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Walrus Trek

I made it to a Memorial Day matinee of Star Trek, but then real life got in the way of writing up this review. I suppose I could have said “Okay as a summer blockbuster, bad as Star Trek”, but one of our meat and potatoes topics deserves a deeper explanation.

Story

The script has all kinds of problems, but the biggest ones are the changes to the three main characters. At its core, classic Trek is about Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and the relationships between them. Sure there’s warp speed, phasers, Klingons, and “Beam me up, Scotty”, but the exploration of an ethos through those three main characters is what has made classic Trek compelling for 40 years. Unfortunately, this movie redefines the Kirk-Spock characters and their relationship into something resembling a buddy, cop movie. Spock, the more experience detective who plays things by the book even though he yearns for justice, and Kirk, the young hot-shot, loose cannon who’ll stop at nothing to bring down the bad guys. Anybody game for a series of “Lethal Weapon in Space” movies?

Most of the other story problems come from the attempt to bridge the previous Trek universe with the rebooted version. Generations was generally skewered for the hoops it jumped through to link the classic Trek and Next Generation time periods, but there is a lot of praise for this attempt though it is equally flawed if not more so. Note to writers, something has gone amiss when you need to take 5 minutes in the middle of the movie to explain the time travel scenario that produced the film’s antagonist. I think a clean reboot, ala Casino Royale, would have been the better way to go.

Presentation

Presentation is the stronger component of Star Trek. The special effects are good and the space battles are presented in shots that are definitely not the usual Trek. The score is solid and does something the story can’t, successfully weaving in elements from the original.

Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy, and Simon Pegg deliver enjoyable performances, but Nimoy and Pegg do not show up until about halfway through the movie. The rest of the acting is middle of the road. Part of me would love to bash Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto for their renditions of Kirk and Spock, but I think they do okay with the writing they are given.

STORY

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PRESENTATION

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REWATCHABLE

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By | 2017-03-17T02:55:15+00:00 May 31st, 2009|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

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6 Comments

  1. Jeeg February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I'm with you, Wiisty. My opinion has hardened over the past few weeks.

    Since Memorial Day I've discussed the new Trek with a number of people and the dividing line seems pretty clear. If you were into original Trek, the new one will be disappointing and not the Trek you've come to love. If Trek is nothing special to you, the blockbuster action ride will be enjoyable.

  2. Bill Wiist, bwiist2008@yahoo.com February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I'm finding myself liking the new movie less and less. Just viewed The Enterprise Incident and there's no comparison. The new crew is a poor caricature of the original. The new kids lack the gravitas of the originals. I'm also baffled at their respective ages and ranks in this film. Seems so at odds with TOS.

  3. Anonymous February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Jeeg, I saw it this afternoon (before reading your comment here) had all the same questions as you and more. And that's without even really giving any of it all that much thought. I also was uneasy about how it made Spock look like such an epic failure. I kept feeling like the REAL Enterprise crew would have not only saved their own skins and defeated the enemy, but also would have managed to fix the timestream. Maybe in the next movie … but I'm not holding my breathe.

    —Wiisty

  4. Jeeg February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Yeah, we went a bit overboard on Generations back in the day. I'm not going to defend it, but the double standard here intrigues me.

    One thing I didn't discuss in my review was all the logistical and common sense problems in the story.
    – Why does Cadet Kirk suddenly get to be captain of the Enterprise?
    – Why does a crazy Scotsman picked up at the ass end of the universe suddenly become lead engineer on the Enterprise?
    – How does a Romulan miner from the 24th century know how to alter the timeline, destroy planets, etc.?

    Beats me. Those are the things that crop up when disbelief is not suspended and they certainly dogged me as I was leaving the theater.

  5. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    "Lethal Weapon in Space" — Love that description.

    In all fairness, Generations deserved any and all the skewering it got (some of which was even from the writers). I don't care how many times we sat through that together, Jeeg, I've come to recognize that movie for what it is…horrible.

    I'm with you, I still don't understand the need for tying the new movie all back into the original continuity. I would have welcomed a nuBSG/Casino Royale/Batman Begins-style reboot. I'd be completely fine with shedding the continuity and all that jazz. With the way they've done it, I don't think I could ever stop comparing it to the original and its continuity.

    That said, I'd love to see a nuTrek movie version of the classic Trek episode "Lights of Zetar." That's a story well-worth retelling for the big screen. (Yeah, I'm kidding.)

  6. CT February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Broke down and watched this movie finally. Well…I liked the score. I'll give it that much. Overall, I did not like it.

    Again, I'm open-minded to reboots, but this just wasn't well done. But I don't think this was made for me. It was made for mass consumption. Just like Transformers isn't made for a huge Transformers fan. It's made for guys who simply want to see robots turn into cars and fight each other. I guess that would be me. I've traded Trek for Transformers.

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