Thursday, May 14, 2009

So Someone Has To Dislike the Star Trek Movie

God, I was looking forward to the Star Trek movie. I really, really did. But I ended up being the living embodiment of that awesome Onion sketch about nerds hating Star Trek. It just seemed like a mediocre action movie with the names of some characters from a TV show I like spackled on top.

Why do they make movies with this enormous special effects budgets and edit them so spastically I can't ever just sit back and go "Oooh!" Why did they have to take the already brain-churningly lame science of Trek and double down on that? (As much as I'd like a tiny vial of black hole making goo for myself.) And why couldn't Kirk win the Kobayashi Maru without being such a fratboy douchebag about it?

There were high points, of course. It was thrilling to know that, when Kirk listens to the Beastie Boys, he only does it on his Nokia. So there is that.

So, as much as I fought it, I've ended up being That Guy. Oh, Lord. Please don't let Up suck. Please, please, please.


  1. I actually expected to hate the movie (and derided it starting well before it was released) as a sub-par action movie with the Trek name on it.

    I was more than pleasantly surprised... yes, the super duper handy auto black hole maker was utter stupidity, but compared to they've been turning out the last few times? I guess my expectations have sunk; I was just glad they didn't introduce and then kill off ten new species for one movie.

    There were definitely things I didn't like about it (product placement is one of the more obnoxious evils out there), but perhaps just because I've started to expect so very little out of new movies, I ended up enjoying it more than I wanted to.

  2. I couldn't agree more with this.

    Abrams dumbed down and CG'ed up the movie with pointless action and an even more implausible and banal storyline and everyone including most critics rave about it. I just don't get it.

  3. I really enjoyed the movie. Kirk was always part fratboy to me, but the thing was, the old Kirk was talky and nerdy for a Captain. New Kirk ... total douche. And ya Jeff is right about the plot not holding up to too much thought.
    Him and I were just joking that apparently in the future there are only 3 types of music:
    1. Classical - Datastyle
    2. Jazz - Thanks Riker for keeping the dream alive
    3. The Beastie Boys
    Gah, the futures not so bright anymore.

    Although my inner fangirl is still sqeeeing over the Spock/Uhura thing. I can forgive a lot as a result.

  4. I haven't seen the movie yet, but:

    "And why couldn't Kirk win the Kobayashi Maru without being such a fratboy douchebag about it?"

    Kirk WAS a fratboy douchebag. The 60s variant.

  5. My question is how could have they done better without alienating the non-Star Trek fans? I mean, Hollywood is all about making money.

    Just another sequel to the Star Trek movies without any explaination of the universe or technology would be confusing for the non-fanboys. I figure it was the best way that they could have "restarted" (with the different timeline) the series for people new to the series, all the while filling in back story that you never found out about Kirk.

    I do agree with you about Kirk being a douchebag though. He could have been less of a 'bad boy', really.

  6. You have to realize that there's never going to be another William Shatner. So no matter who is playing Kirk, you will always have a certain perception of the way Kirk is supposed to be because of Shatner's over-the-top performances. My only problem with the new Kirk is that the actor didn't seem to have enough character himself. He just looked like another guy to me.

    I, for one, enjoyed the new Trek. They had to change it up a little, otherwise it would resemble Enterprise, or Voyager or whatever. All the other blah Trek tv series. (The only good one was the original.) (Of course TNG was 'ok' and it was not as bad while Roddenberry was alive). I'm also a bit of a fan of J.J. Abrams as a director. One other thing you have to realize is Mr. Abrams wasn't the writer, nor the screenplay writer, nor the producer. Granted directors have a lot to say on the set as to how they want their shooting sessions to go, and maybe even some input on the editing, but they're not exclusively the ones responsible for a movie.

  7. Well, I'm in two minds about it.
    One the one hand, it had a bit too much action for my taste. Not gratuitously, mind you, but it felt like there was a bit too much blowin' stuff up.
    The science wavered between cool and weak, I mean, the time travel is just falling through an E-R Bridge. Compared to some of the creative time-travel I'm used to from NG, it was a bit mundane. I did like the skyhook drill and a couple of the other unique concepts, so it did have it's share of cool Trek ideas.

    But damn, were the actors good. Seriously, Kirk was good, Spock was incredible, I loved the guy playing Bones, the entire crew felt like they knew the roles.

    Final verdict: It's not the greatest Trek movie ever made, but it was certainly decent, and seeing as it was Abram's first touch at the franchise, he can probably do even better next time. I'd like more people to see it, because a.) it's pretty good, and b.)if they make another, it'll be even better.

  8. Thank you!

    I saw the Onion sketch the day before seeing the movie, and I thought it was funny.
    I like star trek, but I don't think of myself as a fan like that.

    But coming out of the movie I just felt 'meh', it seemed so hollow.
    The lowest point for me was Scotty's sidekick, it seems star trek fans now have their own jar-jar...

  9. Boo!!! There is no bigger Star Trek nerd than me, ok? I've watched, and made my g/f sit through every episode of every series. We have Kirk and Spock right above our bed. I smoke from an enterprise water-bong, ok?

    And I liked it. I went in expecting Abrams to screw everything up, and he didn't. He created an alternate Star Trek universe, (this one for a larger, more modern audience) and it was pretty freakin' cool.

    And hey, even if you didn't like it, at least it couldn't possibly ruin older Star Treks (like that retarded Enterprise show did)

    Seriously, I'm in for the next 3 Abrams Star Trek Movies. I am in!

  10. Gods, and I thought I was the only one! The action was fine, but Star Trek for me was always a balanced blend between the action and the philosophy...and there was really no philosophy. Just Baywatch in space or something.

