Just got back from seeing the new Star Trek movie, and I enjoyed it. Which surprised me, since I’d stopped watching the series a long time ago (both films and TV). This is really a Star Trek for this generation, providing much more depth to most of the characters while still acknowledging their classic roots. All the favorite elements — Vulcan neck pinch, “Dammit, I’m a doctor, not a physicist”, Kirk’s skirt-chasing, plenty more classic phrases — are here, but there’s more, too. Including a few too many scenes of a ship getting attacked, something blowing up, and bodies flying through the air for my taste.
Things I Liked
The movie looks like it cost a lot and it’s all on the screen. Visually impressive.
The use of silence to remind viewers space is soundless, as well as for dramatic effect.
Spock is to Kirk as Batman is to Superman. This is Spock’s movie — Zachary Quinto gives him the most shading and diversity, and much of the plot revolves around him. This shouldn’t be surprising, since Leonard Nimoy is also in the film (and significantly so, a wonderful addition I really appreciated). Quinto’s portrayal is excellent, too, capturing the essentials of the original character while bringing his own spin to it. His storyline provides almost all of the depth of the film.
Anton Yelchin as Chekov. I already liked him from Charlie Bartlett, but he does a great job as the math prodigy (and putting echoes of the much-despised Wesley into the character was clever!). The actor is also Russian by birth, a nice touch in casting, which makes the accent more palatable.
Simon Pegg as Engineer Montgomery Scott. He provides some needed humor and “normal people” behavior late in the film.
Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Bones, and John Cho as Sulu
Karl Urban as McCoy. His cantankerous nature fit well and balanced the other, younger, starry-eyed characters.
In general, all of the cast were well-done, especially Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike, who played leader and teacher while still seeming active and powerful. I was overall meh, though, about Christopher Pine’s Kirk. He wasn’t quite as “lovable in spite of being a jerk” as he should have been.
Things I didn’t like so much
The Romulan threat. Another “so evil” ranting bad guy who lives in a muck pit. What, bad guys can’t like light?
Time travel and Spock as deus ex machina. The transporter becomes even more of one. It’s treated as a super plot device, which is something that will need to be addressed if this becomes a series again.
What was the point of the young Kirk scene? The best I could come up with was that it provided something before he turns up at the bar, so it shows he was troubled, not just a lush. My second guess: someone really liked the sports car.
A bit too much typical SBU action movie (S**t Blows Up) at times. I know it’s competing with Wolverine, Terminator, etc. this summer, but I preferred the more impressive, more unusual space effects.
Worst of all for me was the treatment of women. I should have known, once the academy students showed up with the females still wearing short skirts. But even with a more modern Uhura, the four women (only) with significant speaking roles (most minor) are all primarily defined by their relationships to men: wife, mother, girlfriend. But I guess with so much focus on Kirk-Spock bonding, that shouldn’t surprise me.
Overall, on the summer movie scale (“did it provide an enjoyable escape for a few hours?”), it was quite successful. I hope to see more in the series to come.