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Reviews: Star Trek 544

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-finally-got-to-expense-a-movie dept.
On these pages, admitting that you are a Trekkie is not a mark of shame; it's more like admitting that you are a carbon-based life form, which is true of almost all of us. I watch every movie. I've seen every episode of every series. And as my wife will tell you, I scream "F*** you Rick Berman!' during the credits every time I see it. So when JJ Abrams got a crack at a reboot, I was hopeful. The short review is that I liked it. Keep reading; I'll keep the spoilers down to a minimum. (Continued below.)

The movie is a total reboot. And yes, it features time travel. While normally this is a giant red flag, in this case I don't think it's too bad. Especially when you want to make giant, universe-altering changes without pissing off the continuity nerds.

Star Trek starts off with a big action sequence that holds no surprises. You'll immediately notice a few dramatic stylistic changes in the camera work. This movie owes more to the pseudo-documentary style of Firefly or BSG than the traditional pristine look of the last few decades of Trek. Space is pretty silent (although it somehow gets noisier as the movie continues), and they even do the cool thing of making sure that everything in space doesn't share the same Z-axis. Minor, but I love it. The intro ends with an emotional note that resonates strongly; it could have been cheesy but it works. So, they reboot the universe. We get some Kirk/Spock back story, and some brief moments at the academy. Wacky events occur, leaving most of our familiar characters aboard the Enterprise. We witness each of them rise to their known rank and positions. It's all very wink-wink. Occasionally a bit overly cutesy, but ultimately fun. I found the scoring a little weak (Abrams uses the same composer for everything), but many of the sound effects echo the original sources. The effects are just great: I would expect nothing less than perfect, and I got it. I particularly liked the Vulcan architecture. Yes, the new bridge looks like an Apple Store, but the glass and white looks modern. It might not age that well, but it's cool. The costumes look forward and backward at the same time. We have mini-skirts on the bridge and familiar color coding. It all works. The Enterprise itself feels HUGE inside. Engineering isn't just a room with a console; it's massive. It has weight. I love it.

I'm not going to go into the story. It's convoluted, but frankly it's really not the key to this movie: this is a roller coaster movie with new actors playing parts we love.

So, let's talk about the most important thing: the characters. They basically nailed everyone. Uhura and Bones are used a lot in the early bits. Chekov and Sulu each have a few nice moments. Scotty shows up late in the game and steals almost every scene he is in. But as the movie goes on, it becomes almost entirely Kirk and Spock, which really is how it should be.

More so than anyone else, Kirk is an impression. But ya know what? I buy it. The Kirk we knew is older. This one is younger with bigger balls and swagger. This kid will chase the skirt instead of just knowing she will come to him. I could certainly see someone thinking they took Kirk too far, but I buy it. He has charisma and some great lines.

Quinto's Spock is great. I resisted the urge to make Sylar jokes (mostly). He's reserved, subtle, and when the need arises, emotional. It works. He's the best casting in the film. Since Nimoy gets to reprise old Spock, we're given the ability to stack the two Spocks up right against each other. And it's just great. I totally buy it.

Eric Bana is the big bad. He seems almost totally superfluous. He does just fine, but I just don't care either way. This movie is about our heroes. Bana's Nero could have been a robot or an entity or whatever. He's a plot device used to press the universe reboot button, and to give us a ticking clock.

Two of the "humorous" sequences go a bit far. You'll know them when you see them. It's like they were inserted to keep 12-year-olds giggling. I expect this in a Disney film, but I wish I didn't see them here. Another action sequence in the middle serves no purpose except letting us have a giant monster chase Kirk. Abrams probably wanted to toss some work to his Cloverfield monster-making buddy.

But here's the thing: Star Trek is entertaining. It has problems, of course. It won't make everyone happy. But by the time Scotty gets into the story, there are so many moments of unbridled joy that you can't help but feel giddy. I don't know if Abrams will stick around or if this cast will be back for more, but if they are, I know I'll be in the theater again. And you should be there too. Now. You're a carbon-based life form who reads Slashdot. You owe it to yourself.

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Reviews: Star Trek

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:16PM (#27879429) Journal
    The Onion News Network has an informative brief piece on this entitled Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable' [theonion.com].
  • Good, but (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:17PM (#27879455) Homepage Journal
    This movie was definitely the best (least cheezy) movie made from the star trek franchise. That being said, I have a few qualms:

    1. The villain was lame. He was a nobody with stupid motivation. Could it happen? I suppose... but come on! Such small fish. (Forgive me, I'm just looking for a deeper plot.. not just a crappy summer action flick.

