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May 10, 2009 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Star Trek Lives. You may have heard - a new Star Trek film has opened to critical acclaim and box office bofo; Variety writes it "beamed up $76.5 million"). How are Kirk and Spock fans coping with this reboot/reimaging/alternate universe? And how are Kirk/Spock slash writers holding up?

It's already made more money in one weekend than most other Trek films made in their entire runs. Work on a screenplay to the sequel has already begun.
posted by crossoverman (203 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Abercrombie and Fitch Trek.
posted by mecran01 at 8:24 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unlike the ones who are about to post: I only saw the original series, and a few of the films. Never saw the subsequent Star Trek spinoffs. But the original series, although not too much different from the Fifties prose SciFi genre, was a significant influence on the HiveMind of the time. More to come in subsequent posts!
posted by kozad at 8:27 PM on May 10, 2009


Ebert thought it sucked, and I quote:

"I mention these details only to demonstrate that the movie raises its yo-yo finger to the science, while embracing the fiction... Lots of verbal commands seem implausibly slow. Consider, at light warp speeds, how imprecise it would be to say “At my command ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...” Between “2” and “1,” you could jump a million galaxies."

And also "Anyone with the slightest notion of what a black hole is, or how it behaves, will find the black holes in “Star Trek” hilarious."

You heard it here first: don't ever give the yo-yo finger to science.
posted by pwally at 8:28 PM on May 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Even better than the movie has been the "#annoyatrekkie" meme this weekend. Let's hug it out, Roger.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:31 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I usually like Ebert's reviews, but it seems he completely missed the point here. Star Trek wasn't ever really about science (unless they used it to quickly resolve plot issues), so complaining about their inaccuracy to that effect is, well, pointless. The term Treknobabble exists for a reason, and that universe has always required a strong and swift suspension of disbelief.
posted by spiderskull at 8:32 PM on May 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Was anyone aware that the Enterprise was destroyed? By the Death Star no less.
From the guy who made the Death Star over San Francisco clips.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:34 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Highly related.
posted by Rinku at 8:35 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, even a non-science person like myself was saying "er, wait" at regular intervals. But when hasn't the Trekverse tossed science to the winds? Spock's very existence is a massive WTH, so why balk at bonkers black holes?

For some reason, one of the film's motifs involved Kirk sliding off of something at high speed while desperately clawing to stay on. The first example pops up in the trailer: l'il Jimmy Kirk jumps out of a car as it sails into a quarry. And every time, Kirk manages to survive without peeling all the skin off the palms of his hands, suffering burns from the friction, or breaking a singer fingernail.

Still, it was an entertaining way of celebrating the end of the semester.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:37 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ebert's right--the science was silly. Most of the plot was silly, too. But it was fun, and the acting and the character development was largely terrific.

Well, um, mostly. There was a new relationship that I wasn't totally down with. But, hell, I was in two different newspapers this weekend dressed as a Vulcan. Truth is, I'm a stereotypical fangirl who wants a certain pointy-eared dude all to myself.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:39 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


For some reason, one of the film's motifs involved Kirk sliding off of something at high speed while desperately clawing to stay on. The first example pops up in the trailer: l'il Jimmy Kirk jumps out of a car as it sails into a quarry. And every time, Kirk manages to survive without peeling all the skin off the palms of his hands, suffering burns from the friction, or breaking a singer fingernail.

I'm extremely scared of heights, and this killed me. Totally gave me the willies every time.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:40 PM on May 10, 2009




Original Trek had a cast of B Western actors. Next Gen had a good bit of Brits. The circle is complete; New Star Trek is quasi-pop culture young folk. A little short of ST VI and it's Shakespeare and Cold War aspects; but they will hook a new audience.

Not mentioned yet is it really broke the "odd # ST movies suck" trend. Holy Crap! An ok odd numbered Trek film? Woo hoo!
posted by buzzman at 8:42 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device. 99.9% of the time it's a crutch utilized by screenwriters to a) get around previously-established realities within their fictional universe or b) give stories that are lagging a bit a "exciting" twist.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 8:44 PM on May 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


I thought the movie was Vulcan-fantastic.
posted by ColdChef at 8:45 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw the movie. It gets some right and some things very wrong. How much you like the flim will depend on how tolerant you are of the wrong bits.

The good:
Spock, Checkov, McCoy, Scotty. Nice characterizations.
Remarkable lack of technobabble (e.g., the red fluid that causes blacks holes just works, nobody tries to explain how or why.)

The bad:
Kirk at 13 in a corvette at the edge of the grand canyon of Iowa
Mediocre villain
The usual gratuitous explosions and near-death escapes
Inconsistency (e.g., OK, I give you the red fluid, but how come it can destroy a planet without sucking in the enterprise, but destroying the Romulan ship creates such a more massive one, and how come when it was used to destroy an entire star anyone can just fly through the resulting black hole into the future

It weighed a little to much to the annoying for me, but given that the characters were likable versions of their 1960s counterparts, I could see being interested in another film with the same cast.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device.

what you did there. I see...
posted by crossoverman at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Equal parts yay and meh--yay explosions, sure, why not reboot so we can have Alternate Universe Trek--that was clever, not resetting everything by flying backwards around the earth to turn back time (so to speak). And Abrams continued use of former hobbits is always a plus. Bones was eerily convincing; I want more of his tormented backstory.

But while I welcome younger hotter male leads, Kirk's character is and always will be a giant dillhole, so it gets tiresome to watch everyone tell him how awesome/hot he is all the time. Young Spock was slightly whiny in a way the old one wasn't, and when he and Old Spock are face to face, you can't help noticing they have totally different noses, which can't be explained by aging.

And Uhura was smart but still relegated to Hot Fantasy Object status, and hey, while we're rebooting, why not toss the sexist crap out too, JJ? Let the women kick some ass in this universe, not just comfort lonely Vulcans with their hot bods and get groped and ogled in their underwear.

If that last part in particular isn't better by the next one, I'm out.
posted by emjaybee at 8:52 PM on May 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


And Uhura was smart but still relegated to Hot Fantasy Object status, and hey, while we're rebooting, why not toss the sexist crap out too, JJ? Let the women kick some ass in this universe, not just comfort lonely Vulcans with their hot bods and get groped and ogled in their underwear.

Yes! Thank you! Especially as she's the only real female character we had here (well, except for some Dead Mothers). I mean, the original original series had more named female Starfleet officers.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:53 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


The plot sort of ruins the whole idea of space ships doesn't it? I mean, Scotty now knows how to build a transporter that can transport people at trans-warp speed..even to a moving starship moving faster than the speed of light thats half way across the galaxy. And he can apparently build one in a matter of *minutes*!
posted by Osmanthus at 8:54 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've been a fan from the TOS days, avidly read Susan Sackett's updates in Starlog as TMP was made, watched every single TNG and nearly as many of DS9 and VOY (and only missed ENT due to logistical reasons). I thought it was a great rendition, a smart way to reboot the series (only clear afterwards), and though there were nits to pick here and there, nothing fundamental was really violated -- and they got the really important bits right, such as the Kirk and Spock characters and relationship.

I went in assuming it wouldn't be perfectly to my tastes, and it exceeded my expectations. There are only two things I think they got a bit wrong. One was forgetting that at some level the Enterprise itself is a main character, and the other was shying a bit too far away from the philosophical, hopeful themes that are at the center of many fans' lifelong affection for the series.
posted by dhartung at 8:55 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mediocre villain

I must disagree. Any melodramatic villain is going to pale in comparison to Khan's "Kirk... my old friend" and "From Hell's heart I stab at thee"-ing.

So to go the complete opposite way to a nonchalant "Hi, Christopher, I'm Nero" was brilliant, and quite creepy, in my opinion.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:56 PM on May 10, 2009 [21 favorites]


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device.

Okay, you would use a time machine to go back in time to kill a person that writes about time machines? This would be an interesting plot to movie.
posted by pwally at 8:58 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw the movie yesterday and, for the most part, didn't care for it. Don't get me wrong, there are things about Star Trek to like. The cast was largely stellar, with a particularly strong performance from Chris Pine as Kirk. But the great performances ultimately serve a story overly concerned with catchphrases and the simple mechanics of "putting the Enterprise together."
posted by dhammond at 9:01 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I give you the red fluid, but how come it can destroy a planet without sucking in the enterprise, but destroying the Romulan ship creates such a more massive one, and how come when it was used to destroy an entire star anyone can just fly through the resulting black hole into the future

OMG I can't believe I'm about to debate Star Trek....
When they destroyed the planet they only used a super tiny bit of the red fluid and when they destroyed the ship they crashed the entire huge ball of it, you know so the black hole was bigger or whatever. The black hole thing I don't really know, maybe if at the end of the movie if they were actually sucked in they might have time traveled again, who knows. Ok I need to go do something manly and un nerdy now.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:09 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, I went to see it expecting to hate it. I am a big Star Trek nerd. And I care about canon. I loathe Enterprise. And a lot of Voyager. When I first saw First Contact, I complained that Cochrane was supposed to be from Alpha Centauri, not some brilliant but drunk human on a depopulated Earth. IT WAS IN THE ORIGINAL SERIES, PEOPLE! HOW CAN YOU MESS THAT UP?! I went to cons as a teenager. I read every numbered star trek novel before 100 until I grew out of that phase. I had all the James Blish original series adaptations. I stayed home one summer every afternoon to record (on VHS of course) all the original episodes. I missed the Babel episode to my annoyance for many years.

