Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek: The Too-Much-Motion Picture

I saw the new Star Trek today, and I liked it all right. I wasn't exactly blown away. The actors were pretty well-cast, but I honestly didn't think any of them had the charisma of the original cast. Chris Pine seemed like a bit of a lightweight and Zachary Quinto was okay as Spock, but not great. On the plus side, the movie was generally well-directed and was filled with enough action so that you didn't question the sillier parts too much. The worst part was the villain, a jilted Romulan space miner from the future who seemed completely dull-witted and flat. Spoilers beneath the pic.

We tried to talk out exactly what happened with the events surrounding the destruction of Romulus, but even with looking it up on Wikipedia, I still can't figure it out.

The nearest star to Romulus is going supernova (suddenly?) and Spock is dispatched from the Federation with some red goo that supposedly can stop it. He makes it there, but not in time, and Romulus is destroyed. Nero sees this and thinks...what exactly? That Spock was incompetent for being late? Or malicious? This is kind of like swearing vengeance on the paramedic who rushes through traffic to try to save your mom, but doesn't quite make it in time, so you kidnap his own mom and kill her in front of him. This just isn't a comprehensible motivation for a villain. It's just flat-out stupid. Khan's motivation was similar, but a heck of a lot more understandable, and he was far more menacing and seemed far more intelligent than Eric Bana's knuckle-headed, one-note bad guy.

I guess I'm with Roger Ebert, who gave it 2 1/2 stars. He didn't completely hate it, but found it a pretty substanceless bubble-gum action movie. The original Star Trek was about taking us places we've never been and showing us things we've never seen before. It didn't always do a great job, but dammit, it tried. This movie simply doesn't take us anyplace new. For all the talk of a reboot, it's sorely lacking in any kind of originality. That said, it steps us through the paces pretty well, and fast and flashy enough that we don't dwell on the fact that there's really very little there...at least until we get in the car and actually start thinking about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly lacking script, true enough, especially with the young turks stepping in to save the Federation angle.

But Spock got the (more desirable) girl and that onscreen interracial kiss(so controversial once) was one of the updates that (kind of) worked. So does the incorporation of alternate history -- it frees creators from past plots and invites new suspense. But, it left me wishing I'd seen the next movie instead of this one.

Personally, I found the new McCoy performance one of the best, although the usual "not a doctor" line was painfully delivered (it was forced in script placement -- not so much the actor's fault).

As for the villain, another unbelievable dimension of his vengeance plot -- he had to wait 25 years before acting on it. And with very little mayhem to show for it, apparently (as he was undetected as a threat until then).