Star Trek


Some people in a triangle of some sort.

Some people in a triangle of some sort.

When pondering my decision to watch the new Star Trek movie, I was forced to fall back on the old Science Fiction Fan’s Mantra – “It’s going to suck, but I’m going to see it anyway.”

The reasons for this are mostly obvious.  The Star Trek franchise died a slow lingering death at some indistinct point between Wrath of Khan and Voyager.  While the exact moment of death is unknown, even the producers of Star Trek knew it was dead during the first season of Voyager in 1995 as evidenced by the working title of 1996’s Star Trek : First Contact a.k.a. Star Trek : Resurrection. First Contact, while fun, failed to breathe life into Trek’s rotting corpse.  Paramount continued to beat more movies out of Trek’s deceased equine form for several more years until Star Trek : Enterprise gave us a glimmer of hope.  Enterprise’s high production values and inspiring (and much maligned) title sequence weren’t enough to overcome the muddy “Time War” story line and general entropy of a show that had jumped the shark long, long ago.

To add to the pre-viewing anxiety, Star Trek (no other title, thus adding to the confusion) was helmed by wonderchild J.J. Abrams.  Abrams is a prodigious writer, director and composer of a multitude of movies, TV shows, cartoons and soundtracks I have not liked.  To name a few- Armageddon, Forever Young, Alias, Mission Impossible III, Fringe, Cloverfield and Lost.  I know most of you think Lost is awesome, but the writing is so hostile to the viewer (ie, me) I was beginning to believe that Abrams actually hated his audience (ie, me) and was getting revenge for some imagined insult about his mother (who is very likely a wonderful woman.)

So, with much trepidation, I bought my ticket and saw the movie.  To my surprise, Star Trek manifested into a very good movie.  Their were a few story issues from a technical standpoint, but nothing large enough to get in the way of enjoyment of the movie. All the actors gave amazing performances, balancing the mannerisms of the original actors while making the characters’ their own and very believable.  McCoy, Scotty and Chekov all getting nostalgic laughs without ever devolving into charactures of the originals.  The overall story line was both internally and externally consistent with the rest of Star Trek’s backstory and simultaneously creating a blank slate for itself and any sequels.

If you haven’t already, go see this movie.  It reminded me of why I loved Star Trek in the first place.  I have a feeling it will do the same for you.

Next, I’m going to go into those story issues I mentioned earlier.

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This section is for those that have already seen the movie.

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Spoilers ahead!

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You have been warned.

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The time travel shenanigans that allowed the Romulans to return to kill Kirk’s father would have made many changes to Kirk’s life and possibly Star Fleet’s direction, but I cannot imagine why those changes would lead to a Spock/Uhura romance.  It was unnecessary and almost completely out of Spock’s character.  However, it wasn’t so offensive as to make Spock unbelievable.  And considering the effect that the destruction of the Vulcan civilization and his reconcillation with Sarek pre-orignal series will have on Spock’s personality all bets are off. Spock will likely be a more interesting character in the future, now that the “emotionless alien” well has run dry.

The insane amount of “Red Matter” that past-Spock brought with him to save the Romulan home world.  If one drop of this dangerous whateveritis substance was enough to implode an entire planet, surely a 12 ounce can would have been sufficient to handle the Romulan sun.  But the ever logical Spock decides instead to bring a 5000 gallon drum of universal destruction with him, just in case he needs to destroy an additional million billion worlds on his way back.  Maybe he spent a little too much time in the Chekov School of Appropriate Responses to Violent Actions by Klingon Bastards (CSARVAKB).

The Romulans have a complex drilling aparatus for placing the “Red Matter” in the core of a planet.  Now granted “Red Matter” is a technobabble substance with unknown properties that can make an instant black hole, but we learn during the course of the movie that a phaser blast or photon torpedo has enough energy to start the reaction.  So, why exactly did the Romulans waste the time of drilling a big hole in Vulcan when they could have placed a drop on the planet’s surface and then zap it?  Other than, the “the good guys need a chance to stop the bad guys” argument, I have no idea.

Near the end of the film, the Romulan ship is being sucked into a black hole. Kirk offers them rescue in an odd effort of diplomacy to reach out to the extinct Romulans of the probable distant future.  When the Romulans refuse, he unleashes all of the Enterprise’s destructive capabilities at their ship.  While this may be perfectly within Kirk’s character to carry out revenge by the most destructive means possible, I would have expected Spock to pipe in saying that it was a completely unnecessary waste of ammunition and energy because the Romulan ship was doomed anyway.  Then, after Kirk insisted on taking his revenge anyway, Spock could have been all like “I told you so” when they discovered they couldn’t escape the Black Hole’s gravity. And then Kirk could be all like “Oh no you dinn’t!”

Like I mentioned earlier, none of these minor problems ruin the movie.  I wanted to point them out for completeness sake.  Even the best sci-fi movies tend to have similar issues when the science falls apart under close examination.

Now that I’m finished writing this, I’m going over to read Three’s review.  I suggest you do the same.

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