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Star Trek (review)

Reboot to the Ass

Oh, J.J. Abrams! Dude! You sneak, you! Can I have your geek babies? Here you are, going around telling everyone you’re no Trekkie, and you’re a liar! You must be a Trekkie, because you have pulled a trick worthy of James Tiberius Kirk here. You — and yes, absolutely, your screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, too — have pulled a Kobayashi Maru. You have taken a no-win situation — “Reboot the Star Trek movie franchise,” Paramount told you — and you cheated. You cheated. In the same way that Kirk cheated that can’t-win Starfleet test. Don’t tell me that wasn’t deliberate. Don’t tell me you didn’t do that so that when some Trekkies complain — and some will, though I cannot fathom it at all, except I know fans, and fans can sometimes be incomprehensible — you can say, “Eh, wait a minute, Kirk did the same damn thing, and you worship him for it.”

Because, look: Abrams (Lost creator and Cloverfield producer) found the perfect, and perfectly science-fictional way, to do a reboot that no one can honestly bitch about, the perfect way to have his geek and his “Bite me,” too. Everything that happens here, in the gorgeously, simply entitled Star Trek (no roman numerals, no qualifiers), happens in an alternate universe, an alternate timeline, an alternate reality. If ya still wants yer Shatner-esque Kirk and your obscenely miniskirted female-officer eye candy and yer Puerto Ricans-in-gold-lamé Klingons and all that, it’s still there, waiting to be capitalized on and played with by whoever wants to do so. None of that is negated by what happens here — everything here is merely occurring alongside.

And this next thing I’m going to say is no spoiler: it’s an aspect of the sheer, ingenious perfection of this movie. There is no reset button at the end. There is nothing that goes, “Yeah, we were only fooling, and everything is going back to normal.” For all the many times the Trek franchise, in all its many incarnations, has futzed around with time travel — and I say this as a devoted fan, but one with a low tolerance for bullshit — this is the most honorable, the most defensible usage of that narrative trick. Abrams’ Star Trek does not use it as a way to goof around with tossing difficult, complicated, life-changing things at his characters only to take it all back after he’s had his fun. This Trek has the courage of its convictions.

And if that sets up the narrative space for a whole new series of movies? Woo-hoo!

What happens is this: From the distant futuristic reaches of the post-Next Generation narrative we’re familiar with comes a Romulan ship, captained by Eric Bana (The Other Boleyn Girl, Lucky You) with Maori tattoos, to seek vengeance for a Bad Thing that happened in the future. It arrives in the past almost precisely at the moment of James T. Kirk’s birth on the Starship Kelvin, when his father, George (Chris Hemsworth), a lieutenant, is forced to take command of the ship in the ensuing Romulan attack. I’m astonished to say that I found myself in tears by the end of this sequence, griefstricken for characters I’d never met before and knew nothing about, except that — as Abrams presents this extraordinary opening gambit to us — it gives us dedicated, brave, authentic folk doing a job they believe in so deeply that you believe right along with them.

And then that extends to the rest of this utterly faultless movie: these are real people we meet here again for the first time. It nods to the past history of the Trekiverse without being slavish to it, and part of that is letting the characters unfurl in ways that make sense in this alt-reality, and part of that is letting the wonderful cast give the characters their own spin. It’s actually amazing, in fact, how Chris Pine (Bottle Shock, Smokin’ Aces) as Kirk, Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Spock, and Zoe Saldana (Vantage Point, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) as Uhuru — they feature the most prominently among the characters we already love — are both reminiscent of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Nichelle Nichols and completely their own creations. It’s sort of bizarre, actually, how in a Schrödinger’s cat kind of way, you both do and don’t see the mannerisms and the characteristics we’re so familiar with in their performances. I don’t know how the actors did that, or how Abrams inspired that in them, but, my god, it thrills this girl-geek down deep. Quinto, for instance, makes “Live long and prosper” sound snarky and insulting, when the moment calls for it. Orci and Kurtzman (who jointly wrote Transformers and Mission: Impossible III), for example, create relationships among the characters that aren’t anything we’re expecting but feel completely real, and even more real because of their slow reveals. (You will go back and reinterpret an early exchange between two characters in light of what you learn later, and just the fact that the writers could surprise you like that will delight you.)

I’m not sure I can express how much absolutely everything about this movie sends me into spasms of geekish ecstasy. I mean, yes, Star Trek is among the triumvirate that includes Star Wars and Doctor Who in making me the utter dork I am today — can I tell you how hearing those Enterprise-ish computer beeps made my heart skip a beat or two? But it’s more than that: Just as a movie, Abrams’ Star Trek is a huge step forward for the genre. There may be only a selective nod to the reality that there can be no sound in the vacuum of space, but that reality is put to work to great effect here, and it points to the moment, which is coming soon, when an SF FX flick will finally acknowledge that explosions and laser blasts cannot actually be heard in space, even if we’re not quite there yet. (Yes, I know: Serenity. But I don’t want to think about how that movie failed to engage audiences while this one will soar.) There is no up and down in space here, and that’s how you do space battles in the 21st century: you acknowledge, you know, reality and physics and stuff. The aliens are real(ish): not just primates with funny foreheads but holy-crap real(ish) aliens. (Three words: ice planet wildlife.) You do stuff like have characters parachute from orbit onto a platform sitting on a space tether — okay, SF literature broached these things 20 years ago, but the movies are always 20 years behind the literature. And yet, Abrams treats these things like he discovered them, and he infects us with that sense of discovery: maybe we serious fans have read about this kind of stuff, but we’ve never seen it before. And wow, is it cool and exciting and awesome.

But all of that geek stuff? It ain’t why Star Trek works. It works because its tale — of green cadets weathering their first encounter with the life-or-death job they signed up for — is a tale of people, not technology, a tale in which even the aliens are people (as they should be). Human nature here has not changed — as sometimes Trek, particularly The Next Generation, seemed to require to have happened for we upright apes in the span of a few hundred years. The bar fight sequence early on (yes, with Kirk at its center), for instance, becomes not so much an eye-rolling example of male testosterone at play but an acceptance of reality: peoples is peoples. It makes the words of Captain Pike, who recruits the at-odds young Kirk into Starfleet, seem less contradictory: Pike describes Starfleet as a “peacekeeping and humanitarian armada,” which seems, to me, like a contradiction: an “armada” devoted to gentle purposes? But here it becomes an indication, perhaps, that humanity is trying to change, and hasn’t quite figured out how to describe the effort yet. (And can I say? Among all the excellent casting, Bruce Greenwood [National Treasure: Book of Secrets, I’m Not There] as Pike is the one that made my fangirl toes curl and say, “Oh, yes.” Though Quinto’s Spock is a very close second.)

I have two nitpicks: one is tiny but surprising, considering the film’s relative dedication to scientific realism, and the other I fully expect to have rectified in Abrams’ second Trek flick. First: Why are they building starships at the bottom of a gravity well? Starships should be built in orbit, not on the Earth’s surface, from which you’d have to lift them into space. Second: I was expecting to see a lot more of Karl Urban (Pathfinder, The Bourne Supremacy) as Bones and Simon Pegg (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Run, Fat Boy, Run) as Scotty, but I trust that this will be the case in the next movie.

Other things make my geek gland salivate. The massive Iowan rift that the preteen Kirk sends his stolen classic sportscar into in an early sequence of the flick… It looks artificial (there’s no Grand Canyon in Iowa today, at least), and in fact it looks very much like the remnants of the Xindi attack that played out in the series Enterprise (which remains in the “real” history of both the alternative universe of this film and the primary universe of the original Trek timeline)… except in the story we saw in Enterprise, that rift started in Florida and headed south. Did the Xindi attack again in the interim, and will we learn more about that in a future film? I can’t wait to find out. And I can’t wait for the DVD on this one, because, man, some of it is clearly designed to be freeze-framed and savored over, like the signage at that Earth-surface shipyard, which Abrams pans over so quickly and so enticingly that you know he did it to tease us. And you have to know that that one bit, the one that makes you go, “Ooo, that first scratch on your new starship is always the worst!” is precisely the reaction Abrams was hoping to evoke from you, perhaps the last generation who will savor the joy of being the owner of new car.

Mostly, though, what makes me adore this movie is that — as much as I embrace the snark — Star Trek is earnest, and not snarky. Oh, it’s humorous, in places, but it treats the geek with the sincerity that only we, we Gen X geeks, can believe it deserves to be treated with. Sure, there’s wibbly-wobbly, timey-whimey-ness here that makes me think Abrams has been watching Doctor Who, and there’s bits like how Vulcan looks like Khazad-dûm that makes me sure that Abrams is fully aware of the all-encompassing geekiness that the best and most stirring blockbusters movies are all about these days, what with Xers in charge of making movies and our geek-brainwashed children the primary consumers of them.

But I think nongeeks may well enjoy Star Trek, too, because it’s got heart, and soul, and sweetness, and an optimism that hasn’t been this pure since, well, that first 1966 episode of the original TV series. It’s not so caught up in itself that it forgets that that’s the most important thing about Star Trek, and always has been.

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine
  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    I read the first paragraph, and now I’m even more excited for 1:30pm tomorrow, which is the first chance I’ll get to see the movie. I’ll read the rest of your review after.

    Yay!!

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Ok, you’ve made me excessively excited for this movie. :) I was expecing more bubbling geekgasm over SIMON PEGG as scotty *squee!* but… ok. It’s good. There will be more. Calm… breathe…

    The interesting thing is, you’ve hit on my biggest fear as well. Time Travel and the muthafuckin’ Holodeck were the two biggest, worst crutches for Star Trek in my mind, after Voyager started. Going into a time war and alien holo-technology in Enterprise completely swore me off the series. It’s not that they can’t be done well, but they’ve been done so often and soo badly most of the time, that I’m just sick of them as plot elements within Star Trek. Hopefully, after this reboot, they’ll put those to bed as well.

  • http://bzero.livejournal.com bzero

    w00t! Well, you’ve quelled my few fears about the new movie, and now even more I can’t wait to see it tomorrow, which my girlfriend Kelly, who dragged me to the Enterprise exhibit in Vegas before it closed (so, talking about Tru Fan here who will enjoy the flick as much as I).

    Have a good weekend, MaryAnn!

  • Les Carr

    I’ve just come back from watching the film. What an evening!

    Part of my brain thinks that it wasn’t so much of a reboot as a rerun, what with the unconvincingly one-dimensional baddy lurking in a highly advanced but unaccountably dingy spaceship with a big red button (sorry, red matter) that turns on a black hole/wormhole/timetravel. But that part of my brain keeps getting slapped down by the part that is reveling in the new/old characters and the formation of new/familiar relationships.

    Favourite thing? I absolutely adored what Simon Pegg has done with Scotty. What a guy!

    Go see! Tell all your friends to go see too!

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, you, Les Carr, with your five-hour advance on us East Coast Americans (never mind the West Coasters, who are still post lunchtime as I write this).

    I’m seeing the flick again on Saturday afternoon (East Coast time) and I can’t wait.

  • Ralph

    Also just returned from an unaccountably quiet viewing in London.

    I hadn’t picked up on Vulcan/Khazad-dûm until your review but DEAR LORD if the future ship isn’t a Babylon 5 Shadow vessel, complete with screaming engines, I’ll surrender my geek card to the authorities.

    I very much second your wish to see more of “the rest of the crew” as well – Urban plays McCoy with exactly enough ham to be both a tribute and, simultaneously, a believable portrait of a younger edition of the original.

    I loved it. In a way it’s closer to my memories of watching reruns of the original series as a child than the reality of that series. It let my adult self revel in the adventure, without the meta-interruptions of 1960s camp.

