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    Friday, May 8, 2009

    'I drink your dilithium! I drink it up!' STAR TREK SPOILER ALERT!!!

    Here it is, my review of the new Star Trek Movie.
    Final Warning - Spoilers Ahead:
    Do not read this if you haven’t seen it yet.

    You know when people make jokes about those really extreme Star Trek Fans. I AM that guy! I have a rule that there is not to be any Star Trek that I don’t know all about. I know more about the Star Trek universe and its lore than, well, than just about anybody. I’m not boasting here, I’m just giving it to you straight. I don’t memorize who wrote and directed which episodes or their original air dates and I don’t claim to be an expert on the behind the scenes, day to day details. Also I don’t look much like the average fan boys the media likes to portray us as, I don’t live in my parent’s basement and I have a wife and a real life - but if you want to know what Warp fields are measured in or discuss the Vulcan Philosophy of IDIC or just about any detail of Starship Operations - I'm your man. Before we talk about the new Star Trek Movie I just think you need to know who you’re dealing with.

    To start with I want to talk about what was good in this movie. There is a lot to like here. First and foremost the actors were great. They really manage to capture the characters without coming off like imitations. Second the special effects were just this side of perfect. Also the action was really well done. It is exciting and very cool looking.

    Now I’d like to talk about the things I was okay with. I was okay with the Spock love interest. I was okay with the changes to the timeline and, yes, I’m even okay with recognizing that the “Enterprise” series and this movie are now the only true canon. Everything else (and I mean everything else) are washed away and must be reset.


    So here we are - all disclaimers in place and ready to go.
    First a minor technical note - I really did not like that when we are on the bridge there is apparently a search light spinning just out of frame and regularly blinding us. In fact I hated this. I thought, when I saw this in the trailers, that is was just for the sake of the trailers - but no that’s the way those scenes are shot.
    This is as I say and by comparison a minor technical note.

    Here is an prime example of what I really did not like about the new Star Trek movie.
    It all starts when Spock says about Kirk; “Get him off the ship” and no one asks, ‘I’m sorry acting Captain, is something wrong with our brig?’

    Spock arbitrarily decides to send Kirk, his First Officer at his point ‘overboard’ in what looks like a single man escape pod onto the ice planet Delta Vega.
    You know, because Star Fleet officers do that kind of thing all the time.
    Wait though, we’re not done. We then have a drawn out scene with the ice creatures of Delta Vega (there’s always a bigger ice creature) and then ‘Professor McGuffin from the Exposition Institute’ shows up and saves him. By which I mean Spock Prime, who has been marooned on the same ice world by Nero, by complete coincidence, so he can watch the destruction of his home world, which he does, unaided, even though it’s in another star system, just happens to be right where Kirk is! Not merely on the same forsaken planet, but literally just a short run from where Kirk’s pod lands.

    Wait though because we’re still not done. On the nearby base, also shipped off to the gulag Delta Vega for screwing up, by Admiral Archer no less, they find Scotty.
    (Why not just have Baltar and Six show up as angels and tell us they arranged the whole thing.)

    After this we have the horrible Scotty beams himself into the Enterprise’s water system scene (reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate factory) and his unlikely escape. I won’t go into how many things are wrong with that scenario but I trust my point is made.

    Another thing that really stretches the imagination is Kirk going from Cadet directly to Captain of the Enterprise. Who knows though, maybe Spock Prime put a good word in for him.

    There are other plot holes that one could fly a Galaxy Class Starship through but these are illustrative of the overall problem.

    Having said all of this though, I want to also say that it is clear to me that this film is going to be wildly popular. JJ Abrams seems to have really struck a chord with the Zeitgeist in this movie and all of my nitpicking and ranting aside, people really love this film. As I said there is a lot to like about it. I just wish they had put a little more work into the plot issues. I mean Spock Prime was from the future for crying out loud, if he had worked his way to Delta Vega from wherever Nero had dropped him off because he knew Scotty was stationed on Delta Vega at that time or something, anything, it would have been so much more believable and enjoyable.

    Overall though I give the movie Six out of Ten and, of course, I will see it again, and again, …..


    Anonymous said...

    "a star went supernova and threated to destroy the galaxy!"

    umm... guys?

    ebert hit in on the head for me: "'Star Trek' as a concept has voyaged far beyond science fiction and into the safe waters of space opera, but that doesn’t amaze me. The Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action. Like so many franchises, it’s more concerned with repeating a successful formula than going boldly where no 'Star Trek' has gone before."


    Anonymous said...

    meant to add my own mini-review before i posted:

    if you like fiction, it's mediocre.
    if you like science, it's laughable.
    bottom line: if there had been no such thing as star trek for the past 42 years, and this movie came out and had to stand on its own, people would be coming out of the theater saying, "wtf was that supposed to be?"


