I don’t normally do this, but something was nagging at me and I had watched the new Star Trek movie again. Friends asked me about the movie and I had even done a video blog review of the film, but something kept holding me back until I saw it again.

A little sidebar that will make sense later in the article.

I went to Toys R Us the other day and I saw a rack of toys for the new Star Trek movie. Months earlier, in anticipation for the movie, they had released toys from the original series like phasers and tricorders. They were fun little devices, built really well and had all the bells and whistles of expensive props I’ve seen online for hundreds of dollars. I bought a phaser and people thought it was the coolest thing.

The props they had for the new movie looked a bit kiddie. They had bright colors and looked like toys, not like props.

That was the feeling I got when watching the new Star Trek movie. In the old series of movies, as clunky as they may have been, the look and feel was like the prop toys from the original series. They were made with care, with trying to give someone something to hold and say, yep, I remember this and it feels like
I think it should be. The new movie is a lot of flash, a lot of things that kind of look cool on first viewing, but the second time around it falls apart fast.

The script we got with this film has some of the biggest plot holes I’ve ever seen in a major film. It is something that might not have happened in a Star Trek film when you had geeks at the controls. I’m going to pass on most of the scientific errors, but I have to comment on the destruction of a planet in the movie. If you’re using a singularity (black hole) to destroy a planet, it will affect the gravitational forces in the area. You can’t be close enough on planet B to see the destruction of planet A and not have planet B get shifted from its orbit and causing some serious issues. The whole plot point of Wrath of Khan was that the destruction of the planet near Khan’s planet blew up, causing a shift in orbit and making the relative paradise a living hell, thus fueling his revenge.

That aside, the plot point that made be hate the movie was something a writer should have figured out and corrected in the first draft. Our crew gets on the Enterprise and heads to Vulcan. Immediately after going into warp, and this is made clear in the editing and dialog, there is a shipwide message given saying they will be at Vulcan in three minutes. The music and tension mounts as Kirk has to get to the bridge to warn them of the trap, because hey, we were just told they left Earth and would be at Vulcan in three minutes.

They get to Vulcan, bad guys do bad things, stuff happens, then the bad guys head to Earth. We’re about 30 minutes into the movie at this point and the next hour is spent giving rather necessary storyline, except someone forgot that a) the bad guys have warp drive and b) we were told that by maximum warp the distance between Earth and Vulcan is 3 minutes. They even mention almost at the end of the hour where we have to have the necessary storyline that the only way to slow down the enemy ship is to get them out of warp, even though it’s a 3 minute trip from Vulcan to Earth and they have spent the last hour bickering, fighting, going the wrong direction an essentially trying to tell a messy story.

Yes it looked good, had great explosions and had some decent people do a good job of playing familiar characters in their youth, but the screw up on the timeframe and distance burned me and really didn’t allow me to enjoy the movie.

There’s something else, which isn’t so much of a complaint but an observation for the next movie. Can we please have some other motivation for villains other than their wife, child, family, planet was destroyed and it was Kirk, Spock, The Federations fault? This has been true of the older movies and this one, but it seems the writers can’t get Wrath of Khan out of their heads and they want to have their movie outdo Khan. I used to think the issue with Star Trek villains was the whole great literature spouting stuff that was distracting, but in seeing this one, with a rather refreshing natural speech pattern, he still went crazy because his wife was killed when his planet was destroyed and he had to stop that. It was good the first three times but I think it’s been five or six villains ready to ‘destroy the galaxy’ to get back at those who they feel messed up a good thing.

As a popcorn movie, and really putting your brain on hold, I guess this is a good Star Trek movie, but honestly I can’t recommend it because it was just written in a way that is lazy.



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Movie Review: Star Trek - May 20, 2009
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