Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek *Spoilers*

Let me get this out of the way before I begin. I've always considered my self a Trek fan. I haven't seen every episode five times over and I don't know Klingon, not for lack of trying, but I do consider myself a mild trekkie.

For the most part the new Star Trek is a fun, fast paced summer hit that will surely make ton of cash for Paramount, which will in turn spawn sequels for years to come. When I remove myself from knowing anything about Star Trek, it's probably going to be my favorite movie of summer 2009.  Non-trekkies like my wife will probably enjoy it in ways the old trek faithful never will. This isn't a bad thing for Paramount, taking Trek out of the niche zone and into the main stream has always been their goal and I think this movie will do that.

It was really hard for me to see Kirk and Spock Played by different actors; Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectfully. Pine made no effort to mimic William Shatners portrayal of Captain James T Kirk. I feel like it was both his and director JJ Abrams decision to do this and was a great move. Intentionally attempting to mirror The Shat would only have ended in disaster. Pine did a great job with the character that was written for him, which may or may not be the Kirk I remember; then again this IS literally a different Kirk than we have seen before. Nero altered the future, or created a parallel universe depending on who you talk to, when he killed Kirk's father, thus creating a new version of Kirk with different motivations and pains.

I give Quinto real props for having to stand face to face with Leonard Nimoy and managing to not be over taken by his simple presence. He did a great job with young Spock, a version we haven't seen in any Trek before. His struggle with being half human and learning to cope with this was great. However, I do hope in later films he can get back to the Spock we know and love from the show and movies and lose the temper tantrums. The relationship with Uhura was something I didn't see coming. It seemed an odd choice at first, but if they handle it well in the future, it could be a real great story thread going forward.

I loved Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and the only negative I have with him is that he wasn't on screen enough. All the supporting cast was there and for the most part they felt right. One spot that I can't quite figure out is how they made Scotty into a stereotypical bumbling Scotts man. He was funny, yes, but I hope they do more than comedy relief with him or I'll be really disappointed. Not to mention when did Scotty come up with beaming from a planet to a ship traveling faster than light half a quadrant away?

All that said, I cannot forgive this movie for what it has done to the Star Trek universe. I will now spoil the entire movie. Nero, the villain for the film, blandly played by Eric Bana, is another in a long line of bad Trek Villains. I understand every Trek villain can't be Khan, but really this is getting bad. So in the present time, sometime after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, but I'm not sure how long, the Romulan sun begins to go supernova. Spock tries to save the Romulan home world, fails and it get destroyed. Anyways they both end up going back in time. Nero decides the only way avenge his lost home is to destroy Vulcan, Spocks home plant and then try at Earth as well. So a natural disaster wrecks your pad, and you go planet decide killing? How does that save your planet Nero? Why not head over to Romulas and warn them all so they have 200+ years to prepare?

But that's nothing. When Nero comes back he changes all Star Trek history when he nukes Vulcan. Official word from Trek land is that the movie was based in a parallel universe to what we know and Spock and Nero jumped from the one we know to this one. Lame. This is the writers way of clearing space for sequels without having fanboy's breaking down the door. I don't get why they couldn't have played in the existing universe accept that they were to lazy to research the extensive Trek lore. But I guess I can live with there being two Star trek universes, one with all the characters i know and love, and another with young versions of some of those characters, going on much sexier adventures.

My one nip pick. I write, and I understand that sometimes things just happen because you say so. But Kirk went from Academic Probation to Ship Captain in about a week, I just think that's lazy, and my wife would have a big problem with him if she had been in his class at Starfleet.

So there, I'll return my inner Trekkie to it's little hiding place for a few years until we get a sequel.


  1. Glad to see you reviewing this Daniel. I do miss your insights into such things.

    My only real response is to this...

    "I don't get why they couldn't have played in the exsisting universe accept that they were to lazy to research the Trek lore."

    There is simply too much of it. The reason Star Trek shows (Enterprise for example) have been so poorly recieved is that there is not any new material and there is TOO much lore to pull from. It's very hard for writers to be fresh and unique when they are looking at 'cannon' lore from... the original series, TNG, Enterprise, Voyager, Deep Space Nine AND the off shoots of books etc that have been released...each set in a different time period. They don't want to offend the fans by fucking up the cannon, but at the same time their hands are tied by it. With the alternate universe they've set up (yes they are saving their own asses) it allows for an entire new Star Trek cannon to be created (with appropriate nods to the old cannon and characters).

    JJ Abrams was not a 'trekkie' when he signed on to the project, but I feel he is steering the franchise in the correct direction. The casting for the most part is spot on. The characters have hints of their original counterparts but at the same time, each young actor brings their own performance to the piece. Yes, you are now in an alternate universe and yes, you now have free reign to do whatever the heck you want (and potential fuck it up hardcore) but I'm willing to take the leap as long as Abrams is at the helm. I swear I've read an interview where Abrams said as much.

    As nice as it would be to stick with the cannon lore. There is just too much of it to make a decent story that would attract new audiences. New audiences are a must, staying true to the characters/intent of the original show is what should (in theory) draw in the Trekkies.

    That's not me saying the story was flawless, there were lots of things that bugged me. ;)

    I agree Nero was rather lack luster for a villian. We should be feeling pity for him for losing his wife, or scandalized because he kills Kirk's father but I felt nothing. Honestly I wanted to get back to the Enterprise and it's young/flashy new crew. The villian needs to be as engaging as the hero (Heath Ledger's Joker proves this to be true) if not more so.

    AAAAND... my final thought since I'm rambling, is that Nero doesn't go back in time to save his planet because doing so will change nothing. His future (his wife/child) is gone and there is nothing he can do to change it. He simply wants everyone to feel the suffering he is feeling. Even if he were to warn the Romulans, there is no guarantee that the younger Nero would end up with the same woman as a wife...that the planet would be saved. Either way, he can't go back in time from where he came from should he fix everything. He's lost everything, he doesn't care about saving his planet, he's only motivation is revenge. It's a big confusing mess (shockingly enough most time travel plots are, though this one was explained half way decently). As nice as it would be for him to just save the Romulans and give them warning, it wouldn't save his wife. By coming through the black hole, he altered time and as such... created a new future for everyone (his 'younger' self/family included).

  2. OHHH

    and I forgot :3

    I totally agree that Hope would have been pissy at Kirk for getting a captain when all he did was break rules and do whatever the heck he wanted.

    Fly by the seat of your pants and get rewarded? Gee I wish the real world worked like that.