Jammer's Review

"Star Trek (2009)"

***

Theatrical release: 5/8/2009
PG-13; 2 hrs. 7 min.
Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Produced by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Eric Bana (Nero), Bruce Greenwood (Christopher Pike), Karl Urban (Leonard McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Nyota Uhura), Simon Pegg (Montgomery Scott), John Cho (Hikaru Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), Ben Cross (Sarek), Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson), Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk), Jennifer Morrison (Winona Kirk)

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

May 30, 2009

Just what is Star Trek? I mean the franchise, not this movie. What accounts for its enduring popularity? It's a question that has been asked countless times for years and years, encompassing such tales as when the original series was nearly canceled by NBC in 1968 after its second season, but renewed for a third season after that successful and unprecedented letter-writing campaign.

Despite all that I've written about Trek over the past 15 years, I've never been able to satisfactorily answer the question of why this franchise endures and has been able to exist in so many incarnations. Is it the generally positive outlook? The straightforward sense of adventure? The characters? The ever-expanding canvas that has become its own universe? "Gene's Vision"? (My, how I've tired of the unending analysis of Gene's Vision [TM]. Methinks Gene's vision was to make a successful television show, and he just happened to have an optimistic picture of the future when he conceived it.)

Truthfully, perhaps Trek's ability to endure has less to do with an optimistic philosophy and more to do with cynical capitalism, effective marketing, shrewd business sense, and steadfast tenacity. Paramount will not let this proven franchise sit idly when there is cash-money to be made. The studio has found a way to keep Trek on the air or in theaters for decades. After Nemesis bombed in 2002 and Enterprise was canceled in 2005, I thought the party was over and Trek would lie dormant for many years. I didn't figure it would only be a few years.

Now we have the 11th feature film, which does probably the most prudent thing possible by stripping the entire franchise back to its basics and starting over with a new creative team, led by uber-producer and admitted non-fan J.J. Abrams. The title is simply Star Trek — a complete and total reboot (though it's commonly referred to as Star Trek XI). Hey, reboots have worked marvelously this decade for Batman, Bond, and Battlestar Galactica. Why not Trek? After all, one double-edged sword when it comes to Trek is its mammoth canvas of established lore. There is so much history that to tell a fresh story in the existing universe has become all but impossible. That's why we've had five different Trek crews over the years: So we could learn about new characters.

The flip side of that coin is that even if you reset everything to zero and start over, we the fans still remember what came before. You can reboot the franchise, but you can't erase the preexisting audience's hard drive. You must still come up with a storyline that seems fresh and exciting. No easy task, especially when you're trying to repurpose the franchise for an audience outside the core fandom. Abrams widely said that this would be the mainstream Trek movie that both fans and non-fans could embrace. Based on the first three weeks of its performance at the box office, it would seem Team Abrams has hit a home run. The moviegoing public has embraced a rebooted Trek.

So what about the movie itself, from this longtime fan's perspective? I liked it quite a bit. I did not love it. I was almost always solidly entertained. I was almost never genuinely exhilarated. The plot was a fairly clever construction. It emerged from a rather tired Trek concept. And the characters were simultaneously fresh and new, and comfortably familiar. All in all, Abrams & Co. pulled it off.

Watching Star Trek, I also came to the realization that there is probably nothing this franchise can do anymore that will truly surprise me, reboot or otherwise. I'm older, wiser, more cynical, and most everything in Trek I've seen before. The notion of a reboot might mean Abrams was free to retool Trek to a certain degree, but there are still parameters here, and this is still most definitely the Trek universe. The look and feel and rhythms have been updated, but there is nothing here that is a grand departure from the Trek of yesteryear.

We still have Starfleet and starships and captains, we still have Vulcans and Romulans, and we still have the core characters upon which the original series was based on. What Star Trek offers, above all else, is comfort food. It allows us as fans to return to this universe that we know so well. But it does so in the form of an origin story, something we never got with the original series. What Abrams also brings to the table is a more contemporary sensibility that takes Trek and tries to pull it back a little to ground level. The future feels a little less sterile as Trek had a tendency to be in, say, the TNG days. (It is so much more of our world, indeed, that it allows for blatant product placement of Nokia and Budweiser.)

After the opening prologue in which the USS Kelvin is destroyed and Kirk's father is killed battling a mammoth mystery ship (while Kirk's mother gives birth to James T. in a shuttlecraft), the story takes us to a country road in the middle of the Iowa cornfields, where a 10-year-old Jim Kirk drives his stepfather's classic Corvette over a cliff to the tune of Beastie Boys' "Sabotage." (Geography question: Does Iowa actually have canyons of such severity?) It's a rather hilarious and ridiculous sequence, but it establishes right off the bat who this version of Kirk is: a rebel and a loner with an unquenched thirst for danger.

Meanwhile, we have Spock, who as a child on Vulcan is an outcast frequently teased by the other Vulcan children (Spock deadpan: "I presume you have prepared new insults?") on the account of his human mother (played by, yes, Winona Ryder). Spock's father, Sarek (Ben Cross), describes this marriage in terms of simple logic, even though he knows it to be more than that.

Spock's place as a man trapped between two cultures, frequently at war with himself, defined not only his character on the original series, but became a basic template for all of Trek's spinoffs, which all had to have their own conflicted or misunderstood outsider, whether it was Data or Odo or B'Elanna Torres or Seven of Nine. So it's especially welcome to see Spock's struggle evident from his very first scene. We see as Spock (Zachary Quinto) grows into a young man that his desire to join Starfleet was based in part by his feeling that the Vulcans never truly accepted him as one of their own.

Kirk as a young man (Chris Pine) is shown as a would-be loser walking the path toward a dead-end life; his brazen but good-humored pick-up attempts on Uhura (Zoe Saldana) lead to him being pummeled by a group of Starfleet cadets in an Iowa townie bar. The fight is broken up by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), who's familiar with the mission of Kirk's father's heroic death on the Kelvin. He gives Kirk a speech ("I dare you to do better") that will become the defining turning point in Kirk's life. Greenwood brings an impressive and necessary gravitas to a film filled with younger hotheads.

So Star Trek is reinvented here for the uninitiated. But make no mistake: The screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman has not for one moment forgotten the fans. Abrams may not be a Trek expert, but Orci & Kurtzman are, and they clearly approached this film having done their homework. They may be writing a new history for Trek, but they remember the history that came before.

One fun sequence, for example, dramatizes Kirk's solution to the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Every fan in the audience knows exactly how this will play out, and Pine's performance finds an amusing balance of cockiness and self-awareness. The "no-win scenario" theme does not take on the power or significance that it did in Trek II (and, really, how could it?) but it does play into the story and character of young Kirk's need to feel immortal — that death for him cannot be a viable option.

I thought the new cast did an admirable job in their own Kobayashi Maru scenario: They stepped into the shoes of the original characters — certain to be compared and scrutinized — and never appeared to be intimidated by the material. In most cases, the actors simply made the characters their own. (And because this plays like an origin story, they have the luxury of resetting the characters alongside the story.)

At its core, this film is about Kirk and Spock, and that's where the movie gets it most right. The original Star Trek was also ultimately about Kirk and Spock (and McCoy), and in this version we see the interesting prospect of Kirk and Spock as bitter rivals; Spock was the one who originally programmed the Kobayashi Maru simulation, and when Kirk cheats to beat it, Spock takes it somewhat personally. He testifies against Kirk at an Academy disciplinary hearing. These two really don't get along; the audience at the screening I attended burst into laughter when McCoy noted, "I kinda like him."

Pine is terrific as Kirk, who alternates in-your-face directness with easygoing earnestness that goes along with a wise-ass routine whose one-liners either disarm or provoke. It perhaps explains why Kirk spends roughly 70 percent of the movie (okay, not that much) getting punched in the face and/or choked.

Even better is Zachary Quinto, who conveys all the logical and cool-headed qualities we expect in Spock, but at the same time is able to suggest a more visceral inner-torment and capacity for tempered confrontation than we were perhaps expecting. Quinto nails the Spock-isms of the role — as well as the occasional emotional explosion — with aplomb. The scene where he kicks Kirk's ass (and chokes him) on the bridge of the Enterprise is emotionally compelling, not to mention just plain awesome.

It was nice also to see Uhura with an expanded role. Kirk would like to get to know her better in a less professional setting. She won't have it. We find out gradually that there's more than one reason for that (she's already in a relationship with a very different kind of man), and I found that reason to be rather ... fascinating.

Unlike many of the other actors, however, Karl Urban seems to be doing a fair amount of channeling in his performance as McCoy, with the DeForest Kelley drawl and the obvious riffs on famous McCoy "doctor" lines. It's cheeky but entertaining and well done, and the notion of the origin of McCoy's nickname is inspired; he says that he's recently been cleaned out by his divorce and "all I got left is my bones."

Also doing more homage-shtick than re-envisioned characters are Simon Pegg as Scotty and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Chekov is more or less reduced to the single joke of his cartoonish accent, which takes the original character's accent and goes perhaps even further (I grinned when he kept mentioning planet "Woolkin").

Pegg is very funny as the energetic and motormouthed Scotty. His odd little quiet alien friend is amusingly quirky. When Scotty got the chance to utter, "I'm givin' ya all she's got, captain!" it brought down the house. In one scene, Scotty mentions that he was banished to the sticks by Starfleet for beaming "Admiral Archer's beagle" into oblivion. While the timeline is not workable that this could be the same Archer as the NX-01's Jonathan Archer, the line is still funny and indicative of the screenwriters' penchant for tossing in-jokes to the fans. (There's even a 47 reference here in regard to destroyed Klingon ships.)

Getting the shortest shrift is Sulu (John Cho), who gets to save Kirk's life in one action sequence but otherwise has little to do and is the most forgettable character in the ensemble. It's a truism that supporting players in Trek films sometimes get lost; this is no exception.

And look — I've gone nearly 2,000 words without even mentioning the plot of the movie, which (major spoilers from here on out) involves a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) arriving from the future in a mammoth warship looking for Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy). The opening prologue is indeed the Kelvin battling this Romulan ship, which is not seen again until the main action 25 years later, where Starfleet must come to the aid of the Vulcan homeworld when it comes under attack from Nero.

The maiden voyage of the Enterprise under Pike is this very rescue mission, during which Kirk realizes the attack on Vulcan is by the same ship that destroyed the Kelvin. The Enterprise subsequently comes face to face with Nero, a badass played by Bana with an effective sort of off-balanced, pissed-off and yet weirdly carefree attitude. Unfortunately, the character itself as written is bland, underdeveloped, overly typical, and carrying out his atrocities from a basic motivation that strains believability.

Nero wants revenge on Spock and the Vulcans; he burrows into the core of Vulcan with his orbital drill and plans to deploy a device containing "Red Matter," which can create black holes. The Enterprise crew must stop him, which leads to one of this film's efficiently staged and technically skilled — but decidedly uninspired — action set pieces, where Kirk and Sulu must destroy the drill before it's too late. (One of the jokes here is that the team also includes an unknown guy named Olson, who wears a red shirt and is killed before the fight on the drill even begins.)

The mission fails, and Vulcan is sucked into black-hole oblivion — an admittedly brutal turn of events that is a grave departure from the original Trek. (Spock estimates that perhaps only 10,000 Vulcans survive.) From this, Spock's primary character arc emerges. Among the personal losses on Vulcan was Spock's mother, and there's a poignant scene where Uhura comforts Spock, and we realize (also in a significant departure from the original Trek) that they are in a relationship — one that Kirk would never have guessed.

With Pike being held prisoner by Nero (who tortures him with Trek II-esque creatures of persuasion), Spock is left in command of the Enterprise, and his friction with Kirk quickly escalates to Kirk being banished from the ship via Vulcan nerve pinch followed by ejection in an escape pod to a nearby Federation outpost.

It's on this outpost (following an action sequence involving a huge creature that says to me "comfort-food adventure" while being strictly irrelevant to the story) where Kirk finds himself face-to-face with Old Spock (Nimoy), who reveals to Kirk and us the secrets to Nero's plot. It involves that all-too-tired and oft-used Trek cliche known as time travel. Both Nero and Old Spock traveled back through time after a series of events I won't go into here. (Question: Why do some black holes destroy planets while others allow ships to travel unscathed through time? For that matter, why is drilling to the core of a planet remotely necessary to destroy it with a black hole?) Suffice it to say that Nero blames Spock for something awful that happened, and intends to do awful things to everyone he believes wronged him in the future.

Having Nimoy reprise his most famous role proves welcome and intriguing. And the message he brings through time to young Kirk forms the central character theme of the film, arguing that the destined existence of a crucial bond must not be denied: "I have been, and always shall be, your friend." Young Kirk and Spock do not get along, but Old Spock convinces young Kirk to keep an open mind.

Still, this is no fewer than the fourth Trek film to use time travel as a major plot device, not to mention the countless episodes of the five series. I'm thinking that time travel, at this point, just about needs to be banned from the Trek writers room since it's so old and hoary. And yet I can't fault the screenwriters in this case of all cases, because the device is a clever one that intuits that the changes in the timeline caused by Nero from the very first frame of the film mean that the entire Trek franchise has been reset. I knew that this film would be a reboot, but I didn't figure that the reboot would be a literal plot point that puts the existing Trek universe within a completely alternate timeline.

There's a part of me that thinks that it would've been adequate to simply reboot the franchise and let the audience accept that this is a different take on pre-existing material (like in Batman Begins). But there's something about the Trek universe that makes a reboot more of an opportunity to directly acknowledge the past and engage the fans while winking at them.

This notion is, paradoxically, both a sincere tribute to the Trek canon and a complete erasure of said canon in terms of the story itself. Is this the destruction of the existing canon? Not at all. The whole point of "canon" is that it already belongs to the fans. This movie is about acknowledging that the canon exists and must be respected while announcing that the future of the film franchise will not be limited by it. The only way this film could "erase" the canon is by erasing what we already have rattling around in our brains. Such is the case of the Trek universe: Making these fanboy arguments is part of the fun, albeit a complete waste of time.

Debating Trek history is perhaps more intriguing than action and CGI sequences, which, while fun, lack genuine tension. Sure, this film is as technically skilled as you would expect, but that's sort of the problem. With a summer blockbuster you know you're going to get big-time CGI sequences. What's missing is exciting action that doesn't feel like rehashes of Star Wars. (And the dark interiors of the Romulan ship, while impressively big, seemed familiar; didn't the Scimitar in Nemesis look a lot like this?)

Even if the action doesn't feel new, Abrams' direction provides a breezy, relentlessly forward-moving pace and performances that work. This movie never drags. I really can't really think of a scene that truly doesn't work. It's a nicely done, efficient job. The production design and sound effects evoke the original while providing updated tweaks; if I had to describe the look of the film, it would be modern-retro-futuristic. (Doesn't make sense, but you get my drift.) The score by Michael Giacchino is effective and contains an original theme that stands on its own and evokes the spirit of Trek. They even throw in the original Alexander Courage score during the end credits.

Perhaps missing here is a larger purpose. TOS as a rule often considered questions about humanity and society; look at many of the TOS films. Trek in 2009 proves to be less about human questions and more about going meta. In terms of larger themes, this film is sort of like a better-executed version of Generations; it exists primarily as an implied commentary about itself. On that level, it's an entertaining and effective yarn. Good Trek this certainly is. Great Trek it's not.

With a successful relaunch, now the Abrams regime can go forth and make more movies, maybe until the franchise once again becomes too overloaded to sustain itself. Maybe that's the message here. Star Trek is really like the economy. Boom and bust. Grow, grow, grow, crash, reset. But I kid, because I care.

Previous: Star Trek: Nemesis
Next: Star Trek Into Darkness

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246 comments on this review

Destructor - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 4:06am (USA Central)
I'm very conflicted about the new film, but I think I basically agree with you. It was good, not great. It's biggest weakness was that I never really felt any emotion other than 'that's cool', something I can't say about 2-4 and 6-8. It's biggest strength was that it was fun from start to finish. Trek's secret is that it can be a lot of things. I personally like it better when it has the room tv provides to explore strange corners. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for it to be a fun, mindless action piece, either. I'm excited about Star Trek again, and I thank it for that, for all it's flaws.
Nolan - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 4:30am (USA Central)
Yes, JAmmer, I quite agree, with the statement regarding the movie having no questions about humanity. It was a great action-adventure,a nd it kept me engaged, but did it make me think? Not really. Though I suppose one could put forward the arguement about how our own lives would be different, if our experiances changed, and whether it's the experiances are what make us who we are or not, but I feel like that's a stretch.

Also, thanks for another great review Jammer.
Ospero - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 4:59am (USA Central)
I mostly agree with this review. The general impression that I got from this was "I want to see these characters again. In a real story."

My particular favourite was Karl Urban as McCoy. Somebody better check the afterlife for the soul of DeForest Kelley; I think it might be missing. :D
Latex Zebra - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 5:10am (USA Central)
It's weird I don't know Jammer, I think I've had a couple of emails back and forth about silly questions I've asked, but I desperately wanted him to enjoy this film. I thought it would be horrible if after investing so much time in Trek that the film should let him down.
So I'm pleased that he liked it, I know I certainly did, and 3 stars seems a very reasonable score. I'd give it 3 and half myself.
The only things that really got me was the Nokia product placement. The Budwesier, not so bad, they're in a bar. The phone though snapped me out of the film for a second and I wasn't happy.
I thought the new cast, writers and director really captured essences of what makes Trek great whilst delivering something new.
So, overall, not perfect but gives a platform for perfection (or as near as you can get) with future movies.

Oh and I'm glad Shatner wasn't in it.
karatasiospa - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 5:26am (USA Central)
Good review jammer but i would not give this movie more than 2 stars. The plot was cliches not only becouse time travel was used many times in trek but also becouse this time it was used in an unimaginative way (remember "yesterday's enterprise" or "city at the edge of forever" ? these were good time travel stories) just a devious romulan (one more!) who travels to the past to destroy th federation. Sorry but i feel that such a story insults my intelligence!! there were many holes in the plot and Nero was not a good villain (gone are such villains as Khan or Ducat). And ofcourse it is just mindless action without a larger theme or question. But trek was allways about these questions not about some super heroes who are firing fazers to save the world so how this movie could be considered trek at all? i think it is not trek at all it is just an action movie for sfx junkies. Of course it makes money and paramount is interested in money not in larger questions and themes. I'm adraid that this reboot and the two novies that will follow will not revitalize trek most propably they will kill trek as we knew it once and for all. Of course the franchise could continiue making money with movies like that but the trek we knew is dead unless a miracle will happen!!
Matthew - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 5:28am (USA Central)
Great review Jammer, I nearly completely agree with it, although subtract a dose of worldly cynicism for myself. The easiest thing I can say to sum up my feelings on this film is that I can't wait to see a sequel. I think, now that the groundwork is established, they can literally do a 'Wrath of Khan' (excuse the meta and overused cliche there).

Oh, one nitpick, you said:

(Geography question: Does Iowa actually have canyons of such severity?)

Actually, theres a fence that young Kirk crashed through that says 'Quarry' on it, so theres an explanation.
karatasiospa - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 5:36am (USA Central)
And let me make a prediction : the old trek films were calssics that are still great decades after but i don't think that anyone will remember this movie in, say, a year or two. This is the fate of action driven movies: noone remember them a year later.
Nick - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 6:02am (USA Central)
The more time has gone by the less I liked this movie. It entertained admirably but it in no way inspiring. If all of Trek was as vapid as this war movie in space then no one would dress up as a Klingon and go to a convention or write letters to see a sequel.

A good film but not good Trek.
Jason K - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 6:59am (USA Central)
I really enjoyed the film. Not being a hard-core canon-based trekkie, but having seen all the films and most of the TV episodes, it was just a lot of fun to me.

I sure do get a chuckle from Eric Bana though. For some reason, when he says to Pike: "Hi Christopher, I'm Nero" it makes me laugh. Such an off-kilter line.

I also had a laugh at Bruce Greenwood in the wheelchair a la TOS' Pike after his paralysis. Also, it was cool that he was wearing a very similar uniform to the one Admiral Kirk wore in The Motion Picture.
Josh - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 7:23am (USA Central)
I accept the key criticism. I really enjoyed it as I was watching it. It's pure fun. But I think you're right it was lightweight in terms of impact. When sequels come, they'll need to have more substance in order to justify the rebooted franchise.
Simon B - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 7:38am (USA Central)
Only 3 stars!! Are you F**king crazy! lol.
Well seriously you do have some good points Jammer but to think its got the same number of stars as the original motion picture seems a little mad.

I do hear you over the time-travel device being overused in Star Trek, if the whole thing was reset in the end and Vulcan was brought back in to being etc then it should have been zero stars!!

However in this case it proves to serve a very important device; everything is new. What comes in the next films is fresh and exciting, writing its own history of the future in this alternate timeline, where is the genuine threat of a future when we KNOW that Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise will all be just fine becuase we have already seen their future, this way it leaves it wide open, and its a genius move in my opinion! Also means the sadder trek fans amongst us will not be picking appart the new events as it isn't "historically" accurate.

Overall this film was exciting, fast paced, at a par with Star Trek 2 and 8. Its also everything the Star Wars prequels SHOULD have been. This film kicks the Phantom Menace's ass, and from a Trekkie like me, makes be very happy :-)
Alex1939 - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 9:05am (USA Central)
While I pretty much agree with the rating and the good, not great aspect... I think you were far too kind in your review.


No bashing for mini-cloverfield? You liked Scotty's Jar-Jar side kick? You didn't think the Scotty going through willy wonka' water engineering ride was corny?

The plot and story was swiss cheese.

Still, the effects, most characterizations, and the pacing were all excellent.
Mehman - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 9:57am (USA Central)
I liked it overall and was entertained, but still think there was some problems (and thus the 3 stars is on the money).

What really bugged me about the plot was how much it relied on coincidence. So Kirk gets ejected onto the ice planet (a whole PLANET, mind you), and just happens to be within running distance of where Spock 1.0 is? He just happens to be chased into his cave?

And Scotty 2.0 just happens to be on the exact same planet, someone of all the people in the universe Spock 1.0 knew? I didn't quite understand why Spock never stopped by the outpost on that planet either. He seemed to be aware of it, and yet he never thought to drop in and say, "Hey, I'm Spock 1.0, Vulcan's about to go Kablooey, can you get me out of here?" Why did he wait until Kirk showed up to go to the base?

Stallion - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 12:19pm (USA Central)
The first time I saw the movie I kind of let the fanboy side in me ruin it. I had a problem with them destroying vulcan and killing Amanda. I felt up into that point my movie didn't really alter to much when it came to canon. After thinking about it for a while I understood the dramatic effect of it. To me Destroying Vulcan and killing Amanda is like not blowing up Krpton and killing Jimmy Olson. I also felt it wasn't really necessary to make the Romulans time travlers from the future.

I had to see it again and the movie was awesome. My favorite stuff was the academy scenes and Young Spock. The drilling sequence was also awesome. I didn't really feel that Sulu got that short stick. He was part of the drilling Sequence and was shown to be in charge of the Enterprise when Spock and Kirk were on Nero's ship. Knowing that Sulu will eventually be Captain I have a feeling in future films we will see a lot more of his command side while Kirk and Spock are stuck on a planet or ship. My favorite character was Karl Urban was doctor McCoy.

One great thing about the movie and future film is that they can expand on characters like Sulu, Chekov, Scotty Uhura, and Pike while still focusing on the big trio relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.
Stallion - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 12:21pm (USA Central)
Jammer - I think Star Trek Phase 2 is worthy of reviewing. What is your take on that fan made production and of Gods and Men?
Nolan - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 12:27pm (USA Central)
I am intriuged about a possible sequal or two, I mean, we don't know that that slug creature was removed from Pike's head, do we? Conspiracy in Starfleet, perhaps, mentor turned enemy, possibly. As an origin story, this movie is good, but what it does well, besides having great SFX, and characters, is open up this new universe.

Also, what's with the veiwscreen being a giant window? Why have a giant bullseye on the bridge? That's silly. =P Ahh, nitpicks.
Greg M - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
Jammer,

Good review. I liked the movie, but I found myself agreeing with most of what you had to say. This movie was fun, and the character work was great, but in terms of lasting impact and what it had to say, and the plot, I think it could have done a lot better. I just hope with this rebooted version, we don't see a reboot of The Wrath of Kahn or something like that. The whole point of this movie was to give Star Trek a fresh look. Having to retell old stories will not be very good when there is so much possibility to do whatever you want with what you have currently. Perhaps in time they can bring in some familiar faces, but until then, I hope the next one is another new story of something we've never seen before.
mswood - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 3:58pm (USA Central)
Jammer

Actually it certainly can be Archer (though of course it would be a different beagle). He would roughly be the same age as McCoy was when he was on Encounter at Farpoint. McCoy was also an Admiral in rank at the time.
Brandon - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 4:57pm (USA Central)
"OK, so in 2387 there's this supernova that's threatening the entire galaxy, and Spock uses an artificial black hole to shut it down but instead gets thrown back to 2258 along with an angry Romulan who wants vengeance for Spock not saving his planet in time. He uses an artificial black hole to destroy Vulcan, so Spock has to find a young James T. Kirk and tell him to accept the friendship of young Spock in order to stop the Romulans from destroying Earth. We get to see how the original TOS crew came together, and both Kirk and Spock wind up chasing Uhura."


If the above synopsis had been posted on some random forum in 2005 by some anonymous poster, I'm pretty sure it would have been laughed off as uninspired fan-wank. The only difference is the polish of professional writers and the framework used to connect the dots of the story (some of which, I might add, were pretty contrived).

Throughout the entire movie, I couldn't help but feel that this was some fanboy's version of Star Trek, and fanboys of Star Wars at that. Abrams said himself that he found Star Wars more exciting. When Scotty got beamed into the water pipes, I could almost hear Orci and Kurtzman in the writer's room going "Hey dude, wouldn't it be frickin' HILARIOUS if someone accidentally got beamed into the water pipes?" and chuckling like Beavis and Butt-head.

It frustrates me how Abrams has dismissed in advance any criticism of the movie as a result of the departure from the canon fans are obsessed with, and keeps trotting out the good old "can't please everybody" line to avoid the issue. God forbid that fans should actually want Trek to have a POINT. Star Wars is space opera; Star Trek is science fiction. There is a difference, and nobody seems to get that.

I loved everything else about the movie; it was pretty good. But at the end, when talking about "exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations", I couldn't help but think, "WHEN exactly did this movie do any of that? It was another visceral space opera." I wish I were like you, Jammer, and weren't so disappointed.

I'll accept this movie as a necessary evil to pull new people in, but I hope that the next movie has some ideas and weight behind it.
SC - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 6:27pm (USA Central)
Regarding the discussion of what the movie is "about", apart from the already mentioned comparison to "Generations" as a meta-exercise, which is enough for a movie to handle, Trek's films aren't really the top venue to handle those things. If your favourite aspect of Trek is stuff like "The Offspring" or "Duet", that's the sort of stuff that you can really only do on TV. Trek is, fundamentally, I think, a TV property; the best film adaptations are stirring heavy action stories, with some 'issue' grafted to them, as with TUC and FC (TWOK, really, isn't "about" a whole lot either in that sense; it's a revenge movie).

Really, the only thing I'm worried about regarding the success of the film is that it might succeed in confining future projects to the big screen.

As far as movie rankings go, I'd put this up with TWOK, TUC, and FC in the uppermost tier of the films, the films that are really worth it. I'd probably place it as the least of those, because the aforementioned others had better plots and better villains (Nero is easily the weakest part of the film; I had here one of the same issues I had with Nemesis: what's the point of using the Romulans if you aren't going to use any of the things that make the Romulans distinctive?).

Great characters though, strong interaction and dialogue, by far the best action in the films (though that's to be expected when you throw triple any previous budget at the screen).

Can't wait to see where things go from here.
Joe - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 7:45pm (USA Central)
I accept that there was little deep thought in this movie, but I don't think it really matters. They should get that into a sequel, certainly, but let's let this one be simple fun and adventure, which Star Trek had in spades. 3.5 stars, I would say.
David - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 8:31pm (USA Central)
I have to disagree with Jammer here. I could only give it 2.5 stars out of 4.

