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Author Topic: Star Trek (2009)  (Read 7615 times)
dave jenkins
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« on: May 08, 2009, 10:02:30 AM »

From a fanboy at TheDigitalBits:

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Now then... I suspect some of you have been waiting for this part. Let me tell you a little something about J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek. (Worry not - I'm not going to spoil anything.) I did, in fact, see the film last night. This is something you're going to be hearing a lot of people saying in the coming days: Star Trek is a BLAST! If you saw the third and final trailer - the one that got even diehard fans excited - know that the film delivers on every bit of that trailer's promise. What's clever about this Star Trek, is that it's both a reboot AND it manages to respect all the Trek continuity that's come before (yes everything, including Enterprise). I'm not going to tell you how - just know that it's very smartly done.

The actors are all spot on as their characters - Pine, Quinto and Urban make you BELIEVE they're the younger Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The other cast members are all good too, especially Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike and Eric Bana as the film's villain, Nero. The production design is spectacular and the special effects are absolutely top-notch. Even Michael Giacchino's score delivers in spades. This is definitely Trek on a scale we've never seen before. There are a couple things you longtime Trek fans will just have to go with... like the fact that it seems to take only ten minutes to warp from Earth to Vulcan, and the Enterprise's engine room looks like a boiler room. But there's so much that's good here - so much that's fun - that you can easily forgive those things. The film is exciting, action packed, occasionally funny, occasionally poignant. The TV spots have been promoting the fact that this is "Not Your Father's Star Trek." That's both true and not. This film definitely FEELS like Star Trek - no doubt about it. It's even very slightly campy, in keeping with the tone of the original series. But as a fan of Trek since the early 1970s, I'll tell you... this film managed to do something that Trek hasn't done in a long time: truly surprise me. Without giving anything away, something happens in this film, about a third of the way in, that would NEVER have happened in old Trek. Not EVER. When it happened, I kept thinking... they didn't just really DO that, did they? And the answer is... yes, they did. After which point, you begin to fully understand what the TV spots mean. This Trek is a whole different ball game. What's even cooler about this is that, because this is a reboot of sorts, many of the events that longtime fans know happen in the Trek universe can still happen AGAIN... but in a whole different way. So somewhere out there, there's a Doomsday Machine destroying planets. Somewhere out in deep space, Khan and his army of genetic supermen lie sleeping in the S.S. Botany Bay, waiting to be discovered again. And THAT possibility has me very excited for what might come next.

Star Trek is just a completely fun movie. Even for you doubters (which, I'll admit, until recently I was one) - I think this film will mostly win you over. It's wall to wall action, right from the opening moments. Best of all, you don't have to be a Trekker to watch this film. ANYONE off the street can go in and thoroughly enjoy themselves. Trek fans will just appreciate it that much more. As you've no doubt seen, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and deservedly so. Star Trek is just a rip-roaring good time at the movies - a classic summer blockbuster that transcends its genre while also managing to honor the franchise. It opens in theatres on Friday, and I'm already planning to see it again this weekend. I can't wait for the Blu-ray. Impossibly, against all odds, Star Trek LIVES!

All very well and good. But does the movie explain how Sylar was able to pass through time and take possession of the young Spock's body? That's a plot point that needs to be addressed from the get-go. I'd be really annoyed if I went to a screening only to find out they're saving that for an origin sequel.

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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 10:30:06 AM »

I can safely say I have zero interest in seeing this. I never liked any of the TV series much, and rebooting the hackneyed characters and Star Trek universe as a big-budget made-for-teens blockbuster seems to be just begging for trouble.

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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 11:01:15 PM »

It was definitely a fun movie to go to.

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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2009, 10:03:19 PM »

I can't even call myself a casual fan of Star Trek. I've seen, maybe , a handful of episodes and only seen Wrath Of Khan. So, according to J.J. "Star Trek Purist STAY HOME" Abrams, this movie was made just for me.

