Months ago, when I read quotes from J.J. Abrams, the director of the new "Star Trek" film, wherein he professed to not being a fan of the original show or, really, the whole "Star Trek" franchise, I took it with a grain of salt. It sounded like a little bit of clever misdirection, a kind of "Don't worry -- I'm not a hidebound, anal retentive "Star Trek" geek who is afraid to do anything new" message. I guess you could say I didn't really believe him.
Well, after sitting through two mostly painful hours of his version of "Star Trek" at the local Cinemark, I have to admit that I believe him now. It's difficult to think that Paramount would entrust their most valuable property to someone who clearly does not "get it". This movie is not "Star Trek". It's some kind of busy, noisy space adventure with some characters with the same names, and with vaguely similar personalities, as the ones in "Star Trek", flying through space in a ship that kind of looks like it belongs in "Star Trek", and even bears the name "U.S.S. Enterprise".
But it's not "Star Trek".
From Spock making out with Uhura (really... and more than once!) to scenes supposedly set on a 23rd century starship but looking all too much like the redressed 20th century factory where they were really filmed (complete with bulky steel pipes and clunky valve wheels), this is a movie calculated to annoy and depress anyone who had hoped for a respectful "reboot" of a beloved and well-established franchise.
With forty years of "Star Trek" history to draw on, it's astonishing to me that this is the best that we could get. And it's almost a year late! (What, exactly, were they working on all that time?) There's a wonderful movie waiting to be made which tells the story of how the U.S.S. Enterprise crew first came together. It's a movie I'd been waiting to see. I guess I'll have to wait some more.
The only saving grace in all this is that Abrams' "retconning" of "Star Trek" history is just another movie, and -- if the powers that be will it -- can be effectively erased from continuity and be looked at as what it essentially is... an alternate universe "Star Trek" exercise.
I will say that it was not entirely without merit -- some of the key cast did excellent work with their interpretations of the established "Star Trek" characters, and some of the visuals were very impressive.
But it is still (at least to me) a HUGE disappointment. I think the most depressing thing is that if this movie makes a lot of money (which it seems poised to do), this could be the future of "Star Trek": lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing. -- PL