  • boborci

    Yes. We cheated, just like Kirk. You seem to be the first to catch on!

  • JasonJ

    Can’t wait to see it. Sylar as Spock, I about shit when I first saw that. It’s like Quinto was formed in a test tube just for this role.

    On a side note, I hate to say it, but Quinto’s Sylar is pretty much the only reason I watch Heros any more. Just when it looks like he’s softening, skulls get slit open. I have high hopes for more Sylar ass-kickery next season…

  • SaintAndy

    Great ..now I’m even more psyched than before, after reading your review …is it me, or do you tend to write considerably longer reviews for the films you really like?

    Problem is, I’m not even that much of a trekkie, but I got really excited about this film just from hearing JJ Abrams was directing, and seeing the trailers (must have watched trailer 2 about 5 times a day ..it’s turned into a compulsion) …

    I’ll just have to find something to do until the super geeky super awesome Star Trek hits cinemas in my crappy corner of the world.

  • Chris

    For once I agree with Mary Ann. This film plays a great trick on Trekkies and basically says shut the hell up and enjoy ride with the rest of the crowd. These are still the characters you love, just in a new experience. Daniel Faraday would not approve of Mr. Abrham’s logic though :). Also I fully agree one of the most moving moments in a scifi movie, let alone a blockbuster film, is the opening scene that unfolds. Michael Giacchino’s score over these events really are perfectly played to tug at your emotional chords. Pine is a star. Quinto is outshined by Nemoy but still holds his own. We need more Pegg!

  • Mo

    Just got back from it. It was so much better than I had dared hope. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t get a chance to read your review first though, MaryAnn. A big part of the fun for me was trying to figure out where the giant reset button was going to be and then realizing…

    Random thought: is it just me or did that big red floating ball look strangely familiar? Almost makes me wonder if the Lost numbers are buried in it anywhere.

    Yes. We cheated, just like Kirk. You seem to be the first to catch on!

    Your very own gordian knot. It scares me a little how well it all works.

    Though it must be a little bit maddening for them, knowing that they’re trapped in a parallel/alternate reality and that things could be better in the other one, and yet they can never be there or go back to it. And now the mind pretzeling is starting to hurt so I’ll stop.

  • Kathy A

    Just got back from seeing it on the IMAX screen (which I really don’t recommend–too much stuff going on and it’s right in your face. More distance is needed from the screen).

    Oh, my, was that fun!!!

    I’m not a purist (although I did see quite a few eps of TOS growing up, I didn’t get really hooked on the tv shows until TNG, but I did love most of the TOS films), so I didn’t care if that wasn’t Shatner and Kelley on screen. The action scenes were exciting, that opening prologue was as touching as MaryAnn said it was, and the characters are all wonderfully developed, with great relationship-building moments scattered throughout.

    Urban plays McCoy with exactly enough ham to be both a tribute and, simultaneously, a believable portrait of a younger edition of the original.

    Yes!! Urban just nails Deforest Kelley’s delivery but still makes the character his and he’s terrific in the part (loved the first time we see him, and what he says about why he’s enlisting).

    Simon Pegg desperately needs more screen time in the next film. He almost stole the entire film in his limited time! I’ve been a big fan and just rewatched him in Spaced last week, yet I still completely bought him as Scotty.

    I’ll probably go see it again next week, maybe even on Sunday.

  • Dianne A

    I agree with you about how your heart skipped a beat or two on hearing the Enterprise computer beeps – it really was a geek filled supreme moment for me.

    I was hoping that J J wouldn’t do a Star Wars bar-type scene with all different aliens together, and he didn’t! It was done with such a light touch, congrats on that alone.

    Loved, loved the movie, will have to see it again and I will be relaxed with what has ended up on the screne. The crowd in my midday weekday session where easily all over 60 (except us), some older. Certainly Star Trek is cross-generational.

  • Ben

    Great review, and a good movie. As a New Zealander I just have to say though that those are in no way Maori tattoos on Nero’s face. They certainly fall in the the “tribal” category, but they aren’t Maori.

  • Victor Plenty

    Dear Hollywood: Yes! More of this, please.

    (First time in years that buying tickets on the opening weekend has left me entirely free of guilt.)

    Dear MaryAnn: Thanks for a review that so perfectly expresses why I love this movie. Now I can just give my friends the link to this page, rather than cudgel my brain for some elusive adjective that might communicate what I want them to understand.

  • anyjoe2000

    Great review, I saw the movie tonight and loved it. Your comparison to the obayashi Maru was spot on. And it was done with the cleverness of a con artist. By the time I was aware of what was going on I was ok with it. Those sneaky Ba$%!@ds!

    I was a little nervous when I heard Lenard Nemoy had such a large part, not because I don’t love his Spock, quite the opposite. It was more because all the next generation episode, including the movie, that included TOS characters were my least favorite. I loved seeing them but the plots of those shows looked so manufactured to explain their presents that it detracted from the shows. They just were not very well done but this worked just fine.
    I am curious where they will go from here. Will they just go on in this time line or attempt to repair it in a future Movie. The loss of that planet after all is no small matter.
    Its interesting, having followed all the BS about Shatner not being a part of this and how anything more than a cameo would not work well for the plot due to the fact that he died. Well is he? Dead I mean. Who can say for sure now. Should they attempt to correct the timeline I could see him showing up if they keep a short leash on him.

    I would have liked to see a nod to Archer in here, if for nothing else it was really the only thing other than TOS that they could give a nod to as it is the only part of the story that predates this.

  • Paul

    Great review. I love it when the Flick Filosopher geeks out. :-P

    Just one note about your object about starships being built on the ground. Actually, it makes much MORE sense to build it on the ground. Why? Much less dangerous. Workers don’t have to wear spacesuits, they don’t have to deal with trying to move with accuracy and precision in microgravity. Doesn’t matter how advanced the spacesuits are – space is a lot more dangerous environment than good old Earth.

    The gravity well argument, frankly, doesn’t make any sense. It’s a holdover from the “canon” of the other Star Trek timeline. Think about it. You have a starship that weighs millions of tons with a propulsion system that can instantly accelerate it from a standing start to the speed of light and beyond. The power required to lift that starship from the ground into Earth orbit is MICROSCOPIC compared to what it takes to fly it through space like starships can.

    So complaining about Earth’s gravity well is like questioning whether a semi could start trucking because a fly landed on the hood. In that sense, I suspect original canon created a piece of illogic to cover for the fact that the TOS didn’t have enough budget to show starships landing on the surface of planets. :-P

  • Ralph

    I would have liked to see a nod to Archer in here, if for nothing else it was really the only thing other than TOS that they could give a nod to as it is the only part of the story that predates this.

    Ahh – there WAS a nod – which drew a chuckle from me.

    The reason Scotty was exiled to the remote planet was because he tried to demonstrate his advanced theories on teleportation by testing it out on “Admiral Archer’s favourite beagle”!

  • David

    Yes, yes, yes! I tried to explain some of this to my brother (he’s a Trekkie who’s very grumpy about this movie) before reading your review; after reading it, I just sent him the link. I hate paying $9 for a movie, but I’ll be doing it again for this one.

  • David C

    MaryAnn, this is a citation from the Geek Police: it’s Uhur*a*, not Uhuru.

    We’re gonna let you off with a warning this time.

  • Andrew

    Regarding the gravity well — Abrams addressed that in an interview that I read and can never find again, which makes me sad, but he did answer it. Paul’s pretty close:

    You have a starship that weighs millions of tons with a propulsion system that can instantly accelerate it from a standing start to the speed of light and beyond. The power required to lift that starship from the ground into Earth orbit is MICROSCOPIC compared to what it takes to fly it through space like starships can.

    Exactly that reason, with one additional one. The Enterprise has artificial gravity; its entire interior is going to be put under 1G constantly. Shouldn’t it be built in those conditions, too?

  • JoshB

    I was always under the impression that starships had two completely different propulsion systems: the impulse drive, for ordinary tooling around in low orbit, and the warp drive, only used for interstellar faster-than-light travel.

    I assume they would use the impulse drive to break away from Earth’s gravity, which, while possible (see ST:IV where the bird of prey lifts off from ground level into space with humpback whales in tow), seems unnecessarily wasteful.

  • nolunchmoney

    I like to imagine what it must have been like to sitaround the writers table for this one. “Trek-Nation” was beating the bring-back-Shatner drum during most of the movie’s preproduction, and it occured to me pretty early on the reason why it was an impossible situation: Kirk resurrected in any way that doesnt seem like a cheat or a reset button forces the film to be about exactly that, rather than telling a new and compelling story.

    The alternate time-line serves a couple of purposes then:

    1. You get to release the shackles of slavish continuity for continuity’s sake when it comes to the minutae (Chekhov present from the beginning, referencing what would be a 60 year old Porthos in the original timeline)

    2. Now you have a wide open door out of the Nexus for our favorite hotel pitchman…early prediction is they can’t resist the call of the Shat.

    My nitpick is if shooting a chain is all that it takes to disable the drill and save the planet, why does it take Kirk flying SPock’s ship to do it..they dont have any guns on earth?

    Great fun, and great job as always Mary Ann.

  • http://www.dubhsidhestudios.com bronxbee

    “…if the future ship isn’t a Babylon 5 Shadow vessel, complete with screaming engines, I’ll surrender my geek card to the authorities.”

    i said almost *exactly* that same thing to maryann at the preview!

  • MaryAnn

    Great review, and a good movie. As a New Zealander I just have to say though that those are in no way Maori tattoos on Nero’s face. They certainly fall in the the “tribal” category, but they aren’t Maori.

    Oh, Ben, I *know* that! Nero isn’t really Eric Bana, either: he’s a character Eric Bana plays.

    I fixed the Uhura typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Yes. We cheated, just like Kirk. You seem to be the first to catch on!

    Woo-hoo! A pat on the head from one of the writers!

    You have a starship that weighs millions of tons with a propulsion system that can instantly accelerate it from a standing start to the speed of light and beyond.

    Yeah, but they ain’t gonna rev up the warp drive on the surface of a planet!

    The Enterprise has artificial gravity; its entire interior is going to be put under 1G constantly. Shouldn’t it be built in those conditions, too?

    I’m no physicist, but assuming artificial gravity could be a real thing, I don’t see how subjecting the people and objects inside the ship to 1G, drawing them down to one plane of the ship, is at all the same thing as have the entire ship subject to 1G from the outside. With artificial gravity, the ship itself is not being pulled in one direction — for that to be happening, the artificial gravity would have to be generated somewhere *outside* the ship.

    I am curious where they will go from here. Will they just go on in this time line or attempt to repair it in a future Movie. The loss of that planet after all is no small matter.

    Oh, they *must* go on in this timeline! It doesn’t need to be repaired! The loss of a major planet is indeed no small matter, but that’s what will make this timeline interesting: it’ll be *different* from what we’ve seen before. And shouldn’t that be the whole point of a reboot? We don’t wanna see the same stuff we’ve seen before — we wanna see new stuff.

  • Ben

    Hi MaryAnn. Sorry I didn’t mean to suggest you thought that the Romulans had Maori tattoos… only that the tattoo they have looks nothing like a Maori tattoo so it was strange to see it described as such. Its a post-modern looking tribal tattoo design on the face, but bares very little resemblance to the shapes and patterns typically used in Maori face tattoos.

    Anal tattoo comments aside, I was also proud of the local boy’s turn at Bones. It was good work.

    Nolunchmoney, I had that niggle too (about the no guns on Earth or Vulcan for that matter). I mean they do mention in the film that the chain probably has defences or some such (before the jump) but it didn’t really appear to be the case.

  • Jurgan

    Tempting, Maryann, very tempting. That is, you’re tempting me to turn in my Trek-haters card and go see this movie.