    2. I prefer TNG over TOS for a few reasons: Kirk is clearly an action-based fly by the seat of his pants type guy. Makes for a great action movie like this. But please please please don't forget we're watching Star Trek for the philosophical questions that arise as well in the star trek universe. I loved Picard because he was the opposite. He drank hot tea on a regular basis. He thought about things, and thusly, I thought about things. Remember: We're not watching star wars, we're watching star trek here...

    3.There was a moment when young spock had kirk by the neck. I seriously expected him to slice open kirk's head with his finger.

    All in all, I loved this movie, and anxiously await the next in this version of the franchise, but please please please don't forget the parts of star treck that make it so awesome (and not star wars), and balance it well with action!
    • by Rei (128717)

      Eh, I'll go to see it simply because they have the Aptera 2e [wired.com] make a brief cameo in the background about half an hour into the movie (reportedly, it's with Kirk and McCoy on the steps at the Academy with the Golden Gate in the background).

    • Re:Good, but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rossifer (581396) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:27PM (#27879605) Journal

      3.There was a moment when young spock had kirk by the neck. I seriously expected him to slice open kirk's head with his finger.

      And the reviewer loses a geek point by not knowing how to spell "Sylar".

    • Kirk would break the rules if they needed to be broken and was willing to admit when humanity was the less advanced, the less civilized. Granted, a lot of this was in later material but still.

      Picard on the other hand was always right and the rules were everything. Also intresting to note, Spock/Vulcans were in many ways the superior race in TOS. This was comepletly lost in TNG. All human with only a half human and a human robot thrown in. Lesser racial mix with it being very clear that all the TNG crew was

      • by 7Prime (871679) on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:00PM (#27881091) Homepage Journal

        Picard on the other hand was always right and the rules were everything. Also intresting to note, Spock/Vulcans were in many ways the superior race in TOS. This was comepletly lost in TNG. All human with only a half human and a human robot thrown in. Lesser racial mix with it being very clear that all the TNG crew was from north america or europe.

        Wait... what? You forget you have a fucking KLINGON!

        Main cast of TNG is:
        - French/Scottish guy (Picard)
        - White Guy (Riker)
        - Robot (Data)
        - Klingon (Worf)
        - Human woman from small colony (Crusher)
        - Black Blind Dude (Jordi)
        - Half-Human Chick (Troi)

        That's definitely more varied than TOS, which had all white guys except for one black woman, a half-vulcan, and an asian guy. I mean, both have more white guys, but TNG has more woman and aliens. The first season features a third female character as well (who sucked, but whatever).

      • by el americano (799629) on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:13PM (#27881311) Homepage

        More so than anyone else: Kirk is an impression.

        I didn't get that until the end, and I think they threw in that line delivered in Kirk cadence as part of their plan to make Trekkies happy. It was just one more favorite clichés that we got to see once more. Sure, we're going to replace all your actors, but we won't ruin the characters. I approve.

        Now, McCoy was the impression. He was pretty good at it though. No complaints.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Brett Buck (811747)

      ... Kirk is clearly an action-based fly by the seat of his pants type guy. Makes for a great action movie like this. But please please please don't forget we're watching Star Trek for the philosophical questions that arise as well in the star trek universe.

      Oh dear God, you look to "Wagon Train in Space" for philosophical insight? I guess this explains all we need to know about our little group here. Or am I just missing the joke?

      Brett

    • Re:Good, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yokaze (70883) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:53PM (#27880085)

      SPOILER ALERT:

      > This movie was definitely the best (least cheezy) movie made from the star trek franchise.

      Well... It starts of with Kirk being born to his mother on a space-ship, which is steered single-handedly by his father Kamikaze style into the enemy, in order to save everyone. How much more cheesy can it get? Before the opening credits?

      Oh, I know it. Take a Spock, who gets emotional, every time someone mentions his parents in some agitating way (3 times in 3, IRC).

      And it ends with the Enterprise firing all weapons on an enemy, who is already being consumed by a black hole.

      That's the Star Trek way, kick the opponent, when he already lies on the ground.

      Don't get me wrong, I think they got a great cast. Quinto as Spock was especially great. But simply, the plot had as many holes as a Swiss cheese, and didn't fit the original Star Trek at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EvilNTUser (573674)

        The movie itself was ok, but I'm not hopeful about the future ones that will probably follow. Sure, the plot was entertaining enough, and it wasn't a bad movie, but to me it seemed like that was by chance rather than by design.

