Kirk

Review: Star Trek

startrekfanposter1I was a little afraid to see the new Star Trek Movie.  All of the materials they sent me to hype the movie either bored or annoyed me.  I started getting a little excited about the movie after the early screenings started returning good reviews. Sitting in the theater as boring trailers, my anticipation ramped up as film crept ever closer.  I love Star Trek.  It is probably my favorite franchise.  I really hoped they wouldn't mess it up.

It took me a while to write this review, because I wanted to make sure I got past my fanboy response to the movie and was able to talk about the movie with a bit more distance and clarity.

What should Star Trek be?

Gene Roddenberry's concept of Star Trek was a simple formula:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Basic wants and needs

But it should also tackle all of the most important issues of the day.  (You can read more about this in my post: More Proof J. J. Abrams Doesn’t Get Star Trek).  The early publicity left me with many concerns.

Addressing early concerns

Prequel/Sequel/Reboot [reus name="Star Trek iFrame"]

I was really confused about the nature of the film when they started calling is a prequel/sequel/reboot.

That is a strange thing to say, and alone, a statement that doesn't make sense, but for this film it works.

  • Sequel
    • Spock starts on Romulus like he is in the Next Generation
    • The first Federation uniforms we see are right out of Star Trek Enterprise.
    • Time travel story
  • Prequel
    • Young versions of the characters
  • Reboot
    • Establishes an alternate timeline for Star Trek

I am not sure I like the classification of this movie as a reboot.  Battlestar Galactica was a reboot, this was more of a return to the core of what made Star Trek great in the original series.  If this is a reboot so was:

  • The Animated Series (added more exotic alien races)
  • The Motion Picture (changed the Kligons forever)
  • Wrath of Khan (Brought back the Action/Adventure quality of the series.
  • Voyage Home (The crew of the Enterprise mess with the timeline)
  • The Next Generation (updated the series for a new generation of fans)
  • Deep Space Nine (Star Trek without exploration but with more military elements)
  • Generations (Kirk is ripped from the timeline)
  • Voyager (Star Trek without the Federation)
  • First Contact (The Borg and the crew of the Enterprise mess with the timeline)
  • Insurrection (The Federation is not perfect)
  • Enterprise (Star Trek before the Federation without superior technology)

If you would count each of these major revisions of the setting as a reboot, than this movie is a reboot.  To me, this sequel/prequel.

Turning Star Trek into Star Wars?

trek-newlogo-lg.jpgAbrams, Kurtzman anf Orci all said they wanted to turn bring more Star Wars into Star Trek, but I don't think they got there.  I love both series, and I am familiar with the main qualities of both, and I don't think they brought much if anything from one to the other.

I was afraid that is was going to be more of a Lethal Weapon in Space, Speed: Warp 10, Star Wars: The Vulcan Chronicles, or Cloverfield 2: The Future of the Beast (WTF Star Trek Super Bowl Ad!?!).  There is not a scene in this film that I could see easily fitting in one of the earlier films or the original television series.

Maybe they originally thought of Nero's ship as a sort of Death Star, but it is no more than Probe from The Voyage Home, V'ger from the Motion Picture, or the Son'a ships from Insurrection.  Other than that, I just don't get it.

Uhura in her off hours

I was excited when I saw the clip of Uhura telling Kirk off in the bar.  I hoped Kirk would get his butt kicked and he so did.  I was concerned about the stripping clips of Uhura in the trailers but I love the way the dealt with her.

----------Spoiler Alert!!----------

I loved the relationship between Uhura and Spock.  It made sence, and it served to dehumanize Spock in an interesting way.  The juxtaposition of her emotions and his total lack of emotions really hilighted the difference between humans and vulcans.

I know there are a lot of people who didn't like her depiction in this movie, but Uhura was always a more laid back member of the crew.

Addressing new concerns after seeing the movie

Kirk's Vaccine reaction

I loved the adverse reaction that Kirk had to the Vaccine that McCoy gave him.  It was a flashback to the kind of humor the original series thrived on.  It was silly, light hearted and interfered with the characters ability to do what they needed to do.

The Engine Room of Doom!

WTF were they thinking when they designed the engine room.  It was funny, but I agree with Gwen DeMarco regarding the fate of the writer who came up with the idea for these scenes...

I could go off on a long string blue words, but I will let the others who have already done that do it.  I just thought this was a blemish on an otherwise great film.

Nero's ship armament

Brian and I argued about this fro a long time after the movie.  Personally, I think Nero was just a MacGuffin to give an excuse for the story to happen.  Neither he nor his crew are intgral to the plot and could have been replaced by anyone else with any other motive using any other means.  Nero is not important. They obviously didn't give his subplot any thought, and frankly, the movie would have been better without the distraction.

