Well, yeah, of course, I saw Star Trek this weekend.
Okay, first of all, if you’re an old-school, Trek purist, you will hate this movie. But, if you like fun, watchable, well-acted, well-directed science-fiction movies, and can accept that this movie isn’t the series and steps outside the established television canon, then you might just enjoy this film. Seriously, if you can set aside your ideas about what this movie should be because it’s a “Star Trek” movie, you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more. Personally, I liked the movie just fine.
So, this is a new origin. This movie throws out the old Trek history and writes it anew for a whole new audience. In fact, director and producer J. J. Abrams has basically said that this movie is for a new generation of potential Star Trek fans, and not really for the “old guard” at all. Now, the hard-core Trek nerds are all irritated by that, but, well, that’s tough. This movie is just what the franchise needed; a total reboot. Well, actually, it’s not a total reboot, since Leonard Nimoy does, in fact, show up as an old Spock, but, mostly, this is a fresh start. Obviously, box office receipts will determine if an sequels are made, but, from what I’ve seen so far, I can’t imagine that this will be the last we see of the Enterprise.
So, here’s where potential spoilers start. If you don’t want me to accidentally reveal anything really integral to the plot, stop reading now and skip down to the last paragraph for my final review summary.
Right, now that the pansies are all gone, here’s the dirt.
This movie breaks canon in a number of ways. For one, all the major characters get brought together in this first mission. And, when I mean all the major characters, I mean not just Kirk and Bones and Spock, but also Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Chekhov, Nurse Chapel, and even Captain Pike. So, yeah, that’s totally not how the series went at all, but, you know what? It was done pretty well. I mean, I bought the whole thing. It worked. And, we got to see a little history for the two really big characters, Spock and Kirk. Again, different than the series, but very good. In many ways, it was more believable, to be honest, more adult in a way that I would hope to see in the movies.
In the series, Kirk was always portrayed as a bit of a lothario, but in the movie, we actually see him hitting on women. We get to meet Bones as he’s running away from his ex-wife and debts, even though he’s terrified of space. We get to see Spock as a troubled youngster and a stiff-necked Starfleet Academy instructor. In fact, he’s the one who programmed the infamous Kobyashi Maru scenario which no one was supposed to be able to beat, and just how Jim Kirk beat it. In fact, once they work through that little bit, it forms the basis of their friendship. It’s all done in such a way that the narrative flows well and everything makes sense, but in a cinematic way which is really better, I think, than the old series. And, yes, I did love the original Star Trek series, so if you’re holding on to that as “better” because it was the original, get over it.
Now, I’ll bet you’re wondering how Nimoy’s Spock gets worked into the movie, right? If you’re a real fan of the series, I’m sure you’ve already worked it out. Time Travel! And, yes, there is at least a brief discussion of the time travel paradox that always seems to get set up when that happens. Solved, as always, with that handy theoretical construct the alternate time-line, or parallel universe. So, what’s been set up here is a brand new Star Trek universe with the great characters that Gene Roddenberry created, but the possibility of new adventures done in surprising ways. Yay! Finally, a reboot of a classic setting done with something approaching brilliance! And, it’s all internally consistent with the original universe.
Now, I know this weekend was big for this film, but it remains to be seen how the fans will embrace it. Personally, I think if they’re fools if they don’t get behind this film. The series has been played out and run into the ground. The Star Trek franchise absolutely needs to have a complete reset like this and if we really want to see new movies, we need to get the old guard out to see this movie and enjoy it. Or, maybe not. Maybe the new fans will drive this film and all the great new Star Trek films it will produce. I hope so.
So, in short, I think the new Star Trek is a great movie. I would totally be willing to see this again, which, again, is good because I very well may be going with friends who couldn’t go when I saw it Friday. Also, I completely, whole-heartedly recommend this film to people who loved the old series and people who weren’t big fans, but love good science-fiction films.
It’s a great movie and I think everyone should get out and see it at least once, if not twice.