When I first watched the film so much is going on that while I saw some problems I really didn't see the deficiencies in the film to the degree I did later because everything is moving so fast, maybe too fast. But once you see the film again or you sit back and try to make sense of all the stuff in the film and actually analyze the story the film really starts to have problems. Maybe the writers thought that with the whirlwind of events that occur in the film that you wouldn't catch on but I like to examine the story especially when it comes to these films or tv series that go out of their way to cover a lot of ground as it tends to be the preferred style these days.

I did love the exciting visual effects sequences--the Narada vs the Kelvin, Spock's ramming of the Narada with the ship from the future--, the epic visuals--Vulcan's destruction-- and inventive stunts like the atmospheric jump to the drill. I loved the updates on the TOS uniform. The colors were eye-popping especially with the white background of the new bridge. I didn't mind the cosmetic license the designers took with the Enterprise from either the interior or from the outside. The Enterprise was a beauty to behold as was the Narada. The only thing I might have liked was a better introduction to the ship allowing for more time to take it in. As it was it was rushed compared to the previous Trek introductions of the hero ships.

All the actors were well cast. In fact, the characters were the best thing about this film. In fact, I liked them so much I would have liked them to have had more focus than they did. I thought Chekov, McCoy, Kirk, Spock and Amanda did an excellent job capturing the mannerisms and essence of their original counterparts. Uhura felt a little different but I liked that she had spunk and sass. I didn't particularly care for the Spock/Uhura romance. Granted we didn't see a great deal of it but it certainly didn't strike me as something I'd really care to see again--so in that regard it is pretty much on par with the other romances Trek attempted. Scotty was a little over-the-top for my tastes. Pegg was just so one-note. He was the weakest link IMO.

One of my biggest problems was that the film tried to do too many things to the point where it felt cluttered. This was mostly jumping from one action piece to the next with little time to absorb what happened. As a result, things such as Vulcan's destruction or Amanda's death just don't work as well as they really should have. I really wanted to feel something but I simply didn't.

If there was one thing that I felt was missing was the emotion. Trek is at its best when mixing its humanity with the action. Even weaker Trek films like Generations or Insurrection had those moments of reflection that were pretty much absent here. For a death to carry any weight we needed more time with her and with the two of them in my opinion. We barely got to know Amanda or the Amanda/Spock relationship. It is ironic that the writers' main goal was to make this film accessble to non-fans yet I have a feeling that they were counting on our connection with Wyatt's Amanda to carry the death of Ryder's Amanda.

That might have worked out well enough for some but for me it didn't work that way. There is almost a chemistry that exists between viewers and the characters on screen. You can't just expect that the same characters played by different actors are going to automatically allow you to transfer the original bond to them. I liked these actors and characters but for me this wasn't like reconnecting with a bunch of old friends.

Same goes for Vulcan. I started to come to this conclusion when I realized I had intellectually recognized that the writers did something pretty bold and destroyed Vulcan yet it didn't emotionally register. It wasn't carrying the kind of shock and impact it really should have viscerally. This is afterall a founding member of the Federation and a world that has been part of Trek since the beginning yet its destruction carried about as much resonance as a nameless planet of the week or destroying a planet in a video game. It wasn't a grim sequence a la ENT's "Twilight". It seemed the writers wanted to do something big and decided to destroy Vulcan but they didn't do enough to do the idea the justice it deserved. It was so underplayed. Heck, DS9 manged to generate more reaction from me with just hearing that Betazed was just invaded by the Dominion. As I was trying to figure out why it donned on me that there was so much else going on around it got lost in the mix--it was just one of a thousand plot points. I think they crammed too much material into these two hours. By trying to do so many things none of them really receive the kind of development they deserved.

I think one way to have helped this aspect would have been to include a storyline that brought Kirk and Spock to Vulcan as part of an off-world Academy exercise and then they could work from this end to deal with Nero as he begins the attack.

Nero was a plot device. Yes, the Countdown comics explored in detail his character and his backstory. It also provided some nice touches such as explaining the significance of the teral'n and the markings on the Narada's crew. But at the end of the day it wasn't in the film and it really was problematic. I knew something was missing but only did I learn of how much until I heard of the prequel comic series and read some of the summaries. Were some of these tidbits absolutely necessary for the film? No, but I think it would have added something to it. Instead, the tattoos, the teral'n, his loss all operate in a vacuum with no context. What is up with shows or films providing supplemental and critical information regarding the storyline in extraneous sources like webisodes, podcasts, comic books, interviews. BSG was bad about that. If it is important don't relegate it to someplace other than the actual film. Apparently that is what happened here.

I didn't mind the time travel element. I'd be hypocritical if I complained about here since I enjoyed it quite a bit on ENT, Heroes, Lost. The problem was that if you are going to do something pretty bold as allow Trek history to be fundamentally altered permanently then you should have the antagonist be of the kind of worthy stature befitting such a shocking act. I simply didn't care for Nero.

I didn't find Nimoy's Spock's inclusion to have been as sentimental as I would have hoped. It wasn't as touching as McCoy's brief cameo in TNG's pilot. It, like other things in this film, might have been handled better. Given that this in all liklihood will be the last time we ever see Old Spock I would have liked a more satisfying use of him other than as a plot device and a more satisfying sense of closure.

I must admit I've never been too crazy when writers simply drop some familiar Trek name or character into a story simply for the giddiness it generates within a fan. And as such, I found a great deal of the namedropping pointless and didn't really contribute much to the story. For an excellent example of incorporating Trek elements within a story that actually adds depth I'd point to "The Forge" from ENT's fourth season.

As an action film it works as a Trek film it has its issues so I'm torn. I'd probably give it 2.5 stars out of 4.

For the record, I didn't care if Vulcan has red, blue or green skies. I didn't care that the designers took some liberties. I didn't care that Delta Vega was near Vulcan. I didn't care that Spock shouldn't have been able to see the destruction of his homeworld. I didn't care about the plausibility of a blackhole eating supernova. I didn't care about the transwarp tranport. I didn't care that Kirk was promoted to Captain. I didn't mind Abrams rebooting the show. None of these were things in the film that bothered me in the least.

I don't hate the film. I don't dislike the film. I think it can be semi-entertaining on a certain level but I don't think it is a solid film let alone a great or excellent one. It certainly isn't better than TWoK, TVH, TUC, FC

I personally think Trek works better as a tv series. Most of the time after seeing a Trek film I leave not completely satisfied. The last one that really worked was Star Trek 6. This film is okay. It's not the best Trek film ever. It has issues that prevented me from being completely engrossed in the film as it unfolded. It's entertaining on a superficial level but it has its issues.
Occuprice - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 9:07pm (USA Central)
As usual, Jammer, we're on the exact same wavelength. Everything you praised, even the little things like Scotty's creature, was something I really liked while all the problems you identified, specifically Nero's uninspired history and motivation that doesn't really justify his actions, were also what I saw as the weaknesses. I think it's definitely the best First Movie for a cast, so on that note... I really look forward to some more great stuff!
Doan - Sat, May 30, 2009 - 11:25pm (USA Central)
Does anyone know why old Spock didn't warn the Federation outpost on Delta Vega about what Nero was going to do?

I mean, Delta Vega was close enough to Vulcan that Old Spock was able to see it destroyed, and he and Kirk later walked to the Outpost where Scotty was.

So why didn't Spock go there himself earlier to raise the alarm? Am I missing something?
huey - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 1:38am (USA Central)
Overall, I liked it, but one question. Why didn't Nero go blow up the star after picking up Spock? Wouldn't he have had another ~100 years to figure it out?
Daniel Lebovic - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 3:48am (USA Central)
Thank you Simon B!

The Onion's piece on how Trekkers ripped this movie apart as "fun and watchable" seems all the funnier (or sadder) after reading some of the comments here. This movie has scored an average of 83/100 on metacritic.com, a 95% fresh on rottentomatoes.com, has clearly been seen by non-Trek fans, given how much money it has made (which can only lead to the inescapable conclusion that some people out there, if not the posters here, appreciate the value of entertainment), and from reading these reviews, one gets the impression it was as bad as Star Trek The Motion Picture (which, of course, Jammer, you gave 3 stars to as well).

Really, people, you fans, like me who know Star Trek so well, were the BEST - the VERY BEST episodes really about exploring heavy dramatic and moral themes? If you go back, cataloguing through the different series, analyzing the quality of the "message" shows, the surprising (not so surprising, actually, but again, fanboys exist to criticize what they claim to love, not to appreciate how well a movie was made on its own terms - and the terms of this movie were that of an action-adventure film, like #8, and on those terms, like # 8, it worked quite well) thing is that a lot of them were quite heavy-handed, even embarrassing. "A Private Little War," "Arena" (to you, Jammer, anyway), "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," TNG's "Symbiosis," "The Outcast," DS9's "A Man Alone," Voyager's "Stigma," and so forth - not sure how many of you would consider these episodes great television, but apparently they're great "Trek" (a term that I must note no one has a definitional or any other kind of monopoly on) because they reflect the myth GR created about his own show.

In fact, he pitched the show (and on that basis, the network bought it) as a "Wagon Train to the Stars," not a "let's couch every pressing issue of the day in futuristic metaphor and have a world where everyone gets along with each other - with respect to the latter remark, do any of you really believe that is what the original "Trek" was about, given it was the only one where characters argued with each other?

Jammer, you began this review by saying you didn't know what Star Trek was about, but then the criticism of the movie definitely suggested that it "used to" be about something (i.e. philosophy). Why does it have to be about one thing, and what does it matter what it is about, as long as the story it tells is one that is told well?

Star Trek has, obviously,in fact, been many things (which begs the question of why someone would beg the question: "What is it about?") - action, dorm-room philosophizing, character, theme, issue-exploring, and so forth.

This movie chose to focus on some of those elements and not others, and should not be criticized for something it did not do, especially when past movies were assuredly not criticized by some of the people here in that manner.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who didn't make up your mind to pigeonhole the movie before it came out, if only to smugly state "Q.E.D." when it was over, the movie was very much (the point is certainly debatable) about character (apparently, because it did not show the characters interacting with each other in a certain manner that we were used to, it's "Bad" character, or "out of character," though), and as far as the philosophizing goes, did you really want to hear another five-minute speech from Picard that would have stopped the movie dead in its tracks? The HUMANITY of Star Trek - one thing that I do believe has made it so appealing to people whether that is because what they think it is about, or whether that it is because they SHOULD think it was about because someone told them that's what GR said it was about, was most certainly on display: I will give a mere three-word example: Old Spock's final line "thrusters on full." Notice carefully how Nimoy delivers the line. With a tinge of optimism, a tinge of sadness, a little sense of awe, and a little sense of reverence. The young Kirk in this movie saves the day not because he is William Shatner because he has faith in and respects that and those which have come before (albeit from the future) him. The movie also subtly - without bopping us on the head - is getting at something quite special: that at the end of the day, after all of the time travel and black holes and red matter and planet destructions have played themselves out, the best hope for mankind is still.... manking. Oh, and it also (merely by depicting it - remember, good drama need not make its point by shouting out that it is making a point - Flaubert once complained of Uncle Tom's Cabin, "Why is the author constantly railing against slavery? Just depict it, that's enough) depicts that torture will still not work, 300 years from now. And the movie had so many neat little things going on around the edges of the frame - every penny of the biggest budget given to a Star Trek movie is up there, we even see some of the male characters wearing wedding rings, Abrams' direction (apparently noted by no one here, but cheered and applauded by the sold-out crowd I saw the movie with on the first night) of the opening ten minutes combined emotional resonance with suspense and action to produce as compelling a ten-minute sequence as any in a Star Trek film - that apparently hardcore fans have a reason to be upset. After all, they think they "own" Star Trek and whatever they think on any given day they wake up it happens to be about.

Therefore, I guess, Lord save us from a movie that tries to simply entertain people - fans and non-fans, and does a great job of doing it. Go on, keep blasting the movie for being fun and watchable, and for, dare I say it, almost cool.

After all, that last adjective is no doubt almost the most blasphemous of all. It's what caused this movie to be such a great success, and it's what will ensure that a sequel will be made, for which no doubt so many of you are already are sharpening your knives already!

You guys can all enjoy being walking examples of the inverse of the (sensible) theory that good ideas are better than non-ideas, while I can go and be entertained again. In grand fashion.

That way, to hell with no-win scenarios, we all win!
karatasiospa - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 5:11am (USA Central)
well you want episodes what were great and have great dramatic and moral themes?
Yesterday's enterprise
The Doomsday machine
Devil im the dark
City at the edge of forever
The measure of a man
Darmok
All good things
Past tence
The visitor
Far beyond the stars
In the pale moonlight
Children of time
and many many others. Perhaps you don't like these episodes it's your right but next time be more respectfull to people who like this kind of tv and movies, who like this kind of trek and not "star wars like" mindless action. It's our right also and yes we want to hear another five minute speech by Picard becouse we like it and we believe that this is good trek.
karatasiospa - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 5:40am (USA Central)
But leaving aside moral themes and trying to judge this movie in its own terms i have a simple question: why nero wants to destroy the federation? just becouse spock failed to help him save romulus? well is like saying that your house was on fire the neighbours failed to help and for that you started killing them!! it is ridiculous!! And since it was about how kirk and spock and the others met for the first time well kirk and nccoy happened to be in the academy when nero attecked vulcan, scotty and old spock happened to be on delta vega when kirk was abandoned there etc So everything was just accidental!! Is this a serious plot? in WoKh Khan has a serious reason for his revenge: he was abandoned in an unhospitable planet where most of his people died and most importantly he could not accept that, being intellectually superior as he thought, he was defeated by kirk.In WoKh (and in spaceseed)we saw also his side, his way of thinking and we knew that a confrontation between him and kirk (and the federation) was inevitable simply becouse there were different moralities and different and incopatible ways of thinking in play. Were is this or anything similar in this movie?
captapollo - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 6:51am (USA Central)
That old 'Trekkies complaining it was fun and cool' thing. Listen, it's not that it was fun and cool, it's just that it was pretty much ONLY that.
Juanxer - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 6:56am (USA Central)
There is a comic book prequel, from the writers of the movie, which explains that it was the Federation and specially the Vulcans' opposition to lend the Romuilans or Spock the Red Matter the factor that delayed him and made him fail the Romulans and specifically Nero, who was his ally in trying to convince the Romulan side of things to help avoid the disaster.

Of course, if it's not in the picture, it's not in the story, but nowadays everything being so meta and so viral... Well, that's that. I don't know if it will be expanded in the DVD.

About comparing this movie to the grand moral issues TV episodes, what I'd ask is, which movie has gone those episodes' distance really?. None of them.

Trek movies are their own entity, and the only ones universally considered the best, TWOK as pure entertainment with strong character themes, and TMP as pure science-fiction with strong sleep pill characteristics (a movie which I love to death as it was my intro to Trek, and what an intro, even if somewhat deviant in tone), happened to have no TV Trek-type grand moral tale at their hearts at all (if anything, TWOK was your "crepuscular western" Trek). Funnily enough, the only other one which compares, First Contact, was actually a big mess whose saving grace was the VFX bling and the explosions and the "lock and load" oneliners, with a very Star Wars-like battle at its beginning.

So, at the very least, let's not have double-standards. I'll be the first one to admit that this movie is lacking, but so was Batman Begins. Too much setting up to do. Let's hope they are able to pull the "optimist Trek with explosions" version of The Dark Knight next time :D


About this being a hard reset or a soft one: it is a bit ambiguous to say whether the old Trekverse still exists or not at the other side of the black hole. Certainly, post-Nemesis continuity is being done in the novels and the massive multiplayer online game in development Star Trek Online (you can see lots of Trek politics being deployed in a timeline to serve as background for the players' adventures, and they have incorporated their side' elements of the movie). My guess is it is supposed to still be there.

Until we get another TV series we won't know how alive the franchise really is, what lessons it has learned (right or wrong ones) from modern TV and film, and how relevant it can be as a morality tales scifi playground (which is its niche, certainly).
captapollo - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 7:47am (USA Central)
"About comparing this movie to the grand moral issues TV episodes, what I'd ask is, which movie has gone those episodes' distance really?. None of them.

Trek movies are their own entity, and the only ones universally considered the best, TWOK as pure entertainment with strong character themes, and TMP as pure science-fiction with strong sleep pill characteristics (a movie which I love to death as it was my intro to Trek, and what an intro, even if somewhat deviant in tone), happened to have no TV Trek-type grand moral tale at their hearts at all (if anything, TWOK was your "crepuscular western" Trek). Funnily enough, the only other one which compares, First Contact, was actually a big mess whose saving grace was the VFX bling and the explosions and the "lock and load" oneliners, with a very Star Wars-like battle at its beginning."
Well it isn't really just 'grand moral tale', it's more an emphasis on the intelectual then on the action and gags.
TMP had a quintessential science-fiction theme, very Trek-like, no battling the badguy, just discovering that he isn't really a bad guy at all, he's an intelligent machine searching for his creator.
TWOK was about Kirk facing his age, consequences of his actions in his past, facing death. Again, the humane theme is more important than the battle with Khan.
STIII i don't really remember, i'll have to watch it again soon.
Voyage Home - even this had a sci-fi concept, alliens wanting to comunnicate with a lifeform other than humans
Heck, even the FF was partly about God.
TUC - trying to bring about peace between former deadly enemies, very Treklike
GEN, even though it was stupid in many ways, the Nexus was still a sci-fi concept about the meaning of reality and finding what you want in life, 'making a difference'; Soran, though stupid, at least wasn't just another crazed revenge seeking lunatic
FC - it was most definitely not just FX and oneliners - what about Picard having to face that despite the 'evolved human being' thing he still wants revenge just as the next guy; Borg, a true sci-fi enemy; Cohcrane and his contradictions; the theme of first contact
INS (and contrary to many, i actually liked it) - this one was very much about a moral theme - does the good of the many really outweigh the good of the few, when does something become immoral "a hundred people, a thousand, a million?"
NEM - ok, this one was a disaster but still, at least it tried to have a more compeling theme for the baddie - he was essentially the same man as Picard, just put in some very different cirscumtances
Chris - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 11:34am (USA Central)
I'd have to disagree with a lot of the comments in here and some of Jammer's review. I'd give this movie 3 and a half stars, for a start.

Regarding the criticisms of what the movie was about, every movie is about something. Trek doesn't have the corner on philosophical themes of morality, society, culture, etc. I think it's doing the film a great disservice to claim that it lacks a larger purpose. I thought it had very compelling themes of identity, destiny and even family. We see what happens to James T Kirk when he grows up without a father figure, and how he comes full circle when the man who essentially killed his father gets his comeuppance in the end. His arrogance, recklessness and bravery are a joy to watch. Meanwhile, we see Spock truly grappling with his human and Vulcan traits. He's capable of violence. He's capable of seeking revenge. He's even having an intimate relationship with a human. This is far more interesting than the repetitive Seven of Nine scenes on Voyager, where she'd ponder some characterisitic of humanity, before forgetting all about in the subsequent episode. This film has provided real consequences for Spock. An already-unstable individual has watched both his Mother and his homeworld destroyed.

What I really liked about this film was that many of the characters were flawed. Not flawed in a 24th Century way, but flawed in a modern-day way. The reason episodes like "In the Pale Moonlight" from DS9 stand out is because it takes a rational, logical and overall incorruptible character out of his or her comfort zone. One of the characteristics of Star Trek is that humans exist in a future where there is no money, no poverty, no crime, etc. A positive outlook is great, but it doesn't always make for compelling viewing. This is why we occasionally need episodes with a corrupt Admiral, a dark secret from a character's past or a truly shocking decision based on emotion (e.g. Odo wiping out 8000 lives to save Kira's life in "Children of Time"). These kinds of characteristics are going to resonate with an audience.

What was refreshing in this film was that we see things the other way around. We see Kirk begin as an uncaring, undisciplined and obnoxious man, and how he eventually becomes someone capable of saving the Federation from annihilation. Some of the arguements in this film between Kirk and Spock are even more firey than the ones between Sisko and Kira. This was a visceral clash of attitudes and personality between two main cast members, which is not what you normally experience in a Star Trek film, or Star Trek on the whole for that matter. This was no mindless action movie, by any means.

In terms of the time travel aspect, I too was dubious about the concept given the sheer volume of time travel stories in Trek already. But they did the unthinkable and produced a time travel story with no reset button. The destruction of the Narada didn't magically erase everything that had transpired. Kirk has grown up without a father. Spock has lost his Mother. The Federation has lost a key world in Vulcan. These are significant consequences for the characters and the story. Time travel had become worn out because none of it really mattered in the end. It would all be reset and the characters usually wouldn't have evolved at all. This film, on the other hand, is much like seeing "Yesterday's Enterprise" without the flash at the end. That the Federation's eventual demise in their war with the Klingons was the reality we would be following for the future. My hat is off to the writers for being bold enough to do away with the frustrating device that has gutted many potentially good stories in the past.

I definitely disagree with Jammer on the action aspect. I agreed with his comments regarding the action in Star Trek Nemesis, as we've seen phaser shoot-outs dozens of times. But I think this film had a wide variety of action, all of which was fun and/or exciting. Hand-to-hand fighting in Star Trek has become utterly ridiculous, with everyone (even the alien characters) using a double axe handle (wrestling term for both hands clasped together) to hit their opponent in the stomach and the face. Putting aside the idea that Starfleet trains all of its officers to fight in exactly the same way, this style of fight scene is repetitive, overly choreographed and often difficult to believe. Characters like Sisko and Worf always stood out because they were willing to just deck someone in the face with a fist or with the palm of their hand. The fight in DS9's "The Search Part 1" is probably my favourite fight scene in all of Trek, simply because Sisko really looks like he's fighting for his life. Going back to the new film, the bar brawl is hard-hitting while the drilling platform has a great scale, super backdrop and good music throughout. Spock's attack on Kirk is brutal, while the shoot-out on the Narada is both fun (the ill-conceived notion that they were beaming into a deserted area) and unique (the sound effects as shots bounced off the Narada's walls). Then there's the Kelvin sequence, which was a fantastic opening. There's a real sense of urgency when the screen shows that the Captain has been "terminated" and the music blasts again as hostilities resume. The music during George Kirk's sacrifice was very poignant. Given how much Jammer has disliked the music on both DS9 and Voyager over the years, I'm surprised he didn't have more to say about it about this film. Even if it wasn't to your taste, I think it's a step in the right direction from the quiet, flat and rehashed themes on the TV shows.

On the shortest shrift issue, I'd argue that its Checkov, who you admitted is reduced to a joke about his accent. Sulu is involved in one of the key action sequences of the film. But really, I think everyone gets time to shine in their own way. Uhura decodes the transmissions about the Narada's attack on the Klingons and is revealed to have a relationship with Spock, Checkov has the running joke with his accent and comes up with the idea of warping to Titan, Scotty has some comedic scenes and saves the Enterprise from destruction at the end and Sulu gets to indugle in some "fencing".

I didn't like everything in the film. I found it hard to believe that Nero just happened to have a ship as monstrous as the Narada, and that it could be so easily repaired (seemingly) after being rammed by the Kelvin. The Kelvin was small, but I'm sure a collision course would do enough damage that the Narada, or any vessel, would be damaged beyond repair. I've heard that the Narada is outfitted with Borg technology in the "Star Trek: Countdown" graphic novel, but this isn't enough to help with the issue in the film.

I wasn't sold on the idea of transwarp beaming. Starships have always had to be in orbit of a planet in order to beam someone up or down. The idea of beaming onto a starship possibly 3 or 4 star systems away, and travelling at warp through those systems, is a major deviation from the established technology of Trek. Given that Scotty ended up in a water pipe, I'm hoping that this method of transport is deemed as unreliable and not used whenever the writers please. The Enterprise could have remained in orbit of Delta Vega while Spock and co figured out their next step and made repairs. The outpost where Scotty was found was 14 km away I think, so you're talking a 20/25 minute period of being chased by monsters and talking to Spock and then a few hours walking to the outpost and beaming back up to the Enterprise. There was no need for the transwarp beaming scenario when they could have just beamed back up to an Enterprise in orbit.

Spock's desire to show no mercy on Nero at the end struck me as a little off, despite being used for comedy purposes. Also, since when did the Romulans have enhanced strength like the Vulcans? Nero's aide was able to lift Kirk up by the throat, whereas the Romulans in TNG and DS9 have always just been regular humanoids. The product placement of the Nokia phone in young Kirk's car was a little jarring as well. There was also a blatant undercurrent of Star Wars at some points, both in sound effects (the sound made by Spock's ship) and visual style.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek. I have been a fan of the franchise all my life, and I believe that this ranks up with the best Trek movies. It has all the basic ingredients of Trek, but with action, humour and emotion that makes it accessible to fans and non-fans alike. It was a Trek film with characters striving to better themselves and understand who they were. It was a film with lasting consequences for the characters. And most importantly, it was a lot of fun. Star Trek is alive and well. This is a promising start to what is hopefully a new film series.
Matthew - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
I thought the new movie was rubbish. The best Trek stories, like "Wrath of Khan," operate on multiple levels and are actually about something. So while it is true that the new movie does not drag, it functions only as an action/adventure flick... and isn't really about anything.

Seriously, the BSG pilot was far better.
Roland K - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 1:40pm (USA Central)
Daniel,

Jammer gave the movie three stars out of four. Three out of four. Don't you think you're being excessive? You're taking it way out of proportion. I think you're coming down on Jammer a lot harder than he supposedly came down on this movie.
Brendan - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 6:16pm (USA Central)
Yes, you nailed it. I liked the movie quite a bit, but something was a bit off that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I think it lost some of the intelligence of the great Trek installments (TV and film) of the past, but it gained a fresh cool fun quality, so that's okay.

But about that fun, cool quality..... it just doesn't jive with the destruction of Vulcan... a cataclysmic tragedy where 6 billion died and the second most prominent Federation planet was obliterated. It's as if Earth itself was blown up, and yet most of the movie maintains the "fun, cool" mood in complete contrast to what that represents.

It's funny cuz most people thought the casting would be the hardest part of this film and probably the biggest flaw, but in fact the casting was by far the highpoint. Quinto, Pine, Urban, Zaldana, and Pegg were fantastic, while Cho, Bana, and Yelchin were adequate and fun, if 2D.

By the way, I think you'll get your wish on no time-travel. They needed it one more time to facilitate this restart, and now they can go on telling stories that don't rely on it. Don't quite me on it but I think I heard Abrams or one of the writers say this.
Joe H - Sun, May 31, 2009 - 8:42pm (USA Central)
"I found it hard to believe that Nero just happened to have a ship as monstrous as the Narada, and that it could be so easily repaired (seemingly) after being rammed by the Kelvin."

Being 25 years passed from that time until the Narada saw Spock's ship come through, that doesn't surprise me. It was a mining ship, which would mean to me that it had tons of repair functionality.


"Also, since when did the Romulans have enhanced strength like the Vulcans?"

I'm quite certain that somewhere along the timeline in TNG Romulans were said to have been Vulcans that didn't keep their emotions inside. Correct me if I'm wrong.
karatasiospa - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 5:17am (USA Central)
Quote:
"Well it isn't really just 'grand moral tale', it's more an emphasis on the intelectual then on the action and gags.
TMP had a quintessential science-fiction theme, very Trek-like, no battling the badguy, just discovering that he isn't really a bad guy at all, he's an intelligent machine searching for his creator.
TWOK was about Kirk facing his age, consequences of his actions in his past, facing death. Again, the humane theme is more important than the battle with Khan.
STIII i don't really remember, i'll have to watch it again soon.
Voyage Home - even this had a sci-fi concept, alliens wanting to comunnicate with a lifeform other than humans
Heck, even the FF was partly about God.
TUC - trying to bring about peace between former deadly enemies, very Treklike
GEN, even though it was stupid in many ways, the Nexus was still a sci-fi concept about the meaning of reality and finding what you want in life, 'making a difference'; Soran, though stupid, at least wasn't just another crazed revenge seeking lunatic
FC - it was most definitely not just FX and oneliners - what about Picard having to face that despite the 'evolved human being' thing he still wants revenge just as the next guy; Borg, a true sci-fi enemy; Cohcrane and his contradictions; the theme of first contact
INS (and contrary to many, i actually liked it) - this one was very much about a moral theme - does the good of the many really outweigh the good of the few, when does something become immoral "a hundred people, a thousand, a million?"
NEM - ok, this one was a disaster but still, at least it tried to have a more compeling theme for the baddie - he was essentially the same man as Picard, just put in some very different cirscumtances"
BRILLANT!! ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!!
JASON K - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 10:49am (USA Central)
HOW F***IN DARE ANY OF YOU MAKE FUN OF "STAR TREK" AFTER ALL IT'S BEEN THROUGH!!!

