Sunday, May 10, 2009

You'll All Hate Me...Star Trek, A Review

I know there will be those here who will find the following words heretical...but dammit, Jim, I hated J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. I can hear the collective gasps even now. 
Without giving any spoilers, I have no problem with a reboot. I can even handle the alternative reality/time travel thing. What left me cold was Abram's poor film making. What???But the critics love it! Yeah, yeah...well...not this one.
So what are my complaints? 
Let's begin with the main character. A smarmy egoistical fratboy named James Kirk, who seems mired in unconvincing and annoying angst. At one point where he is being chased by a critter, I actually cheered for the critter. Maybe it's because pretty boy Chris Pine doesn't understand subtlety, or maybe it's because Abrams is afraid his young, attention span challenged audience will not be able to sit in their seats long enough for the character to develop, but this cinematic reincarnation of Kirk is one of the most annoying screen characters in years. A shame, considering he is paired with the strong Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban, who nails Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Considering how bad the series could be at times, and how over-the-top William Shatner would play it, one is amazed that Pine suffers in comparison.
What other complaints, besides the "90210" updating of Uhura??? 
Well, how about the score? What an annoying composition. As I listened to the plodding horns and ridiculous bass, I mourned for the absence of Alexander Courage and Jerry Goldsmith. Or even James Horner. Thankfully, the original theme makes its appearance by the end, but by then, one is so disappointed in the product that the return of this old friend feels mocking.
Anything else for me to rip apart?
YES. Why did Abrams include so many unneccesary and absurd scenes? What a waste of time. What a pandering to the lowest common denominator. Isn't it enough those little ones (emotionally and mentally, if not physically) have Michael Bay's Transformer to suck on? Must Abrams and Paramount give them Star Trek? The stupid car theft scene, the ridiculous ice planet chase and monsters, Scotty's nonsensical introduction and subsequent trip through what must have been Enterprise's hooka. And even the action packet assault on the Romulan death machine. Really.....really???? Did these scenes do ANYTHING other than give the wee ones eye candy and nonsense?
Go see Star Trek. Go on. The critics love it. Most of you will, too. The fanboys will wet themselves in their undiscriminating glow. But for the real lover of the spirit of Trek and for anyone with discerning wit and a love of intelligent science fiction, which is what Trek seemed always to reach for, even if it often fell short...this film is a stab in the back. 

11 comments:

Karen said...

JJ Abrams made Star Trek cool. Finally! The only good thing the series had going for it was the Borgs, Patrick Stewart's "make it so" moments and Captain Janeway. Other than that I've always thought Star Wars was superior. If the movies continue in the JJ Abrams style then I'll proudly consider myself a Trekkie.

And one last thing...the new Battlestar Galactica was better than all the old Star Trek series combined!

Stewart Sternberg said...

JJ Abrams cool? Yeah, so is Buffy and Hannah Montana, I suppose. Cool? You mean like High School Musical?

Karen, Karen, Karen...in your love for Star Wars over Star Trek you have the kernel of the debate over space fantasy v. science fiction. I know, it's confusing. I would also wager that you like action over dialogue, eye candy over character development, and simplicity of theme over that nasty thought provoking stuff that is the heart of science fiction that makes you think for yourself. Goodness gracious. Whatever you do, stay away from Analog Magazine and Asimov's. Don't read Philip K. Dick or William Gibson. Or Vonnegut. Stick to the familiar space opera stuff that makes up the penny dreadfuls.

Why enjoy the original when you can have the derivative fed to you in simple easily digestible bites. Yes. Yes.

SQT said...

Stu, I just saw this and I'm going to disagree. So much so that I will be writing an alternative review saying what I think the reboot has value in the Star Trek universe. I know you don't like J.J. Abrams and I'm not going to try to convince you that you're wrong. I'm just going to offer another viewpoint.

Pissenlit said...

I'm not entirely lovin' it either. I had Issues with it...though overall, I found it to be a really fun movie. However, I don't think Star Trek movies should really be fun movies...maybe awesome, great or epic(heh!)...cool would've been preferable...but not fun in the way this was fun. I'm totally okay with it if I pretend it's not REALLY a Star Trek movie. If I do that, I can say that yes, I quite liked and enjoyed the movie!

And oh good, I wasn't the only one who was less than impressed(oh the understatement!) with the score.

Nick said...

But tell us how you really felt. :) Seriously, no film can please everybody. But you have to admit, this reboot is at least better then the last, oh, SIX Star Trek movies and maybe the last two Star Trek television series? No? Check out my ranking of the last ten Trek films. http://nickleshi.blogspot.com

furiousBall said...

i had the same reaction when i saw a commercial with Uhura in it. Uhura was incredibly hot in the original, no need to mess with perfection

ShadowFalcon said...

I have to forward this to my other half, when he acknowledges the film exists all he can say is they should re-name it "The apple store flies in space 90210"

I do agree Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto do an excellent job...but I thought the movie was ok, its no First Contact that's for sure but maybe on a par with Generations

Stewart Sternberg said...

THANK YOU. First Contact, the one with the Borg...that was superb...as a science fiction film and as a star trek film. It raised numerous moral questions and dealt portrayed an internal struggle through external plot action. It was perfect.

Karen said...

LOL Stewart. I get your point, I do. But I still like BSG, Star Wars and the *new* Star Trek. In general I'm more of a science fiction fan over fantasy but I'll leave it at that.

Sif said...

I will say this: new Uhura's skirt covered more of her ass than classic Uhura's skirt did.

sean said...

I'm a huge TNG fan, and even I know First Contact was a goofy mess of a movie that was essentially a retread of TWOK, right down to the Moby Dick references (honestly, it's like the writers forgot fiction exists beyond Shakespeare and Melville).

It's fun - a word that, amusingly enough, seems to be a pejorative when discussing this new Trek - but full of forced humor and cringe-inducing scenes, not to mention the fact that it's the beginning of the Rambification of Picard that kind of ruined the character in its big screen incarnation (Data is suddenly a Terminator here as well).

I really do believe Trek fans have some of the most impressive rose-coloured glasses when it comes to Treks gone by. JJ's Trek isn't perfect, but he manages to go an entire movie without making any pee jokes, preaching about 'an evolved sensibility', referencing Klingon acne or the smooth nature of android bottoms, and most importantly, he doesn't play a single Roy Orbison song (at least the Beastie Boys tune fit the scene).

We like to pretend Star Trek was all smart allegory and topical issues, but in reality a great deal of it was just straight-up adventure (especially TOS). That's what Abrams managed to recapture here, and I think that's a feat to be congratulated. Let the next movie take on the deeper issues.