Before I get into my thoughts about the Star Trek reboot, let me be clear. Any and all spoilers will be marked as such, and will be at the end of the blog entry. So if you just want to know what I thought, you can read the blog entry up until the warning block and turn away. As for comments, I say anything goes.
So, folks know I'm somewhat of a Star Wars nut (the whole cfjedimaster, the tats, etc), but I am a fan of Stat Trek as well. I've watched pretty much all the episodes that ever aired (except for Voyager, back when it was on air it was a busy time in my life, but I have every intention of watching them one day) and have seen all the movies. The quality is not always there. I think any Star Trek fan can attest to that. Shoot, I know there are Star Trek films I can't even describe because they are so forgettable.
But as a whole, the mythos, the story at large, is darn good. I love the rich history. (I know a lot of people didn't like Enterprise, but I'll always have a great appreciation for the depth it gave to the early Human/Vulcan relationship.) I love the ship designs. (I especially like how they warp theory impacts the shape of the ships and can be seen in the all the different cultures designs.) But most of all - I love the feel of Star Trek. Much has been said about the general optimism of the Star Trek universe, and I definitely agree with that. There is something personable, warm, and just generally emotional about Star Trek that I don't get from Star Wars. This is what I wanted from the reboot. I knew the special effects would rock. I knew there would be twists and nods to the past (and there was one in particular that is a great nod to Kahn fans). What I really was worried about was how well the show would capture the feeling of Trek.
In general, the movie succeeds. The characters are dead on. I especially liked Kirk. He is an ass. An overconfident jerk. But you know what - this is precisely how I imagined him as a younger person. The actor (Chrine Pine) nails the role, much like Ewan McGregor nailed Obi-Wan. Ditto for Sylar... err.. sorry, I mean Zachary Quinto, as Spock. We get to see a bit of his upbringing on Vulcan and I thought it was great. Bones was good. Everyone else.. well. They were ok. I don't think they brought much to the characters outside of basic imitation. Chekov was basically a Russian accent joke. Again, they weren't bad, just... nothing new. Although my son (who is South Korean) got real happy when Sulu had a scene kicking ass.
The story itself was pretty good. Very fast packed, full of action. But (mild spoiler) it does involve time travel, and frankly, I feel like Trek falters whenever they introduce characters hopping through time. However, this does give us a logical way to pretend none of the earlier movies ever happened, and frankly, that may be a good thing. It is a bit of a stretch to see so many young people at the helm of a ship. I have a hard time believing that no one over 30 works in Star Fleet. But I'm an old fart so I don't really count.
I liked this movie. It was fun. It had some great nods to the old series (maybe a bit too much), and I'm looking forward to the next film. It's a good beginning, but I hope they can kick it up a bit more in the next edition.
My biggest disappointment though is truly a small thing, but it kind saddened me. The title screen. I know, the title screen/opening credits aren't really that important, but, the fact that the Star Trek theme wasn't used was just kind of... I don't know. Sad. It felt like an essential thing was missing. Maybe this will sound sappy, but I always watched the intros to Star Trek, even when I had them on tape. I always found them uplifting. In the movie, the title screen is about 30 seconds and just plain bland. Again, this is a very minor thing - 30 seconds of a 2 hour movie. But I did feel a bit cheated.
Ok, consider yourself warned. Spoilers are after this.
1) Am I wrong, or was this the very first time we see a black hole in a Star Trek show? Black holes and bathrooms - they just never show up. But this movie had a bunch of em. Anyone know why black holes were never used?
2) The bad guys. Ugh. I felt like they were a bunch of bikers. These weren't Romulans. These were... white trash. I don't know. Star Wars pretty much sucked on handling the bad guys as well. The Romulan race are proud, haughty, just rich for material and they were handled so poorly here.
3) Not even one Klingon? Oh, and Uhuru hears about 47 Klingon ships being destroyed, and that doesn't scare the crap out of the Federation? I mean, think back to the Cold War. If we heard that half the Russian fleet sunk by some mysterious attacked, wouldn't we be a bit concerned?
4) The bad guys show up at Vulcan, and no one else is there? I get that the Federation fleet was busy. But... um... you send every ship away? You don't keep a few ships around your planet for - well just in case?
5) The scene with Kirk as a young kid - stealing the car. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. That sold me on the Kirk character in this movie.
6) One thing I never quite got. Maybe this is talked about in one of the numerous books/comics/or whatever. So in the early 21st century there was a nuclear war. Yet someone how we rebuilt. Look at San Francisco in the movie. It looked beautiful. Was it not nuked? Did we maybe discover some way to clear up radiation that - as far as I know, lasts for thousands and thousands of year? Where are all the scars from the horrible war that almost ended humanity? That could have been a good movie. Start off with the Eugenics Wars (I believe it was called that), reboot Kahn, and skip ahead to the modern time of the Federation.
7) Kobemashu Maru (yes, I spelled it wrong) was done very well. I loved how it setup the antagonism between Kirk and Spock.
8) Old Spock. Well... I don't know. As I said, time travel stories tend to not work well for me in the Star Trek universe. I felt like his acting was a bit rushed. And... seriously - he didn't arrive in time to help Romulus? What - no one knew the star was going to supernova? There weren't any astronomers on Romulus? I mean maybe that was implied. Maybe most of the people got off the planet. But it felt like Nero was saying most of the race was killed off. If so, they were a bunch of idiots.