        The writers once again demonstrated that they're childish and stupid. The premise was ripped straight out of Nemesis, complete with badly scripted Romulan renegades in a super powerful ship with a planetkiller main weapon. They did it better this time, but it was still the exact sa

        • Re:Good, but (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Big Boss (7354) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:19PM (#27882303)

          I think the point of dumping Kirk off on the ice planet (other than the obvious ploy to get Scotty involved) was that Spock was being illogical. It was a way of demonstrating his "emotionally compromised" state before they get around to pointing out that Kirk can assume command because of it.

      • Captain Kirk (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shmlco (594907) on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:43PM (#27881773) Homepage

        Holes? How about the fact that no navy in the known universe is going to make a captain of a kid right out of the acadamy AND give him the fleet flagship to boot. I don't care how many planets he saves.

        "Great job, Ensign Kirk. You're now Lieutenant Kirk. Report to the Yorktown."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by skeeto (1138903)
        Good thing no one told the Romulans that drilling a hole to the core of the planet was completely unnecessary. They could have just lobbed the singularity anywhere near the planet and left. That's a damn powerful weapon.
      • Trek Cheese (Score:3, Informative)

        by daveywest (937112)
        Want some Trek Cheese? How about in TNG movie when Riker tells the computer to go on manual pilot and a joystick pops up out of the floor?
    • Re:Good, but (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Smidge207 (1278042) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:09PM (#27880323) Journal

      This movie was definitely the best (least cheezy) movie made from the star trek franchise. That being said, I have a few qualms

      Bah, turn in your geek card. Now. Yes, the story is a bit convoluted, but I think a lot of that is necessary for the reboot they wanted to accomplish. There is a lot of story telling in there, but it's sprinkled around and not played up in most parts. If you're looking carefully, you see it in several spots.

      Maybe I was just not distracted because I haven't seen a lot of the other shows that these actors played in, thus I was not experiencing the "Agent Smith" phenomenon.

      I thought Spock was well done, very much in line with what I remember of Spock from TOS, Vulcan with enough Human in him to drive him in ways other Vulcans could never grasp. Kirk was very much a young bulldog just coming into his prime, full of testosterone and bravado, but with enough brains to see what no one else seemed to be able to.

      This doesn't tear apart the foundations of Star Trek so much as it sweeps aside most everything built on those foundations: Honor, fear in the face of death, duty in the face of insurmountable odds, there is no such thing as a "no win" solution--those are still there. Even when beings die by the planet-load (Hopefully that's not too much of a spoiler), all is not lost and with perseverance, the good guys can still win and the universe can still be saved.

      =Smidge=

    • Re:Good, but (Score:4, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:17PM (#27880491) Journal

      > But please please please don't forget we're watching Star Trek for the philosophical questions that arise

      No we're not. Speaking as someone who missed Boy Scouts to watch the first airing of The Man Trap, any appeal that endless philosophical discussions might have had has been thoroughly beat out of me in the last few years. I want to see epic, multi-ship space battles. When I get tired of that, and for some reason want to go back to watching tepid discussions in ultra-modern conference rooms, I'll let you know.

      You're right, there was more to Star Trek than "set phasers on quick-fry-to-a-crackly-crunch" but in more recent years, wayyyyy too many stories went too far the other way. Star Trek became more boring than watching the NASA channel. About four episodes into Enterprise, I decided life was too short for mediocre Trek, and never looked back. Until now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      2. I prefer TNG over TOS for a few reasons: Kirk is clearly an action-based fly by the seat of his pants type guy. Makes for a great action movie like this. But please please please don't forget we're watching Star Trek for the philosophical questions that arise as well in the star trek universe. I loved Picard because he was the opposite. He drank hot tea on a regular basis. He thought about things, and thusly, I thought about things. Remember: We're not watching star wars, we're watching star trek here...

      When we have a young Jean-Luc Picard on the screen, you can have more tea sipping. Meanwhile, this is Kirk. Sorry if that unbalances your view of what Trek is.

    • Re:Good, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by hal2814 (725639) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:49PM (#27880921)

      2. Picard fans champion the drinking of hot tea and use words like "thusly." If there's a better argument for Kirk, I can't think of it.

      On a more serious note, I like Picard. He's no Kirk, but there's no id or superego to keep Picard in check. To me the biggest problem with TNG was that Picard didn't have a peer. The closest he ever had was Pulaski but that only lasted one season. She was highly annoying without Picard around (or with Data around) but she was the only person who was ever really able to push Picard's buttons. As headstrong as they try to make Riker out to be, it would've been interesting if he spent more time at odds with Picard instead of fawning over him as much as he did. At least then his character would be interesting.