But I just don't understand his arrogant comment about the "liberties" that he has taken with the continuity of the franchise because the changes are well explained in the movie (something about time travel, a wormhole , a paradox and Leonard Nimoy in a shit load of make up. It's well explained just watch the movie). In fact, they are so well explained that I can't see a Trekkie getting angry over the changes. The only thing I'd be slightly peeved about, if I was a Trekkie, is the creators of this movie have basically announced that EVERYTHING that took place in the Star Trek Universe before this film (the Multiple shows, books, flicks, etc.) is now irrelevant. Or, at least irrelevant in the timeline (Timeplain, Alternate universe, whatever!) THIS MOVIE takes place in.


I'm surprised to say I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not a masterpiece. Just damn solid.
It was pretty much everything I hoped the Star Wars prequels could've been.


8/10

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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2009, 10:24:29 PM »


It was pretty much everything I hoped the Star Wars prequels could've been.


8/10

Agreed. Then again, I agree with everything else you just said, also. Except I fucking hate Star Trek and loved this movie. It was really just a solid, action/space-opera flick.

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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2009, 10:34:16 PM »

Except I fucking hate Star Trek

Although there was a time I hated Star Trek, only because I had only been exposed to that New Generations dreck, I started "getting it" about a year ago when a friend of mine sent me episodes via youtube.
I wasn't highly impressed with any of the original episodes but I admitted to myself that it was decent television (certainly miles ahead of what J.J. Abrams, and the rest of his ilk, can muster up for the tube today!) and warranted further investigation.

P.S. as good as this movie is... I still think Wrath Of Khan is better.

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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 04:48:59 AM »

I can't see a Trekkie getting angry over the changes.
THE DESTRUCTION OF VULCAN? (Oops, major spoiler. SORRY!)

I'm neither a Trekkie nor Trekker, but one of the many, many annoying things about the film is its relentless attempt to destroy Vulcan. This takes literal form, of course, but it is also accomplished on a number of levels: the very un-Vulcan-like performance of Spock by Sylar, and the essential repudiation of Vulcanism by Nimoy himself at the end. Then there are more subtle things, like the revelation of prejudice in Vulcan culture (the taunting of young Spock by his peers, the thoughtless comment by the Vulcan Science Academy guy, etc.) Huh, those Vulcans were lying hypocrites! I'm sure if delved deeper we would discover that they once owned slaves, too!

With Vulcan gone--and more importantly, the Vulcan way of thinking--the franchise loses one of its most fundamental distinctives. It is now free to become a generic space opera that will appeal to lowest common denominators everywhere. They've destroyed the franchise in order to save it.

From a great height, I salute JJ Abrams with my middle finger.

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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2009, 05:27:41 AM »

A judicious review (from Big Hollywood) that includes SPOILERS:
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J.J. Abrams reboot of the much beloved “Star Trek” franchise is reminiscent of the films that came before, but not the best of them. Like the other odd-numbered disappointments, this entry, number 11, works best when concentrating on character, but falls flat due to a dull villain with nothing to do other than act as a macguffin. After a splendid first hour expertly sets up and re-introduces the characters, the second half turns as derivative as a video game with superb special effects supporting poorly choreographed and frantically edited action sequences that carry no suspense because the outcome is obvious and the personal human drama missing.

“Trek” opens with what turns out to be its best scene and one of the best in the franchise; the circumstances around the birth of James Tiberius Kirk. Our hero is well-served here with an imaginative and exciting mythology that shows the filmmakers understand the unique importance of the character. This sequence is also effective in setting up our villain, the Romulan Nero (an almost unrecognizable Eric Bana), who’s leaping about in time hell-bent on the worst kind of revenge against the Federation for something yet to happen.

The narrative then efficiently moves to Iowa and one of the worst scenes, an unimaginative sequence that has wild child Kirk looking for thrills in a stolen Corvette. Set to a blistering heavy metal score that screams “demographic bait,” young Kirk, who can barely see over the steering wheel, expertly outruns police and drives off a cliff leaving you to wonder why the writers resorted to a show-don’t-tell used so many times before to inform us we have a reckless, adrenaline junkie on our hands.

The contrast between young Kirk and Spock couldn’t be stronger.  Whereas Kirk grows into an aimless young man with little interest beyond beer and girls, on the planet Vulcan, Spock is a serious, studious and ambitious individual who knows what he wants and where he intends to go. Or does he?