That said, the way they handled my inevitable "that's not canon!" complaint was very neat and I actually liked it ... And the movie itself was enjoyable and inspiring and actually gives a way forward to make inspiring stories about intelligent lifeforms (mostly humans of course) exploring the universe. And I'm all for that. Even if the movie did have a few "wtf? this is just here so they can show off CGI" moments. And even if Uhuru was just barely less a sex-kitten than in original series. :) (Fortunately, in the novels she is *much* less a sex-kitten / bridge decoration.)
posted by R343L at 9:09 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


SF Signal did a nice retrospective of Treks so far:
  1. The Original Series.
  2. The Next Generation.
  3. Deep Space Nine.
  4. Voyager.
  5. Enterprise.
  6. The Films.
  7. The New Trek Reboot.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM on May 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device.

Everybody kills Hitler their first trip.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 PM on May 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


My main hope for this: In the great leap to grab onto it's coat-tails it might cause someone to fund some actual science-fictiony science fiction movies by accident.
posted by Artw at 9:12 PM on May 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, Uhura got more character development in two hours than in the previous 33 years, so the minidress might be the price we pay.

I thought it was more or less yer typical generic summer sf blockbuster,with about as much to do with Star Trek as, say, I Robot had to do with Asimov. I found it entertaining enough as I was watching it, and three hours later I could not recount the plot. Then again, wiping out the only planet besides Earth that the setting has any fondness for was a statement that they were not willing to be restricted by decades of clogged-up canon and a nice way to sidestep the Earth-is-in-jeopardy-and-the-Enterprise-is-the-only-ship-that-can-save-it trope that powered at least three of the previous movies and who knows how many TNG episodes.

So it is quite possibly the best Star Trek movie, faint praise though that is. I wonder, with how much of a cash cow it has been for Paramount over the decades, if the studio is prepared to go back to the way things were 25 years ago, with one new movie every couple of years. Who wants to take odds that it will resurface on TV again in some form within the next 18 months?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:12 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Star Trek has always been fantasy in spaace more than scifi. Spock's an elf, the technobabble is a magical incantation, the enemies are metaphors for aspects of humanity, and half the characters are half-human hybrids who have to bridge two worlds, but they really went all out this time when they retroactively made Kirk an orphan. I'm surprised he didn't find out that he's of royal blood, that it's his destiny to become space-king and wield a magical, flaming sword. It was a good popcorn movie, though.
posted by stavrogin at 9:14 PM on May 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device.

Everybody kills Hitler their first trip.


Not me, I killed Jesus. My buddy asked me this same question like two years ago. Two possible outcomes with this

1. You kill Jesus and change (save) the future
2. You can't kill Jesus b/c he's the son of God, than you bow down to him and worship him forever
posted by BrnP84 at 9:15 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


To really fuck with things save jesus.
posted by Artw at 9:16 PM on May 10, 2009 [31 favorites]


Kirk at 13 in a corvette at the edge of the grand canyon of Iowa

I still think he was Kirk Skywalker, bulls-eyeing a womp-rat in Beggar's Canyon back home using the model of car he drove in Corvette Summer. I don't think it's a defect that the filmmakers think Star Trek was something that starred Mark Hamill and had lots of fast driving in the desert, do you?

I'm not really in any hurry to see this film. Doesn't seem to have a whole assload to do with what Star Trek was all about. But then, neither did any of the post-1969 series.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2009


OK, I give you the red fluid, but how come it can destroy a planet without sucking in the enterprise, but destroying the Romulan ship creates such a more massive one, and how come when it was used to destroy an entire star anyone can just fly through the resulting black hole into the future

It didn't make any sense when it was used in Alias either. But how nice to see Rambaldi artifacts being used in the future, eh?

I loved the movie as an awesome popcorn flick and because the Trek universe needed a reboot. I hope for someone with less ADD than Abrams directs the sequel though. You barely see Enterprise in this flick--though I suppose it's a decent tradeoff coz Pine is fine in his tighty whities. Seriously though, how can it be a real Trek movie unless the camera fucks the ship for about 10 minutes? I mean, c'mon.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:21 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maybe George Lucas could do a prequel about Khan Singh's childhood.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was intrigued by the monolithic structures on the misty horizons of the Iowa scenes, so I did a bit of googling after seeing the movie to find out what the deal with them was. First result: a shot-by-shot analysis of the first trailer from 2008... followed by a 932-comment freakout over whether the Enterprise was built in Iowa (as the trailer implies and the movie confirms) or San Franciscio (as The Sacred Canon demands).

(Best theory about the structures I found there, btw, is that Iowa's major cities had been replaced by arcologies to save space for farmland -- one local guesses the two seen are Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, based on the distances involved. Well, either that or the idea that they're immense pig cities.)

Also [MAJOR SPOILERS]:

Am I missing something, or was the alien baddie's attempted second attack totally implausible? I get how he took out his first target, owing to their pacifism, but trying the same thing on Earth makes no sense. Kirk and Sulu disabled the drill the first time with mere pistols -- wouldn't Earth's defenses be able to destroy the thing blasting fire right next to their capital city long before it finished its job?
posted by Rhaomi at 9:22 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm glad this got posted! My girlfriend and I were really excited to see this movie, almost unreasonably so. I saw the previews and it looked like something that we'd enjoy, so I was excited to prep for it. We absolutely love movies and I feel that we have really open minds when it comes to cinema so I was stoked that we got to experience this together. We try to prepare for movies when we see them - just as we would read a play or an opera before attending we try to pay respect to the millions of dollars it costs to put together a good film.

We. Were. Breathless. Upon leaving the theater, I immediately declared that this was in my top ten and after some reflection it's definitely in my top five. She said it was almost "too good" of a movie - we waited quite a while before really getting to work deconstructing it, but Abrams did such an amazing job with this film that we're both committed fans.

My take-away is this. Neither of us really gave a damn about Star Trek or Gene Roddenberry before seeing this movie. We're both film fans and we see a movie a week and read at least a book a week. But neither of us knew the first thing about this stuff. I liked Star Wars and was pretty happy with that image of "space SciFi" as a movie-version stand-in of the kind of stuff Joe Haldeman could produce on paper.

When we walked out of the theater, my girl turned to me and said, "Well, now I know what I want to be for Halloween." And I laughed because, prior to this, it would have been unthinkable. But now.... it's completely ridiculous for me to write this here... but now, I think that we're Trekkies. I think that we both completely fell in love with something we'd never seen before. And the amazing thing is, they made us fall in love with the characters, instead of the actors. Hell yes, of course I'm going to be Kirk for Halloween. And I hope she'll be the green chick... But we're hooked. So thank you to everyone who worked on this film, it was awesome, and thank you everyone who kept the franchise alive by loving it so it could march forward through the decades until it reached my generation.

Live long and prosper.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:23 PM on May 10, 2009 [15 favorites]


(Um, I guess the big blinking spoiler tag and shrinkified spoiler text were unnecessary given that everything I said has already been posted above...)
posted by Rhaomi at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2009


I like the movie a lot, but a friend and I were talking about the deeply stupid scene with the Corvette afterwards, and-

Wait. Quick derail about something that's bugged me since the trailer: physics doesn't really work like that, right? You can't jump out of a spinning falling car the way he does and land. And I mean literally you can't do it; even if you had the calves of a linebacker your forward momentum would be too great, wouldn't it? [UPDATE: Popular Science to the rescue.]

Okay, so about the Corvette itself: imagine how priceless a centuries-old Corvette would be, one that survived the Eugenics War and WWIII and just plain hundreds of years of being around. And it's not a replica; Kirk's stepfather specifically refers to it as an antique (though I suppose it could be a relatively-newer kit car that's old enough to be an antique). The point is: it's old and it was certainly expensive.

