Mon
May 11 2009 3:36pm
Star Trek review (thoroughly spoiled!)

Star Trek
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

There’s a lot to love in the new Star Trek film. For me, it wasn’t enough.

Star Trek is a rollicking space opera: you’ve got spaceships, lots of things blowing up, and a plot that moves so quickly it often leaves even itself behind. This is the future imagined by Mac fanboys everywhere: sleek glass displays, touchscreen interfaces, and a flood of information. It’s stunning and beautiful that way. The special effects are spectacular, and the action sequences are truly top-notch. The rapport among the characters was strong and funny, and there’s an excitement and energy that’s hard to describe. It’s a thrilling action-adventure.

I loved it as an action film.

Alas, it’s little more than that. The new film is, in a word, stupid. The plot is absolutely ridiculous; the story’s so full of holes it unravels at the merest hint of scrutiny. Worse, many of the characters are shallow representations of themselves, reduced to the kinds of cheesy space opera types that don’t do justice to the folks they’re supposed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal action film: fast-paced, fun, and without a doubt great entertainment. I loved it for that, and I’ll see it again for that alone. But it’s terrible Star Trek.

This is an alternate timelime Trek, so I don’t expect to see the same characters. In fact, I don’t want to—I can see those characters any time I want on DVD, and I want future incarnations to have something different to offer, as each of its predecessors have. What I do expect to see is the essence of Trek. There have been five series, ten (now eleven) movies, an animated series, comics, novels, video games, audio books, you name it. The cast and crew change with each incarnation; the plots are adapted for new generations of viewers. So what do they all have in common? What makes Star Trek...well, Star Trek?

I think it comes down to the fact that it’s science fiction at its best: willing to boldly go into controversial and challenging territory and broach topics that might be impossible to discuss in any other forum. There’s something about Star Trek that really engages me intellectually and emotionally. Even the worst episodes try to grapple with Big Ideas, and while I’d argue there are as many failures as successes, what quintessentially makes the show so incredibly special to me is that willingness to keep trying. The show has always aspired. It’s about optimism, hope, constantly striving to live up to one’s own ideals. The practical realities of those ideals often clash with the values and goals of others, and have internal contradictions—but exploring those ideas, well, those are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

The new film has none of this. It has no ideas. It aspires to nothing. It uses Big Issues as throwaways for cheap character or plot development. There is no sandbox here. This is Star Trek for dummies.

First of all, the plot makes no sense. Everything to do with the black holes was a nightmare of absurdity. Why would a black hole need to be in the center of the planet to pull it in? How is it that in one scene objects passing through the black hole go back in time, and yet in another they’re destroyed? How does jettisoning a warp core give enough propulsion to push the Enterprise from a black hole? Does anything about the original plan of making a black hole to get rid of a supernova make sense? (Wouldn’t Romulus still, like, need a sun? Even if they didn’t, they’d still be right next to a black hole!)

But it wasn’t just the plot—character motivations got short shrift as well. On the whole I thought the supporting cast did a great job. Karl Urban really nailed the essence of McCoy, and Zachary Quinto was a very good and very different Spock. The rest didn’t stand out in my mind (they were the types you have come to expect), but I can imagine they could emerge in future installments (where they got more screen time than here) and not disappoint. It was Kirk and Nero who were one-note and never fully emerged from their stereotypes. Nero’s just seen his entire planet destroyed, yet when he goes back in time he utterly wastes the chance to change things. Why on earth does he not get his ass straight to Romulus, tell them about that supernova thingawhatsit that’s gonna happen in the future, and give them some of his technology to plan for the eventuality? No, he’s a boilerplate villain hellbent on a boilerplate revenge plot. Yawn. Ricardo Montalbán did it better, and without facial tattoos.

But really, I can forgive a cookie-cutter villain if the hero makes up the slack. Kirk was an unbelievable disappointment. A friend compared him to Shia LaBeouf’s character in the latest Indy installment—the rebel bad-boy James Dean-type who Hates The System and that makes him cool. That element of Kirk’s personality was always there, but he never grows out of it here. It doesn’t mask real intelligence, drive, or compassion: there’s nothing beneath the surface. Furthermore, there is no coherent character arc from the Kirk who is half-unconscious in the bar with no aspirations or ambition to the Kirk who suddenly wants to be a starship captain. He’s not willing to work for it, not willing to fight for it. The Kobayashi Maru scene bothered me—this Kirk came across as the kind of person who just didn’t care, rather than the kind of person who will not accept a no-win scenario. It felt utterly wrong on every level. At no point did I feel that this person believed in the ideals of Starfleet—seeking out new life, knowledge for knowledge’s sake, and the desire to better oneself and one’s world. What is he doing here? His interactions with Spock made it seem like all he wanted was to be in charge and order others around. Well, he gets it, I guess.

And Spock—we’re supposed to believe that Spock Prime, the Spock from “The City on the Edge of Forever” and Star Trek IV wouldn’t go back in time to try and fix what went wrong? He’d sit by after the entire destruction of his people and accept that?

I could nitpick all day. (How about Planet Coincidence (thanks, Steven)? Why does the Enterprise not have anyone over the age of 25 onboard? Why is there not a single ship within the vicinity of Earth when it’s being attacked? How is it that a boy who barely got through Academy defeats one baddie and gets to captain the flagship of the Federation with all of his bestest friends?) But really, what bothered me most was the lack of ideas. There are Big Issues tossed around, but they’re not explored in any meaningful way. The destruction of Vulcan is only there to make Spock emote—there’s no hint as to what this means for anyone else, including humanity, the Federation, or the future. Nero annihilates his cousin race. The implications are astounding and interesting and never engaged with at all. We’re talking about full-scale genocide. If you can’t address that idea beyond “It makes someone sad,” then you shouldn’t be using it in your film. The only real thematic set piece was the idea of identity, which Spock deals with (quite effectively, I should add), but that’s ground that’s been tread a million times in past incarnations.

The new film didn’t offer me anything to think about, and that, to me, is what makes it utterly un-Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry explicitly set out to create a show that wrestled with ideas like genocide, identity, torture, class warfare, slavery, race, gender, sexuality, imperialism, authoritarianism, civilization, and why we’re here. You may not have agreed with the end results, but it always made you think. This film was shallow, stupid, and thoughtless. If that’s the direction the Star Trek franchise is headed, then I look forward to this great new series of action-adventure movies but Star Trek, to me, ended a long time ago.

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66 comments
Jason Henninger
1. jasonhenninger
Aside from the science problems, which were vast as you say, my biggest problem was Uhura. I mean, Nichelle Nichols (sp?) brought much more to the character than merely nice legs and an earpiece. This version of Uhura was hardly more than eye-candy, and that's sad.

