I'll come up with something in a minute.

Adendum

I’m going to make a new post instead of adding to the other post.

I’ve seen a few things that reminded me about a few other things about the movie, mostly things that would have gone into the “Got Right” column that need to be expressed.

1. The guy who played Chekov made him a lot more likeable than I thought he ever was in the series. Argue if you like, I always found Chekov a bit of an annoying Davey Jones look-a-like in the series. I actually thought he was amusing, fun and useful here. And I really like Karl Urban as Bones, even though the forming of the nickname was stupid because it’s a take on “Saw Bones” which is an Old West term for a doctor and the show was being sold at the time as a western in space. Still, I liked Urban’s portrayal. Pegg’s Scottie was a little over the top, but he was still really good.

2. The exterior of the new ship, despite the fact that it looked to me like it had hair dryers for nacelles sometimes, was actually pretty good. Looked like the star ship equivalent of a muscle car.

3. It was exciting and entertaining. My problem is that I never ever got so caught up in the movie enough to not keep thinking about the problems involved or for them not to bother me. It’s a delicate balance that will shift with each individual viewer, but the problems were like a stone in my shoe.

4. Besides the bridge, I liked the way the interior of the ship looked. All the pipes and tubes and things, somehow it looked really cool to me.

5. For all the complaints, the movie was still mostly okay. Not great, I don’t think it’s the best since Wrath of Khan, but it’s better than Generations or Insurrection. Faint praise perhaps, but there it is. Just because I outline problems with something, you should never assume I hated until I say “I hated it” because you’ll be wrong on some level. I’m a critical thinker, and I can never stop thinking. Telling me to turn my brain off or not to think about things is the single most offensive thing I can think for anyone to say to me.

The second movie in the reboot will be better because a lot of the things I complained about will have already happened and can’t happen again. Unless they decide to strip Kirk of his rank and then make him a captain again the same day they can’t have him suddenly leap into a command position again. The Enterprise will still be the only ship in the area, because the Enterprise is ALWAYS the only ship in the area. Once you get over the idea that it’s now the adventures of Captain Actionpants and his minority sidekick, it shouldn’t really be able to spoil your enjoyment, particularly since you’ll be one of the people who came back for another helping. If you really hated the new movie, I assume you won’t give its sequel another chance to hurt you. I’m sort of wondering if Urban and Pegg are going to come back, they’re getting popular and their schedules are only going to tighten after this.

I’m still troubled, but I’m not going to completely rule out another trip. However, if Kirk spends 30% of the movie’s runtime dangling off precipices again like he did here (seriously, they’re called SAFETY rails for a reason) I’ll probably opt out of a third trip. Also, can we please, please, please, A) stop the daddy bullshit and B) NO MORE WIRE HANGERS TIME PLOTS EVER!

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May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rat Snake

Syd said this was a Rat Snake and they can grow to be very large. This one might be two foot long or so. That bit of pipe he’s coming out of is about the size of the palm of my hand.

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May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

And really

What the hell is up with Spock and Uhura having a thing? We know who Spock loves. Spock loves Kirk! Why all the homophobia Hollywood?

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trek?

So let’s talk about it. What’s the quickest review I can think of?

This would have been awesome if they weren’t trying to claim it was Star Trek.

That’s the quick version. It veered too far from the spirit of the original source material and opted instead to turn the last act into just another big Sci-Fi action sequence that left a really bad taste in my mouth. The shame of it is that despite a few gripes here or there, it would have been a good movie… it just was the most Not-Trek that Star Trek has ever been.

Let’s break this down into three categories, those being what they did wrong as a Trek Movie, what I would be saying they did wrong even if it wasn’t Trek and what they did right.

Trek Movie Wrongs
1. Too many points can’t be explained simply by time traveling/alternate timeline thing. The Enterprise wouldn’t have been on it’s maiden voyage in that movie as Pike was captain of it 13 years before Kirk took over and some other guy was captain of the ship before him. And Pike wouldn’t have been twice Kirk’s age at that point either, maybe 10 but years older, but no more than that. Kirk’s brother Sam was retconned out of existence. Everyone recognizes Nero as a Romulan despite the fact that no one had ever seen a Rommie up to that point. There’s more, but you get the point.

2. Whatever happened to the old Trek idea of “We don’t actually have to kill everyone we come in contact with” that made the show and movies of old so neat? Clever solutions to difficult problems. Why the hell did it have to turn into Captain Actionpants at the end? What always set Trek apart was the avoidance of the Dirk Daring: Space Adventurer mold.

