Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sean Connery's Wife Was Right

After starring in "Diamonds Are Forever", Sean Connery vowed he would never star in another James Bond film.

Then another production company got the rights to make their own Bond film, following some of the monkey business involving "Thunderball", and Connery was signed to reprise the role of Agent 007.

It was Connery's wife who suggested the title, "Never Say Never Again".

Well, I vowed I would never see the new Star Trek movie, partly because I have no interest in alternate timeline stories, but mostly because of a lot of the misleading buildup to this thing and some of the behind the scenes crap, particularly the firing of Geoffery Mandel from the production staff because he was "too attached to the original ship."

Then, I wound up winning passes to a press screening.

No problem, I have class that night, so I can't go anyway. And we're talking broadcasting school, no way am I ditching training in my beloved chosen career field for this misbegotten flick.

Then I found out the subject that night was going to be sales.

I hate sales.

Guess I was going after all. At least I could rest easy that I can still say that I'll never pay to see this atrocity.

So, I went ahead and saw it at the press screening, and all I can say is that I'm oh, so glad that I didn't have to pay for it.

Suffice it to say that I was massively underwhelmed. Plot contrivances, shaky camera, even in the CGI stuff, cringe inducing dialogue, a "Look at MEEE!" glory shot of the ship every five minutes, all capped off with a closing credit sequence ripped off from the Lost in Space movie....well, let's just say that just about everything I said before I saw it, stands.

Some of the more minor annoyances:

Pink skinned Vulcans: Y'know, JJ, there was a reason they painted Nimoy yellow way back when, and it's because of that green Vulcan blood.

The Kelvin: 800 people made it off, after getting the crap kicked out it, which killed how many? And this is supposed to be a pre-TOS ship? Sorry, but that bucket reeked more of TNG, both in capacity, the instrumentation, and in the crew complement, which apparently included families, another TNG contrivance that didn't make it past "Generations" (the Enterprise-E doesn't have families on board). The interiors also indicated a much more massive ship, on the order of a Galaxy class starship. And what in the hell is with plastic sheeting in the shuttlecraft? Does it double as a meat locker?

The technology: Compared to TOS, most it, quite frankly, sucked. The numbskull front window/viewscreen was blurry and distorted, the transporter didn't work half as well as even the NX-01's, and the phasers, both shipboard and handheld, all behaved more like Star Wars blasters and turbolasers than their TOS predecessors. And need I mention Sulu's automatically unfolding katana, which helped him in his dashing impression of Luke Skywalker in the barge scene in "Return of the Jedi"? Or how the ships going to warp bore an uncanny resemblence to SW ships going to hyperspace? Should George Lucas be flattered or should he be calling his lawyers?

Delta Vega: As an astute poster over on trekmovie.com pointed out, the name of the neighboring planet that Spock was stranded on really didn't have any bearing on the story, but by invoking the name of Delta Vega, the writers shined a big bright spotlight on this bit, making it quite clear that, deep down, they don't know what they're doing. A big part of "honoring canon" is getting the details right; otherwise, it's just meaningless name dropping and pandering.

Chekov: Excuse me, but exactly when did Chekov turn into Wesley Crusher? He was never any kind of wunderkind in TOS, just an eager young ensign trying to impress his superior officers. Also, at age seventeen, he should be starting his first year at the Academy, not already be a commissioned officer. But then, these clowns clearly don't know a thing about military protocol, since they also take a guy who was an undisciplined cadet facing some serious charges a couple of days earlier and give him command of their biggest and most advanced ship. Never mind the hundreds of seasoned officers who've been waiting God knows how long for a command of their own, let's give it to the hotshot kid with the rap sheet, because he's just so gosh darned dreamy. At the very least, it's clear they wouldn't know the chain of command if someone came up and beat 'em about the head and shoulders with it.

And my complaint about Spock still remains: He knows how to achieve a time warp, and he knows precisely what happened when, why it happened, what went wrong the first time, and how to circumvent those events. So why doesn't he get a ship, do a few time jumps, and fix everything that got screwed up? He could not only restore the timeline, but finally cement a lasting peace between the Romulan Empire and the Federation. So why doesn't he do this?