And her relationship with Spock...what was the point of that? Can screenwriters simply not perceive a woman unless she's romantically involved with a man?
Michael Grosberg
2. Michael_GR
Finally a review that I can agree with. I really dont' understand the almost unanimous adoration for this dumb action flick.
What really bothered me was the ending. Older Spock meets younger Spock. Younger Spock ask older Spock about sending Kirk instead of coming himself. Wouldn't it have been easier for him to just come aboard and tell younger spock everything? Older Spock agrees, says he led Kirk to believe there would be some timeline paradox thingy if they met but it wasn't true, the real reason was, he thought Young Spock and young Kirk should have the chance to get to know each other or something like that.

So, basically Older Spock put THE ENTIRE FUTURE OF THE FEDERATION in jeopardy so Kirk and Spock could be buddies? Gimme a break!
Chris Meadows
3. Robotech_Master
It is actually possible to make a very good argument that Kirk did undergo a Hero's Journey over the course of the movie. I know this because someone did it.
Melissa Ann Singer
4. masinger
My 13-yo was really creeped out by the Spock-Uhura thing. As she put it, "He's her _teacher_! That's just _wrong_!" She's right, it is wrong, and in more than one way. Plus, there was no real foundation for it. There's that nice (I thought) argument Uhura has with Spock about not assigning her to the flagship, and the next thing we know, she's sucking his face.

What about the Big Red Ball of Goo? What the hell was that?

And how did Spock's mother ("Mom, that was Winona Ryder!" "Yes, dear, I recognized her.") get to be part of the Council--are we to assume that the however many years it's been since they insulted her, causing Spock to sign up at the Academy, have softened the Vulcans' opinion of Amanda?

Not to mention the utter and complete lack of military discipline on board the Enterprise and the silliness of having only one member of the sabotage team carry explosives.

I liked Zachary Quinto's Spock--even the rhythm of his speech seemed "right" to me. I liked the quickie explanation of Checkov. I really liked Simon Pegg's Scotty as well as the time-loop he's in with Old Spock. I liked the green girl (one of the better inside jokes).

As a movie, it was fun (see, I can ignore some stupidity if there are good things to look at, and there were). As Star Trek, not so much.

I must say that I had a Trek-heavy week before seeing this, though it was not planned in any way. DD and I were in the middle of watching The Corbomite Manuever (taped off TV) when a Netflix disc arrived w/4 episodes of TNG, and then dd decided to watch Galaxy Quest, which I just gave her for her birthday.

My septaugenarian mother, also a Trek fan, liked the movie more than I did. But she hasn't seen any Trek since the first few episodes of Scott Bakula's run as captain (which she didn't like--her favorite of the series is DS9, followed by TNG).

DD liked it enough to want to see it again, but hasn't decided if it's "real" Trek.
jere7my
5. jere7my
...this Kirk came across as the kind of person who just didn’t care, rather than the kind of person who will not accept a no-win scenario. It felt utterly wrong on every level.

Remember that the alternate timeline started on the day Kirk was born. This Kirk never knew his father, and apparently didn't get along with his stepdad (it was his stepdad whose car he stole, right?) — Abrams and crew made the (to me, reasonable) choice to make this alternate Kirk more of a rebel slacker. He's not going to be the same James Tiberius Kirk we know and love, at least not immediately after joining Starfleet, which is part of what makes the reboot more interesting; complaining that this Kirk is different from the one we're used to seems to be in the same vein as being upset that goateed-Spock in Mirror, Mirror was kind of a weasel.
jere7my
6. Eric Burns-White
On the subject of Spock Prime/Old!Spock risking the Federation to ensure that Kirk and Spock become friends... well, I had this discussion elsewhere, and I'll reprint my own statement here:

about Old!Spock doing... well, a total dick move that could have doomed Earth to ensure that Kirk would take command of the Enterprise and save his friendship with Spock?

It was, unquestionably, the wrong move. But it's one I'm willing to forgive (as a character decision) for two reasons:

1. Spock had just watched his entire homeworld destroyed -- and with it his timeline. His history. Everything he knew to be true. His past. He admitted to being 'emotionally compromised.' I submit that almost a century and a half of discipline enabled him to not be gibbering at the moon the whole time, but he was clearly pretty wrecked.

2. Kirk going back without Old!Spock, taking command of his ship and getting Spock on track to be the friend Old!Spock knew he was 'supposed' to be was the only thing Old!Spock could do to try and restore his sense of what the universe was supposed to be. The only thing. Here's this old man, exhausted and emotionally raw, feeling overwhelming guilt over his failure to save Romulus and overwhelming turmoil over the destruction of his homeworld. And to top it all off, he actually sees the one man he most needs to see in this hour of need (his first line to Kirk, you'll recall, was a slightly broken "how did you find me?") not only kicked out of the destiny Old!Spock has always clung to but it's his own younger self who did it.

It was the wrong move. It was a bad move. It was emotional and fraught and terrible.

But... dare I say... it was very human.
Jon Evans
7. rezendi
While I agree with everything said here, I still enjoyed the movie tremendously. But then, I've always had a very soft spot for Big Dumb Fun blockbusters.

I suppose I'd feel more upset about the lack of Big Ideas or subtext or meaning or anything other a frenetic space-romp if I took Star Trek more seriously to begin with; but movies V through X, along with mention the bits I've seen of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise and Voyager, collectively sanded off any grander hopes and expectations I might once have had.
Bill Siegel
8. ubxs113
Thank you for expressing so well what I have been struggling to come to terms with.
jere7my
9. Eric Burns-White
Also? I have to disagree in regards to the 'cookie-cutter villain.' Star Trek's antagonist is one of the best of the series.

It's just, Nero isn't the antagonist. Spock is. Seriously.
jere7my
10. Kiley
I liked the movie, but I was seriously irritated that Spock and Uhura were just bantering like regular people and then all of the sudden they were making out. Where did that come from?! If there is going to be a romance in any movie we have to see a little bit of a lead up to it somehow. You can't just throw it on people like that. It was completely random.
C.D. Thomas
11. cdthomas
I loved it as an action film.

Alas, it’s little more than that. The new film is, in a word, stupid. The plot is absolutely ridiculous; the story’s so full of holes it unravels at the merest hint of scrutiny. Worse, many of the characters are shallow representations of themselves, reduced to the kinds of cheesy space opera types that don’t do justice to the folks they’re supposed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal action film: fast-paced, fun, and without a doubt great entertainment. I loved it for that, and I’ll see it again for that alone. But it’s terrible Star Trek.

*sigh*

That statement justified the near week of suck I've faced online, where I've been told I'm old, stupid, hidebound, Republican and evil for criticizing the weaker parts of Star Trek.

