The Sci-fi Fantasy Reader's Review

My Comments on Science Fiction / Fantasy Books and other related media.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness

I remember watching Star Trek, the original series as a young girl and inevitabIy became a trekkie, of sorts. I never been to a Star Trek convention or had an urge to dress up as one of the characters either but I'm am a fan of Star Trek, the original series and all the spin-offs, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and all the movies. So I believe I have the knowledge to review the two newer Star Trek movies.

The Star Trek movie of 2009 was a total failure for me. As I'm sitting in the dark movie theater watching a very young James Kirk driving a stolen Ford Mustang to the music of the Beastie Boys blaring from the radio.  I felt something was wrong with this scene, it is suppose to be over 100 years in the future so would this be possible?  For one thing, will the music of the Beastie Boys, who I like, be what Classical music is now? Maybe but it still wasn't right but it did reveil the nature of James Kirk which sets the pace for the entire movie.  
The Captain Kirk of old was definitely present in this younger incarnation with his risk taking, head strong attitude but he isn't a Star Fleet Academy cadet when we first see him as a young man. Captain Pike who in the original series Kirk doesn't meet him until later and Pike is a quadriplegic. Spook was assigned as an officer to Captain Pike before the being science officer to Captain Kirk on the Enterprise.
As I was watching the movie in the dark I was shocked and dismay to see that passionate kiss between Spock and Uhura. Spock in this movie is more at one with himself then the Spock of the original series who was forever fighting between being a Vulcan and a human. In the movie, Vulcan the planet is destroyed and Spock is now in two versions of himself. Can that really happen, wouldn't the older Spock disappeared with the planet being destroyed or isn't there a rule somewhere that states you can be in two places at once? In many sci-fi books where time travel occurs the universe will destablize when you meet yourself.  And his relationship with Uhura, well his mother was human and his father when questioned about his marriage just states "It was the logical thing to do".  
I do like the other characters like Bones, Dr McCoy who we see how his friendship with Kirk developes and Sulu is more of a main character in the movie then in the series, then there's young Ensign Chekov who is eager to prove his worth and Scotty, I love that he has an alien friend, of course Simon Pegg fits well as Scotty.
The first Star Trek movie stands alone as with some relevance to the original series but Star Trek Into the Darkness is another story.
I dislike when directors film remakes, do we really need to see it again when the first movie was such a hit with fans? This is what I would ask J. J. Abrams about his Kahn version in this Star Trek Into Darkness. I was not as it was before.
I didn't understand the begining of the movie when Chris Pine's Kirk and Karl Urban's McCoy are running through a forest with a scroll while being pursued by the native inhabitants. The world is going to explode and the Enterprise is there to stop it but what was the scroll about when in the end of the pursuit, Kirk leaves it for the inhabitants? The Kirk is reprimanded with Pike taking over as Captain of the Enterprise. The Prime Directive prohibits interference with a society so Kirk broke this rule when showing the for native society their starship. We see the natives then honoring the starship as a god. The rest of the movie had many unsettling issues.
Benedict Cummberbatch played his Kahn well but without the history that links him to Captain Kirk it wasn't a powerful movie this time. I remember when I first say the Wrath of Kahn in the theater, a week before that I watched Space Seed on the television. Space Seed is the episode on the original series that we are introduced to Ricardo Montalban's Kahn Noonien Singh and his other genetically altered companions on a drifting ship, the SS Botany Bay. So when I finally watched Wrath of Kahn in that dark theater it was had a stronger storyline then this newer version. I will admit that the Wrath of Kahn had some holes that I just gloss over when watching it but the main conflict is between Captain Kirk and Kahn Noonien Singh. The battle of wits in the final scene is engaging with the recital of Melville's Moby Dick, "To the last, I will grapple with thee...from Hell's hear, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" (IMBD) Very poetic.  Leonard Nimoy's appearances in both movies did lend credibility as an old Spock from the older time frame, but it was weird when Zachary Quinto's Spock asking advise from Leonard Nimoy's Spock about Kahn.
In this incarnation, Kirk hasn't graduated from Star Fleet Academy but he's a full fledge captain. In the first movie he is suspended from classed because of cheating the Kobayashi Maru and then after saving earth they give him a Captaincy. This brings disbelief into this movie, to be a successful movie there needs to be a belief in the subject and in the characters.  Kirk then leaves the Bridge to Sulu and goes on an away mission to the Klingon homeworld. I hated that even in the original series, doesn't the captain go down with the ship? And in the original series, Captain Pike doesn't meet Captain Kirk like in the movie but in the future when Pike is a quadriplegic from an accident and is sent back to a Talos IV, where he can have an ellusion of being himself again. Spock was assigned to the Enterprise as Junior Science Officer under Captain Pike.
In the Wrath of Kahn, we are introduced to Carol Marcus and David Marcus who is Kirk's son, both are scientist on a research vessel out in space but in the Star Trek into Darkness, Carol Marcus is in a Lieutenant in Star Fleet and she cons her way to the Starship Enterprise as a Science Officer. In the end she stays aboard the Enterprise even though Spock is also the Science Officer. It is a cheeky way to advance the story of Kirk and Marcus. I also found the ending where Kirk dies from radiaction poisoning as Spock was in the Wrath of Kahn. They even did the pressing of hands through the glass wall and Spock crying "Kahn!".  Remakes are awful and unimaginative and this scene proves it. Then taking Kahn's blood which we are told repairs injury rapidly and injecting Kirk with it.  Earlier Doctor McCoy is experimenting with the blood on a dying Tribble and the blood reanimates it.
It would have been a much better movie if it was center around a Klingon confrontation or the Enterprise going on " a five-year mission: to explore strange and new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

I would not recommend either of these new Star Trek movies to anyone who is a true Trekkie fan. Only the unknowledgeable would enjoy them as stand alone Star Trek movies.

Photo of Star Trek crew by

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! we agree completely on major issues that movie had! my husband almost walked out of the theater when we saw it.

    i am not a fan of the new J J Abrams Star Trek movies,not at all. Sure, they are fun action movies, but they do not feel like they are part of the Star Trek world. i do need to thank J J Abrams for something, he has turned me into a Trekkie, in the traditional sense!