    Actually, I don’t really hate Trek. I grew with Star Wars, though, and at the time I assumed that the fandoms were a zero-sum game- if you loved one, you had to hate the other. So I said I hated Star Trek sight unseen. Now, I realize the legendary Trek-Wars are mostly a joke (aside from a few of those fans), so I regard the series with indifference. But it sounds like this movie, while being for the geeks, would also appeal to someone with no knowledge of or commitment to the franchise. So, again, tempting…

  • Andrew

    I’m no physicist, but assuming artificial gravity could be a real thing, I don’t see how subjecting the people and objects inside the ship to 1G, drawing them down to one plane of the ship, is at all the same thing as have the entire ship subject to 1G from the outside. With artificial gravity, the ship itself is not being pulled in one direction — for that to be happening, the artificial gravity would have to be generated somewhere *outside* the ship.

    No, but everything inside the ship is. Inside the ship, everyone and everything are constantly being pulled “down” at 1G. That means the tables and the chairs, sure… it also means the plating between the decks, the floors, the walls. Bit of a bad screwup if half of the ship collapses the first time you turn it on because somebody forgot a support beam, isn’t it? Build the whole ship in the gravity conditions it’ll be simulating, you don’t run that risk.

  • Paul

    Bit of a bad screwup if half of the ship collapses the first time you turn it on because somebody forgot a support beam, isn’t it? Build the whole ship in the gravity conditions it’ll be simulating, you don’t run that risk.

    This is an EXCELLENT point, and one I hadn’t thought of. When you build any structure in space, you can’t really test what the structural integrity will be in a 1G environment until you flip on the artificial gravity.

    You could easily build a floor, a wall, a ladder, tubes and internal plumbing with the supports misaligned, and while they would be structurally fine in microgravity, they could collapse once the ship’s interior artificial gravity is turned on.

    Even if something didn’t collapse immediately under a 1G load, you couldn’t certain that an interior structure was weaker than spec and that it wouldn’t collapse later under the constant pressure of gravity later.

    The only way to be certain is to build the entire ship in a 1G environment so the construction process tests that it is inherently sound as it’s being built.

  • MaryAnn

    You could still the build the ship in space with the anti-grav turned on. The ship does not need to be built to withstand the atmospheric pressures of the surface of the Earth. But that’s what you’re doing when you’re building on the surface. And you’re subjecting the ship to atmospheric stresses when you lift it off the surface.

    Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe if they’ve harnessed antimatter, power/fuel are nonissues, and shields can be used to protect a not-built-to-atmospheric-specs ship when it lifts off.

    I think we need to get a real physicist and a real engineer on this…

  • nyjm

    Congrats, MAJ, you’ve drawn me from “Ew… I dunno, I don’t like anything Abrams has done… and besides, it looks NOTHING like the Star Trek I love” to “Ah hah. Sounds worth a matinee.” Paramount should give you a commission. :-)

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    Just saw the movie, and I am so excited about it. I’ll definitely go see it once more next week.

    **spoilers below**

    My favorite thing was what MaryAnn mentioned above: no reset button. At the end, I thought for sure they were gonna get sucked through that black hole and end up with a way to save the planet that was destroyed. And they didn’t do it! Maybe things are going right for Sci Fi again… I really don’t think this movie would exist without the last 5 years of Galactica. So, thanks Ron Moore, and thanks J.J.

    Now, let’s fix Star Wars!

  • Anne

    SPOILERS!! [warning added by maj]

    Oh, they *must* go on in this timeline! It doesn’t need to be repaired! The loss of a major planet is indeed no small matter, but that’s what will make this timeline interesting: it’ll be *different* from what we’ve seen before.

    This is what has been on my mind all day. Their planet is gone, and they are now an endangered race. This could drastically change how the Federation and Starfleet develop in this new universe, since the Vulcans were a major force for peace. Will they continue to be, or will their main focus now be on preservation? There is definitely a story there, and I hope it gets told.

    I am beyond thrilled with all the possibilities that this new reboot has created and am crossing my fingers that the potential is developed fully.

  • MaryAnn

    I really don’t think this movie would exist without the last 5 years of Galactica. So, thanks Ron Moore, and thanks J.J.

    True. I’ve had *Enterprise* on in the background all day on the Sci Fi Channel, and it occurred to me just a few minutes ago that this show really could have been awesome (instead of wishy washy and pretty vanilla, for the most part) if it had come along after *BSG,* and the writers and producers could have been influenced by how dark and daring *BSG* was.

  • Kathy A

    Slate’s review has an audio spoiler-filled discussion in which one of the reviewers points out the debt that Abrams owes to Joss Whedon and Serenity, and posits that that film might be equally influential on future SF films.

  • PaulW

    SPOILERS, of a sort, so close your eyes and scroll down about 9 paragraphs.

    I *liked* the movie, maybe it’s gonna take more screenings before I can come to terms with it…

    I am one of those geeks who takes the mythos a little too seriously, so I am a nitpicker at heart, to wit:

    I was little miffed that the Enterprise ship interior looked more like an open-air refinery with all those pipes running about. I kept thinking, is this the Enterprise or is this the Red Dwarf? It didn’t have the feel of a naval wessel with interior hallways and such, which we only seem to get on the command deck…

    There were a few other things that kinda rubbed me the wrong way, but they would be massive SPOILERs at this point so maybe in another week or two I might bring them up later.

    It’s not Khan level. More closer to Undiscovered Country level. And it should have had Klingons instead of Romulans dammit… :/

  • Victor Plenty

    Naval wessels come in many designs, even here on Earth. Take the example of many 18th and early 19th century sailing warships, in which “clearing for action” meant hastily and thoroughly dismantling all the living quarters – not only the crew’s, but even the captain’s – to make room for working the cannons.

    Why should “interior hallways” be our primary image of something that “feels like” a naval spacecraft? Much of what we’ve seen on screen in earlier science fiction looks like that mainly because generic interior hallways with scattered high-tech wall panels make for cheap and easily built set designs.

    I’m comfortable with a starship interior that looks like it’s crammed full of the advanced machinery and technology required for spaceflight, rather than merely looking like the corporate offices of a very expensive graphic design firm.

  • Russ

    Having seen all the Trek TV shows (and also this film),I’d have to concur with Roger Ebert’s negative (but very sensible) review, where unlike other US critics who’ve overpraised it, he cites the weakness and mediocrity of the film’s script and logic. Paramount badly need this movie to do well overseas (where Star Trek has always had a much weaker fan base than in North America), so it’ll be interesting seeing how it fares in it’s 2nd – 4th weeks.

    The movie is entertaining, but since it was dumbed down for dumb ass teenagers, it failed to deliver on what Star Trek has always been when it’s at its best: a smart, socially analytical franchise.
    There was and is nothing smart about this movie, something JJ Abrams and his hack writing colleagues have always struggled with. They can do entertaining, but fail at delivering something intelligent.

  • Abraham Lincoln

    It was a good film and I enjoyed it. But it had some plot holes big enough to fly a starship through.

    Potential Spoilers below:

    1. If Nero has the “red matter” that can collapse the supernova-ing star before it destroys Romulus… and he’s thrown back in time 130 years. So why doesn’t he just collapse the star 130 years early, so Romulus is safe?

    2. Why is Kirk promoted to first officer by Pike? Especially right before he goes on an away mission.

    3. Instead of skydiving to stop the mining laser, why not just use the shuttle’s weapons systems? If it didn’t have weapon systems, why not lean out the door and fire on it?

    4. Why are cadets assigned to starships in an emergency? Aren’t there enough officers to command the starships in orbit?

    5. Why maroon Kirk on an ice-world instead of just throwing him in the brig?

    6. If Scotty has been crewing the Federation station on the ice planet that is within spitting distance of Vulcan, why doesn’t he make any mention of what is occurring on Vulcan?

    All that being said, I enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t the best Star Trek movie, but it was far from being the worst.

  • Abraham Lincoln

    Russ

    While I did enjoy the movie for it’s entertainment value, I agree with your main points.

  • Keith

    I left the theater with mixed feelings about the film. Technically (acting, visuals, pacing, drama, comedy, etc) the movie was well done. I especially liked the scene where they are free falling to the drilling platform and all you first hear is their breathing, but as they enter the upper atmosphere, the wind sounds build, awesome! Emotionally, I was conflicted.

    Born the same year that Star Trek originally aired, I have grown up with Star Trek. I’ve seen most everything Trek put out (with the exception of parts of DS9). However, I consider myself more of a fan of science fiction in general than a Trekker. The loss of Vulcan (and the billions its inhabitants) was felt like a blow to the gut.

    The biggest problem I have with this movie is with it trying to stand in two universes at once. They want to create a separate new interpretation of Star Trek; I’d be fine with that. They want to go back and explore the early years of the familiar characters, equally acceptable. Picking and choosing what to accept and reject, especially at the cost of so much of the previous canon, not so much.

    With so much temporal shenanigans in the Star Trek universe no wonder a Temporal Prime Directive was created. They want to tie in with the original universe, then why didn’t the Time Police (as evidenced in both Enterprise and Voyager) put a stop to Nero’s plan? What’s to stop Starfleet, especially a determined group surviving Vulcans, from trying to formulate a time travel plan to save their planet? Seems like weak writing to me. This could also set a precedent for sci-fi. Instead of retcon to change past continuity, now they can just throw some time travel solution at the problem and, voila, neocontinuity!

    There are only two plot issues I want to touch on. The Spock/Uhura incident is fine by me given the butterfly effects of Nero’s meddling and the emotional response (Vulcan or no) in wake of such a calamity. The other is the inconsistent handling of the red matter. One drop of it will destroy a planet in minutes, but a few hundred times that amount takes the same amount of time to suck in one large spaceship, but not another a few miles/kilometers away (and not the instant they ejected the warp core, either)? Speaking of which, how could a warp bubble even be formed under such intense gravimetric stress? Oh, crap, there goes my brain thinking again. How annoying!

    I had fun watching the movie, but the way so much great Star Trek history was simply recorded over (lost like tears in rain ;) through such a self-serving way, ultimately drained much of the joy from the rest of the movie. The ironic thing is reading criticism of detailed fan responses like this from people who would debate even more intensely subjects that are dear to their heart (especially money, politics and religion). It all comes down to what we are emotionally attached.

  • Victor Plenty

    MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING: skip my responses to these debating points if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

    1. If Nero has the “red matter” that can collapse the supernova-ing star before it destroys Romulus… and he’s thrown back in time 130 years. So why doesn’t he just collapse the star 130 years early, so Romulus is safe?

    The writers covered this in several subtle ways, requiring close attention.

    First, Nero has gone insane, and wants to cause pain. Everything else he does and says is rationalizing this desire.

    If you don’t like this psychological explanation, you could just take his own explanation at face value. He believes Romulus will never be safe in any universe that includes the Federation.

    He says he is preventing genocide. He seems to believe the Federation deliberately caused the supernova that destroyed Romulus. He is much like conspiracy theorists who think the U.S. government deliberately causes every misfortune from the 9/11 attacks to the swine flu. (And that is such a can of worms, I’m glad the filmmakers stopped with subtle hints at this resemblance).

    2. Why is Kirk promoted to first officer by Pike? Especially right before he goes on an away mission.

    At that point, Pike is making snap decisions with very little time to spare. Kirk had, just moments before, showed evidence of his own decisive nature, rapidly correlating several sources of information to make a prediction that was immediately confirmed.

    Pike knows if he doesn’t make it back, his ship is facing a situation nearly as dire as the “no-win” scenario from the earlier training simulation that Kirk defeated. He clearly decides Kirk’s creativity and determination may supply the best chance for success against those odds.