3. Why oh why oh WHY did Sulu, who is trained in fencing, have a katana yet again? Asian guy gets the katana? Really guys? Really?

4. The Enterprise was built in orbit over San Francisco. According to some guy who was complaining about it on the internet, everyone knows this.

5. The bridge design was something out of Star Wars. There was a lot of Star Wars in this movie. I mean seriously. George Lucas called, he wants Hoth back. Also he claims that there is patent pending issues about only Jedi can dangle off ledges that many times in a single movie. He also said something about heroes fighting a bald, facially tattooed guy who was wearing appliances. And the music, particularly the action oriented music, sounded a lot like the song “Battle of The Heroes” from the end of Revenge of the Sith.

6. Most of the tech and design doesn’t match up to anything we’ve seen before from any Star Trek things I can remember. More thrusters working than I’ve ever seen in Trek, which I don’t think has ever had thrusters before.

7. When we first see Spock perform the mind meld in the series, he explains that it’s a very private thing that they don’t share with outsiders. It was done when there was no other choice. Here, Spock grabs one of the downed Rommies and flushes his mind without a second thought. Of course since by third season Spock was mind melding people because it was easier than asking them what they wanted on their pizza, we could maybe forgive it.

8. Transporting sudden takes an awfully long time. Long enough for the baddies to notice then beaming aboard and blast them full of wholes before they fully materialize.

9. Might be argument, but I don’t buy for a second Kirk and Spock just letting Nero die/killing him. They would have beamed him aboard, put him in the Brig and taken him home for trial.

10. Now for me to be pedantic. The arrow head emblem was just on the Enterprise uniforms until it was adopted as the federation symbol much later. Everyone didn’t have it until the movies.

11. Phasers are a beam weapon. They don’t fire single shots, act like machine guns, or anything like that.

12. And honestly, Kirk-Baby has hazel eyes and his shirt gets ripped off in fights. I mean REALLY! Why call it Star Trek if you’re going to throw away all the important things that make Trek the thing that it is? Why not just have this be its own entity? Why bother buying up a franchise if you can’t get the most basic things about the franchise right?

Okay, so let’s just say the movie wasn’t Star Trek, what would I have arguments with if it was just Dirk Daring: Space Adventurer?

Just Plain Wrongs
1. “OH GOODIE!” I almost shouted in the theater, “It’s another fucking Daddy Movie.” I fucking hate Daddy Movies. The whole Daddy Issue thing is seriously played out and I for one am sick and tired of seeing it. I’ve been sick of seeing it and I don’t ever want to see it again. It’s lame, I’ve never seen it used where it wasn’t ham-fisted, and I can’t identify with it in any way.

2. Wow, this thing is Mary Sued up the ASS! It’s always a problem with these WB style youth story things though. Always giving the kids a chance without any adults getting in their way and they do good and are rewarded above the level anyone else would ever get. A guy goes from “We’re thinking of kicking you out of the Academy” to captain of what we’re told is the flag ship of the fleet in a day or two. Some of my problems will go along with the main part of this but they need separate points.

3. Why does a battle destroying 50 ships not get picked up by anyone but a student? Seriously? Only one student, who will be able to confirm the situation for plot reasons is able to pick this up? No, just… no.

4. All the grown ups are off doing important things, so for this emergency situation we’re going to send the students with on teacher each like it’s some kind of class trip. Seriously, who staffs a ship entirely with striplings? Even in an extreme situation like this, I don’t buy it.

5. This isn’t Trek specific, so I’m putting it here, but the way they handled the Kobayashi Maru test was a disgrace. He might have at least tried to look like he wasn’t cheating. I wanted him bounced right there and then. Get rid of him, shoot him in the head and replace him with another main character. That was like turning in your test first, five minutes after it’s been handed out and then wave the cheat sheet at your teacher announcing, “It was really easy. I just copied from this and after that it was a breeze.” But of course this is a Mary Sue, so everything works out in the end and he gets to be Captain without ever having to deal with that pesky having a career stuff.

6. Enterprise, we need you to get some milk at the store. You’re the only ship in the sector! Always the one ship left, isn’t it?

