Homer's Travels: Movie: Star Trek

Friday, May 08, 2009

Movie: Star Trek

I don't think there are any spoilers in this review.  You be the judge.

Until 2005, the year Enterprise was canceled, I was a Star Trek fan.  I remember asking my Mom to describe the episode she had seen the night before - I was too young to stay up and watch it myself.  She wasn't that into it so I had to wait until it re-ran to get my first real Star Trek fix.  I didn't consider myself hard core - I never owned a uniform or wore pointy ears - but, by most people's standards, I was a full blooded trekker .

In college I would come in from eating dinner in the cafeteria and sit down to watch the first few minutes of each show.  We played a game on my dorm floor to see who could name the episode soonest.  My record was somewhere between three and five seconds.  To get my Trek fix I would read Trek novels.  There are a lot of them but very few good Trek writers.  

When I started working in 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation started and, for the next 25 years, I was thoroughly saturated with Trek goodness.  The last series, Enterprise, was canceled right when it was starting to get good.

The cancellation of the fifth Trek series was soon followed by my loosing interest in most things Star Trek.  I no longer read the books.  I no longer was interested in watching the old shows.  I decided to move on.

When the new movie was announced, I was surprisingly underwhelmed.  The excitement that I used to have for the TV shows and the movies (even the bad ones) wasn't there.  Up to a few days ago my plan was to wait for it to come out on DVD and then I might rent it.  I wasn't sure.  When old Facebook friends found out that I might not go see it they seemed flabbergasted.  I don't think they recognized me.  The Wife too was a little surprised.  All this surprise made me reconsider and, today, we went to see the new Star Trek reboot ... in IMAX.

We sat in a theater surrounded by the majority of Omaha's IT staff.  If you had a computer or network problem this afternoon, good luck.  The movie started late - technical difficulties.  I think the polarity of the tachyon field flux modulator was inverted or something.  Actually, the previews came up inverted and upside down and it took them 20 minutes to make it right.

The movie.  It was a good movie.  Not all trekkers may agree.  Hard core Trek fans religiously follow canon.  When the writers sat down to write this movie, I think they said: "We're going to shred canon and we'll make them like it!"  They then proceeded to create a semi-plausible way to explain it all away and rip the canon apart into tiny little bits.  Some fans will hate this.  I'm not so bothered by it.  There was always something so restrictive about canon and Trek wore it like a straight jacket.  This movie may finally set Trek free.

What did I like about the movie?  Well, besides the loosening of the canon bindings, they dirtied the place up a bit.  Removed some of the perfect world that was Trek.  The action was cool.  The actors played their roles well.  Technobabble was kept to a minimum.  The humor seemed spot on.

What didn't I like?  I realize this is science fiction, but I prefer more Science with my Fiction.  The science in the movie was very weak in spots.  The time travel (I hate time travel), supernova, and singularity talk seemed way off.  I especially was irritated by one non-scientific macguffin that drove the whole plot - it reminded me of some of the technobabble driven plots on Voyager .  The actions of the villain, after he found himself in his situation at the start of the movie, didn't do the smatest thing (If he had done it he would have won and the movie would have been pretty dull I guess).  I didn't like Chekov's accent.  You can't see Vulcan from Delta Vega (OK - that was a hard core Trek geek comment but it's true).  There is also the question of the deep gorge/trench in Iowa.  I wish I knew where that was.  Looks like a good place to hike ... if it existed.

So,  for what it's worth, a modern take on the space opera, I liked it.  I don't think it will relaunch the whole Trek worship thing, at least not in me.  It depends on how they follow up the movie.  More movies is the most likely path but it gets tiring watching the same ship and crew save the world/universe over and over again.  A series would be better as the adversaries can be made less grandiose, the situations so less world destroying, and the chances for character development would be greater.  We'll have to wait and see.

One last point.  All you who have seen the movie, when the new Spock was on screen, did you have the urge to yell: "Watch out! It's Sylar !" like I did?  Or when you saw Harold ... I mean Sulu ... sitting at the helm that Kirk should have said: "Set a course to White Castle." or was that just me?


  1. I wonder if the Trekkies who worship "canon" ever take the time to remember that "canon" was established by a bunch of guys at Desilu Studios who were making it up as they went, just like every other production...