      I also didn't care for the amount of time they spent on character development given that Worf and Data were the only characters to actually develop over the course of the series. TOS characters didn't exactly develop either but there wasn't any time spent trying to develop them.

      And personally, I don't need a father figure character on the show to hold my hand through the philosophical questions raised. I thought about them whether or not Kirk did.

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Yo? Where's the fake lizard suit? The open-mouthed, daffy-looking blonde babes? The fruity French-named Brits?

      Why, in my day we had to battle giant spiders on our way to school......

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      Totally agreed on (2). That's why I loved TNG so much, and why I hated Enterprise so much. TNG with the grittiness/action of this would probably be great, but if they're "rebooting the series" to be just another action series about projecting current xenophobic animosity onto "safe" aliens, then I've no interest whatsoever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      While TNG was infinitely better made, I always much preferred the spirit of TOS -- the 1960s spirit of optimism and curiosity, of exploring space "because it is there". At its core was a belief in the virtues of science (Spock) tempered by morality (Bones).

      I always felt that TNG was infected by the pessimism and the pragmatic mindset of the profit-oriented 1990s. Over-compensating for it by going on a search for elaborate political correctness -- "to baldly go where no bald man has gone before" (at least, n

  • I'm not going to go into the story: it's convoluted, but frankly its really not the key to this movie: this is a roller coaster movie with new actors playing parts we love.

    Can someone please explain to me how this is NOT a failure?

    Star Trek was always known for its strong story telling. Sure, it was sometimes campy and over the top. But the series was built on story. The action was just the frosting.

    That was something that Berman never realized. He kept playing down the story in exchange for more action, more outlandish events, more of that adrenaline squeeze. Except that he was bad at it. I mean, really, really bad. Stinking up the screen bad. (Hey look: MACOs! Amazing how those guys never got any screen time, isn't it? Or how about the time Riker used a joystick to save the day? I know, let's have Picard fight himself! Or put 7 of 9 in a fight pit with a WWE wrestler! Yeah, those were great times. *cough*)

    Now you're telling me that JJ doesn't suck at it. Therefore it's okay to finish tearing apart the foundations of Star Trek because at least it was a fun ride. Right?

    Star Trek stood on its own two feet for 40 years. It was challenged by the networks, challenged by the box office, and challenged by its own actors. Yet the concept survived and is cherished by its fans. The core idea of a better future painted on the rich tapestry of space travel is not something to be ignored. It's something to protect, grow, and find ways to adapt to the changing times. After all, is there any better time to shout out this message than when things seem the darkest?

    Instead we have a summer blockbuster. And like all summer blockbusters, it will be forgotten by next summer. It is a sad day for Roddenberry's vision of the future.

    • Yeah, I said it a little less harshly, but very well put.
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:27PM (#27879609) Journal

      I know, let's have Picard fight himself!

      You enjoyed that one, huh? You're right, it was cheesy. We need the original riveting Star Trek fight scene [youtube.com] where our hero manages to put commas not only in his dialogue but also his attacks ... against a man in a rubber lizard suit.

      Trek fans are hilarious. They are even more hilarious when they turn on each other.

      It's a movie, relax. If you didn't like the "modernized plot" they opted for, don't watch it. If you would rather watch a journey through space, watch a journey through space. Today's movies are made to target the largest cross section of audience to maximize income. You certainly won't find me watch Star Wars 1-3 anytime soon because of this.

    • by kwalker (1383) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:42PM (#27879903) Journal

      The story is a bit convoluted, but I think a lot of that is necessary for the reboot they wanted to accomplish. There is a lot of story telling in there, but it's sprinkled around and not played up in most parts. If you're looking carefully, you see it in several spots.

      Maybe I was just not distracted because I haven't seen a lot of the other shows that these actors played in, thus I was not experiencing the "Agent Smith" phenomenon.

      I thought Spock was well done, very much in line with what I remember of Spock from TOS, Vulcan with enough Human in him to drive him in ways other Vulcans could never grasp. Kirk was very much a young bulldog just coming into his prime, full of testosterone and bravado, but with enough brains to see what no one else seemed to be able to.

      This doesn't tear apart the foundations of Star Trek so much as it sweeps aside most everything built on those foundations: Honor, fear in the face of death, duty in the face of insurmountable odds, there is no such thing as a "no win" solution--those are still there. Even when beings die by the planet-load (Hopefully that's not too much of a spoiler), all is not lost and with perseverance, the good guys can still win and the universe can still be saved.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        This doesn't tear apart the foundations of Star Trek so much as it sweeps aside most everything built on those foundations: Honor, fear in the face of death, duty in the face of insurmountable odds, there is no such thing as a "no win" solution--those are still there.

