Hello to everyone on the boards!
This is my first post. I just saw the movie last night and decided to post a reaction. I was a casual fan of TOS growing up (reruns and the movies) and became a big fan of TNG and then DS9. I then learned to appreciate TOS even more in retrospect. I never got into Voyager, but I am currently going through Enterprise on DVD.
The New Look: Awesome 5/5
While attaining a sense of epic scope rarely before seen in Trek, the world of the Federation feels closer to us than ever before. The technology seems more advanced and yet more familiar. This is the perfect balance.
The Cast of Characters: Excellent 5/5
I don’t see how this could have been better, reasonably speaking. Pine is a charismatic Kirk who matures subtly over the course of the film. The conflict within Quinto’s Spock is closer to the surface than was the case with Nimoy’s incarnation of the character, but that distinction is essential to the plot and therefore effective. Saldana is moving as Uhura, though her relationship with Spock feels slightly rushed. “Tell me what you need,” following the destruction of Vulcan, was a scene that hit exactly the right note, but the subsequent scene in the transporter room felt relatively insubstantial. There will be ample opportunity to follow up on this in later films, however. Urban is fabulous as McCoy. Bruce Greenwood is remarkable as Captain Pike. Nero is a paper-thin villain, but Bana does what he can with very little. It’s exciting to see the crew come together, and I am lefting wanting more. Specifically, I want: (1) to see this crew in action now that they’re freed from the shackles of this movie’s horribly contrived plot, and (2) I want to see them doing what they are intended to do, that is to “boldly go,” exploring the unknown, and not simply fending off an imminent threat to their safety.
The Plot: Terrible 1/5
As much as I would like to be enthusiastic about every aspect of this movie, the plot is pretty bad. “Red matter” is a crude, boring, inconsistent and nonsensical plot device. Basically, it is a magic red glob of plot manipulation. On top of this basic contrivance, the movie piles glaring coincidence upon glaring coincidence, particular in the pivotal section, where Kirk is ejected from the Enterprise, only to randomly stumble on Spock. Then together they stumble upon Scotty. Scotty and Kirk then beam aboard the Enterprise, which by then would have been many light-years away at high warp. I should not have to turn off my brain to enjoy a Star Trek movie, quite the opposite. As much as I enjoyed many aspects of this movie, I found myself wincing regularly as the plot unfolded.
Blockbuster Action and Comedy: Very Good 4/5
Some of the humor I could have done without, for example Scotty beaming into the pipes, but much of it flowed from the characters or was embedded cleverly in the unfolding action, such as Kirk’s increasingly severe reaction to McCoy’s vaccine. As for the action, the most exciting scenes were the opening sequence and the space jump. Nothing else stood out for me as especially memorable from the point of view of pure action, but the whole movie was fast-paced and exciting, almost to a fault. I thought the destruction of Vulcan lacked dramatic weight partly for this reason. I also thought the final scene where the warp core is jettisoned to escape the singularity was unconvincing and borderline incoherent. That said, with a few reservations, I have to say that I think this film will have a broad appeal to anyone looking for a fun popcorn movie, which was obviously the intent.
What it worth it to have Spock Prime around?
This is the main hypothetical I am left considering now that I have seen the movie. It was great to see Nimoy play Spock again and pass the torch to a new generation. He works as a mentor to Kirk and even toward his younger self at the end. Yet the desire to have him around is largely responsible for this movie’s weak plot. Given the film’s very strong strengths (cast, effects, new look), I am left feeling that the writers would have been better served to either come up with a better device for having Spock Prime involved or to simply leave him out of it and tell an origin story without the connection to Star Trek’s past: a straight-forward reboot, rather than an “alternate universe” reboot. We will never know for sure.
Star Trek can be thought-provoking, and this movie for the most part was not. This is not a criticism (a movie cannot do everything at once), but it is an important observation. I would like the sequel to be more ambitious in this respect, though “thought-provoking ideas” does not mean preachy morality, which I was glad this movie avoided. Nor was this movie entirely devoid of interesting ideas. It is about accepting our conflicted nature as a strength rather than a weakness. This has always been Spock’s story and through him (and his heirs on later shows) it has been Star Trek’s story. This movie acknowledged that and did justice to it, in my opinion. That is an encouraging sign for the future of the franchise.
I thought this movie was strong were it absolutely needed to be strong and very weak in areas that may not end up mattering all that much either in the short term or the long term. In the short term, a plot full of holes (pun-intended) will not do the movie much harm at the box office, I don’t think. That is pretty standard for summer blockbusters. In the long term, there is no reason why the plot of any future sequels need be so contrived since the reboot is now accomplished. The new crew is charismatic, the new look of the franchise is awesome. This is an effective revamp but not a great movie.
Thanks for reading!