Film Review : Star Trek

Once again Hollywood dredges up the corpse of a much-loved TV show to desecrate with a pointless remake that misses the whole point of wha….Hey wait a minute! My brain just typed that automatically. Even now I have trouble gathering my wits to write the truth, so shocking and unbelievable it is! Give me a minute and I will try again…

startrek

The new Star Trek film is actually pretty good.

Wow, there’s 9 words I didn’t expect to write.

Star Trek (the film – not to be confused with Star Trek:The Motion Picture) tells the extremely unlikely story of how the James T. Kirk entered Star Fleet and became captain of The Enterprise, basically serving as a prequel/lead-in to the original TV show. The basic outline is beyond hackneyed – Kirk is a troubled youth whose talent is spotted by a mentor, replacing the father he never knew. His cockiness irritates his peers until he proves his competence and daring in the face of danger, blah blah blah, roll the credits.

Star Trek solves the problem of how to makes this interesting by shoving it into the background. The film quickly sets up the pivotal points of young Kirk’s life before moving on to the main plot – which involves time travel, planets collapsing, and things exploding. Everything happens at such a quick pace that even a Trek-hater wouldn’t have time to get bored, and every scene is packed with little touches and in-jokes to keep the fans satisfied. The films light touch also serves to distract the audience from the fact that the plot makes no sense whatsoever, even allowing for temporal shenanigans.

As is to be expected, the special effects are very well done, although somebody should really take away the directors lens flare Photoshop plugin. The Enterprise (which is as much the star as any of the actors) looks suitable modern while being somewhat in keeping with the original ’60s design. The actors portraying the younger crew all do a good job, actually better than the TV cast, with the possible exception of the guy playing Kirk. But I can’t be too hard on him, Shatner’s presence gravitas charisma whatever it was that Shatner had makes for a hard act to follow.

The producers have done the impossible – made a Star Trek film that non-fans can actually enjoy. Highly recommended (so long as you don’t think about the plot).


10 thoughts on “Film Review : Star Trek

  1. Stu

    Oh man, you’re in for a world of hurt when I forward your post around the office here. You should hear Adam and Eric droning on and on and on about this movie :)

    To be fair my reaction to it was ‘meh’. It’s really just injecting some new blood into the old franchise, in that typical ghoulish Hollywood manner.

    The chap that played Bones was doing a terribly hammy impersonation of the original Doctor imho, although I did like the new Spock, he was well played and quite believable in the scenes with Leonard Nimoy (who I’m sure wishes the !@#$% franchise would just die and leave him in peace).

  2. Andrew

    Stu,

    You are right – Bones was easily the weakest of the new cast. On the TV show Bones was always the old curmudgeon, its hard to picture what a young curmudgeon looks like. They should have just left him out.

    Actually that was the main problem I had with the basic outline. It seems ridiculous that most of the principal crew should just happen to meet right at the start of their academy training, and just happen to end up on the same ship together at the end. It seemed not a little contrived.

    But we are talking about Star Trek here. We should all be thankful the film didn’t end with a 5 minute speech about racism or something.

    Adam and Eric should watch this – http://www.theonion.com/content/video/trekkies_bash_new_star_trek_film.

  3. Aza

    Well, as I was reading the first few lines of the post I was thinking “Wow, Andrew is about to go on a tirade about how crap this movie is….excellent” and then you did a flip flop.

    This movie was bollocks apart from the first 5 minutes that contained about 3 trillions times as much emotion as the rest of the film. At times it reached mediocrity but overall it was boring and empty.

    The only character that had any sort of personality was Bones and I think Karl Urban actually did a good job. He was the only one that tried to act a little like the character we know.

    Casting Silar as Spock was a complete and utter screw up. That actor is known as pure evil so any time that Spock got angry, all you’d see was a Silar character about to cut someone’s head open. Not to mention that SPOCK IS EMOTIONLESS – I assume the makers of this film missed that from the original. It took years for Spock to gain emotions and learn about them and even then he only had them occasionally. But here he starts out as some alien elf with an attitude.