    But first the away mission has to succeed, or there will be no chance for anything else to be done. Pike has also personally witnessed evidence of Kirk’s ability to take a lot of physical punishment without losing his determination. (That’s one reason this script IS smart – the bar fight scene, like almost every other scene, accomplishes multiple levels of character and plot development.)

    3. Instead of skydiving to stop the mining laser, why not just use the shuttle’s weapons systems? If it didn’t have weapon systems, why not lean out the door and fire on it?

    Nobody knew it was a simple mining laser at that point, except the Romulans. For all Pike knew, it was an advanced weapon with its own automated defenses, which the shuttle would fail to damage. Taking such visible action against it, while on the way to negotiate a cease-fire, would definitely anger the enemy and likely provoke the destruction of the Enterprise.

    Pike’s course of action had to balance unknown risk factors, and the script counts on the viewer’s intelligence to understand this.

    Later, after Spock Prime’s mind meld, Kirk knew more about the mining laser, and had reason to hope the advanced weapons on Spock Prime’s ship could disable it.

    4. Why are cadets assigned to starships in an emergency? Aren’t there enough officers to command the starships in orbit?

    Three years earlier, when Pike recruits Kirk in the bar fight scene, it’s broadly hinted that Starfleet has a shortage of personnel. Again, the writers count on the viewer’s intelligence to connect the dots.

    5. Why maroon Kirk on an ice-world instead of just throwing him in the brig?

    Partly because Spock was already emotionally compromised at this point, as Spock Prime later explains.

    Partly because Kirk had already shown a capacity to quickly persuade other crew members to see things his way. Kirk in the brig would still be a risk to Spock’s command. Getting him off the ship entirely was the only way to prevent him from interfering with Spock’s decisions.

    The ice world was close by, and had a Federation outpost, which Spock presumably counted on to rescue Kirk before his pod’s supplies ran out.

    6. If Scotty has been crewing the Federation station on the ice planet that is within spitting distance of Vulcan, why doesn’t he make any mention of what is occurring on Vulcan?

    Obviously Scotty didn’t know what was happening on Vulcan. He was in exile, and not keeping up with current events. He thought Kirk and Spock Prime were there in response to a message he had sent long before.

    Rather than waste time to bring Scotty up to speed on things that can’t be changed, Spock Prime focuses on prodding him to implement the transporter equation that will get him and Kirk back into the battle against the Romulans.

    In sum, none of your plot holes are actually plot holes. In fact they provide evidence that, far from being “dumbed down,” the script is much smarter than certain hasty critics are giving it credit for.

  • Victor Plenty

    Keith, nothing has been lost. Nothing has been recorded over. You’re not making any sense.

    All the previous great Star Trek history is still readily available for the price of a Netflix subscription.

    Now it’s available to new audiences, who might never have taken any interest in it without the strenuous efforts these new filmmakers have put into reviving the Star Trek universe.

  • Saladinho

    I see your point Keith.

    A few friends of mine who are massive Star Trek fans feel the same way. There’s a sense that the film is basically saying: “Everything you remember, that doesn’t count now. There’s a new sheriff in town. He’s bigger, faster, and louder. You don’t like it. Stay home!”

  • MaryAnn

    Three years earlier, when Pike recruits Kirk in the bar fight scene, it’s broadly hinted that Starfleet has a shortage of personnel. Again, the writers count on the viewer’s intelligence to connect the dots.

    There’s also a mention, as the students are heading off on their mission, that much of Starfleet is embroiled in some other urgent situation in another section of Federation space.

    I, however, like to think of this as the *Space Camp* scenario. :->

  • Keith

    I forgot to mention, I also loved the Vulcan way Spock tells the Council to “Live long and bite me” after their back-handed criticism of his mother.

    Keith, nothing has been lost. Nothing has been recorded over. You’re not making any sense.

    All the previous great Star Trek history is still readily available for the price of a Netflix subscription.

    The “nothing has been recorded over” is from, as the Doctor would say, “a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint.” From Spock Prime’s view point everything he knows has changed, including the destruction of his whole planet and most of his race, which still existed in the original timeline. Those who can’t emerse themselve into a story (first person point of view) probably can’t understand this. Victor’s comment is third person.

    Sure it is just a story, and I can watch the original material any time I like, but if I accept the new story as part of the Star Trek Universe, then I know it all changes (on the whim of a madman no less). This depends on how much you care about continuity, history and what came before. If all you care about is the next shiny new thing, then fine. Just remember, those who do not remember history… From what I’ve read, there are people, especially those who are no fan of Rick Berman’s decisions, who will rejoice in this. New is good, just not (IMHO) at the expense of the old.

  • Victor Plenty

    Keith, it all still happens, even in the story universe. Perhaps the word “multiverse” is more appropriate here.

    The creation of a new timeline does not have to mean the events in the other timeline are wiped out. The model of quantum universes says the two different series of events are both equally real, happening in parallel to each other.

    For Spock Prime this idea is not less important, but actually more important than it is for us as outside viewers. Everything he remembers was real. The people in that history were real people, and through him, the equally real people in the new timeline can learn of that history and its lessons.

    So when I say nothing has been lost, I am most emphatically NOT dismissing the story universe as “just a story.” The prior Star Trek history available on DVD still possesses just as much symbolic, mythic, culturally significant reality as ever. It may have even more such significance, now that the potential audience is so much broader.

    That is why I am arguing so forcibly for this view. The future of Trek as a cultural influence is partly up to us to decide. As fans of the previous Trek incarnations, we can turn away from the new films and dismiss the new young fans as idiots, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy… OR we can help link the core values both storylines share.

    The Federation is still the Federation, still striving to live up to high ideals and difficult ethical values in an imperfect universe.

    And if such a concept ever needed and deserved our support, that is still true, now more than ever.

  • http://wittylibrarian.blogspot.com/ PaulW

    I forgot to bring this up on my previous post, but here’s the deal. Friday was my birthday (yay me!) so seeing the movie was a present to meself, and it was a chance to go see the movie with my twin brother and his two sons.
    Afterward, we went out for dinner and my nephews gave me a birthday present.
    It was a red shirt.

    I am NOT making this up.

  • Victor Plenty

    Dude, a red shirt? Awesome!

    Well, for us anyway. Kinda sucks for you, I guess.

    Then again, Scotty and Uhura also wear the red uniforms, and they never get killed, at least not until this new movie. Oops, I’ve said too much.

  • Rykker

    I didn’t think I’d see a spoiler where I think I just did (I had no intention of reading the whole review before I have a chance to see the film Monday morning), and there were no spoiler warnings prior to this early comment…

    BUTT –

    Everything that happens here, in the gorgeously, simply entitled Star Trek (no roman numerals, no qualifiers), happens in an alternate universe, an alternate timeline, an alternate reality.

    *sniff*
    That smells like a spoiler…

  • JoshB

    That’s not a spoiler, it’s a basic plot point that you should be able to figure out in the first five minutes of the movie.

    A spoiler would be if I told you that Kirk mind-melds with Picard in order to…Oh, but I’ve said too much…

  • JoshB

    Damnit Victor Plenty, you beat me to the punch with the “said too much” gambit.

  • Rykker

    Ok, then.
    I will trust what you say, Josh; having not yet seen the first five minutes.

  • Bradzilla

    Regarding the erased history perspective, I would have been bothered by this maybe 20 years ago, but I’m not so much the “purist” any more. Let’s face it, if we’re revisiting the future of TOS, they *had* to update the look. I love the original bridge, the look of the gadgets (I collect props), and the frequent campy overacting, but that wouldn’t play to audiences. TOS sets look quite primitive even in light of “Enterprise” episodes, and recreating them would look wildly out of place. It would distract from the rest of the movie. It would not be getting the good reviews it is. In all honesty, TOS was not particularly that good at maintaining its own continuity, so let’s not get all in a huff with this very ambitious reboot.

    As a huge ST geek, thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I am anxious for a sequel or better yet, a new series (not gonna happen…).

  • PaulW

    After two days of musing, and of seeing the debate here about the rebooting, I’ve come to realize that is what’s been nagging me about this film…

    They didn’t do a good enough job clarifying that this film represents an alternate version of the Trek universe, in a vein of the Mirror Universe. I’m thinking they could have filmed that scene between Spock Prime and Spock a little differently, like this:

    SPOCK sees a familiar-looking Vulcan talking to another Starfleet officer, one wearing an oddly-patterned uniform.
    SPOCK: Father?
    (SPOCK PRIME turns around. The audience gets a clearer view of the other officer and it’s GEORDI LA FORGE)
    SPOCK PRIME: blah blah sons and fathers etc. Oh, by the by, this Starfleet officer is from my future, my reality. This is not so much a damaged timeline as this is a new universe, one in which Vulcan was destroyed and a chance to save Romulus remains. (nods to GEORDI, who steps away) I will stay here, in this universe, with the time I have remaining. The penance I have chosen for myself is to rebuild a new Vulcan, to repair this universe from the damage that had been done by my failure back home. (Smiles at his younger self) Back home, in my universe, there is still a Vulcan, and a human mother who lived long enough to instill in her Vulcan son not the pride of two heritages but the responsibilities that come with loving and accepting those heritages. I am certain that your mother, that Amanda… (a tear forms in SPOCK PRIME’S eye)…
    SPOCK: I understand.
    SPOCK PRIME (nods again and smiles as best he can. Flashes the Vulcan Party Hard sign): Good luck. (turns, pauses) Speaking of alternate universes, I should warn you of some. There’s one in which Tribbles defeated the Klingon Empire: avoid that one at all costs. There’s another one where the universe is a dark mirror to mines, and yours. Whatever you do, don’t grow a beard. Let the Mirror Spock have it.
    SPOCK: Facial hair is illogical.
    SPOCK PRIME: That is wise. (Turns and walks away)

  • Kenny

    Hmm.. With regards to building the Enterprise at the bottom of a gravity well…

    It actually doesn’t matter where you build a ship like that, assuming you have the magical technology which allows you to manipulate intertia. We know they do, in the Trek Universe, because the ships can accelerate very quickly, without rendering their crews down to a red slush thinly coating the rear of every cabin.

    To dampen intertia must mean the Enterprise is equipped with technology which allows her to negate her own mass, possibly by partially removing the ship from our regular vanilla space-time.

    If she can do that.. you could build her on a launch pad floating around in Jupiter’s clouds and it wouldn’t make a difference.

  • Bolongo

    The “canyon” young Kirk skids the car into is clearly a rock quarry. My first thought on seeing it was “So granite is a major export of Iowa? Huh. Did not know that.”

    As for the alternate universe thing… yeah, that… I’m not sure how to put this.

    On the one hand, for the purposes of rebooting the franchise it is of course a very, very smart move. It gives Abrams and crew a clean slate to work on, while at the same time not upsetting traditionalist Trek fans. I’m almost willing to buy it simply for those reasons.

    On the other hand, the parallell/branching timelines theory of time travel has, generally speaking, the problem of rendering time travel meaningless. At least if you’re doing it for any sort of altruistic purpose. On this theory, if Nero goes back in time and prevents the destruction of Romulus, he isn’t actually saving any of the people he left behind. They’re still stuck in their original, sucky, timeline (where they’re dead). All he’s done is create a new fork in the road where a new timeline branches off – he’s travelling down this new road and any actions he takes will only affect people in the new timeline. In the particular case of Nero, this doesn’t affect his actions because he’s stark raving mad and doesn’t really know what’s going on, but to a time traveller who understands the reality of the situation it can be kind of a downer. For example, in the later episodes of “Terminator: TSCC” there are hints dropped about this sort of theory, which is really unfortunate. Because if it’s true in that universe it renders everything done in that whole franchise pointless.