The film seems to want us to identify with young Kirk as a small-town Midwestern townie who's fed up with the uppity Starfleet types and their posh ways. But doesn't it change your conception of his character if his stepfather is rich enough to own a car that belongs under armed guard in the Smithsonian? That makes him not a rough and tumble farmhand with the sensitive heart of a poet, but a spoiled rich kid who's acting out...and who's so jaded to his wealth that he'll destroy a priceless artifact from the gilded age before humanity's darkest hour for no other reason than pursuit of Xtreme kicks and a desire to fuck with his stepfather.

James T. Kirk isn't James Dean, he's Chuck Bass. He's a character from LESS THAN ZERO.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:24 PM on May 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


Welcome to the ranks, Baby_Balrog! Hope you guys stick around as Trekkies. It's an incredibly rich franchise with lots of great stuff to explore.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 PM on May 10, 2009


My biggest problem was how in all the universe Kirk was offloaded to some ice planet, was chased by stupid monsters from King Kong and then happened to run into a cave with old Spock. Did I miss something or was this the universe's biggest coincidence?
posted by Falconetti at 9:31 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


hahahahahahahaha...it's a movie, y'all.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 9:31 PM on May 10, 2009


hahahahahahahaha...it's a movie, y'all.

Get a life!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


My biggest problem was how in all the universe Kirk was offloaded to some ice planet, was chased by stupid monsters from King Kong and then happened to run into a cave with old Spock. Did I miss something or was this the universe's biggest coincidence?

It also hinges on young Spock being so upset by the damage Nero hath wrought that faced with an annoying and disruptive fellow Starfleet member on board, he doesn't confine him to quarters or have him escorted to the brig, he sticks him in a lifepod and tosses him off the ship onto a random planet. Okay.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:37 PM on May 10, 2009


Did I miss something or was this the universe's biggest coincidence?

No, that happened two minutes later when K&S walk into the only outpost, presumably, on the whole frickin' planet there to find their replacement engineer just chillin' with an Ewok.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:38 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


she's the only real female character we had here (well, except for some Dead Mothers)

Yeah, Kirk's mother just vanishes after giving birth. Mostly absent during his childhood, apparently gave him no encouragement to follow in his parents' career choice, nowhere to be found at the concluding ceremony. Was there some reference to her dying after the corvette scene that I missed?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:40 PM on May 10, 2009


Watching the movie was pretty enjoyable, although semi-wincy for a committed Star Trek/ science geek such as myself (biggest science wtf moment --how can you eject the warp cores and then go to warp speed?) but reading the froth-mouthed reviews are even better.
Anthony Lanes' from The New Yorker is amusing, although he really doesn't "get" the Star Trek universe so much... But a choice quote:

Jim [Kirk] still manages to defy the continuity team and switch hair color from dirty blond to redhead and back again. Don’t worry, he’s still a natural dickhead underneath.

Always with an eye for detail, Mr. Lane, and truly, a hard-on for the young Spock.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:41 PM on May 10, 2009


I didn't expect to (no longer being a Trek fan), but I really enjoyed the heck out of it. For one thing, for the first time in a long time we have a Trek film that feels like a movie and not a larger budget, slightly longer TV episode. It looks gorgeous (if a bit too lensflare-y and jiggly for my taste) and the goings on had a dramatic weight that was missing in the non-Khan ST movies (and TV shows for that matter).

The only thing that bothered me was Kirk's cartoonishly quick rank-jumping. The Federation must be pretty desperate for officers.
posted by brundlefly at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2009


No, that happened two minutes later when K&S walk into the only outpost, presumably, on the whole frickin' planet there to find their replacement engineer just chillin' with an Ewok.

Well, since Spock wasn't looking to KILL Kirk, makes sense to shoot him near the Fed. outpost, no? Especially as the pod was telling him to stay put and simply radio for pickup.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:45 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


To really fuck with things save jesus.

(shamelessly stolen from The Rescuer by Arthur Porges.)
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on May 10, 2009


Annoyingly related.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:05 PM on May 10, 2009


Semi-trekkie/trekker going back to early 80s; loves TOS, mostly enjoyed TNG, could deal with Voyager, never got DS9, saw potential in ENT, love most TOS movies, not so much TNG movies.

CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE. I am prepared to be mildly disappointed, but I suspect I will be delighted. The ST universe needs a jolt, and this could be it.

Bonus: Pine might be the only thing that could get my female co-workers to quit drooling over Edward (Twilight?).
posted by davidmsc at 10:14 PM on May 10, 2009


> And he can apparently build one in a matter of *minutes*!

To be fair, it was pretty clear (to me) that the problem wasn't the tech, it was the math.

> it's his destiny to become space-king and wield a magical, flaming sword

"Set phasers to kill."

Now, my question is why the hell a Romulan mining ship looks like it just stopped in on its way to the set of Hellraiser! In! Space!? I mean, it has the spikey chains and everything.
posted by Decimask at 10:26 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I remember watching episodes of the original series as they were aired. I read dozens of novelizations as a pre-teen in the 70's. I didn't care much for the Next Generation stuff -- seemed painfully cheesy to me -- moderately enjoyed most of the movies even though they were also kind of crappy, enjoyed the latter few seasons of Deep Space Nine, and pretty much, other than rewatching TOS episodes once in a while, haven't paid a whole lot of attention to Things Trek. (I did like Enterprise, so you can take anything else I say with a grain of salt, because apparently I'm one of the very few who did.) But I liked this movie a lot. If they can strike a slightly better balance between whOOOM fwazow kablooie and the character development and (often lame, I know) philosophizing that is the hallmark of the Trek Universe, well, hooray for the reboot.

Slightly spoilery stuff follows:

That Kirk kid gets on my nerves a bit, but way less than I'd expected he would. When SpockPrime delivered his line to young Kirk (you know, that line), I found myself misting up a bit, even though I knew how manipulative and cynical it might have felt to some who weren't getting drawn in.

Amazingly for me, too, I wasn't even all that bothered by the Nokia and Budweiser product placement. In some way, it made sense to me that an old Corvette that had made it through the Eugenics wars and all the rest would have some crappy old tech in it -- looking backwards several hundred years, if the car and the dashboard comms were from roundabout the same few decades, it would be a near-enough kind of thing. And I have no doubt that if the future turned out as shiny as the Trek one, some beer (or whatever) companies that exist now would still be around.

>That makes him not a rough and tumble farmhand with the sensitive heart of a poet, but a spoiled rich kid who's acting out

I think that makes sense in this timeline though, and may even have been deliberate. In this timeline, Kirk's father dies and he is brought up by his mother (and stepfather, judging by the phonecall in the desert sequence). He's a different person as a result, and a bit more of a dick than 'our' Kirk, it would seem, who, if I recall, eventually grew up offplanet with his dad still around. He's an underachiever and a barfighter and stuff, and although in essence he's still James T, he's one with a different history as a child. I kind of like that.

Now, my question is why the hell a Romulan mining ship looks like it just stopped in on its way to the set of Hellraiser! In! Space!? I mean, it has the spikey chains and everything.

I've heard tell of a graphic-novel tie-in that provides some backstory on that -- something to do with Borg technology -- but I don't really know any details.

I can't believe I'm Trek theorycrafting. I better stop now.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:34 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


It turns out my co-worker is a trekkie and he saw the movie on the weekend. He was pleased that the film-makers respected the old cliches:

Kirk sleeps with nearly every female character? Check
Chekov portrayed with terrible Russian accent? Check
Unnamed crew-member in red uniform is killed? Check
Spock performs Vulcan nerve pinch and mind-meld? Check

... and so on. I may have to catch it prior to it's DVD release.
posted by Ritchie at 10:38 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


cybercoitus interruptus: "Yeah, Kirk's mother just vanishes after giving birth. "

Like the wife of Aenas.
posted by boo_radley at 10:40 PM on May 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought it was fantastic, it was fun, witty, action packed, and sexy in a very similar manner to the original show. Big nerds (like myself) often idealize Star Trek, and forget that the original show was pretty wild for the 60s, and the crew were a bunch of space cowboys doing weird, hokey, and completely scientifically implausible things every week.

However, I agree with Brundlefly that
The only thing that bothered me was Kirk's cartoonishly quick rank-jumping. The Federation must be pretty desperate for officers.

Even if Starfleet is the tolerant future liberal military, it's still the military, and having Kirk fight or mouth off to every single one of his superiors left me feeling slightly off. I don't know enough about relativistic physics or interstellar distances to let these things bother me, but I know enough about human beings to know that hierarchical structures don't look kindly on jackasses.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:42 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Decimask: "
Now, my question is why the hell a Romulan mining ship looks like it just stopped in on its way to the set of Hellraiser! In! Space!? I mean, it has the spikey chains and everything.
"

There is clear precedent for this btw.
posted by boo_radley at 10:48 PM on May 10, 2009


The plot sort of ruins the whole idea of space ships doesn't it? I mean, Scotty now knows how to build a transporter that can transport people at trans-warp speed..even to a moving starship moving faster than the speed of light thats half way across the galaxy. And he can apparently build one in a matter of *minutes*!

