Wuh woh, begin uber nerdy post! I’d give the movie a B, probably to the anger of my peers, but eh. I wasn’t going to write this, but since I was out of line from my friends who loved it, I felt I should defend my rationale.
I’m not really a hardcore ST fan, so I won’t dress up like a Vulcan or speak Klingon, but I enjoyed The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. To me, between Star Trek and Star Wars, I’ve always felt that Trek was the superior of the two. It just seemed more mature and more science-y, something for the young adult to adult. Competing agendas between different people and races is the name of the game. Star Wars seemed more about the action and the spiritual, something to pacify the kids, and push action figures. Black vs white, the Dark Lord, the timeless and overplayed battle between good and evil. American Steel vs Zombie Nazis.
But never mind that, this isn’t a pointless, never-ending ST vs SW post. ST has tanked over the years. It has always had a niche audience, but after Gene Roddenberry’s death, it got more and more “arcadey” to try to broaden the market. If TNG was the original Ghost Recon, the last few iterations were like Counterstrike. Only oldschool gamers will get that. But unlike Counterstrike, that broadening attempt didn’t really work. In general, tv sci-fi was dying, so instead I think they ended up losing their core audience, and non-core really didn’t want anything to do with Trek anyway.
I’m probably going to sound like that Onion video (shown below), but really, I was looking forward to change for the Star Trek property. I’m the kind of guy that likes relative realism. For example, a flying pink unicorn ridden by a Care Bear in Lord of the Rings would be retarded, but technically not unrealistic since realism arguably has no meaning there. But more Bourne, less Bond. More attention to detail, but not ostentatiously. Chef Ramsay detail.
Enter JJ Abrams to try to resuscitate the series. I figured this would be a good thing. I was curious how he would go about it. Would he totally sell out and just make a re-skinned Star Wars? Or would he keep it largely the same, but strip the engineering, and kind of BSG-fy it? I was kind of hoping for the latter. More naval roots, more fleet, less geeky mumbo jumbo, but without the willy-nilly spirtualism and religion.
Instead, I felt he went in a third direction: X-Men-ification. Wha? Bear with me. No, the captain is not a mutie who will kill you with a stare. It’s a little more subtle then that. I just felt like the characters were overly exaggerated to distinguish them, like looking through the roster for Street Fighter II as you select your character. “YOU HAVE SELECTED: SCOTTIE!” I’d rather have something a little more understated, like the crew of BSG, or the jackasses on Lost, but considering the source material, I can see that their hands were a bit tied.
And I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I feel like the way the movie was shot felt a bit comic movie-ish, too. I really liked the camera work for the space scenes, very Firefly-ish (I won’t say BSG here because I felt BSG did an inferior, but similar job). But when it came to the characters, it just seemed a bit tv drama to me. I guess it all goes back to me hoping for a more serious, disciplined style. Like Crimson Tide instead of a Seagal movie. There was definitely some fan service for sure, that I could have done without, too. Watching someone make out with another person with pointy ears is a little weird, but hey, I realize it’s still a Trek movie.
Anyway, I still enjoyed it, and would watch it again, but I really don’t think it’s as awesome as everyone is making it out to be. It kinda did feel like just a re-skinned action movie; a very good higher-tier action movie, yes, but action movies, to me, tend to the be the most soul-less of all the genres.
For example, the opening scene is supposed to be awesome, tense, nail-biting. At least I think that was the objective. But, very minor spoiler here, the way the captain acts so calmly as he faces impending doom just irked me and killed any sense of excitement I may have felt. He just seemed very unnatural. My friend claims he shouldn’t act tense at all since he *knows* he’s going to die and all emotion would be pointless, but I don’t buy that. Unless they have totally fallen to the sociopath route, even the hardest of military men would show some visible response, either a grim go-for-broke charge >:(, or just quiet resignation . He just didn’t seem like he was under any duress at all. His son, whom he’ll never see, has just been born, and he’s seconds from death, yet he sounds like he’s getting stock quote updates. It really gave me the sense that, yeah, this guy is sitting on a nice office chair, hurling through space into a wall. Maybe that’s just bad acting.
Chris Pine as the new Kirk did a great job. He says he modeled himself after Han Solo but I think he roundly surpassed that. New Spock was good, too. Overall, the action was pretty cool, and the explanation behind the Romulan ship was really clever I thought. That actually really impressed me for some reason. It’s an excellent example to the attention to detail I was talking about. A small, understated off-hand remark, nothing flashy, nothing uber nerdy, just like that.
I’m slightly amused by the fact that the movie has a lot of similarities with the last Trek movie, but that one tanked, whereas this one did not. Giant Romulan ship tearing shit up, the Enterprise to save the day. It’s not a totally fair comparison because I can’t remember jack from the older one, but I suppose the new one injected good ol’ wit and youth, that the other lacked. So it’s more like a band of pumped young whipper snappers vs a band of old fuddy-duddies.
I checked rotten tomatoes, and the consensus is pretty damn high, so maybe I’m just biased somehow, but woot, I am not alone! Ebert didn’t think it was super-awesome, either.