It endured through Voyager
It endured through Enterprise
And now, it's enduring through a reboot.

LEAVE IT ALONE

PLEASE....PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE.

LEAVE "STAR TREK" ALONE RIGHT. NOW.

Any of you P*******s who want to make fun of "Star Trek", you deal with me!

(Cries softly)

You're lucky they even made a movie for you bastards!

(Cries softly)
Dave - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 3:13pm (USA Central)
Jammer, whether I agree or not your reviews always do a magnificent job of providing critical analysis that’s both well reasoned and insightful. It’s one of the reasons I keep coming to this site and I just wanted to thank you for the time you put into it. That being said I was and remain surprised by the positive press this film keeps receiving. While I agree with you that that most of the cast was great (I thought Pines performance as Kirk was especially good given the difficulty of his task, and Quinto and Urban as Spock and McCoy were both extremely enjoyable), I really felt the plot made this film almost unwatchable.
There were several little things in the story which struck me as odd, like can any second in command aboard a federation ship seize control by goading their superior into hitting them? I feel like someone on that bridge should have pointed out that Kirk clearly goaded Spock into a physical outburst. Although that made sense compared to “red matter” which I realize is just a plot device but I think I would have enjoyed the film more if they’d simply said Spock was going to use his magic to make the super nova go away.
But to be serious the plot’s biggest problem (at least IMO) was Nero, who I found to be totally unsatisfying as the film’s villain since his motives, outside of just Revenge!! with a capital R, were never fully explained. For instance why is he so driven to strike at Spock. The story seems to suggest that Spock was trying to save Romulus and simply failed in the attempt. So why does Nero believe the destruction of his home and family to be Spock’s fault? I feel like this was a missed opportunity on the writer’s part to develop a more compelling foe for Kirk and the gang to fight and perhaps some more detailed explanatory dialogue was cut for the purpose of pacing, but the lack of a more detailed back-story really distracted me throughout the second half of the movie. I mean I kept wondering whether there was more to Nero, was he really just the captain of a mining vessel? Do romulans routinely arm their mining vessels with such heavy weapons?? Why wait for Spock for so long when he could have just gone to Romulus and warned them of the upcoming super nova??? For that matter how does a super nova of that magnitude sneak up on a galaxy????
I’ll concede that some of this is nitpicking on my part. But I really felt that the plot was a largely unpolished, and incomprehensible mess. Was it fun? sometimes. It was certainly pretty to watch but I couldn’t shake some feelings of disappointment considering that I firmly think a few extra lines of dialogue could have cleared up a story that at times really left me quite confused.
dan81 - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 3:26pm (USA Central)
I've seen the film a couple of times now - the first I was really hyped up about it and read all the reviews about it being true to the original with a fresh take - I was extrememly disapointed to see the 23rd century go Battlestar Galactica on us.
The second time I wanted to make sure that I hadn't let my disapointment detract from the movie and give it a fresh set of eyes so to speak.

It's definately not my Star Trek but it does have some good qualities. I will give it 2 stars, it lacks the core message and theme, Spock 1 is very out of character - I seem to remember that he would have put things right again and perserved in doing so.

I understand the need for the reboot, I get the need to make it successful so I can't be too hard on the people that made it under those criteria. It would have been good to have some real Star Trek in there somewhere though, rather then just a lot of special effects.
Poltargyst - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
In the scene where Scotty is whooshing through the water tube, there's a sign on the tube that says "Inert Reactant". How in the heck do you have an "inert reactant"?!?
Occuprice - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
I wish there were more review sites out there that went into as much depth and analysis as Jammer does. It'd be nice to get this kind of review for all movies, not just Star Trek ones.
Latex Zebra - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 4:25pm (USA Central)
You're all wrong. You people are getting screwed up over things like the Romulan ship being too heavily armed, Red Matter being an inconsistent plot device, Spock being able to witness the death of Vulcan from Delta Doodah and, leading from that, not going to go and see Scotty to save Vulcan.
Which leads me nicely to quite possibly the most shocking and gut wrenching cock up of them all.
One Tribble.
One... These things breed like... Erm Tribbles and there was just one of them. Ridiculous.
If I was Scotty and stuck on an Ice Planet with a Muppet, I would be breeding these things for food and more importantly fur coats and warm boots.
They really didn't think that through.

Chris L - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 5:34pm (USA Central)
Latex Zebra,
The Tribble was fixed. :-)
William - Mon, Jun 1, 2009 - 8:43pm (USA Central)
Good review. I'd rate it lower--2 stars or 2 1/2--but I agree with your main points. It's entertaining, and the cast is good, and it's fun to see dramatized things like the Kobayashi Maru scenario. It's not really very interesting thematically, intellectually, or morally. The insights into Kirk are a little bit meaningless, since they don't explain any of Old Kirk; Old Spock's not bothering to do anything to stop the destruction of Vulcan when he knew where Scotty is (and refusing to tell Kirk some obvious points of info in order because it's more important for Kirk and Spock to be friends than to protect Earth) is ludicrous; Nero is an uninteresting villain. The reboot captures the spirit of fun of the original Trek but none of its imagination. I suppose it's better this than a ponderous mess like Nemesis, which tries and fails to bring up philosophical points; but it seems a drag that there isn't more there there.
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 1:36am (USA Central)
Look Jason K it's your right to love the movie but you must accept that it's my right not to like it. We are all star trek fans after all and and there is no reason to discard other fan's opinions just becouse you disagree with them.
Nick - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 2:22am (USA Central)
I get your humor Jason K- even if others don't.
Jason K - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 10:48am (USA Central)
Wow Kara....really? If you didn't realize just how far my tongue was implanted in my cheek there (FYI, there is a large hole now) than I dunno what to tell you.

No wait, I do:

www.youtube.com

Do a search on "Leave Britney Alone"

Then write me back, i'm sure you'll be a bit wiser from now on.

Cheers.
Joe Menta - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 12:57pm (USA Central)
Actually, if a hundred-and-some-year-old McCoy could make a cameo in the first episode of Next Generation, I see no reason why it wasn't the same Archer we know from "Enterprise" that Scotty was talking about in the new film. He did say "Admiral" Archer, after all, denoting the passing of time and a promotion or two. Of course, Scotty couldn't have been talking about the same dog we saw in "Enterprise", unless dogs live really long in the future, too.
Daniel Lebovic - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
Roland K,

I'm not "coming down hard" on anyone. I am merely wondering why the crtieria for judging a Star Trek movie differ among fans, and for any given fan with respect to the 11 movies.

Scientific plausibility counts, when some fans want it to. It doesn't, when some fans don't.

It's important for Star Trek to have "weighty Star Trek issues" when the issue on screen is one the fan likes; not so much when the fan dislikes it.

I am coming down on the mindset that says, "This (heavy-handed philosophizing, dull speeches, what have you) is what Star Trek is, I'm right, you're wrong," and on the mindset some fans have that says "Either the movie has to cater to my (indiscernable and capricious) whims or it is not a good movie." I am coming down on the mindset that says, "X is what makes for a great Star Trek film, and if X is not there, it's bad." I'm coming down on the mindset that says that if a filmmaker does not follow X, he has not just made a bad Star Trek movie, but a bad MOVIE.

In practically none of these comments have I read criticism (or praise, for that matter) of this film AS A PIECE OF CINEMA. You know, things like, "the camerawork was terrible; the scene was poorly paced; the humor was out of touch; the movie went on too long." Guess one has no time for this when there's too much mental masturbatory typewriting to be had about whether this movie is "a good Star Trek movie."

What I'm saying is, I am humble enough to say that I don't know what a good "Star Trek" movie is, so I can't say if this movie was a great Star Trek movie. Art ultimately must be judged, in some sense, on its own four corners, and it's a pity that the commentators seem to be treating continuity, adherence to canon, or what have you, as virtues (or vices, as most people here seem to be), instead of mere attributes, which they are not. (As an aside, I find that people's stating, AS FACT, what Star Trek "is" about, and then judging the movie on this basis alone, is presumptuous. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts." I should add that when your facts are not facts but rather opinions, you are (one is) under the false guise of objectivity, criticizing in a manner no more or less valid than anyone else (i.e. someone who realizes his opinions are not facts) does.

I guess I am biased myself... I was a movie critic back in college and law school days where I saw my stuff published... No one ever "told me" the following rule, but when I wrote a review, even of a film that was made "for the fans only" (a fact, by the way, that is also neither vice nor virtue), I asked myself three mental questions before I wrote it, and then asked myself the same three questions afterwards to make sure I had answered them. 1) What is the movie about? 2)Would you recommend it? 3) Why, or why not? In answering each question, I tried to use ordinary terms that a person with no knowledge of the movie could relate to, so that they could (hopefully) after reading the review be in a better position to judge whether the movie was worth their $10.00. The reviews were written in such a way as to be understood, and (hopefully) be helpful to everyone.

I understand these are not the criteria used at a site like this, but I've also found that focusing on a review with these questions in mind allows me to avoid going off on tangents, and to minimize the introduction of personal prejudice into a review, for surely the reader didn't/shouldn't/couldn't care about these things.
They shouldn't care about what I think the movie officially "SHOULD" have been about, or about my criticism over things that were not in the movie (you cannot criticize what's not there; I've always found it best to criticize what's actually on the screen. This is easy to do, if one permits oneself to do it).

Now, on this forum, every comment is personal-prejudice laden, a result of all of us having an idea as to what "Star Trek" is, was, or should be. I submit that singly focusing on this question and having the answer dictate whether this movie was a GOOD MOVIE (since there is no correct answer, or even "correct opinion" as to what a good "Star Trek" movie) does a disservice to movies in general.




"Daniel,

Jammer gave the movie three stars out of four. Three out of four. Don't you think you're being excessive? You're taking it way out of proportion. I think you're coming down on Jammer a lot harder than he supposedly came down on this movie."
Daniel Lebovic - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 1:15pm (USA Central)
I probably should further note that I wouldn't under most circumstance TELL someone to lighten up - as if I were trying to command them, because I would properly be seen as someone who believed he and he alone had the power to determine what emotional responses to something are proper.

Then again, more than a few comments on this board are made by people with apparently the same mindset - "THIS is what Star Trek should be/is, and the resultant reaction must be X."

Star Trek fans pride themselves on tolerance, but I begin to wonder if that is true when it comes to the issue of respecting others' opinions on Star Trek itself. I may disagree with someone, but I'll give you my reason - my opinion - not my "fact" - as part of my argument.
dan81 - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 4:35pm (USA Central)
We should have had Daniel playing Spock!! :D
Eduardo - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 5:24pm (USA Central)
Admiral Archer's age may not be as implausible as you implied. We know from Trek history that humans can easily live up to 140 years of age, given Admiral McCoy on Farpoint.

Archer was around 40 back in the early 2150's. Since the film takes place about 100 years after that, I could see it working. It wouldn't be Porthos though. It would be a different Beagle.
Davidw - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 7:49pm (USA Central)
Jammer, your spot on there, as usual.

I would give it 4 stars, not because it was great science fiction, but because the production, pacing, script, all were excellent. There was steam pouring out of vents, the ceilings were 100's of feet high, pipes and nozzles everywhere, background chatter, the light was chaotic, the camera was set right. It was just a glorious movie. Everything oozed wonderment, sincerity and realism.

I am afraid, though, of where the movies will go next. It is as likely for them to do a story about humanity or society as a story about mickey mouse. But let us hope.
Brandon - Tue, Jun 2, 2009 - 11:43pm (USA Central)
"Then again, more than a few comments on this board are made by people with apparently the same mindset - 'THIS is what Star Trek should be/is, and the resultant reaction must be X.'"

Guilty. I guess I was just wanting it to be intelligent, multi-layered, purposeful. I suppose I'm being intolerant for feeling like it was a shallow fanboy action flick with about as much depth and subtlety as Starship Troopers. Sorry about that. I feel ashamed and unworthy to be a Trek fan. I'll go crawl into a hole now and let the rest of you enlightened folks continue in peace.
karatasiospa - Wed, Jun 3, 2009 - 12:31am (USA Central)
Wll Jason K sorry that i don't understand your humor but i spoke politely while you didn't. But that's enough with this, period. As for the fans who know what trek is etc i'm guilty as charged. Tolerance is one thing making trek whatever one likes is onother. Trek has an identity. Ofcourse anyone has the right not to like it or to ask for a different trek. I respect their opinion and i have no problem to hear their opinion. That is tolerance not the kind of relativism where all opinions are equally true and right. As for the movie as a movie(and not only as trek) my opinion is that it was not a real good movie. Yes the effects were great and the acting was good but I found the whole plot childish and full of holes and the dialogues elementary at best. If that makes me intolerant then so be it.
Jack Bauer - Wed, Jun 3, 2009 - 2:38pm (USA Central)
What I liked:

1) The characters were spot on. Perfectly cast and well acted. I cant say anything bad about that aspect and look forward to future movies with these actors

2) I actually enjoyed that they took a storyline risk with blowing up Vulcan and stuck to it.

3) I liked how it actually made Star Trek feel cool.

What I didnt like:

1) Typical JJ Abrahams bullshit trash hollywood garbage flashy monsters, super duper hyper graphics, and lens flare. It gave me a headache near the end. Like the Cloverfield monster? Really??? Piss off.

2) Typical JJ Abrahams bullshit trash subplots that nobody understands or reads. Did anybody know there was a published comic book with a background on Nero and his ship? Well apparantly according to this Nero fitted his ship with Borg technology to seek his revenge. If anybody here saw Cloverfield, JJ puts so many sub plots into his story that you have to goto other sources to find out exactly what happened.

3) The plot was filled with more holes than swiss cheese. So where was the Federation fleet while all of this was going on? What were they doing in "insert random system name here" while earth and vulcan were being blown to hell.

4) Is the Enterprise straight out of Starship Troopers? SO Pike puts Spock in command and Kirk, a renegade cadet as first officer? There wasnt anybody else in line for first officer?

5) And on that note the Captain ejects the first officer out an escape pod and nobody bats an eye?


dan81 - Wed, Jun 3, 2009 - 5:39pm (USA Central)
I read the background comic arc yesterday when I stumbled across it on a website and the plot made more sense (although it was still somewhat non-star trek) when combined with them.

Basically the comic series is a 4 parter 'prequel' which hands back from STTNG to the original series - Nero is a mining ship captain who first encounters the supernova and he and Spock confront the Senate about it. The senate are sceptical because we all know supernove don't destroy galaxies or adjacent systems and don't believe them.
So the two of them hatch a plan to use a Vulcan breakthrough in Red Matter to stop the ever expanding supernova.
Vulcan doesn't agree to Spock's plan to let the Romulan's use Red Matter because it's potentially very destructive in the wrong hands.

With Data and Picard's help (with some nice 'what happened after Nemesis progression) Spock and Nero set out to save Romulus (where Spock's insurgency is now an accepted part of reform since Nemesis days and he lives with citizenship as Federation ambassador).

Nero finds out he's about to be a father and promises to make sure his family are safe. Ulitmately because of the Senate and Vulcan delays and Spock making an incorrect calculation they are too late to save Romulus and Nero lays the blame at the feet of the Vulcan people for not giving them help and vows revenge.

Nero manages to rescue the ungrateful Senate members and kills them for their responsiblity in the matter. He then uses their emergency control plans to gain access to a secret military facility where he gets his mining ship significantly upgraded with some Borg inspired weaponry.
The comic series ends with Nero taking on a set of Klingon ships led by Worf. He stabs Worf though the back and then uses him as a hostage against the Enterprise to escape.

I almost forgot - Geordi designed Spock's ship and gives it to him to deploy the red matter, the face tatttos are explained as is a miriade of other details missing from the film.

Eventually it all leads to Nero and Spock getting sucked into the artifical black hole and emerging at their set points in time.

If the prequel had been filmed it's a complete film in it's own right so obviously not practical, however it does tie things together quite nicely in terms of story.

Get it on torrentz - I don't think you'll be able to buy it anymore, the source I read said they sold out within two weeks of release in Jan!
Maureen - Thu, Jun 4, 2009 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
Funny thing, I took my elderly father to see this - he's in a wheelchair, has dementia. While I sat there enthralled by the action - and I LOVED Uhura and Spock, THAT was a delightful surprise! - he was agitated and at the end, eager to leave the theatre.

As we headed to the exit, he told me he was bored most of the time. My father wanted TOS, and he was ANGRY the timeline was re-written!!!

Just as a LOL note to Jammer - I did hear from a friend from Iowa: she also commented, "You are aware there is no connection to the Grand Canyon in Iowa?"

Over all, it was exciting. It was also loud. And I enjoyed it, but - no, it wasn't GREAT Trek. But it sure was GOOD.

btw - anyone who wants a good laugh - go to tv.com, and look for CSI, there are online episode videos - watch "A Space Oddity", it's a riff on Trek conventions and Star Trek in general, it's hysterical!
karatasiospa - Fri, Jun 5, 2009 - 5:03am (USA Central)
I'm much younger than your father but i agree with him!!!
Dan L. - Fri, Jun 5, 2009 - 11:28am (USA Central)
Maureen,

Very nice story. I am 31 and my mother and father are 58 and 59, respectively. My parents both watched every episode of TOS when the show aired, they watched (a year after they got married) the Animated Series, and all of the episodes of the remaining Star Trek shows. All 3 of us saw all 725 Star Trek TV episodes, multiple times, and have now seen every movie at least 3 times. We saw Star Trek "XI" the night it was sneaked, May 7th, and when it was over, we all barely said a word to each other. Instead, we all (as if we were reading each other's thoughts) got right back in line to see the movie again, even though we all had to get up very early for work the next morning. When the second viewing was over, we reached the consensus that we had seen a great movie. "Man, that movie was fun," we all said. I commented to my parents, "I'm sure some fans will be less than enthused after seeing the film when they realize the movie was made for everyone and not for the flyspeckers." My father said, "And that fact is why, for the first time in history, no matter how loudly these fans scream about how the movie wasn't "REAL TREK," "canon," or so forth, Paramount can finally listen to the complaints while having the luxury of putting their earmuffs on if the noise gets too loud." It was a joy to hear and literally see how many people have now become interested in Star Trek because the filmmakers took the time to make a movie that was for everyone, not for a club of winking insiders that sees Star Trek movies but complains no matter what is put on screen even if the filmmakers attempt to cater to them. If so much as one person, by becoming a fan after watching this movie, nurtures/furthers an interest in science or math, in an efffort to know more than he did the day before, that conversion is worth more, and is more important, than a million cries of, "Wait - Spock's sideburns weren't the same height as they were in Season 1."

It was director Ernst Lubitsch (generally regarded as one of the best directors every) who said: 'As soon as someone tackles a big theme with a message we take him seriously and call it art. We appreciate a painting of the crucifixion . . . whereas a simple Cezanne depiction of a vase and an apple may be far more enduring as art. I believe -- and I am not comparing myself to Cezanne -- in taking a lesser theme and then treating it without
compromise.' -- Ernst Lubitsch

I believe Abrams and company would have done Mr. Lubitsch proud.
Jack Bauer - Fri, Jun 5, 2009 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
TV isnt art.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 1:43am (USA Central)
Sorry folks, but I always hated Top Gun, and I don't like my genres mixed anyway. I was half expecting the new Kirk to cry out, "Talk to me, Goose!" Think about it - they were all there: Maverick, Goose, Iceman, even Viper - no blonde chick, but there's always the next movie to bring her in.

No. I've had enough of this "cowboys in space" nonsense. It's what sank "Enterprise," and it's only a matter of time before this "new" thing gets so stale that we can't breathe for the stink of all the macho bulls**t.

Take a hint: J.J. Abrams also brought us "Lost," remember?
Chris - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 10:09am (USA Central)
^ and Lost is by far the best show on TV!
David - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 11:00am (USA Central)
I wouldn't credit Abrams with the greatness that is LOST. It is clear Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse are responsible for making that show the best on tv for the last several seasons.

If only XI had a plot as tight as LOST has and writing as imaginative as LOST has and villians as interesting as LOST has.

The only good news I've heard for the sequel is Lindelof having a greater role in the story development than he had with XI.
Ian Whitcombe - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 3:45pm (USA Central)
Lindelof's co-writing the screenplay for XII, yes.
Matt L. - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 9:40pm (USA Central)
Great review Jammer. I think you nailed it. I have to admit that from the sound of it I liked the film just a little better than you did...but I think that's because it just NAILED the characters and for me a huge part of Trek IS the characters.

The plot is a mess, although--I think--an effective mess. And it's true that there's no super deep 'message' to the movie. But I think that at it's core this film captures the trek ideal of people with different view points coming together to accomplish great things. Kirk and Spock spend much of the movie clashing over their differences of opinion and personality...but they only truly begin to accomplish things once they decide to come together to come up with a plan to take down Nero.

There are also some pretty nice themes of fate and destiny that I think are being over looked by Trek fans blinded by their attempt to find loud commentary on society.

For me the most damning element of the movie is that the villain is a complete redux of villains we've seen many times. And not one that has the energy that drives say...Khan.

What I want from the next film is a movie that by-passes the past trek movie notion of the heroes vs. the villain. Let's see a movie more about exploration and discovery.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 9:43pm (USA Central)
"The greatness that is lost."

Yes sir, I couldn't have put it better myself: the greatness of hopelessly convoluted plot twists that take us nowhere except to next week, pathetically nursing our fading hopes that somehow, this week, all of those ludicrous plot threads will somehow come together.

My original point was not about LOST, anyway, it was about TOP GUN. If all anyone wants to feel anymore is the effing "need for speed," then I guess this new Trek is the show for you, but please don't kid yourself into thinking that your a Trekkie because you're into thought-stimulating entertainment.

Those days are long gone.
David - Sat, Jun 6, 2009 - 10:54pm (USA Central)
Genre-Buster said "Yes sir, I couldn't have put it better myself: the greatness of hopelessly convoluted plot twists that take us nowhere except to next week, pathetically nursing our fading hopes that somehow, this week, all of those ludicrous plot threads will somehow come together."

Not to take this thread too far afield but you obviously haven't been watching LOST. It is one of the most unique shows I've ever watched in how it started out with dozens and dozens of elements, mysteries, characters, events that appeared initially unrelated and over the last two seasons the writers have methodically managed to start clicking everything into place by revealing how everything is unified in interesting, clever and plausible non-contrived ways creating a magnificently complicated yet elegantly assembled epic tele-novel from what was once a confusing sprawl of puzzle pieces that at times I was concerned had no coherent creative vision guiding it. It turns out so far those fears were misplaced.

If the final season of LOST is as solid as it has been for the last two and a half seasons I feel comfortable saying that LOST will go down in history as being the most successful, most ambitious, and most complicated arc ever undertaken.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jun 7, 2009 - 12:15am (USA Central)
Trek is the topic, lost is the state the franchise is in.

I didn't even know the series was still running, let alone improved as you say it is. So mea-culpa, no offense intended. Fine - I'm glad they're tying things up over in Lostville. I must have given up that show too soon. Probably should never have brought it into this discussion in the first place.

So let's bring it back to the field: Top Gun sucked, and even if it didn't, I don't want it in my Trek.

Anyone care to address this?
karatasiospa - Sun, Jun 7, 2009 - 4:41am (USA Central)
Quote "There are also some pretty nice themes of fate and destiny that I think are being over looked by Trek fans blinded by their attempt to find loud commentary on society"
i'm starting to think that perhaps we didn't see the same film! Exactly were are these themes in the movie?
And Trek is not only social caommentary it is also about questions like "what means to be human", our place in the universe and about morality and many other thinks. There was nothing like that in this movie let alone discussions about fate etc. How could they be? these people
were very busy running,shouting, fighting, firing fazers etc obviously they haven't much time for talking. Perhaps on Abrams's 23rd century humans lost the capacity of speech!
And Genre-Buster is right: this was Top Gun in space not star trek.
Chris - Sun, Jun 7, 2009 - 8:28am (USA Central)
'Top Gun in space' is exactly what the Star Trek franchise required in order to bring in a new generation of fans and to spice it up a little. With a worldwide gross of ~$320 million, it is safe to say that Abrams and Co. succeeded in not only bringing trek fans to the theater, but everybody else who probably knows little of trek or who never liked trek before.

In fact, I made my fiance go see the film (only because she made me see Twilight) and she loved it so much she took a bunch of her friends to see it. This is a person who has no interest in Star Trek whatsoever. She really enjoyed how the film was fast paced, how it contained humor, and how the film was filled with constant entertainment from start to finish. She thought that as a whole the film was similar in pace and humor to Transformers, which is funny because she didn't know that both films were written by the same guys.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jun 7, 2009 - 11:49pm (USA Central)
If what Chris says is true, then the fine art of slow-paced, thoughtful storytelling is finished for this franchise.

I encourage all to read Jammer's review of DS9: THE VISITOR (season 4 episode 2) to see what it is that I'm lamenting:
http://www.jammersreviews.com/st-ds9/s4/visitor.php
Ian Whitcombe - Mon, Jun 8, 2009 - 9:57am (USA Central)
Of course, that just begs the question if the franchise produced anything similliar to "The Visitior" since the end of DS9's run in 1999...

I feel the most relevant comparisions between XI and previous Trek would be Enterprise (prequel), Nemesis (film), and TOS (Characters).
Chris - Mon, Jun 8, 2009 - 4:09pm (USA Central)
@ genre-buster

That may be true. However, Abrams films was still very entertaining despite the lack of thoughtful storytelling. Lets face it, if the new film was slow-paced and thoughtful, it would not attract a large audience. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman etc. really had no choice but to create an energetic face-paced film in order to attract new fans. In saying that, I believe there is room for a fast-paced entertaining Star Trek that can stimulate our brains outside of explosions and special effects (which were amazing).

Hopefully the next film will dig a bit deeper. And I really hope they don't try to do Kahn again. That would suck. I think someone mentioned in a previous post that the next film should focus on discovery and exploration. That's the direction I would like to see.
Jack Bauer - Mon, Jun 8, 2009 - 5:51pm (USA Central)
You know I had a thought:

How different was this trash compared to Star Trek 1? Trek 1 was created to be flashy, hollywood nonsense with lots of flashy graphics and flashy stuff and a bald woman. Then Star Trek 2 was the meat of storytelling.

Hopefully these new movies will follow the same path.
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 9, 2009 - 5:26am (USA Central)
So we must do anything just to attract new fans? what's the usufulness of it if the result is a trek without its identity? Why keep such a trek alive? what's the meaning of it? just to have some trek, any trek? Are we so obsessed with having some trek even if it means that it looses its soul? why watch such a trek? and whhat's the meaning in atracting people in a trek that has nothing to say people who will see it only as an action story? The fact that this movie attracted people who didn't like trek does not mean anything if we had to sacrifice its soul. What these new audience gained from seeing this new trek? for me no trek its better than a bad trek.
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 9, 2009 - 5:30am (USA Central)
And the first movie was not a hollywood nonsence. It was classic cerebral science fiction as trek allways was. Ofcourse i don't expect that to be accepted from people who, perhaps, never read a scifi book or never understood what science fiction is.
Eduardo - Tue, Jun 9, 2009 - 3:19pm (USA Central)
The first Star Trek film is by far the most deep, thought-provoking Trek production ever brought to the big screen. And it had the best pacing I'd seen since Kubrick's 2001.

That's the one film that truly tackles the Enterprise's original mission: that of exploration. The Motion Picture takes that literally in a visual and narrative sense. The scenes with the Enterprise penetratig the V'Ger cloud and flying over the massive starship are mesmerizing, brought up to an even higher level thanks to Jerry Goldsmith's epic score.

