May 11

Another perspective on Trek – from guest blogger Kebes

Nique’s editor’s comments are in italics.

Well it was entertaining. The various nods to fans and inside jokes were well-done. And I personally have been saying for awhile that a reboot (using time travel or alternate universe) would be a good idea. But this is not what I had in mind.

Ultimately what they came up with wasn’t consistent with established Trek, even allowing them the massively-massive changes that a new timeline entails. The Romulans don’t act very much like the Romulans we used to know.  (Ed. Agreed.  The Romulans presented here had nothing to do with Romulans as we know them.  They might as well have been a brand new race.) The technology isn’t consistent with what we know (e.g. even by the time of TNG warp transport is very delicate; and planet-to-planet is impossible). The Federation time agents from the 28th century don’t intervene for some reason (okay now I’m just being a jerk).

I do like the new Kirk.  As with you, I’ve always found Kirk to be a douche. This guy was more lovable and endearing.  And he was pig-headed in a useful way. And talented.  But his rise to command doesn’t make sense. In the original timeline, Kirk was more ambitious than pig-headed.  He was rightly promoted to captain. But this time Pike just randomly says “Oh I see you’ve just graduated from the academy, know nothing about running a ship, and have illegally gotten on-board?  How about you be my 1st officer?” WTF? It makes no sense.  And it’s unnecessary. The original version made much more sense: Kirk was a bit crazy but ultimately too talented to hold back. New Kirk is basically promoted because Pike has some hero-nepotism bullshit about his dad.

I have and will always love Spock. This new Spock does a very good job of portraying the layers of logic and emotion. And yet I can’t help but feel that his character development was rushed. I mean, he comes to terms with his emotion and humanity in a couple of hours.  In the first incarnation of TOS it took years. Yeah, I know it’s a movie not a TV show.  Even so, it seemed rushed.   And some things strain credibility to the point of breaking.  Spock ejects Kirk onto a fairly dangerous ice-planet rather than just put him in the brig? Why? Kirk and old-Spock end up just a few hundred meters from one another? But that planetoid must be frackin’ huge to have Earth-like gravity. And old-Spock endangers the life of ~10 billion humans on Earth in order to foster a friendship between his young self and Kirk? Why? Why doesn’t he use more of his super-advanced knowledge from-the-future to help? I would have liked Spock (both young and old) to behave more rationally and logically. Rather than just being servants of advancing the plot. (Ed. Yeah, it seriously bugged that oldSpock was willing to fuck everyone over just because he wanted youngSpock and Kirk to make out.  But I guess he had serious faith in their ability to pull it off together.)

The Spock-Uhura thing is a little too “teen drama” for my tastes. It’s inconsistent, again, because Vulcans have very special (with good reason!) rules about emotions and especially mating. I don’t buy that he would give into carnal love so quickly and easily. Spock is supposed to start as fundamentally conflicted: denying his human half and only eventually (after *years* of interacting with Kirk and other humans) coming to realize that humans have redeeming qualities, and that he should respect his human half. But in this movie he’s prideful about his human half and even is making out with human girls? Yeah I know it’s an alternate timeline, but there’s nothing in Spock’s history that would cause him to deviate from what we saw before.  Moreover, it kills some of the most interesting things about his character.  (Ed. Also not really believable that he would make out with her in public in the transporter room.  Though he had just lost his mother and his father just admitted to loving his mother so I guess he was feeling particularly emotional and self-indulgent.)

Ultimately, the movie failed in delivering what Trek is “supposed” to be about. Trek is about moral dilemmas, the struggles of the human condition, and the ultimate triumph of human ingenuity and morality.  Humans rock ass.  But instead of Roddenberry’s post-money utopia, we have Nokia product placement. Instead of a moral dilemma, we have space cowboys.  (Ed. I fully agree with this, but I also admit that Rodenberry’s utopic vision of the future is a bit of a cheese platter.  I’ve never been fully on board with it.  One of the reasons DS9 was so good from a dramatic perspective is that it sometimes messed with the Rodenberry rules.  In fact, I’ve long believed that they should do a series based on Section 31.)

Still, it was entertaining on many levels. Many of the nods to fans were too cute for me not to laugh and smile. But I know that if “Enterprise” (the show) had never existed, and I’d seen this movie, I would have puked in disgust. Instead, my standards have been so lowered that a slick action-flick with cute lines is now considered “pretty good.”

(Ed. Good points, well made.  In the end, this is a good movie but not really a good Star Trek movie.)


2 Comments so far

  1. kebes May 11th, 2009 1:11 pm

    I agree with myself.

    And I agree with your comments. Rodenberry’s pure vision is a bit bland. I do enjoy some grey in my morality, and that is one of the reasons DS9 was so fascinating. But at a minimum good Trek should be about the dilemma, and the thinking required to deal with the dilemma… and not just about the action.

  2. Nique May 11th, 2009 1:31 pm

    Double agreed. (or is it quadruple at this point?)

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