    Getting back to Star Trek, there is also plenty of canonical evidence that time travel does not function like this, that there is in fact only one timeline which is subject to revision when tampered with. I’m just going to cite one example: in “City on the Edge of Forever” Bones jumps back in time and the Enterprise winks out of existence in the present. Whoops.

    But still. If this metaphysical retcon is the price we have to pay for getting some good sci-fi fun back on the big screen, so be it. I laughed my ass off at The Onion’s take on this movie, and I enjoyed the film itself very much.

    Now, what would it take to revitalize Star Wars in a similar fashion…?

  • Jace_Seren

    A beautifully crafted and highly enjoyable movie. My only complaint was the constant lens flare effects anytime the scene was on the bridge. Yes, thank you, the ship is REALLY new and REALLY shiney. We get it. Does it have a dimmer switch?

  • JoshDM

    I still can’t believe they replaced Starbuck with a chick.

  • http://www.radiofreebongwater.com Bongwater

    Heh..

    Star Wars: Coming Soon……. 2018. :)

    I would consider developing a drinking game for every time we got a lens flare, but your liver would have to be made of adamantium.

    The day they announced the project, I swore it was a bad idea. After the first trailer, I was convinced that Star Trek NEEDED this. After seeing the flick tonight, I’m amazed at how successful it really is.

  • mortadella

    Bruce Greenwood’s Captain Pike…OH HELL YEAH. I’m sure the “Punch It” t-shirts are being shipped out to stores even as we speak.

    I love J.J.’s stuff, and I thought this film was both respectful and innovatively playful….but gosh, I was sitting there in the movie theater thinking; “I’m having my nostalgia repackaged and sold back to me….again.”
    It’s kind of like when I bought a ticket to the new Director’s cut of Empire Strikes Back. I was sitting their realizing I wasn’t seeing anything new…my Gen-X ass got fooled.
    Now, I didn’t dislike this latest Star Trek film…I thought it was definitely entertaining. But once I got over the thrill of seeing the revamped characters, I just thought it all played out like a very good episode of the TV Star Trek. You know, pissed off alien with a vendetta tries to destroy the planet…Kirk and Spock stop him…all is well.

    I must say, I thought Karl Urban did an excellent job channeling “Bones” McCoy. It seemed like he (and Simon Peg)had permission to recreate what the original actors brought to the characters. The others seemed to be restrained….trying to avoid impersonation.
    I wish Uhura was given an oppurtunity to be physical like her male counterparts…instead, she basically played a love interest and stripped down to her bra and panties.
    I love John Cho, but I didn’t buy his fight scene; he’s such a wisp of a boy.

  • Drew Ryce

    I always had a fondness for Captain Pike and thought that Hunter would have made a far better Kirk that Shatner (ducks flying Nerd missles). While eternity on a planet of lifelike dreaming is a heck of an attractive retirement package I am glad to see his large and important place in the new series.

    A problem that I had and it appears that I am the only one. Billions of Vulcans die. Billions.

    Not really that happy an ending.

    Amidst the general congrats were was the general thought: “Gee, we had 20+ years to figure out what happened to the Kirk Daddy ship or the specific: “Say Spock, instead of coming out of your captured ship and engaging in soft diplomacy with the crazed Romulans how about showing a little logic and triggering the red thingy thereby ending the menace and saving your planet?”

    Well, I guess it wouldn’t make for much of a movie. Still, the ending parroted the general celebration after Star Wars and there, at least the huge casualties were Death Star crew.

  • Victor Plenty

    Invent reasons to blame survivors for crimes others have committed against them and their people? Drew, if we really craved seeing some of that, there’s more than enough of it on display in the daily news.

    So the new movie stops short of Roddenberry’s premise, that humans could evolve beyond all major conflict in a couple of hundred years. Fair enough, but I’m more than happy to assume we might grow up just enough to abandon the useless hunt for scapegoats as our knee-jerk response to every crisis.

  • Keith

    Victor, now you are not making any sense.

    Invent reasons to blame survivors for crimes others have committed against them and their people? Drew, if we really craved seeing some of that, there’s more than enough of it on display in the daily news.

    How do you get that from Drew’s:

    Amidst the general congrats were was the general thought: “Gee, we had 20+ years to figure out what happened to the Kirk Daddy ship or the specific: “Say Spock, instead of coming out of your captured ship and engaging in soft diplomacy with the crazed Romulans how about showing a little logic and triggering the red thingy thereby ending the menace and saving your planet?”

    Where do you get the “blame” from this? Second, who’s crimes are you talking about, Nero’s (erroneously) conceived crimes of Spock acting against the Romulans? Sounds like you are arguing that because Nero is a survivor of his planet’s holocost, he has the right to destroy the race he believes destroyed his (an idea Nero late escallated to include all the Federation). Would you have felt any differently about the movie if Earth had been destroyed instead? How do you compare any of this to what is seen in the daily news?

    After having time to reflect, I personally have more negative feelings than positive about the new Star Trek movie primarily because of this decision to destroy Vulcan. Drew, you are not alone on this point. I’ve seen posts elsewhere that argue this was uncalled for and unnecessary. I would have been rather positive about the movie without this plot decision.

  • B4

    Actually, the entire mythos HAS essentially been recorded over my fellow nerds.
    In Start Trek,every time travel story has basically adhered to the one time line/’Back To The Future’ style idea. There is no multiple crossroad effect,no branching off from the official party line; what happens in the past DOES affect the future. Think Picard going back to post WW3 Earth to launch the Phoenix & defeat the Borg Queen lest the borg over run his earth, think the Enterprise C tripping through a spacial rift & spawning a future where The Federation & the Klingon Empire are locked in a decades long conflict, think Sisko assuming the identity of Gabriel Bell after the transporter accident aboard the Defiant to prevent the destruction of Earth, Data losing his head in 19th century San Francisco,saving the humpback whales, etc etc ETC….The multiple timeline explanation has NEVER been supported before by any Star Trek incarnation, this is completely new territory.
    Keith is right: Everything we know *has* been jettisoned for bigger, brighter, louder.

  • Victor Plenty

    Keith, are you kidding me? It’s extremely obvious what Drew meant, despite his nearly incoherent sentence structure. He is saying two things.

    SPOILER WARNING: Anyone who has not yet had a chance to see the movie should not read any more of this post.

    First, Drew is saying someone should have seen the full dimensions of the threat posed by Nero, and done something about it. The Federation failed to prevent Nero’s later attack, so Drew apparently wants someone at the end of the movie setting up an equivalent to the 9/11 Commission, solely in order to place the blame for the “intelligence failure.” This, despite the fact that only one member of Starfleet ever got the tiniest sliver of information about the threat — who Nero was, where he came from, what he wanted — and that was the captain of the Kelvin, who was killed moments after he learned it.

    Second, Drew is saying Spock Prime should have known somehow, moments after emerging from the time rift, that his ship had been captured by a psychopath who was immovably dedicated to wiping out the Federation. Thus Spock Prime should have detonated all the red matter in his ship as soon as it was captured. Drew apparently wanted to see someone at the end of the movie blame Spock Prime for the destruction of Vulcan. This despite the fact that there was no way he could have known who had captured his ship, or why, or what they planned to do.

    In short, Drew wants to see a hunt for scapegoats as the Federation’s response to the destruction of Vulcan, and he doesn’t seem to care whether they end up blaming Spock Prime or some nameless Starfleet intelligence analyst.

    I think we see more than enough crass witch hunts in our politics today, and even now, it usually ends up being a useless waste of time.

    I challenge you to draw any other meaning out of Drew’s tortured grammar, Keith. You questioned my interpretation of his words, but failed to offer any alternative interpretation. I’m quite curious to know what you think he really said.

  • Drew Ryce

    Victor, how about this alternate scenario:

    [Spock's ship has just been captured, but Spock has not yet emerged as shown in the film]
    Nero: Come out at once.
    Spock: Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.
    Nero: Come out or I will destroy you.
    Spock: I have a red thingy. Zap me and you die also.
    Nero: Then you will die.
    Spock: Duh. By the way who are you?

    As for the ‘hey we had 25 years to figure this stuff out, why were we clueless’ comment:

    Modern federation warship is destroyed by futuristic Romulan vessel of unimaginable sophistication. 800 living witnesses and lots of computer download info are available due to the extraordinary courage of Kirk Senior. (By the way, we know it is Romulan because of the Romulan on the telecast to the bridge.)
    Yeah, I think that questions might be asked like where the hell did that ship come from, what is with the storm, where did it go, etc.

    The point that Victor ignores is that the big goofy celebration is out of place in the aftermath of 6 billion dead Vulcans (and, by the way, the continuing danger to however many billion Romulans). Try to picture how really happy we might be at having saved New York from a nuke. Got it? Now temper that with the knowledge that the terrorist we stopped has destroyed London 2 days earlier. See, the celebration is unseemly. The mood is wrong.

    Nor is the destruction of Vulcan needed to advance the plot. The whole Kirk saves everything could have been done at Vulcan instead of earth. of course we then couldn’t ahve had a CGI extravaganza planet blow up. Ahh, but we could have. Vulcan has a guardian world, or some such, that Nero destroys.

    In short, Victor doesn’t get the nuance that in Star Wars the destruction of the Death star is a victory (Wheee celebrate). In Star Trek the destruction of Vulcan is a defeat of unimaginable proportions. The celebration is out of order.

  • Keith

    Victor, I intentionally offered no alternative interpretation in order to avoid influencing your response. I wanted to know what you thought, not what I assumed you might have meant. Only Drew knows what he really meant. Anything else is pure speculation and us pushing our agenda by trying to twist someone else’s meaning. Your response makes my point far clearer than I could ever make it. Anyone reading the posts for content will realize this. My advice I take from Spock, “You really should learn to govern your passions, they will be your undoing.”

    I don’t want to drag this thread off topic, lest we test the patience of your benevolent hostess, so I’ll move onto a more relevant topic. Where the story goes from here really depends on what the people paying the tickets want. I got to thinking how this really isn’t all that different from what they did with Spock’s death back in Wrath of Kahn. At the time people didn’t know they were going to bring him back. That was pre-internet and before the instant viewer feedback. If enough motivated fans want a restored timeline, it will get restored. The only real constant is change.

    The whole multiverse theory (which was actually brought up in TOS episode The Alternative Factor, just not with any time component) is rather academic. Unless you have a means of getting to that other reality, you are stuck in the one you are in. Unless it is changed in future movies, it will be what it will be. Those that don’t like the decisions can either work to get them changed, suck it up and move on, or just be happy watching the old episodes in any of the multiple formats available these days (without a viable restart to the genre that is the only visible option left at this point).

    I was initially shocked and disturbed by what they did, now I’m getting over it (watching some TOS episodes on-line helps, try it).

  • Keith

    The Onion (a satirical “news” site) has a rather humorous news release about the new Star Trek movie. It doesn’t have some of the language some of their stuff does, but don’t watch it if you take yourself too seriously as a fan.

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/trekkies_bash_new_star_trek_film?utm_source=a-section

  • Victor Plenty

    Keith, you’ve tipped your hand. You claim that you stayed away from interpreting Drew’s words because only he could know what he really meant. Yet you were quite comfortable accusing me of arguing that Nero had the right to destroy a planet.

    Anyone reading this conversation for content will recognize what you have done.

    As for me, I’ve been trolled enough for now, and will simply bid you good day.

  • Saladinho

    It’s kind of scary to see Star Trek so highly praised when it’s a dumbed down, louder, and more obnoxious version of the original series.

    It’s weird to hear fans say, “Well, now more people can like Star Trek!” But then, the thing that made it Star Trek has been watered down and homogenized. Now it’s part Star Wars, part reboot Battle Star Galactica, and part Fast and Furious.

