So, I did it -- I went to see the new "Star Trek" movie for a second time. I went by myself, so there would be no distractions. My hope was that a second viewing would allow me to appreciate different aspects of the movie more, and maybe I would see things that I hadn't seen in the first viewing which would make me revise my opinion of some of the movie's egregious flaws.
No such luck, sadly.
The Spock/Uhura canoodling stuff is still grotesquely out of place. The plot is still murky and muddled. The clunky factory sets redressed to look like 23rd century starship interiors are still painful to look at, and this time I realized it starts right at the beginning of the movie, with the ship -- the Kelvin? -- which Kirk's father heroically collides with Nero's ship. I swear there was a scene in which beer fermentation tanks were used as background elements. And what is up with those hanging plastic sheets in the shuttlecraft? You know, the kind you see in supermarkets today, separating loading dock areas from refrigerated zones or what have you. Could it BE any sillier?
Why, yes, it could.
I can't believe I missed this one on first viewing, but it stood out like the proverbial sore thumb when I saw the movie a second time -- the supernova which "could destroy the galaxy!!!" Did anyone working on the script for this thing have even the smallest scrap of knowledge about the nature of a supernova... or, even more to the point, how freakin' HUGE the galaxy is?! There's a lot of SPACE between them there stars, bucko.
That one is even dumber than the "transporter-can't-beam-up-fast-moving-objects" nonsense... and that's saying a LOT.
I realize it's a spiffy cool visual to have a big, spiky, gnarly-looking, miles-long chain dangling from your spaceship, at the end of which is your phaser or disruptor or blaster or whatever, but when you think about it -- what is the freakin' POINT? I mean, the chain doesn't do anything but dangle there and provide a platform for some cool fight scenes -- it's the phaser/dispruptor/blaster/whatever thing at the end of the chain that is phasering/disrupting/blasting a hole in Vulcan into which can be dropped the grape-sized blob of "red matter". Why not just fire this cutting beam from your ship? I mean, we've seen it many times it the various iterations of "Star Trek", going all the way back to the original show -- starships can fire on a planet surface from orbit.
Two words -- "folding katana". Yeah, I want to go into battle with A SWORD THAT FOLDS.
I really like Simon Pegg as an actor -- he was great in "Shaun of the Dead", and I loved his short-lived "Spaced" sitcom. But his version of Scotty is, to use the vernacular, WACK. His painfully silly/stupid line reading of a painfully silly/stupid line -- "I love this ship! So exciting!" -- was at least as gratingly annoying on second viewing as it was the first time.
And the less said about the slapstick nonsense of Scotty getting stuck in the giant water pipe (a water pipe that leads into what looks like a giant food processor, apparently!), the better.
Why does the barrel of a hand phaser have to flip around 180 degrees to change its power settings? Have they forgotten about power switches in the 23rd century? I mean, even in the original series the phasers had a conveniently placed button or dial which allowed the user to change the setting.
There was one thing that I thought worked better -- a TINY bit better -- on second viewing, and that was old Spock meeting young Spock at the end of the movie. This time, I caught the bit about old Spock lying -- or "implying" -- to Kirk about the dire consequences of such a meeting.
Of course, here's the question that this then raises... if such a meeting really WOULDN'T have had any such consequences, then why didn't old Spock go with Kirk and Scotty to begin with? Would not his presence have gone a long way to convince young Spock of what needed to be done?
One grape-sized blob of "red matter" is enough, when exploded, to create a singularity (black hole) with enough gravitational force to crush (implode?) the entire PLANET of Vulcan like an eggshell... but ALL of the beach ball-sized sphere of red matter exploding ALL AT ONCE can't even destroy two puny starships???!!!
There are some other small things that bugged me, but I'm tired of thinking about it. But I do feel it's only fair to reiterate what I said before -- while I was frequently appalled and/or saddened, I wasn't bored. It's a well-paced, exciting space-action movie. What's painful to me is that with a little bit more thought and care, it could have been a well-paced, exciting STAR TREK movie, as well.
I also want to commend the people who worked on the special effects and visuals -- they are extremely well-done. It's just too bad they were crafted in the service of such an inferior product. -- PL