Though they’ve yet to meet, Kirk and Spock do share an unresolved conflict, a pull towards a destiny neither is quite sure they want. Spock’s half human and never allowed to forget it. The prejudice he faces builds both resentment and the bitter knowledge that he’ll never really belong on Vulcan. Starfleet not only offers him a place, but in a fine character moment, the satisfaction of thumbing his nose at those who have marginalized him.

The uniformity of an organization like Starfleet, however, doesn’t fit well with Kirk’s rebellious streak and reactionary distrust of authority, but the legacy of his father hangs over the young man, as does the unspoken acknowledgement of his own potential for greatness. A chance run-in with Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) turns into a “Top Gun-ish” motorcycle moment and so we’re off and running.

Here the narrative hits a strong stride, smartly and quickly bringing our crew together, offering fans fast but welcome character touchstones and establishing the familiar relationship dynamics. But the heavy plot demands of putting Kirk in the captain’s chair for his first saving of the universe slowly overwhelm what was working so well and it isn’t long before an engrossing story breeds indifference as the narrative goes through unspectacular motions.

Abrams not only reboots the franchise but almost completely frees himself from what came before in the opening scene when Nero emerges from the future and in both big and small ways alters everyone’s destiny. Using the classic “Trek” questions of time travel and destiny to throw off a burdensome mythology built up over 70-plus television episodes, 7 feature films and a library of books, is clever and very well executed. Not only do you buy it, but because who the characters are and how they interact doesn’t change, the rest feels unimportant. One major misstep, though, is a very odd and out of place love affair between two crewmembers. There’s no universe alternate enough to make these moments work. This relationship is wildly out of character, especially the lack of discretion.

As Kirk, Chris Pine has big shoes to fill and only rises to the level of promising in his debut. He’s got the swagger but lacks the simmering passion that so defined Shatner’s immortal creation.  Zoe Saldana’s Uhura brings the smarts, but why replace the voluptuous Nichelle Nichols with just another skinny supermodel? But if that’s the worst physical replacement, in the personality department Simon Pegg’s Scotty misses by a country mile reducing the competent and dutiful Starship Engineer into a mouthy, exasperated Disney cartoon sidekick.

Johnny Cho as Sulu and Anton Yelchin as Chekov both have their moments to shine but Zachary Quinto’s Spock and Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy are as perfect a fit as any fan could hope for. 

Ultimately, what brings the film down is the emotional disconnect between Nero and our protagonists. There’s no personal engagement between them. Nero’s driven by hatred for Spock but he might as well be angry at a houseplant. When “this time it’s personal” is a one-way street the impression given is that like an angry spouse smashing increasingly valuable things, a rise out of Spock would be enough to satisfy Nero and make him go away.

Sure, the stakes are high enough with billions of lives in the balance, but they always are. With little doubt our heroes will survive, something bigger has to be added to the action stew above and beyond get-to-the-thing-before-the-thing-explodes, but there isn’t. Pike’s unfortunate circumstance in all this could have been exploited to great effect, but we never come to care about his character much and are allowed to forget his predicament.

For the most the part, the action scenes are a mess of jittery camera work, quick cuts, and pointless close ups. Some of the space sequences are spectacular but again and again I wanted to yell at the filmmakers to get out of the stylized-way so I could see what the hell was going on. This gets progressively worse as the film rolls on until you just sit there numbed by the frenzy.

In the plus column is a refreshing lack of moralizing and politics and a new cast with some life in them. This bodes well for the already greenlit sequel, but make no mistake, there’s still that lingering “Bugsy Malone” feel of it all to overcome.

“Star Trek” qualifies as a promising start. Not a disappointment, but not exactly memorable.

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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2009, 06:01:28 PM »

THE DESTRUCTION OF VULCAN? (Oops, major spoiler. SORRY!)

The franchise has long proven that it likes to take risks (The death of Spock and Kirk, The destruction of the Enterprise, etc.).
Vulcan's destruction is no different.

I'm neither a Trekkie nor Trekker

What's the difference?


Then there are more subtle things, like the revelation of prejudice in Vulcan culture


Yeah that rubbed me the wrong way to. You'd think a "logical race" wouldn't spawn bullies and racists.

With Vulcan gone--and more importantly, the Vulcan way of thinking--the franchise loses one of its most fundamental distinctives.