    Great…

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    Saladinho (Mon May 11 09, 10:40PM):

    Now it’s part Star Wars, part reboot Battle Star Galactica, and part Fast and Furious.

    I can’t be the only person who thinks this sounds totally awesome (and totally apt). Which part could you possibly dislike, Saladinho? And, indeed, if you do dislike these elements, why would your opinion matter to anyone who loves movies and science fiction?

    It’s like you said “Man, this dessert is part Ice Cream, part Chocolate Cake!”

    My only response to that is Fuck Yeah!

  • Saladinho

    Newbs, if you’re too stupid to realize that “Part ice cream and part chocolate cake.” is not the right analogy to what I was saying, that’s your problem.

    I really don’t need my opinion validated by anyone, I was merely expressing it.

  • JoshB

    Yeah Newbs! Chocolate cake is totally nasty you dumbass!

    I recommend bananas foster + apple pie as a better analogy.

  • Victor Plenty

    Drew, I ignored your “point” about the big goofy celebration because there was NO big goofy celebration in the movie, and thus you had made no point susceptible to rational discussion.

    SPOILER WARNING:

    In the actual movie, there was in fact a fairly solemn ceremony, at which everyone expressed gratitude and relief that they had averted the destruction of every planet in the Federation.

    Seeing that you apparently did not watch the same movie that I did, Drew, it may be difficult for us to have any useful conversation on the subject.

  • Keith

    My “hand,” my dear Victor, and thank you for helping me illustrate my example, is one of tolerance and respect for others (a very central Star Trek theme). This is especially important when it comes to material as emotionally charged as this. Those who don’t feel as emotionally connected to Star Trek will wonder what all the fuss is about. We ALL have something to which we have a deep emotional connection (those that think they don’t are delusional). Whatever it is, it seems very important, but it’s really only important to us. Even if what someone else is passionate about isn’t one of our passions, we should acknowledge and respect the other person’s passion, as we would like them to do to us.

    The reason for this is we all think with different parts of our brains. The emotional parts are stronger than the rational parts. Science has proven that we decide almost instantly about things and then use the rational areas to support how we feel. Be interesting to wonder how Star Trek would have turned out had this been known back in the 60′s, but back then there were no fMRI’s to image the brain. Also, the stronger we feel about something, the less rational we tend to become, as our actions become driven by feeling instead of rational thought.

    Nero is a good example of this (he may be a Romulan, but he’s written by humans). Based on a snap emotional decision, he made assumptions about Spock’s action which lead to disastrous consequences.

    Drew’s post, as most forum posts are, was rather light on detail. As I did with Victor, the best way to find out what someone really means is to ask them. Assuming what is meant is the basis of miscommunication and only leads to trouble. A Star Trek type reality will be far more likely if listen to what others are saying instead of jumping to conclusions about what we THINK someone else means.

    Appologies to anyone, especially Victor, for any discomfort I might have caused. I was hoping for a non-Trek example I could use to generate some perspective. Care should be taken when emotions run high. They are a very powerful force in our lives of which we need to have respect for both ours and others. In truth we are all more similar than different, which is the very core of what Star Trek is all about.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    That settles it! Ice Cream and Chocolate Cake for everyone!!!

  • Saladinho

    Ha! Okay: chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream are still chocolate cake and ice cream. In the case of this movie, they made it less Star Trek, and more of the other franchises I mentioned.

  • Bree

    I disagree, Saladinho. I grew up with the original series of ‘Star Trek’ (the 70′s reruns, that is) and this new ‘Trek’ felt bizarrely authentic, far more like the original series than many of the more recent turgid ‘Trek’ films and TV spin-offs, which lack the humour, silliness and human elements such as drunkenness and womanising, etc. so intrinsic to Roddenberry’s original.

    The existential/philosophical elements of the original series were somewhat lost/sacrificed in setting up this new story, but I thought for such a blockbuster crowdpleaser the film-makers did well with character development/pathos and some salient philosophical lessons, primarily involving Spock’s arc in accepting the duality of his own character and thinking for himself instead of following the expected path, as well as some simple truths such as the nature of heroism and self-sacrifice. It will be interesting to see the direction the next film – if indeed there is one, I hope so – takes in this regard.

    I’m not a hard-out Trekkie but I felt absolutely no BSG or Fast&Furioius in this new ‘Trek’ retcon (one scene of boy Kirk driving real fast in a car to hard rock music does not make ‘Trek’ like F&F, I’ve heard this stated elsewhere and I think it’s patently ridiculous); perhaps there’s a pinch of ‘Star Wars’ in the production design, but while it may be souped up, shiny and frenetic, at its heart ‘Trek’ felt to me like Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew getting a new lease on life, and like Pegg’s Scotty says, ‘It’s exciting!’

  • Drew Ryce

    to Victor Plenty, perhaps we did see different movies.
    Did yours have a scene where Spock gives up a doomsday devise that is then used to destroy his home world and murder 6 billion people including his mother?

    Because if there was, then yeah, I think that a rational being might reconsider his actions and think “Hmm, perhaps giving that nuke to Bin Laden wasn’t the best option”.

    By the way, what is with the highly personal tone in your posts? I don’t know you. You don’t know me. calm down. It was a movie. We are talking about a movie. exchange of opinions about a movie. calm…

  • Saladinho

    That’s quite alright Bree. You actually pointed out the scene I was thinking of, when I mentioned FF. I was alluding to an overall sense that I personally got from Kirk, that I could never believe anyone would put him in charge of anything in that film, let alone the Enterprise. To me he was just the stereotypical “hot rod” jerk.

    I just felt that the entire enterprise, so to speak, was injected with steroids and given a nose job: it’s all recognizable, but skewed.

  • Winged

    While I enjoyed the move immensely and agree with your review for the most part, I don’t agree that the “geek stuff” isn’t a reason why Star Trek works.

    The human element is integral, to be sure, but the uncanny ability the original Star Trek shows had to predict technological trends and create actual, functional-looking consoles was a big part of ST’s appeal. The new consoles are shiny and all, but the key functionality seems to be absent. I wouldn’t want that many lights and pretty graphics blinking at my face when I’m trying to perform a delicate maneuver in the heat of battle.

    That being said, however, that movie was the most fun I’ve had since Iron Man. Sign me up for the sequels!

    But all of that geek stuff? It ain’t why Star Trek works. It works because its tale — of green cadets weathering their first encounter with the life-or-death job they signed up for — is a tale of people, not technology, a tale in which even the aliens are people (as they should be). Human nature here has not changed — as sometimes Trek, particularly The Next

  • amanohyo

    Well Saladinho, I hate to fufill the Onion’s prophecy, but I feel about the same as you do about the movie. It’s competent, but far from the best Star Trek film (it’s about average really, the movies are mostly awful). It barely even qualifies as a SciFi movie. Although I agree with MA that Star Trek is about the human element and not the geeky technology and intergalactic politics, I didn’t really care about any of the humans on display here, and I actively disliked Kirk, the only one who was given much attention.

    I’ve never seen Battlestar Galactica or Fast +Furious, but the young Kirk scene reminded me of the worst parts of T2, and the general feel of the movie was similar to the Star Wars prequels. A series of action set pieces, frequent sprinkles of nostalgic nerd candy (I won’t say I didn’t get a kick out of a couple of them), but no real heart. People die, spaceships explode, babies are born, planets collapse on themselves, and I didn’t feel a thing. I’m pretty sure I was more emotionally invested in the characters of Galaxy Quest.

    The movie also suffers from one of my pet peeves: transparently redundant info dumping. Nothing annoys me more than film makers who bludgeon their audiences with obvious information. “Remember, we won’t be able to transport you until it’s disabled.” Really? I kinda think they and everyone in the audience knows that since you just explained it ten seconds ago. “Is he not taking the simulation seriously?” No. way. Thanks Professor Obvious. Why would you make a supposedly intelligent human character say that? It shows a complete lack of respect for the audience… which sadly might be warranted, but still it bugs me.

    But it’s entertaining and satisfying while you’re watching it in a mindless summer popcorn flick kind of way (in fact, the opening of MA’s Wolverine review describes how I feel about this movie pretty well), the effects are spiffy, the score is overbearing, and the camera is constantly moving which all count for something these days. The one aspect that didn’t leave a disappointing aftertaste was Zach Quinto who pulled off a young Spock perfectly. It’s a shame the movie surrounding him wasn’t quite as good. It’s a sad commentary on the state of Star Trek movies to see a film that is determined to be merely adequate receive such high praise.

  • Greg

    I don’t mean this for this particular talkback,
    but on other sites I’ve noticed a very snotty, hostile and even mocking attitude towards those who criticise the extremely mediocre new movie for setting up an alternate Trek timeline and in doing so, throwing aside 40 years’ worth of canon.

    I absolutely detested this movie and knew it’d be a stinker the moment I saw the ‘juvenile delinquent’ Kirk deliberately throw his stepfather’s Corvette off a huge canyon (which the US state of Iowa doesn’t even have any of anyway). Not only the alternative time line, but the ridiculously moronic characters are what ruined this. Most of the crew were little more than SNL skit parodies of the show. Spock was the most seriously done, but even he was out of character. The Kirk character was played like an obnoxious, unmannered teen punk with an attitude. His behavior was more indicative of some 90 IQ delinquent with a behavior disorder than a military cadet. This movie wasn’t for adults.

    Yes we know it’s all just fiction and we know we can still go away and watch the previous Trek movies and shows, but that isn’t the point. Trek has a long standing fan-base, that’s kept the franchise going and is mostly very fond of the established universe – founded on what Gene Roddenberry’s vision stood for (hope, optimism, progress and our inherent good nature and potential for enlightenment).

    As such, it’s entirely valid for people to criticise a movie that not only discards everything that preceded it, virtually destroys one of Trek’s most iconic species (the Vulcans) and also dumps Roddenberry’s vision in favor of one-liners, lasers and blowing everything up. That’s not what Trek was and is meant to be about.

    With its atrocious science, the new film spectacularly fails at Rodenberry’s vision in the end, as a long-standing theme of original Star Trek, was the ability of people to find their moral center and do the right thing. Phoney Kirk started doing that when he offered to save Nero’s crew, but when Nero declined his offer, he decided to blast them to hell and shove them into the singularity.
    A true Kirk characterization would’ve been to save as many lives from that ship as possible, if only to have them face punishment in a cell for what they did. He did this many times in both film and TV – he even tried to save Kruge after he killed his own son. The flippant way he just turned around and was ‘Fine by me, I’ll kill you now’, was the moment the film lost its characterization.

  • amanohyo

    Obviously you didn’t like the movie and you’re angry, and I share some of your feelings to a degree (I saw nothing pleasant in the Kirk character either), but you might want to put a couple Spoiler warnings up there next time Greg, just to be considerate.

  • amanohyo

    Doh! Why did I bother to type out my thoughts? Greg Weinkauf had an almost identical reaction to the movie (although I don’t share his love for the other Star Trek movies). His spoiler laden review lays it out scene by scene. Wait a sec… you aren’t be the same Greg are you? Reminds me of Teen Girl Squad.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Well, my mother and my three siblings saw it for Mother’s Day and they all liked it.

    SPOILERS

    (And, yes, MaryAnn, considering what happens during the movie, it was a rather odd choice for a Mother’s Day movie.)

    That said, I liked it too but I don’t worship it. And apparently that’s a minority opinion on this forum.

    And quite frankly, I never thought I’d see the day when MaryAnn waxes so enthusiastic about a movie that borrows a key plot point from Armageddon.

    The aliens are real(ish): not just primates with funny foreheads but holy-crap real(ish) aliens. (Three words: ice planet wildlife.)

