The New Star Trek: A Fan’s Notes

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As I’m not a real movie critic, I like to do my reviews in the form of thoughts-I-had-while-watching. Also that saves me the trouble of having an argument, or putting in transitions between paragraphs. Here goes. Minimal spoilers before the jump, bigger spoilers after.

(For thoughts I had before watching, click here.) (Also, we do have a real movie critic, who reviewed Star Trek (favorably) here.)

– The opening battle: it is just a sheer, unadulterated pleasure to see Federation starships rendered with that many polygons or whatever. That is a hell of a lot of computing power up there. They have never looked remotely that good.

– OK, Abrams and co have just announced that the rules have changed. They did this by showing a crew member getting sucked out into space through a hull breach, and then keeping the camera on her while she dies horribly in vacuum. That’s just a leetle messier and harder-core than the old Trek. They stopped short of explosive decompression though. She just got freeze-dried. Something for Star Trek XII!

– They’re also whipping the camera around a lot, and lens-flaring every 10 seconds, like they’re saying, wake up! Nemesis is over! And somehow the cinematographers have bathed everything in this mellow, rich, golden light I’ve never in Trek before. It looks amazing.

– There’s wee pubescent Kirk. And there goes the car, over the cliff. Boom. All I can think about is that scene where the car gets wrecked in Ferris Bueller.

– And here we are in the bar. It’s comforting to know that they’ll still have TGI Friday‘s in the future.

– The pace of time is accelerating. That big-screen storytelling effect: there’s a new plot point every 5 minutes … now 2 minutes … now one minute …

– They juiced up the warp-speed effect. Wow. Nice. It actually looks fast for the first time since TNG.

– I’ve said before, and I’ll keep saying it: it doesn’t make sense that Chekhov can’t pronounce V’s. There are lots of things Russians have trouble with — they don’t have a J, they don’t have an H, their vowels aren’t dipthongized like ours — but they do have a V. Like in SoViet.

– Holy hell, the skydiving sequence is unbelievably great. Fencing Sulu = win. And I don’t particularly have a fear of heights, but I was hanging onto my seat. And that red-shirt gag is worth the price of admission. Instant classic. Ooooolsooooonnnnn!

– OK, here’s where I start complaining. All the reinventing and reinvigorating that’s going on is good, better than good, grat. But why, oh why, can’t they come up with a decent villain? Every single movie they 1) hire a decent actor, 2) make him look a little weird with tattoos and prosthetics, 3) give him some weird grudge and a dimly lit spaceship and tell him to growl a lot. The End.

– More complaining! Not to go on, but the plot of this movie makes zero sense. None. I’m sorry, but Spock kicks Kirk off the ship, rather than confining him to the brig? And then he just happens to land on the same planet, in the same spot, as future-Spock. Why would that happen?

– And did I miss something, or is this all happening in one day? Like, this morning they were cadets, and now they’re running the Enterprise?

– And I don’t really understand why Scotty was suddenly allowed to run the Enterprise‘s engine room, seeing as how he’s sort of this interplanetary vagrant. But such is my love for Simon Pegg, I don’t really mind. His lil’ alien buddy is super-creepy, though.

– Why would they design a ship where the interior consists of walkways with no guardrails over a huge open pit? And isn’t there anybody else on Earth who could take out that drill thing? They have to wait for the Kirkettes to do it?

– Everybody’s being pretty celebratory considering that almost the entire Vulcan race was just genocided. Bit of a pyrrhic victory there.

– Let me close by saying, I liked this movie a lot. It is a miracle, and not a small miracle, the big kind, that somebody was able to resurrect this franchise. I just don’t get why they can’t do this while having a plot that makes a lick of sense.

p.s. link to my colleague John Cloud’s excellent take on the top 10 Trek episodes/movies of all time. John claims to have seen every minute of filmed Star Trek entertainment ever screened or broadcast. I believe this to be true.

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