And it still portrays one of the best logic/emotion issues through Spock and V'Ger. This is also a mission of exploration and understanding at its core.

I'd love for Abrams and Lindelof to try something like that in a future Trek film, but I doubt a studio exec would ever allow that 1970's visual style and pacing resurrected in 2009.
Daniel Lebovic - Wed, Jun 10, 2009 - 11:24am (USA Central)
"Vulgarity is not as destructive to an artist as snobbery is." - Pauline Kael

Someone who "understands what science fiction is" would never call it "sci-fi," as a recent poster did. Of course, this assertion is just that - an assertion - an opinion. Again, no one has a definitional monopoly on what "Star Trek" is, or what "Star Trek is," or, as Kael's quote indicates, what a "good movie" is.
karatasiospa - Thu, Jun 11, 2009 - 3:44am (USA Central)
Well from now on i will be carefull to use only the term "science fiction" and not "scifi" since someone seems to have the definitional monopoly of how you you can umderstand if someone knows what science fiction is or not!!! It seems that all the books i read count to nothing. No problem!! i will use only the proper term from now on!!!
karatasiospa - Thu, Jun 11, 2009 - 3:51am (USA Central)
As for opinions and assertions etc i have the right (as does anyone else) to try to convince others for what i think is right or wrong becouse for me there is a right and a wrong. If that is a problem for someone so be it.
Brandon - Thu, Jun 11, 2009 - 11:17am (USA Central)
*sigh*

Can we please let go of the relativistic to-each-his-own argument that avoids the issue? This isn't a matter of individual taste. Sure, different people have enjoyed different aspects of Trek over the years, but it doesn't automatically follow that Trek has ever been or ever should be confined to such preferences. Star Trek IS quantifiable, on its own. There are 700 previous hours of it that demonstrate that the show was always supposed to be ABOUT something, supposed to carry a larger purpose. I'm the last person to worship Gene Roddenberry like some do - if it had been up to him, we wouldn't have the second, third, or sixth movies we have now - but under his guidance, Trek at least had a point besides just being a space opera.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, but in this case, those who regret this movie's lack of Trekkian depth DO have a valid point, whether or not anyone else agrees.
karatasiospa - Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - 12:09am (USA Central)
Very well said Brandon!
Will - Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - 2:24am (USA Central)
The movie was a terrific piece of relatively forgettable entertainment with a serviceable, if unremarkable, script -- except for some very good character material in the first act. I think Jammer's assessment is pretty sound.

The one thing about the movie that disappoints me was the missed opportunity for a pure "Trek" moment at the end: Kirk should have rescued Nero, over Nero's objections, rather than doing the summer blockbuster thing and blowin' him up reeeeeeal good. This would not only have defeated Nero but demonstrated the principled commitment to law (Nero would be incarcerated and tried for his crimes) and compassion that the Federation is supposed to promote, and that Kirk embodied in the series.

THAT would have elevated the material above typical summer fare, while rounding out Kirk's character into recognizable form.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - 4:27am (USA Central)
Science Fiction (or "Sci-Fi," as those of us who don't know what we are talking about like to call it), is a genre of story-telling which generally, though not always, posits an alternate world in which technological advances have changed the dominant paradigm in some way or other - often negative. I'm thinking about the great sci-fi writers: Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick all forced us to question why we yearn for such advances. Do they really make us happier, better people than we were before whatever technological breakthrough was made? Moreover, is the power achieved through these advances something we can handle? This of course was a theme that Roddenberry couldn't seem to get enough of: Trelaine, Q, Apollo, Gary Mitchell, almost too many studies to name.

This new Trek is all about power - the more the better, gimme gimme gimme. The words used by people who liked it inevitably center around issues of power: awesome, amazing, fantastic, breath-taking, etc.

Earlier, Brandan made a very apt comparison to the film STARSHIP TROOPERS. But in that movie, at least Paul Verhoven left us with the appropriately bitter aftertaste of fascism. No such aftertaste with this film; nothing but gung-ho, ride-em-cowboy hormones to the very end.

So how much is enough?
karatasiospa - Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - 5:04am (USA Central)
Very well said from both of you allthough i have to notice that science fiction is not allways dystopian, many times is also utopian talking about the possibilities of human improvement in the future with or without technological improvement (Arthur C.Clarke is an example and by the way i don't think Asimov was a dystopian writer) or providing thoughts about humanity's place in the universe, what it would mean for humans the existence of other intelligent species etc. All these themes are present in Star Trek(it is not a coincidence that roddenberry was A.C.Clarke's friend).
As for this movie you can interpet it in two ways: it is either a movie intented to provide some temporary, superficial and easily forgettable entertainment or it was a movie which was intentionaly giving the meaning of just "shoot them all, especially your enemy and don't think at all about it"! Ofcourse it can be both!In the end it was not a bad movie providing that what you wanted was just 2 hours of superficial entertaiment (a way to pass 2 hours without thinking about your problems) and that in the end you didn't take it seriously and you had the strength to resist its message.
Alex - Sun, Jun 14, 2009 - 9:48am (USA Central)
I enjoyed the film - as a fan, I delighted at every homage and in-joke in the dialogue, the visual design. The acting across the board was good, though Spock and Bones stood out for me. I think Jammer has it right that Urban was almost channeling, but he did seem to have almost as little screen time as Sulu.

Call me a sucker for that sort of thing, but it gave me the same sort of elation as the opening credits of Superman Returns (which I'm not afraid to admit, I enjoyed).

But much as with Superman, I left feeling somewhat dismayed. Where does Trek go from here? Where /can/ it go from here?

Can the 'new' old crew carry off a movie franchise? Can the characters ever truly grow and develop in the '2-hours every few years' format? IMO the original Trek movies only managed because they had such a wealth of background material to draw upon (not just the stories, but oh so many character interactions).

I can't help but think that Trek is at its best in the small screen format. But then I was so bitterly disappointed in the stories of Voyager and the majority of Enterprise - I honestly can't help thinking that perhaps it's best to let this be the end of the line.
Rosie Powell - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 12:44pm (USA Central)
This movie is incredibly overrated. Why is it that hardly anyone notices? It's overrated. And it has plotholes galore. What was Amanda doing with the Vulcan Council? Why was Pavel Chekov serving aboard the Enterprise in 2258? He was 13 fucking years old at the time. Why did Nero attack the Kelvin? How is it that Kirk knew all about Nero, when he was barely a few minutes old when his father died? Spock and Uhura? The most boring TREK couple I have ever encountered. Simon Pegg as Scotty? Does the word "hammy" mean anything? How did Kirk rise from a third/fourth year Academy cadet to captain of a starsip within days? What the fuck was that? Why is it that Nero needed the coordinates for Earth's defense system and yet, he didn't need it to destroy Vulcan? What was Nero doing during the 25 years that passed between the Kelvin's destruction and Vulcan's destruction?

Can anyone answer these questions?
Brandon - Wed, Jun 17, 2009 - 11:49pm (USA Central)
Aye, not only was it bad Trek but it was bad writing. The story was forced in so many places in order to set up a danger concept that was only mildly compelling.
karatasiospa - Thu, Jun 18, 2009 - 12:31am (USA Central)
The reason that is overrated is that many people want just impressive SFX and a lot of shooting and nothing more. As for trek fans they just want some trek, any trek. As for the writing it was superficial just another disaster story which was not even compeling.
Simon B - Fri, Jun 19, 2009 - 1:32am (USA Central)
Im quite dismayed, although not surprised that all the pure Trekist have come crawling out of the woodwork since this film came out winging that "Trek wasnt like this in the old days". I think what is unbearable to some is that it has made into something which the masses can enjoy, not just the "in" croud who have seen every episode. Plot holes? yep just like every other trek film. Historical innacuracies "Checov should only have been 13 not 17!!" Well lets all slit our wrists...
My point is that as a trek fan I personally loved this film, but what seperates me from the purist nit pickers is the fact a Trek film has become perhaps the biggest film of the year and got this much exposure, long let it live!!

karatasiospa - Fri, Jun 19, 2009 - 4:02am (USA Central)
So you decided that we "pure trekists" think that is unbearble that trek "has made into something which the masses can enjoy". Really?? don't tell me!!! But thanks anyway for the enlightement! I didn't know that i was thinking this way!!!!
Alex - Fri, Jun 19, 2009 - 7:05am (USA Central)
To answer some of Rosies' points:

What was Amanda doing with the high council? She was married to one of their members, she could just have been visiting with Sarek.

In Re: Chekov. His birthdate in the new continuity is never stated - the entire timeline has been shifted, he could just be a boy born earlier to the same parents and given the same name as 'our' Pavel.

Kirk would doubtless have spent some time learning about the circumstances surrounding his fathers' death. He was pretty cut up about it.

Nero was waiting 25 years for old Spock to appear, having calculated when/where he would do so. His revenge afterall was targetted at Old Spock.

Kirks' rise to captain - again, no precise timeframe is given. Note that Pike also rises to Admiral. Remember that Kirk always was the 'youngest captain in starfleet', and that much of the fleet was destroyed at Vulcan. It's no more/less incredible than all of the cadets being made to man the ships in act 1, anyway, to suppose that some would be given commissions afterward.

As for Spock/Uhura - bleh, I can't explain that one. This returns to my point that the 'new' characters need further exploration. It may have just been a throwaway to get a laugh out of Kirks' pursuit of Uhura earlier on.
Will Grigg - Fri, Jun 19, 2009 - 8:01am (USA Central)
Hey, I'll take a stab at the Spock/Uhura thing.

Anybody else remember the Rec Room scene from "Charlie X" in which Spock is doodling on his Vulcan Lyre, and Uhura is singing? Her first chorus is all about Spock, and how his exotic features "could rip your heart from you." Clearly, there was a hint of an attraction there.

How about the little bit of business on the bridge in "The Man Trap," in which Uhura was plainly and obviously flirting with Spock (to paraphrase, "why not tell me I'm an attractive lady, or tell me how Vulcan looks at night when the moon is full")?

Even in the "old continuity," there was clearly a spark of some kind between those characters, even if they never acted on it. I thought it was ... uh, interesting to see how the more overtly emotional Spock dealt with the relationship (that's not a choice I would have made), but the pairing itself doesn't strike me as bizarre.

Brandon - Fri, Jun 19, 2009 - 3:58pm (USA Central)
Simon B -

Despite the opinion of yourself and Leonard Nimoy, not every Trek "purist" is a elitist snob and compulsive nit-picker who obsesses over the details. Some of us are simply disappointed that the movie was a loud, bright, stupid serving of summer entertainment with very little of the purpose and relevance that has made Trek so important to us. So lumping "purists" into such a category really isn't fair.

As far as all the questions that Alex had to answer - yeah, you COULD answer them as he did, but the very fact that those questions are being asked defeats the movie from being great. The greatest Trek did not have plot holes of this magnitude. It's just lazy writing.

Bligo - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 12:11am (USA Central)
In all honesty i only want Star Trek if its about the future.Could not care less for the last series,with Archer because i simply want to know what will happen next(2400+).I could not care less what happend before.In any "timeline","Mirror reality" or whatever the scriptbots use to deliver a story.

In general ; Hated it,and even if they doubled the special effects i still would have hated it.

If i want light entertainment i would go broadway and see a musical.But i dont,i want science i want chars that i learn to love and i want Miles O'Brien more then anything else.

If there is no Miles count me out next time,you enjoy the millions of boxoffice but dont expect me to watch another minute of it.
Simon B - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 4:40am (USA Central)
I am willing to give in to the fact that the script was a little lightweight, but I think when people describe the film as just another loud flashy summer blockbuster is a bit much.

It was extremely enjoyable, excellent Sci-fi with some brilliant acting. there was no doubt in my mind this film was definetly trek! Not just a loud blockbuster with the same characters, and on a par with First Contact and Khan in terms of scale and excitement, anyday!
karatasiospa - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 6:12am (USA Central)
I'm really not interested anymore in trying to find events in trek's history which will justify the arbirtrariness of any writer who writes a trek script!! for many years now we the fans are doing this thing and i think that's enough! if trek writers don't respect trek's history i will not do their job! I will expose their lack of respect for what it is.
As for those who believe that the movie is "extremely enjoyable, excellent Sci-fi with some brilliant acting" perhaps the should care to justify this in some way rather than shouting in our ears like they are by definition right. Well i have news for you guys: you are not by definition right and bombing us with such screams only proves that you don't have any arguments, you are just trying to impose your opinion screaming. Sorry i will not tolerate that.
WakeMed - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 7:12am (USA Central)
Those sound like fighting words! 'Scuse me, off to read a book
Simon B - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 10:13am (USA Central)
Kara - I actually wrote more in depth about the film earlier on in this blog so to go into depth about my comments would be repeating myself.

Im sorry if you thought I was shouting and asuming I was correct, but I think the point of these blogs are to express that persons thoughts and feeling on the matter, to asume anyone is "by definition right" when talking about a movie is in itself flawed because no one is "right".

The great thing about freedom of speech is that for every comment I put on pointing out (imo) the films positives, there will be another pointing out (in their opinion) the films negatives (like your opinion on the writers lack of respect for the source material). If there was a right or wrong on ANY subject there would be no need for blogs like this would there? Long live debate!!
Brandon - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 2:53pm (USA Central)
Kara - please, chill bro. You're making this personal.

As far as debate goes: let's say Jim and Bob are standing right next to a big old barn. Jim makes a comment on it, and Bob asks "what barn"? Jim replies "the barn right behind you". Bob continues to deny there is a barn, and when Jim insists that there is, Bob starts talking about freedom of speech and making room for opinions and the power of debate. He puts Jim down because he's insisting he's right and Bob's wrong. Despite the truth of what Bob is saying, Jim continues standing there with an incredulous look because...dude, the barn's right there.

I love debate, Simon, but not all debates are so nebulous that they can't be resolved. In this case, I feel that the "barn" is the hundreds of hours of Roddenberry's Star Trek that already existed. Even before Berman came on the scene, Trek always placed its identity in science, ideals, and philosophy, in dialogue and discussion. That's science fiction. It's always been that way.

There wasn't any of that in this new movie; it's what isn't there that disappoints me, not what is. I guess I can't blame J.J. Abrams for understanding the new generation, one which doesn't have any tolerance for people talking. That would be boring and pretentious, right?

Nothing against you, Simon. I do enjoy debate. :)
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 6:12pm (USA Central)
@ Brandon: Beautiful, brother. Solid truth.

One caveat: Film-makers like Abrams aren't giving this "new generation" of film-goers much of a chance to excecise tolerance of any kind.

Treat your audience as though they were intelligent, and they will answer in kind.
Matrix - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 4:48am (USA Central)
Thanks for writing your review Jammer. Enjoyed the movie for a bit, then it started to bore me. Then I freaked out and screamed. Then I got better but still could say out of like and dislike, I just simply dislike it. For me I've found when I'm enjoying something I'll forgive it's shortcomings, and when I'm not, well you know the rest. It's more interesting to me seeing the different reactions from people and everyone has their own view of what Trek should and you're all right, seeing as how multifaceted the show/s have been.
Meanwhile I'll be over there watching Stargate. Kidding. Sorta.

BTW I was going to compare the destruction of Vulcan to the destruction of Gallifrey in Doctor Who and how that can affect Spock like the Doctor and whether that's a benefit for character development backstory or in the same way a hindrance to future stories...oh wait I did.
karatasiospa - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 5:30am (USA Central)
I'm not making anything personal brandon, i don't know peronaly Simon B or any other in this discusion. But i don't like being accused as elitist without any argument, just becouse someone thinks that any fan who don't like this movie is an elitist without caring to support such an accusation. Amd there were many arguments in this discusion about the shallwness of this movie which diserve to be answered with arguments not just with slogans.
As for freedom of speech is fine and wonderfull etc but that doesn't mean that there is no wright or wrong which can be found through debate. But it will not be found with slogans.
Now can anyone explain me why Nero was hating the federation and Spock? just becouse spock failed to help romulus allthough he tried? If a fire start in your house and the neighbours try to help you but fail will that be a reason to start killing them? Is that good writing?
And is this movie about a larger question or theme? yes or no? if yes can you tell me where it is? Was trek allways about such science and philosophy and social commentary yes or no? if yes where were these in this movie? Do you believe that trek is not about these things yes or no? if yes then say it and prove it, prove that 5 tv series and 10 previous movies were not about these things.
Chris - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 6:45pm (USA Central)
This is such a trivial debate.

Kara, no matter what kind of answers people give to your questions, it doesn't really matter. You made it quite clear that you did not like this movie, and that's an opinion you're entitled to. But you know what: I don't give a shit about you're opinion.

From the box office performance and the overwhelming positive feedback from hundreds of professional critics (95% fresh on rottentomatoes) this movie was not only a success, but provided much better entertainment to millions of people than some of the crap in theaters now.

So you can nitpick and bicker all you want. Bottomline is if you don't like this current incarnation of trek and its subsequent sequals, than don't watch it.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 8:31pm (USA Central)
Chris, in choosing to respond to Kara's legitimate questions with vitriol, you have turned this forum into troll-ville, and I am utterly boggled as to why you would even bother posting if you're not interested in other people's opinions.

Thanks for your input, but if all you have to post about is box-office/critics, I think it might be time for Jammer to close this forum; it's gotten long enough, and it seems to me that we've all had our say.
Jammer - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 9:57pm (USA Central)
I'm not going to close this thread, but I will police it. At this point, I see little point in folks simply sniping back and forth between the "I thought it was good" and "I thought it was bad" positions and discussing who's right/wrong and who has a right to say what.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I hope that everyone keeps an open mind to respect what others have said. That said, matters of personal taste and the amount of enjoyment someone actually got out of the movie is pretty irrelevant to argue, because that's a personal reaction and not really subject to debate. Some liked it, others did not, and enough already.

If you're going to argue about the movie, argue based on its content, not how right or wrong or valid or invalid your and others' opinions are, and who has a right to say what.

Dismissing others' opinions out of hand is not the style of debate I'm generally looking for here. Let's try also to be polite and not curse at the other posters. Play nice, or don't play at all, please.

Thank you.
navamske - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 10:15pm (USA Central)
I have not yet seen the movie, but I have read the reviews, I have read the novelization, and I know what the premise is for "rebooting" the franchise: Most of this movie takes place in an alternate timeline created by Nero's destruction of the Kelvin. I have my doubts as to how, say, the bridge of the Enterprise could change so much as a result of that divergence, but as I said, I haven't seen the movie yet. However, it occurs to me that in taking this step, the writers may have doomed not only the characters but also life on Earth. As I understand it, history didn't diverge until the attack on the Kelvin. Therefore, humpback whales have still been extinct since the twenty-first century. It doesn't seem likely (to me, at least) that anything about Nero's attack on the Kelvin would prevent the "probe" from coming by just as it did in the "normal" timeline and destroying life on Earth because it can't find any whales to talk to. Kirk and his crew saved Earth from the probe, and it was an unusual, if not unique, set of circumstances that allowed them to do so -- they happened to be off-planet at the time of the probe's visit, they knew how to do the slingshot-around-the-sun gag for traveling backward in time (as a result of having done so during their encounter with Captain Christopher in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"), and Spock had very recently been reeducated as a result of his regenerated body's being rejoined with his mind and therefore (apparently) was familiar with cetacean species -- much of which, it seems to me, is unlikely to occur in the same way in this new timeline. Of course, maybe Earth will get wiped out by V'ger first...
Matrix - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 4:29am (USA Central)
@ Navamske

I think we have to go with the idea that in this new universe things won't occur exactly as they did in the old universe. On the other hand there are ways to think yourself out of the situation, like maybe the probe ran into V'ger and y'know *that* happened. And then V'ger ran into Nomad and they made out. Or something. Q was there too.
But seriously, just in my opinion I hope they don't, mainly so that next time we can see a story play out as an adventure/mission a bit like a classic TOS episode. With a Picard speech.
karatasiospa - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 4:30am (USA Central)
I let everyone here to judge these people who use insults rather than arguments. I will not answer in the same way becouse i respect jammer, i will only note that such responses speak a lot about the people who make them.
Beyond that i posed some questions and if anyone wants to answer and debate them fine( one of the greater virtues of star trek was that it promoted the value of rational dialogue). Otherwise i'm not interested in any discusion with this new kind of trek(?) "fans". I only hope that there are still people here who want to make a rational and polite discussion and i wil gladly take part in such a discusion.
Chris - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 7:32pm (USA Central)
Ok. I will be humble and I apologize for my earlier remarks. It was a lapse in judgment and forethought. I know this doesn't justify it, but it did stem from some of Kara's earlier posts that carried a confrontational tone and sarcasm that did not set will with me.

Kara, I will try to answer some of your questions. Yes it makes sense for Nero to hate Spock. Nero's home world was destroyed by a supernova that was supposed to be prevented by Spock, who is part of the Federation. Not only was most of Nero's race obliterated, but his family was killed as well. Yes Spock tried to save Romulus, but Nero's emotional outrage lead to irrational thoughts and behavior, which lead to blame and revenge.

Kara, I understand your 'house on fire' analogy, but I look at it differently. For instance, lets say a tidal wave was scheduled to plow into your community. The government said 'don't worry. we will build a wall to protect your community.' They then send the best contractor / company to build the wall. The lead contractor / head of company states 'I promise the citizens of this community that the wall will be finished well before scheduled tidal wave'. So you place all your faith into the government / contractor. But tidal wave arrives earlier than expected. The wall is only half finished. You witness the destruction of your community, home, and the death of all its inhabitants including your family. You then learn that the government / contractor did not heed the warnings that the tidal wave would approach earlier. This scenario would make me very angry against the government / lead contractor. Now that's how I understand Nero's situation. He doesn't care about how hard Spock worked to prevent the destruction of Romulus. What motivates Nero is the loss of his family and homeworld. The other thing to consider is the fact that the Romulans were always considered the enemies of the Federation. It really isn't that much of a stretch that Nero's emotional outrage engulfed him so much that he wanted to take it out on the Federation as well. I mean, what does he have to lose.

Another example would be the Iraq war. The States were suppose to 'liberate' the Iraqis leading them to freedom and democracy. Instead, it lead to untold civilian casualties, houses / communities destroyed, and peoples livlihoods lost. This breeds hatred. Those who lost their homes and families will use it as motivation to exact revenge on US troops (ie: Suicide bombers), plot attacks on US soil, and raise children to hate the US. They don't care what the US's intentions were. They want their revenge.

And I do see a theme that runs through this movie. Its about emotions and how the characters deal with these emotional situations. Examples: Kirk's birth at beginning, his father's death, and his subsequent development; Spock losing his mother and homeworld, and being unable to suppress the grief and anguish; Spock being an outsider and treated like shit due to his half Vulcan half Human blood. It really is no different than the emotional themes prevalent in the TNG movies. For instance, First Contact and Wrath of Kahn both used revenge as its major theme. Data's emotion chip (which disappeared in later movies, a move I didn't like) and how he dealt with fear / becoming more human, etc. I mean, if you look at the emotions prevalent in this movie, i think it definitely stays true to Star Trek.

Now I understand that there were plot holes in this movie. The biggest one for me was the Kirk banished to ice plant that just so happened to have Spock Prime. But there are plot-holes in most of the Star Trek movies.

Examples: As mentioned before, Data's emotion chip; Where did it go?

Generations: if picard ended up in the nexus, and the nexus brings you to a virtual euphoric world that creates all your desires and dreams, then isn't Picard technically still in the nexus? Isn't everything that happens after he meets Kirk where they foil Soran's plans still occurring in the Nexus? Doesn't that mean Insurrection and Nemesis are also part of Picard's Nexus?

I look forward to hearing yours and others thoughts.


Matrix - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 9:31pm (USA Central)
Maybe not quite the same, but when Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 & DHL Flight 611 collided killing everyone, Vitaly Kaloyev killed Peter Nielsen the air traffic controller in his home because he held him responsible. So yeah it is a bit different but kinda how I can see Nero's motivation. And sometimes you have to be willing accept suspension of disbelief to allow scenes to play out, like slingshotting round the sun, or Kirk stealing basically an aircraft carrier to do what he could have done with a shuttle, and so having Kirk and Spock run into each other within walking distance of the base to allow that scene to play out doesn't bother me all that much.
That said, I still don't like it.
Geo Ploomb - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 11:26pm (USA Central)
This is in reply to:
Will - June 13, 2009 - 02:24 am (USA Central Time) (see above), who wrote,

"The one thing about the movie that disappoints me was the missed opportunity for a pure 'Trek' moment at the end: Kirk should have rescued Nero, over Nero's objections, rather than doing the summer blockbuster thing and blowin' him up reeeeeeal good. This would not only have defeated Nero but demonstrated the principled commitment to law (Nero would be incarcerated and tried for his crimes) and compassion that the Federation is supposed to promote, and that Kirk embodied in the series."

Will, I have to agree.

The ending you mentioned was the one point that could have made the difference between a "good" and a "great" movie (Trek or otherwise).

By shooting down Nero at the end, Kirk and Spock lowered their standards to those of their enemies, rather than rising above them -- which could have been done just as you suggested.

Whether or not this would have satisfied the many on this forum who did not like the film, I highly suspect it would have at least raised their respect for it.

Yes? No?
alipvz - Mon, Jun 22, 2009 - 11:59pm (USA Central)
Taken by itself, this movie can be entertaining at times; but in the end, its biggest flaw is that it’s not well thought out.

First, I found certain parts to be a bit clichéd; namely Kirk’s birth scene as his father rams the Kelvin into the Narada; Kirk demolishing his stepfather’s car; or the whole bar scene from Kirk’s pickup line of Uhura to Pike giving Kirk his life motivating speech.

The whole motivation for Nero’s revenge is just a mess and should have been rewritten.

Star Trek has certain parameters regarding its technology. In this movie, these parameters have clearly gone out the window. The black hole or red matter thing I can live with; but as far as I can remember, all ships in the Star Trek universe could monitor situations in warp; but that didn’t seem to be the case in this movie. The biggest example of this is when the Enterprise is en route to Vulcan. You mean to tell me this ship can fly billions of miles an hour but they don’t know that they are going to drop into the middle of a war zone when they come out of warp? Whatever happened to the phrase, “Sensors indicate that….. “. The biggest insult to technology is the whole transwarp beaming thing. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? In the 40+ years that I have watched Star Trek, they never did that (not even in the 24th century!). Hell, you might as well do away with starships if you got transwarp transporting. To add further insult, I guess you can beam things in and out, even though a starship’s shields are up. The scary part is that the Enterprise doesn’t have sensors to know that it just had people beam aboard without permission. (Oh wait a minute! They don’t have sensors to know that they are flying into a war zone either, so I guess that explains it.) Talk about handy little plot devices. If you’re going to do Star Trek, get the technobabble right.

I don’t care if you got a movie dealing with the 23rd century, 21st century, fiction or reality. I find it an insult to ANYBODY who watches this movie to believe that a cadet can be promoted to a starship captain by the end of the movie. This is what I mean when I say this movie isn’t well thought out.

On a personal note, I know it’s not feasible for the original actors to step into these roles. Chris Pine did a fine job but let’s be clear that William Shatner IS Captain James T. Kirk, period.

Good things about this movie are that Uhura’s role is well written; the special effects and action scenes are damn good; and I like the musical score better than any of the TNG movies. Comedic scenes with McCoy and Scotty work very well.

All in all an entertaining effort, but not if you will pardon my expression, … logical.
Someone get Nicholas Meyer back; please!
Matrix - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 12:26am (USA Central)
Maybe, but I think a lot of audiences equate the death of the bad guy with the end of the film, so their hands are kind of tied in what they can do to make it "satisfying". Leaving him alive might invoke the idea that he might be used in future stories when they really just want to wrap everything up and do an "Engage" type scene. Probably more of a television thing.
But the ultimate precedent actually in it's favour is Kirk trying to save Kruge's life after everything that had been done to him. So, yeah.
That splosion still annoys me though. Shiny.
Geo Ploomb - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:06am (USA Central)
To Matrix:

Thanks for your response. It's good to have intelligent discussion about actual scenes in this movie!

I feel there is a critical difference between Kirk's response to Kruge in ST3, and the end of this current film.

