People have been raving about the new Star Trek movie, but I think in the end it tried to do too much and fell flat on its face.
My first criticism, and one that most people who enjoyed the movie won’t care about, was that this film was more space opera fantasy akin to Star Wars—action packed for action’s sake, spaceships merely the backdrop there to provide an explosion or two—rather than the more subtle stories I’d associate with Star Trek. Maybe I had an unrealistic picture of the Star Trek franchise in my head going into this thing, but either way space opera does not make good science fiction. Yes it may make a good summer blockbuster action flick, but in my book that’s not the same as a good movie.
I also found the film reminiscent of Muppet Babies. Here’s why.
As a prequel, we see all the characters from the original series further back in their stories than we’re familiar seeing them. That’s fine. But I found the credibility rather quickly being stretched thin, as we were expected to believe that all the Enterprise crew really met this way, in short succession, taking on the same roles they would eventually have many years later. Star Trek exists in a future where many impossible things can happen, but I have no reason to believe that this crew really spontaneously popped into existence in one mission straight out of the academy. Yes, it’s a cute idea to make a show about the muppets when they were babies, but don’t throw them all in the same nursery and ask us to believe that’s really how they met.
Ah, but it turns out this is a different timeline. Even if we don’t think they met that way in the original series (I don’t know what the canon position on that was), that’s okay, since this mission that brought them all together turns out to have been caused by some time traveling menace, in an event that never happened in the universe we are familiar with. This also, rather conveniently, opens the door to any other sorts of BS the writers want to throw at us, because the whole movie becomes non-canon right from the outset. This also gives them an unbounded future to play with in sequels. No reason to carry all that dead-weight canon around, eh?
I did, at least, appreciate that it was a visually well done movie with great effects, with what I think is a more realistic picture of what the innards of spacecraft would look like than your typical Star Trek. Although the scene with Scotty transporting into a water pipe was completely unnecessary (and since when do transporters have an interstellar range?).
Then again, the movie also had a supernovae that was going to destroy the galaxy, which somehow nobody noticed was right next to Romulus. Are there no astronomers in this century? I can forgive the red matter phlebotinum, but not the harmless time warp species of black holes it seems to produce.
For the sequels that will inevitably follow, maybe I’ll have some hope of enjoying them if I just ignore the title and expect nothing more than exploding spaceships and masturbatory fan-boy slash fic (*cough* Spock/Uhuru *cough*).