Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star Trek

Star Trek; Science-fiction adventure, USA, 2009; D: J. J. Abrams, S: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy, Winona Ryder

In 2233, James Kirk's father is killed by a mysterious time traveling Romulan spaceship, Narada, under command of Nero. Kirk grows up into a rebellious young lad in Iowa. However, to honor his father, he joins the Starfllet. At the Academy, he meets Uhura, half Vulcan-half Human Spock and Dr. McCoy. When Narada shows up again and attacks Vulcan, the young students are sent to the Enterprise to help. Narada places a black hole inside the Vulcan, which swallows the planet, killing Spock's mother. Because of his rebellious outbursts, Kirk is sent to the ice planet Delta Vega, where he meets the old Spock. He tells him that he is from the future, where he tried to save Romulus by eliminating the threat, a supernova, but the red matter accidentally destroyed the planet. As a revenge, Nero went back in time to destroy Vulcan and every planet is the Federation. Still, Spock returns back on Enterprise and manages to send Narada into a black hole.

7 years after the last "Star Trek" film, "Nemesis", J.J. Abrams decided to return the series back to its roots and directed a prequel to the original franchise. Despite critical praise, the 2009 "Star Trek" film is bombastic, pompous and cheaply humorous-melodramatic, trying more to be "hip" and "cool" than to capture the essence and charm of the original that made "Star Trek" so popular and sometimes even quite intelligent back in its time. The characters all seem wrong, as if they came from "Dawson's Creek" - James Kirk is a rebellious womanizer who likes to drink; Uhura is shown in her undies whereas Chekov is a nerdy teenager. Only Spock is spot on, until the infamous scene where he beats up Kirk. The story is written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who penned "Transformers" 1 and 2, and, unfortunately, it shows: the structure is "illogical", as Spock would put it. Namely, the bad guy Nero shows up from the future in his spaceship to take revenge on Spock by destroying his home planet Vulcan. Why? Because in the future, Spock tried to save his planet Romulus from a supernova using "red matter", but accidentally destroyed it.

So, Spock is punished for trying to help. That would be as if a geologist would show up in a village built on an active volcano and try to stop the eruption because the people don't want to evacuate, but he would be helpless, lava would destroy the village and the surviving villagers would hunt him down all his family members to take revenge on him, not on the volcano? Also, if Nero can travel back in time, wouldn't it be far more logical for him to warn his people on Romulus of the disaster? This is all so inconceivable. Also, the film is filled with other kinds of plot holes. For instance, is Vulcan so defenceless and the Starfleet so under capacity that students from the Academy have to go to the Enterprise to be sent to Vulcan to help it? Why would Spock deport Kirk from Enterprise to an ice planet, where his life is at stake? Doesn't the Enterprise have a prison cell? And what are the odds that Kirk finds not one, but two crucial people on that isolated place who will help him save the day? A few plot holes could be overlooked, but a whole bunch of them is something that is difficult to ignore. The special effects overkill is also a nuissance, though the film is at least fun. It is indicative as much as it is ironic that the only genius moment is the 5-minute cameo by the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, because that is the only part where the film established a connection to the quality of the original "Star Trek".


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