Star Trek Review

If you can get over the cognitive dissonance of seeing Spock feel up Uhura, this is a very solid movie.  Much like Casino Royale did for the Bond franchise, it tore the franchise down and rebuilt it very well, creating something that is both familiar and true to the original yet less campy and more up-to-date.  My son, who has never seen any of the original series (yeah, I know, major parenting failure) really enjoyed it as well.   Interestingly, there were almost more references back to The Wrath of Khan as there were to the original series.

  • Link

    I liked the new movie too.

    "City on the Edge of Forever" is often picked as the best of the original Star Trek episodes. Despite the cheesy production, it's worth watching ... interesting plot ... with an almost young Joan Collins.

    It's now on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNNQMIjjWgQ&feature=featured

    Youtube is owned by google -- it lools like they're making a move here. This is fullscreen and I'm sure officially sponsored by "Star Trek" as a tie in to the new movie release. It may be a sign of things to come ... google, neflix and comedy central may become the new networks. Who needs a television ... it's really about the screen.

  • rich

    I just got back from watching this. You're right - it could easily have been a disaster but nobody put a foot wrong. The closest it comes to miscast is Simon Pegg.

    Picking up your Bond analogy, let's hope the next Star Trek movie isn't another "Quantum of Solace" mindless action flick

  • http://www.pyramidsofmars.com Perry Lane

    It's a great start to a new journey. I like that fact that it continues the "hope" that was central to the original Trek, and I hope it gives way to a new sci-fi that looks at the future in a less bleak way. Stories like Pyramids of Mars (http://www.pyramidsofmars.com) the free online digital graphic novel come to mind. Sure, it's a big scale sci-fi story about an alien invasion with great graphics, but it's also hopeful about the future and humanity. And that's what we need. That's what Gene Roddenberry was talking about.

  • http://leadingwedge.blogspot.com Kirk

    Yet another case of "This video is not available in your country." here in Norway. It's no problem to get around, but I really hate the way the media and entertainment industry tries to divide the world into regions. I am a resident here, so I guess I have no rights to watch stuff like this, but what about US citizens out travelling?

    Hotspot Shield is your friend in situations like this.

  • Josh

    A fun film to watch, and definitely a return to the original series' campy storytelling. TNG and Deep Space 9 tried to get all serious on us, but now we're back to goofy action stories full of gaping plot holes. The plot was a bit boring, though. I hope they can make it a little more interesting next time. This movie was probably hamstrung by the need to introduce all of the main characters AND have Kirk save the world as we know it on his first mission out.

  • http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com Chris Yeh

    A well-crafted and worthy addition (I just saw it yesterday as well...my wife and I were able to sneak off for a 10:15 AM matinee, since my parents are in town for Mother's Day, and they watched the kids).

    It was definitely less cerebral and philosophical than Treks past, and I must admit that I prefer the less frenetic old-style starship combat (one review put it best...in the old Trek like Wrath of Khan, battles had the flavor of submarine combat (if you don't believe me, compare Wrath of Khan to the Hunt for Red October), in this Trek, starship battles were more like fighter plane dogfights.

    Nonetheless, I felt the real strength of the reboot, which I didn't appreciate until after leaving the theater and upon further reflection, was the way in which it provided much more human dimension to the characters' background and motivation.

    Kirk has more reason for being a cocky rebel, having lost his father. Spock is a less controlled and far more tragic figure, with a real sense of menace (perhaps helped by the casting of Zachary Quinto, who makes a hell of a scary villain in Heroes).

    This also holds true of the supporting players: Uhura is an ambitious academic star, assertive and confident. Sulu is the new guy, still trying to prove himself (for which John Cho's nervous and exasperated style is perfect). Even Chekhov finally gets some background (boy genius) and purpose, rather than just asking, "Shields, Keptin?" and screaming when the inevitable injury occurs.

    Only Bones and Scotty are left largely untouched...but in many ways the characters were so perfect to begin with that we forgive this oversight.

    As a result, the creators have given themselves a much wider range of character dynamics to explore, which was not possible given the weight of the previous canon. I eagerly await their next move.

  • Link

    Good comments all. The original Star Trek was character driven, which is why I liked the new movie as much. Kirk may be the apha dog, but a lot of the plot established how the team came to be, and how interdependent they are.

  • http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog Kyle Bennett

    "...not possible given the weight of the previous canon."

    Perfect description, Chris. They've created an almost completely clean slate on which to make Star Trek into whatever they want it to be. And I think Abrams can be trusted to keep the core integrity intact. The symbolic passing of the baton between Spocks - implying Nimoy's imprimatur - was a nice touch.

