Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek

So, here’s my confession: I’ve never seen anything related to Star Trek… ever. No movies, no TV shows, no cartoons, nothing. However, I don’t see this as a fault. In a way, I’m the best possible audience member to view J.J. Abrams’ new film subjectively, judging it solely for its content, not how it lives up to its predecessors.

Having said that, Star Trek honestly didn't wowed me in any real way. As summer, do-or-die, popcorn-friendly cinema goes, it’s right on point, but in basing it on any other criteria, it falls flat. But have no fear, the film is filled with cheap laughs of slapstick humor, lasers, half naked chicks, fights; basically any fanboy’s wetdream.

Midwestern reckless rebel James Kirk (newcomer Chris Pine), is recruited by captain Pike (a solid Bruce Greenwood) to join the Starfleet Academy. Kirk barely puts up a fight, joining almost immediately, and off we go.

Kirk has dreams of becoming as honorable a soldier (are they soldiers?) as his father, George, a slain hero who died at the hands of baddie psycho, captain Nero (Eric Bana). In the academy, Kirk makes a few buddies, chases a hesitant love interest in Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and pisses off the very smart, very control Spock (Heroes’ Zachary Quinto). Through a series of overly convenient sidesteps, Kirk ends up on the USS Enterprise, fighting against the same crew that killed his pop.

That’s as much of the plot as I care to remember, being as that most of it is rather forgettable. You’ve probably heard that Leonard Nimoy shows up as an older Spock via another convenient plot device involving some sort of time travel that I never fully understood.

Despite its few strong moments, including a badass fight on top of a giant laser beam (is that what it is?) drilling down to the core of a planet, Star Trek wasn’t enough to keep me involved. Take, for instance, the constant teleporting that appears to be everyone’s favorite method of travel. Usually the person has to be standing still, but sometimes they can be plucked right out of falling, thin air, and magically teleported back onto the ship. That’s okay. But why do Kirk and Sulu (John Cho) have to parachute down through space onto the giant laser? Why can’t they just be teleported? I don’t get it.

Another annoying tendency: whenever you watch any movie with a flashlight, you know for certain that the flashlight’s beam will shine directly into the screen, creating an annoying light flare, right? Well, Star Trek doesn’t have any flashlights, but those light flares somehow beam their way onto the screen every few seconds. Whether from an overhead light, a car, motorcycle, or literally out of nowhere, you’ll find yourself squinting several times. And I wasn’t alone, the older couple sitting next to me grew increasingly aggravated by the beams, at one point the woman shrieked: “What the hell is with all the lights? I’m going to have a damn seizure.”

Maybe I’m judging this a little hard. But no matter the genre, I try to pick apart every movie the same. Will you like the film if you’re a diehard Trekkie? Absolutely. Just as I’m sure you’ll appreciate the Lord of the Rings films more if you’ve read the books. But as a complete outsider, I found Star Trek slow and overhyped. Although, I hardly doubt my opinion is shared by Hollywood big shots. No, my guess is we can all expect to see much more of Abrams’ Trek’s for years to come. C-

Note: apparently I’m not the only one picking this film apart. This site goes into great detail as to how ludicrous some aspects of the film are. Oh yeah, warning: SPOILERS.


  1. Beam me up, Scotty.

    Seriously....the original TV series is truly light years above all else.

    Check it out if it is even available on DVD

  2. that lens flare thing i found the answer to on imdb trivia.

    i really do agree with you about everything, it was just a decent summer movie, nothing more. well cast but... that's about it.

    The film was shot in 2.35:1 anamorphic Panavision, which is director of photography Daniel Mindel's preferred format (he shot J.J. Abrams' previous film, Mission: Impossible III (2006), in Panavision as well). To take full advantage of the format, Mindel caught as many lens flares (a photographic effect where light sparkles everywhere) in the film as possible, to create a sense of wonder that enhanced the film: "There's something about these flares, especially in a movie that potentially could be incredibly sterile and overly controlled by CGI, that's just incredibly unpredictable and gorgeous." He would create flares by shining a flashlight or pointing a mirror at the camera lens, or using two cameras (and therefore two lighting set-ups) simultaneously.

  3. wow, I can't believe that much deliberate work went into creating such an annoying effect.