Doesn't anyone remember the hard truth Harlan Ellison told, in Starlog, at the premiere of ST:TMP? What he said then is now accepted wisdom -- that the film was ponderous, that certain SFX went on longer than anyone sane would want, that the action was sporadic, and that the arcs of the main characters were sacrificed for attention to a cosmic event that left them out. *Now* we understand its flaws, but then it was a slap in the face. Mr. Ellison taught me how valuable, and difficult, it is to criticize something you love, so it can be better.

If we as fans settled for ST:TMP, and quietly went on with our lives, would ST II: Search for Spock have been made? Would ST:TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise? No. But now, seeing this movie's flaws is tantamount to stealing it from a torrent? Are its creators so fragile that they can't bear scrutiny of a script left flawed by the WGA strike?

All I ask is that they go their own way, and don't pretend to be the best of what ST used to be, cause right now they haven't got the plot down. Characters, close (and Urban as McCoy, a perfect homage), but the universe itself has problematic consequences that I don't believe these storytellers are skilled enough to solve.
C.D. Thomas
12. cdthomas
And this is what bothered me the most:
Nero annihilates his cousin race. The implications are astounding and interesting and never engaged with at all. We’re talking about full-scale genocide. If you can’t address that idea beyond “It makes someone sad,” then you shouldn’t be using it in your film.


And the deaths of six billion Vulcans? The creepiest referral back to the Holocaust I've seen in years. And Romulus' fate shunted off to comic books? That's harsh. (I won't even go into how all the tragic female victims except the odd crewwoman and Mrs. Sarek are dead-ringers for Felicity-era Keri Russell....) This film just took too many shortcuts, when it did not have to, and now wants us to be proud of its slipshodness, and call a fatwa on anyone who disagrees who has a clue about Trek's strengths and history.

I think all the vehement dissing of old skool fans comes from the other thing Paramount hates about fandom: Its autonomy. SW fans were trained early to adhere to canon, in trade for an extended SW universe of books and toys which were worked into canon. ST fans were on their own for so long that independent stories were supported, and fanfic protected to the extent of parallel ST fan film productions. Paramount would love to own that pipe, and this reboot will give them the excuse to crack down. Is it irresponsible to speculate? It's irresponsible not to...
C.D. Thomas
13. cdthomas
As for 5.):
complaining that this Kirk is different from the one we're used to seems to be in the same vein as being upset that goateed-Spock in Mirror, Mirror was kind of a weasel.

Well, if I consider Kirk to be an irredeemable jerk solely from the on-screen evidence, I'm wrong, wrong, wrong, and I'll kill the franchise, won't I?

I have no problem considering this alternative universe to be an evil one, where Uhura refuses to intervene in an unfair fight over her (questionable) honor with Starfleet goons, where Spock destroys Romulus and watches while Vulcan dies, but does not tell anyone in the new universe how to go to the Guardian and fix things (and pay Mr. Ellison his fees, of course), nor try any of the many ways he knows how to travel in time, to avert multiple disasters. Instead, he hangs out in the universe he made, with the fullbred Vulcans who taunted him greatly reduced in number and now dependent on his relationship with the Feds to get them a new home.

Ominous, ain't it, that this tight-lipped and anguished boy becomes the simultaneous destroyer and savior of his planet? Nope, this doesn't sit right with me, at all....
Dave Thompson
14. DKT
@10

I thought the Spock/Uhura thing was pretty well telegraphed (in a good way) when Spock said he didn't put her on the Enterprise because of perceived favoritism. And then she talked him into it anyway.
Kage Baker
15. kagebaker
Well, everybody's entitled to an opinion, and I have to agree that the science is rubbish and the plot's full of holes. But I'm reminded of when everyone was so shocked that the Avengers film was a silly mess. Hello? Did anyone ever watch the original series? The original Avengers was frequently a silly mess, self-indulgent and twee. It was still fun.

I'm not going to genuflect before TOS here. There were plenty of episodes that were asinine. Yangs and Coms, anyone? Morg and Imorg? It was still fun.
Arachne Jericho
16. arachnejericho
Mostly I bemoaned the presence of mini-skirts and the absence of muscle shirts but otherwise ended up on board, which I didn't expect, if only because I actually don't like Star Trek all that much.

Parodies of it, I do like, on the other hand.... which may or may not tell you something.

I was surprised to end up liking New Kirk. I thought he was a jerk for a while, but he did have good things in him. And that, ultimately, was why I liked him in the end---because he is a jerk in ways the old Kirk never was, yet was complex enough to still have some old Kirk honor in him.

I was also surprised to end up liking New Spock as well. For some reason, I really did like seeing that relationship between him and Uhura; there were hints of something during TOS, and this drags it all out into the open. Why not try to figure out why his father married a human by doing this?

And Bones... has always been Bones. Of the three, I always liked him the most. He had the most failings.

I suppose I don't see shiny good noble characters as real, but have an affinity for those who skirt the boundaries. Those who want to can call this any number of twisted psychological things they like, and I won't fight it.

As for issues... New Trek never really let anything through the door that wasn't summer movie fun. It's attempting to establish characters, which is almost never a good time to try to do a running with An Idea, especially when you're trying to survive the box office. For those practicalities, I can forgive a lot of plot hanky-panky. I pretty much took it as a character story and ate the delicious, delicious cake.

And for Trek with honest-to-god characters who aren't entirely heroes and spic-and-span? Get me on board Bad Ass Trek please.

Hmmm. Actually, a lot of the reasons why I like New Trek can be drawn from the fact that I don't take Classic Trek seriously except for very rare episodes. This may be because my first exposure to TOS was "Spock's Brain", my first exposure to TNG was that episode that was a sort-of sequel to "Amok Time", and my next major exposure to Trek after that was Voyager. I also don't remember many of the movies---any of the movies?---tracking issues as much as adventure.
C C
17. Hatgirl

8. ubxs113
Thank you for expressing so well what I have been struggling to come to terms with.


Ditto.
Torie Atkinson
18. Torie
@ 1 @ 4

I think Uhura is supposed to be attracted to Spock because he's so incredibly intelligent, but the fact that he's her instructor and you never once see her without being in a relationship (even in the bar she's got that other dude) really bothered me.

@ 16

You need to see some good episodes, stat! Eugene and I sighed and groaned over who would have to cover "Spock's Brain."
Arachne Jericho
19. arachnejericho
@ Torie #18

The Uhura/Spock thing surprised me because I remember her talking something about oral skills blah blah, and part of me thought, "Wait, double entendre? Nah, couldn't happen." And then it did. Sweet.

Also, I've watched a relationship like that happen. Actually, exactly like that. Uncomfortable, but it wasn't like either person was evil or bad in other ways. And I've had the leanings as well, but never explored it, because it would be dumb, but people aren't always smart, even if they're about a year away from defending their Ph.D.

