A group of friends and me post on a small message board. About 15 or so of us. The main group, 6 of us, are Sci Fi fans, but unfortuntely its 4-2 as in favor of Star Wars vs Star Trek. And with the last few Star Trek TNG movies that came out, these guys have really really hated and have been uterly turned off by Trek.
But luckily the trailers entinced them and the mere fact that we are friends, so they had to go see Star Trek. Not only did they love it, they are going to see it again this weekend.
Here is my review that I posted. I wanted to get your thoughts on how I represented the facts as I'm not too indepth with TOS episodes.
Yeah, I really, really, really liked it.
It was great in that, its purpose was to reboot the franchise and give it new life and gain new fans, while walking the tightrope of pleasing the old fans. It succeed in that.
When the movie was first announced a few years ago and then when the some of the story leaked on the net, most of the trek geeks were outraged. One of the things about Star Trek that distinguishes it from Batman, and Transformers and things like that is that it has a straight timeline, and everything happens in one universe. Even with previous time travel in Trek, the heroes saved the day and restored the timeline. In this Trek, they created an alternate timeline and essentially rebooted the franchise so they can start from scratch but at the same time kept the old timeline there for the hardcore fans to know it exists. However, this was a big issue in the Trek community. Even though it was an alternate reality, the hardcore fans were stuck on the death of George Kirk, the destruction of Vulcan, the Enterprise being built in Iowa and not in San Fran as previous history said.
Essentially it was about 75/25 with the 75% being those hardcore fans that said this movie will suck and it rapes the essence of the original timeline of Trek. Then as we got a couple of months away from the 5/8/09, suddenly some of the fans were switching sides. It started to be closer to 50/50 because many fans realized Trek was dead anyways. I mean, there were 10 previous movies; 6 were from the Kirk era and 4 from the Picard era. The Picard era just stunk- 3 of the movies were no better than a boring weekly episode and only 1, First Contact (with the Borg) was passible as a movie experience. And likewise, with the Kirk era movies, only the Wrath of Khan was a truly great movie, and then after that The Undiscovered Country and The Voyage Home were what you can say were good, but not great movies. The rest were like TV episodes.
So once the fans started realize we do need new blood and we need new direction, they appreciated the little rumors of this movie they knew. Now that the movie is out, it’s completely flipped and it’s about 90/10 with the 90% of those who loved the movie. Those 10% are those hardcore losers that refuse to accept change.
As far as myself, I understand where the 10% is coming from. There were a ton of things in this movie that didn’t make sense or were just flat out dumb. Let’s take a look at some of those head scratchers:
1. OK so Nero’s ship comes back in time 25 years before Spocks does. So after the attack on the Kelvin, Nero and his crew just sit around for 25 years just waiting for Spock. Forget the fact that none of his crew visibly aged since the attack on the Kelvin till Old Spock arrived, but its like, they just sat there for 25 years? Now, to be fair, there was a prequel comic that came out that explained it, and in fact there was footage that was shot that explained what happened. Essentially, after the attack on the Kelvin, Nero’s ship was damaged and then nearby Klingons came by and captured Nero. There was actually a scene in the very first trailer that was released around Xmas that showed Nero being taken away by two Klingon guards. So essentially Nero and crew were captured, spent the time in jail rotting, then escaped, and after they escaped, they captured Spock when he arrived. So yeah, I could buy that they were in jail for like 20 years, then spent 5 years on repairs or waiting for Spock. But this wasn’t addressed in the movie and to the common fan who doesn’t read the comics or know the back story, they would be looking at this huge pot hole.
2. The huge coincidences in the movie that served as a plot device, but were really just lazy writing. I’m familiar with Orci and Kurtzmans writing as I’m also a Transformers fan and I see what they did with TF, and I know enough about TF: Revenge of the Fallen to see the same issues. Don’t get me wrong, I think their style appeals to the masses, but for fans who like to be intrigued by plot elements, they don’t work. So with Nero, he captures Spock and puts him on an ice planet next to Vulcan so he can see Vulcan destroyed…OK I can work with that. And it also makes sense that the Enterprise was nearby since they were after Nero and Nero just destroyed Vulcan. OK but at all times to throw young Kirk off the ship, they happen to shoot him to a planet that old Spock was on. Even if you could buy that Kirk coincidentally ended up on that planet, at the very least if that planet is the size of earth, it’s a huge stretch to think Kirk and Spock would both be within miles of each other. I would think Spock would be in Canada and Kirk lands in Cambodia. And even if you are willing to believe that coincidence, then of all people they meet at the planet, which looks like there was only 1 human around- of all people they run into Scotty. The same Scotty who happens to be the genius on transporting technology, and oh by the way, what a coincidence that is since Kirk needs to transport while in warp. That whole sequence is lazy writing and just relying on coincidences to make it work.
