Sunday, 10 May 2009


And I can say hand on heart that it was "good". Not great, but definitely "good". The film follows the very early days of a young James T. as he comes into his own following the death of his father following the incursion of a timeline changing Romulan baddy played by Eric Bana. All of the main cast do a functional job although the real surprise is Chris Pine as Kirk who was much better than I would have expected. He managed to keep the cockiness and bravado of Kirk, and occasionally you could imagine The Shat if you just squinted a bit. In the timeline rearrange plotline the key focus of this is a branching timeline where Kirk grows up without a father, and comes late into the Starfleet game. In this Star Trek world the rules are out the window and anything can happen, even the destruction of whole worlds. Sometimes even very important worlds... It's clear that a bucketload of money has been spent on this, the screen is routinely filled with dizzying action scenes which are, at times, literally dizzying and you're a bit lost as to what is going on.

The downside of this film is that it is incredibly episodic and linear and it lacks any real depth. Kirk is in a barfight and then is found by Pike who tells him to enlist so he does and then they go off on a mission and then this happens then that happens then Kirk gets booted off the ship where he just so happens to meet Spock who gives all the exposition, then they go to the base on that world that miraculously Scotty is in etc etc. It chugs along but it is fueled by convenience. Even the creation of transporters that can beam you light years away (which would completely defeat the object of ships at all wouldn't it?) comes in as a TECH fix to the marooned Kirk very easily which sort of defeats the object of putting him there in the first place (haven't we learned anything from Voyager here people?). Spock may as well have written him a letter and sellotaped it to his bunk for all the difference it made. I wasn't enamoured with the set design, the iPod bridge was a bit over the top and for some reasons JJ Abrams seemed to film it like there was a floodlight just off camera that kept obscuring the image in almost every scene on the bridge. It was like the sun was rising on the bridge and it was quite distracting. The transporter effect too just looked stupid, although I liked that they brought in a sense of limitations to the transporter which added a bit of drama at the right moment. Unfortunately though everyones favourite "beamer upper" Simon Pegg was just distracting as the obvious comic relief Scotty, who might as well have looked into camera and waved his hands around shouting "laugh now" every time he appeared.

One aspect about the film that should be acknowledged is that it is actually incredibly respectful to the fans of what has gone before. It isn't erasing the old show but it is running along side it (so hopefully there'll be a DS9 at some point with a $150 million budget too). References abound from the little critters from Wrath of Khan that make you do what you don't want to do, to Tribbles, to the Kobyashi Maru.

Still, it was a very accessible film and I think of it as the "Superman Returns" of Star Trek, a flawed but accessible film that kind of says "The sequel to this is going to be really good". We'll never know with SR but hopefully we will with ST.

1 comment:

Juanita's Journal said...

I don't think that SUPERMAN RETURNS had as many plot holes as STAR TREK.