        ??????

        How can "they" still be there if they are swept away?

    • by jd (1658)

      Excellent points, all of which could be said of other franchises which are being milked (Doctor Who being an obvious example). The story is being sacrificed for the flash-bang effects.

      I also question some of the attitudes towards the little story telling there is in modern SciFi. I'm sure that if "Eastenders In Space" was actually what people wanted to see, there'd be a story of London getting blasted into space.

      Given that there is no evidence of London (or, indeed, the Rover's Return, Emmerdale, or any oth

    • by drachenfyre (550754) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:59PM (#27880163) Homepage

      I'm not going to go into the story: it's convoluted, but frankly its really not the key to this movie: this is a roller coaster movie with new actors playing parts we love.

      Can someone please explain to me how this is NOT a failure?

      Because the reviewer got it wrong. The villain story is convoluted. The true story in this film is how the Enterprise crew was put together (or put back together due to the Alternate timeline). Nero is only there as a driving force behind the crew getting together. This is a film like Star Trek IV. It's not about villains, it's about the characters themselves.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by deathtopaulw (1032050)
      A real fan finally? My god I thought we'd died out. Nothing has irritated me more than the hype around this movie. What happened to the fans? Star Trek was basically always a short-story medium akin to The Twilight Zone. The plots of its episodes revolving around odd bleeding-edge hypotheses from theoretical physics, and stretches of human imagination. The themes included the nature of consciousness, musings on what could possibly exist beyond our limited scope, and thoughts on war now and in the futur
    • I can't explain why yet,

      but the first half of the movie felt great. ("10")
      The last half was okay. ("7")

      I think there were a lot of character bits in the first half (including seeing the fabled "K" test.)

      This kirk, being younger is a lot brasher and less of the seasoned man we will see by the time he is 35.

      It really bugged me that Cameron was Kirk's dad. I wish it had been some other random actress. I found her much more jarring than Sylar.

      A lot of the last half just seemed too implausible. it was implaus

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887)

      It is a sad day for Roddenberry's vision of the future.

      It's important to understand the business context all of this is happening in.

      When I came to LA in 1996, about 50% of the Paramount lot was dedicated to the production of Star Trek episodes (of various series) and films. Paramount was basically dependent on the revenues on the showings and reruns and reissues of the various Star Trek franchises -- to the point that they were commissioning expensive digital remasterings of the original episodes, let alone remixes and redoes of all the visual effects for the

  • by bonch (38532) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:22PM (#27879535)

    Screw the MPAA! I have ideals!

    ...

    OMG Star Trek movie!

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:22PM (#27879543) Homepage Journal

    That strange Moe-Stooge-haired dude had pointy ears. Why didn't casting QA catch that?

    • That strange Moe-Stooge-haired dude had pointy ears.

      Moe Stooge did have pointy ears . . . until Curly bit them off.

      He gave Moe fair warning, though, by first barking repeatedly, and then shouting, "Oh? A wise guy, eh?"

      Tyson had the ear biting down, put couldn't master the barking.

  • by RManning (544016) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:32PM (#27879695) Homepage

    There are 16 colons in that review! 16! At least eight of them should be periods, another six should be hyphens. I'll give him two. :)

    Not to be a grammar Nazi, but man that's distracting.

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward,j,reddy&gmail,com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:33PM (#27879723) Journal
    After reading this review (and laughing/blowing milk straight out my nose - don't ask), I think this is the perfect non-spoiler-non-biased-perfectly-opinionated review I have seen on Slashdot in years. I'm happy to see that JJ is able to nail Trek perfectly, and Taco is right - the characters make the film, and it is all about Kirk and Spock.

    As a golden Trekie (getting up there in age), I am hopeful this 'REBOOT' of Trek will see more of it in the cinemas, and maybe even on TV.

    Thanks JJ for making it real again!
  • This is an odd-numbered Star Trek movie, right? Aren't the odd-numbered flicks generally crappy?
  • DARMOK! (Score:3, Informative)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:39PM (#27879841)

    Nothing gets better than Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra! That episode was STUPENDOUS. If this is one eighteenth as good as that, I'll be OK.

