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Star Trek
skitten, sheherazahde and I went to see Star Trek1 on Saturday.

My thoughts... For good or bad, it's Star Trek (and by "bad", I mean the military protocol is for shite, they have a tube full of water labeled "inert reactant" (water is rarely either, and reactants are by definition not inert), etc). It definitely felt like a pilot for a future series, which may be good or bad.

The good side is that the effects are superb, the writing was good, except for the distinctly Trek-like issues I mentioned above, and the actors all handle the roles well.

The bad side is two-fold: first, some folks will be disappointed by the deliberate breaking-with-continuity this movie introduces. The movie makes no bones about it: it sets up an alternate timeline so that future series/movies which use this as a basis don't have to follow "known" canon. That is, to my mind, a somewhat minor point. The more major point is that the new actors will forever be in the shadow of the original actors. Not all the actors have this problem. Chris Pine did a good job of keeping Kirk Kirk, while at the same time not being Shatner. Likewise, Zoe Saldaña made Uhura her own, but I found Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban's performances to be too derivative of Walter Koenig and DeForest Kelly's takes on the characters. Urban specifically sounded in parts like he was channelling Kelly. Many of the actors admit to taking deliberate inspiration from their predecessor, but I feel that's a mistake. I don't want to see Urban playing Kelly playing Bones, I want to see Urban playing Bones. If, instead of Kirk/Spock/Bones/Uhura/Sulu/Chekov, they had picked another crew to follow, the actors would have been able to better make them their own.

Another gripe with the film is the comedy. To the best of my recollection, most previous incarnations of Star Trek were not played for the jokes. While there may have been humor, everything was played as a drama. The major exceptions being ST:TVH ("Everyone remember where we parked", "He did too much LDS in the 60's", "A keyboard, how quaint", etc) and perhaps later movies. In this movie, there were whole scenes which existed for comedic intent (the running series of complications from a simple medical procedure, for instance), or running gags which popped up periodically in the film for no reason other than a laugh. Chekov's accent was bad enough without deliberate gags centered around it.

There were, however, subtle jokes which might go past without notice. An away mission features Kirk, Sulu, and a barely-named third crewman. I didn't miss that the third crewman's armor was red, but it went by fast (and so did he). Other reviewers pointed out the intriguing parallel in one scene to a similar sequence in ST:TVH involving an ontological paradox.

Overall, I felt it was a good movie, and worth watching. I wish to was done a little more "straight", and I fear that the actors won't be able to live up to their predecessors if they keep trying to be "inspired" by them.

1Does anyone know what the proper HTML semantic markup for the title of a work is? The standard form I was taught for English writing is that titles of "long works" (movies, books, TV series, magazines) should be italicized (or underlined, if you can't italicize, as underlining tells the typesetter to set in italic type). While HTML does have the "i" tag, it's considered visual markup, not semantic. The choices I know of (em, strong, cite, sub, sup,

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<cite> is considered the correct form for titles of works.

It's definitely Trek, with all the things that implies--including a deep, profound, blatant disregard for basic physics on the part fo the writers. (Black holes don't act like that. If you're in orbit around a planet, and the planet becomes a planet-mass black hole, you'll stay peacefully in orbit; you won't get "sucked in." You will, however, get a blast of radiation from the accretion disk...)

And the plot holes, my God. If they could beam folks over to the enemy spaceship, why not beam over a squadron of Marines rather than just two people? Better yet, why not beam over a nuke?

And for that matter, why do there seem to be no Marines in the Star Trek universe?

The only time I saw actual Marines in ST was in the last few seasons of DS9, with the galactic war going on (with ACTUAL surface battles!) and in Enterprise. There were several scenes between the Marine commander and the Tactical officer (both character names escape me at the moment) that clearly showed the tension between "ground-pounders" and "ship jockeys". This was during the "save everyone from Zindi!" arc, I want to say second season?

As for the nuke question, they were trying to save Captain Pike, yes? Don't want to blow up the ship with the Captain still on it, yes? I'm not denying the plot holes, but tactical nukes are considered "dirty" in Trek-dom.

I don't actually believe they were serious about saving Captain Pike; had they been serious about it, they'd've sent more than two people. It seems to me that saving him happened more or less as an afterthought.

Still, embrace the power of "and". A couple of squadrons of Marines and a nuke would have been the better plan, I think.

oddly enough, the two things i found the most jarring were Young Kirk's piercing blue eyes (Kirk Prime's eyes are famously brown) and Young Uhura's fashion-model-skinny figure (Uhura Prime was voluptuous to begin with, progressing towards zaftig as time went on). i did have to make an effort to ignore the pseudoscience ("red matter"???), but, hey, this is Trek.

did you notice that the spiky design of the Romulan ship resembled Shinzon's ship in Star Trek: Nemesis? and i think that, with those shaved, tattooed heads, Nero and his pals were supposed to be Remans - the original inhabitants of the Romulus/Remus system, who were subjugated and enslaved when the ex-Vulcan-proto-Romulans arrived. (remember that Shinzon, although genetically human - being a clone of Picard - grew up in a forced-labor camp on Remus.)

Zachary Quinto, however, absolutely nails what Nimoy-as-Spock would have looked like at that age. (and i would so go into pon farr for him...)

To be honest, what I immediately though when I saw Nero's ship, especially flying out of the storm like that, was "Shadows".

Shadows, from Babylon 5. Y'know, big, black, organic-looking things with long tentacle-like portions of the ship, with weaponry capable of destroying planets?

oh. i've never watched Babylon 5.

The baddies were Romulans, not Remans. They had shaved heads and tattoos based on a Romulan mourning ritual where, when a loved one dies, they shave their heads and draw designs on their faces. As the hair grows back and the patterns fade, so does their grief. These Romulans kept their heads shaved and tattooed the symbols because they would be grieving the death of their homeworld for the rest of their lives.

(I got all of that from the comic book Star Trek: Countdown which covers what happened with Nero and Spock in the 24th century before the movie.)

um, okay.

(the head tatts also reminded me a little bit of Darth Maul, to drag in something else completely unrelated.)

Another gripe with the film is the comedy. To the best of my recollection, most previous incarnations of Star Trek were not played for the jokes


Bu...go back and actually watch TOS. About 40-50% of it is played for laughs. There are two entire episodes I can think of right off the top of my head that are deliberately funny, beginning to end (as opposed to some that are unintentially funny, like "Spock's Brain") -- "A Piece of the Action" and "Trouble with Tribbles".

I am a Trek continuity whore and I had no problem at all with the reboot.

I also really liked Karl Urban's McCoy and thought Zoe Saldaña's Uhura was kind of flat. I loved the scene where Kirk finally learns her first name, though. :)

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