3. Speaking of lazy writing, apparently the writer’s only way to convince us that Kirk is in a near death experiences is by having him hang on a ledge by his fingers. OK, so child Kirk drives the car off the cliff, hangs on by fingers. Cadet Kirk space jumps to the mining machine and then is hang by his fingers and is about to fall off before Sulu saves him. Later on, Kirk jumps in Nero’s ship and over jumps and is hanging by his fingers before the Romulan picks him up. I understand having the kid Kirk doing it, and then once more. But three times was too much. There are other ways to make it look like the hero could possibly die than to have him hanging from a ledge. That is just being lazy.
4. Nero’s logic. OK, so if we have to rely on the comics to understand a part of the movie (like what they did for 25 years) then we also have to accept the comics for what they say is Nero’s motivation. He is mad at Spock because Spock wasn’t fast enough to get the Red Matter to the Super Nova to stop it before it destroyed Romulus. I mean, really? He should be mad at the universe for having the Super Nova. But I guess he’s mad that even though Spock tried to help, his help wasn’t good enough, so now he has to pay. Would’ve been nice if they explained the backstory a little more and that Nero and Spock were friends before and they were working together to save Romulus.
5. Red Matter. I don’t what it was or where it came from. It was clearly a MacGuffin device. But it looked like big Stapes “easy button” to me. I’m glad they didn’t explain what it was since they would have gotten into techobabble that has turned the casual fan away from Trek, but still. They need Red Matter to prevent a Black Hole. Yeah, that’s intellectually stimulating.
Those would be the main issues. Really, at the end of the day, you can defend them all and they don’t contribute negatively to the movie. The movie overall was great. If they explained these issues, it might have dragged the movie. I think there was a lot of stuff going on and they did the best they could to make the movie appeal to the masses. Even the Spock-Uhuru relationship; that was the only thing I hated, but then I realized there was no love element for the girls and understanding that this was a movie for the masses, I could deal with it. After all, this is a new timeline and a new Trek. It was just weird at first since the original crew with Shatner were all best friends and to see that felt like brothers and sisters kissing. But it did tie the whole Teacher-Prize Student thing and it made sense now why Uhuru was mad about not being on the Enterprise at first and then gave Spock the evil stare and Spock says yes you’re on the Enterprise. That is a relationship thing and now it makes sense why that happened. When I first saw that, I was like, why the hell is Spock giving up his manhood to this woman. Oh yeah, he’s practically married to her. Now I get it lol.
So with that out of the way, what was it that I loved about the movie?
I loved the fact that while the writers appealed the masses, they threw more than enough bones to the dogs to make the hardcore fans happy. Some examples:
1. Kirk eating the apple- he did the same in a similar scenario in the Wrath of Khan. When he was in a no win situation and everyone around him was sweating, he was acting as cool as the other side of the pillow eating an apple. Just like a scene in Wrath of Khan.
2. Pike in a wheelchair- Yes, Pike was the first captain of the enterprise, and during the show, he got this disease that limited him to a wheelchair. A different take this time, but he still ended up in a wheelchair. Casual fan wouldn’t think twice, they would think yeah he was a POW and he’s hurt. Hardcore fan appreciates the tie in to the original series
3. Chekov and his speaking. Small joke, but it was funny in Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home when Chekov was trying to say “Vessel” and kept saying “Wessel”, so it was funny the computer had no idea what he was saying.
