Monday, November 23, 2009

You're in command now, Mr. Kirk

Yesterday, I watched the Blu-ray of Star Trek partly because I wanted to watch it again and partly because I promised a review way back in May. Watching it again evoked memories of attending that press screening and being surprised at just how good it was. Friends wanting to see what the hype was about drafted me to see it with them. This meant I saw the film four times this past summer.

The following will contain spoilers and could cause blindness if not viewed properly. You can rejoin us after the picture of the Enterprise to remain spoiler-free.

The film still holds up reasonably well in its fifth viewing. The opening scene retains its intensity despite its obvious viewer manipulation. I still like that George Kirk was able to share a last moment with his wife to name their newborn son. The look of the U.S.S. Kelvin and its crew felt perfect to me. I know it won't happen (except possibly in comics and novels) but I really want to see more adventures with the Kelvin's crew.

The bit with young Kirk and the corvette was a bit long compared to young Spock's intro. I understand that this was to portray his brash youth (further cemented by the obligatory bar fight) but it felt a bit like pandering to the 18-24 demographic. I think it would have worked better if we had seen the consequences of stealing the car.

My favorite character in the film was easily Dr. McCoy. Karl Urban and Chris Pine worked really well together and pulled off the McCoy-Kirk chemistry nicely. If there's anything I'm looking for in the sequel, it's more McCoy.

I did have some problems with the movie. First and foremost was the unexplained 25-year absence of the future Romulans. The deleted scenes show that they were all in a Klingon prison, captured after the collision with the Kelvin crippled their ship. The audience shouldn't have to obtain a plot hole's explanation from a deleted scene (or in a comic book). I've mentioned the overly long car chase. The other problem I had was the lack of senior officers aboard the Enterprise. Cadets serving in senior positions (like first officer) is a contrivance that serves only to put the younger characters in the spotlight. I was able to swallow this (and the subsequent command assignment at the end) but it remains one of the film's weaknesses to me.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Star Trek canon in all of this. I've mentioned my issues with Trek fans and this subject before and I'm not surprised there are fans who don't like the film because of the changes made in the film. We bought the idea of a Mirror Universe for 40+ years and now we have a problem with alternate universes? The appearance of "our" Spock in this alternate timeline, in my opinion, continues the canon. Many fans believe this film has overwritten/erased the timeline "established" previously and they couldn't be more wrong. Spock (with Uhura chiming in) clearly explained what had happened. The writers could easily have told the rabid fans "tough toenails"
Overall, I felt the film got more right than it got wrong. Doing things a bit differently is what Star Trek needed and audiences seem to agree (and not just the 18-24 demographic either). It's a decent film and one I'll probably watch a number of times if only to find Easter eggs and such.


Liz said...

Thank you De for restating that this "Abramsverse" if you will is an ALTERNATIVE universe in Trek. Spock said it, Uhura said it, that should be enough for everyone.

Emily said...

You also watched it again because your wife hadn't managed to see it yet, having been unwilling to subject a movie theater to a bored toddler :-P

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