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Review: Star Trek

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Jeri and I saw the new Star Trek movie last night, and are taking Nicholas to see it this afternoon. My general impression as a moviegoer was that it was an excellent action-adventure flick that I enjoyed.

My impression as an original series Star Trek fan was more mixed. On the positive side, I think the acting and characterization was very good, particularly Quinto as Spock and Urban as McCoy. They did a fine job reflecting the job the original actors and writers did, but without being parodies or imitations. Pine as Kirk was solid, especially in the second half of the movie. They finally did Uhura justice. On the negative side, I thought they didn't do enough with Sulu, and I thought Chekov was a bit too much of a parody (although the original wasn't exactly a fleshed-out character). I did not at like the way they played Scotty for comic relief; the original character, especially in the first two seasons, was far more serious. This wasn't Simon Pegg's fault; it was the way it was written. On the other hand, I thought Bruce Greenwood was excellent as Christopher Pike.

The story was okay; with some very poignant moments. I wasn't super-impressed with the villain; I thought his motivations and background needed to be fleshed out more. Without getting into spoilers, there were huge plotholes, I hated the way Kirk's Kobayashi Maru test was played for laughs, and the science was awful even by Star Trek standards. The canon Nazi in me has some quibbles, particularly some things that can't be explained by the "alternative timeline" handwave the writers used. I understand that most people don't really care about that, but it bugged me.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was the "reimagined" ship itself. Obviously you can't expect an exact duplication of the 1960s TV ship on the 2000s big screen, but I just really hated the production design in general, especially the interior of the Enterprise,  which seemed much more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek. The bridge was awful. Frankly  I liked the USS Kelvin interiors (and exterior for that matter) a lot more than the Enterprise. I don't think Abrams took the Enterprise seriously enough. . .the ship itself is a character, as important as Kirk or Spock. It needed to be updated and more detailed than the 60s ship. But as far as I'm concerned, what they did to the ship was the equivalent of changing Spock's blood color from green to purple because purple is a cooler color.

My beef ultimately is that the "fun thrill ride" and the strong character moments could remain exactly as they are, but that a lot of the flaws could have been fixed with a bit more thought given to the script, and much better thought given to the ship. They did a great job updating the uniforms, for example. . .so why does engineering look so stupid?

Overall it was a very good film and I recommend it if you like the action-adventure and sci-fi genres. But I have to admit, I left the film feeling rather. . .old, I guess. The film was flashy and glitzy and fun, but I felt sort of empty afterward. Wrath of Khan remains the best of the Trek films in my opinion, and there are many first and second season episodes with much more depth than this film. But I guess that's really not what summer moviegoing is about.