Star Trek

May 11, 2009

in Films and movies, Geek stuff

Hallway leading to the library, in the Canadian Parliament

While the new Star Trek movie was entertaining, it won’t feel familiar to those whose first major contact with the series was The Next Generation. It’s a hyperactive, disorderly action film, populated mostly with teenagers who look straight out of The O.C. Star Fleet Command certainly seems surprisingly willing to give command of ships to reckless young people with no command experience. Those used to the deliberative, diplomatic approach of the Picard era are likely to find this jarring, or perhaps so alien as to be part of a different fictional universe altogether. At the same time, this film is definitely less absurd than some of the previous attempts to turn Patrick Stewart into a kind of big-screen action hero. If you insist on making Star Trek in an action genre, this may be the way to do it.

This film clearly attempts to start things afresh, and the re-launch of the series is handled in a somewhat clever way. By adopting a branching universe view of how time travel works, the writers gave themselves wide scope to produce a Star Trek variant in which significant elements of the original are vacant or absent.

Star Trek is basically a summertime puff film, strongest on visual effects and its ability to be compelling on a big screen. It is distinctly disjoined from the more intellectual traditions of the Star Trek universe, and would make an awkward platform from which to return to them. That being said, it may find a place as an entertaining and less mature split-off from the more serious mass. It’s not a film I regret seeing, but it’s not something I would care to see again.

P.S. On a technical side note, nitpickers will find plenty to quibble about, in terms of plot inconsistencies and appalling physics. For instance, why an elaborate skydive-from-space operation was necessary to disable a certain thing in one instance, when it proved quite vulnerable to conventional space-based weapons later. There are also some inconsistent transporter shenanigans. This is not a film for the type of people who care about the realities of jumping between metal platforms vertically separated by more than ten metres, without serious injury.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 11, 2009 at 9:00 am

Rotten Tomatoes
Star Trek (2009): 95 %

. May 11, 2009 at 9:01 am
Emily May 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm

It sounds fun. I look forward to seeing it.

mek May 12, 2009 at 8:13 am

Transporters are inevitably prone to shenanigans. If they were actually used logically, they would be the most powerful weapon of all – beam explosives onto ships (occasionally done in ST, actually) or just beam the crew of the ship into space (once suggested offhand in Voyager, never actually done). Or beam parts of vital systems away (actually used as a theft device by a race in Voyager).

But yes, Scotty could have just beamed a photon torpedo (what are these, anyway?) onto any ship in the galaxy with his “trans-warp beaming” tech, but that would be cheating.

This movie was definitely channelling TOS rather than TNG, and it did it better than anyone expected. All the performances and casting were perfect, so much so that I now want to go watch Wrath of Khan or The Undiscovered Country (or even Boston Legal, heh).

TBH I never liked any of the TNG movies. Not due to the action alone, either… the Wolf 359 two-parter was more action packed and yet simply BETTER than any of Generations, Insurrection, or Nemesis.

Hella Stella May 12, 2009 at 9:17 am

Hmmmm…. I loved it. Wynona didn’t do it for me, but the rest was excellent fun!

Tristan May 12, 2009 at 10:25 am

I was thinking of seeing this film, but now I think I’ll just watch some reruns of Next Generation on the internet instead.

Milan May 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

The film is really nothing like TNG. Neither makes a good substitute for the other, but both are potentially worth seeing.

Justin May 13, 2009 at 2:47 am

Tristan,
Interesting view on the new Star Trek movie. I haven’t seen it myself but like you I grew up watching the Next Generation. After seeing the previews I figured that much out already. Just like the on screen re-invention of the Batman and Transformer series, some new characters, the style of old ones and general assumptions are being introduced to find a new audience.

Kras

Matt May 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I just saw this movie last night, and thought it was great. I grew up with TNG, but (from parodies mostly) was familiar with some of the personalities on the original. This is the first movie I’ve seen in a long time that was worth paying to see.

Agree about Wynona, but she’s terrible in everything, so blame the casting director.

. June 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I shall fan the flames and point out a couple of other things that bugged me.

* Miniskirts. Uhura was one good flounce away from a major wardrobe malfunction. If it’s a matter of weird future fashion, they should go all the way and put the guys in g-strings and tube tops.

* Did anyone notice the interior design of the Romulan ship? Funky weird platforms with no guardrails suspended over a huge empty space. Only the Mario Brothers could like that layout.

* Somehow, all the familiar characters of the old show get themselves instantly put in charge of the bridge of the flagship of the Federation fleet. This does not compute.

* People seemed to like the action sequences in space. I didn’t. In particular, there’s one scene where the Enterprise comes out of warp into a field of wreckage, all closely packed, and Sulu maneuvers his way through it all, bumping into a few bits here and there. That only makes sense if the velocity of a starship is like something under 20 miles an hour. (By the way, Firefly also did this. Hated it there, too.)

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