A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.
Spoiler-ish review follow.
In all honesty, I was expecting the movie to blow. I saw the trailers and they looked pretty shit. So I was pretty surprised that the movie was better than I expected. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I wished.
First thing, special effects (it’s sci-fi, it’s supposed to make a difference.) They are good, in a sense that they kept it out of the plot. As in the series (all series), technology is part of the universe, but it’s not the changing factor. Same goes here.
The Enterprise is redesigned with more fluffy stuff. No more black consoles everywhere and weird, non-sensical flashing lights everywhere. You have transparent consoles and the general look is more whiter than the original. It makes sense, if you consider the leap the actual technology took in those years since the original series.
The plot is also ok-ish, but… there is something missing there. I mean, it’s not bad, there are no holes but it doesn’t totally feel like Star Trek. You have a guy looking for revenge purely for the revenge itself. In all the series, everyone is doing something based on their cultures: Humans like to explore, as do Vulcans (in their reclusive way), Klingons seek honor above everything else, Cardassians and Romulans want to expand their respective empires, Ferengis would do anything for profit and things like that. The main villain is a Romulan, but he doesn’t seem to be acting “for the Empire” although he cites that as one of his motives.
Another plot thing that feels wrong is that the Enterprise, the new flagship of the Federation, is assigned a full crew of cadets instead of a veteran crew. I mean, you have the best ship you could ever build, you have at least 12 other ships around with a crew with more experience and… would you assign some not-yet-out-of-training cadets to it? That doesn’t make any sense.
Acting/characters development is also ok-ish. In a sense, I was expecting Zachary Quinto to, at some point, “do a Sylar” and cut someone’s forehead with his finger. But, for some reason, you never expect him to do such thing in the movie, which seems he did a good job portraiting something that it’s not Sylar. And, honestly, at some point, he did seemed to be Leonard Nimoy and the original Spock. Also, the idea of explore more deeply the human side of Spock seemed pretty good for the movie. I mean, the original Spock was a Vulcan above everything else, even if he had a bit of make fun of himself — and that’s as far as he went in the original series. The new Spock is way more dimensional than the older counterpart, which is incredible good to show how he have a human nature after all.
Chris Pike, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be Kirk. At all. I can’t blame the actor himself, but I guess the script, although focusing in the first years of those, doesn’t pay the proper respect to Kirk. In the original series, Kirk was the damn bastard you’d follow without hesitation. In this movie, he’s just a damn bastard. At some scene, when he’s running away from a big monster, I really wished he wouldn’t escape and that would be his end. “Please, remove that guy from the movie.” But, alas, he survive.
Also, it seems that new version of Kirk have some miraculous healing factor. He hurts his hand while fighting in a platform, only to take the bandages off a few hours later when he is thrown out of the Enterprise. And a couple of bruises around his left eye (after getting into some fights) slowly heals themselves in also a couple of hours.
Simon Pegg, playing the bit of Montgomery Scott, is… bleh. I didn’t like it, mostly ’cause I know the history of James Doohan. And, honestly, making Scott as a comedy relief (in the “pie in your face” sense) it’s just plain wrong. I mean, someone who personally took someone out of a suicide and fought in wars should at least have a most respectful representation of their most famous character.
McCoy is also bleh. DeForest Kelley’s McCoy was the guy that know morals above everything, even if that meant breaking laws. He was the bastion of “what is right” against “what is in the books” (which is exactly the opposite of Spock.) But, right in the middle of the movie, he does what is immoral and wrong at the same time. And, in the end, his character never get enough time to get a proper development. He’s just the guy in the background with a well known name which says a couple of lines and then vanishes.
I guess a lot of people would say “the appearance of Nero fucks up with the old timeline, so things are completely different now, including people.” Well, ok, but, for an old time trekkie, it still feels that those things really annoyed me, ’cause they were not the problem with the series. It was, actually, one of the best baselines for any series.
But not everything is “screw the old series” in this. There are several “echoes” from the original series: A “red shirt” (not shirt in this case) dying seconds after jumping into a mission, Christopher Pike (the original Enterprise captain, not the actor) in a wheelchair and even Orion girls appear in the movie.
Overall, I’d say it’s a good movie, although I would expect something more.