  • by Denagoth (582705) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:40PM (#27879861)
    The latest Trek was OK as a pure fantasy action flick, but I had some problems with just how over-the-top they went for the younger crowd (caveat: I'm a 37-year old Trekkie and a former Naval officer). I'm not talking about "canon" material, but rather the fanciful way in which they handed the keys of the Federation flagship to an academy midshipman after a 24-hour tour of duty. Kirk has always been - and always will be - a swaggering action-oriented character, but he also picked up leadership and wisdom along his carer - skills he would have learned during his progression through Starfleet as an Ensign, Lieutenant, Commander, etc. So at the end of the movie when they promoted Kirk from midshipman to Captain, I couldn't stifle a laugh...
    • "caveat: I'm a 37-year old Trekkie and a former Naval officer"

      Let me guess...you wanted to serve on CVN-65.

      • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp@NOsPAm.Gmail.com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:32PM (#27881585) Homepage Journal

        "caveat: I'm a 37-year old Trekkie and a former Naval officer"

        Let me guess...you wanted to serve on CVN-65.

        I don't know about the grandparent poster, but I did serve on CVN-65.

        That aside, with my own Navy background, I have the same qualms as the GP poster. I have not seen the movie myself, and I'm relying in the review here and the spoilers from others for details. But what I hear has some strange implications. Bad enough that the reboot screws up the ages of the characters (Kirk and McCoy and Scottie were considerably older than guys like Sulu and Chekov in the series), but handing command over to a cadet with no experience? What the hell? I'm pretty sure that's not how Kirk came up in the ranks in the original canon, and in a real fleet, the CO would be quickly relived of his duties and scheduled for a court martial for doing such a thing. There's a damn good reason that you have to do time as a division officer and an Executive Officer before you get anywhere near that chair; experience counts, and no matter how talented you are, no one is born with it.

        Abrams is simply asking for too much suspension of disbelief here. I know it's fiction, and science-fiction adventure at that, but speaking as someone that's actually served in a military force, the cadet-to-captain thing is just too much. That's not Star Trek, that's Spacecamp [wikipedia.org] with photon torpedoes.

  • Time travel is not a red flag as such. It can be an effective plot device given a good writer, as it was in city on the edge of forever. Most other uses are simply lazy writing, or efforts to get out situation that result from lazy writing. Unless it is the plot device that allows the story to move, as in Doctor Who or Back to the Future,it is something that should be avoided.

    Abrams played with time travel between season 2 and 3 of alias. I think as a plot device it had potential, but failed. I can't

  • So... what's so bad about Berman (and Braga)? They, like Jobs with Apple, milked the franchise for everything it was worth, while the "fans" let it happen. And it wasn't just them... the actors too didn't stay true to character. Why would the TNG cast make Nemesis? Its like they intentionally wanted to kill the genre.

    (Go Commander Koennig!!)

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:44PM (#27879927)
    Damit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a carpenter.
  • I stopped reading (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MouseR (3264) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:45PM (#27879967) Homepage

    right at the Time Travel part.

    Coupled with the previews, It just smells lame.

    Let me guess. They blew up the ship at the end.

  • Well, at least I hope that's the case. Won't know until I see it tonight.

    When the movie was first announced I groaned and said "Why? For the love of Christ, why?" Trek is dead to me and Berman and his crew spent a long time killing it. But then I started hearing more and more positive buzz, not from the marketing droids but fan reviews, people who would be just as happy to complain an weep bitterly if it sucked.

    This is the same pattern that held true for Watchmen. I anticipated failure from the moment it wa

  • And my wife will tell you, I scream 'F*** you Rick Berman!' during the credits every time I see it.

    Which wouldn;t bother her so much if you weren't in the movie theater. :-D

    If I were her lawyer, that'd be the first article in the divorce papers. ;-) I tease. Mostly.

    Look, I enjoyed Star Trek. TOS and TNG and the first half of DS9 were great. A couple of the films were good, too. I even bought the After Dark Star Trek screen savers way back when. Haven't seen the new movie yet. When the TV franchise began to dumb down, I walked away. End of story. This emotionalism over it all... just never understood that

  • Just who is its audience?

    Remember the mini? Talking about a car here. It was a very cheap model, tiny but because of its price and low operating costs it had a market. Then it was re-invented and the result was a very small, expensive car, expensive to maintain.

    Basically, the designers of the new car ignored the audience that bought the original for its cheap price and instead aimed for another audience that over time either bought the mini to vamp it up or as a status symbol. It worked, to a degree. The

  • My own review... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danhuby (759002) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:23PM (#27880555) Homepage

    Here's my own review, for what it's worth:

    Within about 10 minutes I knew that Star Trek was back, and that this film is exactly what the franchise needs: some life breathing in to it - and who better to provide a new direction than J. J. Abrams, the co-creator of the hit series Lost.

