A summation of a pretty good flick ... except for maybe one or two or three or four or five or six or seven things ... or maybe eight ... or nine ... ... possibly ten.
We live in a world where this movie was going to be made anyway, so we might as well enjoy the god damned thing, right? JJ Abrams, the director, is behind a number of television shows, and a couple of movies, and his style is kind of new. I'm not sure how I feel about JJ Abrams, but I think that maybe if he refines his style a little bit, and tries to lay off of the hip switch, he'll end up being an alright filmmaker. He's made Mission Impossible III, already, and helped his friend Matt Reeves make Cloverfield. I like both of those movies. I didn't like them a lot, but I liked them enough. But! It seems JJ Abrams has decided to really play with fire this time around. I know Trekkies. Many of them. They are a passionate bunch of bastards, and if you fuck up Star Trek you fuck up for life. Abrams may be the bravest man in the world for taking on a project like this, and Bad Robot pictures ... is runned by him. So it's no wonder they greenlit the project.
What may throw a few fans off is the fact that Abrams took liberty upon liberty with this story. My friend would argue "this movie is everything Star Trek" was ever supposed to be. This guy is easily one of my closest friends, and we've been through a lot together, but it was in that moment when I realized that through some miracle aligned in the cosmos, I understood the world of Star Trek more than he did. This isn't a bragging right for me, and it isn't something I'm gonna go tell the baristas at Starbucks, and snicker about it with. This movie admits that it is not within the same time standard as the television show. These are kind of spoilers, but let's get to talking. If you are terrified of learning the secrets of Star Trek ... and there aren't many ... do not read the next passage. Kirk's dad is dead within the first ten minutes of the movie, which is already causes a hiccup in the space time continuum. How is this accomplished? A team of renegade Romulans are kind of pissed because Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was supposed to save their planet. Needless to say, it didn't happen. So they travel back in time through a black hole to avenge their race by destroying other planets where people live. The crew of the obscure starship cruise ... I mean Starfleet Ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise are thrown into 90 minute battle royale with these guys, and lots of shit goes down. That's not me half assing my way through the review, that's me saying that plot and purpose and (more important) philosophy take a big back seat to the action. The point of Star Trek was the philosophy of exploring new worlds, having them live together and work together in peace whilst discovering and exploring pockets of the universe.
JJ Abrams made a movie that is pretty much a light show, and tossed away the philosophy of the Star Trek to the side. There are stories that are never expanded upon, fictional scientific theories that are just so laughably inept that it enduces me to cringe, even with the amount of imaginative leeway that must be given to the world of Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, I did like this movie. The actors played their parts the way they were supposed to, and JJ Abrams does an admiral job of making the flick look good, and fun. But this film is not everything Star Trek was ever supposed to be. Not even close.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you, but the plot is all over the place. But then again, this movie isn't so much about the plot as it is about throwing around familiar one-liners and introducing famous characters only to discard them once they've played their respective roles. Bones McCoy and Scotty are merely cameo rolls, and there really is nothing there for those characters to expand upon other than, "Looky here! We included them in this movie, thing." The plot itself is devoid of any progression other than to keep everything moving at break-neck speed. Abrams, the director, is not interested in making the boring art-house pseudo-elitist Star Trek film. He is much more interested in getting everyone in the theater to tag along with him. At an astonishing 95% approval on RottenTomatoes, it seems the job was done for most of the critics. Though I would suggest Metacritic to be a more accurate source of film rating approval since they collect the scores of the films, rather than separate the generally positive from the generally negative.
This film is generally about the rivalry between Spock and Kirk, which is kind of funny because the two never really got into any heated and emotional arguments. I remember them divulging into a small one in Star Trek IV, but that was because Spock was learning how to cuss, and Kirk was just angry about something I can't really remember. The argument was literally seconds long. There is a fellow on YouTube named Shyaporn (who is more of a personal hero than a personal friend, though I have contacted him a couple of times and held down somewhat of a conversation) who mentioned that the Star Trek film started off well and ended sloppily. I'll half agree. I believe the character development was extraordinarily lazy through and through. With the exception of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura (to an extent) the rest of the characters of the Starship Enterprise are never expanded upon beyond their stereotypical caricatures. You should make a personal tally of how many times McCoy says "Dammit, I'm a doctor not a (appropriated job.)" The most interesting characters, strange enough, were the characters that weren't expanded upon. Spock, Kirk, and Uhura were not compelling enough leads, as crazy and non-trekkie as that may sound. Maybe it's because I'm not a Trekkie.