I wish the film would have had a real 3 dimensional villain, but I honestly didn't expect one from a J. J. Abrams movie.  He has never done villains well.  Every movie and show that he has ever touch has had a weak, impotent, or flat villain.  A better director would have insisted on a better antagonist, but the story didn't matter, the action did.

startrek20081015025340385.jpg

Kirk's Exile from the Enterprise

Some people have complained about Spock having Kirk put in a life pod and jettisoned from the ship.  If I really wanted to defend the movie here I would say that this was a symptom of Spock's frustration that Kirk should not be on the ship at all.  I think that could be argued.

Once more, this is another symptom of Abrams' half-assed directing style.  He needed to have Kirk on the planet to meet Spock and this was the quickest and most "visually exciting" way to do it.  Let's be honest, this was an excuse to have Kirk chased by a Cloverfield reject so he could talk to Spock in a cave.  It was not thought out.

Nero's Motives

nero-characterposter-72dpi.jpg

Nero's motive for attacking Vulcan are nothing less than laughable.  He was a stupid man on a stupid ship with the horridly named "Red Matter" who wants to destroy Vulcan rather than save his homeworld.

Maybe he thought he could do both.  Rid the Empire of the threat of the Federation and save his homeworld.  I think the reallity is a lot simpler.

Like most of the annoying things in this film it just wasn't well thought out.  It was a flimsy excuse for a Nero to be a villain and commit a terrorist act without having to think about whether or not he has a good (or at least understandable) reason or not.

Nero is a flat, empty character and I can tell you why.  This movie is nothing more than:

Wrath of Khan, take 2

This story follows the plot of Wrath of Khan beat by beat with several notable exceptions:

  • Nero is not as scary as Khan.
  • Nero does not have a motive for revenge.
  • "Red Matter" is not as scary as the Genesis Device.
  • Wrath of Khan had better writers and director.

This movie is to Wrath of Khan what the Next Generation episode "Naked Now" is to the Original Series episode "Naked Time."  It is a good remake, but it is not as good as the original.

Is this Star Trek?

Let's measure it against Gene's definition

√ Action √ Adventure √ Basic wants and needs √ Tackle all of the most important issues of the day.

That last check might be a little controversial, but I thought the show dealt with the random nature of terrorism and the emotional cost it has on people.

Star Trek's New Phase

I am glad to say that Star Trek has been reborn, much as it was when Wrath of Khan came out.  I loved the movie.

Likes

  • Canon Uniforms
  • Spock's relationship with the Romulans
  • Characters were perfect
  • Not just an action film
  • great FX
  • sense of humor

Dislikes

  • The Engine room
  • Lack of a serious villain
  • Nero's Ship
  • "Red Matter"
  • The Alien Monster
  • Kirk's marooning

Rating = 10

The Future of Star Trek

Orci and Kurtzmen have already signed on to write the next movie in the series, but that are not sure if it will be a Prequel, Sequel, or Reboot to this movie.  They said they are waiting to see what the reaction to this film is.  And there is one more thing:

Kurtzman: The very last scene when Spock and Spock meet each other, finally. And elder Spock is convincing young Spock that he couldn't interfere, because it would have diverted [Kirk and Spock] away from their friendship. And that their friendship is the key to the whole sort of shebang.

Orci: He gave him a recorded message from Kirk.

Kurtzman: He [elder Spock] said, "Don't take my word for it." And he handed him [younger Spock] a little holographic device and it projected Shatner. It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time... (Topless Robots)

That could be the set up for the next movie.  Personally, I don't want another movie.  I want a TV series.

New Star Trek Clip: Uhura has a brain, Kirk is an Ass

MTV just added a clip from the new Star Trek Movie called Shot Of Love:

This clip is a little unusual for a Star Trek movie, but it does feel good to see Kirk get insulted.  I can only hope he gets his butt kicked next, but I know that it too much to ask for.

Check out my Star Trek Review.

New Star Trek Clip: Bones is afraid to fly!

st_vegas_mccoy_72dpiYahoo! Movies. added a short clip from the J. J. Abrams Star Trek Movie titled Disease and Danger, and I can't believe how much it makes me laugh. The scene depicts McCoy being ushered to his seat next to Kirk while loudly complaining about his fear of flying and all of the ways they could die either on their short flight or once they get into space.

I have to admit, the slip is funny, and it reminded me of something a young Bones would say and do.  I almost hate to say it, but I think they might be bringing me around.  Dare I consider the possibility that the film might actually be good?

Watch it here

Check out my Star Trek Review.

New Star Trek Posters- Nero, Uhura, and a Treat

Here are the new teaser posters from the upcoming Star Trek movie.  Poster #1 features Darth Nero, the lost love child of Darth Maul after a late night drinking on Romulus, and stripper, sexy, sexy Uhura.

Nero_CharacterPoster_72DPI Uhura_CharacterPoster_72DPI

Just because I can, I thought I would make my own Kirk/Spock teaser poster.  I might have to make a Darth Nero/Spock one too.  Let me know what you think.

