Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek Movie Review 24

Star Trek is a movie about...well, surely you know what it's about! A ship, the split infinitive,come on, ring any bells??? Well, this is J.J.Abrams new baby and as I am a big fan of his show 'Lost', I had high hopes for this reboot. It features Chris Pine as a young Kirk, Sylar as Spock...oh, I mean Zachary Quinto as Spock!!!! Karl Urban is Bones,Zoe Saldana is Uhura, Simon Pegg is Scotty, John Cho is Sulu and Anton Yelchen is Chekov. Bruce Greenwood is Pike so I was just waiting for him to be in a black wheelchair with a flashing light! If you don't know what that means you must not be a Trek fan! Be warned..there are spoilers ahead!!

Leonard Nimoy is in it and he plays Lieutenant Uhura in drag which was a surprising casting choice and a brave role for Nimoy to take on. Abrams made Bones the captain of the Enterprise which seemed strange to me! Okay, okay......Nimoy plays Spock and Kirk is still the captain so you can relax! It starts promisingly enough with a Federation ship under attack and we learn that Shatner's dad.. I mean, Kirk's dad is on board and of course, he dies saving the rest of the crew just as James T. Kirk is being born! We find out that a Romulan named Nero is looking for Spock and he doesn't want logic lessons! Nero is played by Eric Bana and he is not fond of Vulcans so he wants to kill them all. We then cut to Kirk growing up and he drives fast cars while being chased by a motorcycle cop who flies. Incidentally, this reminded me of Galactica 1980 where the guys from the ship have flying motorcycles. But back to the movie....

Young Spock is growing up also and he gets bullied as his mother is a human so he is only half- Vulcan. His mother is played by Winona "shoplifter" Ryder which for some reason I found odd!
Spock's mother was a shoplifter? Say it ain't so, Spock! Then we see Chris Pine playing Kirk and he has grown up to be a cool, but slightly arrogant guy. He not only chats up a young Uhura but he feels her up also. Say it ain't so, Kirk! Shatner would never have let this happen.......Good thing for Kirk that Pike sees something in him and urges him to enlist in Starfleet. Of course, he says no, but turns up when the new recruits leave. Here he meets Bones(Urban) who does a brilliant job as McCoy. Three years whizz by in the time it takes to put up the caption and Kirk is taking the Kobayashi Maru test again. As we all know,or at least, fans will know, Kirk wins by reprogramming the test. As he defends himself by arguing with Spock, they get urgently called away so we can finally get some real action!

Weirdly,Spock is having a relationship with Uhura, she has a first name and Kirk only gets aboard the Enterprise by being smuggled by Bones. Say it ain't so, Uhura!!! Sulu and Chekov are at the helm but of course, Kirk realises that it is a trap set by Nero. He runs onto an ipod-inspired bridge and makes everyone see the dayglo light! Sulu, Kirk and a red shirt land on a drill that Nero is using on the planet Vulcan but of course, in Star Trek tradition, the red shirt dies!

Sulu gets to have a fight so that is good and he also saves Kirk. I did notice a mistake at the time of watching this where Kirk is hanging onto a ledge with his right hand, yet gets pulled up by his right hand so it was a poor mistake. Unfortunately, Nero creates a black hole on Vulcan and Spock heads down to save the Vulcan Elders and his parents. Meanwhile, Sulu and Kirk are falling in mid-air but Chekov saves them by teleporting them to the ship. A few seconds later, he can't save Spock's mother from the same fate. This is another mistake and this is more of a glaring plot hole though it proves that bad things happen if you shoplift!!