You know, I actually liked that plot point. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but one of the things that older sci-fi consistently underestimated -- and shows like Trek have been even slower to catch on to -- is the ubiquitous role of software in modern technology. You can already go out and buy a gadget from these guys that transforms from a Wi-Fi radio to a GPS to an HDTV receiver, just by running different programs on the host PC.

Fast-forward that kind of gadgetry 250 years, and suddenly it doesn't seem so implausible that super-hyper-teleportation could be as easy as regular teleportation with a few software patches.
posted by teraflop at 10:52 PM on May 10, 2009


Also, I love the alternate reality plot element, because it leaves the 'soul' of the characters intact, while giving writers more leeway to craft a smooth story without having to worry about the International League of Pedants coming around and saying "the episode A Piece of the Action clearly states that Kirk cannot drive stick," etc.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:52 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


My favorite part about going on opening... uh... evening (why was there no midnight show?) was the guy who took our tickets. He did the usual look to see what theater it's in and tell us bit, but at the second step he looked at us for a second and hesitated before saying, 'You should... uh... 'beam up' to theater one on your left.'

I don't know if it was some sense of obligation to the theater or to us (I think we did not look sufficiently nerdy, hence his hesitation?), but it was clear he just barely made that decision. I will cherish that memory always.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:19 PM on May 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


So it took X2 to get me to check out Xmen on the page, so too this movie (which is not without it's flaws, to be sure) has given me an "in" to what once seemed a vast, unweildly and impenetrable mythology.

So then, do I just Netflizz the OG series, or would that not "watch" well for someone not seeing them in their original day? Is TNG a better way in?

Further, I would like it if the sociological themes in the show really are as clever as Ive always imagined them to be. Are they? Or is it one of those things that attracts intellectual fans that see things that arent there in an effort to enrich something they simply enjoy. I guess what I mean is, are there rich ethical and moral themes explored or is it one of those "Yeah man, the Tribbles..see....are like....the Native Americans man. Metaphor......see?"

Cuz if its like that I might still be down, but definitely a little disappointed.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:32 PM on May 10, 2009


Senor Cardage, these two Ask Me posts might answer your questions about entering the vast Trek canon. The first is mainly concerned with Classic Trek - appropriate to compare/contrast with the new film. The second delves more into Next Gen, with an excellent list of vital episodes throughout the series. Everyone's mileage may vary.

Also, in the least surprising news about this whole phenomena, Wil Wheaton loved the movie.
posted by crossoverman at 11:43 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


So then, do I just Netflizz the OG series, or would that not "watch" well for someone not seeing them in their original day? Is TNG a better way in?

I'd skip both and go straight to DS9. TNG hasn't aged well at all and TOS was only good in comparison to the absolutely awful television of the late sixties. The first three seasons of DS9 aren't great but are a necessary foundation for the ruling awesomeness that is the last four seasons.

After that, watch the pilot and the final season of Enterprise and you've seen all the trek that is worth viewing.
posted by bunnytricks at 11:46 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Señor: The original series is all available via streaming at Hulu & Netflix. I'm not sure which episodes of that or The Next Generation to start with, but skipping the first season or two of TNG might be good.

That question must've come up on AskMe before. On preview: yup.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:50 PM on May 10, 2009


The film left me melancholic that I will not live to see the day when any of it is possible. The most a 20-something such as myself can reasonably hope for is a moon base, space tourism for millionaires (instead of billionaires), and perhaps a manned Mars mission.
posted by The White Hat at 11:53 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have and always will love the original series because it was such a big part of my TV-deprived (grew up in a rural town with one TV channel) childhood. A lot of my pleasure in rewatching the original series is in the interplay of the characters, and the cheesiness of many of the plots and all of the effects don't bother me so much because they are so familiar to me.

I didn't know that Americans could watch TOS episodes streaming, so give these episodes a taste to see if you might enjoy watching the whole run: Amok Time, City on The Edge of Forever, Mirror, Mirror, The Cage and Balance of Terror.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on May 10, 2009


My biggest problem was how in all the universe Kirk was offloaded to some ice planet, was chased by stupid monsters from King Kong and then happened to run into a cave with old Spock. Did I miss something or was this the universe's biggest coincidence?

This actually made pretty good sense to me. It's not coincidence if that planet is the only one near Vulcan that can (marginally) sustain human life. Spock was marooned there by Nero so that he could have a good view of Vulcan being destroyed, and Kirk was dumped there by young Spock just before departing Vulcan.

aaand I'm a nerd
posted by danny the boy at 11:58 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just in case you've been living in ignorance for years, the Kirk/Spock slash video you have been missing is here.
posted by Quonab at 12:00 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I was let down by the Kobayashi Maru scene. It was always referenced as this quintessentially Kirk, being a clever rebel moment, but the way the scene was shot just made him seem like a kid who cheated. Like I was expecting a subtle hack that somehow allowed a third option, rather than "press X to win".

But I guess that is consistent with his jerk characterization in this timeline.
posted by danny the boy at 12:13 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Everybody kills Hitler their first trip.

Really? I'd kill Paul and leave Christianity as an obscure Jewish sect that never evangelised to Gentiles effectively.
posted by rodgerd at 12:32 AM on May 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


But if you kill Paul, who will bring balance to the Force Beatles?
posted by ooga_booga at 12:44 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]




What I don't get is why they needed to drill a hole before dropping redmatter onto the planet. Spock didn't need to do that to collapse a fucking supernova.
posted by aubilenon at 1:00 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never let it be said, that even when Trekkies/Trekkers really like a film, they can overthink it like a plate of Andorian beans.
posted by crossoverman at 1:38 AM on May 11, 2009


I would like it if the sociological themes in the show really are as clever as Ive always imagined them to be. Are they? Or is it one of those things that attracts intellectual fans that see things that arent there in an effort to enrich something they simply enjoy.

I think it's there, but you have to accept that it's 1960s TV. The metaphors and themes ranged from awkward and mannered ("The Omega Glory") to fairly subtle and thoughtful ("City on the Edge of Forever", one of a few where the characters seem deeply affected by what they've experienced). An episode such as "A Private Little War" is fairly typical, clearly referencing the way that the West and Soviets were engaged in proxy battles in smaller countries. The Tribbles were just a fun gag in a humor episode, but with a semi-serious nod toward overpopulation and resource depletion (the "quadrotriticale" mentioned in the episode directly references a type of corn mooted as a solution to the world food crisis). At the same time, the story and character complexity is primitive compared to naturalistic ensemble dramas of the 1980s forward.

One thing that distinguished Trek from other sf, at the time, was the participation of genuine sf authors. Ellison wrote the original script for "City on the Edge of Forever" (it was changed drastically for production, yet both versions have won awards); Theodore Sturgeon wrote "Amok Time" and "Shore Leave"; Robert Bloch, Norman Spinrad, and D.C. Fontana also wrote episodes. David Gerrold's tribbles episode launched his career. I think we have a more jaded view of sf these days, but it still is a literature of ideas at heart, and Trek is most of the time about ideas.

The Federation must be pretty desperate for officers.

Remember that debris field.

I mean, the original original series had more named female Starfleet officers.

Not to be too easy on Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman here, but they were stuck with the six main characters from TOS. The only others to add would be Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand. The only other key officer was another role of Majel Barrett's, Number One, from the original pilot. But her character ended up being combined with Spock's, so in a sense she's still there. I think BSG was able to get away with a female Starbuck because there just wasn't as much entrenched fandom surrounding it, and as it was it was a hard sell. The circumstances they chose for the reboot precluded a gender swap anyway.

I think Uhura got better treatment this outing, given that Nichols complained that she'd quit if she ever had to say "Hailing frequences open, captain" one more time (parodied by Weaver's character in Galaxy Quest, directly repeating the computer each and every time). It took Martin Luther King, Jr. to convince her to stay as a role model.

And what a measure of how far we've come. In TOS having Shatner and Nichols kiss almost caused mass apoplexy in several wide swathes of the country. In 2009, having Spock and Uhura kiss merely caused mass apoplexy in several narrow swathes of Trekkies.

Even if Starfleet is the tolerant future liberal military, it's still the military

This view may not survive, but Roddenberry certainly stated numerous times that Starfleet was a paramilitary exploration force first of all.

Did I miss something or was this the universe's biggest coincidence?