    Phoenix said...

    Loved the movie. They came up with a plausible way to circumvent the "Trek Cannon" folks arguments by bringing Cannon from the future in the form of Spock Prime as you called him and explaining that Nero had 25 years to prep up for his task. Which only leans to one possible solution. There are probably multiple timelines and that past is never written into stone. ( ala The Guardian of Forever) which showed that the past can be altered just a little or alot depending.. What we have here is just one possible NEW present. At any rate they got it to work out rather well.
    The only really annoying thing to me for the whole thing was Chekov's accent. To me it was just a bit over the top and could have and should have been toned down just a little. Hell even the ships computer had a hard time with him and that's 23rd century Tech with tighter programming and subroutines within subroutines to handle simple verbal commands. Waiting for a scene where Chekov tells the computer to scan some anomoly and the computer gives up trying to understand and jettisons the Jeffries tube. ( It could happen..)
    McCoy was by far the best spot on acting, mannerisms and portrayal of any of the actors.
    Spock was very good for a younger version. Kirk will still have to grow into the character more in order to get a good variant on Shatner's portrayal. I like the new Uhura even more than the original. The overall look and feel of the time and of the ships is for the most part very very well done though I am still not too keen on the pregant warp nacelles ( ok so they look pregnant to me. ) All in all the CGI and SFX were excellent.
    I gave the movie a 9 outta 10 overall some things were only 3 outta 10 and some things were 15 outta 10.
    Fortunately with this movie you didn't need to have a background knowledge of the Trek Universe to follow it and understand the various layers. And if you are a devoted fan you can except the fact that going through the time rift had a greater affect on every aspect like folks locations, birth places etc.
    Oh and I want the motorcycle cops ride.

    Anonymous said...

    5 or 6 out of 10 for me. There was some alright acting, and what I could make out of the effects through the spotlight shining in my face were fine. But the script...bad dialogue, Kirk is nothing but a jackass getting beat up all the time (or exiled to slow death on frozen planets...), and they went out of their way to erase the old Trek for us. Thank you so very fucking much.

    But hey..."this is not your father's Star Trek!" And, "Trek is FUN again!" And shut up, nerd, or you'll get another one.

    They couldn't possibly have done this WITHOUT changing the timeline?

    My only hope is that the second movie tells a good story, now that they've gotten the reboot crap out of the way...and please, just stay away from Khan. Don't go there. They insisted that this was necessary in order to "fix" Star Trek so they could tell new stories without the burden of a backstory, but I would bet cash money that they're just going to cannibalize everything good from the past 40 years and fuck it up further. Khan with lots of tattoos and piercings, maybe a mohawk...oh, and kewl CGI claws. Yeah. And maybe a geneticially engineered CGI pet, like a little flying dinosaur or something. And Joachim can be played by a gangsta rapper. Trek 2.0!!!!! Man, they were right. The old stuff sucks. I'm so glad they junked it.


    Lance said...

    Frank, you missed one of the most annoying plot points of all:


    Remember, the ship he came back in WASN'T a time was simply a vessel used to get to the Romulan star and drop in the McGuffin Matter(I'm sorry, Red Matter...and WTF is that supposed to be, anyway?). Spock and Nero's crew were thrown back in time by accident via the singularity(and if they traversed the singularity safely the first time, how come Nero's ship was destroyed by the same type of singularity the second time? Why would any ship be in jeopardy from it at all?)

    Also, what's up with A)Starfleet security being a bunch of thuggish dicks who gang up and beat up one guy in a bar? Did they think this would impress Uhura, and she'd join in on some group sex with them?(Which, in a way, might have made the film more watchable...but I digress) and B)Not to mention the S.S. vacillates between being gung-ho thugs to being virtually nonexistent when Spock Prime--AN UNAUTHORIZED STRANGER--is able to simply wander around freely at the spaceport and walk right into a prime viewer's position for Kirk's inauguration as Enterprise captain(then again, maybe Spock Prime just had season tickets to all the inauguration ceremonies).

    Oh and by the way, what was up with that Romulan eel or whatever the hell Nero shoved down Pike's throat? We couldn't just use a good old fashioned Ceti Alpha V eel to at least have some connection to the "true" continuity? Would that have hurt Abrams' precious ego so much?

    These are just some of the many problems that Abrams and his crew failed to address, but which I just didn't have time to go into in my own review. Like I've always said, J.J. Abrams has always been a great CONCEPT man, but not a great STORYTELLER. While I have to admit that I really liked this film a lot, the plot holes are going to annoy the hell out of me forever.

