May 9, 2009

Star Wa- Trek Review

Cap'n's Star Trek Review.

I snuck out of the bunker last night to see what all the hub-bub about this new Trek was all about. Judging by some of the folks I saw in the parking lot, it looked like they were leaving their bunkers as well.

First off, I'm going to tell you that it was a lot of fun. Yes. FUN. Never thought I'd say that about Star Trek. It was entertaining, fun, full of explosions - and shinny sets and lots and lots of lens flares.

Second, I'm going to try not to spoil anything for you - but I can't say how I'd be able to do that 100%. If I tell you that McCoy's introduction was tight, concise and probably the best origin story for a character with that much history -- they did it right -- did that spoil anything or will you be that much more alert to it when you see it? I don't know.

JJ Abrams has taken the material and has injected his own stuff and fluff into it. For example - the big McGuffin in this movie is Rambaldi's Red Orb from Alias. And there's time travel. Lots of time travel with paradoxes... and that's got Lost's fingerprints over it. I believe that brings Star Trek time travel theories to a whopping 16 now? Star Trek travels back in time more often than Dr. Who - and he lives in a Time Machine!

You don't need to know Star Trek or the universe they live in - you don't even need to know the tech -- and I noted that there's very little time devoted to gadgets or the tech, which is a pleasant departure from the Trek mindset. But don't worry there are thousands of shout outs and touch points to the original series, and also all the films before it. Millions. Lines and props are cutn'pasted throughout the movie. Probably one per scene. This makes it fun for Trek folks that are paying attention. But for true hardcore Trekers, the folks who were dressed up (and I didn't see too many at my theater) they're not going to like this at all.

There is a point in the film where they pull the audience aside and tell everyone, "Okay, this is it. We're hitting the reset button now, and all your changes will be lost. Yes, 40 years of continuity, Cap Picard, DS9, Voyager and, oh I guess that terrible Enterprise show will still be in the continuity - but who cares?" A hard core Treker is going to scream out in protest, saying that 40 years of continuity blanking for one (highly stylized and profitable) film isn't worth it.

It's been decided that it's time to break some eggs.

Some problems I had that linger, other than typical Treker nitpicking.

The Physics. Just never mind the physics. I'll leave it at that.

And the worst offense is that the story presented in this film lacked both allegory to the real world and substance to that effect. The best of Gene Roddenberry's Trek, and I would say all science fiction, references the real world's problems. They are morality plays set in strange surroundings to distract you from the moral message - and when it works, it sinks in. When it doesn't, well, usually it's because you saw the zippers on the alien's costume. In Star Trek's case, it was too many lens flares and gloss. Not enough substance.

So as I enjoyed my time out to see Star Trek, I hope the next ones go back to what made Star Trek so compelling to audiences 40 years after it was aired. Great Stories.

1 comment:

Keep JJ away from the eggs! said...

I'm sure it's fun. I'm very tempted to turn off half my brain for an afternoon of fun at the Ziegfeld.

But I NEED that other half, even in my Summer Blockbuster Bullshit Mode. I need the rational analytical side to consatntly balance out irrational emotion.

I learned that about myself as a kid watching a show called "Star Trek."

I know it's a changing world, but someone at The Old School has to hold The Lucasian Chair.

The original "Star Trek" inspired a generation of scientists. We'll see if this one inspires more than sales of fast food decorative glasses.