    I'm looking forward to another 40 years of it.

  • Stymie

    But can you imagine "Star Wars" getting the reboot treatment after George Lucas is gone? And them also having some kind of "alternate universes" plot device that gives them "an almost completely clean slate" while acknowledging the 1977-2005 "canon"? That's the day you can put me in the ground, Lord, because I'll have seen enough. X-|

  • Hammer

    I long for the day when Lucas passes the baton on to some new blood. I personally think that there is a pretty sharp divide between people who grew up watching the original three Star Wars, and those who saw it as an adult, with the latter seeing it as more of a fun kiddie film. In many regards Return of the Jedi was, but the original I think really was an excellent film in its own right, and the mythos and drama inherent in the setting really deserves a strong reboot.

  • http://myweeklycrime.blogspot.com Elliot

    I still say that The Wrath of Khan is the best, even if this new film comes in a close second.

  • Prof Frink

    Since everybody loved it, I'll be the wet blanket. The movie was good, certainly not great. While the overall story was fine, the details showed cliched and lazy writing. For instance, when Pike promotes Kirk -- who was on probation -- from cadet to first officer. LOL, I guess of the hundreds of crewmen onboard, including dozens of officers, a cadet on probation was the most qualified.

    Or how about when young Spock maroons Kirk on an ice "planet" -- which strangely was close enough to Vulcan for old Spock to witness its destruction yet had a completely different climate and wasn't affected by the new black hole. Kirk runs into the very cave where the old Spock is hanging out. LOL, what are the odds? This is just plain lazy. The writers wanted to get Kirk and old Spock together and that's the best they could come up with?

    I could go on...

  • Roman

    And Abrams...blew the physics..again...

    As you might guess from my introduction, I'm the probable spoilsport of the day. Considering myself a fan of the Trek universe I remember, when once upon a time, it was in the late nineties, we had the first TNG-Trek-movie. I'm not refering to the lame number VII, where merely the torch was passed from the original cast to the cast of "The Next Generation", but to "Star Trek - First Contact", which was then hailed to be the best Trek that had been done since Khan..by some even seen as the best product of the franchise ever. It of course was a movie mostly for Trekkers, admittably, since it heavily relied on elements that had been introduced and featured in the previous series. Then came number IX..Insurrection..which was a bit of a let-down. It simply failed to keep up with the pace and quality that First Contact introduced. "Shame" I thought, and waited for number X..Nemesis. But instead of rectifying that slight wrong turn of the ninth movie, it really really sucked, and it sucked badly. The script was of bad quality, it simply failed at tech and physics, let alone delivering a good storyline. Instead of being the memorable tenth movie of a great franchise, it killed odds for great storylines that have been concieved thereafter to be actually produced. Not even Patrick Stewart, one of the best character-actors of our time, could save it.
    Now the Trek-torch has been given to JJ Abrams and a new idea of reimagening The Original Series. I personally never watched Alias, Lost didn't gain favors with me, and the only Abrams-product I sometimes watch is "Fringe", which is reknown for it's horribly bad science. When I heard he was doing the next Trek-movie, I shuddered. Don't get me wrong, Abrams is a good story-teller, but he in my oppinion either lacks a sense for details and finesse, thinks his audience is mostly ignorant of such things or simply dismisses it as not being important.

    And here is what Gene Roddenberry created to be a series that was full of subtleties, mostly sticking to science and trying to maintain a certain plausibility (mostly anyhow) as well as mirroring ethical and cultural dilemmas of our time. As many times as movie number XI nods to the previous Trek-materials, it fails to be visionary, witty (apart from direct character-comedy), ahead of it's time. This is in my eyes not the actors fault, they are doing a pretty marvelous job. Special effects are of the charts, too. But when the dust settles, the villain remained one-dimensional and the storyline remains uninspired, if not even bad.
    In other terms, this movie fails at important core-elements that have made past Trek more than a sci-fi-saga, but made it a real place for nerds.

    Summary?

    -Black holes don't work like that. No, they don't, and that's even common knowledge in our society now.
    -Black Holes emmit a many many times larger (and very destructive) pull. Apart from the time-dillation-effects they rip everything and anything apart that's just remotely close to them.
    -Abrams apparently never heard of such things as "the speed of light". Wherever that planet the older Spock has been put on is, it is close enough to have the light/event of the Vulcan-event visible already but is far enough not to be affected?
    -Ehem..a supernova was threatening to destroy a galaxy? Is that a particularly stupid joke? Does Abrams have any idea of the scale he's talking about? Ouch!

