008)

Love can be sparkley.
Love can be sparkly.

Summary: The new girl in school quickly finds herself attracted to the hot unattainable guy.  Turns out that he’s unattainable because he’s a vampire.

Thoughts: I have to admit beforehand that I read the book series first.  All of them.  I’ve not read many first-person books, and I thought it was clever to get into the main character’s head and only her head.  I also have to admit that we saw this movie twice in its opening week, once with RiffTrax, and once just plain on DVD, so I apologize for not writing this review sooner.  Anyway, how do you get a book told in the first person to translate to the screen?

I believe the best way is a running voice-over.  The problem with that would be that you could excuse poor acting by saying “I was confused” instead of actually looking confused.  Twilight starts out with a voice-over, but it quickly disappears only to reappear in spots where the book had some nice phrasing.

And that’s my problem with the movie.  Not the sparkling vampires so much, but the fact that most of the drama and story is told INSIDE the main character’s head and since we’re not allowed in there except randomly it kind of makes the movie boring.  It also makes her look insane.  In the book, you have a better time understanding why Bella falls for this standoffish brash immortal killer, but in the movie, she’s throwing googoo eyes at him the more jerkish he’s being.  It just doesn’t work for me.

The special effects are so-so.  The wirework is overdone and a bit too floaty.  Not only do the vampires sparkle (which looks like too much glitter makeup), but what gets me is the sound they play when they’re in the sun.  It’s a bit much.  We can see that he sparkles, we don’t need to hear it.

The casting is good, but I think the standout selection is the guy they got to play Bella’s dad, Billy Burke.  He plays the wants-to-be-overprotective-but-doesn’t-want-to-drive-his-daughter-away father perfectly.  The vampires act sufficiently creepy, but I’m not sure if that was on purpose (“Be awkward!” “Stare like you’re crazy!”).

Do I see the “Mormon messages” the movie and books are supposed to portray?  Not really.  I don’t see vampirism to represent loss of virginity or any of that.  I see a pretty good movie about vampires.  Is it best for teenage girls?  Sure.  Can anyone enjoy it?  I believe so.

Overall: Not bad, but the book is better.
3/5

REVIEW: Why I Gave Up On “Heroes”

I decided this week that “Heroes” just isn’t worth it anymore.  It went from innovative and cool to bland and boring that it’s just not worth it.  Let me enumerate the ways the show has let me down using Television Tropes and Idioms:

  1. Aborted Arcs: On Lost, nearly every episode ties into the huge arc of the whole show.  On Heroes, you’re lucky if the CHARACTERS remember what happened last week, let alone the writers.  Volume 4 “Fugitives” is admittedly a reboot so that people can start watching there without worrying about what came before.  The problem is that people watching from the start have been kicked to the curb by all the contradictions and little things we were told were significant that they just dropped.  Admittedly, the Shanti virus was supposed to be released at the end of Volume 2, but the Writer’s Strike made them close that door almost as soon as they teased at it.  We’ve seen so many alternate futures where everything blows up, none of which are truly stopped except for the first, then just dropped in favor of the next plot.  We’ve gone from having people starting to show their abilities during an eclipse to having generations of people with abilities, from people trying to figure out how to take away abilities to people trying to figure out how to give abilities to finding out that people have known how to give people abilities for years through some magic “catalyst” (which only magic can explain) to people just wanting to round up people with abilities to people rounding up people with abilities years ago.
  2. Passing the Idiot Ball: Basically, if a character does something completely out of character which is stupid, the writers gave them the Idiot Ball.  Petrellis have a problem with this as Peter is the frequent carrier, and Nathan carrying it with pride at the beginning of Volume 4.  I think Parkman has the ball now, one minute mourning his “girlfriend” who didn’t even like him by wanting to kill the world, then being elated at finding out she’s alive, then depressed that she died for real and wants to kill himself, then finding out he’s a father and now wants to get back with his ex-wife.  Hiro was given the ball almost literally by being mind-wiped to think that he was 10 years old.  Sylar gets the ball every time he has an idenity crisis or wants to find his father.
  3. Breaking the Gamebreaker: They start off with showing all of these awesome characters with awesome abilities.  Once the writers realized that they were getting too powerful, they take away their powers in the dumbest ways imaginable.  Peter can absorb other people’s abilities even when he’s not paying attention?  First, we’ll give him amnesia, then we’ll have his father take his abilities, then he’ll gain it back but can only absorb one at at time and only by physical contact.  Hiro can travel through time?  First he can’t figure out how to control it, then once he can, he’ll refuse to use it, then we’ll wipe his mind so he thinks he’s 10, then we’ll take his powers, then we’ll give him Time Stop back, but even that physically hurts him now.  Sylar has a full range of abilities but is getting too powerful too fast?  So we’ll give him the Shanti virus which gets rid of his abilities, then we’ll have him get the antidote which first brings back his telekinesis, then we won’t say it on the show, but tell fans that he only has his original ability (intuitive aptitude) and has to start over from scratch, then show that he can absorb like Peter, then have him reject that and continue to kill people, then have him remember to absorb again, have him be evil, have him be quasi-good…
  4. There’s No Endgame (not really a Trope): I think my biggest problem is that there’s no point anymore.  There’s no big secret, there’s no huge bomb to stop, no big questions.  All of the questions we had at the beginning have either been answered in a throwaway line or negated by plot developments.

I think I’m just going to keep my Volume 1 HD DVD set (as much good at that will do me) and pretend that that’s all there is (I’m not sure if you knew, but originally that was going to be the end and the next season was going to focus on other characters).  There is too much the writers ignore from the rest of the seasons for them to be of any use to me.

I’m not saying that you should give up on it, I’m just saying why I have.  I might think of more reasons later and will update this post when I do.