In ST3, Kirk had first tried to do everything he could to help save Kruge's life, in spite of all the harm Kruge intended him. Finally at the end, after offering Kruge a hand back up, Kruge still tries to pull Kirk in with him. At that point, faced with no choice, Kirk kicks him in. (And even after that, in the following movie, Kirk has nightmares about that scene. It obviously doesn't sit well with him, to say the least).

On the other hand, in this current rebooted Star Trek, sure, the offer is made to help Nero and his remaining crew. But even when the offer was flatly refused, I felt it was entirely out of character choose to blow them away with all guns blasting.

Yes, I do realize Spock was "emotionally compromised." I do realize not only his dear mother, but his entire (wonderful, rich) planet had been needlessly destroyed.

But it's one thing if they had simply said, "Okay, have it your way," and let Nero's ship simply get crushed in the black hole; and another to fire full weapons on them, with Kirk smirking.

Chris Pine was an admirable Kirk, filling very large shoes well (and Zachary Quinto did better than I thought possible, playing Spock). But the writers / director who designed this "shoot 'em down" ending, missed something key in their characters -- especially in Kirk's character -- in this scene.

Agree? Disagree?
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:07am (USA Central)
I think the analogy with iraq war is wrong. In iraq we have an ocupation by a foreign army and thousands of people dead becouse of the american army, people killed by the american army and the whole infrastructure of the country destroyed by anerican airplanes. The outrage is logical but nothing like that happened in romulus. And even if the "contractor" analogy is right a few hours (or days) of rational thought would tell anyone that the goverment/contractor were not responsible. And anyway the federation or spock were not romulus's goverment or contractor. They were strangers and their help was purely voluntary, they didn't have any formal obligation to help they tried only becouse of their morals. Would you accuse a foreign country which tried to send some help for your loss?
And what kirk or spock did to reason with nero? nothing (except for two phraces by kirk which seemed almost obligatory). they were equally consumed by their outrage. This was a military, a warlike movie which didn't have anything to do with the known trek morality. The problem is not that there are some minor holes in the plot (there were such holes in other trek movies) but that the holes are so crucial that descredit the plot alltogether. That is the problem with this movie: 99.9% of the movie is pure action and the remaining 0,1% the rest.
And beyond that: As you said the movie deals with the character's emotions. Exactly. This was a movie about the characters not about ideas. Now the characters and their emotions in trek were allways crucial but only in relation to bigger questions not as characters per se. But what was the bigger question or theme in this movie? the emotions per se? this was never trek's goal. Lets take another example. In some point in the movie spock and kirk talk about the altered reality. Now this could be a good theme. An altered reality has dramatic consequences in the lifes of all people in the federation not to mention the history of alpha quadrant and place the characters in front of hard choises which must be debated . But all we got was 3-4 phraces and then the theme was forgotten.The only debate was if they should follow nero to earth or join the other starfleet ships.
And beyond that: were is the originality of the plot? a time travel one more time, with a devious romulan one more time. A simplistic repetition of trek cliches. Ofcourse that could be forgiven if there was some depth in the plot but there was not. I like to compare this movie with Star trek "Of gods and men" an independent low budget production from renegade studios (i don't know if you saw it). There there was also time travel and altered realities (all embedded in a good written and coherent plot) but the charactes faced some really hard choises and they debated them and they had to go beyond their outrage (some have even to sacrifice their lives )to do the right think. And ofcourse the was a clear social commentary on modern day word and a moral message. What was the moral message of this movie? You see the problem with j.j. abrams is that he tried to reboot trek just with adding a lot of action and visual effects. now action and visual effects are fine but only as long as they are combined with plot's depth. The man is an admirer of star wars a franchise with alot of action but which is different from trek (personaly i don't like star wars but i have no problem with anyone who likes it, but trek is different it is not just an action franchise).
And lets not talk about the scientific absurdities. A black hole can destroy vulcan but it will not destroy nero's starship? ok this is fiction but even in fiction there are limits. Here the writers treated black holes in a absurb way and that also discredits the movie. Not to mention this red matter. Did anyone heared anything about the existence of red matter? This is the kind of scientific absurdity which, i have to admit, started with voyager and here is gone beyond any limits (in case that anyone will note that such scientific impossible things existed in other trek movies and series i will note that both time travel and warp speed are theoretically possible according to science). And i wouldn't care much about these absurdities if the plot was good and not using black holes and red matter as deus ex machina nor just some people running, shouting, shooting, fighting etc.
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:25am (USA Central)
And something more about nero. Tis guy waited for 25 years between kelvin's distruction and spock's arrival. Well even the the biffest outrage calm down in 25 years. there was a lot of time for nero to rethink what he was doing unless he was a psychopath. And something more about kirk. Kirk was allways acting according to starfleet principles but where were these in his actions in this movie?
Geo Ploomb - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:29am (USA Central)
To karatasiospa:

"...Unless he was a psychopath."

Yes, I think he was. I think he was mentally unhinged from the start, and went totally overboard at the destruction of his home planet, and over the loss of his wife.
Geo Ploomb - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:44am (USA Central)
Another thought.

One great thing about science fiction is the "what if?" plot. (This is the basis behind alternate realities and histories.)

This rebooted Star Trek has, as one of its main plot threads, the theme of "What if Kirk and Spock did not start off as friends?"

One of the greatest friendships in fiction -- what if it started off all wrong?

I found the exploration of this idea in this film to be fascinating.

Now, whether you liked this film or not, what did you think of this particular exploration?
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 2:19am (USA Central)
The "what if" is fascinating but in science fiction and in trek was allways about wider themes not just about two people and their friendship. See the "what if" in "yesterday's entrprise" or in "the city at the edge of forever". There the "what if" was about war and freedom and the death of millions of people. Picard and kirk knew that their desicions will affect their whole world and that was their burden.But as i said this was a film about the characters exclusively not about ideas. It could be but it wasn't.
As for nero being a psychopath it is exactly that that makes him an uninteresting and weak villaint.
and without a good villaint nor a wider theme the whole plot falls apart.
Geo Ploomb - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 2:26am (USA Central)
What about the end of Search for Spock, leading into STIV? Certainly one theme there was about characters: How would Spock, in his new body and with hazy memories, behave? And surely it was the humor of those scense that helped make that movie so memorable?

Yes, I do realize there was the greater theme of "What if aliens were trying to communicate with species on our planet other than humans," as well as the impact of extinction on our planet.

But Star Trek is ALSO about people and their friendship. It is, in fact, what makes so many of the greater episodes and movies so great:
- Spock breaking his emotional barrier on tv by blurting out "Jim!" when he thinks Captain Kirk has been killed. The friendship between the two is what makes this episode so wonderful.
- Spock dying to save his friends.
- His friends risking their careers to save Spock.

Friendship, in fact, is one of the things that reveals what you spoke so truly about earlier, karatasiospa: The soul of Trek.
karatasiospa - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 5:52am (USA Central)
Since it seems that you refer to "amok time" i must remind you that the issue of friendship was embedded in an episode about the different customs and ways of thought and behaviour of a non human species and about the understanding and respect of this difference. It is exactly this articulation that i'm talking about. But even if it was just a character episode it was part of an ongoing series whle a movie must build its theme and its message regardless if there were other episodes before or they will be after. Especially in this movie which has no previous episodes and events to rely upon (while "the search for Spock" had).
And even if we accept that friendship was the theme of this movie what they told us about it?spock abandoned kirk in an inhospitable planet, Kirk threw spock out as incompetent and in the end there was not even a discusion between them about hat happened and why, not even a mutual apologizing. You see the problem with this movie is that people didn't talk they were too busy shouting, shooting etc. There can be no interesting theme (or perhaps no theme at all)and certainly no interesting trek theme without some talking some dialogue. We learned nothing new or interesting about friendship in this movie while in TOS there was always the theme about friendship betwewen species with so different way of thought and behaviour.
Matrix - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 6:28am (USA Central)
@ Geo Ploomb

That idea would probably be more emotionally satisfying to me, or something along the lines of a 'take my hand' scenario, where Kirk has the chance to destroy Nero and doesn't and offers to rescue him but Nero won't allow it. These kind of things can makes scenes run long and so I can see why people don't want to bother and just wrap it up. The writers, in Q and As, have shown they are smart guys with reasons for why plot elements occur the way they do, so I'm guessing it's along the lines of Justice = Death, which we've seen before with things like the Borg Queen, who you could argue was already defeated and then Picard snaps her neck, or just very simple with those things in Chekov's ear that Kirk vaporises in STII. Disgusting, but harmless. It's not exactly similar but I can see the mindset, even if I disagree that's what Kirk would have done.

Which leads me to how I've since come to view the movie (despite the official stance) as not a new universe but a similar one which Spock Prime interacts with (kind of like how Marvel Comics and it's Ultimate brand work) you can overlook the changes made to the universe, to condense or simplify things for storytelling purposes and, in my opinion, these aren't the same characters but an interpretation of the same characters. (Sounds very obvious, but took me a while to get there. I feel for some people here though. I screamed a lot when I got out of the cinema, for a few days actually. Then I got better.) Cheers!
Chris - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 8:42am (USA Central)
As much as I loved this movie, I did feel that something was missing. So in that respect, I do agree with you Kara and others. As mentioned above, if Kirk et al. done everything they could to save those on the Narada, i think that would have been an awesome ending. And when I think about it, Nero had very little screen time. An intense scene between Kirk, Spock and Nero discussing the changes in the time line and Nero's motivation etc. would have been nice too. You know, something along the lines of the Batman / Joker scenes in 'The Dark Knight'. That would have been cool.
Alex - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 1:59pm (USA Central)
Jammer: A fine job critiquing this movie! Many thanks for your continued good work!
I would rate this movie slightly lower than you did, awarding it 2-1/2 stars.
To those who point to the by-and-large positive reviews written by mainstream critics, I would say: That proves only that it is a "good" and "fun" actioner by contemporary, mainstream standards, on a par with, e.g., the better intallments of the "Die Hard" series. But in calling their film "Star Trek," the makers leave themselves open to legitimate criticism by Star Trek fans who feel that the film was not consistent - in an ARTISTIC and/or CONCEPTUAL sense - with the franchise as a whole. Just as someone who declares that they are going to present a Japanese No play can legitimately be held to those standards, and fairly judged to have failed, even if the end-product looks more like an entertaining, witty, 1930s screwball comedy starring the Marx Brothers. If the makers ride roughshod over the traditions, styles, and conventions of Japanese No plays, it is nonetheless a failure, even if it is a box-office success.
I feel that the film was, in many respects, a member of the Star Trek franchise in name only. Many of the conventions of the franchise were either thrown overboard or simply not given their due - perhaps because of sloppiness and/or incompetence, but perhaps also deliberately, in an attempt to "mainstream" the movie. And elements (moods, pacing, motifs, etc.) from other genres ("Top Gun") were incorporated, resulting in a jarring effect.
Most of the most upsetting plot holes (e.g., a third-year cadet on "Double Secret Probation" being elevated to 1st officer, then practically usurping the "center seat;" a mining vessel that can take on a whole armada of Star Fleet vessels at Vulcan; the Enterprise unable to "see" that it was flying into an ambush) could have been avoided or fixed; the average "fanboy" could figure out a suitable solution in about five minutes. Other plot problems like transwarp beaming or Old Spock's unexplained inactivity on Delta Vega simply wouldn't be noticed by non-fans - that doesn't make them insignificant.
The acting was, without exception, excellent (the portrayals of Capt. Pike and McCoy stood out). But, as almost all of the detractors above have pointed out, the film simply felt "rushed." There was little character development. And CHARACTERS is was Star Trek is all about. At best, we saw James T. Kirk metamorphize from a total a**-hole into an adventure hero, but we still see little evidence of his humanity, his self-doubt, his sense of mission, his explorer's curiosity, or his loyalty (as a commander to his crewmates). The remaining characters were pretty static. By the end of the film, Spock is, well, still Spock. His "romance" with Uhura? As someone else mentioned above: The rec-room scene in "Charlie X" and the little flirtation on the bridge in "Man Trap" had more subtlety, more "class," and were more interesting than the two scenes of them sucking face in the new movie. Neither Kirk nor Spock seem to experience any epiphanies by the end of the movie. Certainly the audience didn't, either.
Brandon - Tue, Jun 23, 2009 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
I'm not sure I agree that characters are what Star Trek is all about. I would say that they are definitely what we remember most, since that's the role that characters often play in cinema anyway - linking audiences to the story. But that's just it: EVERY good TV show or franchise has good characters.

If you remove from Star Trek the sci-fi plots, the social relevance, the awe and possibility, the emotional stories made possible only by sci-fi metaphor, what do you get? Simplistic space opera, IMHO. There was an extra ingredient to the earlier Trek movies and series, a resonance both philosophical and emotional, important and true to life, that gave it great staying power so that they're still classics in our hearts and minds years later. Try as I might, I just couldn't see anything in Abrams' Trek that came that close. It just wasn't original or deep enough.

Now, here is what I would like to think. I would like to think that after Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman got done with their study of Trek in preparation for the new movie, and after they studied popular opinion on the franchise, they came to a difficult conclusion: they knew exactly what Trek was, as we do, but also that Trek was just too much of a cultural joke to present it in its "pure" form and have it succeed. It had to be "mainstreamed" to open up people's minds to the franchise again. (I imagine that many filmmakers would like to be much more original and independent than they are, but are used to the "necessary evil" of mainstreaming in order to bring in enough revenue to make up the budget.)

I would like to think that the new "Supreme Court" now intends to create another movie that actually has an original story and some good ol'-fashioned Trekkian purpose to it. I read that they're debating whether to go with a villain story for XII or whether to try a man-vs.-nature plot like the original series frequently went with. Seeing that was greatly heartening, and I hope they try it. I would hate to see them "play it safe" again with already-existing pieces of the franchise history. Let's go in a new direction, boys.

That's my hope anyway. See, I'm trying to be fair. :)
Geo Ploomb - Wed, Jun 24, 2009 - 1:04am (USA Central)
To: karatasiospa, Matrix, Chris, Alex, and Brandon:

I think in general I agree with all of you.

Karatasiospa, while I still feel the friendships and characters in Star Trek are one of its key ingredients, this first attempt at remaking it did not have enough dialog -- you're right.

Matrix, yes it would have been more satisfying to have a more thoughtful ending. You may be right about the reasons they chose not to, but I think it's a pity. I didn't scream out loud, but part of me is screaming a bit inside.

Chris, an intense dialog scene featuring that trio (Kirk, Spock, and Nero) would definitely have made the film better. It not only would have explained more, it would have made Nero himself a better villain.

Alex: Thanks for reminding me I need to thank Jammer for providing this forum in the first place. I thoroughly enjoyed his detailed review, and it got me thinking much more about this film.

Your take, Alex, on the great acting, and on the good and bad points to the new Kirk, are right on. Well said!

Brandon, hear hear! I'm thinking this first film, being an "introductory" film, did not do enough to show us the depth of characters (not enough dialog, as mentioned above). However, like you, I am eager to see which path the people in charge now choose for the future.

Frankly, because the casting was so well done, I have great hopes for the new stories. We all know that the old cast can no longer (as a whole) provide us with new stories, so I'm grateful that the new cast is so talented. They can carry off a great continuation -- but it will require better writing, and a return to the core values that made Star Trek so good in the first place.

Here's to a second film that makes up for what was lacking in the first!

Finally, yes, I can hear many of you cynically worrying that it's not very likely. You may, of course, be right. But it IS possible that the next film better -- and since Star Trek is about hoping for, and striving for, what's best in our Universe, (and not about whining and worrying), I'm sticking with that hope. If it takes hard work on our part, so be it. Write to the studio! Write to Abrams! Write to the actors! Keep the emails and letters positive and encouraging, so they won't just get chucked out! Tell them what they did right, and THEN tell them what you want to see next time! Star Trek is all about working hard to better this universe. If we claim to be real fans, let's act as our heroes would act, and not just give up on the whole thing. Change for the better IS possible, people.


karatasiospa - Wed, Jun 24, 2009 - 1:18am (USA Central)
As for trek being about the characters or ideas i have nothing to add to what brandon said. Suffice is to say that i absolutely agree.
As for jj. abrams i don't think he really understands star trek but anyway it doesn't matter. What matters is what he did. A good movie combining action and ideas is possible (i didn't ask for a Solaris kind of movie allthough i love Solaris). It depends on the director and the writers. What abrams and orci/kurtzman did was to follow the easy way. It's not a coincidence that orci/kurtzman said that star wars was more "rock'n'roll" than star trek.
So what they will do with the next movie ? i would like to think that they will make an original science fiction plot more idea driven without sacrificing the action concept. But i'm not optimistic. Even if this is the intention of the writers, after the succes of this movie paramount will want a similar one. When you get into the wrong path it's not easy to change it.But i still hope, after all hope is all we have.
karatasiospa - Wed, Jun 24, 2009 - 1:27am (USA Central)
To Geo Ploomp
Yes the characters and their friendship is a key ingredient of star trek as role models but only when combined with larger themes and ideas, scifi themes and allegories, themes which have a relevance to our lifes and to our future. If it is only about the characters then the role model aspect that roddenberry tried to give us becomes without any context and in consequence without relevance. They are just good guys.
But for reasons explained in my previous posts i don't htink this movie was good even as a character driven movie.
Geo Ploomb - Wed, Jun 24, 2009 - 6:21am (USA Central)
To karatasiospa,

Yes of course, themes which have a relevance to our lives and to our future -- exactly.
Genre-Buster - Wed, Jun 24, 2009 - 10:33pm (USA Central)
I admit to being intrigued by where this new trek might go; specifically, how would this new cast handle the various encounters of the old series, and not just tribbles - Nomad, Trelane, Harry Mudd, Edith Keeler, Janice Lester. It's a rather fun parlor game to imagine the new cast dealing with these scenarios - particularly that last one.

But I'm not holding out much hope. Here's a couple of reasons why:

Speaking of relevance to our future, the Budweiser drop severely disturbs me. The trek world was always iconic for me as a kid growing up because it seemed way above the grimy world of cheap capitalism. If money was replaced with more humane means of exchange, why is Kirk suddenly this walking beer/car ad? This goes directly to the question of Star Trek as ideal future society, and I don't think it can be mended.

More on Kirk: Until now, Trek captains were always squarely focused on higher ideals; Shatner and Patrick Stewart were both succesfully established Shakespearean actors before they were hired for Sci-Fi duty. Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and even Scott Bakula were of this same stamp, though their characters maybe couldn't quote Shakespeare and Melville extempore as readily as Picard could. They were all of them, in a word, cultured.

Does anyone see this kind of potential with the new kid? I, for one, don't.

Of course, this is not just a problem concerning captains. As has been noted here, arch-villains used to be of a much different stock. Take Jammer's favorite, Khan - Montalban was up there quoting Melville, too. Honestly, I don't believe it occured even once to this new writing team to refer us to our own cultural heritage. They might even be deliberately avoiding it.
karatasiospa - Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - 12:45am (USA Central)
Yes trek was allways about a future utopian society, a world without war,poverty, unemployment, greed, imperialism etc, with tolerance and understanding,a society for which, to paraphrase the ancient greek philosopher Protagoras, "life is the measure of all things". It was also a continuing attempt to answer the question "what means to be human". But where was this society in tnis movie? true it was not totally absent but the presentation of this society in this movie was stylized, formulaic and kept to a mininum. The nokia and budweiser advertisements were especially annoying. That was the biggest shortcoming of the movie.
As for the characters in trek let's say that they were more intellectual while in tnis one there are more stylized super heroes, just the good guys without much depth.
jackie - Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - 6:05am (USA Central)
The movie crossed its T's and dotted its I's but ultimately never said anything. The essence that is Star Trek...the thought provoking questions of humanity, the stirring of emotions, all that was not there. Frankly, I was disappointed overall.
mary - Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - 12:07pm (USA Central)
Just chiming in to say that my pain at this movie would have been somewhat eased if Kirk's offer of rescue to Nero had been genuine - and possible. Instead, the scene as played left me despising characters I've loved since childhood. I wish it had been done differently.

I also didn't like that, if you accept the way time travel has always been done in Trek, this film completely negated all of TOS and everything that follows from it. I didn't see how any fan of TOS could possibly like it, even though the young actors did a fine job conveying the characters.

My last comment is that I've been reading your reviews, Jammer, ever since DS9 days. I'm a passionate niner, and I want to thank you for the site.
Occuprice - Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - 10:10pm (USA Central)
I just read a couple reviews for Transformers (it was fun to see it torn apart given how much I hated it) and looked at the comments after each. The unifying element? Attacks on the reviewer and claims that the reviewer is simple-minded for trashing it and all that sort of thing.

And then I come on here, and there's none of that. If people disagree with Jammer, they disagree. That's all. I think it's pretty special to have a site where the reviewer is so respected. That both speaks to the quality of the reviews and the types of people who read them. Warm and fuzzy moment.: )
Genre-Buster - Fri, Jun 26, 2009 - 12:03am (USA Central)
Hear-hear! Thanks for keeping the thread open, J.
Katie - Sat, Jun 27, 2009 - 5:30pm (USA Central)
The "explanation" of Bones' nickname actually turned out to be one of the most annoying aspects of the film for me. "Sawbones" is an old slang term for a surgeon or physician and Kirk's adaption of it in TOS did not require a kitschy, cutesy explanation. I was disappointed that Abrams and the writers descended, in this instance and others, to the old prequel standby of inventing overly complicated "explanations" for the details that often made the original interesting.
Stefan - Wed, Jul 1, 2009 - 8:15pm (USA Central)
During the movie, younger Spock explains that the time travel of Nero and older Spock has created an alternate universe. In other words, this movie is not truly a "reboot"; instead, it's simply the Star Trek of an alternate universe. A true "reboot" would have been a retelling of the TOS backstory, instead of showing a version of that story in an alternate universe. The proper way to view this movie is to have the TNG episode "Parallels" and DS9 "mirror universe" episodes in mind.
Adrian - Fri, Jul 3, 2009 - 11:05am (USA Central)
Hi everyone- just a few comments:

A couple posts were upset by the Budweiser reference in the bar near the beginning of the movie. Here's where I'm at with it, and would like to know if anyone agrees. One of the most annoying things about movies, tv shows, etc. is when a character is at a bar and he says to the bartender "I'll have a beer please" and not ONCE do you see the bartender ask the natural, follow-up question: "What kind?" Try going to bar and ordering just "a beer" and see what response you get. The Budweiser drop was product placement, yes, but believeable since it was part of a normal dialogue and we never once saw the logo or bottle, unlike the Nokia ad.

I did enjoy the movie a great deal, and have no problem accepting this version despite my life-long fandom with the franchise from TOS to DS9. The end, however, did bother me as much as it bothered others, namely, blasting away at Nero when he was already going to die. But...

Point to the Kruge scenario all you want, but it still gave us the line: "I...have had....enough of YOU!" which, c'mon, is a very 80's, "hero has a funny line while dispatching the villian" feel to it.
Genre-Buster - Sat, Jul 4, 2009 - 2:59am (USA Central)
From Adrian: "The Budweiser drop was product placement, yes, but believeable since it was part of a normal dialogue etc etc..."

Do we watch Trek for its believability? I think you may have missed the point of what we were saying.

But here's something else which needs to be brought up in relation to the beer ad - sex. The scene in a nutshell: Kirk orders a long-neck and then puts the moves on Uhura. Theme music: "Nothing Beats a Bud."

I hope I'm not the only one who sees a direct link between sex and garbage when it comes to Trek. Here's an excercise: compile a list of Jammer's four-star episodes which resort to those cheap seduction scenes which Abrams gave such pathetic homage to in his film. Is the number higher than zero? Let me know.

Think about it, TNG shot up in quality about a millionfold when it brought on the sexless but beautiful Guinan, and the drop in quality started when they got rid of Kes and subjected us to the silicone borg-lady in the leotard. I'm not saying that good things weren't done with "sexy" characters from time to time, nor do I intend to diminish the acting abilities of Jeri Ryan - she was actually pretty good. But my point is that regardless of which series, Trek episodes featuring the sex element are by and large crappy, and I think it's because the writers got lazy - probably felt put upon to set aside good science fiction for the sake of "spicing it up a little." Sorry, Chris, but that's not the kind of spice I want in my Trek; I don't care how much revenue it brings. It smacks of misogyny - another reason to find the "Bones" backstory offensive.

One final remark: I did enjoy this film while I was watching it - I dig rollercoasters as much as the next guy, but once the thrillride was over, I found myself more and more angered by what I had seen. This film was worse than forgettable - it felt like a deliberate erasure of just about everything I love about Star Trek, and a reinforcement of just about everything I've hated about it over the years.
karatasiospa - Sat, Jul 4, 2009 - 5:59am (USA Central)
the budwiser drop was bad for one simple reason: in trek's utopian society there are no big capitalist corporations and no capitalist competition through advertisements (remember Picard saying in the " neutral zone" that humanity has abandoned the obsession about possesions?).That is why it is an utopian future society, it is not contamporary America (or Europe or whatever). It seems that mr. Abrams didn't notice that. That is why i'm saying that he don't understand trek (and he didn't like it as he said)
Armadillo - Sat, Jul 4, 2009 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
Whatever happened to those unnamed blue drinks that seemed to crop up frequently in TOS episodes? And if they had to give a drink a brand name, maybe they could have made one up.
John in Canada - Sat, Jul 4, 2009 - 10:13pm (USA Central)
Sorry to hear that Jammer didn't consider this to be a home run. As a life-long, trivia-obsessed fan, I went into this with the same feeling I had about Enterprise before I saw it: what if they screw up this beautiful entity known as Star Trek?

From the first moments, though, I knew I was in good hands, when that distinctive submarine-like bridge computer beeped in deep space to open the film.

Spock (Prime)'s role was so much more than a cameo: it was an acknowledgment that all we've seen before is respected and 'valid'. It's a reboot without a reboot -- how incredible is that? While I'll agree that time-travel is overused (I don't think 'Generations' really counts, though), I think we need to cut some slack on this one, considering how well it worked.

As for the criticism that this film wasn't 'about' anything: it seemed to me to be about choosing one's destiny, accepting one's role in the universe, and choosing to achieve one's full potential. Each of the crew members was thrust into a situation before they were ready, and each accepts their responsibility. As someone who's in a little turmoil right now, with a work situation that's troubling and with a myriad of choices ahead, this film spoke to me on an emotional level that I haven't experienced since ST:IV.

I think this film will stand the test of time. If not for the acting (with an incredible performance by Mr. Urban), if not for the respect to continuity, if not for remaining true to the spirit of TOS, if not for the great action sequences, then for giving us characters that are flesh-and-blood 'human' again. 5 on 5 stars in my book.
Jason K - Mon, Jul 6, 2009 - 6:56am (USA Central)
"the budwiser drop was bad for one simple reason: in trek's utopian society there are no big capitalist corporations"

While I agree there was no excuse for the Nokia ad (other than product placement seems to be a must in today's economy - Look at Land of the Lost - ) I found the Budweiser drop to be funny simply because she referred to it as a "Budweiser Classic" which said to me even though the beer giant itself might not be around, someone is still brewing the classic flavor.

There is no reason to believe that people will ever stop brewing beer in some way shape or form. That would be like saying that the Romulans would stop brewing their famous Ale, and how do you think THEY feel about name dropping their beverage all over the place....Ok, I jest.

Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy, as they say :)
Adrian - Mon, Jul 6, 2009 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
karatasiospa:

Star Trek has never, ever been consistent in it's utopian vision of a world without money. They may say it often enough, but lines like "Are you buying dinner?" (Measure of a Man), "I have wagered heavily in the ship's pool..." (Peak Performance) not to mention countless DS9 references to gold pressed latinum or any number or currencies.

Personally, I cringe whenever I hear a line of dialogue regarding how "we don't have money in our time" because its never really held water. The writers of the various incarnations have had it both ways since the beginning.

To Genre-Buster: You raise an interesting point that I haven't thought of. Except it was Uhura ordering the beer, not Kirk. But I will second your argument about the "sexy" eps being of lower quality, generally.

Genre-Buster - Mon, Jul 6, 2009 - 4:11pm (USA Central)
Sorry. I only watched the film once, and was too wrapped up in the action to notice the details.