Hence I liked that bit, rather than was squicked about it.

Re: good episodes -- That would be nice. Is there going to be a TNG rewatch series at some point? Because it feels like there's way more noise to signal there.
Torie Atkinson
20. Torie
@ 19

"It happens in real life" isn't reason enough for me to want to see it. Plenty of less-than-admirable things happen in the real world. Since she's the *only* major female character I really did hope for more from her.

Re: TNG, we'll see! It's my favorite series of the bunch.
Matthew Stevens
21. kent_allard
I'll concede at least some of your points but I think your reactions are out of proportion to the movie's flaws, especially since the flaws of "real Star Trek" dwarf them by comparison.
C.D. Thomas
22. cdthomas
Ah, the obligatory Onion post. And the tone of the conversation lowers substantially.

I'm ready to propose a corollary to Godwin's Law called Trekkies' Law, wherein "as a critical discussion of ST XI grows longer, the probability of disparaging a critic with the appellations "Trekkie", "old fart", "dork" "overreacting", "humorless" or "hidebound", or simply posting an URL from a derisive Onion or SNL skit, approaches 1".

Mr. Allard, thank you for assuring that law was demonstrated here today.
seth johnson
23. seth
Torie,

With all due respect, I am missing the context of your Star Trek criticism. Simply put, what science fiction movie in the last fifteen years was GOOD? Or even better than the new Star Trek? I mean, this movie is better than Iron Man and ALL the X-Men movies combined, which are not science fiction, but are comic book movies. Where's the TOR review dogpiling with mainstream critics on the Wolverine: Origins movie for being the garbage I anticipated? Who is going to stand up and proclaim that Terminator 4 will be a gargantuan disappointment?!?!

When a director as inexperienced as JJ Abrams gets endowed with a project this big, it's INCREDIBLY difficult for that person to infuse vision and inspiration while battling against the producers who keep saying, "Be sure to put that stuff in there from Transformers. That worked great!"

Abrams beat the odds. He delivered an EXCELLENT movie that deserves to be mentioned in the same lists as the Matrix, Terminator (1), Aliens, and Blade Runner. He didn't even put a 'love interest' in there for the protagonist to chase after.

To criticize Abrams' work on Star Trek is to be entirely ignorant of the black hole that exists in Hollywood. The gravity of this body is so great that the ideas of any gifted artist fail to reflect light that is visible to the outside observer. Escape velocity may only be achieved by a total compromise of plot, storyline, and casting. The larger the mass (budget), the greater the compromise.

Seth
Dayle McClintock
24. trinityvixen
@19: I believe the word Uhura used about her sensitivity was "aural," not "oral." Given that she's meant to be the communications officer, that would make the most sense, and despite the two words being homophones, the actress did her best to make it clear that she was saying "aural." (Indeed, the dialogue immediately after clarified that her aural sensitivity was unusually good to the point that she could hear a broad range of frequencies.)

But I had to do a double-take at that first before I realized it, too, so you're far from the only one. :)
Arachne Jericho
25. arachnejericho
trinityvixen #24

"Aural" makes sense. I think I was too preoccupied with "what? what? what??" to notice the dialogue after the word. I feel silly, but only a little bit.

I can see why an emphasis that it's really to do with ears and not mouths was attempted.
Matthew Stevens
26. kent_allard
Well, Thomas, I didn't call you stupid or hidebound. However, your level of pomposity -- describing the criticism you've received as a "fatwa" for Christ's sake -- is just the kind of thing that makes Trek fans look bad.
Torie Atkinson
27. Torie
@ 23 seth

Science fiction in the last fifteen years miles better than this film, just off the top of my head:

Star Trek: First Contact
Wall-E
2046
The Matrix
Children of Men
Contact
Dark City
Metropolis
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Hollywood mostly puts out complete and utter garbage, but there are plenty of good, thought-provoking, intelligent films being made. Is arguing that it's better than X-Men: Origins really saying that much? That's not an impressive achievement, to me. I don't rush out and buy a Nelson DeMille book just because it's better than The Da Vinci Code. I aim higher.

If the bar is really "better than other trash Hollywood blockbusters," then yeah, Star Trek absolutely qualifies (and I concede readily that it's a top-notch action flick). But I want more than that.

@ 22 and 26

Play nice, you two.
Jeff Soules
28. DeepThought
I'm in the same boat as Torie here -- this felt, to me, like an action blockbuster in Star Trek drag. It had lots of the trappings (down to the cheesy, poorly-integrated insertion of catch phrases) but didn't really have the spirit.

The most telling point to me? Sulu CLEARLY fights with a katana. Roddenberry REJECTED that idea back in '66 in Where No Man Has Gone Before because it was too stereotyped. But in Abrams' movie, the fencer is suddenly a ninja, because ninjas are COOL, and he's Asian, so... It was exactly that moment when I realized that what I was seeing wasn't Star Trek. And I enjoyed it a lot, as not-Star-Trek. But it isn't Roddenberry's epic, not by a long shot.

There's a reason people keep drawing comparisons to comic-book movies. By those standards, it certainly rocks...

Well, at least we can finally prove to the unconvinced world that people will totally pay to see science fiction. (But didn't we already do that with Independence Day...?)
Arachne Jericho
29. arachnejericho
DeepThought #28 -

Actually, a fencing foil isn't a great hand to hand weapon. Sulu did say that he specialized in fencing in the movie, and on TOS Sulu used a fold-out katana on at least one away mission.

I think he was, cheerful as he was, simply being practical.

ETA: By the way, the "katana" didn't look much like a katana to me. It looked like a sword that folds, which tends to eliminate more traditional European-style swords, but doesn't eliminate boomerang blades. But then again, maybe I've read Lone Wolf and Cub too many times, so what do I know. I'm willing to have it called a katana.

What I want to know is what possible difference could the villain Romulan have caused to turn Chekov into Genius Kid or sommat.
James Goetsch
30. Jedikalos
It's a wonder to me how we can all see things so differently (respect the diversity--old star trek lesson from my youth :)). I fell in love with ST when I was about seven, when the original series first came out: I was mesmerized with the idea and feel of it--it truly caught my little boy imagination, and then as I grew older, it stayed with me. And I was truly touched by this movie, which struck a sort of emotional tone to me that seemed just right, and echoed all the way back to my early feelings about it. To this old original Trekkie, it was a beautiful homage. Just saying :)
jere7my
31. jere7my
Well, if I consider Kirk to be an irredeemable jerk solely from the on-screen evidence, I'm wrong, wrong, wrong, and I'll kill the franchise, won't I?

cdthomas, I'm not sure that's quite what I said. ;) In fact, I agree with many of Torie's criticisms — there were some unforgivably dumb science errors, made more unforgivable by the fact that they were conveniently segregated from the rest of the movie in a flashback and would have been easy to fix. On balance, though, I did enjoy the movie, and I disagree with criticisms that revolve around "canon" — the filmmakers made a conscious choice to break with canon, and rather cleverly managed to do it in a way that, ah, didn't break with canon. Interesting stories can be told in a mirror universe, as we've seen before on Trek; that's a reasonable direction to go, given how mined-out the primary continuity has been.

