Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Star Drek 3: Further thoughts on the new "Star Trek" film

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

22 comments:

Jack-Tar said...

All of these points have been bothering me for a month. my dad, who loved the movie and has been a star trek fan since the begining, said it was JJs tribute to star wars. The monster things on the ice planet were straight out of episode one. and the "folding lightsaber. i mean fencing sword..


when it comes out on dvd Someone somewhere will re dub the movie with star wars music and sound effects..

The S said...

Unless it folds different than I am imagining it, a folding katana sounds like a good idea.

devilbanex said...

A folding katana makes about as much sense as the Kurgan's sword from Highlander 1... it would be fragile and would shatter/break apart quite easily.

Have you read the original idea for the Star Trek script? The idea was for Nero's ship to destroy the original USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Robert April, and for the Enterprise-A to launch commanded by Pike that Kirk would come aboard. The mandate was that "You can't blow up the Enterprise in this -- ANY Enterprise!"

Though that only sounds slightly less terrible than what we got.

devilbanex said...

Nero was to destroy the Enterprise instead of the Kelvin, I mean to say.

agliarept said...

the katana design did bother me. I will give you that Pete. I remember seeing it and thinking there was something very very wrong combat wise with a long knife that folds like that.

but looking back, i remember going to the movies and leaving my previous knowledge of star trek behind and taking the movie for what it was. I rarely have any high expectations any more for the way films are made nowadays. sadly, we will always be thrown amazing affect and shitty story lines because its the light and sounds that will ultimately draw the hordes of people to anything.

I miss the days when movies were really movies and had dialogue that made sense and had a story to tell that made you think and appreciate it. Hopefully the new TMNT film will be one of those stories. Damn i love the turtles.

discordiatookie said...

Peter Laird loves Spaced! How cool is that?!

Spaced was amazing.

Colin said...

I'm honestly not bothered by the folding katana. All that matters is Sulu kicks ass with it. Besides it's the future, all things fold in the future.

The flipping stun/kill phasers I thought were really badass.

About all that stuff with the red matter and everything, it did occur to me how kind of silly it was that those hundreds of red matter drops couldn't take out two ships, but to be honest, i didn't care. Still don't. The movie rocked so much I gave it a pass.

I couldn't disagree with you more about Simon Pegg's Scotty. I felt that he was one of the best after Urban and Pine.

The only thing I will go with you on is the Spock/Uhura thing. It was unnecessary and did really go no where.

But in all, i felt the movie was awesome. I'm sorry you didn't like it, but hey, maybe you'll like the sequel better.

spdred said...

its a future where they roll around the galaxy in fancy, warp traveling spaceships and can teleport back and forth between planets, i think its safe to say that they could probably come up with a way to make a sturdy sword that folds too

spdred said...

plus whats wrong with having a weapon that folds? nice for concealment, easy to carry...

Splinter's Iroonna said...

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

Sorry-- I feel left out.

I'm not a Trek fan-- not enough to care about this film that is. LOVED it when I was a kid but was NOT REALLY into it like others. And I place my age at somewhere around Mr. Laird's-- hell, I'm 54.

I can understand the disappointment and such-- but gad-- I can understand a LOT of disappointment, more than others can.

That aside-- the supernova that can wipe out a galaxy???? ROFL!!!! YOu are KIDDING!!!

I justs LUVS the improbable plotlines of such things!


Cynthia-- still looking forward to harassing Mirage artists during Comic-con!

~ tOkKa said...

-->> .. maybe the red matter is like superglue.

I noticed that when i use a little blob of it , it works.. but if i "OVER DO IT " .. it doens't work and makes a mess of the items i wanted to glue.

Maybe exess in red matter won't destroy a ship, but a litte goes a long way and will destroy a planet.


err..

maybe not.

Stan said...

Have you seen this video from FedCon, in Europe?

http://www.casttv.com/video/mewmlj/fedcon-2009-opening-animation-video

It's pretty cool, though it does lack the human element.