4. McCoy with his “Dammit I’m a Doctor, not a (insert line)”
5. Scotty with his “I’m giving it all she’s got captain” line
6. Sulu with the fencing- in the original series, there was a famous scene with him fighting off the bad guys and he was showing his swordsmanship
7. Random names- ships like the Farugut and people like Nurse Chapel and stuff that were only mentioned in throwaway sentences that regular people could care less about, meant a lot since the writers were showing they did respect the original history
8. Nero's arrogance. It's a shame we didn't get more screen time for Eric Bana, but I like the "Hi Christoper, I'm Nero" as it was delivered in that, "oh look at these little babies, they are so dumb and I'm so better than them" attitude. Like he was so above them and he had to talk down to them.
9. Starfleet headquarters being at CSUN. Well this only appeals to a few people, but it was cool that the where my college graduation ceremony was on, was the same steps that Kirk and McCoy were on
10. There were a ton more that related to previous trek like the Centauri eels that was put in Pikes mouth; Old Spocks line to young Kirk about always have been and always will be, your friend; Young Spock quoting Sherlock holmes, just like Old Spock did in Undiscovered Country (eliminate all possible outcomes and the only one left, no matter how inplausible is it); the "red shirt" that dies like in every trek episode back in the day (the guy in the red space suit that didn't pull his chute till late)...there were a whole mess of things like that.
There were a ton of things I liked about the story and the action and stuff, but at the end of the day, the best thing I liked is that the casual fan can actually say they liked it. Which means, that the sequel, which they just announced will be out in 2011, will bring back these new fans, as well as the majority of the old fans that liked the movie as well. Obviously, I’m impartial but when I think of Batman Begins, or Superman Returns, or Transformers, or Casino Royale, or all the other famous franchises that were rebooted, I feel that Star Trek had the best performance. Not because it made the same kind of money, or because the story was better, or the action was better, or any of that. But because the stigma that was associated to it, has been removed and any future Star Treks that have Abrams or Orci/Kurtzmans names attached will elicit a positive response from most people now. And to accomplish that from just one movie, for such a bad stigma that it had, that is why this is what it is: Best. Reboot. Ever.
As mentioned earlier, the main gripe for me was what the hell was Nero doing for 25 years after they destroyed the Kelvin and the time Spocks ship came thru.
Well it was left on the cutting room floor as Abrams said it would have added more time to the movie and he felt it might confuse the viewers because there would be so much other stuff going on.
Below is the original trailer. First, this is unrelated, but one of the other cut scenes you will see young Spock on Vulcan sitting next to his mother who is lying on a bed. That scene would just have been how close they are and stuff, and it would help you understand why Spock attacked Kirk when Kirk was like "you don't love your mother". But in the movie, everything played out and made sense, so you didn't need that back story since they already had the scene with Spock and his mom and his mom saying how proud she was.
However, they cut the scenes relating to Nero, which is why when you watch it, you kinda wonder what the hell happend to Nero. So pay attention to these two scenes:
1. When McCoy starts talking in the background about Space being a disease (this is right after Scotty is like "I like this ship"), you'll see a quick once second glimpse of Nero being held by two guards and Nero yanking his arms away. This is when he was captured by the Klingons and put in prison. It goes by fast so you may miss it.
Edit: Here is the screen shot in case you don't want to watch the whole trailer again
2. This one you won't miss- the whole trailer is built up to the end, where you see Nero say "the wait is over". This is in regards to him and his crew finding a way to break out of the prison. So they had come up with a plan and finally are about to escape.
Edit: Here is the screen shot in case you don't want to watch the whole trailer again
So those two snippets of bigger scenes may have added 5 minutes, but may have also distracted the viewer. Sometimes there is so much going on that its better to just take out the scene and add it in the directors cut.
They also cut out some other scenes where kid Kirk who lives with his uncle (mom's brother) and his uncle is an alcholic and beats young Kirk. This is why young Kirk steals his car and drives it off a cliff. Thats who young Kirk was talking to on the phone in the car. But since that wasn't in the movie, that whole car scene kinda is like a WTF moment as it seems so random, just seems to be a way to say "yeah young kirk was a badass even when he was a kid" and seems a little forced. That might be added to the directors version.
Movie was 2 hrs 6 mins. It coudl have been 2.5 hours, but then so much would've happened that it could have lost alot of people. So I can live with it as long as the deleted scenes are added later.