This is going to be spoiler-riffic. Stop reading now if you don’t want anything spoiled.
Seriously, not fucking around.
Tonight I went to see Star Trek with Maynard and Kristen.
I loved it.
I grew up watching the original Star Trek series. I was never a big “Trekkie”, but one of my fondest memories is being eight years old and watching episodes with my father. I remember that I didn’t really understand exactly what was going on, but these dudes had a space ship and frickin’ lazers.
The show didn’t air very often. I would see episodes from time to time in syndication, but I never really “got” Star Trek until the Next Generation (a premiere that I watched with my father, also). So, for me (and I’m gonna lose some geek cred here, maybe), the characters of Kirk and Spock and Bones didn’t really resonate with me in the way that Picard and Riker and Data did.
I’m not sure if this is because I have a knowledge of the original series, or remember the characters and how they act, or what they are supposed to become.
Star Trek is an origin film. By and large, I enjoy well-made origin films. With many iconic characters – from film, television, comics, books, what have you – there are usually only three stories that are the most important: their origin story, a major event or quest (usually the story that can be considered the “defining moment”), and then the last story (usually the death of the character).
So Star Trek is the origin story of Kirk and crew.
And yet, it is also not an origin story. The fact that it is “in canon” with the previous films and shows pleases me. The way they inserted it into the canon while still “rebooting” the franchise was, in my opinion, very well handled.
Stuff I Really Liked:
The casting. Karl Urban’s performance as Bones was spot-on: he had obviously spent a lot of time watching old footage of DeForest Kelley, getting his weird vocal and eye foibles inserted just right. Simon Pegg was an inspired choice to play Scotty. There were a lot of heavyweights there; just good, solid choices. I totally didn’t recognize Eric Bana.
The fact that Spock “Prime” was not just a minor cameo. He was a full-fledged cast member. Obviously a Deus Ex Machina, to be sure, but it set up everything well and it was nice to see them treat Nimoy with respect.
I liked the fact that Uhura and Spock have a “thing” going on. An Uhura/Kirk pairing is the obvious choice, and the film head-fakes at it several times, but ultimately seeing her and Spock together is satisfying.
Sulu getting to be a bad-ass. I thought the “fencing” line was going to just be fan service but then he busts out the katana and goes to town.
The fact that Vulcan gets destroyed. Wow. That I didn’t see coming. It completely rewrites everything we know about Spock and his people; they’re now an “endangered species”.
Stuff I was Meh About:
The ice monster. It felt overly gratuitous. Plus, I’ve seen enough monsters that have mouths inside of their mouths. The thing must have a hell of a time finding a dentist. Plus, what crazy kind of evolutionary process creates a red-skinned creature on an ice world?
Winona Ryder. I normally like her a lot but she felt out of place.
The depiction of San Francisco. Let’s be honest, guys: the zoning and planning commission would never allow such large buildings to be erected here. A stupid thing to be “meh” about but hey. It’s my city; I love the skyline.
Scotty’s side-kick thing. It felt like an ewok, or a Daggit. I kept hoping it would die.
Christopher Pike’s wheelchair at the end. Come on, guys. It has to be the super cool one with the blinky light.
The car going off the cliff. Meh; I liked the scene up until the cliff. I get that wrecking the car is going to be important to establish how nihilistic Kirk is at this point, but we don’t have to have a cliff.
The number of times people hang off cliffs. Kirk’s got to have strong fingers.
I liked the planetary drill in many ways but the fact that it somehow disrupts communication channels seemed kind of “plot requires that we can’t let them talk” driven. Also, the drill crew without pressure suits seems weird, but that’s just me turning on my brain too much.
Anyways. Go check it out.