    I could go one for pages, but this movie simply fails at logic, primarily at physics, but also at such things as military hierarchy, likelihood of events, ..

    And worst of all, after this movie is being hyped extensively, I'm afraid the actual ideas of Trek will be killed of for good since they are apparently not important to score when trying to make blockbusters anyhow.
    Otherwise the movie would've been a fun ride.

  • eCurmudgeon

    @Roman: Agreed. I can't help but wonder what a movie "Star Trek" could have been if it was scripted by someone with a clue (I'd say Alastair Reynolds, or failing that Walter Jon Williams).

  • LoneSnark

    This stuff is not hard Roman. They said it in the movie, I guess you missed it. The red-matter does not create a black hole, that is impossible. Spock was able to lift it, so it was not that heavy, and the planet itself was no-where near heavy enough to produce a black hole, no matter how tightly you compressed it.

    As an avid startrek watcher for my entire life, the leaps of physics shown in the movie were no great stretch. As was said in the movie, the red-matter creates an artificial blackhole, not a real black hole. Once the red-matter is depleted in the process, the blackhole-like effects cease to be, leaving spaceships and the rest of the solar system where they are.

    As for the planet, the only leap was him landing anywhere near spock and them meeting. That vulcan has an icy sister planet in near orbit was cannon, as I understand it.

    And, yes, apparently unknown to you, but some supernova's are quite energetic, emitting enough radiation to destroy all life in a galaxy.

  • ccoffer

    Beam me out,scooter.

  • Raven

    Stymie:

  • Raven

    Stymie:
    The time travel paradox is a well established plot device in Star Trek so using it to create a 'clean slate' is quite brilliant. It would be complete nonsense if it was applied to any other sci-fi series like star wars.

    OTOH, Star Wars has the 'next generation' option if they wanted to revitalize the franchize after Lucas dies.

  • Mike

    Was this supposed to be a "clean slate" paradox? Spoiler alert!!::

    *Spoiler*

    Spock's mom dies in this movie, yet in a past movie Spock has a conversation with his human mother on Vulcan. Usually movies and television programs will wrap up a paradox and put things back where they were by the end of the movie/program.

    But this Star Trek didn't do that, either on purpose, or in error. I also felt the old Spock character was out of character. He felt remorse over the loss of the Romulan home planet, he almost felt that the bad guy Romulan had a legitimate grudge against him.

    Overall I like the movie, I'm left wondering, where are they going from here?

  • Roman

    @LoneSnark:
    Well, what I did get was "singularity" and "black hole", which was pretty straight-forward to me.
    As for black holes...what makes them so utterly black is the fact, that they "emit" so much gravity, that not even light can escape them. Considering, that a black hole with only an inch in diameter could easyly swallow earth and the immense forces any object closeby are under, I don't see how anything, let alone a ship (especially one that looks so fragile in design as the Romulan ship did) could survive being close to one.
    And if, as you say, the black hole is only artificial..maybe it doesn't have that much gravity? It then couldn't do what it supposedly did.
    Furthermore, if it swallows matter and energy, where do these go? Back in time (ehem...).
    As for supernovas still, lokking at a galaxy, for the most part it consists of large unoccupied space, then there are billions of starsystems floating around (usually rather wide apart). And stars going supernova is not exactly a "this usually never happens"-event.
    So I question whether one supernova could have that potential. How big would the star have to be?

  • HS

    Let's say the plan works and a black hole swallows the super nova up. What then, the Romulans are saved? What about orbits going out of whack and, um, yeah... no life supporting "sun"?

  • Jim Collins

    Star Trek has to be the most over analyzed piece of fiction in history. Klingon is a recognized language in the UK, enough said? I think using a time travel paradox to "get a clean slate" is brilliant. They obviously left room for sequals, so maybe they wrap up the paradox a few movies down the line. It was a fun movie to watch. There are so few of those any more. Either everything tries to push someone's views and agenda, or it is a long toy or video game commercial.

  • Defender Stargate

    News flash commentators, black holes are a theory. How can anyone comment that black holes do not work the way they did in the movie? Science cannot prove or disprove their existence.

    I think the movie was well made, but the plot tired to do too much by including character traits that developed thought the entire Star Trek TV series. The characters were too contemporary, that means society has not made the advancements boasted about in the Next Generation.
    The relationship with Uhura came out of nowhere, or I guess I am not as good a Star Trek fan as I thought. The nurse Chapel character could have played those scenes.
    I questioned the logic of changing time they way they did, but I guess that does make it possible to be free of the past. However, that sure blows Captain Picard’s strong argument against acting on any knowledge from the future as it may adversely affect the future.