In particular, I think altering Kirk's origin story makes him more of a modern hero, in the sense of someone with major flaws who needs to overcome them, instead of the more classically heroic golden boy of TOS. This is similar to what Peter Jackson did with the LotR films — turned romantic heroes (cf. Faramir) into flawed heroes — and it rankled plenty of LotR fans; I certainly expect Abrams's choices to rankle a lot of Trek fans. But bringing a story into line with the sensibilities of the modern era is part and parcel of remaking it, and Abrams sneakily did so without affecting the "real" Jim Kirk.

As for destroying Romulus and Vulcan — well, presumably Romulus won't be destroyed in this new timeline, given the lead time they have. Vulcan has been destroyed, and perhaps Spock could (will?) go back in time to fix it — but this movie is (quite explicitly) set in a many-worlds universe. If there are many parallel universes, and in some of them Vulcan explodes while it doesn't in others, what does it mean to go back in time and stop Vulcan from being destroyed? Won't that just create yet another splinter universe? This Vulcan will still be gone, won't it? (And old-Spock's Vulcan, the planet in the original Trek universe, is perfectly fine; he doesn't need to go back in time to save it, because in that universe the Romulans never attempted to destroy it.)

Abrams had to go big to revitalize the franchise, and I think he succeeded, despite some fairly deep flaws (which, imho, have been present in Trek from The Cage). I don't expect everyone to agree, of course, and I doubt the naysayers will kill the franchise — this movie is making plenty of book.
Arachne Jericho
32. arachnejericho
Interesting things I've been running into as I've bounced around the web, and have joggled my memory...

- Bridge consoles did not explode except on the U.S.S. Kelvin, and then only when the ship rammed the Romulan... death flower.

- Sound in space, absence of. None of the whoosh! from the old series. That's kind of a crazy thing to get right in a movie that involves red matter that makes black holes....

- Villian was fairly flat, but did not speak in elitist intellectual villain tones, which is perhaps why I didn't mind Nero as much.

- Eugene Fischer comments on Uhura's and Sulu's portrayals. One interesting thing he points out is that Uhura is dominant in the Spock/Uhura relationship, and isn't a passive love interest.

- The prequel-prequel comic book has a lot of inane explanations for the Romulans in the movie:

a) the Death Flower has combined with advanced ShadowBorg/Romulan technology, blah blah blah, actually why couldn't it all just be 26th century Romulan tech?

b) the Romulan tattoos are a symbol of grief that are usually painted but Nero has made more permanent, the better to drill a plot point down into your head, because of course it would be boring to say "Romulans had a differentiated culture and this is one of them."

- Phil Plait, Bad Astronomer of Internet Awesome, has an illustrated scene-by-scene discussion of the movie, all in good fun.

- I have decided that I want to use New Chekov's "'do" as a sponge for my car.
Torie Atkinson
33. Torie
@ 31

I like your point about making him a modern hero. Very interesting.

The whole parallel worlds thing is, to me, a total cop-out on the part of the writers. All previous incarnations of Trek have made it clear that changing the past alters the future. By setting up this scenario in which there is an alternate world for every eventuality (Romulus is destroyed, Romulus isn't destroyed, Kirk is a jerk, Kirk is a golden boy, etc.) it makes the characters and plot totally inconsequential. Why do X, Y, or Z when there's an alternate timeline out there in which you did it? I think that kind of science fiction just falls apart as a premise. Why bother with anything?

@ 32

Heh, death flower. I kept thinking of it as some kind of cephalopod. A cephalopod full of narrow platforms? I dunno.

Also, yeah, I heard that there's way more explanation in the prequel's prequel comic. Um, right, whatever. Still dumb.
Arachne Jericho
34. arachnejericho
Torie @33 -

I don't mind the parallel worlds thing because it's something that's more familiar as a construct to me than Trek's single timeline.

But I think that there aren't infinitely parallel worlds (I think back to Terry "Trouser Legs of Time" Pratchett's "In no universe did Samuel Vimes kill his wife" line). There is something of an essential Kirk-ness about Kirk that has nothing to do with how civilized or rebellious he is, and everything to do with taking intelligent risks by thinking outside the box.

Also, while there may be infinite parallel universes, there is still only one you. We don't have omnipresence, which is what would be required to truly not care about how your current "trouser leg of time" ends up.

And Kirk in either universe wouldn't have cared to be contemplative even if it was the case. We care if characters care; Kirk tends to care pretty hard, whichever one he is.
jere7my
35. jere7my
Torie wrote, All previous incarnations of Trek have made it clear that changing the past alters the future.

Hmm...I'm not an encyclopedic Trekkie, but I'm not sure that's true — wasn't Yesterday's Enterprise about a time traveling Enterprise-C creating an alternate universe? Even if that was time being overwritten, the Mirror, Mirror universe has a continuing alternate history, and there was that episode with oodles of Enterprises clustered around some sort of rift, all of which had their own individual histories. I had the impression that sometimes time travel overwrites history (City on the Edge of Forever), and sometimes it pops you into a parallel universe; like all Trek science, it's inconsistent. This particular method (known in the literature as the "traveling back in time through a red matter black hole" method) apparently makes an alternate timeline. Comme çi, comme ça.

If we take it as a given that alternate histories exist in Trek, and take it as a given (admittedly a more contentious one) that the primary timeline needed a long rest in the Home for Overworked Continuities, this struck me as a pretty elegant way to open up new stories without severing all connection with the original show, the way BSG did. The alternate continuity is established now — and I freely admit it was a bit of an authorial trick to do so — so they can go forward and tell stories about what would have happened if Kirk had grown up without a dad, Spock had dated Uhura, and Vulcan had been destroyed. That's enough to make me interested.

What happens in a multiple-worlds universe still matters, in my mind, because consciousness is continuous and limited; the individuals we're paying attention to can't adopt the fatalistic attitude that everything is all right somewhere. If they get hurt, if they lose the people they know, it doesn't matter to them if some other self is eating space-fritters on a beach on Risa.
C.D. Thomas
36. cdthomas
Torie,
In comment #21, Mr. Allard aimed an easy joke towards you by mentioning the Onion URL, about humorless Trekkies. I responded to that comment in comment #22, before he edited his comment to take out that URL.

You're grown, and you can take it. I'm only mentioning it here because that's what I was reacting to; his tone and disrespect, now modulated, proved my point.
C C
37. Hatgirl
@35
Trek may be illogical about this area of quantum physics, but it is consistent.