    Next, what the hell was up with Ohura and Spock. Out of no where (Obviously there is a scene missing from the theatrical release) she walks up to him and starts snogging him. Give me a break.

    Kirk was devoid of….well…everything.

    Chekov – Actually I have to add him along with Bones as being an interesting character but we didn’t see a lot of him.

    Sulu – There was a sulu?

    Scotty – Scotty was never a comedian, he was just funny. And portraying him as a lazy layabout?

    Of course, I have to say that in the end, I am the idiot with no idea because I went to see the movie even though I knew it was made by J.J. Abrahms. And the money he made from directing it could buy my soul.

  4. Andrew

    I thought Karl Urban did a good job, but the character of Bones didn’t really fit the rest of the movie. Personally I thought that Spock was pretty good, but I agree that Kirk was not well done. Not sure how I would do better though – it’s a tough one.

    Sulu was there, and they paid so lip-surface to his habit of sword fighting at the drop of a hat with the platform fight. I thought it was hilarious that Sulu had the expanding saber while the bad guy pulls out an expanding mace. The only flaw was that Kirk didn’t rip his shirt – perhaps they are saving that for the sequel.

    Scotty was totally overdone. He looked and sounded right, but I always saw him as more of a competent nerd rather than a weird genius. Plus there was really no reason for him to go along with Kirk anyway.

    You missed out of the flurry of emails around the office that this post set off. I seem to be the only one who liked the film, although even I will admit that the story makes absolutely no sense. It’s still better than Nemesis.

  5. Aza

    Did I see right and that when they went to land on the platform that was drilling into the planet, there was a red-shirt guy with them, who died about 30 seconds later.

    I watched “The Voyage Home” about 2 days ago and it was head and shoulders above the recent movie.

  6. Chuck

    I thought the film was great, only minor quibbles from me… the definitive “beam weapon” phasors turned into more starwars style bolts of energy.

  7. Andrew

    I would call it “solid” rather than “great” but I don’t get all the hate that is radiating in its direction. Everybody is complaining about how it doesn’t match every little thing about the old show while ignoring the HUGE plot holes.

    The phasors didn’t bother me too much, at least the bolts traveled quickly enough to be useful in a firefight. You couldn’t hit anyone more than 10 meters away with a Starwars blaster, they could just jump out of the way before they got hit.

  8. Chuck

    What was wrong with the plot? It was your pretty standard “blow up their home planets as a form of revenge for something they haven’t done yet” plot.

    And the bolts still travelled slower than a bullet… and no one was wearing anything more protective than a shirt, they’d have been better off with a old fashioned handgun.

    Although, I suppose you can’t set a pistol to “stun”.

  9. Andrew

    What was wrong with the plot? Sure you jest…

    Why did future Spock’s ship have a big glob of Red Matter when he only needed one drop?

    Why did the villain lurk around for 25 years(!) waiting for Spock to arrive, an event he can’t have even known would occur since his ship got pulled through first? Also, it’s hard to blame Spock for what happened anyway.

    Why did the villain embark on his convoluted plan of vengeance anyway? His whole reason for the scheme was that Spock didn’t have enough time to save Romulus, but now he is 200 years in the past he is in a position to stop it from happening in the first place. Just sending a message would have done the trick.

    Spock and Kirk just happening to find each other on that moon-thing at the right time, and be close-by to the one genius engineer that could get Kirk back to the Enterprise. And why exactly did Scotty go along with Kirk? Also, I know the bad guys marooned Spock on that ice world, but why did they give him a cord of firewood? I didn’t see any trees around.

  10. Chuck

    OK, I’ll give you the Red Matter one, although, 1 drop was what was needed to collapse a planet, Spocks original mission was to stop a super nova, and indeed may have needed a very large glob, perhaps he had 2 globs worth in case the first one didn’t quite do the trick.

    The Villain was insane, and wanted to destroy the federation, he had to wait for Spock to get his red matter.

    And the rest isnt’ a plot hole, its just your typical convenience plot device, I am sure peter jackson would have turned it into 3 movies and made sure that there was a strong reason for all 3 characters to be on the planet, but he’d also have made 12 endings to the storie and played them back to back.

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