How so? Vulcans are still in existance. The movie even tells us there are at least 10,000 left.


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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2009, 08:09:33 PM »

The entire movie works to undermine the Vulcan philosophy. The physical destruction of the planet is only the outward sign of the film's thoroughgoing hostility to the planet and its culture. I already cited examples of this tendency above. To amplify: when Spock and Uhura are making out in public (oops, ANOTHER SPOILER--why do you keep making me do that?) it goes entirely contrary to what we know about Vulcan mating habits. Not only do Vulcans never show affection in public, we learned in "Amok Time" that they can only mate to schedule, and, like salmon, must return to their place of origin to do it. Of course, Spock's actions can always be alibied on the grounds he's half human--except that eventually, if the trend we see continues, all that remains of his Vulcan heritage will be emptied out and he'll just be another uptight white guy who needs to loosen up ("C'mon, Spock honey, shake yer butt!"). In fact, in TOS, it was Spock's sense of inadequacy as a Vulcan that goaded him into being the Best Vulcan Possible, which was great for the character and the stories. Now Spock is going to be encouraged to be as blandly human as possible.

Meanwhile all the 100% Vulcans are screwed: they no longer have a home planet to return to to mate on. The race will expire. Obviously the filmmakers don't care: the point was to launch Swingin' Spock and separate him from his repressive upbringing. Now his Vulcan heritage is just a quaint character trait, like Scotty's background. (There's a difference, though, now that we've seen that the Vulcans were racists).

But in the original series, Vulcanism (if I can call it that) had a very useful function. By making Spock, in effect, the spokesman for Logic, and McCoy, by default, the champion of Emotionalism, it was possible, episode to episode, to present the Reason-Passions dichotomy dramatically. It was as if Kirk had the logic angel on one shoulder giving advice, the emotionalism devil on the other, with counter-advice. So sometimes Kirk would jump one way, sometimes the other, or maybe take turns in a single episode, but it was a way of getting the exposition of decision-making out in an entertaining way. Deliberation is no longer necessary in this new series, apparently; everything will be decided by the Captain's gut.

But that isn't the main thing. What's more important is that a major aspect of the original series is being jettisoned, an aspect that went a long way to setting the series apart from other space operas. As the series loses what once made it distinctive, there is less and less of a reason to care about it.

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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 09:42:02 PM »

As the series loses what once made it distinctive, there is less and less of a reason to care about it.

Maybe for Abrams' new series but not the originals.

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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2009, 10:55:00 PM »

Meanwhile all the 100% Vulcans are screwed: they no longer have a home planet to return to to mate on. The race will expire.

SPOILERS (Something Jenkins should start doing)

WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?! Future Spock said he found a planet in which the Vulcans could live.

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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2009, 11:06:45 PM »



WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?! Future Spock said he found a planet in which the Vulcans could live.


I don't remember that but I'll take your word for it.
Besides... how is DJ's "Vulcans can't mate now because their planet is destroyed" arguement even valid?
Can't Vulcans (like humans) screw anywhere they please?

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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2009, 11:18:08 PM »


I don't remember that but I'll take your word for it.


Well i literally just came out of the theater and that

SPOILERS

 conversation between Present Spock and Future Spock explained just about everything that needed to be.



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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2009, 06:18:37 AM »

Besides... how is DJ's "Vulcans can't mate now because their planet is destoryed" arguement even valid?
Can't Vulcans (like humans) screw anywhere they please?
Again, I refer you to canon, particularly "Amok Time." In it, Spock must return to Vulcan to mate or he will die. Kirk doesn't believe it at first and has to be convinced by Bones. Theodore Sturgeon, who wrote the episode, decided that Vulcans were like salmon. Hey, you know what, if you dam a river so that salmon can't return to their spawning ground, salmon don't just pick a new place to spawn. They keep trying to get back "home" until they die.

Of course the movie series is going to try to hand us a "new" Vulcan that the the survivors can live on, and are going to tell us that everything is all right, there's a workaround. But I say B.S. This is changing the rules in the middle of the game. I wouldn't care if they had simply decided to start over with Trek, but no, they had to pretend that there is some continuity with all that has gone on before. Well, Nero going back into time may have changed some things in the past, but he didn't go back far enough to completely alter Vulcan biology.

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