Parallel Universes exist, such as the Mirror Universe and the multiple universes seen in the TNG episode "Parallels". It is possible to travel back and forth between these universes. When in the other universe, changing something there does not affect your own universe e.g. killing Uhuru in the Mirror Universe would have no affect on "our" Uhuru.

Once timetravel gets involved, it is not a case of Parallel Universes, you are discussing Alternate Timelines (I know, not "proper" physics but the Enterprise also can't go Whooooosh in space). When you travel back in time and makes a change, you "erase" the future you knew. The "real" universe is now the one in which this change has taken place. This is what was shown in "City on the Edge...", Star Trek IV and so on. At the end of "Yesterday's Enterprise", Tasha was stranded back in time, captured by Romulans and had a child called Sela. So, the "real" universe, from a TV watching point of view, is the one in which Sela exists.

According to Trek-physics rules, Spock has erased his future, not stepped into a parallel universe. That isn't what the writers intended, but that's what they've written.
jere7my
38. Mercurio2
Good review, Torie, though I think you’re holding the movie to an awfully tough standard, a standard that many of the classic episodes and prior Trek movies wouldn’t have been able to meet. While many TOS episodes have sharp social and political commentary, some terrific episodes don’t. For example, where were the big “ideas” and deeper meaning in The Trouble with Tribbles? Where was the socio-political commentary in The Wrath of Khan, considered by many to be the best Trek film? In my opinion, both are examples of “classic Trek” because of the excellent characterization, particularly in their portrayal of the Kirk-Spock-Bones dynamic, which to me is the essence of Trek.

For this lifelong Trekker, the movie recaptures the magic of the characters and allows us to visit old friends again. To me, it was more than just a good action flick.
jere7my
39. gunrock
I believe the film was a success, when attempting to restart a film that everyone has an opinion leaning one way or another it is inevitable that some people will like it and some will not. Personally I believe that the franchise needed to be updated you have to have a human element to the space opera that is ST, if not there is no reason to hope for a future where we are all aparently duty bound to join the military for no other reason than its the right thing to do or the common good or the outfits look cool. Here in this film we can get an idea of what drives some of the main characters and motivates them to look at the new frontiers with a longing for hope because of where they have come from, like Kirk without his dad, or spock without his mom or a home for that matter, it give the crew an emotional reason to be out there to strive for greatness to grow from cocky and irresponsible to Commanding and collected. Finally, ive read several comments talking about how Spock prime was an idiot for risking the world on his younger self and Kirk forming a relationship but try to remember in the series and in the films how many times was the strength of thier relationship important? he had to have seen the importance that thier friendship had in each of thier lives and consequently it allowed them to "save the universe" time and again imagine what the timeline would look like if they were to be sent on thier seperate ways how many disasters not avoided? how many peoples lives changed for the worse? I think that future/alternate Spock was old/wise enough to realize that the sum of Thier relationship was greater than the two idividuals and that it was in EVERYONES best interest that they form this relationship as early as possible. I may be wrong you may think im crazy but still all in all it was a great movie and the begining of hopefully more great adventures.
Samantha Brandt
40. Talia
I thought the film was completely amazing. It is most certainly a reinvention of Trek rather than by the book, but when it's done this well I'm fine and dandy with that.

I feel a little bad for those who get caught up in the details they miss out on the overall glory of the thing. I havent enjoyed a movie this much in years.
Church Tucker
41. Church
Thank you, Torie. I was underwhelmed after seeing it. My GF was drooling over Pine for a couple days, but once she got over that sugar rush she decided it was dumbed-down Trek as well.

All in all, they didn't break anything horribly (and if they did, it's another reality, so...) I'm hoping the Odd/Even thing is still in play and the next one will be awesome.

@29 arachnejericho "...on TOS Sulu used a fold-out katana on at least one away mission. "

He did? When?

His big 'fencing' episode was "Naked Time" and he was clearly a western-style fencer. Sure, he could be both, but he was a fan of the time period when a foil was a standard weapon. Also, a telescoping foil would make much more sense than a folding katana (or wakizashi, or whatever.)
Torie Atkinson
42. Torie
@ 34 AJ

Actually, the infinite timelines thing was what they were going for. See this interview.

@ 35

Hatgirl answered this better than I could in 37. Thanks!

@ 38

Tribbles is good, clean fun (it's been a long time since I've seen it but isn't there also a Klingon frame story, involving treachery?), but Wrath of Khan is all about bigger issues: namely, the idea of getting old, facing your own death, and coming to terms with the real meaning of the no-win scenario. They're not socio-political ideas, but they're big, challenging, and difficult ones.
jere7my
43. jere7my
Hatgirl @ 37:

I'm happy to accept that time travel has generally overwritten the timeline in Trek — but not that it's impossible, given all the inconsistencies and canon flubs that exist in all the versions of Trek, for writers to invent a method of time travel that creates an alternate universe if they want it to. Time travel in Trek is just too problematic. (They played with the "immutable timeline" version of time travel, too, in Star Trek IV. Remember "How do you know he wasn't the one who invented it?")

But really, it's just a hand-wavey device for making a bargain with the audience: "Accept this, and we can give you Trek stories in which big things can happen that you don't expect."
Arachne Jericho
44. arachnejericho
@Church #41 -

"Day of the Dove" he used something that even I would call a fold-out katana.

The thing he uses in the movie is too thick to be a katana, much less a wakizashi. If I had to call it anything, I would call it a folding cutlass.

In which case it was really pirates versus ninjas.



@Torie #42 -

I actually still don't mind the statement of "infinite timelines" because it's often used when the creator/author is really thinking of Pratchett's version; and even Pratchett thought of the trousers of time originally as infinite until he possibly realized he didn't use them that way.

They don't use it that way here, either.
Torie Atkinson
45. Torie
@ 43

Yeah, and that's fine, but again it's one of the many aspects of the film that really unravels if you think about it for more than a split second.
jere7my
46. Shaun N.
@ Rezendi (#7) - Um, if you think DS9 was somehow a dumbed-down Trek, you need to go back and see that series again. From the beginning (even though the first season had its share of misses, by the end of season one that show was firing on all cylinders), and stick with it.

DS9 had serious balls, far moreso than TNG ever did (though I liked that show too) and was willing to deal with current, controversial issues just like the original series did. The difference being, the characters on DS9 were far more fleshed out, the acting was better, and (obviously) so were the special effects. Also like the original Trek, the DS9 cast was FUNNY. While DS9 was the "dark, gritty" Trek, they would lighten the mood now and then with a good comedy. And they did it damned well.