Kirk-Spock

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Gerrold on Trek

My hero, David Gerrold recently did an interview with the Courier Mail on his thought about the original Star Trek Series.  First, he explained the two factors that he believes lead to the success of the original series:

"First, we had such a remarkable cast...  Gene Roddenberry picked three very, very good actors and they fit together so beautifully," he says.

"And then the second thing is, the context of Star Trek is that here's a world where everybody is respected and everybody has a place in this world and people are all big enough to handle their problems, and so they focus on problems of a much larger scale and challenges of a much larger scale (Courier Mail)."

I have to agree.  I think the phenomenon of Star Trek is that we fans really do want to live in that world and try to live in accord with the values we see in the series.  The vision of a world where people are free from their relatively petty problems to delve into the deeper meaning of life and justice resonates within us.

Gerrold also points to the creativity of the original series:

"And they would come up against new people and new planets that would challenge their definition of themselves, it would make them ask the question 'what does it mean to be a human being? What are we up to here?' And I think that was part of the appeal of the show: we're discovering not only what's out there but what's inside ourselves, and that the final frontier is really the human soul, not space – space is just where we're gonna meet the challenge," Gerrold says (Courier Mail).

Gerrold hit the nail on the head.  I know the stories that I enjoy writing most are the stories that did into why people are the way they are and why they do the things they do.  The potential of the soul is truly the final frontier.

News that the next Star Trek feature film... will revisit a young Kirk and Spock is heartening for Gerrold.

"If it were my choice I would reinvent the original series," he says.

"Wipe the blackboard clean and you go back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy and the Enterprise, with new actors to find different interpretations of the characters. And I think there's a possibility, just as we've see different interpretations of Superman and Batman, maybe that's how Star Trek is gonna survive (Courier Mail)."

Well... I like the new Superman.  I think the creator of the new Batman should be horsewhipped until they beg for forgiveness.  And while the new Battlestar Gallactica is technically brilliant, the story is so dark I want to kill myself at the end of each episode... I just stopped watching the series.

Like any good myth, I know there will eventually be new versions of Kirk and Spock, but the brilliance of Star Trek was the optimism and adventuresome nature of the characters and the setting.  If it were to loose that it would become Voyager or Enterprise, and suffer their fate.  Gerrold opened my eyes to the possible benefits of a remake, but I would prefer to meet new characters in the time of Kirk and Spock.

Star Trek XI: the final sell out?

I love Star Trek, and I always will. I pray that it will one day be freed from the purgatory it has found itself. So, this is a hard subject for me, but I can't stay quiet anymore about the upcoming Star Trek film. Let's start from the beginning: 4.21.06

J.J. Abrams, producer of hit shows Lost and Alias, as well as director of the upcoming Paramount film "Mission: Impossible III," is slated to produce and possibly direct the next Star Trek feature...it will be the eleventh in the franchise. (Until a title is selected, we will usually refer to the project as simply "Star Trek XI.")... it is a confirmed project under development with a 2008 release date targeted... According to Variety, the proposed story will focus on the early days of James T. Kirk and Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and their first mission in space. UPDATE 04.27.06: Abrams has since indicated this may not be the case; see this article [below] for his recent comments... Rick Berman... is not involved in this project (Star Trek.com).

The afore mentioned update:
Fans around the world whooped for joy... at news that the Star Trek franchise was being resuscitated with M:I:3 director JJ Abrams... News that it would adopt the long-mooted concept of Kirk and Spock's youthful adventures at Starfleet Academy provoked a more mixed reaction... "The whole thing was reported entirely without our cooperation," says the director with a hint of regret. "People learned that I was producing a Star Trek film, that I had an option to direct it, they hear rumours of what the thing was going to be and ran with a story that is not entirely accurate."...Abrams... is a confirmed Original Series fan so don't be surprised if his take on the series does indeed take place around the era of Kirk and co, or if some of the established characters do make a reappearance. "Those characters are so spectacular. I just think that… you know, they could live again (Empire Online.com)."

I didn't whoop for joy. I bit my nails and hoped that the worst would not happen, but Abrams' words did make me feel better... and then...

Matt Damon told SCI FI Wire that he's open to assuming the role of Capt. James T. Kirk in the proposed 11th Star Trek movie, but denied previous rumors that he is already in line for the iconic role, which was originated by William Shatner. "If the script was good, I'd do it," Damon said in an interview while promoting his latest film, The Good Shepherd. "But, yeah, I heard that [rumor]. I think J.J. Abrams or somebody said that at [a] press junket or something, and it got picked up [by the media and Star Trek fans] (SciFi Wire)."

And let me guess, Ben Affleck will play Spock?

Ok, it is all just rumors right now anyway, but I am getting really nervous about all this. At least if they hire Damon, he is too old to play an academy Kirk. That's it. I have played in the rumor mill. I'm out.