I'll grant J.J. Abrams the benefit of the doubt by saying that he is a wonderful action director. Saying that, he is not a story teller. He is much more interested in keeping the cast hip, keeping the special effects abundant, and for some reason, keeping the flares noticable and distracting. Even he has come to admit that he over did it on the flares. I had several gripes with his direction, and choice of detail attentiveness. One, the Starship Enterprise felt like a theme park. Why is this such a bad thing? Because the Starship Enterprise is, supposedly, the be-all end-all of Starfleet ships, and really wasn't put together to be some place some kid can run around, awe struck. The Enterprise was always a mixture of wonderment, mixed with office space, since the operative prefix is "official." The Enterprise isn't there to impress, it's there to get shit done. The suits aren't there to call back on the retro feel of Star Trek in general, they are there to represent Starfleet. The movie focuses far too much on recognizing itself as a canon Star Trek. As much fun as the audience has with the crew of the Enterprise, the characters should be true to themselves, and true to the source material. I think it was bold of Abrams to start the Trek in a parallel universe, and that's fine. That doesn't mean the entire Starfleet should recreate themselves to get their employees to perform under a fun-filled environment.
As stale as ever, which shouldn't come as a surprise given the leads are as dull as ever. Wait ... let me back track a little. Chris Pine plays Captain James Tiberius Kirk, and plays him with the right amount of arrogance and authority. He has the gravitas to play Kirk, and he plays him well. Uhura is played by Zoe Saldana, who is generally pretty good in the rolls she picks up. If you want to see her perform well in something, I suggest you check out Drumline. There, she plays a human being. Here, she plays a carbon copy of a character that was better in the hands of a better actor. Am I saying that the tradition should be kept with those who created it? Absolutely not. I'm saying that Zoe Saldana was the wrong casting choice. It was nice seeing John Cho in Sulu's roll, though not much was required of Cho other than perform accordingly to the character itself. I miss Sulu's reminiscence of old San Francisco. "San Francisco. I was born there." A talent that went to almost no use at all was Sean of the Dead himself, Mr. Simon Pegg. His comedic timing is impeccable, his accent is spot on, and his roll went to smut. He started off interesting, and his entrance was memorable. After that, his roll was reduced to nothing but Mr. Scotty caricatures. Maybe in a later film they'll introduce us to Meara, which only resonates because Meara is also the name of my father's girlfriend. That's not really important though.
This sounds like a bad review, doesn't it? Well, I suppose if I had to apply the cliche four star system, it would land at a 2 or 2 1/2 out of four. Not bad, but not good, and no where near great, or awful. It's one of those films I enjoyed sitting through, but could probably only stomach once. Sadly, I saw it twice, but it wasn't any of my money wasted, so I guess I can admit that it's no skin off my back to say that I saw Star Trek twice. Still, I can say that the writing did get lazy much closer to the beginning of the film. Nero (played by Eric Bana) was an interesting effort of a menacing nemesis, but in the pantheon of Star Trek villians, you can't even come close to Alice Kridge as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. Need I even mention Khan? Is Nero even in the same universe as Khan? Well ... technically ...
Look kids, this is not a bad movie. In fact, I am almost ashamed to admit that the wall-to-wall special effects and consistant action was enough to keep me interested in playing along with Abrams' goofy Star Trek game. The movie isn't intelligent, but it doesn't necessarily need to be,
and since when was intelligence a staple in great story telling? Disregard that. I suck cocks.
|Originality||Hollywood isn't so much about originality than it is about being trendy and retro. Kudos to Abrams for trying to do something a little different with the material.||3.5|
|Acting||With the exception of Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy, and Chris Pine, the acting is pretty stale. Even Spock has a bit of added humanity to him, and it seems as though Quinto skipped right over it.||3|
|Soundtrack||Nothing memorable. Jerry Goldsmith is severely missed.||2.5|
|Effects/Presentation||Abrams certainly has an eye for effects, and presents a very polished, very clean flick. Too bad that's all it really is.||4|
|Storyline||It's everywhere, man. Everywhere. No, literally everywhere. Even in the FUTURE!||2|
|Isikins Worthy||I guess so. Like I said, I enjoyed it to a degree.||3|
|Final Verdict: 3|