    This is not a complete reboot or re-imagining but a prequel set just before the original series from the 1960s. It features a new cast taking up the original roles of Kirk, Spock and the crew.

    As the film opens we're placed in the middle of a space battle and straight away stylistic differences are apparent. The feel is much more gritty and realistic. When a hole is ripped in the ship, as well as the usual exterior shot this time we're shown the crew member's view as they are violently blown out of the ship, followed by the cold silence and emptiness of space. Camera work is sometimes of the cinéma vérité style often used today (e.g. with the reimagined Battlestar Galactica) which adds to the realism but can be a little headache inducing on the big screen.

    The sets and props from the original series would look out of place today so things have been updated visually. It's a fairly believable and realistic looking future based on the technology of today - so in place of the dials and buttons of the sixties series we have flat black touch screens; The Enterprise interior, instead of being multi-colour and angular is now clean and white with simple curved lines.

    As this is set before the original series it's nice to see that the characters are not their usual calm, professional and mature selves and are unrefined, undeveloped and rough around the edges. Kirk is like an immature teenager and angry at the world. Spock has not yet fully given up his emotions. Sulu is having trouble getting to grips with the ship's controls.

    Zachary Quinto is superb as Spock... as many have said, it's as if he was born to play the part.

    I'd heard good things about Simon Pegg's portrayal as Scotty but in truth his screen time is minimal and limited to the odd one or two mildly amusing one liners, not too dissimilar to the Scotty of the original series and films. His odd ewok-like alien sidekick was completely pointless, no doubt an attempt to add comic relief and appeal to younger viewers as with Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars, and the humour grates just as much.

    There are no complaints with the casting for the rest of the crew. McCoy, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov were all completely believable and worthy to take the places as the younger versions of the original crew.

    Story wise, the back story regarding characters is great. For me this would almost be enough, but there is also a non-too-original plot involving yet another super-villain hell bent on destroying the earth. (Why is it they always go for the earth anyway - doesn't that seem a bit earth-centric? Wasn't it established pretty early on that the federation already existed long before the earth joined? Anyway... moving on...).

    The plot reminded me a lot of the last Star Trek film - Nemesis - which also involved a rogue Romulan (OK, technically a Reman) who tried to destroy Earth. Given the overwhelmingly negative response to that film it would have been wise to come up with a completely different plot, but fortunately it doesn't spoil things too much.

    The plot also doesn't make a lot of sense. The villain - Nero - travels back in time to avenge the destruction of his home planet after the older Spock fails to save it. If he's travelled back in time though, why not attempt to avoid the future destruction of his home planet instead of going after Spock? And why go after someone who was only trying to help? You could put all this down to him being a maniac I suppose, but it just doesn't seem that credible, even for a Star Trek film involving time travel and warp drives and all the rest.

    One thing that surprised me was that it stuck to canon at all. Some differences can be explained by rift in the timeline (time t

  • Trekkie (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:25PM (#27880605) Journal

    Can someone just enjoy watching Star Trek without being a Trekkie? Yeah, I've watched them all (except Enterprise) but it's just a TV show, not part of my identity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wytcld (179112)

      And King Lear is just a play; the Bible is just a book; the Taj Mahal is just a building; the Mona Lisa is just a painting ... everything is just what it is. Or is it?

      And identity, is that pieced together from parts, or is it some sort of holographic interference field where all of our experiences - even TV shows - meld together into one large, partless whole of which the ego or persona can only be at best a small and shallow representation?

      Surely they can answer these questions in the next Star Trek instal

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:30PM (#27880685) Homepage

    In the first three paragraphs, the author makes all three of the most common English errors: to/too, its/it's, and then/than. Praise Bob, I'm glad he didn't screw up there/they're/their; that would have been too much to bear/bare (haha).

    But seriously, if you're going to submit a lengthy bit of prose to a popular website, please ask someone with a high-school understanding of English to proofread it for you. Everyone knows that Slashdot keeps no such talent on the payroll, so you shouldn't expect editing from the "editors."

  • well (Score:5, Funny)

    by hamburger lady (218108) on Friday May 08, 2009 @04:14PM (#27881335)

    the characters: they basically nailed everyone

    see, explicit sex is exactly what i thought was missing in all the previous start trek movies.

  • by UttBuggly (871776) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:25PM (#27882373)

    ...so I may be the Senior here. (kudos to RAH!)

    I fully admit to smoking the Trek crack since 1966. Hard habit to break!

    And I know it led me to enlist in the Air Force and end up at Edwards AFB in 1976. My clearance and job allowed me to get up close and personal with the real first spacecraft to be named Enterprise.