So with Uhura ordering the longneck, I can't help but think about the Virginia Slim "womens' cigarette" commercials that aired in the 1970's, the sound bite being, "You've come a long way, baby." Sure, Uhura's come a long way - now she hangs out in bars and orders "Bud Classic".

I say we bring Nichelle Nichols back for the next movie, and not to play "Uhura Prime" - let her play the new one; we can say she got hit with one of those aging viruses from "The Deadly Years" or "Unnatural Selection." Spock can still be in love with her - shoot, it'd be a great way to bridge the age gap, like Jadzia Dax bridged the gender gap on DS9. Now that's the kind of Trek that always inspired me.

As to Utopia: It is not to a future society that Trek speaks, but rather to this one. Trek always vacillated between the Utopic and Dystopic models according to the whims of whatever story the writers came up with, and it was always intended to speak to us in our times, obliquely pointing to something immiediately relevant, and inviting us to compare models.

Trek reboot does not do this for me. It speaks to my glands, and little more.
Matrix - Mon, Jul 6, 2009 - 10:37pm (USA Central)
@ Genre-Buster

They could just bring back Nichelle Nichols and not explain it all. Or have the two actors alternate scenes like Becky on Roseanne.
Or maybe not. :-)
karatasiospa - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 12:29am (USA Central)
To Genre Buster:
The utopian future was used exactly as a critique of contemporary society, so of course trek was speaking to contemporary society. But i don't remember any really dystopic features in trek.
To Adrian: "to buy you a dinner" was just an expression Adrian it didn't actually meant that they will use money. But you are right that there were some times, unforunately, inconsistencies. But what matters is the general trend.
WakeMed - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 10:02am (USA Central)
It was a beer!

It could have been worse. She could have walked into a McDonalds and ordered a #3 Classic Super Sized hold the mustard with a Cola.
Ian Whitcombe - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 12:27pm (USA Central)
Speaking of which, who in the future owns the copyright to Earl Grey tea?
Genre-Buster - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 2:10pm (USA Central)
Kara: It happened plenty of times that either the Federation or Federation representatives made cataclysmic mistakes. See "Patterns of Force" for the most obvious example. Granted, John GIll was only one guy, but the Fed started to get really scary during the whole "founders on earth" scare of DS9. There are other examples.

Granted, the UFP model was generally Utopean, but it always required a spokesperson, i.e. Kirk, Picard etc. The only model I can see with the new troupe is your standard, fantasy-grade, U.S. military, general issue, prettied up for Hollywood pablum.

WakeMed: Yes, it could have been worse - you can always think of something worse. The question is, why couldn't they have thought of something better?
Stefan - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 4:40pm (USA Central)
Ian Whitcombe: "Speaking of which, who in the future owns the copyright to Earl Grey tea?"

Me: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of course. :-)
Armadillo - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 7:14pm (USA Central)
There were some TOS episodes that played with dystopic concepts, mostly questioning certain advances in technology. "The Ultimate Computer" is an example that comes to mind.
karatasiospa - Wed, Jul 8, 2009 - 1:20am (USA Central)
When i'm speaking of an utopian future that doesn't mean that there were not people who had flaws or were making mistakes. Not everything was perfect. And DS9 departed, partly, from this vision allthough not completely. I would say that DS9 was about the resisrances that such a society had or had not when it faced a grave danger. But overall the utopian vision was not abandoned.
As for the new movie Genre Buster is absolutely correct.
Adrian - Wed, Jul 8, 2009 - 3:09pm (USA Central)
karatasiospa:"And DS9 departed, partly, from this vision allthough not completely. I would say that DS9 was about the resisrances that such a society had or had not when it faced a grave danger."

Excellent point. Especially considering the presence of Section 31.
Hammer - Thu, Jul 16, 2009 - 11:32am (USA Central)
I have read reviews from Jammers Reviews, watched videos from SF Debris, Confused Matthew and Stand In Stan. I think they (including you two) have interesting views about what makes a good story and what makes good story telling through the format of television and cinema. There are a few things that interested me regarding one particular show that you have both watched. Star Trek. More specifically the notion of Humanity. I remember in SF Debris follow up to his review of in the Pale Moonlight was that the Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future was unrealistic but ideal. It is not as simple as binary oppositions, nature and nurture, good and evil, positive and negative etc. Everyone has different view points and it is not so much people good or evil that causes conflict but the different view points. Another point that interested me were quotes such as "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and "desperate times call for desperate measures" and "morality is a set of rules set up by humanity that don't cover all situations."

Another issue is the very nature of humanity. I liked Data, B'lana Torez, the Doctor, Seven Of Nine, Benjamin Sisco, Chief O'Brien, Jean Luc Picard, James T Kirk and Spock (notice the absence of Enterprise characters) for their different views of humanity. On one hand you have the three captains who often tell the audience what humanity represents, why we have morals, or in some cases when is a good time to break the rules, protocols etc. Then there is B'lana Torez who is in conflict between her human and klingon halves. But the characters I most relate to are Seven Of Nine, Spock, the Doctor and Data for their exploration of humanity. Whether its the quest for emotions, finding out why people behave the way they do, why they feel the need to challenge themselves, what makes them strong, why emotional weakness can also be a strength, and why enduring emotional pain whilst overcoming difficult problems and moral dilemmas are what makes them strong. Why do I refer to humanity as them? Well I often feel like an outsider myself. Sure I have the full range of emotions but I have a very limited experience (I'm only twenty years of age) and a very bad judge of character. I don't know why people behave or act the way they do.

So this leads to a few questions. What is humanity all about? Does Star Trek (extremely optimistic though it may be) reflect us well. Or do the cynical views of the post 9/11 world reflect us (humanity is really just a bunch of Cylon killing machines filled with prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia and believes that violence is the only way to solve problems). For the purpose of interest, I would like to add another point of view. Humanity is just a bunch of individuals out to better themselves. Some work together in teams to reach the top of the league, others are out to help each other, often survival of the fittest applies but ultimately bound by a simplistic moral system that doesn't hold since each situation requires different measures that sometimes go in line with morality but sometimes don't.

There are a number of issues I don't understand. (This only scratches the surface of the many questions I have in mind).

Emotions (love and hate in particular)
Relationships (heterosexual, homosexual etc).
Status quo of families.
How we are governed by religion.
How politics, economics and society all interact in our psychological development.
The true nature of our emotions.
Rules, protocols, morality, rights, precipitations, laws and social etiquette.
Behaviour

I am a curious person who knows very little about human nature despite being a human being. Data never really understood what is means to be human being until Star Trek Nemesis. It is not some sort of Jim Carrey goes crazy emotion chip or set of algorithms, but a very complex series of experiences, interactions, successes, triumph, failure, trials, tribulations, friendships, relationships, emotions, the ego itself and who we truly are. The reason he sacrificed himself, just like Spok is that he finally understood what it meant to be human, and that a meaningful sacrifice is giving up the thing you hold onto most dearly for the sake of others. Since the two of you have some insights into these topics, I am interested to know what you have to say about the nature of humanity in relation to the vision of Gene Roddenberry and perhaps clear up any misconceptions I may have about life and experience.
Genre-Buster - Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - 11:22pm (USA Central)
Hammer, are you asking a question about Trek 11? If not, maybe Jammer should move your post to another thread.
Daniel - Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - 9:39pm (USA Central)
Jammer,

I wanted to add an additional point I made at the beginning of this summer about how Star Trek, and in particular, the new Star Trek film, can be evaluated in different, and in equally valid ways.

The reason why I was so...well, loud (and I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings) is because the fans who go bonkers over things like "continuity" and "timeline" often do not limit their disgruntlement to expressins of dissatisfaction on blog posts.

I recently watched Star Trek II again, a new version that contained Nicholas Meyer's second DVD commentary. I was shocked when he related that when fans (who leaked the plot point, we do not know who) found out in advance of seeing the film that Spock would die, Meyer received DEATH THREATS! This type of behavior is possibly criminal; it is not simply and always just a mere passionate expression of one's deeply held views of what something should be about.

Gene Roddenberry himself, in the mid-'80's, said something to the effect of, "If one day, someone could come along and do another Star Trek with the same characters and do a good job of it, I'm all for it!" We can debate whether a "good job" was done in the 11th movie, but that debate should not have let to (as it did) J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman receiving death threats themselves.

There are people in this country who claim to possess absolute certainty about how various facets of the world operate. Many of them are religious fanatics, of multiple religions and sects within those religions. Some have killed others and themselves in the process in the belief that, through their certitude, they were spreading the will of God. Thankfully, no one (that I know of) has been killed as a result of writing/contributing to the writing or directing or producing of a Star Trek movie due to that person's claiming to have an absolute monopoly as to what Star Trek "IS" or "SHOULD BE," but there is a certain mentality the people who made death threats and those who fling an imaginary Star Trek bible at the rest of us (failure to adhere to which results in a movie being AUTOMATICALLY bad) who are trying to engage in critical discussion of the film on its merits, share with the religious fanatics: a refusal - not to recognize, embrace, approve of, or even stand - but to so much as TOLERATE viewpoints that differ in the slightest degree from their own.

Such attitudes are the enemies of art and creativity. Producers slavishly poured millions of dollars into what is generally regarded (the point is open for debate, but the nits the detractors picked were minutae-like) as a "faithful" adaptation of "The Watchmen," and into what is generally regarded as a slavishly faithful adaptation of the first two Harry Potter movies. The result? The fans - the ones who claim monopoly (more than the AUTHOR OF THE ORIGINAL WORK DOES) as to what a film version of a prior work of art should be - were still not satisfied - and the reason why they were not satisfied - if the hundreds of blog entries, fanzines, fan reviews, and so forth, in the main, are any indication - was mere lack of fidelity. Fidelity to an original source is not a measure of goodness. It is an attribute, not a virtue or a vice.

The result of studios having tried to please the fans (who can be almost birther-like in their zeal for exactitude that can never be achieved) has been (in the case of "The Watchmen," certainly) box office disappointment in many instances. As a result, studios, which simply do not need another reason to fear creativity (they weren't trying to be creative in making "The Watchmen" - they were trying to make money by catering to the fans) will stray even further from trying to make a challenging film since the diehards wouldn't touch that film (thus allowing for the continuation of the mostly accurate perception that science fiction, in film form, is a ball of mediocrity), or will try even harder (if that is possible, and no one, to paraphrase Will Rogers, ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public for unoriginality) to make an even more slavish adaptation (which some fans will still grouse about and make death threats over).

I read your article of several years ago, "Confessions of a Closet Trekkie." In my opinion, and I don't mean to psychoanalyze YOU, I think you (perhaps deliberately, maybe unknowingly) were, without saying it in as many words, hinting or subconsciously musing that the reason why people are embarrassed to say they are Star Trek fans in the course of a conversation is because, to some degree, one is embarrassed to admit one is part of a fandom that includes stridency to the point of death threats. No matter how "geeky" Star Trek may seem, people do not FEAR someone who suffers from mere geekdom. But they do FEAR someone (and that someone, sensing it consciously or not, may act on that fear) who is associated with a fandom that includes such extremists. Fans - diehards - may be laughed at - but people who "take matters into their own hands" have at some point in time crossed the line between "diehard" and "lunatic." People understandably are loathe to talk to someone whom they have some reason to believe is associated with lunatic elements, and lunacy has a way of dampening filmmakers' creative impulses, leading to a more mediocre product. I was mercilessly made fun of growing up as a Star Trek fan, and the comments consisted as much of things like, "You're not one of those people who wrote those threatening letters," as "You're such a geek." The latter I can tolerate, and am in many ways proud of. No fan deserves unwarranted ridicule because a small but very vocal section of fans chooses to act so violently, and in some cases, against the law. Neither I nor anyone else should be mocked and laughed at to the point of tears, anger and depression because some people have written death letters over Star Trek (these letters were also written when it was announced that in Star Trek Generations, Kirk would be killed. The letters were written BEFORE THE SCENE WAS EVEN FILMED, BEFORE THE SCRIPT WAS EVEN FINISHED. I can't imagine - although Ron Moore and Brannon Braga could surely enlighten us - what some of the lunatics did after they watched the film).

So, that's the reason why I am so adamant about the notion that we have the right to disagree about what Star Trek should be about, and that we should judge it based on what's up on the screen and how good it is for what it is, since no one (especially Roddenberry, whose original show featured interpersonal conflict all the time - a conflict which returned in the new movie, but was found to be something that Roddenberry claimed "never existed" in his later years - if a creator doesn't define what a show is about, where does anyone else get off in trying to engage in that enterprise - an inherently pointless one, anyway?) owns a definition of what Star Trek is or should be.

In your opening paragraph of your review of Star Trek (2009), you asked something to the effect of, ""Star Trek has been around for 43 years, and after watching this movie, I must ask myself: "What is Star Trek about?"" That there necessarily is no fixed answer means please, stop the death threats, and let's focus on quality (the new movie made so much money because it was a good movie of its type - and by not pandering to the fan base, it didn't alienate non-fans and fans like myself who love cinema more than attributes), agreeing to disagree, not maintaining a culture where people are driven to tears, and so forth. No enjoyment of a work of art or franchise should cause those who enjoy it to feel shame, fear or self-loathing (or on the opposite side of the coin, feelings of violence expressed as criminal activity) in doing so. After all, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. If we do agree that Star Trek has always (to some degree) been about tolerance, and the celebration of, instead of fighting over, differences, then we've honored the spirit of the show and all fans can breathe a little easier and hopefully happier.
karatasiospa - Sun, Aug 16, 2009 - 5:58am (USA Central)
That's the usual argument of tolerance crusaders who are so tolerant themselves that they consider everyone else as a religious fanatic or lunatic or something similar. have you ever thought that people may be passionate about their ideals becouse ideals and opinions have consequences? have you ever thought that you can have your own definition of trek without that meaning that there is no correct definition? have you ever thought that this definition can be debated and a decision can be made? In a democracy there is freedom for every opinion but in the elections the majority decides what policy will be followed the next years and the minority has the right to continue its struggle. And by the way there was nothing so melodramatic as death threats!! And if i remember correctly it was a fan of this movie that insulted the others. And by the way does your tolerance includes religious fanatics? if the pose a threat to your way of life what you will do? you will tolerate them? you see these are not easy questions and a tolerance speech will not answer them. And if there are some fans who make threats to the producers of a trek film noone of them was in this discussion and the peple who didn't like this movie in this discussion are not amomg these people who make such threats. your arguments can not be justified by reffering to such people.
Remco - Sun, Aug 16, 2009 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
Daniel, while I agree that death threats are absolutely disgusting, I have to disagree with much of what you say. Pardon me if the following is a little exaggerated.

Should those who do NOT enjoy Star Trek 11 feel shame, fear or self-loathing? Are they not allowed to disagree with the majority who did like the film? Everyone except a populist is a minority in something.

Why MUST this movie be enjoyed? Why CAN'T Abrams possibly do anything wrong?

Why do you feel the need to equate those who didn't enjoy Star Trek 11 with terrorists? Crazy people make death threats for all kinds of things.

In discussions all across the globe the people who didn't enjoy the movie are made out to be unreasonable fans who can only hate. Anyone who gives an overall negative opinion of the movie is a hardliner who makes real fans look bad. How can the movie possibly be bad if it makes so much money? Only Transformers 2 is better. ;)

All that said, this movie is enjoyable. It's deeply flawed, but it is like a Michael Bay version of Star Trek. Even though he'd try very hard to ruin it, some good stuff would still shine through. It's just a lot less than meets the eye, to paraphrase Jammer. :)

It's also that I didn't expect that from Abrams. I like all of his other work a lot better. Alias, Lost, even Cloverfield is smarter than this movie.
karatasiospa - Mon, Aug 17, 2009 - 6:01am (USA Central)
There is one simple reason for this consensus among reviewers in magazines and fans (not all of them): they are happy to kill trek's utopian vision for the future and its intellectul idea-deriven content so noone will think again for a possible better future. Everyone must accept that modern aggresive capitalism is the only solution and anyone who thinks differently is a lunatic or a fanatic. It's the "end of history" preaching. No thanks i will not buy it!!
Genre-Buster - Mon, Aug 24, 2009 - 5:20pm (USA Central)
Kara: is that REALLY their intention? I think you're surrounding yourself with artificial enemies, and in a way, adding fire to Daniel's argument. You might want to take a moment to cool off a little before you post.
karatasiospa - Wed, Aug 26, 2009 - 5:16am (USA Central)
It doesn't matter if it is their intention or not, perhaps it is not but life (and history) is not the result of intentions. What matters is what you do. These people (and, i'm afraid 99% of people today) simply don't believe in an alternative and different future. So how can they do a movie about such a future when the can not even think about it? the whole media industry (tv, newspapers etc) tells us every day that such a future is not possible not even desirable or they simply silence any such possibility (usually they don't even talk about such a possibility, the current economic crisis is a good example). Otherwise how can you explain the abandoment of such future and trek's ideals in this movie? I'm not creating artificial enemies what i;m saying is all around us for those who want to see it. As for daniels's arguments the postmondernist relativists don't need me to fire up they allready killed the possibility of a better future becouse for them that is totalitarianism (!!!). Perhaps i'm exaggerating a little but not much. Ad i'm cool i'm not angry simply becouse i leave in this situation for many years now. Perhaps i'm passionate but i don't think that is something bad. Being angry and being passionate are different things.
Genre-Buster - Wed, Aug 26, 2009 - 11:35pm (USA Central)
Point taken. Po-mos give me the gripes, too. I always assumed growing up as a child that Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey was going to be re-released in theaters in the year 2001; made perect sense at the time, but it never happened - not so much as an art-house release. And, of course, the year 2001 no longer has the same connotation anymore - the associations people make today with this once magical number are simply tragic.

Yes, I daresay that we live in bitter times. Still, I'm not certain how Frances Fukuyama enters into your assessment of the critical and public response to Trek 11. Perhaps the problem is simpler than you say it is.

Here's the hard truth: the vision of hope and advancement that the moon landing gave us in the 60s was impossible to live up to. I don't remember the statistic, but back in my Greenpeace days, I remember reading that a single shuttle launch created more greenhouse gasses than a whole year of L.A. smog, or something like that. Trek, 2001, and the whole sci-fi explosion of the seventies were all desperately hinged on that truly amazing, but Quixotic event, and the optimism simply could not hold. I think that, nowadays, it's just too painful to look to sci-fi for hopeful visions of our future anymore, especially now that Y2K has come and gone with such horrible violence.

Mind you, Trek can still be used for dystopic meditations, and nothing I said here should diminish one iota my loathing for the Abrams reboot. It's funny: I see a sad, ironic glimmer of hope with the new Tarantino film. Seeing those genre-savvy Basterds at work might taint forever our attitudes not merely towards Trek 11, but all the gung-ho war movies posing as "Sci-Fi," "Western," "Action/adventure," etc. Perhaps our bitterness needs to be shoved down our throats so that we can gag and purge it out once and for all.
karatasiospa - Thu, Aug 27, 2009 - 5:18am (USA Central)
Well science fiction writers tried many times in the past to warn us against a naive optimism (both social and technological), this kind of optimism which resulted from the moon landing and those of them who were concerned about the space program recommennded other ways for the launch of starships. but what has been done with the research for a space elevator as proposed by A.C.clarke? nothing!! you know why? becouse USA (and europe and Russia) spend every year enormous amounts of money in their military budgets while NASA hardly survives. Yes i know that many people think that a space elevator is impossible but people were thinking the same thing 80 years earlier for nuclear power. You see social problems (how our society is organized) and the problem of space exploration and expansion are closely interwoven. Space exploration and expansion will not be the result of modern capitalism simply becouse there is no profit in it for the corporations (at least not now).Space exploration and expansion can be the result of a society with different values and goals. And we must not forget Asimov's warning that humanity must not abandon space; in the long term the problems of overpopulation and exhaustion of recources can be solved only through space exploration. and don't forget that in the star trek universe humanity went to the stars after it was united and it was socialy reformed.
Ofcourse right now things look bad in all fronts, but that is why we need trek's kind of optimism and that's why i accused Abrams and co for abandoning trek's message. Providing people only with space battles etc they encurage this abandoment of thinking about all these problems.
Genre-Buster - Fri, Aug 28, 2009 - 1:50am (USA Central)
What were people saying about nuclear power 80 years ago? Whatever it was, I wish we had listened. So do the Ukranians.

We're not going to solve the overpopulation problem (if there even is such a thing) by taking an elevator to the moon. People just need to start caring about each other, that's all. The resources are there, and can be replenished without mining some other planet. Did discovering the American continent solve Europe's population and resource problems? At the time, I guess it did, but it turned out to be somewhat illusory, didn't it? Mankind only got meaner, more vicious, more bloodthirsty. I shudder to think what big brother would do with transporter technology.

I love sci-fi, but not because of its optimism. What would most real people do with holodeck technology? What would I do with it? I'd like to say that I'd behave with the same nobility that Picard would, but I don't think I can. What other people I've known would do with TrekTech I find terrifying to even think about. We look to Kirk, Spock, Picard etc. for exemplars on how one might conduct oneself with grace, aplomb, sensitivity, and true righteousness when endowed with such unbelievable powers. It's ultimately about role models.

Which brings me back to Trek 11: a Kirk who drives his dad's convertible over a cliff for fun is not going to grow up to save planet earth. He's going to die an early and tragic death, period. And he'll probably take a few innocent bystanders with him in the process - the worst imaginable role model.
karatasiospa - Fri, Aug 28, 2009 - 4:28am (USA Central)
I'm posting this again becouse of the many spelling mistakes
i used the nuclear power case as an example of what can be achieved in technological research. As for the accident in ukraine it was not a result of nuclear power per se but of the fact that an ipoverished soviet union didn't have the money (or didn't care) to close an old power plant and built a new.
Ofcourse i agree with you that space expansion and trek technologies will be dangerous without a major social reform. But speaking of recources some of them (like metals) are running out or they will run out in the future unless you want to deny to the people of third word their right to achieve the standard of living that many (not all) of us take for granted in the western world. Enviromenalist utopias for a life exclusively based on small scale use of energy etc are impossible unless we want to go back to the 18th century, I'm not against enviromentalism i am just cautious about some of its extremes. As for overpopulation it is a big problem allready in Africa and Asia as it is clearly stated in many reports of the united nations .We are allready more than 5 billions and by the end of the century we will be about 10 billions. How we will found food for all this people? i know ofcourse that all these are social problems and need social reforms but this will not be enough. So How this problem will be resolved? can you convince billions of people to have only one child? and if you will not convince them what you will do? you can not coerce them allthough China aLlready daoes this but china is a dictatorship. I suppose you don't want such a solution
TH - Fri, Sep 4, 2009 - 6:56pm (USA Central)
I wish I'd seen this review a while ago, but I'll still give my 2 cents, but not too many more, since it's not likely to be much read at this point...

I thought the film was really good - to the point that I saw it twice in theaters, from a guy who rarely sees films in theaters at all.

That said, I liked the first half a lot, and the second half a little. I thought what the film got right was the origin story material: good characterizations, good in-jokes, good origin story... What the film did much worse was having an actual plot.

I loved the opening teaser. Having successfully avoided almost ALL spoilers in advance, I didn't really know where the story was going. Thrown into the action at the start of the film, I figured this would be a "some other ship" opening kind of like the original TMP or Trek 2. When the first officer was named as "Kirk", I didn't realize it wasn't Jim Kirk, but his father, having not seen enough promo stills of Pine to notice that this wasn't him. So it was a pretty effective sort of "mystery" scene once the realization kicked in that this was his father. The actual death of his father, hearing his wife and new son as he died actually resonated very strongly. I felt it was a very emotional scene; unfortunately it was somewhat downhill from there.

I loved the tidbits like the bar scene, meeting Bones, the Kobyashi, the feud with Spock... but then the plot crept in and the movie lost steam.

I felt absolutely nothing novel in the "plot" part of the film. This was yet another rehash of "crazy evil alien threatens to kill this or destroy that at a certain count-downy time unless the Enterprise tracks him down and destroys him". We've seen it in Trek 2, 6, Generations, Nemesis and in a few episodes. You've even written about him (stubborn alien who wants to destroy and won't listen to any form of reason... mainly in Voyager)

The destruction of Vulcan was a breathtaking sight with some nice emotional resonance... but I felt that was really the climax of the threat... they should have saved that awesome visual and emotinoal impact for the end of the film, not the first-hour mark; Because ultimately what the film comes down to is a really lame fist and phaser fight on an alien ship (seen it before)... and this one was lame... the whole threat came down to like... 7 guys on a starship seemingly way too massive for a crew that size. (on an unrealated note... if vulcan was so threatened, why not sent a shuttle pilot to cut the drill off by flying right through the cable (or do it with the enterprise itself!) Save billions by risking one guy and a shuttle...

All of this said, I expected no less from the first film in this series: It's like Batman Begins; the plot is going to take a back seat to the true purpose: introducing the new universe and characters, which I thought they did well (much better than Batman). I really await the next Trek film to judge whether they can come up with a unique plot idea.

Character-wise, the only one I had a major issue with was Scotty. I felt he was way too much of a cartoon character. I didn't feel like it had much channeling of the original Scotty who was always responsible and would frequently be left in charge of the ship. I can't imagine this version of Scotty being a reliable commander. I didn't mind Sulu, though I didn't feel like much of the original character came through as it did with Kirk, Spock, Bones, Chekov and Uhura.

I liked the look of the film. The uniforms are a fair compromise between looking like the originals, and feeling a bit more military and functional and futuristic. The ship looks nice and the technology does too. My only real complaint is the occasional "dumb it down for the audience" bits added in: Like... the only times the viewscreen displays on-screen text is for something rediculously specific (I forget what exactly)... just so the audience gets what's happening. Stuff that seems pretty unlikely that anyone would ever program it to do.

My complaints are pretty much plot-wise though. I like what they did with the universe and the film in general and look forward to the next film...
Christina - Sun, Sep 6, 2009 - 10:01am (USA Central)
I liked it. Despite the fact that it's yet another time travel story. Despite the fact that the many many plotholes could have been avoided with just a bit of thought.[*] Despite the fact that some of the more cringeworthy scenes (most of them in conenction with new-Scotty) were obviously just there for "comedic value".

But dammit, I liked the characters! I liked the actors, too. (Except, why didn't the producers try and cast someone for Sulu who looked a bit less ugly and a bit more like the young George Takei? Oh well.)

I can even overlook that they shot in a brewery, or the question why the Enterprise has a hall full of pipes filled with water that are only there to set up the lame "gag" with Scotty nearly drowning. Eh.

But for the first time in a long time, this Trek movie felt... alive. What it means to be part of the Star Fleet elite corps. What it means to look up to the stars and dream about boldly going out into Space. What it means to mingle peacefully with alien species.

Destroying planet Vulcan (seriously, it was a time travel story, I did expect them to press a reset button!) was a bold move. I just hope the producers asnd writers follow up to it in the sequels by inspecting the ramifications on the new timeline, instead of dropping the topic by the wayside as if nothing has happened. In that latter case, the destruction of Vulcan would have just been a cheap plot device for shock effect. I'll wait and see.

AS for an above poster saying that a Kirk who drove a car into a canyon when he was twelve does not make officer material... I disagree. Even in the old timelike, Kirk had always been a maverick, a rebel. But in TOS, we first met him when he was already over thirty and an established captain. This time around we got to see him as a teenager and a young man, with Captain Pike having to fill the role model role for him instead of his biological father.

It reminds me of the TNG episode "Tapestry", when Q offered Picard to rewrite Picard's own history, giving him the chance avoiding all the stupid things he had done as a young man... but as a result, the Picard in the new timeline never took risks, he was never given command responsibilities, he never became "officer material" despite having all the memories of his older self.

All the characters were younger (seventeen year old Chekov! heh), more immature (James Kirk) or more emotionally torn and rough around the edges (Spock), but you could see the persons they will eventually (hopefully) mature into. I am confident the writers will not let us down in that regard.

The movie could have been much better plotwise, but the actors were good and the CGI looked neat.