Because Spock has to have a sudden attack of the stupids in order for JJ to get his own Star Trek universe to run amok in.

Urban was good as McCoy, Pine was okay as Kirk, can't really grade Greenwood as Pike since we never got that much from Jeffery Hunter to form a basis of comparison, but taken on it's own, he gives a good performance, Yelchin was downright embarrassing as Chekov, Quinto just seemed to be PMSing all the time, and the rest of the cast was just sort of there.

The ship still looks stupid, and the decision to build it on the surface is the singlemost idiotic move in the entire history of the franchise.

It didn't help that the "Riverside shipyards" were clearly a present day industrial facility, either an oil refinery or electrical substation. Engineering looking alternately like a water treatment plant and, like it is in real life, a brewery, only adds insult to injury.

If this an example of just how dumbed down Star Trek has to be in order to appeal to that elusive mass general audience, then I am very content for Star Trek to remain a small niche market.

6 comments:

Hubert said...

Thanks Captain. I enjoyed reading your review. I haven't seen the movie, yet I'm sure I will. Maybe I can buy a ticket to support a children's flick instead.

Its funny how people often make fun (onion, forum sites) of folks that have higher expectations for the Trek. They usually fall into two camps -
1) you have to support it otherwise we'll get nothing else
2) That we are against having a 'good' time and want something cerebral.

Of course, neither of these is true and there is a reason why TOS is still so popular today. While staying true to the original material, the powers to be could have still made an impressive movie.

Unfortunately, movies like this simply dilute the old series in the end.

Although you are much younger, I'm afraid we are both relics looking for something we cannot get back.

Thanks again for the review

by DAVID SPEAKMAN - said...

Since you walked into the theater convinced you would hate the film, I view this as a positive review by you. Here's why:

Even a hater like you - who walked into the theater with a closed mind and fists of hate for the film clenched - found at least one thing to like in actor Karl Urban, who you admit "was good" in the role of McCoy.

This means to me that even you - an avowed hated even before you saw the film - admitted the movie was better than you expected it to be.

That, I take as a ringing endorsement for the rest of us who like to see films with an open mind and are pretty much guaranteed a movie more than worth the price of admission.

Cinnabar said...

Practically point for point what I had to say about the movie (except I liked Zachary Quinto better than you did).

I'm waiting for the sequel, in which old Spock travels in time to undo this whole mess -- it can end with baby Jimmy being born under the eyes of his proud daddy. As you pointed out, Spock would know how to do it. And probably would rather see Vulcan whole than pulverized.

Lionel Braithwaite said...

And this is supposed to be a pre-TOS ship? Sorry, but that bucket reeked more of TNG, both in capacity, the instrumentation, and in the crew complement, which apparently included families, another TNG contrivance that didn't make it past "Generations" (the Enterprise-E doesn't have families on board).Says the guy that's wearing a TNG/DS9-era uniform in his Blogger ID pic. If you hate TNG/DSP so much, change the uniform.

I'm waiting for the sequel, in which old Spock travels in time to undo this whole mess -- it can end with baby Jimmy being born under the eyes of his proud daddy. As you pointed out, Spock would know how to do it. And probably would rather see Vulcan whole than pulverized.Ain't gonna happen-Abrams has said that this is a reboot, fair and square.

And if all of the critics in America have said that this is the best movie yet-guess what guys, that makes you look like a two-obdurate stick-in-the-mud trolls. Grow up.

Hubert said...

Thanks Bob. TOS has been tainted because of this film. I'd love for the sales of the TOS DVDs to help but I doubt that will happen in the current setting.

For the record, The 'tightness of TOS' is the reason it had endured 40 years. This crowd has gotten what they asked for. I will sometimes think what would have happened had this movie been released in the '70s. Although the effects are there (I still feel they are somehow cheap, fast edited, lots of noise), the film would have been laughed away. I thought I was watching a parody much of the time.
I just feel like I'm in Bizarro world with this new film...

I appreciate you efforts in the fight.

secracium said...

seriously, relax, it's just a movie that was, in my opinion, much better done than most of the star trek movies.