    Thirteen words: Cold-blooded Skull Island creature which could not possibly survive in that arctic climate.

    And don’t get me started on the square-root law…

  • mortadella

    Yeah, I’m online with the last few posts.

    The film was decent, but it felt like it was put together to hook “the kids.”
    Eric Bana was kinda wasted….they should have named him Khan II. I did enjoy parts of the film, of course. What they revealed about Spock’s childhood gave the character additional texture, I thought. That car theft scene? It was kinda hokey….though I must say, it’s hard to hear that Beastie Boys song, “Sabotage,” and not get fired up.

    I’m sorry, I can’t forgive the bar scene. Is there any particular reason why Uhuru couldn’t handle herself in that moment? She’s Starfleet, she’s gotta have some combat skills. Why did the three apes have to step in and kick Kitk’s ass? Ah, I know, to feed him a heavy dose of humility. OK. But gee,why do the female characters always have to be marginalized for the sake of the male characters? We keep getting told what an excellent communications officer she is…but hey, why not show us why she’s worthy of the praise. Because it’s a waste of time? Pah.

    And why on earth did they cast Ryder to play Spock’s mother? They took a woman and went through the touble of aging her with make-up and fake gray streaks when there was an easier alternative. Was it inconceivable to get an age appropriate chick to play the part? The elderly and middle aged men were played by elderly and middle aged men. What, if the mom wasn’t hot enough, we wouldn’t feel sorry when she died?
    Finnola Flannagan would of rocked the shit out of that role….if the character was intended to be closer to the elderly side. A younger mommy Spock? Patricia Clarkson. Then there’s Francesca Annis… Alice Kirge….Ann Archer….and son on.

    You posters are all great, by the way. I’d like to buy all of you and MaryAnn a cup of coffee.

  • Jerry Colvin

    While I’m not a Winona Ryder fan either, one of the scenes they filmed with her was Spock’s birth, which was later cut. She is the appropriate age for that character at that point in time.

  • Saladinho

    Ha! You’re right amanahoyo: I’m not even a huge Star Trek fan, but my earlier “rants” were partly inspired by that Onion vid (although I suspect that there are worlds within worlds of irony contained therein).

    And I agree: The “info dump (my new term!)” thing is maddening; and now that you mention it, the T2 comparison is more apt.

    And funny you should mention Galaxy Quest! Fine film. I was just thinking about it the other day…

  • Saladinho

    Excellent post Greg.

    Hurm: snotty, hostile and mocking attitudes towards anyone who finds fault with this mediocre new film? Nope. Not here.

  • Mike

    2. Why is Kirk promoted to first officer by Pike? Especially right before he goes on an away mission.

    Because Pike knew Kirk’s Dad?
    O.K. probably the determination, creativity and leadership potential he’d shown might have had something to do with it. Besides, Spock was going to be in charge, so First Officer wasn’t really that important a post.

    I didn’t really care about any of the humans on display here, and I actively disliked Kirk, the only one who was given much attention.

    I thought Pine’s Kirk was one of the best things in the movie. I don’t usually like the tale of the misguided bad boy growing up. As a high-school nerd, I resented the social status given to people who didn’t have the foresight or self-control to avoid even the most obvious trouble. But Pine’s Kirk had all the swagger of Shatner’s without any of the ridiculous pompousness. Even in the 60′s Shatner was too fat to be the action hero he pretended to be. It’s as if Pine passed Shatner’s performance through a sieve and threw away all the crap. Mugging and over-acting? Gone. Physical confidence of a guy who knows what he wants? Keep. Gut of a desk jockey? Gone. Tilt of the head and posture in the command chair that we all recognize? Keep. Cartoon comic timing? Gone. Loyalty to friends? Keep. Heavy handed eyeliner? Gone.

  • amanohyo

    Kirk is an arrogant, selfish, impulsive, superficial child at the beginning of the movie and remains so at the end. We are told that his aptitude scores are “off the charts,” but what it is exactly he’s got aptitude for, besides being a human punching bag and ogling women, is never really demonstrated. I suppose he managed to hack the code for the simulations, but who can say really? For all the movie seems to care, he might have just bribed another student to do it for him. That solution would be consistent with his “charming” frat boy persona.

    Like him or not, the first time you see Shatner it’s clear that there’s nothing else quite like him out there (gut, eyeliner, overacting, and all). I’m sure Pine’s Kirk comes across as a charismatic rogue to some, but I personally couldn’t stand him and was rooting pretty hard for that snow beast (both of them). Now that would have been a real reboot. Kirk is partially eaten midway through the movie, and all a certain mysterious figure can save is his head. They could give him the motorized chair that Pike seems to have lost.

  • Pedro

    tss tss tss…letting our fangirlism show on this one, are we, MaryAnn? shame on you… :)

    for a non-Trekkie like me, this movie isn’t all that perfect. first of all: car chases, bar fights and snarky postmodern dialogue don’t belong on star trek. trek is about long stares, wooden acting, cheap sets and fake-ass alien planets set in California (as shown, brilliantly, on Bill and Ted’s bogus journey).

    and for someone who complains so much about catering to the teens, that’s what this movie is doing. all the way through! catering to the people who got to trek via “lost”, and who can’t handle movies without big explosions and dumb one-liners.

    also, what’s with all the rip-offs? like the car sequence is lifted virtually verbatim from “treasure planet” (i know, i watched it just last week), and the ice sequence…? HEL-LO EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!!! in fact,this movie is much more Wars than Trek. even Kirk is a Luke-ish farmboy character.

    still, not all is bad. Quinto was great channeling leonard nimoy, and whoever plays the young Chekov is a BRILLIANT actor. but this just isn’t trek… i mean, characters KISSING? come on!

    if this was “just an” action flick, i’d be fine with it. but it just doesn’t fit the star trek mold, at least from what i’ve seen of the series (which was admittedly very little).

  • Pedro

    also, lamest/coolest sci-fi movie moment ever: the Romulan salute. “Hello!?” couldn’t they have come up with something better, like, say, “live short and die”!? “Hello”!? just…”hello”?

    Nero treating complete strangers on a first-name basis is pretty cool, though

  • Drew Ryce

    Romulan salute? For this movie: “Die yesterday for what you haven’t done yet that could be easily prevented by me today” might be appropriate.

  • Robert

    I liked it. I’m not a die-hard Trekkie, I go along with Shatner’s SNL skit advice. Something that struck me that I haven’t noticed anyone else commenting on is Nero/Bana’s casual, California-boy delivery of American English. I kept waiting for him to say “dude!” Everyone knows aliens are supposed to speak either in stiff, formal English or in a growling, non-descript accent to give a nod to the fact that English isn’t their native tongue, if they’re going to speak English at all. Why aren’t they speaking through some kind of translator-bot?

    They can fly at light speed and beyond, but apparently denture technology hasn’t improved in the distant future.

  • Pedro

    Robert, my second post up there sort of addressed that situation. it’s odd to hear aliens speak contemporary english, just as it’s weird to see James T Kirk as a frat-boy/country bumpkin.

  • Victor Plenty

    For all the increasingly verbose complaints here, there remains a curious scarcity of truly intelligent critiques. Some of you are perhaps aware of this, and engaging in a sort of deliberate self-parody, which hopefully is bringing you some enjoyment.

    Underneath its distracting action sequences and explosions, this reboot of Star Trek still retains the most important elements of Roddenberry’s original concept, chief among them being its profoundly optimistic vision of the human future.

    It’s sad that so many commenting here apparently fail to see this.

  • amanohyo

    What changes would have to be made in order for the film to not retain a “profoundly optimistic vision of the human future?” Maybe we fail to develop a warp drive on our own and are instead invaded and enslaved by a superior alien race? A young boy in Iowa jumps out of a Corvette a fraction of a second too late? An entire planet (or two) is destroyed?

    I’m not sure if someone could make a Star Trek movie without an optimistic vision of the human future, since humans seem to be the center of attention (and the captains of the ships) most of the time, but I’d probably enjoy seeing someone try. I was just thinking that one of the reasons I liked DS9 was that it was the first series to really make me feel as if humans were just one more intelligent species, no more or less important than all of the others.

    And yes, you are correct in observing that my posts are often verbose without really communicating anything all that insightful, and as you might imagine, the irony of a person who cannot eliminate superfluous verbiage from his own writing complaining about redundancy in the writing of others does not escape me; however, my brain operates in a haphazard, rambling manner, often bouncing along poorly defined pathways from one cloudy memory or thought to another, and as you might guess, at present I lack the intelligence, time, and skill to edit my thoughts on the fly when posting comments, so they tend to turn out a bit more flabby than necessary, often wasting several sentences like this one in the process of groping around and trying to discover if I actually have anything to say (sadly, the answer is usually no).

    Seriously though, I enjoy a wall ‘o text from time to time, but your point is taken.

  • Victor Plenty

    Amanohyo, what makes you think that was a reference to you? I didn’t mention any names.

  • Pedro

    amanohyo: that post was directed at me, for complaining about explosions and fistfights.

  • Victor Plenty

    Vote for Pedro. (Am I being insulting, or just hip and postmodern? Only Pedro knows!)

  • amanohyo

    But, but I’m waaaay better at rambling, pointless comments than that hack Pedro. I’m insulted that you would even think of insulting him before me. Just kidding, I’m self-conscious about it because I know it takes me fifty words to communicate an idea that could be clearly stated in ten.

    I do understand that this Star Trek retains Roddenbury’s optimistic view about the future. Humans learn to get along with each other and other intelligent species (sometimes), and they are members of a multi-nation/planet organization that actually has power and accomplishes things (!), and not only is the organization based in San Francisco (!!), it acts according to the dictates of science and reason (!!!).

    I just don’t think that retaining this optimistic viewpoint was a conscious choice by the writers so much as a timid adherence to the basic structure of the original series.

  • NorthernStar

    Spectacular film. Probably the best Trek film yet and The Wrath of Khan had set the bar very high.

    A few thoughts – the slight of hand with the alternative timeline is amazing and it’s slotted in with such perfect ease.

    Was there a little RTD-ness to Spock watching his home planet destroyed?

    Why are there no back-up parachutes in the 23rd century?!

    And how adorable was 17 year old Chekov? Can I adopt him?

  • Bree

    ‘I just don’t think that retaining this optimistic viewpoint was a conscious choice by the writers so much as a timid adherence to the basic structure of the original series.’

    Not true, amanohyo. Orci in particular is a huge original series fan/geek, and I just recently read an article in which he and Kurtzman said one of the most important themes of Trek for them to retain in this new retcon is the optimistic, egalitarian, Utopian future with the Federation as righteous multi-cultural peace-keeper, so it was very much a conscious decision on their part (unfortunately I can’t remember where I read that, I’ve been reading quite a few such articles and I don’t save them all, so you can take my word for it – or not).

    Also, most of the supposed ‘plot holes’ people keep trotting out have perfectly reasonable explanations if you actually listen to the film, most every nitpick I’ve come across is addressed and explained in the script.

    Of course, there are little things such as: NorthernStar, their chutes were retractable/reusable, so maybe that’s why no back-up? But it would seems prudent to have just a little back-up chute tucked in there somewhere, in case of emergency…

  • amanohyo

    I believe you Bree. It’s cool to know that they briefly considered making a less optimistic movie. When I read interviews and/or listen to commentaries, I’m always shocked by how much work and planning it takes to make a movie, even a mediocre one. It’s amazing that the final product even makes sense at all considering how many hurdles and hands are involved.