---
([*]Seriously, I'm a roleplayer and gamemaster and it took me only like 10 minutes to rewrite the plot in my mind so as to make it a more coherent and logical. If I can do it, why can't the paid scriptwriters??)
Stefan - Sun, Sep 6, 2009 - 2:03pm (USA Central)
I just want to reiterate that I don't consider this movie to be a reset. This movie involves a new timeline created by the actions of the older Spock and Nero. The timeline from TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT has not been replaced.
Jeepers - Mon, Sep 7, 2009 - 2:30pm (USA Central)
Not a great Star Trek movie on any level of the franchise. The sets, the ships (the Enterprise design is unforgivable) and the irreverent treatment of professional Starfleet officers (albeit not seasoned or experienced as we see them later in life) made the bad special effects and weak story line fizzle and fade behind lackluster storytelling. I can't even begin to like this movie. After watching this I ran home and tossed Star Trek 5 into my DVD to get a halfway decent fix to my Star Trek rush. Better luck next time hopefully it'll be worth the extended wait!
L.A. - Sun, Sep 13, 2009 - 6:15pm (USA Central)
Ya know, the things I remember most about the Trek movies aren't the "big questions," that TOS and TNG made the TV series for addressing. The TOS movies did have a recurring theme of aging and death--hey, there had to be SOME reason a bunch of AARP recruits were running around in a starship--but what do I remember? The character moments, when their relationships drive the scenes, and really, despite all the action, that's how I ended up feeling about New Trek too. There is a LOT of action, but why is it ineresting? Because Spock's strangling Kirk over whether or not he loves his mom! Because of the characters.

What's the other thing I remember most about the movies I like best? They're FUN. Star Treks 2, 4, 6, 8...you get the drift. They're FUN. I had more fun at the new Star Trek than I've had at anything Trek in a long time (and at any other movie, either).

Finally, I do think there's a common theme in this movie beyond "things go boom," and that is the two main characters, Kirk and Spock, must decide what they want to do with their lives and who they want to be--they choose their destinies. The differences between the zenly serene old Spock and the flipping out young Spock were spot-on. Here's a guy who isn't comfortable in his own skin meeting himself years after he finally does decide that "I'm okay." As for Kirk, he obviously has some problems steming from the absence of his father, and we see him learning to channel some of his brash impulsiveness more successfully as the movie goes on. So the movie shows a journey EVERYONE takes, although usually as teenagers or 20-something, and I liked seeing it dramatically depicted. Maybe the hardcore older fans have forgotten that part of being human.

For those reasons, and for the stellar casting and performances, this was a great Star Trek movie in my book.
Bill T. - Tue, Dec 1, 2009 - 2:11am (USA Central)
3 stars is 2 1/2 stars too many.
T'Mar - Sun, Dec 27, 2009 - 1:36am (USA Central)
As a Trek fan from the moment I first saw TOS (sometime in 1979, when the show was first shown on TV here), I must say that I think your review is pretty much dead on. I agree with 99% of it, but I can also admit that I have watched the movie about 10 times now and I still go, "Squeeee!!!" every time.

Like most other fans, I was worried about how the different actors would pull off their roles, but in the end it wasn't even worth worrying about! I loved Chris Pine's Kirk. At one point during the movie when Kirk did something awesome, my brother, SIL and I all pointed to the screen and yelled, "Denny Crane!" Now, that made no sense whatsoever, but we all did it at the same time. I guess Kirk and whoever plays him is just that awesome. :)

Zachary Quinto was so great as Spock that there were times when I completely forgot it was a different actor. There were some young teens sitting behind us, and in the first scene when Spock turns around, they all yelled, "Sylar! Sylar!" at the screen. Hehe. But what a good job he did. When Leonard Nimoy showed up, we were: 1) Thrilled and 2) a bit disconcerted. Like, "We just saw Spock five minutes ag... oh." And of course, every time Spock did the Vulcan salute, the audience did it right back.

I thought the other actors were great, too, but Scotty was not simply a vehicle for laughs in TOS, which annoyed me a little bit.

Spock and Uhura? Well, a friend of mine always contended that Spock and Uhura had a thing for each other (she could cite all the episodes and scenes that contained evidence - I can only remember "Charlie X"), so I didn't mind that development at all.

I guess I'm mainly focused on how the film measures up to TOS, but you have to wonder how someone who had never seen Star Trek before (completely possible in South Africa) would view this movie. I think they'd enjoy it simply for what it is, without all the 'baggage' that we fangirls and fanboys have. If I ever find someone like that, I'll let you know. :)
Jay - Sat, Jan 9, 2010 - 5:49pm (USA Central)
I'm not getting the complaint about the interior of the Nerada being dark. The interior of the rebooted Enterprise, particularly its bridge (which was almost like being inside the tube of a fluorescent bulb), makes even the Enterprise D seem dimly lit by compariosn...how could the Romulan ship be anything but dark by comparison?

Also, the way it was presented, the trip from Earth to Vulcan took mere hours, if not minutes, which makes the ridiculousness of ENT's "Earth to Qo'noS in four days" seem positively logical by comparison. It essentially took the length of thime for Chekov to give his briefing, so say it took two hours...that's 8 ly/hr, a speed which have gotten Voyager home in about a year, sans wormholes and other shortcuts.

Will - Mon, Jan 11, 2010 - 12:30pm (USA Central)
@Alex you're blatantly a guy who bashed this film for being a fun, engaging thrill ride, rather than two overweight guys in bad make-up fighting. Please, get a life.
C - Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - 6:42am (USA Central)
Did no one else HATE the Spock/Uhura thing?? it was so forced
Nic - Mon, Feb 8, 2010 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
I agree, the action is the main problem with this film. It's so unoriginal and far-fetched (especially the ones on the drill - so much illogic in this sequence it's actually painful to watch), I was kind of reminded of the Enterprise episode "Divergence" where Trip has to walk from one warp-speed ship to the other.
Elliot Wilson - Tue, Feb 9, 2010 - 4:56am (USA Central)

The whole idea of this film made me furious. Seriously, I hope Abrahms isn't planning to use this as an excuse to "restart the clock" as it were, i.e. the Borg meetings, peace with the Klingons, even the Dominion War, never happened because the future is DIFFERENT. Someone said this takes place in a different reality -- I hope that's true because I shudder to think what will happen if in the new "altered timeline" version they try to use the Dominion or the Borg -- two major villains that got you thinking and pondered significant questions about Human nature. I pray for Star Trek, I really do. But alas, I fear my hopes will be in vain. I give this no stars for a failed effort.
Elliot Wilson - Tue, Feb 9, 2010 - 4:59am (USA Central)

One extra addendum: I don't think they'll even use them at some point because they're too obsessed with Khan. I liked him too and the impact the TOS movies and especially the Khan Arc had on me, but seriously it's the 24th Century GET WITH THE PROGRAM. *big ROLLS EYES*
Elliot Wilson - Tue, Feb 9, 2010 - 5:02am (USA Central)

Final comment I swear!

karatasiospa would you care to talk about Star Trek as you posted above? If you want to would you mind logging on to my MSN account? It's ghostfalcone@live.com. If you don't want to do it there, we can do it anywhere you prefer.
Will - Wed, Feb 10, 2010 - 12:22pm (USA Central)
I actually don't get what your problem with this film is.

It's easily the most exciting, engaging film of the series. Y'know, reading this review I'm reminded of a video the Onion did. They did a spoof of the reception this film got from Trekkies. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen and reading the review and the comments I'm actually laughing because half the stuff in the review and on the page was quoted in the report:

Nerd#1: Well sure, it was an fun, action packed thrill ride, but where was the deep message about compasion, where was the stiff acting?

Nerd#2: I was just really annoyed the story made sense.

You people need to get it into your heads that Star Trek is changing. It's being rebooted for a modern audience. Star Trek is held in pretty low regard as being "nerdy", but now it's being done so everyone can enjoy it.

If you can't accept that, then I guess there's nothing for you in this film.

By the way, here's the video link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02LgdXVkXgM
Elliot Wilson - Wed, Feb 10, 2010 - 12:47pm (USA Central)

Well, I've always liked the Dominion and the Borg more than the old-class Star Trek. I really want to see them involved as they SHOULD be. My worst fear is they will just forget about them. They both ARE out there. As to why I don't like this? The styles are all wrong. I watched the early Star Treks, TNG, DS9 Voyager, and they all had the same type of styles, if different in many ways. Enterprise, and now ST 2009, have missed that.
Elliot Wilson - Wed, Feb 10, 2010 - 12:50pm (USA Central)

BTW, if that's true then it should die. Being "rebooted" to something completely different is not a good way of solving a problem -- it's taking the easy way out. I agree some things SHOULD change, but others have to either stay the same or die. It's the natural process of the world. But I can practically feel the bias in your voice. You liked it, so nothing I can say matters. I will rally around the others who didn't like it.
Will - Fri, Feb 12, 2010 - 3:24am (USA Central)
@Elliot Wilson, You've got me completely wrong, I love old Star Trek too. I've watched all the series, TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT. I really liked this film as well, I'm not biased. I just think that putting this film in the same league as The Motion Picture is ridiculous. The Motion Picture to me was one of the most boring films I've ever seen. A representation of everything that was wrong with bring TOS to the cinema. This film was a great reboot. I think it catered to both fans and newcomers very nicely. It worked as well as it possibly could've
Elliot Wilson - Fri, Feb 12, 2010 - 6:31am (USA Central)

It seems to me like you're one of those people who go around trying their hardest to look at the positive side of everything, going to do something with an optimistic outlook. I'm the opposite: I'm cynical by nature, and I guess it shows. I think people like that look for the best and will make more concessions with things than someone like me would. I however confess to placing EXTREME HIGH standards on practically everything. This is just the symptom of that!
David - Tue, Mar 9, 2010 - 8:39am (USA Central)
As a religious fan of the TOS, I never thought this reboot would work. But for me, it did. I loved it. Now, I hope the movie makers don't get all full of themselves as did the makers of the Matrix franchise. Keep it simple and remember what got you here. It is one thing to do a movie about origins. It is another to take it from there.
levi - Thu, Apr 8, 2010 - 12:33pm (USA Central)
I liked much of the movie, but the bad guy sucked. I completely agree that the motivating and characterization was uninspired and unconvincing. 2.5 stars from me - hopefully the next one will be better.

Still, they did better than I thought they would.
Chase B. - Sat, Aug 7, 2010 - 2:18pm (USA Central)
Honestly, the reason that it had no real philosophical undertones is that it didn't want to. It tried to be a fun movie, and it excelled at it.
Genre-Buster - Tue, Sep 7, 2010 - 1:34pm (USA Central)
Harry Plinkett from Red Letter Media seems to have found a way to agree with everyone who's posted here.

An impressive accomplishment, to say the least.
Elliott - Sun, Oct 10, 2010 - 6:57pm (USA Central)
This film is all icing. How in the world can one call that 3 stars? Now if this were James Bond, Star Wars, etc. I could excuse it; fine have your mindless summer blockbuster. But this is star trek. The nature of its mythology is sacred (I mean that literally, like a covenant with god, it is sacred). I'm not referring to the plot; change the canon if you wish, but the MYTHOS is sacred. This movie may be successful advertising for Trek, but it's false advertising. This is not star trek, no matter what it may look like. Abrams far superseded Pillar in his bastardisation of Trek with this film. .5 stars
Elliott - Mon, Oct 11, 2010 - 3:34am (USA Central)
And for the record, this is no more or less a bastardisation than those done to Robin Hood, Beowulf, or to a lesser extent, Harry Potter and LOTR.

Most people are fucking stupid. They feed on mindless action, effects, "sweeping plots." etc. Star Trek is the one of the great modern alternatives. It is heady, intellectual, slow and egotistical for a reason. I'm always skeptical of a movie if it's very popular, and this one deserves it. It appeals to the basest of tastes.

I understand that we need the mindless fluff in our lives to lighten the load as it were, but that is not what trek is for. Make another Die Hard in Space or something, but don't ruin Trek.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - 7:41am (USA Central)
Well over a year since this has come out and I now have the DVD (not the one with all the extras if one exists) and have seen it several times.
Repeat viewings is often the measure of a great film and I must have seen this about 6 times now and still really enjoy it. I'd probably rate it higher now than I did originally and cannot wait to see where they go for the next one.
ScooterGirl - Wed, Dec 8, 2010 - 1:16am (USA Central)
I totally agree with Jammer that "Star Trek" was overall a very good movie. Let's face it: They were dealing with iconic figures and IMO the main task of the film makers was to create a new Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc. that people would accept. They succeeded admirably through great casting and character interaction. The storyline may have been a bit weak but hopefully, with this new crew established and accepted, they can create a sequel that will present us with a deeper plot instead of letting Trek spiral downward into just another action franchise.
Jay - Fri, Dec 24, 2010 - 8:17pm (USA Central)
In the scene where Kirk has to demonstrate that Spock is emotionally compromised, the entire crew stand by and does nothing while Spock nearly murders Kirk, until Sarek finally, and rather unceremoniously, says his name. Quite ridiculous.
James Nelson - Fri, Jan 14, 2011 - 1:48pm (USA Central)
I agreed with most everything you say. One point I'd like to make it on the dvd (I did like it that much), if you listen to the commentary. You hear an interesting comment made by the writers (two actually). The first is the idea that they "had to make ST cool". I think this says quite a bit since ST was already cool, or it wouldn't have survived this long. People who have never seen ST know what it is. The second comment was a statement along the lines of "What can we learn from Star Wars to make ST cool." The idiocy of that alone had me picking my jaw off the floor, but later I realized that they probably weren't even talking about the original trilogy, because the one thing they obviously did not get from Star Wars was how to pace a story. Lucas at least in the first two original films showed a director who knew that a good film equaled a good story. Every scene that you cheer in the original earns its "hero moments" ST on the other hand is a series of high points and action scenes until you just don't care any more. In fact the one scene at the end which should have had audiences on the edge of their seats only came across as ho-hum because of this. Even so, now that they've got the "origin" story out of the way, as uninspired as that concept is in reboots and retcons maybe they can give us a story with some meat the second time out. As my friends and I say, the new Trek is a dumbed down Trek
jon - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 10:25am (USA Central)
Jesus Christ calm down everybody for heaven's sake it's just a film. you don't like it fine by me. Just don't get worked up by it Personally it could have been better I enjoyed it thought it was good and maybe those themes will be explored in the sequel. The theme of this movie was really growing up and facing responsibility. BTW maybe Ellliot Kara and co might look at the onion's piece it's very funny
Elliott - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 10:43am (USA Central)
Let me put it this way:

I have not seen the new "Tempest" movie yet. Why? Because I'm scared. I'm scared it's going to have that glossy, dumb mass-appeal that speaks to the dregs of society. If it is that sort of movie, it still gets to label itself "Shakespeare" and carry along all the connotations that label implies. It isn't fair. Those of us who have known our Shakespeare and been moved by it in profoundest and most intimate ways would feel betrayed by some piece of fluff calling itself Shakespeare. All this movie had to do is not desecrate the characters and myths we hold dear and call itself something else. It's Abrams after all, people would watch it, get their dumb fix and fill his pockets. I can't tell you how many people came up to me after seeing this movie "Oh I see why you like Star Trek so much now, it's really cool!" I'm all for expanding the fanbase to spread the message, but this isn't it at all. I don't want more people in my club if my club has to become like every other club on earth.
jon - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 6:23pm (USA Central)
What's wrong with mass appeal the problem with Trek is that the fans feel they've owned it look at doctor who prior to 2005 it was a joke but now it's seen as a fascinating idea and show and has been rewarded as such. As for Shakespere again it was intended to be mass appeal in Elizabethean England it was the dregs of society that watched those plays. not the nobility, again like Trek people see Shakespere as ann elite phenomen when that wasn't the case
j - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 6:31pm (USA Central)
Well I wouldn't get too woried about the tempest starring Dame Helen Mirren it's got mostly negative reviews and hasn't done too well at the box office so no worries.
James Smith - Mon, Feb 7, 2011 - 1:52am (USA Central)
Shakespeare wrote what at the time was considered to be popular entertainment, and it was. The reason it survives is because he wrote very good popular entertainment. It is a mistake to assume to popular and artistic are mutually exclusive terms.

I take films seriously, it is the profession I'm working toward. So to me a film is never "just a film." That attitude leads to people taking the easy way out and if you look at the quality of films and filmmakers in the last decade people are producing quite a bit of crap and movie goers have gotten use to accepting it. Btw while I do differentiate films that are supposed to be entertainment strictly and films that are trying to say something about the "human condition" I still think they have to show some competence of the craft. For instance I've never heard anyone say of a film dealing with the holocaust that got the facts wrong "it's just a film", even if that film was complete fiction and the writer had leeway to do what they wanted. When a movie adapts a well loved piece of fiction and totally bungles it fans of the book ofttimes criticize. True a book and a film are two separate media, but if you have to so radically change a thing so that the only resemblance you have is a title and the names of some of the characters, then I say you should have just called it something else.

Which leads me back to Trek. SF fans who read books and SF fans who only watch movies are two different types of SF fans. I don't say one is better than the other but they are different. Elliott has a point. People who are fans of the new Abrams Star Trek and have never watched Star Trek before are a different type of fan than fans of the original show, or any of it's later installments. Mass appeal is not always a good thing if that mass appeal comes from catering to low expectations. For instance, Star Wars in '77 had mass appeal, but not because it was constructed to attain it. Lucas, at that time at least, was just trying to tell a story in a certain style. No one expected it to be a hit. He was trying to construct a good film first and foremost. As a result we still watch it today. Now Hollywood has the template for the disposable blockbuster. It's fun for an hour or two, but it's like Chinese food, who remembers it a year later? Abrams Star Trek to me at least fits that mode and that's a shame. Maybe in 30 more years a Ronald Moore type will reboot it yet again and make it something just a bit more than "just a summer movie".
Mike Meares - Tue, Mar 8, 2011 - 5:20pm (USA Central)
Like the Jim Croce song, "You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off that old Long Ranger. And you don't mess around with Jim (Kirk)."

Star Trek(2009) as with so many blockbusters of this kind, and the majority of the creative powers at work have been focused on the special effects. Spaceships twist and turn, avoiding debris and the “phaser” blasts of their enemies. One recalls an alarming number of objects exploding. The screen is constantly filled with action, often too much of it to take in. At times this is suspenseful or exciting, too often it is simply incomprehensible.

The new Star Trek devoted little time to the characters themselves, although it is ostensibly about their development and the challenge of their first mission. The individuals change and grow too rapidly, relationships are formed and grudges forgiven too quickly. Most of it is unconvincing.

I loved Jim Kirk. I loved him because of the person he WAS. AND he became that way because of his experience as a Star Fleet cadet and his interaction with other officers and his development over the years. Abrams changed all that with his different timeline. Jim Kirk never had a chance to become the man I admired and looked up to.

Reworking such familiar characters and events places a number of constraints on the filmmakers, although they are perhaps all too willing to abide by them as well. The tug-of-war between creating a new work and pleasing a built-in fan base takes its toll on the film. One almost groans as the catch phrases of the Star Trek series—“Live long and prosper,” “Damn it, man, I’m a doctor not...something else”—find their way into scenes.

The original Star Trek series has maintained a considerable following over the years. Some of the program’s qualities continue to appeal. Created in the aftermath of the civil rights movement in the US and broadcast during the period of growing opposition to the Vietnam War, the show envisioned a future in which race and national boundaries have been rendered meaningless. Space exploration and the search for new discoveries and insights into the workings of the universe also play a central role. In addition, some of the episodes possessed a comic touch and, despite all the silliness of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and the others, the crew exuded a certain charm and camaraderie.

However, while the original series created by Gene Roddenberry was capable of rising above its simple Western-in-space motif, the current film from director J.J. Abrams and producer Damon Lindelof, two of the names behind the popular television series Lost, fails to do so. Perhaps more than any other film in the series, the latest Star Trek reveals itself to be a typical action movie and far less a work of science fiction. There is not very much about the film that one is asked to think about. One simply watches it and goes home.

The overall aim of the work, to “finally” show viewers how Kirk and Spock met, how the bridge crew of the Enterprise was formed and what transpired on their first mission ultimately, strikes one as trivial. These are not, after all, real people and this is not real history. This is not a work of art that desperately needed to be made.

As J. Jonah Jameson puts it in Spider-Man, the Star Trek Movie is, "Crap, Crap, Mega Crap!"

Tim - Sun, Oct 16, 2011 - 2:17pm (USA Central)
The success of this film is that you can take your girlfriend to see it (or non-fan friends, parents and so on).

That is also why it fails as part of the Trek franchise.

It becomes nothing more than standard modern CGI action-fest in space and very little to do with Trek. Looks gorgeous and hence people love it, especially if brains don't have to be engaged. Avatar is another example of this genre. In fact on that note, I wouldn't be surprised if any sequel they do is a 3D gimmick-fest.

Trek is dead for the moment, but so is most of current cinema. Some nice fun wow factor stuff is on the screen, but little of substance.

Wake me up in 10 years time when the audience gets bored of it and the movie industry realises they need to get back to making proper movies.
Latex Zebra - Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - 6:44am (USA Central)
This may have been mentioned already but according to the bastion of truth that is Wikipedia and a comment by one of the writers. The Admiral Archer in question is Admiral Jonathan Archer. Aged about 147 which is a good innings in the future, after all McCoy was pretty ancient in Encounter at Farpoint.
The dog is unlikely to be Porthos however.
Latex Zebra - Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - 7:36am (USA Central)
Oops, it was mentioned above... Sorry.
With regards to the product placement (probably missed this as well) and a brand existing in a utopian society. As I said above the Nokia one was jarring though not so much on repeat viewings. Bud never had a problem with though. Unless every brand was wiped out in WW3 then there will be some remains of products that existed before. Even in a utopian society you could have a Budweiser brewery. It is not brewed for profit though, but because people love making it and people love drinking it.
The same as Boothby loves being a gardener for no money (but loves a nice cold Bud at the end of the end of the day) or the people who make parts for the Jeffries tube.
People can suspend belief enough that every person will work for free as a cleaner, cook, gardender or Starship Captain to better mankind but no one would use an age old brand name without it being for commercial reasons.

Bud Classic, now availble in all Level 3 Replicators!
RG - Wed, Feb 8, 2012 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
This is not only the worst Star Trek film, but one of the biggest pieces of shit I have ever been subjected to. If I had it my way every print would burned and the writers, directors and producers would sentenced to death. Thanks guys for putting the final nail in the coffin of the franchise, as if the god-awful Next Generation movies weren't enough.
Lubitsch - Sun, Feb 12, 2012 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
I just skipped through the film counting all the action scenes. We have

the whole Kelvin battle as opener
the car chase and crash for young Kirk
Spock fights his Vulcan tormentors
kirk gets into a fight with cadets
avoiding the debris and the first fight with the Narada
the Drill dive, the ensuing fight and the dive to the planet surface
the evacuation from Vulcan plus the destruction of the planet
Kirk being knocked out marooned and chased by monsters
Scotty being beamed in the water tubes
Spock and Kirk slugfest on the bridge
the gun fight inside the Narada splitting up in Kirks hand combat and Spocks attack on the Narada plus the Enterprise saving the day
finally the Black hole the gunning down of the Narada and the escape from the gravitational pull of the black hole

Why all this stuff? These folks don't understand one of the simplest, most basic artistic principles: Less is often more. And the more climactic scenes you accumulate the less weight each scene has. And having characters survive situations which would kill any well trained man, changes them into cartoons, the ice planet beast hunt mutates Kirk into roadrunner or Bugs Bunny.

Finally the summer blockbuster principle swallowed the franchise. I guess it was inevitable and judging from the success and artistic pedigree of the "creative" team it#s also irreversible. Which is a pity.
Keiren - Wed, Apr 18, 2012 - 6:18am (USA Central)
Lots of style.... No substance... Most of the actors did REALLY well...but why are we watching a Star Trek film where Kirk seems like the bad guy, and the crew have to beat each other up every 2 minutes to keep the audience entertained? WHY? Also, why is this an action movie? :O

The biggest problem here is that the Star Trek universe did NOT need a reboot, all that needed rebooting was the creative team....

So the stories were stale? Clear out the old creative team, move to the 25th century and show us something new, grow, expand, continue.... Setting it a century later would allow them to change the rules without having to reinvent the entire universe!!

And thats the biggest problem with this film, its good, but completely unnecessary...
Duge - Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - 12:39pm (USA Central)
Having been disappointed by "Star Trek: Nemesis" and despairing of the very real possibility of no further Star Trek films (TNG or otherwise), I was both pleasantly surprised and apprehensive about a "reboot" of the ST franchise and what it might look like. After seeing the film, my fear and apprehension about the film quickly evaporated and found myself enthusiastically embracing the "reboot" button that Abrams pushed on the series. Having gone in with the expectation that we would be seeing another "prequel", I was shocked to discover that not only was this a prequel but they were completely demolishing the established universe and creating an entirely different reality, one that, thankfully, was NOT "reset" by the end of the movie. Whatever else you might think about the movie, it's pretty hard to argue that it wasn't "gutsy" by blowing up Vulcan AND leaving it blown up at the end of the movie. I thought that Abrams chose his cast wisely to fill the shoes (or boots) of the TOS-era characters and loved all of the nods and homages to the franchise. There were plot holes and contrivances aplenty to be sure, however as being somebody more interested in being entertained than making sure that everything makes perfect sense, they didn't bother me much, at least not to my overall enjoyment of the movie. If I had to liken this to any of the previous ST movies in, I'd have to say that this reminded me of everything I loved about ST:First Contact in terms of tight pacing, visuals. I also quite enjoyed Giachhiano's bombastic score for the movie which fit the movie well and whose end credits paid homage to the original Alexander Courage theme. I look forward to further new adventures in the Abrams-penned rebooted ST universe!
Moegreen - Sun, Aug 5, 2012 - 11:24am (USA Central)
I'd much rather have seen it in the hands of Christopher Nolan or even Danny Boyle. Abrams is hit and miss and way too bombastic. The aforementioned too directors can bring subtlety and grand scale/scope together very well. Abrams is fundamentally too shallow to be involved in any writing-aspect of a production. He's a good producer but should stay away from the storyline.
Moegreen - Sun, Aug 5, 2012 - 11:34am (USA Central)
@Daniel Lebovic

Why oh why do certain people such as yourself feel the need to shout that their opinion is better or more considered than everybody elses? 'You guys can do this or that'. Get real. People just give their opinions on the movie and that's it. You try to turn it into some kind of tribal competitive bullshit.
Gordon - Tue, Aug 7, 2012 - 9:19pm (USA Central)
Perhaps it's nothing, but I think the new bridge is one deck too low, and therefore occupying a much larger space than it did in previous incarnations of our beloved ship. If this is true, it dramatically shrinks the rest of the ship. Remember where the bridge was at the beginning of the cage. Spock docked behind the bridge in ST:tmp, and that was one deck higher. If you see where J.J. placed the window, the size of the ship compared to crew becomes problematic.
Gordon - Sun, Aug 12, 2012 - 2:56am (USA Central)
Is any one still out there? LLAP
James N Smith - Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
@Gordon,

Nope I think Elvis has left the building. I think those that liked this pic and those who didn't are just in holding mode for the make it or break it sequel. I'm am curious to see how they handle Cumberbatch, as I like him in the new Sherlock series. Yet I have absolutely no faith in Abram's vision of Trek. I see some serious retconning in the future for this franchise to undo the damage this iteration could cause, but looking at the Marvel movies and even Batman, you can always just make like any previous films never happened, so there is that.
Patrick - Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - 3:09pm (USA Central)
If the sequel to this one is in the same vein as this one, the following will happen:

Kirk will have his hand cut off by the main villain who will reveal a shocking secret about his parentage, while Spock will put in suspended animation and taken away to the lair of another villain which will lead into the third movie.

There will also be lots of 'splosions and lens flares! And maybe an Aerosmith power ballad during the end credits.

Oh JJ Abrams, your fidelity to the original source material will help the Star Trek legacy for years to come!
Rosario - Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - 4:30pm (USA Central)
I noticed a comment above on how a movie about history that gets facts wrong gets a pass while a movie that is adapted from previous sci-fi movies/tv/books is held up to a higher scrutiny. Really?

