Captain Robert April wrote:
I am really interested in opinions from those that had massive reservations about the canon being changed etc etc. What they thought of it, and if JJ abrams some felt were really destroying what they knew of Star Trek?
Well, I am on the verge of eating my vow to never see this thing, thanks to a free pass for tomorrow night's screening combined with a lecture on sales at my broadcasting class that I'd just as soon skip.
I suppose I can placate myself with the assurance that I still intend to never pay
to see it.
This was more or less what happened with me. As many here know I had said I would not pay to see movies of this type before this particular film was ever announced. I worked at a movie theater a couple of years ago while being laid off and still know a couple of people there so I get to see movies for free from time to time.
Many of my pre-conceptions about the film were wrong as far as the story itself and the motives of some of the characters. I was thrilled to see that I was wrong about Nimoy's Spock being the character Abrams was referring to when he said somebody dies.
Visually, this movie is excellent. But then, for $150m with a C level cast I figured that it would be. And SOME of the casting is better than I figured it would be... Urban in particular.
There's some decent action in the film (though nothing really earth shattering) and a good bit of humor (bordering on spoof territory at times).
Having said all of that, I find the story itself a combination of disturbing (with respect to what appears to be the message) and rather weak.
The weak part first. Abrams said going into this project that he wanted to make a film for people who weren't fans as much as were. Fair enough. But, I found myself asking a couple of things after seeing the movie... would I have found a couple of the things in the movie as easy to swallow as I did if I'd never known anything about Trek. Would Chekov's problems with the computer have seemed as funny? Probably not. But, even more is the last minute or so of the film.
The closing moments of the film have the entire crew aboard the Enterprise... everybody in their familiar positions. And, I ask myself... is there ANYTHING in this movie that lends itself to that outcome? Kirk, in particular.
I mean, consider the course of events surrounding his character in the movie for a moment. He never finishes the academy in this movie... on academic suspension. Failure #1. He gets his tail kicked on the drilling platform... saved by Sulu while clinging for dear life on an edge (for the second time in the movie). Failure #2. He tries to save Sulu at the end of that sequence, they both end up saved by Chekov. Failure #3. He gets tossed off of the Enterprise for insubordination. Failure #4. He gets chased down by a big critter which, in turn gets eaten by a bigger critter. Old Spock saves him from that one. Failure #5. He manages to save Scotty in a humorous but pointless skit with the pipes. Success #1. He assumes command of the ship after Spock steps down on the basis that he had been named First Officer by Pike. Would be fine except that he, himself, had already been relieved of duty. The chair should have gone to Sulu, Scotty or Uhura. He and Spock head over to Nero's ship. Kirk goes after Pike. Gets his tail kicked again but manages to kill the Romulan. Spock, on the other hand, is the one who actually saves the day and defeats Nero.
So, again, I ask myself... why do we accept Kirk being in that chair at the end of the movie? The only good reason is because we expect it. The story, itself, lends us to an entirely different conclusion.
Other things about the movie that I find weak is the premise that Vulcan needed to be saved. Vulcans are as advanced if not more so than the Federation itself. The notion that a race so advanced would have no clue that they were being attacked and would sit there and die believing it to be some natural phenomenon is pretty difficult to swallow. At a minimum, they would have evacuated the planet. More than likely, they would have attempted to destroy the drilling platform.
My big issue with the movie, though, is the overall message. The movie is racked with one failure after another for the lead character. The most severe of which is, obviously, failing to save Vulcan. The message of the movie seems to be one of the end justifying the means. That, somehow, 6 billion people (and Spock's own mother) dying is an acceptable trade-off for Kirk and company getting control of the ship. If that sounds like a message that Roddenberry would have supported to anybody I'm not sure what franchise they've been watching for the last 40+ years.
I realize as much as anybody that even the fans of Trek had grown tired of reset buttons and such. But, they are as much a part of Trek lore as the characters themselves. The moment you introduce time travel into this film you essentially accept that time is going to get mucked up and it will be up to the crew of the ship to fix it.
By mid film, three characters in the film know how the timeline is supposed to go... Nero, Old Spock, and Kirk (by virtue of Spock's mind meld), yet neither of the two good guys thinks it's important enough to fix, which, they could have done with a couple of small changes at the end.
Overall, I think the movie had potential to not only do what Abrams wanted (which it obviously has) but retain some assemblance of the traditional as well. It didn't need to be the either-or situation that it became.
So, ultimately, I guess if I cared more about great visuals and decent action than I did about a story that makes sense and has an actual moral message consistent with the franchise's history, I would probably like this movie. Otherwise, it's pretty lacking.
In the end, I'm glad I didn't pay for it.