Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek review

Short version:
I liked it.

Long version with possible spoilers:
Most of my favorite Star Trek episodes/scenes are from the original show. I liked Star Trek TNG and all that but there are some situations that you can really only get into when you have a belligerent captain who thinks that rules are for chumps. And that's Captain Kirk. I have long been waiting for a Star Trek that brings back Captain Kirk. I had hoped "Enterprise" would be that show, but when it wasn't, I quickly lost interest. Voyager and Deep Space Nine had some fine moments. DS9 in particular had some great episodes. But it didn't have Kirk.

This movie has Kirk.

That was most of what I needed to know about it.

Fist fights, phasers, photon torpedoes. Taking big, arguably stupid risks because you always think there's a way to win. That's Kirk.

As far as the acting goes, I'm not quite sure they got Kirk exactly right. Kirk was never quite THAT reckless and energetic. But I'm willing to give it a pass. The rest of the crew seemed spot on (although since when did Chekov become an expert at the transporter? Oh well, it's high time Checkov got some screen time anyway). Spock was Spock. McCoy was McCoy. Scotty was Scotty, albeit with more energy.

I'm also willing to forgive them the whole time travel thing, since they're doing something unusual with it...

Normally, I hate time travel. "Enterprise" using time travel as basically the first major plot was a huge mistake. Time travel is what you fall back on when all of the good ideas have already been used. Time travel is lame and full of holes.


In this case I see why they did it, and it's not a bad reason: they wanted to reset the Star Trek universe and not be stuck with old canon. Basically, this Star Trek does not take place in the same universe as every other Star Trek we've watched. Due to time travel, it takes place in a slightly different, parallel universe. It basically gives them license to change small things without every Trekkie howling about it. Well, they can still howl but now there's a simple one-liner explanation for all of it, which is "parallel universe -- different events set this universe down a different path than the other one, so not everything is going to be the same".

That, actually, is another good Star Trek creation: "Treknology". Taking the impossible and making it possible through a vague application of theoretical science. Light speed travel is impossible? Warp drives! Getting to the planet's surface is a pain? Teleporters! Shooting warp speed ships with lasers wouldn't work? Phasers! In this case, the Treknology of parallel dimensions is actually used against THE TREK FANS THEMSELVES as a way to sidestep all complaints about minor differences and oversights.

In a way, I have to sit back, clap slowly and say, "Oh... bravo. Well played, sir."

Count me as officially looking forward to the next movie or show using this cast.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are back.