    Anonymous said...

    Lance said...


    erm? did we see the same movie? old spock (OS; i'm not buying into the retarded "spock prime" nomenclature; these are not transformers) NEVER DOES go back to his own time! he's now trapped in new spock's (NS) timeline, the timeline where vulcan has been destroyed...

    indeed, this is the reason that OS changes his mind about letting NS be aware of him: at first, rather than simply meeting NS and explaining everything, OS goes to lengths to avoid NS being aware of him, swearing kirk to secrecy and having kirk engage in the subterfuge of having NS betray himself as emotionally compromised. by the end of the movie, OS and NS are chatting it up. what changed? vulcan was destroyed! OS explains it: after the destruction of vulcan, "there are too few of us left" to maintain the secrecy.

    as for the rest (OS's presence at the spaceport and promotion ceremony), presume that OS has made himself known to all in the meantime and has been accepted by starfleet as being who he claims to be (vulcans don't lie, dna verification, whatever).


    Anonymous said...


    the "Trek Cannon"? is that what they fire at the end of the 2112 overture? 8-P


    (hint: )

    Lance said...

    @ "Anonymous"

    We did see the same movie, and while I can agree(to a degree) with your assertions, that's all they are...Abrams and his writers never come out and SAY "and Spock lived sadly, trapped in a past he never lived, ever after". One of the many flaws within the film.

    This is SPOCK we're talking about...a Vulcan who once calculated time travel trajectories for a Klingon bird of prey after coming back from the dead, when all his faculties were still not completely intact! You mean to tell me this amazing GENIUS couldn't have figured out a way to get back to the future?(pun not intended)

    If this is truly what Abrams intended, that Spock remains in the past, doomed to live out the remainder of his days in a history he CANNOT take part of--for fear of contaminating the timeline further--than it's more of a copout than what Berman's brigade carried out by essentially tossing him off into the Romulan Empire and just mentioning him occasionally as lip-service to Trek fans. It is a PATHETIC and SAD ending to the character's arc, and I'm sorry to see him go out like that.

    I also don't believe Spock would just reveal himself to everyone else, as again, this would go against the character's nature and--again with the timeline in mind--would be a STUPID thing for him to do. Spock's not an idiot.

    And Spock Prime is a far more respectful way to address the character, rather than "old Spock"(Or to paraphrase McCoy: He's a Vulcan, dammit, not a deoderant!)

    Anonymous said...

    p.s. most won't have noticed this, but the soundtrack SUCKED with a capital SUCK...


    Frank J. Hernandez said...

    Thing are getting exciting in here! Just a quick note here to say that while I enjoy the back and forth, any personal attacks will not be tolerated or published. "Let's have a clean fight and keep it above the belt", so to speak.
    As for the movie, again I want to make it clear that I am not totally disgusted with it. As I said there was much to like about it. Also, let's be fair here, a lot of the original stuff was just as bad or worse. ("Spock's Brain", "The Way to Eden", etc.) However the plot holes and the laughable science in this movie really are below the level of acceptability.
    I am fascinated with the way most people just accept, or even fail to notice, all of that. I hear stories of good friends crying with joy through the credits and I am mystified. I think it's fair to say I love Star Trek as much as anyone but that doesn't mean I just accept anything I'm given with a Star Trek label on it and call it great.

    Anonymous said...


    lol @ "Old Spock Deodorant," n1



    Lance said...

    Scotty voice: "I like this blog! It's exciting!"

    C'mon, Frank...every true Trek fan knows that "Spock's Brain" was without a doubt the BEST EPISODE EVER of the original series, followed in second place ONLY by "The Way To Eden". Don't you remember the dance remix of "Steppin' Into Eden" on Decca Records back in the '80s, which--in one of these alternate timelines we keep hearing about--happened to come out on the same day as Prince's "Purple Rain" CD and crushed it completely, so that only a few underground fans ever heard of His Royal Badness?

    The song was even remade over the ensuing decades, from artists as diverse as Run DMC and David Bowie.

    For shame, Frank, for shame...and you said you know more about Star Trek than anybody. :-P

    Phoenix said...

    Spock would never worry about getting back to his own time. Worry is to him an emotional response and he has better things to do. Besides when it comes to alternate timelines the biggest overlooked piece of trek history is the Guardian of Forever. Had he really wanted to set things right then a quick trip through the time portal would have solved soo much.
    Yea I know it's a cheat, cheap way to do things but lets be real here folks. That one item alone would be overused in real life by Starfleet, Kirk, Picard etc..
    There would no longer be mysteries out there ( and btw they finally used it to figure out about that grassy knoll)...