    So, TOS really meant a lot, especially at that time. The other cool thing was that my proximity to L.A. allowed me to see Star Wars 3 days after it premiered. Did not suck.

    In spite of that, I am not fanatic about the Trek. Of the series, I prefer TOS and Voyager. Of the movies, I think I'm in the majority with 2, 4, 6, and 8. Everything else was not-so-good.

    I'm going this weekend to see the new movie. I think it has a chance. I'd like to see 2 sequels that are even better. I think the first 3 Raiders movies were uniformly good, if for different reasons. There's no reason Abrams can't turn out 3 good movies. Hey, Judd Apatow hasn't really served up a turd yet, so this is doable.

    As for a future TV series, I don't know. Might seem too much like Galaxy Quest. Then again, if this movie and possible sequels get giant box office numbers, it may be a foregone conclusion.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:32PM (#27882455) Homepage

    It's an OK movie. If it weren't "Star Trek", it would probably rank with The Chronicles of Riddick.

    Annoyances:

    • Way too much lens flare and depth of focus manipulation. Even indoor scenes have lens flare. Somebody spent too much time pushing the buttons on the editor.
    • Somebody likes plumbing too much. Most of the interior scenes have vast amounts of piping and tankage. It looks like some of the shipboard shots were filmed in a modern brewery.
    • How did the Grand Canyon move to Iowa?
    • OK, the bad guys are attacking populated planets that are members of a military alliance by hovering in one place over the planet and lowering a drill? And nobody does anything about this? Even when they try it in populated areas? You'd think somebody might have something around that could fly and shoot, and with their planet being threatened, might use it.
    • If you thought close-range ship to ship marksmanship in Star Wars was bad, here it's worse. Nobody can hit consistently at point-blank range. It's 1880s gunnery technology. But they can latch onto an individual falling to the planet and beam them up.
    • Kirk's attitude wouldn't survive the first year at any known military academy. No matter who his father was.
    • Having escaped from a big ship under attack using a bunch of little shuttles, the crew would be POWs or dead. The shuttles can't fight and can't run.
    • Time travel. Bad time travel. The deus ex machina of bad SF.

    Maybe someday there will be a David Weber SF movie, one that makes military sense. This isn't it. It's a mediocre space opera.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fastolfe (1470)

      Somebody likes plumbing too much.

      Agreed. I think having lots of plumbing and tanks and the like could probably work, but it still felt like it was the interior of a terrestrial building: lots of wasted, empty space above "ground" level. This could have been done a lot better.

      Having escaped from a big ship under attack using a bunch of little shuttles, the crew would be POWs or dead. The shuttles can't fight and can't run.

      It's possible the kamikaze run by Kirk's father sufficiently disabled the ship so t

    • by SnowDog74 (745848) on Friday May 08, 2009 @07:15PM (#27883463)

      Much has been made about the lens flares but it is possible for indoor scenes that the lens flares were natural. If there were numerous lighting sources (and consider the bridge is, in fact, very brightly lit) just above the rim of the lens, the Panavision 2.39:1 anamorphic optics naturally produce substantial flares that stretch horizontally.

      It's a stylistic choice, and not necessarily a good one... but in the case of space there would actually be a hell of a lot of glare. If we are meant to be observers with a camera, the resulting glare from numerous bodies either directly emitting light or albedo would result in substantial haze and flares. The intensity of celestial light not occluded by an atmosphere is so great that astronauts in spacewalk wear helmets thinly anodized with 24k gold to avoid sunburn and blindness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It's an OK movie. If it weren't "Star Trek", it would probably rank with The Chronicles of Riddick.

      Annoyances:

      • Way too much lens flare and depth of focus manipulation. Even indoor scenes have lens flare. Somebody spent too much time pushing the buttons on the editor.

      No joke. I saw it on a pretty decent screen with a DLP projector and I thought I had temporary blindness from the flashes of light on the bridge. You know it is bad when JJ himself admits it is too much. http://io9.com/5230278/jj-abrams-admits-star-trek-lens-flares-are-ridiculous [io9.com]

      Somebody likes plumbing too much. Most of the interior scenes have vast amounts of piping and tankage. It looks like some of the shipboard shots were filmed in a modern brewery.

      Okay, I'm totally with you here. Is this ship steam powered? Do I need to go to YouTube and look up Steam Trek for inspiration?

      How did the Grand Canyon move to Iowa?

      Okay. I'll give this one to wild rain patterns in Iowa causing massive soil erosion. I can handle

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