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Review: The New Star Trek Movie was Great, but not “OMG! Amazing!”

8 May 2009 by

My friends and I went and saw the new Star Trek movie last night at our local IMAX theater, and I must say, we all thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It really was a pretty well executed, action packed thrill ride of a reboot that the Star Trek franchise needed. However, I’ve seen some other friends of mine raving about how “OMG! Amazing!” it was, and I’m just not there with them. Yes, it was great, but isn’t the best Trek movie out there, and it did have some moments that made my friends and I turn to each other and say “WTF?”

Let’s start from the beginning: the opening sequence of Kirk’s birth and destruction of the USS Kelvin was perfectly done. It was emotionally gripping, visually stunning, powerful, and heart pumping. It reminded me of the beginning of Deep Space Nine’s “Emissary” for all the right reasons. When the title finally came on screen, everyone was clapping, but you could tell they had just been hit by a ton of bricks emotionally.

I was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly these iconic Star Trek characters were recast. I had had some doubts when the cast had been announced originally, but each of the actors proved me wrong. Chris Pine was a great choice for Kirk, and he definitely had some moments where I saw a little William Shatner in there. Zachary Quinto was a perfect Spock, and he delivered a lot of lines that could have been straight from Leonard Nimoy’s mouth. Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu – they were all well cast. I especially loved McCoy.

But yes, the movie was action packed. It was fun. The dialogue was fantastic. The redesign of the ship and uniforms was slick and cool. I loved that they used the original series sound effects for various chirps, devices, and the doors. The new phasers were totally sick looking. The way the ships went to warp was beyond cool.

So why don’t I think the movie was “OMG! Amazing!”?

1. Spock and Uhura? What were the writers thinking? I think the Uhura/Spock thing was out of left field, and an attempt by producers to throw sex appeal into the movie to drive up revenue, and not to further the characters. It didn’t really serve a lot of purpose for the plot, and just didn’t need to be there. I heard a thousand fan girls scream out in agony when those two locked lips.

2. Kirk getting promoted to Captain right after the incident, despite being only a cadet, and almost being thrown out for cheating. Come on now, that wasn’t realistic what-so-ever. Totally unbelievable and a bad call on the writers’ part. Maybe a lieutenant, but captain? And over Spock and all the other officers ahead of him? This may be fiction, but it went way past reasonable suspension of disbelief.

3. The escape from the black hole was really bad science. If they dumped the warp cores, they would have stopped going to warp instantly and would have been immediately sucked into the hole before they could detonate. Even if they could have lasted the few seconds before the cores exploded, the explosion would have destroyed them, not propelled them out. The movie did have science consultants right? I’m not rocket scientist, but even I know that was a totally bullshit solution.

4. I thought Leonard Nimoy’s performance was one of the most lack luster in the entire film. I felt like we got Leonard Nimoy wearing Spock’s ears, but not Spock himself. If you watch Nimoy’s performance in this new film, and compare it to any other (even his episodes in Next Generation), I think you’ll see what I mean. I feel like Nimoy has sort of forgotten how to be Spock, and only knows how to be Leonard Nimoy now. It was a bit disheartening, and made the cameo a bit less impactful than it should have been.

So there you have it. A great movie with some “WTF?” moments that knock it down from “OMG! Amazing!” to just “great.” Will I see it again? Of course. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. But it isn’t the best Trek film ever made, and I do wish some things had been done differently. But a valiant effort on J. J. Abram’s part, and I do hope they do more movies with this cast.

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