The latest Star Trek movie

I saw the Star Trek reboot movie in the theater last summer and didn’t like it for lots of reasons. Jan and I have been watching the original Star Trek series recently, though, and with that on my mind I decided to give the latest movie another try. This time, I liked it much better

  • Why? First of all, this time I watched it on a screen I could see. Last summer I was persuaded to see a screening in an IMAX theater–really faux-IMAX, in my opinion, since the only thing that makes so-called IMAX movies qualify for the title is the fact that you’re sitting ten feet away from a ginormous screen. (I have since resolved never to see an “IMAX” movie unless it was filmed in actual IMAX format.) Consequently, most of the action sequences were frustrating to watch: my eyes can’t take in a screen that size all at once, so I often miss anything that happened on the edges (and in a J. J. Abrams action film, that’s a lot). During my recent rewatch, I often felt like I was seeing the movie for the first time–because I could actually SEE most of it. Hooray!
  • Retconning something like the original Star Trek really bugged me last year, but this time I didn’t mind so much. I appreciate how the characters were mostly the same (if you’re going to make huge changes to them, I think you should just start with new characters in the same setting) but with new backstories.
  • Karl Urban as McCoy = genius. He’s got the voice (tone and cadence) down pat. Simon Pegg works well as Scotty (though I am generally predisposed to like Simon Pegg anyway). His colleague at the remote Starfleet outpost, though? Epic fail. Seriously–that guy serves no purpose except to remind me of Ewoks. And thinking about Ewoks is never a good thing. Likewise, I think the filmmakers flubbed with Chekov, making him out to be a comic-relief-type character. Considering that Chekov wasn’t even in the original Star Trek until the second season, I was surprised to see him get so much screen time in this movie.
  • The Spock-Uhura romance seems odd to me–like the filmmakers needed to follow convention by including a romance plot (why does everyone think this is necessary?) and for some reason settled on this one. At least they didn’t spend much time on it. (This reviewer says the romance has two purposes: to make sure audiences know that Spock is not gay, and to give Uhura something to do. I think he’s right.)

I am generally not a fan of most DVD extras. Deleted scenes can sometimes be interesting, but that’s pretty much it. This time I took a look at the segment about how the filmmakers realized their vision of how this movie should look, and although there were some interesting parts, it was mostly a hagiography of J. J. Abrams. One after another, a producer, A.D., or some other highly ranked member of the crew followed this formula:

  • J. J. Abrams came up with this awesome innovation.*
  • J. J. Abrams is a god.
  • I really want to have J. J. Abrams’ baby.

Mostly, though, I thought the film was well done. Fun to watch and not terribly mentally taxing–just what Star Trek is supposed to be.


*Not the case. He did not invent the “shaky cam” look. He did not come up with the idea of having a background behind someone as they walked into the turbo lift, then having the person walk back out of it into a room (from which the portable background had been removed); the original series actually did that first.

2 Responses to “The latest Star Trek movie”

  1. melindaon 04 Oct 2010 at 10:55 am

    My connection to Star Trek is with the original series, after the show ended and before the movies. During that time, James Doohan moved into the house next door to my grandmother. We met when they came to one of our family gatherings. I can still see my grandfather encouraging he and his wife to Eat! Eat!

  2. Marshaon 04 Oct 2010 at 2:58 pm

    @Melinda: I think you just won the prize for Best Star Trek Story Ever. :)