Previously on The Flickcast, we had reviews from both Matt Raub and Chris Ullrich on J.J. Abrams new Star Trek film. In case you missed those reviews, both Matt and Chris loved the film and thought it was a lot of fun. Now, in the interest of fair and balanced, we’ve got another review for you that paints a slightly different picture.
This time around, The Flickcast contributor and long-time Trek fan Tom Mahoney gives us his take on the new film. If you haven’t seen the film yet, know that this review contains SPOILERS so read at your own risk. Check it out.
As a point of reference to what I am about to write, you should know that I am a 61-year old geek who grew up a huge fan of Star Trek. I was fortunate enough to watch the series on television from the very beginning, get to know the personalities of the crew, and week-by-week go through the sense of eager anticipation until it was time for the next episode to air. I have continued to follow the franchise through Star Trek: The Next Generation (loved it) and Deep Space Nine (not so much) to the disappointing dreck of Enterprise. It was with this personal history that I went to see the new Star Trek, hoping that my spark would be rekindled and my devotion rewarded. Alas, the film did not make it so.
The film’s opening was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed being pulled in to the literal birth of James Tiberius Kirk, even though I had to wonder why, in the 23rd century, his father and mother were surprised at his gender when he was born, much less that they were unprepared with any baby names for the occasion. Fortunately, though, amidst all of the death and destruction aboard the starship “Kelvin” (imagine that name being pronounced by Jerry Lewis) they had sufficient medical staff to overlook the dying and injured to have four of them tend to one pregnant crewmember’s wife.
I did however, eventually discover the “Legend” of James T. Kirk. In his early years, young Jim steals a car and nearly dies when the car careens over a cliff and into a gorge. Kirk, however, is saved when he is able to cling to the cliff’s ledge.
Later in the film, when Kirk, Sulu, and the required “doomed crewmember” are attempting to parachute onto the “drill of death” platform, Kirk once again barely escapes death by clinging to the ledge of the platform before he is rescued by Sulu. A Sulu, by the way, who qualified for the mission because of his fencing prowess at the Academy and just happened to have a collapsible sword with him.
Finally, near the end of the film, Kirk finds himself on the Romulan vessel and, you guessed it, nearly dies by falling off the edge of a suspended platform but saves himself by clinging to the ledge. Apparently, that is the true “Ledge-end” of James Kirk.
The movie contained just too damned many Star Trek clichés for one film. “Damn it, Jim, I’m a doctor not a physicist!”, “I’m doin’ the best I can, Captain!” and, of course, Spock’s inevitable “Fascinating”.
And, in no particular order, there were a few other things that troubled my sense of “Trekkiness”:
• Why, I wondered, were they still carrying notebooks at Starfleet Academy in the 23rd Century. Had the Kindle failed that miserably?
• In a scene where the Enterprise is rising from the mists around the planet Saturn, I noticed that the starship had running lights. With all of their sensors, tricorders, and probles, does the Enterprise still require the equivalent of inter-galactic back-up lights? And at warp speed, who would be able to stop in time, anyway?
• And was it just me, or did the creature working with Mr. Scott at the Starfleet Outpost look like a freakin’ over-moussed Ewok? There has to be a lawsuit for that.
• Finally, we are led to believe that Cadet James T. Kirk is so bloody brilliant that he is able to access and reprogram a highly sophisticated Starfleet training scenario, the Kobiyashi Maru, yet, in three years, for some reason is unable to access the Academy personnel files and find out what Uhura’s first name is.
I have to say that, with all of the hype I was a bit disappointed. While I liked the movie, it will not be one of my all-time favorites. I mean, I’m sorry, but you really have to put more effort into a Star Trek movie if you expect to compete with Bill Shatner and The Wrath of Kahn. I’m just sayin’….
In the end, the movie will do well, and DVD sales will clearly make Paramount a fortune thus guaranteeing future films. I guess the series will probably live long, but I’m not all together convinced it will necessarily prosper.