7. How does anyone recognize the design of a ship from 200 years in the future? Seriously, they know it’s a Rommie Vessel, but ask yourself if a Polish Sailor in 1809 would recognize a British ship that came through a time warp from 2009. I don’t think so.

8. Does the ship not have a brig? They marooned one of their own on an ice planet? The whole Ice Planet part was shit anyway. It was a pointless diversion and left everyone in my row going “Oh for fuck’s sake!”

9. Some one remind me to buy J.J. Abrams a tripod for his birthday. He clearly needs one. Shakey cam worked in the Bourne films, but it don’t work here.

10. The whole plot was pants. Star Trek has always been a little too comfortable with time travel. Since they are so comfortable, they could have just bounced back a few days before Romulus was destroyed and… VOLIA! Planet saved.

11. Timing was a problem the whole movie. People are falling to their deaths and Chekov is running though the ship to try and save them? I’m pretty sure they would have splatted before he got there. Besides, unless the transporter negates inertia, they would have been splatted anyway. That’s one example, but passage of time is fuzzy throughout the movie.

12. The villain could have been anything, so why the needlessly complicated and sometimes contradictory story they picked? You could have slotted almost anyone in there without needing to tie it to the old Star Trek universe. In many ways, just a fresh reboot would have been preferable because then you wouldn’t have to worry about many of the problems that are going to spring up among even casual Trek watchers like myself.

13. The Deus Ex Machina Brigade was out in full force. I had a major problem with Kirk and Spock both happening to be stuck on Hoth in the same abandoned Wampa cave which was only a short walk from Scotty’s hang out. There are more bits than that, where the Brigade managed to parachute in at the last moment, but that’s the big red sore thumb that sticks out.

So what did they do right? Surprisingly, almost all the stuff in the second part could have been forgiven. I would have at least said, “Well, it had flaws but it was entertaining enough for the time I was there.” Here is the list of things they got right.

What They Did Right
1. Characters were written pretty strongly. There wasn’t time to give everyone a full character study, but they did well with Kirk, Spock and Uhura. With Bones and Scotty they did less because of time, but even if you’d never heard of Star Trek you’d at least know these guys. Sulu and Chekov were used, but mostly left to one side for now. If you know the characters you’ll do okay, of you don’t know them you might wonder why so much time was spent with them instead of having random crew doing each thing.

2. The effects weren’t really obtrusive. I never found shots of the ship taking me out of the movie. I mention this because a lot of CGI rips me right out of the film and tends to distract from the narrative. Here, that didn’t happen except in one place at the end. The Spock level of the video game when he’s flying the space ship was pretty much a loss, but it was only that one bit so I’ll forgive them that.

3. Besides the problem with Time Travel, which is always a problem for any movie, the movie is internally consistent as far as I could tell with one viewing. There are problems and issues, like why no one noticed a huge battle with 50 ships lost, but Star Fleet seems to have a really bad communication system anyway. So maybe it’s just that someone needs to introduce them to the idea of E-Mail or something. However, their communications are pretty much universally bad. The point is that the movie keeps its own story together and doesn’t loose it. It lost almost everything from every other Star Trek, but within its own movie framework, it kept to things nicely.

4. The pace and story telling is pretty good. There are enough times when wiz-bang effect is supposed to take over for just telling a story, but I felt that they managed to keep it together. There was a good balance of action and story telling, with characters that actually seemed to be affected by the events in the movie. I actually believed Spock loosing his shit when he did, his whole planet had been destroyed and his mother had just been killed before his eyes.

5. The enemy was played better than most. Nero wasn’t a military man, he was a miner, so much of his performance was refreshingly casual. His story was just strong enough to provide him with a motivation (albeit one that could have been solved with more time travel, but maybe he didn’t know that) that while good enough to pass the smell test, didn’t need a lot of concentration on him. He was allowed to sitk back and be a menace while we got to know the Federation crew and concentrate on them. And how cool is it that instead of “Greetings Captain” we got “Hi Christopher” just this once?

This list is the shortest, but let’s face it, we go on about the things that are wrong because if we went into all the things done right we’d have to start with backhanded compliments like “It was in focus and the sound synced up” which isn’t helpful. I get the feeling that I really would have liked this if not for the Mary Sue rank hopping, the action sequence at the end which came off too Star Wars/John Woo/everybody else making action movies these days. I got a frown on my face during the shoot out and it never left after that.

Too many clichés, too many Mary Sue moments, and it just wasn’t Trek.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment