On Tuesday I saw Star Trek for the second time, and overall I still love it and feel that J.J. Abrams and company did a great job with the characters and the setting. They managed to tell a great story and do it in a way that didn’t damage my feelings for the original show and movies. I still say that they made me fall in love with Star Trek all over again – and since my interested in Star Trek overall has dimmed in the last few years, that’s saying something. The story being told is fun and exciting and is clearly there despite the special effects and action and loud sounds and bright colors.
(Warning – Plot spoilers below!)
I loved the new versions of the characters. I think they’re true to the original while being different enough to keep things interesting. I have so many favorite scenes that it’s hard to pick out the best ones.
I loved how they showed scenes from Kirk and Spock’s past leading up to their joining Star Fleet and their eventual meeting. The scene where Spock is speaking with the Vulcan counsel about his being accepted into the Vulcan Science Academy was awesome. Who knew “Live Long and Prosper” could be used to tell someone to shove it and go to hell. It’s interesting that Spock basically entered Starfleet in an act of rebellion due to in part to his anger over being considered “disadvantaged” for having a human mother. Kirk entering Starfeet on a dare is just as interesting. He was going nowhere in life, but then Pike said “Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives, including yours. I dare you to do better,” – he could do no less than better. And then later all of the scenes between Kirk and Spock are awesome, especially the last one where Spock comes to the bridge and offers to be Kirk’s first officer and Kirk excepts. Watching them go from nearly hating each other to willing to be friends was awesome. The older Spock was right – they do need each other to balance out their extreme personalities.
McCoy was awesome from the moment he entered the shuttle and sat down next to Kirk, complaining the whole time. I loved the way he helped Kirk get on the ship even if it was played up a bit for laughs. He had some great lines and interactions with the other characters as well. His friendship with Kirk was great from the beginning and his interactions with Spock were reminiscent of the original.
Uhura’s scenes were all fun and I loved that she had a key piece of information that helped Kirk figure out what was happening. The fact that she was in a relationship with Spock was an interesting development. Some might argue that it comes out of nowhere and that there’s no basis in canon for it, but there are a few key scenes from the original show that would support it. It’s also funny that while Kirk was doing all that flirting and trying so hard to catch her attention it’s Spock that she has chosen. It’s better when the geek gets the girl rather than the usual jock.
Sulu was awesome in his own way. Sure they had him forget to disengage the “parking break” in the beginning but keep in mind he was a cadet and it is a new ship. After that scene everything he did was great and added to the story. He got the ship where it needed to go and helped Spock destroy the Romulan ship in the end. Plus he got an awesome fighting scene and also saved Kirk from falling to his death.
Chekov was great too, especially when he realized he could beam Kirk and Sulu up as they were fulling. And then later he figures out how to hide from the Romulans in Titan’s atmosphere.
Scotty was definitely used as comic relief a bit too much but at the same time he was still great. He did have important skills that were needed on the ship and the method to get back on the ship. Once there he did exactly what needed to be done to get the ship where it needed to go. And in the end he had the method to get them out of the trouble they were in.
I did feel that the problems with the science of the movie were a lot more apparent the second time around. There were some huge problems that when actually looked at seriously, kill the plot. Black holes don’t work at all like the movie suggests nor are the created the way the movie suggests. Supernovas don’t threaten whole galaxies – solar systems yes, but never galaxies. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy wrote a review of Star Trek in which he detailed all the bad science of the movie. However, what he also did was point out some things they got right. The use of silence in space in the movie was very well done and the scene of the Enterprise rising up out of Titan’s atmosphere was awesome. He also goes on to explain how much he loved the movie despite all the problems with it. And I have to agree – it’s still an awesome story and all the problems don’t kill the enjoyment for me at all.
Some fans have complained that this movie destroys 40 years of canon. I think they’re wrong. The in-movie dialogue explains that an Alternate Universe was created when Nero and the other Romulans came to the past and destroyed the USS Kelvin. The movie and the sequels that will follow are set in this new reality. I’m full content to belive that the old one still exists somewhere – given what is said in the movie. Star Trek is built on the idea that there are infinite possibilities, and that anything is possible. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that the original universe exists somewhere in the infinite number of AUs?
Also it’s possible I’m once again too aware the fact that it is a movie and a TV show because when I hear “they destroyed 40 years of canon!” I think, “the DVD’s still exist!” I mean it isn’t as though JJ Abrams and company somehow managed to make all of the DVDs/Video tapes/etc. of the old movies and shows disappear. They still exist and anyone who wants to can watch them and revisit the original version any time they want. I think a lot of people just don’t want to accept change and are holding on a bit too tightly to the original. The original isn’t lost, it still exists as long as we remember them. We still have our memories and our DVDs/tapes. CBS.com still has the original episodes on their site. While some versions of the DVDs have been discontinued new versions are being released. I just bought Star Trek – The Motion Picture Trilogy which has Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock and Voyage Home – my three favorite Star Trek films – and I still think they’re the best of all things Star Trek. Not even the new Star Trek can top Wrath of Khan.
I don’t believe that J.J. Abrams has destroyed anything. What he’s done is created a new universe for us to visit – one where once again anything is possible. What he’s done is protect what was made before by shifting the focus to a new universe one that is very similar to the original, but different enough to present a whole new set of possibilities. What he has done is created something awesome and I can’t wait to see what he does next.