DS9 was a (mostly) brilliant show that lived in the shadow of the TNG before it and (the insipid) Voyager after it. It's a shame, because with more attention and promotion, DS9 could've made for a great movie or series of movies. The potential was there. Anyone who likes Trek, or good sci-fi storytelling in general, should go back and discover that series on DVD.
Arachne Jericho
47. arachnejericho
@Torie #45 -

But I don't think it unravels. You think it does, and I understand that, but I don't agree.

I don't think this is a "one way is truth" kind of deal.
Colleen Parker
48. GibbousMoon
I don't know if any of you are in the DC area, but the Washington Post had a great article called "The Trouble with Quibbles: With Films Like 'Star Trek,' Overzealous Fans Exert an Unhealthy Pressure on Moviemaker"

I'm sorry, but it was a good movie. All the Trek fans I've talked to all loved it, thought it was awesome and respectful. Well, with one or two exceptions who take the backlash a bit too far.

If you wanted Star Trek to be more original Star Trek, buy the series DVD's, pop 'em in and watch things unfold the way you know they should and will. I for one like what Abrams did with the movie. He was respectful to the original material but not zealously and meticulously recreating the original (a la Watchmen... which still wasn't good enough, eh). The article touched on a point that with such an extreme niche fandom such as Star Trek that the material is treated like a religion... and it is for some people. It touched on the fact that even the words we use to discuss the merits of a remake/reboot film. Was is faithful? Was it canon?

I think we need to take a step back, let the screen writers, directors, and producers breath a little bit. And not choke their creativity to death with absolute canon.

The article is good, and brings up good points. Here's a link for those interested. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/10/AR2009051002034.html?sub=AR

Also, take another step back and ask yourself could you have done better? Then be honest with yourself. I know I couldn't have, but if you could, then why didn't you?

@# 39 Gunrock, I totally agree with you.
Torie Atkinson
49. Torie
I just wanted to add that Thomas Wilburn at his blog Mile Zero does a truly fantastic job of summarizing what I think is essential to the heart and soul of Star Trek (and sadly lacking in this film):
Star Trek could be a painfully sincere program, a tendency that only got worse with TNG. It had faith in people, in progress, in technology, and it wore its heart on its sleeve. The technobabble was a part of that sincerity--sure, it said, we're just papering over the cracks in this episode's premise, but we refuse to let it slip by. We'll even draw attention to it with a jarring, pseudotechnical expository speech, that's how deeply and awkwardly we've bought into Roddenberry's vision of the future: one that might still have contemporary problems--racism, the Cold War, William Shatner--but can overcome them with a little human ingenuity and logic.

Well said.
Arachne Jericho
50. arachnejericho
People should remember that while Watchmen is a counterexample, Lord of the Rings is the ultimate counter-counter-example: fans can have a positive influence.

But if creators buckle under the pressure of fans, they have no business creating. And criticism is a good thing (and Torie's pointed out a lot of things to be noted and integrated).

Thinking about all the changes Trek has gone through over the years...

I'm trying to remember if TOS fans had a fit when TNG came out and rewrote some of the rules. (For some reason I recall people hating Picard---Picard! Why could you ever hate Picard? He's bald and sexy!) And now it is loved.

I do remember a lot of Star Trek fans turning their noses up at DS9 because it wasn't a space-faring show. It never made much sense to me, but I figured that was because I loved Babylon 5. And now it is... somewhat loved?

I mostly recall that DS9 supposedly didn't fit in because it could never have been envisioned by Roddenberry, there was too much darkness, Section 31 would never have existed in Gene's Starfleet, etc.

Voyager and Enterprise, as far as I can tell, tried to stay within safe boundaries, as if you could just put a ship in space and that would "fix" the franchise.

The new Star Trek movie pretty much broke all the rules. It's true---it doesn't fit in the same box as the rest of Trek. Neither did DS9. Neither did, so many years ago, TNG.

My perspective is that one movie isn't actually a full TV season. This is a pretty awesome pilot.

I think some people would be less upset if it weren't Kirk, Spock, etc up there. Before this, every previous "reboot" involved a new ship/space-floating-thing and a new crew/staff. So. You know. Toes, stepped upon, more than usual.

I'd advance hesitantly that the new movie, despite the critics, actually does have themes and, probably most importantly, a lot of room for the characters to grow in.

Actually, it has the same theme that every Bildungsroman has, which is that of moving out of your comfort zone and into a different life. The entire plot is a folding rose this way, because the theme can also be taken as self-referential in a meta-context, and not simply on a plot-by-plot, character-by-character basis. From this perspective, even the Random Romulan Kiss Band Crew makes sense, because the head singer Nero never moved past one stage of his life. For over 25 years.

Star Trek---it's pretty much "to boldly go", isn't it?

That was the movie.

Now, next step, "where no man has gone before," I suppose.

Baby steps!
Rajan Khanna
51. rajanyk
I saw it last night and liked it. It didn't blow me away, but it was fun.

That's not what I wanted to talk about, though. I was interested to see you put First Contact ahead of this. I enjoyed First Contact, too, but that movie was plagued with a lot of the issues you mention that this one faced - huge plot holes, characters acting, well, out of character, etc. I guess what it did have was a closer examination of obsession and revenge played out in Picard and the whole temptation thing with Data. But to be fair, First Contact had 7 years of the series and one prior movie to build off of whereas this, as a relaunch, has to establish everything right off the bat.

I do agree with a lot of your points, though, about the new movie. I still liked it, but my inner geek was a little frustrated with the singularity nonsense. I rationalized it by believing them to be strange red matter wormholes.
Torie Atkinson
52. Torie
@ 51

I saw First Contact having only seen a tiny bit of TNG, and I loved it and had no trouble following it. I just re-watched it last week, actually, and I thought the acting was great, and I'm sure that that was at least in part because they could fall into their roles so easily. But the only major plot hole I remember was how the Borg Queen came to be, which they hand-waved over. Were you thinking of something else? I loved her anyway, precisely because she had a depth that Nero certainly lacked.

For me, there were two things that made that movie great: Picard struggling with the fact that though he's free now, the Borg took something from him that he can never regain; and Data coming so close to his goal of being human, though there's a huge "but" attached to it. It was a great action flick and it lacked the subtlety of the series when approaching the big ideas, but they were all still there: what it means to be human (Data's love for his friends and connections to others demonstrate the kind of humanness that the Borg could never give him), Faustian bargains (what do you give up to get what you've always wanted, and what do you lose in trying to be something other than what you are?), revenge (of course), and sacrificing yourself for the greater good.

It's not perfect, but it was both very Star Trek and a great action movie. I wouldn't be in the least bit disappointed if future movies were as good as First Contact.
Torie Atkinson
53. Torie
@ 50

I think you're giving the writers waaaaay too much credit there.
Arachne Jericho
54. arachnejericho
@Torie #53

Not really. It's one of the simplest themes around. Can't get much simpler. Star Wars did it, so it's something of a slam dunk.

