When I heard that Star Trek was getting a new movie, I was meh. The ST:TNG movies were getting a bit tired, and although I generally liked them my attitude after watching them was something akin to, “This is nice, but what else you got?”.
Then I heard it was being turned over to JJ Abrams for a reboot of the franchise and I was intrigued. On the plus side, Transformers. On the other side, Lost (that’s right, I said it). I had hopes that he could make a likeable movie, and I actually saw his lack of familiarity with the the franchise as a good thing. If the Trek universe was going to be revitalized it needed to be a true restart, something that I didn’t think a Star Trek fanboy, however well intentioned, could pull off.
Then I heard the new movie was going to have time travel as part of its plot and I screamed a scream of inarticulate rage. The “temporal cold war” cop-out bull**** was what, in my opinion, killed Enterprise so young. (I’ll talk about Enterprise another time) This movie was going to suck on toast!
Then Leonard Nimoy was going to be in it, and I was, “Well, it will suck on toast but I’ll get to see LN as Spock one more time.” But it was going to be on dvd, and then only if someone bought it for me.
As time wore on, getting closer to the opening, I began to read more articles about the film and interviews with Mr. Abrams. After digesting these articles, in particular the interview with Mr. Abrams in Geek Monthly, I started to feel like this might not suck. I still had low expectations, because, well, time travel. But I figured it wouldn’t kill me to watch the thing in the theatre.
Of course, it almost did. The thing about having my expectations so low was that it left me defenseless against the sheer awesomeness of this Star Trek. But I survived the awesome overload and I’m here to tell you: I am sorry for every bad thing I said about this reboot and JJ Abrams (especially the things about the dogs, that was over the line).
I will go into more details later but here are five things that struck me about the new Star Trek (in no particular order):
1) William Shatner was not in it: No, I’m not hating on William Shatner. But he had no place in this movie. None. And to try to fit him in just for fan service would have been a fan dis-service. There was a ton of other fan service going on in this film, all of it fitting in perfectly with the story. Having him show up at all would have been…jarring. As much as it may irk Mr. Shatner, it was the right call.
2) They rebooted the franchise without negating everything that had come before: This was huge for me. I was not looking forward to having to deal with the myriad discussions about how the new movie messes up Trek continuity, or how the movie doesn’t address this or that bit of character or story trope. JJ Abrams managed to tell a story that said, “Yes, everything that happened before still happened. But it happened in another time and place. Now we are in this time and this place; lets see what happens.” This is just what the franchise needed to keep moving forward. Nothing is taken away from the current fans, and the path is paved for new fans to join in on the fun.
3) It was a damn good story, not just a good Star Trek story: You could have told the essential story of this film without Star Trek even being a part of it, and it would have been a movie worth watching. It was smart, funny, action-packed, had a good look and pace…everything a geek wants in a sci-fi film. The added bonus was that it was also a Star Trek film.
4) The Red Shirt Death: When the red-shirt died, I almost wet myself I was laughing so hard! Having gotten used to the TOS red-shirts, who almost seemed to sense that their’s was a tenuous existance, to have the very first red-shirt of the new Trek be so gung-ho, so excited to be part of the team…hilarious!
5) The Casting: Almost flawless. The main crew was perfect, the Kirk/Spock/McCoy triangle was bang on, and most of the supporting cast was excellent. My only jaring moment was Winona Ryder as Spock’s mother. Not because she did a bad job, because she didn’t. But it was quite obviously WR in age make-up, and it pulled me out of the moment a little bit.
I give the new reborn Star Trek movie 4.5 Romulan Ales out of 5.
But, and I’m serious about this: no time travel in the next movie! Let it go! I will slap you, JJ, just see if I don’t!