    Then there was all the "sci-fi" elements that made me keep thinking that whoever wrote it had no originality, so they had to borrow the shadow ship from Babylon 5 for the Romulans, and a Star Wars character for Scotty's sidekick.

    But the worst was the whole time traveling thing, which basically said to me, "we don't have creative writers anymore that can write within the confines of the Star Trek universe, so we're going to wipe the slate clean and start over again...cause it's just so much easier for them." Bahhh! Yes, and humbug!

    But the scenes of Kirk and Spock's childhood, especially Spock's, I think worked well. Ah well, I just feel like the next movies will be all about rash choices conquering rationalism (which is the opposite of what TOS was).

  11. @Jesse: "And hey, even if you didn't like it, at least it couldn't possibly ruin older Star Treks (like that retarded Enterprise show did)"

    It did one better than that. It said that all older Star Treks NEVER HAPPENED. Except for that retarded Enterprise show. (Because it took place before the movie did.)

    - Jeff Vogel

  12. No, it says there are multiple universes. The original one still exists just fine. (There are reasonably justified interpretations of quantum mechanics

    I really don't understand why anyone would want more of the original Star Trek universe. It's been bled dry. It died a slow, painful death. I think rebooting the series completely so a new generation can appreciate the original characters is a far better choice.

    Was the movie a big dumb action flick? Well, yeah. I totally understand people who are pissed at that. But I thought it was perfectly enjoyable as an action flick, and the acting was absolutely brilliant.

    If it's any consolation, the next one will have the same cast, AND be an even numbered Star Trek film.

  13. ^ Bob beat me to the point, but Star Trek is definitely a multi-verse, where all realities exist, and what you see depends on the observer's perspective. Remember the episode of TNG when Worf kept slipping into different realities? Honestly, if there is a believable reality out there where Troi eats a cake that isn't chocolate, then I think I can handle a JJ Abrams-y reality.

  14. Why couldn't they just name the Black Hole making goo Dark Matter or something, instead of making this burgundy stuff called "Red Matter"? I mean, this stuff gives birth to a huge "hole" that you can't "see", so why is it colored red to begin with? Other than that, and Kirk being a douchebag, it was a good movie, I think.

  15. I thought it was mediocre, myself. It wasn't that it had plot holes, it's that it had many, gaping plot holes that just screamed "we really didn't care about a script at all. . . we just wanted to get the series launched and we knew people would eat it up".

    I can typically ignore things certain types of issues (like the transporter seeming to take a long time, setting up that one particular "dramatic scene"). It's just that there were problems beyond that. Honestly, I Thought it was a stupid script. And while I like having Kirk not be future kirk - he doesn't yet have that coolness under pressure, because you hone that over time - I agree it was a mistake to make him that much of a dick. Apparently in the future, being a dick is how to get on the short path to captain hood. Also, verbally berating someone (to get them to fall for the "emotionally unfit for command!: trick, but why didn't that apply to Kirk too?).

  16. It certainly shows one thing - how much society and the entertainment industry have changed. Uhura, for example, was quite a bit more dignified in the original series. In this one she seems more like the average one-episode woman that would show up for the "sex appeal".

    Not to mention making Vulcans appear to be less in control of their emotions.

  17. See, while I agree with every phoneme about how the characters were messed with and how the science was insane and how this wasn't so much a Star Trek movie as a Star Trek Doom scenario, I still enjoyed it. As mindless action movies went, that was a pretty good one.

    And Leonard Nimoy absolutely rocked my socks right off. He was the only good non-action-movie aspect.


    Apparently, your Jeffness, you weren't the only person who didn't like Star Trek.

  19. I think this film can only be considered awesome by followers; for those other of us who have never seen other films or chapters on TV, it's quite average as a sci-fi film.

    What a coincidence that Kirk happens to land on the frozen planet where old Spock is living in a cave, considering that there are millions of planets in the universe.

    What super-healing powers does Kirk have! he gets beaten up badly in several occasions and he manages not to sport any bruises on his face. Plus he looks like a frustrated rock-climber hanging from the edge of a cliff, drilling platform, frozen crater, etc.

    Why none of the members of the team wear microphone/headphones to communicate with the others instead of shouting what they read on their computer screens??

    How come a single drop of Red Matter is enough to destroy Vulcan but the whole sphere is not enough to destroy Nero's ship? They had to "shoot everything available" to finish it off.

    I found really silly all the thing about Kirk's bad reaction to the drugs and having his hands swollen up to twice their size.

    I could carry on but I think you get my point. If you consider this film on its own without any reference to previous Star Trek series/films, it's quite lame. People laugh at puns and jokes that only make sense if you know the characters as they are.

  20. Up is made pixar. Please. You know it's going to be good.

  21. Couldn't agree more Jeff. It's all the more disappointing because it, at times, did come fairly close to being good Trek, but faltered each time. The timeline split is the one unforgivable sin though.

    Up *will* be awesome.

  22. All the Trek movies except ST2 have been pretty terrible which is fine because they match the mostly terrible TV shows. People have trouble with the plot here but "remember" that the old TV show supposedly had good plots? Go back and watch them again and then get back to us.

    P.S. I like Trek. I just admit that it's really not all that good.

  23. i felt the same way. i haven't one other person who disliked it, but i was disappointed with a lot of it. everything's got to be bigger, brighter, and make the most amount of money possible for an opening weekend.

    up will be fantastic

  24. To be honest, I was okay with the movie when I first saw it, although I didn't like the altered timeline twist. But when I saw it for a second time, I realized that it was a badly written film. It really was. And what made it even more appalling for me was that STAR TREK turned out to be a critical darling, this summer, for many fans and film critics.

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