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“Star Trek” – My Review ***With Spoilers***
The short review is simple. If you are really devoted to the current Star Trek canon, you won’t like it. For everyone else, you’ll probably like this movie. Taken on it’s own, it is a good movie, albeit with a few minor problem here and there. And most people won’t even notice the problems.
The acting is very good. Chris Pine’s performance as the young Jim Kirk is especially well done. When the guy is on the screen, you just have to look at him. And he has the character of the young Kirk down pat: Brash, womanizing, risk-taking, and self-confident. Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy is also well played, and we even got an “I’m a doctor, not a physicist!” out of him. Zachary Quinto expresses the conflict between emotions and logic that plagues his character with surprising subtlety. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is, for practically the first time in 40 years, an interesting character, with a story and a life.
The dialogue is sharper and wittier than we’re used to seeing in a Star Trek movie, and the wit pops up in unexpected places, like Capt. Pike’s first encounter with Nero, the Romulan villain of the piece: “I’m Captain Christopher Pike, of the Federation starship Enterprise.” “Hi, Christopher, I’m Nero.” The back-and-forth banter between the Spock and McCoy characters that was so much a part of the original series is presented well in the new movie.
The action in the film is practically non-stop, with hardly any time to catch your breath. So, the film is tightly scripted, which makes the 2.5 hour running time seem like much less.
Based on the above, I rate the movie very highly.
I did mention some problems though, and I’d like to address them. I can’t do that, though, without giving away some spoilers.
Do not read any more, unless you’re willing to encounter serious spoilers.
This is your last warning.
Look, can we stop the whole time-travel thing? Nero comes back from the future to destroy Vulcan, because Old Spock failed to save Romulus from destruction by a supernova. Of course, that means Spock has to come back in time, too. Why all the time travel? It’s become the Star Trek cliché. Can’t these guys just stay stuck in their own time, like decent people?
And why is Nero so mad at Spock that he has to destroy Vulcan? Spock didn’t cause the supernova, you understand, he wasn’t able to stop it in time. Nero’s hot Romulan chick got smoked, so he decides that he’s gonna kill 6 billion Vulcans. Not because Spock did anything particularly evil–or even wrong–but because he had bad timing. And when Spock goes back, he does so not to save Vulcan–which he could have done–but to tell his younger version to start a bromance with Jim Kirk. Spock could have destroyed Nero’s huge ship any time. He just…didn’t. Really?
Young Jim Kirk goes to the academy. One of his classmates is Leonard “Bones” McCoy. One of the senior classmen is Uhura. Spock, of course, is already a commander. Three years later, Nero appears and starts making trouble. All the academy students are given ship assignments to go out and fight. Uh, why? Are all the ships in Starfleet uncrewed? Will they fight better if they have their established crews, and a whole bunch of academy students as extra baggage? This just doesn’t make any sense.
So, Jim gets aboard the Enterprise–He’s a third-year Academy student, remember–where Chris Pike is the Captain, Uhura–also an academy student–is already a lieutenant (WTF?), and Commander Spock is the First Officer. Pike has to go aboard Nero’s ship, so he puts spock in command, and designates Academy Junior Kirk as First Officer. Oh, and McCoy, who is also a 3rd-year student is also a Lieutenant Commander. (So, OK, McCoy was already an MD, so I get the idea that he gets a direct commission to a higher rank. We do that in the US military.) But how does Jim Kirk get to be the First Officer? Then, after Vulcan is destroyed, Spock is all emotionally higgeldy-piggeldy ’cause him Mom got killed, so he turns the ship over to Jim Kirk, who is now captain of the Federation’s newest starship, while still a 3rd-year academy student. And, when it’s all over, Kirk is promoted to captain, and is given the Enterprise as his first command–and his first space posting. How does that happen? Who in their right mind turns over command of a starship to a student who’s never had any space duty?
Let’s go back and talk about that supernova, by the way. It’s described as a supernova that threatens to destroy the whole…galaxy. One supernova? The whole galaxy? Really? Am I missing some basic science here?
Finally, there was a glaring continuity error. In once scene, a Romulan phaser is shown on the floor beside Kirk, just a few seconds before the Romulan that Kirk takes it from actually gets into the scene. You see it on the floor again, after Kirk shoots the Romulan with it and drops it.
Like I said above, it’s a really fun movie. But there were a couple of really stupid things about it.