Uhura cheers Spock up with a kiss and a cuddle and this seemed so wrong to me! The planet Vulcan disappears into the black hole that Nero created and he puts a parasite into Pike's mouth which seemed like Fear Factor!! After an argument, Spock jettisons Kirk in an escape pod which seemed really silly as surely he would just put him in the brig. I sensed a plot device to get something unusual shoehorned into the story.Sure enough,on the planet/moon, is Old Spock, played by Nimoy. He explains that he was trying to save the Romulans from an exploding star in the future but he and Nero got pulled into a black hole. As Spock didn't save Romulus, Nero would destroy all Federation planets in a dastardly revenge!!!! Spock and Kirk head over to a Starfleet outpost that is conveniently nearby. Why didn't Spock go there himself before this? When they get there, they meet Scotty. He is played by Simon Pegg who I thought was awful. He didn't have the accent right and didn't fit the part. Happily, Spock reveals Kirk can take over the Enterprise if he gets young Spock angry. This is a Starfleet regulation '619' or to non- Starfleet people, a handy plot loophole 619! It means that if the captain is emotionally compromised, he has to step down from command.Surely this is a reference to the WWE's Rey Mysterio who does the 619.If you do not watch wrestling then ignore the last sentence!!!

Kirk and Scotty beam back aboard the Enterprise and of course, Kirk bugs Spock so he steps down and Kirk is the captain!! Another plot device success!!! Spock has his confidence crisis but after a chat with his dad, he is on the team! He gets some t.l.c. from Uhura before he and Kirk beam to Nero's ship. Spock takes future Spock's ship(are you following this???) while Kirk fights Nero.Spock destroys Nero's drill so he will have to visit his local DIY store again...Kirk doesn't actually fight Nero as such, he gets knocked down by another Romulan and then Nero beats him up.Only when Nero hears that his drill is destroyed does he let Kirk go. Kirk didn't even throw a punch and no trademark drop-kick! Kirk runs away when faced with another Romulan and nearly falls off another ledge. He shoots the Romulan but this is when I realised that new Kirk is a wimp! Shatner's Kirk would never run away from a fight! Say it ain't so, Kirk!

Kirk saves Pike as Spock is flying his ship into Nero's ship. Scotty beams Spock off before he hits it. They shoot at Nero's ship as it slips into the black hole and it is destroyed. The Enterprise is slipping into the hole too but Scotty ignites the Warp Drive Reactor Cores ( as you do!) and the explosion pushes them clear of the hole. The movie ends with Kirk taking over as captain of the Enterprise and a few metres away is Future Spock. How he strolls around Starfleet without authorisation I'll never know!! He gives the voice over at the end.

How good Star Trek is will depend on where you are coming from. If you love Star Trek and eat up anything to do with it, then you will love this. On the other hand, if you love Star Trek, but like continuity and things linking up with previous Star Treks, then you will be disappointed. I am in this camp. If you just want a nice action movie, you should be happy enough. Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine are great in this but the character of Kirk ends up being a wimp. He gets saved by others and he doesn't fight himself. The love affair between Spock and Uhura felt very weird and Simon Pegg was miscast as Scotty. The other members of the crew were good too. The temporal directive went out the window here as now there is a whole new timeline set up. I didn't like this idea and I have to say it reminded me of 90210 in space at times.

In saying that, the movie is still enjoyable and is worth watching. The biggest omission by far is William Shatner and either he or the captain of the ship should be doing the voice over, not Spock. It all feels so near yet so far with a lot of things great, but a long wrong also. I'm hoping if they make another movie with these actors, John De Lancie, a.k.a. 'Q' will show up to put things right! Mon Capitaine, say it ain't so!!

Star Trek (5/10)


Anonymous said...

I agree that Spock and Uhura was a very odd detail to add but then again it was an alternate time line, and Shatner should have done the voice over at the end for heaven's sake not Nimoy, and I do love Trek and have always been fond of the continuity of the basic history of the series including the movies and thus my confusion at the end of the movie when the time line wasn't restored so I just had to assume it was existing and this alternate time line also exists? As for Kirk, he fought a lot but come on, he never got that bruised and battered but it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

That's a really detailed review and I think I see where you're coming from. It also made me think - perhaps it's partly because of Shatner's non-involvement, but while Kirk is still the hero there are lots of subtle ways in which his character is slightly downplayed while Spock is more complex and interesting than ever. You mentioned the absence of Kirk's fisticuffs and the fight where Sulu needs to save Kirk's life (with some really cool fencing moves); Kirk also loses out to Spock in love, and Spock outranks Kirk for much of the film until that 619 lockdown. Personally I can live with all the other changes (and actually like many of them) but hope at least that Kirk and Spock still remain equal-ish sparring partners in future stories. The ending was hopeful in this respect.

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