    I’ve got a question though (I apologize if it’s already been answered above). They need Uhura to listen to transmissions because she understands various languages, but the Romulans speak perfect English, even when they’re just talking to each other. Do they have a universal translator or don’t they? Are we supposed to imagine that they are actually speaking Romulan like we had to do (imagine that is, not speak Romulan) in the olden days? Even hokey SciFi movies like Star Wars usually have the aliens speak at least a couple lines in their own language… or give them ridiculous accents in the case of the prequels.

    I realize this is almost exactly one of the Onion video complaints, but the “Hi Christopher, I’m Nero,” line kinda threw me out of the movie (I think it was supposed to be funny?) and got me thinking about whether babelfish are around in this “reimagined” universe.

  • Victor Plenty

    Nero’s direct, informal way of speaking is not only meant to be funny, I think. It also functions as a form of intimidation, much like stepping into someone’s personal space. He uses this as a weapon. Its purpose is to make the listener uneasy in order to obtain compliance.

    As for a universal translator, I’d guess the Enterprise probably did not have one, but the Romulan ship might. Its computer technology was clearly much more advanced.

    It’s not surprising that they skip discussing the issue. They also don’t spend any time on technical details about how spaceships manage to have artificial gravity, or how they can accelerate without anyone needing seat belts, or how they scrub exhaled carbon dioxide out of the air to keep everyone from suffocating.

    After all, it’s an action movie, not a technical manual.

    Star Wars has its own weirdness about languages. In that universe, many aliens speak only their own languages, but understand English perfectly well, and most humans understand alien languages even though they only speak English. They could have made every Star Wars movie more realistic (and about an hour or so longer) by showing C3P0 and other protocol droids acting as interpreters for every conversation. Instead they got on with the storytelling.

  • y

    Spoilers ahead

    I thank all of you for the great comments. I couldn’t hope to match them at all, I just wanted to throw some belated cents into the collection tray.

    I, too, disliked the car scene with young Kirk. All in all it seemed terribly out of place with him driving a car off a cliff (to spite his step-dad?) while listening to the Beasty Boys (seriously? still?) and using his nokia-iphone, complete with identifiable ringtone (what?). At least it was short and I realize it was to show what a rebel he was. Or something. I’m not all that sure of its purpose to be honest. Maybe I’m dense.

    To those complaining that Kirk wasn’t an obnoxious frat boy, well two thoughts on that. One, maybe Kirk would have been if he didn’t have his dad as his inspiration. Maybe without him he was just a punk. Who knows. Second, we knew Kirk when he was older, this one is 25 and out on his first jaunt. For this we can assume he hasn’t learned temperance yet. Most 25 yo males I have met have not.

    As for him not showing mercy and trying to save Nero.. well, the guy killed his dad, stealing all that could have been away from him. He didn’t seem to show it (I wish there had been more conflict about this actually once he realized it), but maybe all he was thinking was “this is my father’s killer”. Perhaps he, too, was emotionally compromised. Of everything I thought this scene could have been dealt with much better so I agree with the detractors on it. The interaction between Nero and Co. and Kirk could have been much more interesting.

    I can see the points about undoing all that has been with the alternate universe. I can understand the feelings have having every beloved moment undone. But none of this matters. In the sequel Picard will wake up and realize its all just a glitched holodeck program. Whew!

    Anyway, It seems that this movie’s purpose, however you liked it (or not), wasn’t really to be totally “Trek at it’s best”. It was meant to be more of the fluff episodes, not the more heady and philosophical stuff, in order to make Trek cool again and get butts in the seats that aren’t wearing Starfleet jammies. We can hope it draws upon more of the thought provoking stuff in any future iterations (if it doesn’t, is that a sad commentary on our society? Do we have nothing new or thought provoking to add to the trekverse?).

    I don’t offer any of the above as answers, just as my thoughts on those issues/concerns/questions. For what they’re worth.

    I have a gripe of my own though to add. The depiction of San Francisco furthers the inaccurate image of it in movies. The weather is never that good, but all movies do that to the city so they aren’t unique in that. Though maybe it implies that global warming happened or something, hmm. Also, there is no place in the actual city that gives that view so I just looks like they dropped the bridge down on LA; the geography just ain’t like that. The only place that would look at the bridge straight on as shown would be Berkeley which is not SF (so they are lying saying it is based in SF in that case) and the Bridge would be much more distant (and it still wouldn’t look quite like that!). Perhaps in the future the city is leveled and the coastline has been artificially altered (hey, it’s already been done once). I’m just saying that as it is now, it’s not real. I realize that I am the only one who cares at all about this, but I had to make it known.

    Oh yeah, and I liked the movie just fine. Not the greatest movie ever, but I enjoyed it. Felt a bit short though or I’ve been conditioned to expect 3 hour movies. Either that or more things could have been fleshed out. I’m leaning more towards the latter, but I still enjoyed it.

    I also enjoyed Keith’s “Live long and bite me” comment. That needs to be a t-shirt. Seriously. I think everyone I know would wear that and not everyone I know is a trek fan or gen-Xer (I guess I’m a bit to young to count too, though I don’t know what qualifies as gen-X-ish. A lot of things get that label and I don’t see it…).

  • Kenny

    Hmm… wouldn’t Spock Prime know about a lot of the events that are yet to take place in the new timeline?

    Obviously the timeline has been altered… but there are plenty of things that would have remained constant. Khan’s ship will still be where the Enterprise found/will find it… surely Spock would advise them not to bring the phsycho out of hibernation at all?
    Spock will know about the giant whale probe… and about Vger… he’ll know about the Praxis explosion, and about the Dominion and the Borg.. all these things will be unchanged.. Surely instead of founding a new Vulcan colony, Spock should be writing this stuff down and posting it to the Federation council marked “Holy shit urgent!”?

  • TrojanDawg

    I’ve NEVER seen more than 5 minutes of any trek episode/movie. That said, I’m hooked!

    I’m sure my fantasies of being captin Kirk had nothing to do with it.

  • Sara

    I agree with you (Kenny) to a certain extent. Yes Spock Prime would know things, but from his future. Now that everything’s been changed by Nero, the future for this Enterprise crew is totally up in the air. Sure certain things might still happen, but maybe not in the way it was meant to happen, purely because of Nero. I think that Abrams did a very good job at tying up that end. There is no way that Spock Prime can help the crew, because as new Spock mentioned that an entire new chain of events have and will continue to occur because of Nero’s interaction with the past.

  • Kenny

    Oh I agree that things are up in the air to a certain extent.. however none of the things I mentioned would be affected by Nero or the changes to the timeline at all.

    The whale probe, Vger, Khan, the Borg, the Dominion.. all of these things were either set in motion long before Nero attacked the Kelvin, or exist in such a distant part of the Galaxy that their future visit to the Alpha quadrant will also not be affected.

  • Kenny

    Also.. since this is a new timeline and Spock cannot therefore cause grandfather paradoxes… he could just share juicy details of all the technology and science he’s got 189 years worth of knowledge about.

  • Victor Plenty

    Spock Prime has cheat sheets for some the Federation’s most severe future tests. On that much you’re probably correct, Kenny. But would it be wise for him to just hand over everything he knows about future events?

    Using Spock’s information might allow the Federation to easily defeat several powerful enemies, avert several dangerous crises, and save many individual lives. However, leaning on that crutch for so many decades might lead to overconfidence, leaving the Federation poorly prepared for the first real challenge that isn’t included in his forecasts. That is a far greater danger than any threat posed by Khan, the Dominion, or the Borg.

    The same danger could apply to any scientific and technical information he has. It might jump the Federation forward several decades. It might also atrophy Federation scientists’ ability to carry out their own original research, leaving them at a disadvantage when they begin to face challenges outside of his knowledge. But Spock might feel scientists and engineers are better equipped than politicians and military leaders, at least in terms of their capacity to absorb new knowledge without becoming addicted to easy answers.

    And people claim there’s nothing thought-provoking in this movie.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Using Spock’s information might allow the Federation to easily defeat several powerful enemies, avert several dangerous crises, and save many individual lives. However, leaning on that crutch for so many decades might lead to overconfidence, leaving the Federation poorly prepared for the first real challenge that isn’t included in his forecasts. That is a far greater danger than any threat posed by Khan, the Dominion, or the Borg.

    Any other Asimov fans out there who find that scenario just a tad familiar?

    I can see it now: Star Trek II: Federation and Empire. ;-)

  • Kenny

    Well.. I think you’re maybe making a mistake when you think that giving away technology would atrophy the scientific mind. There would be a massive surge in scientific interest as people assimilated the new information… following that, when the scientific community fully understood the new tech and theories… they would be where scientists were in Spock Prime’s time.. they would stand on the shoulders of giants. (And be nearly two centuries ahead of everybody else)

  • Victor Plenty

    Not “would atrophy,” Kenny. “Might atrophy” was the wording I used, and I chose that wording carefully.

    The human mind has displayed both responses in the past. Some give up when they find out all the knowledge they thought of as advanced has suddenly become obsolete due to new discoveries. Others rise to the challenge, much as you describe, but that response is far from a foregone conclusion.

    Even if most of the Federation’s scientific community turns out to be able to absorb the new knowledge with little difficulty, the sudden increase in technological power could still create dangerous overconfidence in political and military leaders. This is another reason Spock Prime is likely to exercise great caution before releasing his knowledge of future science developments. (Assuming the writers continue to refer to him in any new Star Trek stories.)

  • Marie

    I’ve got to put my vote with Ben and agree that the Romulan tattoos only resembled moko in the most superficial way. That is, they were facial tattoos that incorporated lines … but not the sort of lines that moko have. I don’t know how to explain it further.

    I haven’t watched any old Star Trek, but I thought the movie was particularly optimistic and positive. Despite, er, genocide. Teamwork and friendship was such a huge theme of the story.

  • Kenny

    Actually.. I’ve got a very late comment for Greg.

    You said that Kirk was played out of character… because though he tried to save Nero (or offered Nero the chance to be saved) when the offer was thrown back in his face, he blasted the shit out of the Romulan ship and sent it into the singularity.

    You implied that this was somehow different from the way Kirk reacted to Kruge, even after the Klingon in question had murdered Kirk’s only son.

    Well… I don’t know when you last watched Star Trek III, but the scenes played out in an almost identical fashion.
    Kirk reached down to help Kruge… giving him the chance of surviving… and when Kruge spurned the offer. Kirk kicked him repeatedly in the face, saying “I have had enough of you!”… until good old Doc Brown went tumbling down into the lava.

  • Pollas

    As someone who loves the original Star Wars film but has always rolled her eyes at Trekkies, I absolutely loved this movie. And only a month ago I’d probably have said I had no interest in seeing it. Thankfully my dad convinced me to see it.

  • BK

    Hi, I can’t help but think that you’re something of a complete idiot for raving about this movie despite it’s obvious issues. This movie is full of glaring plot holes.

    A romance with uhura? Come on.

    Future spock just “happens” to be on the same planet kirk gets marooned on by spock? When did they start marooning people as an alternative to the brig? Oh yeah, and Scotty just happens to be there too! Yay! Let’s not even get to the point of Spock knowing *exactly* where to find him on top of everything else. Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous “let’s drive this car off the cliff while listening to the Beastie Boys” part. Pure tripe put in to satisfy a low brow audience.

    Then, there’s the whole “Here’s the keys to the flagship of the federation, kid. We’ll forget that you have a discipline problem.” part which is completely not believable. Not even in the military in real life does anyone advance to captaining the flagship of *anything* that quickly.

    The only thing Abrams seemed to get right was the cast, who did well considering the horrid story written for them.

    I could go on about how nonobjective your reviews are, but realistically I just want to close this browser window and try to forget I ever found this site.

  • Victor Plenty

    Some prefer nonobjective reviews, realizing that most viewers of movies are not objects.

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