Pretty big one, but then, it wasn't part of anybody's plan. Spock Prime (as the fanboys are now calling him) just took the opportunity presented to him.
posted by dhartung at 1:58 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought the movie was awesome..... but it was an awesome implementation of National Lampoon's Space Vactaion, or maybe Spaceballs 2: The Quest for More Money. The audience in the cinema I was in were literally in stiches - which was awesome, but that's hardly star trek, is it?

Which is cool, and all, it doens't need to be star trek. I mean, unless they called it Star Trek, but who the fuck would do that? :)
posted by jaymzjulian at 2:30 AM on May 11, 2009


I saw it yesterday with my GF & sister. We all agreed it was OK, but "Star Trek Babies".

Then my GF says to me on the way home, "since Spock was stuck on an ice planet a short walk from a Federation base, why didn't he just go there, phone himself up, and say 'hey, when you're old, you're going to save the Universe. It'd be best if you leave a day early...'"?

The only reason I could come up with is that it'd be a very short movie if he had...
posted by Pinback at 2:52 AM on May 11, 2009


even if Uhuru was just barely less a sex-kitten than in original series.

Martin Luther King thought otherwise.

"I [actress Nichelle Nichols] met Dr. King at a fundraiser and he told me that I was one of the most important people in his family. That they watched Star Trek and that I was a role model and their hero. And I said I said I was very proud of that and that was very nice, and then I told him that I was [considering] leaving the show, and he said abruptly - 'You can not! You absolutely must not. Do you know that you have the first non-stereotypical role on television? You're a first. This is not a female role. This is not a black role. This is a quality role, and this is an equal role, and it is in a command position. You have to carry on, because not only do little black children and do women see you and aspire and do you have meaning for them, but everyone else sees us for the first time the way we are supposed to be - on an equal basis, and on a level of dignity and authority and with the highest of qualifications.'"

This is made even more clearly true by the fact that there was a Scottish role.

-----------

Senor Cardgage: Further, I would like it if the sociological themes in the show really are as clever as Ive always imagined them to be. Are they? Or is it one of those things that attracts intellectual fans that see things that arent there in an effort to enrich something they simply enjoy?

Oh, the socio/political/cultural themes are there all right. Really, the show has the opposite problem -- it's frequently in danger of bludgeoning its audience. Star Trek does commentary on a good day, but it ain't subtle. Some examples...

Racism: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (TOS)
Sexism: "Angel 1" (TNG)
Torture: "Chain of Command" (TNG)
Mutually Assured Destruction: "A Taste of Armageddon" (TOS)
Class Warfare: "The Cloud Minders" (TOS)


So then, do I just Netflizz the OG series, or would that not "watch" well for someone not seeing them in their original day? Is TNG a better way in?

"Darmok" (TNG) is about as good as Star Trek gets -- you could do worse than starting there.

Wherever you look first, the problem you're going to be up against is that the only time Star Trek acting's ever been consistently good is in the movie you just saw. For that reason, I'd suggest that you go back and start with the original series in all its campy glory. It's often pretty stupid (Space Hippies! Space Lincoln!) but it's rarely boring.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:26 AM on May 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was momentarily thrown by the incredible coincidence of Kirk getting jettisoned to the exact spot where he would need to be to meet Future Spock, but on reflection, it started to feel like a big nod and a wink to Lost fans: time travel, lots of talk about destiny, pivotal characters falling out of the sky to a remote location so that they can "make things right."

So, then, young Spock made an illogical choice (jettison Kirk rather than lock him in the brig) because he "needed to." Very Lost-ish.
posted by jbickers at 4:30 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Caution! Caution Will Robinson! Do Not Try To Point Out Inconsistencies. Trying to fix inconsistencies is what screwed up the Star Trek Universe in the first place. I hearby pledge to accept all reasonably plausible plot points (.001% chance? That's not zero! Good enough) and to ignore all bad science (I'm an artist, not a scientist!). I would like some better female characters though.

I am not a trekkie. no really Not. A. Trekkie. okay, but just a little bit.
posted by nax at 4:57 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


For me, any silliness in the Tween!Kirk in the Corvette scene was cancelled out by the fact that while he was doing all of that, he was listening to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage." That just kind of....fits. In a way it wouldn't have fit with Shatner!Kirk.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:05 AM on May 11, 2009


I'm a fan from waaay back in the early-to-mid 1970s when my sister and I participated in the "STAR TREK LIVES!" movement to convince Paramount to revive STAR TREK... I still have the polite "Thanks for your input, weird kid" postcard from Paramount that I got in response to my earnest letter. Good to see this movie succeed!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:33 AM on May 11, 2009


To honor Wrath Of Khan, the sequel - which was apparently greenlighted before this one opened? - should also be based on a TOS episode. I nominate "Spock's Brain".

Let's see if Abrams can reboot that.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:36 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Spock Prime (as the fanboys are now calling him)

He's referred to as Spock Prime in the credits, which led me to a post-movie rant on how I better not see any more DC universe ridiculousness.
posted by breath at 6:11 AM on May 11, 2009


@Stonewall Jackson - go read The Time Travelers Wife - you'll fall in love with time travel all over again.
posted by mincus at 6:21 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not to be too easy on Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman here, but they were stuck with the six main characters from TOS. The only others to add would be Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand. The only other key officer was another role of Majel Barrett's, Number One, from the original pilot.

I think you are being a bit easy on them. Both Chapel and Carol Marcus were in the script at various points, but eventually removed. There were other opportunities to add stronger female characters--wasn't that woman in "This Side of Paradise" friends with Spock in his academy days?--but I think it was just something that wasn't very important to them. Instead we got, uh, little Kirk zipping around in a corvette. Which, sure, showed us what a badass he was, but had not-much to do with the plot.

I'm mostly glad with the way they went with Uhura. They picked up a lot of nice details from the novels (her linguistic brilliance, her name), but, she pretty much just becomes Spock's girlfriend at the end. The sequels will show, I guess, if the writers want to develop her further aside from that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:31 AM on May 11, 2009


I have been quite a hardcore Trek fan since ... well ... as far back as I can remember, anyway. I went into this film expecting it to be complete garbage. Like worse than ... um ... Star Trek: Nemesis (and I tend to be very forgiving of Star Trek movies -- I think my girlfriend and I are about the only people that actually like Insurrection). Anyway, so I found myself very pleasantly surprised. For the most part, the characters were pretty good. I mean, the whole Uhura being naught but hot and useless thing was pretty irritating, and I didn't really like Simon Pegg's Scotty, but McCoy was so well portrayed that it almost makes up for both of those. The whole time-travel-alternate-reality-extra-Spock plot was explained well enough that I was okay with it. I even kinda liked it.

Nero's revenge plot was complicated, misguided, and ... well ... what was he really getting revenge for, anyway? His daughter? Romulans? What? Also, in Starfleet when you temporarily relieve someone of duty, that means you just take over the ship forever and do whatever the hell you want? An explosion that propels the ship at warp speeds faster than their engines can push it doesn't destroy the ship?

Also: lens flares. Fake lens flares. Fake lens flares everywhere all the time.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:47 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody kills Hitler their first trip.

And it never helps.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:04 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not mentioned yet is it really broke the "odd # ST movies suck" trend.

Well, I'd always heard it cited as both sides of the coin: "odd movies suck, even movies are great," and that had already been broken by Star Trek Nemesis.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:07 AM on May 11, 2009


Not to be too easy on Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman here, but they were stuck with the six main characters from TOS. The only others to add would be Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand.

But you are being too easy. I mean, you can alternate-universe the whole series, but can't add any women? Or even Starbuck one or two?

Female Chekov would have rocked.
posted by emjaybee at 7:13 AM on May 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


The wariness I felt after hearing a few clips of dialogue is deepened after this...

For those who like to give the middle finger to the world of the politically correct, buy two tickets, and settle in for a great show. Parents who want to teach their children examples of leadership and courage — and sacrifice, take the whole family. James Tiberius Kirk has always been a leadership role model, a character of great courage and vision and purpose. There are far too few examples in today’s world of you-can’t-shake-hands-at-graduation because you might get a mild flu. To those looking for an antedote to the wimpy, lets live in a risk free world, hang-wringing whiners — this movie is it. - RedState
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 AM on May 11, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: I wonder... by the 2300s, wouldn't the Beastie Boys be the equivalent of old folk music?
posted by Rhaomi at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, in Starfleet when you temporarily relieve someone of duty, that means you just take over the ship forever and do whatever the hell you want?

Yeah, that was my problem-- in this reboot Spock is Kirk's senior, and unless he'd committed some huge error that was grounds for him being demoted (like bigger than punching a subordinate who was being a dick), why would Starfleet not have offered him command at the end?