Personally, I'm infuriated when Hollywood twists history - how it's twisted determines how angry I get. Delta-Vega being within viewing distance of Vulcan instead of at the edge of known space gets me a little angry. Oliver Stone saying that everybody shot JFK *except* Lee Harvey Oswald gets me a lot angry. The Princess in Braveheart being in her early-twenties instead of 7 makes me a little angry. Edward the Longshanks being portrayed as a callous one-dimensional brute makes me a lot angry. etc. I do give a pass to The Last Samurai though. As I've studied Japanese martial and philosophical tradition for years I was struck by just how accurately the Meiji Restoration was portrayed. Frankly all one has to do is remove Omura and Algren, change Katsumura's name to Saigo Takamura and we have the historical finish to the Boshin War.

Anyway I digress lengthily. When my father and I left the theatre we decided that anything that got the Star Trek brand looked at again was a good thing - especially after Nemesis and Enterprise made it appear that Trek was dead. But, after a few years and a few more viewings... I don't really consider this film to be Trek in any essence of the word. My definition of Trek at any rate.

Frankly I feel bad for anyone who did try to explore the franchise history based on a viewing of this film. Well no I shouldn't, you see I had never seen TOS when I saw this movie. My only experience with Kirk and crew was their feature films. So after seeing this movie I decided to give TOS a chance, to meet these characters finally. I had always dreaded watching the show because of how campy it seemed. I wasn't wrong. Looking back on my own review notes, only 32 of 79 episodes scored higher than a B- in my book. But the interactions between Spock, Kirk and McCoy were fantastic. Frankly looking back I found Scotty and the gang to be barely a step up from a disposable red-shirt. Anyway it was after watching TOS, after this movie inspired me to watch it, that I began to dislike this movie. The action sustained me through the first viewing but as I got to know the characters through the show it came through more and more that this, was not Spock, this was not Kirk, this is not Star Trek.

Watching TOS inspired me to watch TNG again. Too much nostalgia in viewing that, since I can recall bobbling on my father's knee the first time around. Great series though, mostly holding up to second viewings. Then I get to DS9 which I had completely rejected in my youth. And fantastic - watched all 7 seasons in about 4 weeks. Ate it up. Voyager on the other hand took me almost a year to get through, with season 7 alone taking nearly 3 months. Voyager also led me to this site since I couldn't find any review site that covered anything beyond DS9. This site combined with my current disillusionment through finally reaching Enterprise has led me to Battlestar Galactica which I am enjoying for the most part. Thanks Jammer.

I appreciate this movie for getting the Star Trek name back in focus. I thank it for the little odyssey it has led me on. Unfortunately that journey has led me to question whether this movie deserves the title.
Yanks - Thu, Dec 6, 2012 - 11:56am (USA Central)
OK, a few years late but I wrote this review back in 2009. I've been reading some of Jammer's reviews and read this one today.

Reading everyone's expert opinion in these posts has been, well interesting.

Here is my review (the first one I had ever done):

__________________________________________________
OK, I haven't had an "anticipation buzz" like this waiting to see a movie since TMP. I was primed and ready to go with an open mind. I had read "countdown" before I watched it.

I was fortunate enough to see the movie with 3 of my sons. "Guys night out" kind of thing. As they get older, this is harder and harder to do. It was "Dad's treat" if you will. They have all watched different versions of Star Trek with me throughout the years and I'm glad they were anticipating this as much as I was.

I've been saying all along "it all depends on the story" I think they pulled of the necessary "transition" very well. Those comments from JJ... "this is not a movie for Trek fans" was hog wash. This entire movie was crafted in respect for trek canon, albeit they intended launch it in a new direction. That was obvious to me as I watched it. They did pay attention to detail in their effort to take these characters into a new time. They had to "know" what these character were to us. Bravo!!

The good:
They could not have cast the movie better (main cast). Wow, all were just perfect in my book. I'll go over them first because I think this was the strong point of the movie.

Kirk: A little too much getting the crap kicked out of him, but maybe that was needed. He was fighting Romulans and Spock (aside from being out numbered in the bar) and they are supposed to have superior strength, so the fact that they did is another nice "nod". Pine was a great choice. Someone I think folks will tune in to see again and again. I enjoyed his humor and REALLY enjoyed his developing relationship with our new Spock as the movie progressed.

Spock: Wow again! Quintos hit the mark. Could they have cast someone better?? really?... I don't think so. Interesting twist with Spock being assigned by Pike to command the Enterprise before Kirk. I thought the interaction between old Spock and new Spock was very interesting. It was almost like old Spock was telling new Spock it was OK to experience emotions too. (something I feel certain came from Nimoy, he has always spoke of the inner battles that Spock had to deal with, I think we will "see" more now) I think it is very interesting that Spock now has a positive relationship with Sarak, much different from the original, especially with the loss of his mother.

Bones: Probably the best casting of the lot. WOW!!, I actually thought that was Bones from the start. Country Doctor? ... you bet! Is that voice his acting? PERFECT!! Loved how they developed the relationship between him and Kirk from the start. Pretty unique way to get Kirk on the Enterprise too. He also took odds with Spock (green blooded hob-goblin) I thought it was important to keep that relationship. Glad to see they thought the same. Standing ovation from Yanks here.

Uhura: I really like the change. I have no problem with her relationship with Spock at all. I think this is a positive add to both their characters. I think she needed more than just her position this time. In TOS it was a huge step to put a black woman on the bridge as a officer, but she really was never more than that. I thought she needed more now. They not only gave her a relationship, but brought out her unique talents in linguistics as well. (A nice tribute to Hoshi I thought, sorry all you Enteprise haters). She's not just a "babe" but a talented one as well. Well done again.

Sulu: Nice casting once again. Thought the part was played very well. A little nod with his "combat experience". Love the fight scene on the rig. Nice to see him capable of making command decisions right from the start.

Chekov: Most refreshing. Loved the accent and thought it was also important to give this character more than just "driving" expertise. He needed to contribute more than the fact that he was Russian. He actually has talent now and is still very very young. Very nicely done.

Scotty: Again, casting was perfect. Now, is that a unique way to get him on Enterprise or what? Engineering brilliance of course, kind of "pre-miricle worker" there. His transporter brilliance brought out in the movie (future and present) Loved his responses to Kirk at the end when they needed "more power". They nailed this character as well. While his side-kick made me think of Star Wars, I'm OK with "it". (didn't catch the name)

Old Spock: Maybe it's his age, but I thought his lines were very ... I don't know, is "forced" the right word? It was like he was trying to prove to all of us that he still could say big words and/or long sentences. I don't know, he lost his personal touch it seemed to me. It was nice to know he is alive and well and we may get to see him again. This was no little cameo part though, that was nice. His greatest contribution to this movie was his guidance in the creation of our new Spock I think. I think we will get much more "inter-turmoil" stuff now.

Pike: I do not believe they could have cast him better. Very, very well played. Just wish they would have given us a little insight of how he ended up in the wheel chair, although it was another nice nod to TOS. I want to see him in future movies, so I'm glad he wasn't relegated to communicate with a "beep".

Nero: The only casting and performance that was not good. Not impressed, the story was weak. 25 years in wait? that's a hell of a grudge...but we wont see him again, so nothing lost really.

That's about it for the characters; their casting and performance the biggest plus in this movie. I'm so relieved that we now have these actors playing our beloved TOS characters.

Sound effects: Caught a couple "Star Wars" sounds. Spock's ship with the red matter sounded like Annikan's racer. Again and again throughout the movie we were treated with sounds from TOS. This is something that "new fans" might not appreciate, but I took notice and really appreciated the detail.

The story: I'm a little surprised with my reaction here. "it all depends on the story" I said time and time again. I think I was wrong, the story was pretty weak I thought, especially if you hadn't read Countdown beforehand. It was just another "Save Earth" storyline. What surprises me is it perfectly accomplished the goal I think. It was a vehicle to reintroduce our beloved characters in a new light. So while even Vulcan being destroyed did seem to resonate with me like I thought it might, the "story" wasn't what made this move good; it was how it was crafted to accomplish the goal.

Our new 1701: To start, it's apparent to me that 1701 will not be portrayed as a beloved character as it was before. They didn't "present" it like I thought they might. 1701 was as much a character to me as Kirk and Spock were in TOS, so I was a little let down here. The exterior look was fine I thought. I'm not a fan of the bridge. It is too bright and the lights were too strong I think. The shape of the Captains chair was a nice nod to good ole 1701 though. Where I was most disappointed was Engineering. WTF - really. It looks like a frakin building. Maybe it will take better shape as we get a few more movies, but I'm not a fan of Scotties baby looking like the inside of a paper-mill. I'm also not a huge fan of multiple "guns" and launching points of what looks like "flares". Trek starships have always been unique in the sci-fi realm with regard to their offensive weapons. This is a change I'm not fond of. I suppose it will have to grow on me although all my sons thought it was great. Maybe just another way to bring in a "new generation".

Music: This is the area I was most let down. I did not enjoy the score at all. Yes, it was "orchestral" and all, but all I could think about during the movie was "this sounds like Batman". Trek's soundtracks have always been unique and resonated very well with me. This one did not. You could hear the smattering for familiar themes, but they fell short. Maybe it's because I am such a fan of Jerry Goldsmith's work and how he told the story with his music. I did enjoy the ending music as another "nod" to the original.

To summarize, I'll give this movie a 8 out of 10 solely riding on the casting and performance of the characters. Maybe that was their intent all along with this movie. I think they did what they needed to do; they gave us our characters back so we will long to see them again. I didn't honestly think that was possible. When I first heard of this movie and what they were planning, I was angry, "Shatner is Kirk!!, Nimoy is Spock!!", etc... I said time and time again. I am both surprised and pleased that they have changed my mind. Someone else can play these characters and most importantly I think, they can play these characters with respect for our original ones. The biggest plus for this movie was, not to sound corny here but, it's "fun" again. Humor throughout the movie in a positive light. Not "forced", but from a trekkies heart I thought. The audience time and time again erupted in laughter, young and old alike. Above all, this movie was "fun"; something I think the other movies, aside from Data's classic lines and an occaional Worf quickie, had lost since TVH. This move was most obviously crafted to bring us old trekkies along for the ride, and this Star Trek fan is most appreciative.
__________________________________________________

I'd like to add that the musical score has grown on me significantly and I do not see (or hear) it in the same light I did originally.

Just need to tone the bridge down, cut down on the lens flares and don't shake the camera so much next time JJ.

Another comment. Trek is in it's element on TV, not on the big screen. Enjoy these action based popcorn blockbusters, buy the DVD's and we just might get trek back where it belongs. Looking forward to STID.

Thanks.
Sybok - Fri, Dec 7, 2012 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
This movie was a giant turd covered in chocolate sprinkles. Looked tasty on the outside, but its just poop when you get to the core.

I have looked foreword to every trek movie since
The Wrath of Khan. Saw them all opening day. Not looking forward to Into Darkness at all. Thanks for making Star Trek look like Transformers. Buttholes.
Landon - Wed, Dec 12, 2012 - 10:37pm (USA Central)
wow, Jammer, some suprisingly uninformed comments on Gene's vision {tm}.....its been well-documented that he indeed did have a vision. He wanted to tell srories about the human condition and current and timeless issues without having to deal with censors thus his idea to have this commentary and exploration via sci-fi so he could get away with it. Many actors and ppl that have known Mr. Roddenberry {Joanthan Frakes comes to mind} have said repeatedly how he would talk about how in the future "every child would know how to read, there would be no war, prejudice, hunger...infinite diversity in infinite combinations....humanity is currently only in its infancy, we will mature and evolve"....so I'm pretty dissaponted in you and that comment, Jammer.
Patrick - Fri, Dec 14, 2012 - 5:28pm (USA Central)
It occurred to me there are some story structure parallels between this film and DS9's pilot, "Emissary".

"Emissary" starts with an epic space battle that changes the course of the lives of a few of the characters. The rest of the story is about an assembly of a motley crew of space adventurers proving themselves in their first mission. The final shot is of the cast getting comfortable with each other. (The bit with Bashir asking Odo about where someone can practice their phaser shooting has the same energy as the last bridge scene in AbramsTrek). Maybe, that's a little too general.

However, "Emissary" is a thoughtful story with a strong dramatic grounding, while Trek 2009 is the exact opposite.
Weyoun 6 - Wed, Dec 26, 2012 - 12:10am (USA Central)
"Lots of style.... No substance..."

I second that.

The glaring plot holes pulled me out of the "story" and made me painfully and repeately aware I was watching a movie. The writers suffer from the usual bad hollywood writing convention of our time. One can picture them smoking pot and saying "wouldn't it be cool if..." So we're treated to action scene afer action scene with almost none of them making a bit of sense given the universe they are set in. The contrivances had me rolling my eyes repeatedly.

Look, I'm not saying a story has to be perfect, most of the Trek movies have their plot holes, but ultimately you have to give people enough for them to slightly suspend their disbelief and this movie did not cut it for me. I know action movie fans liked it and that's great but I like sci-fi.

And I don't want to say this was the worst movie, or even Trek movie, ever. It was, at least, better than Nemesis. And the acting and directing were good. If only the characters actually said and did things consistent with their personalities and the universe they are in instead of what needs to happen to get to the next flashy eye-candy action scene.
Q - Thu, Jan 3, 2013 - 6:04am (USA Central)
Ok, we have ST 2001-like movie (TMP), SW-like movie (TWoK), Spielberg's-New-Adventure-like movies (TVH, FC), Bay's-blow-them-up-like movie ('09) and now comming Nolan's-superhero-movie-mixed-with-Ron-Moore's-BSG-like new film. And I still waiting for Moon-like one...
(But no, I'm not the '09 hater.)

ps. Watch:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLNEkXk9vcs
After seeing LOST conclusion I think that this is possible ending of Abrams' Trek trilogy (but rather with Data, not My Favorite Bald Guy in captain's chair - I read Countdown miniseries).
Elphaba - Mon, Feb 4, 2013 - 4:30am (USA Central)
This movie is... ok. But not the Trek that I know. Also it relies too much on coincidence. Spock maroons Kirk on the planet that prime Spock just happens to be on near the place where prime Spock just happens to be and there just happens to be a Federation outpost where prime Spock is where Scotty just happens to be and Scotty just happens to be working on a theory for transporting at warp.

Also, it's a bit sexist. Why does Uhura have to be a love interest for Spock? Why is it that pretty much every time a female appears in anything nowadays it means she has to be a love interest? Why can't she just be there without having to have someone fall in love with her/fall in love with someone?

I consider this movie fanfiction, not canon because I don't accept the destruction of Romulus in the prime universe. The planet is far too important to Star Trek lore to just callously destroy for the sake of contrived drama in one summer blockbuster action movie. And in the new universe, you destroyed Vulcan. Again, it's far too important to Star Trek lore to destroy.
Jay - Thu, Feb 14, 2013 - 12:10pm (USA Central)
Rarely ha s a film been prouder of itself for less reason. Not a likable character to be found, except for Chekhov and possibly Pike.

Listening to Abrams and company prattle through the film on the DVD is a flesh-crawlingly self-aggrandizing experience.
Simon Tarses - Wed, Apr 3, 2013 - 3:56pm (USA Central)
@Jay; Only for YOU and the other whiners trapped in the past is this true; for the rest of us Trekfans and the millions of other moviegoers on the planet Earth, it isn't so. Please deal with the fact that you and the rest of the whiners are a minority about this, and NOT the majority, and that your numbers are shrinking each year due to old age, death, or other causes. Stop acting like babies and deal, ALL of you here on this board (Jammer too.)
Goladus - Wed, May 1, 2013 - 8:23am (USA Central)
(Geography question: Does Iowa actually have canyons of such severity?)

I just re-watched this last night and it looks like an artificial canyon. The canyon walls are almost completely vertical and there are evenly-spaced grooves horizontally down the wall that would not appear in a natural landform.
Plain Simple - Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
Goladus, it would've been an interesting callback if that canyon had been the remnant of the Xindi attack on earth in Enterprise, but I think that wasn't anywhere near Iowa.
Moonie - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 3:50am (USA Central)
I had long resisted watching this movie because I didn't think I would enjoy it. I thought it would ruin my memories of TOS. I wasn't really a "Trekkie", just a fan of TOS from back when it was run on German TV and I was a kid. I didn't WANT a new Kirk, or a new Spock!

Well I finally caved, and watched it, and liked it. I think it did what it was supposed to do, and I was very relieved the actors were good and somehow convincing and that they found a somehow believable way to re-boot the story. I had wondered how that would be done, and didn't expect much. My worst fear was that there would be a reboot without any explanation. So, my expectations were low, and the movie worked much better than I had expected.

Since I watched the movie, I've begun re-watching TOS and also watch TNG and ENT at the same time so the movie has "made" new Trekkies.

Of course now that I've watched more ST I'm beginning to see more things that are "wrong" with ST09 and yes, like someone above said, destroying both Vulcan AND Romulus just seems wrong.
K'Elvis - Wed, Jan 8, 2014 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
The movie was entertaining, but only as an alternate timeline. If Star Trek still has a future, it's going to be in the original timeline, not with these movies. I go to the bookstore, and I see a whole lot of Star Trek books which take place in the original timeline. The movies are an entertaining dead end. Sooner or later, it's will come back to TV. Star Trek always did better in TV than in movies, I would be quite content to let this alternate timeline continue on in movies, with the original timeline continuing on TV.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 9:46am (USA Central)
If anyone can name a bigger mass murderer in cinema history thatn Nero please let me know.
6 billion odd dead.
Can any other screen baddy beat that?
Patrick D - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 11:24am (USA Central)
@Latex Zebra

Grand Moff Tarkin from the 1977 Star Wars. He used the Death Star to blow up Alderaan (which I'm guessing had billions).

And that's just one of the many, many parallels between Star Trek 09 and Star Wars 77. Type in "Star Trek rips off Star Wars" in the search engine on YouTube.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 11:59am (USA Central)
Alderaan had a population of 1.9 billion.

I've looked into this. In fact there is a discussion on Facebook as we speak trying to better it.
K'Elvis - Fri, Feb 14, 2014 - 2:45pm (USA Central)
Presumably, the builder of the Doomsday Machine...
Eli - Wed, Mar 5, 2014 - 6:13pm (USA Central)
I agree with those who say the new Star Trek had more style than substance.

I also don't believe the film is true to the positive messages espoused in Star Trek. I see Star Trek as a beacon of hope and optimism in a better future. Even in darker Star Trek episodes, the fight to preserve a positive future is integral to the struggle that the characters face.

Instead, this film seems to accept the genocide of 6 billion Vulcans as something less than unbelievably depressing. I really feel that allowing that story to stick in the new Star Trek universe is irresponsible storytelling. I know that Vulcans are a fictional race, but writers should hold themselves accountable for the treatment of a race of people that exist in their fictional universe.

As it stands the movie is either ugly and extremely difficult to accept, or irresponsible in allowing a message with destructive implications for a whole race of people to be swept under the rug.
Eli - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 4:43am (USA Central)
When I said allowing that story to "stick" in the new Star Trek universe is irresponsible storytelling, in the third paragraph, I meant allowing that outcome (the destruction of Vulcan) to remain part of the Star Trek universe is irresponsible storytelling.
Eli - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 4:59am (USA Central)
Also, I really believe that the use of black holes in this movie is not only scientifically nonsensical, but also that it is nonsensical on the most basic logical level. We can suspend disbelief if there is sufficient cause, but even so a concept should be consistent with some fundamental logic. Why did Spock originally think to create a black hole as a solution to the supernova? Would a black hole even be beneficial to the planet? How in the world could anyone ever have the technology to create a black hole, and even assuming this was possible, why wouldn't they also have the technology to protect themselves from the effects of the supernova? These are all basic logic questions, to me. Obviously, one could make many more objections to the film's presentation of black holes based on the science of black holes.

Anyway, all my comments are, of course, just one man's opinion, for what it's worth.
NCC-1701-Z - Fri, Apr 11, 2014 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
When I saw this in theaters, half the room erupted in laughter when Olson went the way of every red shirt before him.
Nathan C - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - 4:23pm (USA Central)
I am a Trekker and have seen all forms of Trek @ least twice. Overall, Voyager was the worst. This movie as good as it was when I first saw it seemed to be a good reboot. I have to agree with Jammer, alip, and the criticism of this movie. Original Trek, TNG, Ds9, and most of the movies grt better over time. Repeated viewings bring out more SF, and healthy discussion.
As entertaining as the cast was in the reboot, it's all eye candy, flashy, and shiny. The reboots focus too much on action and sfx, the story suffers and winds up sitting on your shelf collecting dust for months at a time. After a while you can't remember why you put it back on your shelf and watch it's again. This is one of those movies. The movie reminds me of every Transformers movie. So busy from beginning to end that it's comes off like a roller coaster ride.
That is what Jj does well leaving viewers feeling like they were at an amusement park not at a movie. Case in point: there are over 200 lens flares used in Star Trek. Distracted by so many shots, sfx, and speed, there isn't much left to tell. My biggest gripe is the engineering scenes. Why does it' look like a boiler room or brewery?
Michael - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 11:09am (USA Central)
The movie made for good sci-fi, but it didn't make for good Trek. They supposedly had Trek fans in the production crew, and yet that didn't seem to stop them from screwing with things that couldn't possibly have been screwed with in the plot.

A few examples:

1. Kirk's eyes are blue. Shatner's Kirk had brown eyes. Or hazel. I think they were closer to hazel. ANyway. This film established that he was being born at the time of the attack on the Kelvin (next points for more gripes on that) so he was already fully biologically developed and therefore couldn't have been affected by any stress on his mother from the battle. Minor point.

2. The Nerada is a BORG ENHANCED Romulan mining ship with BORG ENHANCED weaponry fro mthe 24th century. How does that weaponry not just rip right through the Kelvin like tissue paper on the first salvo. 22nd century shields would have been no match as it was for regular Romulan cluster torps, but these have been enhanced with Borg tech that the Federation of the 22nd century would have had absolutely zilch knowledge about.

3. Kirk's mother on the Kelvin. Galaxy-class starships were the first in Starfleet history to have families of officers on board. Unless, of course, you were married to a shipmate, as happened in TOS's Balance of Terror for all of like mere hours. Poor couple. So what was a non-starfleet officer, let alone one who was on almost due and not on approved leave, on a ship on patrol?

4. Black holes as a result of the red matter are apparently time travel plot devices at the start of the movie, but the Enterprise is certainly hauling ass to get away from it at the end, AND it destroys the Nerada then.

5. When Nero went after Vulcan, Starfleet got reports of a "lightning storm in space" matching the reports of what happened with the Kelvin. So ... did the Nerada just use a black hole to get to Vulcan from Rura Penthe, or wherever they were hiding the ship while they were diddling away their time at the Klingon prison (deleted scene)? If so, that's two black holes as travel/time travel devices and one not. Seems to be a roll of the dice plot device to me.

6. Flat headed Romulans. Seriously? There are none of those left in the 24th century. OK the tats look cool, but you can't just rearrange their appearance.

7. The Enterprise. No. It looks like a half-squeezed tube of toothpaste with a massive dinner plate attached to the front end and a couple of really fat ugly nacelles connected at the front end to pylons attached to the very back of the drive section. Gabe Koener, who did a lot of work on the BSG revamp, did an EXCELLENT model of a revamped Enterprise that was submitted for consideration. It kept the classic look while making it more techie, more futuristic. And it looks fantastic. And rumour states that his designs were REJECTED on the grounds of his work with BSG. Considering the alternative we were given instead, that's something of a huge loss for fans. The new ship has been rescaled, so that instead of the 200+ meters it should have been, it's now bigger in length than the Enterprise-D ... meaning that Failbrams Galaxy class implications are around the 1.5km length. And its design was more influenced by the Constitution refit than the classic in terms of hull texture and saucer design.

8. Renaming an existing planet in the Vulcan home system Delta Vega, when there is already a Delta Vega near the galaxy's edge (TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before), and then having it WAY too close to Vulcan just so old Spock can see the planet implode. If Delta Vega MK II was that close to Vulcan, it would have been a moon, and Vulcan has no moons.

9. Transwarp beaming. And this crap carried over into the even more attrocious sequel attempt. Transwarp is not a factor of distance. It's a factor of speed. It's exceeding Warp 10. It's not "Here's point A, point B is waaaaaaaaaay over there, but we can still get to it". It's "Here's point A, and this is how fast we're going to get to point B." Since it was transporter tech, not warp drive, even if they wanted to call it transwarp beaming they could only do so by making it a lightning-fast transporter device. It would still have to conform to the technology's standard limits of distance.


Those are just some of the more annoying points. And I'll be polite and not even bother getting started on Wrath of--- I mean, Into Darkness. Because I could go on for weeks about the fail.

I would like to point out that Scotty's comment about Archer's beagle was sound. Archer lived JUST long enough to witness the launch of the original Enterprise under Captain Robert April in 2245, but then died the next day. Doubtful that the beagle in question was Porthos, though, since dogs don't live that long. It might have been (incoming attempt at humour) D'Artagnan.

That all being said; I understand that some people loved the movie, and some people didn't. I understand that some of them are Trekkies (I don't understand HOW), and I myself liked it when I completely ignored all the attempted Star Trek references ... which was hard, but in my head doable. I just didn't like it as Trek, successful or not.
Paul - Mon, Apr 21, 2014 - 12:24pm (USA Central)
@Michael: Some of your complaints (Kirk's blue eyes, the different look of the Romulans) just have to be shrugged off as part of the reboot. By your logic, Old Spock should have had no idea who Kirk and Scotty were when he met them.

Some of your complaints are pretty valid, though. The Enterprise redesign was pretty lame and there's a big plot hole about where Nero and his ship were for 30 years. You're also right that having Winona on board the Kelvin made absolutely no sense.

It's also a shame that they didn't call "transwarp beaming" "subspace beaming" -- which WAS seen in TNG (though it wasn't very successful). Also, the launch of the Enterprise in the reboot isn't in 2245. Kirk would have only been about 12 at that point -- so the events of this movie take place in the mid- to late-2250s. I think they say it in the movie, but I can't remember it now.

The real problem with the reboots isn't that they rewrite Trek, it's that they don't make much sense on their face. Warp speed becomes more like Star Wars hyperspace. The Klingons don't seem to care when the Enterprise invades their space. Khan's blood is the key to immortality, etc.

I was willing to give him the first movie, but the second was just ridiculous. He's made Star Trek movies with Transformer logic/writing. Boo.
Kahryl - Wed, May 21, 2014 - 11:51am (USA Central)
This movie gets two stars from me because it isn't Star Trek. It's Star Wars with a Star Trek reskin. What is the point of making a movie that ignores the unique strengths of the franchise it's set in?
Elliott - Wed, Jul 9, 2014 - 9:37pm (USA Central)
If this movie were the FIRST thing to call itself Star Trek--all the audience winking and plagiarism gone--it would be a totally forgettable space action movie with superficial ideas, ridiculous characters and horrendously mindless action (not to mention irritating special effects, generic music and some sub-par performances). I can't hate a movie like this; it's too anæmic and boring for me to care.

The fact that this is supposed to be my generation's Star Trek serves to sublimate that numbness into outrage. Way to take something special and beautiful and repackage it as cinematic fast food. I can't wait for this reboot series to be over. At least with Star Wars III, there was a tiny bit of continuity mystery left to give us a reason to sit through that dreck.
Yanks - Thu, Jul 10, 2014 - 8:16am (USA Central)
@ Elliot.

You're expecting too much from a Star Trek movie. Hell, the only movie that was really "Star Trek" was TMP. All the others are action packed movies.

Star Trek belongs on TV. Let's hope it finds a home there again.

You can like what you want, but I find it hard to knock the score and the casting no matter what your opinion of the movie as a whole.
Elliott - Thu, Jul 10, 2014 - 12:22pm (USA Central)
@Yanks :

TMP is my favourite of the franchise.

But, movies IV - IX are all Trekkish movies. Some are bad (V, VII, IX) some are great (IV, VIII). TWOK is, admittedly, not a very Trek movie, but, it is a GOOD movie. If (2009) had been any good, with compelling characters, memorable scores, etc., I would probably still complain about the product placement and ludicrous "sexiness" of it, but I could give it a pass.

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