Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
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Some Thoughts on the Star Trek 2009 Reboot

Sunday, June 09, 2013

this entry brought to you by nine inch nails, "came back haunted"

It's been a while since I've seen the movie so I won't consider this a full review, but I realized I never shared my thoughts on the Star Trek reboot from a few years ago, and now that it's gotten a sequel, I thought it worth mentioning. When the movie came out, I enjoyed it. I would definitely give it a thumbs up. But as 2009 winded down, I heard a lot of people saying it was their favorite movie of the year, even people who I wouldn't consider sci-fi geeks, and this seemed strange to me. I liked it a lot, but I did not love it.

Firstly, I loved how they explained the movie within regular Star Trek continuity. They were making a reboot, and as a viewer, I didn't really need any other justification for the reboot other than "Star Trek is cool. Wouldn't it be cool if we modernized it?" But J.J. Abrams and crew decided, you know what? That wouldn't be good to the fans-- let's try to explain why we're rebooting. And it works perfectly! It was a wonderful and thrilling treat, and as a fan of the series, it made me feel comfortable. It made me feel like all those things we loved about the series aren't invalidated-- Spock is still Spock, Kirk is still Kirk, all those things that we know about Star Trek are all still true, but there is also this, and they can live concurrently. Brilliant.

I also liked the spin on the idea that planet Vulcan blows up and that there are now few Vulcans in the galaxy. I thought that was an interesting way to start the series.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Thought it was a good ride.


For one thing, it seems like J.J. Abrams' idea of taking a movie series that has always been primarily about people standing around talking then occasionally lunging back and forth like the ship was under attack, and sometimes walking around a planet and being shocked at what bizarre sci-fi metaphors were taking place, to make it more like an action movie, everybody should run, and while running, shouting exposition. For a movie set hundreds of years in the future, it almost seemed like a documentary on jogging.

I do not know why they the best way to translate James Kirk was to make him a complete and utterly unlikable asshole. Listen, I'm more of a Next Generation fan, but I've fucking watched Star Trek. Kirk was brash and manly, like other heroes from the 1960s (incidentally, I just watched the original Planet of the Apes yesterday, and Charlton Heston's character is almost the exact same dude). But he also liked to wax philosophical occasionally, and it wasn't impossible to understand why the people around him respected him and considered him a friend. Kirk in the reboot seemed like a fucking twat, and as the movie kept going on I kept expecting some sort of moment of redemption where he's humbled and realizes, my young head-strong ways have got to calm down a little. This moment never came. He wasn't just an asshole-- he was a cartoonish asshole, and after a while I felt I get the joke you're making. Can we have something resembling a human being now?

Listen, I'm not the kind of nit-picky person who points out every single plot hole in every single movie. Let me give you an example: In The Dark Knight Rises, after having his back broken, his money stolen, waking up in a prison in God-knows-where, taking months to heal, and finally getting out with no map and no way to contact the outside world, he manages to end up in Gotham in what appears to be days (or less). This seems like a stupid thing to complain about. He's Bruce Wayne. If anybody in the world could manage to do exactly this, its Bruce Frigging Wayne.

With Star Trek, however, there was a weird plot convenience that I had a hard time getting over. Kirk is banished to this desolate ice planet, where fucking nothing can survive, to be there forever. Except the one dude he meets there after running for a few minutes is an extra-dimensional version of his first officer! And immediately thereafter, he meets the one guy in the entire galaxy who knows how to warp them out of there. What the fuck? Why even bother setting up so much how hopeless this is, if he'd going to immediately get out of the situation? In my opinion, this isn't just a moment where you turn off your brain and enjoy the movie, this felt like one of the bigger plot conveniences I've seen in years, and was genuinely, spectacularly stupid. I'm sure there were other plot holes that I had no problem getting over. This one just felt like the movie was fucking with me.

Listen, I'm fine with things being tweaked. Spock didn't just seem unemotional, he seemed genuinely hostile, but I liked it. I thought Zachary Quinto was perfect. But between all the characters being portrayed as one-note, with Kirk's one note being "More Unlikable Than Zapp Brannigan", and one of the bigger logic holes in years, I enjoyed Star Trek. But best movie of 2009? Not at all.

with love from CRS @ 3:30 PM 


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