May 102009
 

I went along to see the latest in a long, long line of Paramount attempts to resurrect Roddenberry’s franchise yesterday.

I’d like to be able to say it was everything I’d hoped for, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. Here’s someone else’s review which appears on get-the-big-picture_dot_net which pretty well summarises my own feelings.

I’d like to say it was awesome. At moments, it was. It was like…Star
Trek, meets Star Wars, meets Sliders. One thing was clear to me as the
action progressed and and Starfleet was described as a "Peacekeeping
Armada" and thousands of photon torpedoes crashed about in confusing
but dazzling collisions…Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a peaceful
future involving the exploration of strange new worlds as
explorers…not conquerors, has been flushed; along with Planet Vulcan,
Spock’s mom, and my hope for the future of the franchise. This seemed
more like what NBC originally wanted Trek to be, but Gene fought tooth
and nail to keep it from becoming, a special effects slug-fest with
very little in the way of substance.

I’d like to say it was well directed. But,I saw Kirk duck behind the
same piece of scenery twice. I saw him with the wrong prop gun once. I
saw Jim Kirk get smacked around by Spock and several Romulans(who have
the strength of 10 men when angered)and barely get knocked back five
feet. And,while I have no problem with Uhura kissing Spock…I have a
HUGE problem with Spock kissing Uhura back(He only fell in love once,
and it nearly killed him – but you’d have to hire a director who was
FAMILIAR with the franchise to know better(no offense to you JJ – I
would have taken the job sight unseen as well, I suppose). The action
scenes were nearly indiscernible (between the rapid, confusing, cutting
and the camera shake).

Look, I love Sci-Fi. I have no problem with changing time-lines,
alternate realities, or time-travel Paradox changing the way things
"are," some of those changes were NOT caused by a temporal paradox, but
caused, clearly, by some kind of studio paradox. Cite: Sulu was the
Navigator – Checkov was the Helmsman (flew the ship fired the weapons
raised the shields)Why the crap was Sulu flying and shooting phasers?
He plotted the course. WRONG JOB GUYS! Watch the series before you make
a movie about it. Cite: Checkov joined the Enterprise crew fresh out of
the Acadamy…second season of the series. He never attended her maiden
voyage, even in a paradox…he hadn’t joined Starfleet yet(and his
accent was painful). "Bones" was called Bones because he was so skinny.
Hello? Did we watch the series we were making a movie about? Oh, right.
We didn’t. The mistake shines throughout the entire picture. Every time
I started to get captivated (and I did) Some serious dogmatic hole
would be there to puncture my experience.

The film was not a sore disappointment, but not a triumph either;
Certainly not an appropriate "resurrection" More like a confused Zombie
trying to figure out where to go next.

I’ll say this much, they DID boldly go where no one has gone
before…to the space opera. Good luck, guys.

Me personally, I found the almost constant lens-flare lighting effects – intended to created a harsh form of realism to the overall environmental setting, really irritating by movie’s end. I liked the characterisation of Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto is perfect for the role), Scott, Sulu, Uhura and even an annoyingly youthful and speech-impared Checkov. I hated  the alternate timeline scenario because the story clearly was NOT about Roddenberry’s Star Trek, it’s characters and it’s universe. It was about J.J.Abrams interpretation of Roddenberry’s genre creation. As the above review states, Spock was never as emotional as portrayed, having defeated his human side long before ever meeting Kirk or being assigned to the Enterprise. He certainly never portrayed the all too evident emotion Abrams had him doing. Hikaru Sulu was never the original ‘pilot’ of the Enterprise and Checkov certainly didn’t exist at the time of the Enterprise’s maiden voyage. Nurse Chapel, who receives a fleeting mention was not on board the enterprise on her maiden voyage, in fact, none of Abrams characters were.

Anyone who grew up with Star Trek – the real Star Trek – will know that Spock and Pike did know each other, in fact Spock served under Pike for 11 years prior to the Kirk-commanded ‘five year mission’. Kirk certainly never did. We don’t know whether Spock wrote the Kobayashi Maru, but it seems unlikely, given Spock had not entered Starfleet Academy as a command track cadet, yet we see him in Abrams movie with the rank of Commander. We know that Spock was empathically bonded once during the Vulcan mating ritual, Pon Farr, but he certainly NEVER showed emotion towards a human female in the manner depicted by Abram’s re-imagined version.

If the events the elder Spock said happened in his timeline, the results of paradox would decree that Abrams version of events would indeed be true, but we know they aren’t, ergo the classic alternate timeline paradox. What has been in one timeline will always be and cannot be changed. I’m pleased to see that this is explained, albeit late in the movie, but aside, it’s still not the story of James T. Kirk et al. That’s what I wanted to see. This movie is most definitely not that. It strays so far from canon as to be the beginnings of an entirely new canon, if Paramount choose to take it in that direction. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek is now officially dead. It breathed it’s last with the axing of the small screen franchise, ‘Enterprise’ on May 13, 2005. Where-ever Paramount take the franchise now, I’m sure it will engender an entirely new generation of dedicated, die-hard fans, but for this die-hard fan, it’s a time line which which ended four years ago, the wormhole back has closed and we’ll never know the real back story of James Tiberius Kirk, Spock, Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy or any of the other characters created by Gene Roddenberry in the mid 1960’s.

For me, that makes the J.J.Abrams directed flick just another outlandishly constructed and confusing J.J.Abrams directed production. Sure, it’s Trek, but it’s not MY trek. That’s sad, because the things of our youth keep us young. I feel so much older today with the realisation that another part of my youth has been excised by the present day.

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  4 Responses to “Star Trek – The End”

  1. Now, if only J.J. Abrams would do a “reboot” of Wolverine, X-Men Origins…

  2. Now, if only J.J. Abrams would do a “reboot” of Wolverine, X-Men Origins…

  3. I wasn’t keen on “Enterprise” when it began but grew attached, if only in longing for more of “Voyager”. My personal Trek ratings are phasers, the more phaser use, the less I like it. Some of the original episdoes, with cardboard scenery & cellophaned stage lighting, were almost greek in their subtlety. One thinks of “Plato’s Children”, one of the rare two parters which had the first interracial kiss on amerikan TV and the sheer joy of trifles like “Trouble with Tribbles”.
    “Next Generation” just made me despair.

  4. I wasn’t keen on “Enterprise” when it began but grew attached, if only in longing for more of “Voyager”. My personal Trek ratings are phasers, the more phaser use, the less I like it. Some of the original episdoes, with cardboard scenery & cellophaned stage lighting, were almost greek in their subtlety. One thinks of “Plato’s Children”, one of the rare two parters which had the first interracial kiss on amerikan TV and the sheer joy of trifles like “Trouble with Tribbles”.
    “Next Generation” just made me despair.