Star Drekby Andy Davis / 07.05.2009
Er, I’m Sylar… no wait… I’m Spock. No, I’m definitely Sylar
Eish… I just checked the new Star Trek and I almost choked on my popcorn. I mean, I was underwhelmed. Quite disappointed really. I still enjoyed bits, and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat during the action sequences but something was deeply wrong.
Maybe it was the 90s punk band styled mediocre bad guys (led by Eric Bana sporting bad Bali face tattoos and silly weapons), or the lack of a sweeping narrative as big as those vast space scenes. And while it was cool to see a young James Tiberius Kirk growing up as a delinquent in Idaho, and a creepy young Dr Spock played by Sylar – who inevitably ended up being more more Sylar than Spock – something was amiss. This Star Trek was more like Frankenstein. The body was there, but where was the soul? But I guess I should have expected less considering it was directed by JJ Abrams. As far as I’m concerned Abrams is a phoney and a faker. I mean who can forgive him for what he did to one and a half really engrossing seasons of Lost? I mean, what the hell is that show even about anyway? But when it started, it was totally rad. As far as I can tell Mr Abrams understands suspense and build up very well, he just doesn’t fully understand the idea of completing a narrative. He doesn’t do character development. But he does action scenes well. Substance, that’s not his thing. The trouble is Star Trek is actually all about substance and a bit of action spinning off from the substance. Most of the science in the original Star Trek films was not scientifically proven but plausible. That’s why geeks loved it so much. There were cool ideas like bio-computers and holographic doctors. Originator Gene Roddenberry was thorough and true to his vision. He used to research by interviewing UFOlogists, alien abductees, kooks, crazies and people who claimed they could channel alien beings. There was a bizarre realism to the ideas behind story. There is very little of that in the Franken version of Star Trek. It has all been eradicated and replaced with CGI beasts and ridiculously implausible coincidences. The whole thing has been turned into a blockbuster genre space action flick. All that speculative science is missing. They’re creating black holes all over the galaxy, time-travelling and using “red matter” without even explaining what “red matter” is. Much like Lost, the holes in the plot appear and expand with the same regularity as the black holes in the film. It’s facile. Lame. Lowest common denominator stuff. Boom. Oooh!
Kirk & Bones lookin’ confused.
Spoiler alert (don’t read the next paragraph if you actually give a shit how the film ends). Finally Kirk offers the bad guy, Captain Nero (I swear) an ultimatum, his ship is exploding, he’s been humiliated and crushed by the forces of good all American yeehaw, represented in Captain Kirk, and only the Enterprise can save him and his crew. The bad Capt. Nero refuses and Kirk blasts him into a million pieces that get sucked up by a nearby black hole. Now if this latest incarnation of the Star Trek franchise had stayed true to Roddenberry’s vision there could be no doubt that Kirk would beam the bad guys aboard and make them stand trial in some galactic court for their heinous crimes.
Star Trek has succumbed to Hollywood schlock. OK, the franchise has been steadily flirting with that for a while now. But this is really poor. Roddenberry’s Star Trek put forward and postulated new and exciting ideas. Science Fiction was a playground for testing open-ended and strange new ideas and speculations. “The Federation” in this new Star Trek is basically just a figurative dressed up “sc-fi” version of America – Fuck Yeah! Then the casting is pretty abject, referring particularly to the ridiculous Sylar as Spock. In fact the presence of Leonard Nimoy (the original Dr Spock) in the film just serves as a perfect counter foil to how bad Sylar is. Chris Pine kind of looks like a young William Shatner, but he plays the role with a bit too much dumb jock and it looks like he’s struggling to understand the math when he’s not fighting or blowing shit up. Harold from the Harold and Kumar stoner movies comes in as Mr Sulu, and is actually quite good, but weird. And Zoe Saldana is just way too hot to be Uhura.
All in all, if you like Star Trek, you’re better off watching the old reruns of the original series on Go.