And it's child's play to relate that in meta-context to the franchise. It almost falls into the lap, as they say.

And, of course, it's also a crowd pleaser. Possibly the original crowd pleaser.
Church Tucker
55. Church
@50 arachnejericho "I'm trying to remember if TOS fans had a fit when TNG came out and rewrote some of the rules"

Yeah, there was a bit of that, but it was mostly disappointment that it was tamed. It took some time to get Picard as the new starship captain archetype. It was Nimitz and not Hornblower. Over time (and better writing) it was generally accepted.

This movie is in that gap. Bad writing (and possibly editing) leaves us with a plot that makes no sense. But the characters are largely intact, and we can hope for the proper "even=good" movie to follow.
jere7my
56. Venusian
Torie asks WHY too many times. It's easy to tear down, but to create.....
Matt London
59. MattLondon
Here's my favorite plot hole:

When Kirk and Sulu disable the drill on Vulcan, they shoot it with a gun. Later on Earth, Spock destroys the drill by shooting it with a gun. Why couldn't anyone on either of these two planets, like, shoot the drill with a gun, and avoid all this nonsense?
Arachne Jericho
60. arachnejericho
MattLondon,

I thought it had something to do with not being shot out of the sky while doing so because there were no other ships to provide cover?

Or not killing extra people by destroying the drill and everything around it (though it is technically preferable to the planet getting eaten by a magic black hole, but Star Trek never did like making that kind of decision)?

Or magic plot bunnies. I dunno.
j p
61. sps49
This movie's plot holes are the type that I do not accept from any movie. Whether a viewer is a Star Trek fan or not, whether it is a Star Trek movie or not, we should expect that a movie make sense. We deserve movies that are at least consistent with itself. Anything else means that we accept our role that too much of Hollywood see us playing; dollars.

Really now- how hard would the problems have been to fix?
C.D. Thomas
62. cdthomas
#61 -- That's where I stand critically with this movie.

TOS was of its time, and the old hands who wrote stories kept up the same caliber shown in their scripts for cop dramas and westerns. I accepted the flaws of ST I-VI because I didn't consider them works of art; I considered them as pensions for actors who got few if any profits from the TOS syndication deals.

When TNG came out, I wasn't disappointed because the crewmen were dull; I was disappointed because the plots didn't have the intricacy possible with a large cast as HILL STREET BLUES. The medium had advanced in regards to story, and TNG was behind the times. The same retardation of narrative and characterization plagued at least the first seasons of DS9, VOY and ENT -- it was as if more attention would always be paid to how things looked, then to how people acted in those future environments.

So now we have a film that has the visual part down -- no anxiety about how the future would look, at all, because for the things Abrams didn't really care about, he took shortcuts -- an A-B brewery for Engineering, or a starship built in a gravity well. Who cares? Well, with that burden lifted, Abrams should have had enough resources and time to tamp down the story and character holes, and he didn't.

Even with the WGA strike, you'd think that Paramount would give him the extra time and money to patch things up, but no. With this property so important to the corporation as a lasting franchise, why massage the hype, when the lasting object is this reboot? Why settle, when this film could have been as memorable as the Lord of the Rings series, and grabbed fans' hearts *and* critical prestige?

In bits here and there, in sense and characterization, this movie failed. It will translate wonderfully to a theme park ride, and employ many book writers in creating coherent novelizations, but as a work itself it is sloppy to the point of contempt. How can you create a work based on optimism and the perfectability of humanity, when that work's construction points to a cynicism and crassness that speaks to the worst of our marketed culture?

I doubt that anyone really feels sorry that I don't enjoy this movie as much as he or she did -- that stance implies empathy, which this movie's creators go out of their way to de-emphasize as a worthwhile trait. (Anyone up for putting Nero on trial? No? Then let's *blast* 'em.)

This is a Star Trek that could comfortably exist in a alternate universe where Ferengis won their war with the Federation: Fast, beautiful, addictive, uncomplicatedly profitable. It's a universe made with high-fructose corn syrup, and it certainly doesn't need me or any other consumer to make its sales pitch. Its marketing teams have done quite well without me.
marcusine alexander
63. marcie
I finally went to see it.

I had fun, I was entertained. Great fast pace that stops you from having time to process everything and notice the plot holes. Until later.

I've been silent because my buds all loved it and are still raving. Dont want to rain on their parade, either.

If the villain has the technology to go back, why not go back and save his beloved and then wreak a can of vengeance on his victim...........for even daring to hurt him and his own?

Surviving black holes????

Wth is red matter?

Wouldnt the warp core explosion have wrecked the ship while it drove it forwards? Admittedly a screamed command of "Strengthen the shields" would have helped.

Not fixing the timeline...........

The Spock Uhura thing also didnt work for me. Big Time. Where on earth(or space) did that come from?

It was a pretty movie, with pretty people in it and lots and lots of pretty explosions. I tried not to bring nit picking canon with me (let Sulu and his katana ninja stuff go), 3 jumpers to a platform not each having weapons........

I had fun, I did. But this wasnt Star Trek. I will probably see any further instalments but it would be following something new.

Am very clear on that.
marcusine alexander
64. marcie
Talk about hen-pecked. My friends are so enthused by this movie they have gone to see it a number of times. It's still screening here in Oz.

They've worn me down. "Just enjoy it and stop pulling everything apart as a trekker."

They are looking forward to more which puts Star Trek on the map. I could handle a new movie every couple of years. Better than nothing.

I've explained it upset me to have known characters do what they never would have in the existing works.

They say get over it. Ok. They've won. Anything generating this much emotion at this difficult time has to be good. I give in.

But the Spock and Uhura thing really bugs me. The only thing which would have been worse would have been Kirk and Uhura.

Nuff said. Moving on. Can I have my ipod back now please?
Torie Atkinson
65. Torie
@ 64 marcie

Don't let the lovers get you down! You have friends here in Camp Critical. :)

Spock and Uhura definitely bugs me, too, but less because it's "out of character" (they all are, that's the point) than that it pisses me off the only woman is a) in a relationship b) with her instructor and c) quickly dissolves into the irritating "Whatever YOU need, I'm here for YOU" trope of the sacrificing lady for her man. Not. Impressed.
jere7my
66. cdthomas
Yes, I'm still pissed about Uhura -- played by an actress whose stuntwomen aren't afraid to kick ass -- doing the wretched Lady Jessica Atreides "you boys don't have to fight over me" crap, instead of giving a few punches to stop the silliness.

I can accept the inappropriate workplace sex (since no one will ever stop Kirk, mind you), but not her being less feminist and honorable than Miss Nichols' portrayal. When Quentin Tarantino makes better female characters, it's a dark day in the theater.

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