Sakai

magnaben said...

as a big time movie buff and Star Trek fan, reading all of these posts and comments, I felt like I had to throw my 2 cents in. I think as long as you think of the movie as a sci-fi summer action film, it was enjoyable, and worth 1watch. Will I see it again? No, because it is not a good Star Trek movie. Not, as the Onion has said, because it is too exciting and "cool" for all of the Trekkies, but because, as Peter has eloquently stated, so much of it makes no sense. The story is laughable at most points, and really only a vehicle to get you to the next chase/fight/explosion/quip scene. Developing a love story between Spock and Uhura takes too much time, you see, so - onwards to the "red matter"!
Unlike Star Trek 2-4, 6, and First Contact, I will have no desire to purchase the DVD, either. Perhaps with a director that actually KNOWS something about the series and has WATCHED some episodes, the next Trek movie will be better written and more in line with what made the franchise what it is. All of the Abrams interviews I have read seem to point to someone who takes pride in not knowing anything about the series other than the character names.

sighhhh......I have to start writing more if this is what passes for a script.

Lea said...

I saw this review of the film and though of you. Breaks down pretty much everything wrong with the film in a very concise way.

http://www.pseudocoder.com/archives/2009/06/03/movie-review-star-trek/

devilbanex said...

What do you think of the other Star Trek movies and shows?

Or is that worthy of an entirely seperate blog entry?

~ tOkKa said...

-->> you HARD CORE TREK GUY AND GALS already know about this.

I'm not of that lineage .. and as much as i wish i could keep up with everything i just can't. ::

I am somewhat familiar with the animated Trek show of the 1970s, though it was rerun when my mind was too immature to process it or appreciate it.


** This venture from the other year looks promising, still not green - lit as of 2009, but with the success of the new film ( love it or hate it ) .. that COULD change.

This would be the type of Trek show i WOULD Watch religiously !!

Marc said...

PL said
"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."

The original phasers could also be set to over charge and destroy the entire ship, or at least huge chunks out of it. So that's kind of crazy too.

amicitia6 said...

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.

Which reminds me - shouldn't there have been A LOT MORE WATER coming out of that pipe? I mean, Scotty wasn't in there with fifty gallons. Presumably an entire SPACESHIP'S worth of water was cycling through that system, and should have been spilling out continuously as it moved through the pipes and arrived at the broken point.

I guess "ship floods, everyone dies" wouldn't have been very good plot development.

PL said...

"amicitia6 said...
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.

Which reminds me - shouldn't there have been A LOT MORE WATER coming out of that pipe? I mean, Scotty wasn't in there with fifty gallons. Presumably an entire SPACESHIP'S worth of water was cycling through that system, and should have been spilling out continuously as it moved through the pipes and arrived at the broken point.

I guess "ship floods, everyone dies" wouldn't have been very good plot development."

Absolutely! I thought that same thing when I saw it, both times. -- PL

PL said...

"Marc said...
"PL said
"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."


The original phasers could also be set to over charge and destroy the entire ship, or at least huge chunks out of it. So that's kind of crazy too."

You're right -- if it were really EASY to do that, it would probably have been a good thing for Starfleet to re-engineer the phasers so that this wouldn't be possible. (I can't remember IF in the original show it took some special knowledge to do this.)

On the other hand -- and I'll admit I haven't thought this through too much -- it's possible that this ability to turn a phaser into a compact, powerful bomb might have utility in certain combat situations.

One thing that drives me crazy about the flipping barrels of the phasers in this new movie is that -- at least as I understand it -- a key axiom of weapon design (at the very least for weapons designed to be used in critical situations like combat) you want to have as FEW moving parts as possible. The more moving parts, the more that can go wrong. -- PL

PL said...

" Stan said...
Have you seen this video from FedCon, in Europe?

http://www.casttv.com/video/mewmlj/fedcon-2009-opening-animation-video

It's pretty cool, though it does lack the human element.

Sakai"

That is very nicely done, Stan. -- PL

batturtle said...

I understand your complaints and of course everyone has different opinions of movies.

Last summer I thought Speed Racer was the worst thing ever. Yet a couple of good friends of mine thought it was great.

I loved the new Star Trek.

All of it, every bit from start to finish. I am looking forward to the next one immensely. And that marks the first time I've been looking forward to anything Star Trek related in a very long time.