Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My time with the new Star Trek

So I know I said I wasn't going to see it. Nothing in it seemed to interest me and honestly I felt that the whole franchise was dead and we should all just move on.

But I caved.

I went and saw the new Star Trek.

In all fairness, I primarily did it because my wife wanted to see it. I do get a certain amount of joy from making her happy. (and her cousin was in it... we always like to see him in films)

I tried my hardest to go in with an open mind. Many people seemed to be enjoying the film so I figured they couldn't all be wrong.

In the end it was ok. Not great, but not terrible. I am honestly having a problem with so many people finding it to be "the greatest Trek film ever" and wanting to see it multiple times. But then I may just be bitter. I don't feel that way, but thats the only logical conclusion I come by.

As a Trek Film I would give it a 6. As a film on its own, I would give it a 4.

The rest of this review will be fairly spoiler filled. Proceed at your own risk.

There were lots of bits in the film I enjoyed:

The sounds were beautiful.

Most of the main characters had their signature line spoken.

Casting was fairly spot on. Especially Karl Urban as McCoy. He saved the film for me multiple times.

Ultimately, I had no problem with all the changes made to the Trek time line. Time travel can be a fickle bitch so things that didn't jibe with what came before was ok. My problems with the film came about in execution of said changes. At it's core, this film suffered from a great number of plot holes that just made the story overall not work for me.

In list form, here are all the plot holes, logic jumps and things that just bugged me in the film:

  • Kirk being born in space. Sure this was an emotional scene that I am sure brought a tear to some eyes, but I have a hard time believing this one. A civilian woman in her 9th month of pregnancy would not be on a star ship on deep patrol. Maybe if she was the Captains wife he could pull some clout, but George Kirk was just the helmsman.

  • I do not even want to talk about how useless, cheesy and only existed so Nokia could get a product placement the Corvette scene with 10 year old Kirk was.

  • The Enterprise being built on earth. I have mentioned before how the science of this is completely unsound so we wont get into that again. But are we to believe that the flagship of the fleet (and supposedly the most technically advanced vessel at the time) is just being built out in a field in Iowa at an unsecured facility that Kirk can just ride his motorcycle up to?

  • Kirk's Kobyashi Maru test. As a Trek fan, I was thrilled to see how the captain "changed the rules of the test so it was possible to win." While it was handled well (and I enjoyed the initial setup of pitting Spock and Kirk against each other) I felt Kirk's smugness was over the top and out of place. Even for this modified Kirk.

  • So the disaster at Vulcan occurs and all the new cadets are assigned to new ships. Are we to believe that none of those ships had major crews yet?

  • Chekov. Like Two-Face in The Dark Knight, he should have been held off until the next film. A 17 year old ensign allowed to be navigator of the flag ship of the fleet? No way. No how. And did we really need to bring back the cheesy "I can't pronounce "double-uu's" joke? It wasn't funny in 87, it continued to be a ridiculous blight on the character and now you are bringing it back.

  • Because of Sulu's inability to turn off the parking break, the Enterprise is late to join the fleet at Vulcan and they arrive in the middle of a debris field and have to quickly navigate around it. Are we again to believe that the ship does not have forward tracking sensors (and communication with the other ships) to see what is ahead of them?

  • Pike may have had a certain amount of confidence in Kirk but to give him second in command of the ship so quickly? Did the enterprise have no other officers on board?

  • Here is the one call back to the series that didn't work for me in the film. In the original series, Vulcan has no moons. So how exactly is there a M-Class planet in orbit of Vulcan that Old Spock is marooned on so he can watch the destruction of his planet?

  • Speaking of that planet, after Kirk is left there (rather convenient he is so close to Spock) he is chased by those monsters. At this moment I felt like I was watching a Star Wars prequel. Hell, I wouldn't of been suprised if Spock in the cave pulled out a Light Saber to chase off the beast. It is a well known fact that JJ Abrahms is a total Star Wars geek. I think he realized George Lucas will never let him play in his playground so he had to then work that off here. Lets look at a few other Star Wars parallels shall we? Spock chasing off the beast was very close to ObiWan saving Luke from the Sand people. At the end when Young Spock is trying to destroy the drill (a rather small target that is no bigger than 2 meters I would say) the Millenium Falcon errr. the Enterprise comes out of no where to provide cover for Luke/Spock so he can destroy the Drill/DeathStar.

  • The threat to the "galaxy" from the future that triggered the whole thing was the Romulan star going super nova. Super Nova DO NOT HAPPEN THAT QUICKLY. Romulus would have had plenty of time to deal with this.

  • So after the bad guy appears in the past and destroys the Kelvin, he doesn't appear again for 25 years. WHERE THE HELL WAS HE? Supposedly a cut scene deals with this but without it the movie has a hiccup.

  • When Kirk, Sulu and Red Shirt are free falling to the drilling platform the Red Shirt fails to open his chute in time because he is some joy seeking thrill rider. Now, it can't be Star Trek without a Red Shirt eating it, but a Star Fleet officer would not act this way on such a vital mission.

  • So the bridge, the halls and the transporter of the Enterprise looked all shiny new and fascinating. So why the hell did engineering look like a 20th century brewery?

  • Speaking of the bridge. Now I know this was a "it will look cool" decision to have lens flare pop into frame all the time on the bridge...but can someone explain to me the logic of having so many light sources blinding you while you try to look at a monitor? Especially with all the transparent touch screens on the bridge. That thing was a visual nightmare.

  • Once Scotty is brought on board the ship I have no doubt his technical skills will come in handy, but to assume that he will automatically be given the Chief Engineer position? What about the ships previous CE? You think someone who has probably been assigned to the ship since it's keel was laid is just gonna step aside? Maybe he was too drunk from testing all the beer in the antimatter mix chamber.

  • For a ship so populated with Officers and crew, why did only a handful of people do all the work?

  • Even if the bad guy was able to extract security codes from Pike using the slug (we did that in Star Trek II people, do we need to that again?) are we to believe that Earth has NO DEFENSES?

  • Early in the film when the fleet flies to Vulcan to assist. This takes about 5 minutes. Yet for the rest of the film it takes over an hour to get back to our Solar system to stop the bad guy?

  • Spock and Uruha hooking up. Even if we disregard that Vulcan's do only mate once every 7 years. Spock would in no way EVER have a relationship with someone junior in command to him.

  • Even looking at his grand performance of saving the day, there is no possible way that Kirk would be given command of the flag ship of the fleet at that young of an age with no experience. Logically Pike should have remained in command and promoted Kirk to Commander and then early in the next film kill Pike and let Kirk take over.

As most of the examples of JJ Abrahms work I have seen (Lost doesn't count) it just feels like unfinished work. Alot of great ideas thrown out there but needed more polish. In the end this was the unfortunate not so great origin story that needed to be told so better future films could be made. At this point though, I am not impressed and probably will not continue.