I did enjoy the film, though.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2009


it was an awesome implementation of National Lampoon's Space Vactaion, or maybe Spaceballs 2: The Quest for More Money. The audience in the cinema I was in were literally in stiches - which was awesome, but that's hardly star trek, is it?

The Trouble with Tribbles
A Piece of the Action
Qpid
A Fistful of Datas
Cost of Living
Our Man Bashir
Take Me Out to the Holosuite
Bride of Chaotica!
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Admittedly, some of these are better than others, but comedy is hardly new for Star Trek.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:26 AM on May 11, 2009


The wariness I felt after hearing a few clips of dialogue is deepened after this...

RedState interprets Kirk as a conservative hero, and that worries you? Better stay away from the Bible, then, you'd hate that Jesus guy.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:29 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


They nailed it, period. The movie was good and I'm eager to see it again, warts and timewarp and all.

This was not a 'splosions movie. Good effects and dramatic scale might cloud one's judgment on that. Would you prefer styrofoam boulders?

It's 2009. To have made something that could even come close to making all types of fans happy would require true time travel, and would have been a shorter movie, and people would complain that they tried too hard to make dialogue and everything come off as 1960s-ish. And they'd have nowhere to go with it.
posted by rahnefan at 7:30 AM on May 11, 2009


Then my GF says to me on the way home, "since Spock was stuck on an ice planet a short walk from a Federation base, why didn't he just go there, phone himself up, and say 'hey, when you're old, you're going to save the Universe. It'd be best if you leave a day early...'"?

Maybe he did. But that still leaves 129 years of alternate timeline for Abrams et al. to tell stories in.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:34 AM on May 11, 2009


Female Chekov would have rocked.

I'm really, really hoping that we'll get either a gay Chekov or Sulu in the sequels. It's a pipe dream, sure, but the Enterprise (hell, any Enterprise) could desperately use a gay character in its ranks. It's the one glaring omission in Roddenberry's quest toward Utopian harmony.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:36 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


>To honor Wrath Of Khan, the sequel - which was apparently greenlighted before this one opened? - should also be based on a TOS episode. I nominate "Spock's Brain".

Which would at least give it a coherent plot.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:45 AM on May 11, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: I wonder... by the 2300s, wouldn't the Beastie Boys be the equivalent of old folk music?

Maybe, but sometimes old folk music can be surprisingly hip. There's a song from the early 1700's I'm especially fond of, called "My Thing Is My Own," which could be subtitled "We Wanted To List As Many Possible Slang Names for Female Genitalia As We Could." I could see people of the future hearing 20th Century "folk music" and saying, "yeah, they knew how to be pretty rockin' back then."

Not mentioned yet is it really broke the "odd # ST movies suck" trend.

Simon Pegg's character in Spaced actually may have been the source of this statement, or at least was one of the first to popularize it. Today Pegg says that "Fate put me in [the current] movie to show me I was talking out of my ass."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now, my question is why the hell a Romulan mining ship looks like it just stopped in on its way to the set of Hellraiser! In! Space!? I mean, it has the spikey chains and everything.

My brother in law got the comics and they really helped a lot in understanding this particular part of the plot.

The comics essentially cover everything that Spock Prime showed to Kirk during the mind meld in the ice cave. It explains a lot more about the red matter, the cool ship (which was designed by a retired Jordi LaForge), why the evil guys have such a powerful ship, and why they have tattoos.

Basically:
Retired but still untrusted by the council Spock Prime on Vulcan observes the supernova, alerts distrustful Romulans. Mining ship with good-ole-boy down-to-earth Romulans escape disaster by being off-world as the supernova shock destroys Romulus on its way to destroying Vulcan. The Romulan council escapes with the killer staff thing and is picked up by the miners. The council tells them about the top-secret high-tech Romulan military installation and they head that way. The miners are distrustful and kill the high council, assume command as they arrive at the military installation, and their ship is enveloped in high tech Tentacles of Doom™.

The movie was really, really awesome otherwise - thoroughly entertaining. I was thrilled by the level of grit that they embraced and the sheer size of the engineering deck. Fantastic scenery.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 AM on May 11, 2009


There is clear precedent for this btw.


Oh, I know. The last forum I used that line on I added III.5! to the end. Mmmm, hellraisery.
posted by Decimask at 7:53 AM on May 11, 2009


Simon Pegg's character in Spaced actually may have been the source of this statement, or at least was one of the first to popularize it.

Spaced began in 1999. The "odd bad, even good" thing was pretty widely acknowledged among Trekkies with the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991, if not earlier.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:10 AM on May 11, 2009


If you're going to question nonsensical bits, it might be wise to start with Spock 'Prime' (ugh, DAMN you DC) promising the Romulans he'd save their planet.

If they have time enough to design a fancy ship to deploy red matter, than the Federation could perhaps offer up a bit more support than just Spock, and there's no way in hell Mr. Logic would make a foolish promise like that.
posted by graventy at 8:14 AM on May 11, 2009


I look forward to the MTV movie awards version of the new movie with the TOS actors.
posted by Eideteker at 8:26 AM on May 11, 2009


And yeah, I just wrote "the TOS".
posted by Eideteker at 8:26 AM on May 11, 2009


I like Roger Ebert, but he misses the point here: "Scotty can beam people into another ship in outer space, but they have to physically parachute to land on a platform in the air from which the Romulans are drilling a hole to the Earth’s core." The reason they had to parachute onto the platform was because the platform had a device that prevented beaming onto it. (I don't remember the details and don't claim they make sense, but the movie did explain this.)

And it was Vulcan, not Earth.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 AM on May 11, 2009


It looks like Nimoy is enjoying all this. He just walks onstage in this SNL clip with such authority and joy.
posted by Ber at 8:49 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I literally grew up with the series--the original airing of the original series is the first specific TV program that I can remember--and had a heavy emotional investment in the show during the proverbial Bad Childhood, so I take a back seat to no one in terms of respect for the original series... and I loved the movie. The actors really nailed the characters, getting the essence of what the original cast had established for each of them without doing imitations.

As far as the science goes... Roger, Roger, Roger. Anyone who has the slightest notion of how biology works and gets past the fact of Spock's conception is not going to fret about a black hole.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on May 11, 2009


Okay. Who's up for a reboot of Space:1999?
posted by wittgenstein at 9:32 AM on May 11, 2009


If I could go back in time I'd kill the first person to ever use time travel as a narrative device.

I believe you mean you willan on-kill him or her.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:37 AM on May 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


>Okay. Who's up for a reboot of Space:1999?


I (and others) have been saying for years, take Space:1999's production design, use UFO's premise, and you've got something.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:37 AM on May 11, 2009


Other Novels and Films Rewritten in J.J. Abrams Star Trek style

Lord of the Rings

FRODO: We destroyed the ring! After a torturous journey, perpetual mortal peril, and the constant threat that the world would be destroyed by Sauron!

GANDALF: You know, I totally could have just teleported you to Mount Doom and you could have destroyed that sucker in, like, five seconds.

FRODO: You could have saved me from hell on Middle Earth, and avoided the risk of the cataclysmic destruction of all man-, dwarf-, elf- and hobbitkind?

GANDALF: Probably, yeah.

FRODO: B-- but why DIDN'T you?

GANDALF: Because I didn't want to deprive you and Sam of a chance to become good friends.

Armageddon

AFFLECK: I have returned! We destroyed the asteroid, but at what cost? Bruce Willis is dead, as are many others! I am emotionally scarred for life!

BILLY BOB: Yeah, y'know, I could have automated that sucker and really just done that whole dealio from down here.

AFFLECK: What? But -- the lives lost, and the imminent destruction of our very planet? Why in God's name wouldn't you want to take every possible step to prevent that?

BILLY BOB: Well, my thinking was that this might give you and Bruce Willis an opportunity to become real pals.

Terminator 2

SARAH CONNOR: Well, we helped prevent the creation of Skynet. Now my son and I must return to a life on the run as hunted fugitives, never to know a moment's peace, to live in raging paranoia and a constant state of threat.

T-101: I could have destroyed the T1000 and eliminated all chance of Skynet ever being created forever just by pressing this button.

SARAH CONNOR: What? But you put my son and I through hell! Ruined all chance we had for a normal, sane life! And risked the annihilation of all life on earth! Why would you do such a thing?

T-101: I did not want to deny you and your son an opportunity to bond.

Titanic

WINSLET: I... made it! But my true love is dead! Dead! Waaaaauuugghhh!

SURVIVING CREW MEMEBER: You know, I could have prevented this whole thing by just sticking my finger in that dang hole. But I chose not to.

WINSLET: You could have prevented this entire tragedy?

SURVIVING CREW MEMBER: Pretty much, yeah.

