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Star Trek (2009)
Action Film 1-0 Star Trek (The reboots on the other foot)
Berman must feel betrayed. 'If I'd had that budget, and been allowed changes to canon, style and characters, I'd have given you a blockbuster, and stood on less toes too,' he probably thinks! Some became disenchanted with Berman, but maybe now they'll realise why he policed everything: to keep continuity and style safe. Abrams does the opposite - staying close to aspects, but completely altering others. Little things, like phasers firing a pulse, not a beam. Things that have been adhered to for 43 years!
Supposedly there are infinite stories to be told. True, but not all will make sense. The ultimate get-out clause, the cure-all 'alternate timeline', doesn't resolve all plot problems. There's plenty to enjoy (surprisingly, I got past a lot you'd expect to be upset about such as new actors), but I can't understand people giving it 10/10. Watch previous Treks and discover there's more to it than big bangs. Although if it encourages people to watch the legendary back catalogue then it'll be worthwhile.
The opening was powerful and tragic with a real sense of scale and weight. You care about these people you've never met, maybe because they're true, new pieces of Trek lore. Robau and the Kelvin crew intrigued me more than the Enterprise and hers! And we got some of the real timeline: George Kirk served on the Kelvin and Jim would have been born there. The early life of characters is a perfect period to bring to screen because we know so little. Unfortunately what we do know is eroded until they're practically tearing it all apart! We've waited long to discover how Kirk became Captain and other details only to have them served up, then snatched away with the 'revelation' of an alternate timeline.
Trek is a hot property Paramount's often been accused of not taking seriously. They have now, booting out the old team and rules, and throwing money into it, but screech to a halt if you care about past Trek. This tells you that's all gone. I was hoping for a giant, red reset button dangling in space like 'red matter' to put things right, but no. This is 'Star Trek' on steroids, with no responsibility to the past.
Early promise of heart-tugging elements is lost for the remainder. Only shock and horror is experienced as Spock's world and Mother, crumble. Why was action the focus at the expense of these moments, which previous films captured so well? 'Action' would have been improved immeasurably if the camera hadn't been dancing a merry jig. It's as if the old joke about the actors throwing themselves around whenever the ship was attacked was employed in every other scene!
Some characters do things for no reason, that wouldn't mean anything to casual viewers, but shock regulars. Uhura and Spock. Kissing. Touching! Vulcans don't like to touch, whatever timeline you're in. The power of Spock as an alien is lost. The mindmeld also had no mystery to it, making it a lot less powerful.
Kirk seemed a precocious, slimy brat. It's a common misconception Kirk was a smutty ladies man. If you look at the evidence (see 'Star Trek Magazine' #136), you see he actually had a stable, gentlemanly persona. But it doesn't matter: it's alternate, they cry! That could be liberating for new ideas, but constraints breed inventiveness and I don't see how throwing the established universe out, so the writers can have an easier time, will help tell good stories.
Vulcan's destruction is harsh, but most shocking of all, is Romulus' destruction in the 'proper' timeline, leaving us wondering what this means for the 24th century, and frustrated we may never find out! What made this a good film, beyond the spectacle was Leonard Nimoy, there once and for all. Enjoyable as the in-jokes are, it's like the writers are chucking regular viewers table scraps, believing we should be grateful, while everyone else swallows an ignorant feast.
The humour's a nod to the original, but some (gribblies chasing Kirk; Scotty washed down the plughole), leaned dangerously into parody. The Orion scene contributes to the overall distaste at some of the character's actions. - It's sad to see Spock show no compassion for the Romulans, the writers choosing to show these 'heroes' as no better than their enemies at the expense of a cheap joke.
An example of illogic to turn Vulcan's ears purple is Real Spock encouraging Kirk to rile his younger self, rather than tell the truth: to gain control of the ship, and supposedly cement their friendship... by causing young Spock unnecessary grief? The way everyone accepts Nero's crew as Romulans without batting a double eyelid is an oversight as humans had no knowledge of the Vulcan connection! They try to distance themselves from continuity, though ironically there's little that hasn't been taken from previous films.
Chekov was forced, perhaps because he was the youngest actor (though not as young as in Old Trek - apparently his parents gave birth to him sooner thanks to Nero!). Kirk and Spock were sometimes visible as themselves, but other times plainly wrong. McCoy was closest, Scotty was similar, apart from the overdose of zaniness. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry wasn't obvious in the computer voice, but the dedication to her and Gene was appreciated. The musical theme was strong, but while I enjoyed it, it's literally forgettable, unlike the other scores in the series.
Exciting film, not great, nor strongly 'Star Trek' in tone. Will we come to accept it? If they begin to repair the timeline, perhaps. It may have broken box office records, but it's also broken a lot of hearts... Less standing on the shoulders of giants, than kicking their faces in, and spitting on their grave!
(If they dare call the next film 'Star Trek 2', they may as well subtitle it 'The Wrath of Fans'!)