WINSLET: Thousands dead and dying... why didn't you do everything you could to prevent it?

SURVIVING CREW MEMBER: Well, I thought this crisis might really bring people together.

I, incidentally, loved the movie, and chose to take glaring flaws like Abrams' total misunderstanding of what black holes are and chalk them up to being in the gleeful spirit of the science-light original series. I mostly thought it was spot-on in terms of vibe and spirit; the only things I hate-hate-hated were Lil' Kirk and the completely batshit insane motivation of Old Spock to risk the entire universe because he thought his younger self should have a BFF.
posted by Shepherd at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:53 AM on May 11, 2009


The bad Romulans just looked like Billy Corgan with face tattoos. And who the hell thinks that is scary?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2009


RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie!

Only if they can get ROB GRANT to write it! Only if they can get ROB GRANT to write it! Only if they can get ROB GRANT to write it!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]




Oh, as always Sady of Tiger Beatdown has a much more hilarious take it at the Guardian:

It is a little-known fact that all movies released this year must, by law, include some sort of bromance, and this is one for the ages: Kirk doesn't like Spock, Spock doesn't like Kirk, both of them seem entirely indifferent to the eternal truths of buddy-cop comedies (the uptight cop/spaceship person who plays by the rules must befriend and learn to work with the maverick who gets results: to do otherwise would result in sheer narrative anarchy), and at some point, an emissary has to arrive from an alternate universe to assure them that their relationship will be the best, most meaningful, most fulfilling thing that has ever happened if they will only give it a chance.
posted by emjaybee at 10:11 AM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the ability to do the Spock salute is one of those genetic quirks like being able to roll ones tongue. For me, it's easier than pointing with my index finger, but I've encountered others who simply can't do it.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:14 AM on May 11, 2009


I enjoyed the hell out of it. I've never been a big Trek fan, but it completely won me over. Even as I was poking holes in some of the Science! they presented, I realized that I didn't care. It was just too much fun.

A couple of spoilerish thoughts:

- The opening was absolutely heart wrenching in a way I would never have expected in a Star Trek film.

- I'm glad they did more with Uhura than just had her sit around, but she is awesome and should be allowed to kick so much more ass. (Keeping the costume, natch. There is absolutely nothing in the universe wrong with Zoe Saldana in a Starfleet miniskirt)

- Karl Urban, whom I've enjoyed in many films, gets to be my very first man-crush for how great he captures Bones McCoy. He managed to perfectly convey DeForest Kelley's mannerisms while still making the character his own.

- I'd say that Winona Ryder was underused as Spock's mom, but in a way, she did a great job of making the character feel important without it being a "Whoa, that Winona!" moment

- Not nearly enough Simon Pegg. There needs to be much more Pegg in the future. This is not negotiable.

- I really liked the Phaser prop. Very slick.
posted by quin at 10:18 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: "Darmok" (TNG) is about as good as Star Trek gets -- you could do worse than starting there.

Like watching "Spock's Brain".

I mean Darmock? The episode done by someone who obviously thought "linguistics" was a sex act? The science in that is so utterly, comedically bad that it makes Red Matter seem reasonable. But then again, the science in question isn't hard science, so fans miss the huge logical error staring them in the face the entire episode.

No, Next Generation was merely embarrassing when it tried to be profound. If you want good Star Trek, go for the classic stuff:

The Trouble With Tribbles
A Taste of Armageddon
The Corbomite Maneuver
City on the Edge of Forever

Can't go wrong with good old fashioned Space Opera pulp goodness. And that's why I like the latest movie; it's obviously rejecting the turgid mess that Next Generation and following series were, and getting back to the basics of the old "Wagon Train to the Stars" concept that Trek was based on. Explosions, hot chicks, and a couple people grow up a bit. Good stuff.
posted by happyroach at 10:25 AM on May 11, 2009


Ebert has a strange history on the blue. The last love-in was perhaps more representative of sympathy for what the man’s been through health-wise than an even-handed appreciation of his work. The earlier thread on him was pretty harsh in contrast. But you can’t deny he tends to follow odd choices and then rationalize them after the fact. And here, as elsewhere, he just doesn’t care enough to get the details right (eg: aforementioned anti-beaming tech). I mean, alright, it’s a detail, but if you’re gonna slag them for not being consistent, make sure you have the details right yourself.

Though Ebert’s comment about the bridge looking like bring-your-kid-to-work day -- heh.

The only thing that makes me sad is that, if the new run of Trek is a success, that as far as films go there will only be good new Trek and good old Trek – with the TNG cast having made nothing but dreck Trek. (though partly serves them right for forsaking the DS9 cast…)

on preview: please, no Darmak. But you don't have to go back to TOS to be "profound".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:33 AM on May 11, 2009


The bad Romulans just looked like Billy Corgan with face tattoos. And who the hell thinks that is scary?

Did they... sing?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why. WHY does Tyler Perry get to be in Star Trek. WHY. D:<

Though, I was very glad to see Randy Pausch as part of the Kelvin crew.
posted by spec80 at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2009


Spaced began in 1999.

Huh. I wonder if Spaced was originally going to be called Spaced:1999?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:45 AM on May 11, 2009


Darmockj is like one of those conversations with someone whos really nerdy, and into some particular thing like Farscape or something, and you haven't seen Farscape and don;t give a shit about it but they still insist on discussing everything, be it a TV show or gettng breakfast, in terms of how it relates to Farscape. And you're all like, "dude, I know, I'm into nerdy things, I can do nerd talk at times, but Jesus, shut the fuck up about Farscape already"

Personally I would have nuked the planet from orbit.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on May 11, 2009


There is absolutely nothing in the universe wrong with Zoe Saldana in a Starfleet miniskirt ...

You know, they totally should have dressed the guys up in those ridiculous TNG Dress Uniforms for that final ceremony scene. That would have been awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 10:52 AM on May 11, 2009


128 comments in this thread so far, and no one has addressed the original post's question about all the Kirk/Spock slashers?

Fine, I'll be the obligatory crazy fangirl. Hi, my name is Asparagirl, and I read slash fanfic. And for me and judging by the comments I've read on various slash-centric LiveJournals over the weekend, most slash fans found the movie to be terrifically fun eyecandy (Quinto is dreamy, Pine is fiiiiine) that also re-established the Kirk/Spock antagonism/friendship as being absolutely central to the story (yay!), and even gave us some new canon tidbits to muse on. If you watch the film with your slash-glasses on, it gives a whole new layer of emotion and meaning to several scenes, primarily Spock Prime coming face-to-face with young Kirk (long-dead in his own timeline) in the cave, or at the end of the film where Spock Prime tells his younger self that he simply must go off and explore the universe with Kirk because 'he will be important to you in ways that you cannot fully realize yet' (!), or Sarek gently chiding Spock about how even Sarek loved Spock's mother (i.e. a Vulcan showing emotion! and that was okay!) in the scene directly after Spock almost kills Kirk with his own pent-up emotion, and so on. Great stuff, and all presented in a meaty character-driven emotional way, not specifically a sexypants kind of way. (Which is not to say sexypants is a bad thing.)

Even Manohla Dargis at the Times kinda picked up on it: "Kirk also comes smack up against Spock, an officious instructor. In the tradition of many great romances, the two men take almost an instant dislike to each other, an antagonism that literalizes the Western divide between the mind (Spock) and body (Kirk) that gives the story emotional and dramatic force as well as some generous laughs."

Great romance indeed. Now excuse me, I must anxiously await the Kirk/Spock/Uhura love triangle stories that will come out of this. *drums fingers on keyboard impatiently*

(It also doesn't hurt matters that one of the new leads in this film is actually gay. No, he's not officially out, but at least he doesn't play straight for the press either.)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:06 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can do the Vulcan salute, no problem, with my right hand... But not my left. With my left hand, I can easily do a "backwards" Vulcan salute -- push together my middle and ring fingers while pushing out my index and pinky, thus making two Vs, as if saying, "Live long and prosper -- DOUBLE TIME!" But I can't do the "backwards" Vulcan salute with my right hand.

....

also OMG THIS MOVIE WAS SO AWESOME I was grinning the ENTIRE time and I want to go see it again and again and again and WHOOO!
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:09 AM on May 11, 2009


Also, from one of those slash-related LiveJournals which I just mentioned, comes these two bits of insight, which I thought were excellent:

The car crash, actually--Curtis and I read this as a way of semiotically trashing the 60s; we think that's a '65 Corvette, so the character HAS to crash it and leap free into the reboot. The scene says: This is not your father's oldsmobile.

and

Now, more than ever, Spock is symbolically still a Jew and a girl. Endangered species? 6,000,000 of his people killed? Good boy who loves his mother?

That latter one refers to the fact that Spock's character was originally a woman. See also "Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding" by Francesca Coppa, which goes into awesome detail about the character of "Number One" and her role's transference to Spock.

Although these days, apparently Spock is the president.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:29 AM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I just saw it and thought it was kinda dumb (I've seen a lot of trek, but because I'm an SF geek, not because I obsess over Trek itself). Treknobabble exists for a reason - nobody cares what magical properties mysterious subspace anomolies have because they're mysterious and anomolous, but when you start throwing around and brutally mischaracterising real world terms like 'supernova' and 'black hole' when all you really want to say is 'big dangerous explodey thing that can take out a planet' and 'sucky implosional dimensional vortex' then it's just painful.

The rest of it was a pretty forgettable action movie, standard hollywood popcorn fare, with all the requisite saccharine meanful bits and anvils with 'laugh here' dropped from great heights, glued together with expensive SFX and lens flares (dear God, the lens flares). OTOH, it was quite cool that Kirk's dad used to play Kim on Home and Away (cheezy OzSoap, think Neighbours with more psychosis) and his Mum is the cute blonde doctor on House. Who knew?

I also saw Coraline which impressed me far, far more, and I suspect will stay with me for much longer, despite being ostensibly for kids.
posted by Sparx at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2009


A second viewing gave me more time to evaluate (yes, I enjoyed the heck out of it both times).

Chapel is in the movie... as a line screamed by McCoy. So she's obviously on board and maybe she'll show up as a potential love triangle problem for Spock in a sequel. Speaking of which, I'm fine with Uhura and Spock, the two always had a connection in the original series, stemming mostly from both their feelings for music.

Kirk is brash. Kirk in this timeline lacking paternal influence is more brash. What's to complain?

The only thing I truly did not like was the ice monster chase scene. Kirk could have simply landed and found Spock. No need for an ice monster that is implausibly driven away by a tiny torch.

Implausible plot? It's Star Trek. A black hole can send you hurtling through space/time, fine. It's just as probable as a human/Vulcan hybrid and that even green skinned women are essentially human, with all the necessary parts for Kirk to exploit.

Great movie. Great fun. A whole new generation of fans are showing up, so us old fogies should step up and BE NICE.
posted by linux at 11:59 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also: lens flares. Fake lens flares. Fake lens flares everywhere all the time.

I can't find the link now but I did read an interview with Abrams where he thought that he went a little overboard with the lens flares but that they were all real. They aimed flashlights and small spot lights at the cameras during the shooting to create that effect.
posted by octothorpe at 12:04 PM on May 11, 2009


Needs moar ceti eels. I didn't hear Chekov scream.

Also, needs moar Uhura. And stronger, too. She has the potential to kick ass, more than just as a subordinate communications officer (which really does make her look a bit like a glorified telephone operating receptionist, unfortunately). Translator? Diplomat? Invaluable expert in linguistic subterfuge? That would be awesome.
posted by kldickson at 12:04 PM on May 11, 2009


I like Roger Ebert, but he misses the point here: "Scotty can beam people into another ship in outer space, but they have to physically parachute to land on a platform in the air from which the Romulans are drilling a hole to the Earth’s core." The reason they had to parachute onto the platform was because the platform had a device that prevented beaming onto it. (I don't remember the details and don't claim they make sense, but the movie did explain this.)

I think it was that the drill was interfering with the signal you'd need in order to transport anywhere, not just onto the drill itself. Kind of like like the outer-space equivalent of feedback.

And I saw that myself, and I was thisclose to writing Ebert a snippy little letter pointing out that the movie clearly stated this. However, I ultimately decided not to, because I didn't want to be That Fan -- and because I then realized that I probably was not the first person to have considered writing such a letter.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also to continue this list:

Kirk sleeps with nearly every female character? Check
Chekov portrayed with terrible Russian accent? Check
Unnamed crew-member in red uniform is killed? Check
Spock performs Vulcan nerve pinch and mind-meld? Check

I add:

McCoy says "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!" Check
McCoy says "You green-blooded hobgolbin" Check
McCoy says "I'm a doctor, not a..." Check
(honestly, it's like they deliberately left out "He's dead, Jim" just so they could add everything else)
Scott says, "I'm giving you all she's got, Captain!" Check
Uhura says, "Hailing frequencies open." Check
posted by linux at 12:10 PM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dunno...I kindof always got the impression that they didn't put as much into making formidable opponents of female cadets until TNG, as if the academy recognized the need and evolved. I like it that way. Let her be a sexy communicator...she doesn't have to be a ninja supersoldier does she? If she did cartwheels thru a laser grid, wouldn't you have groaned with disappointment?
posted by rahnefan at 12:10 PM on May 11, 2009


"If she did cartwheels thru a laser grid, wouldn't you have groaned with disappointment?"

Not if she still had on the miniskirt uniform.

(Sorry!)
posted by Servo5678 at 12:26 PM on May 11, 2009




Ms. Saint: "I can do the Vulcan salute, no problem, with my right hand... But not my left. With my left hand, I can easily do a "backwards" Vulcan salute -- push together my middle and ring fingers while pushing out my index and pinky, thus making two Vs, as if saying, "Live long and prosper -- DOUBLE TIME!" "

I always figured that "salute" was a Klingon "shocker"...you know, since they have two of everything....
posted by notsnot at 12:30 PM on May 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I kindof always got the impression that they didn't put as much into making formidable opponents of female cadets until TNG

My thinking was less to do with Trek canon and more related to the fact that Abrams tends to like strong female characters (Sydney on Alias, Kate on Lost, etc). I was sort of hoping that he'd use this as an opportunity to take Uhura out of the communications chair, but I suppose he had a lot of other points to make, hopefully he can expand her character more in the future.
posted by quin at 12:38 PM on May 11, 2009


Why the hell did they cast Winona Ryder as Kirk's mom, though? That was terrible. There is no movie makeup in the world that can convincingly age someone - they should have just cast someone of the right age. Ugh. Otherwise, my partner and I really loved the movie - warts and all. Would have preferred more awesome female characters, more of the Enterprise, and more ethical dilemmas, but pretty good for a summer blockbuster.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2009


What? No love for Chekov's ultra-nerdy "I kin doo zat! I kin doo zat!" moment? I WUVED THAT MOMENT IN ALL CAPS!

And Nimoy's awesome line: "oddly self-serving" -- It made me feel all warm inside that they had such a great line to give him. Nimoy seemed to be having a great time in this movie.
(I also loved the whole "I tricked him into believing some bullshit about how the universe would explode if I ever met you" bit).

Vulcans may be an endangered species, but that Vulcan colony is going to be pretty badass in a few years once they start taking advantage of Spock Prime's hundred-year technological headstart.

Also, Spock giving Scottie the trans-warp teleportation formula made a very nice callback to the transparent aluminum technology in movie #4.

Maneuvering Kirk-the-cadet into the captain's chair was a difficult challenge for the writers, and while what they came up with was still pretty implausible, it was a whole lot better than it could have been.

I agree that Kirk came off as a jerk in the Kobayashi Maru scene, but I took that as one of the ways he was different from Kirk Prime. One gets the impression that Kirk Prime did it in such a way that doffed their caps to him rather than suspend him for cheating. (And if it's an winnable scenario, how exactly did he fail it twice?)
posted by straight at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, everyone except Uhura got to conn the ship at least once, including Chekhov, who is 17, and Kirk, who wasn't even supposed to be there. Maybe Communications isn't a command-track department, but I'd still have loved to see Uhura in the command chair for long enough to look purposeful and say "Engage."
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:52 PM on May 11, 2009


Female Chekov would have rocked.

Molotov... in Spaaaaaaace.
posted by Caviar at 12:58 PM on May 11, 2009


Nimoy has spoken at length in the past about the Jewish origins of his portrayal of Spock, and one thing that really resonated with me--and which I expected to hate going in--was the destruction of Vulcan. When Spock's voiceover estimated that there were only 10,000 Vulcans left alive in the galaxy, I realized that either intentionally or unintentionally the movie was really emphasizing the Vulcan / Jewish connection. Ten thousand Vulcans in the diaspora, and Spock Prime off to establish a new homeland...
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:26 PM on May 11, 2009


"One gets the impression that Kirk Prime did it in such a way that doffed their caps to him rather than suspend him for cheating. (And if it's an winnable scenario, how exactly did he fail it twice?)"

The only other way I remember Kirk beating the Kobayashi Maru scenario was from the book by Julie Eklar with said title (and being a book, not considered canon). There, Kirk modified the program such that the Klingons stopped attacking when they realized it was Captain Kirk, a noted warrior. Kirk talks with the Klingon commander through viewscreen where they invite him over for dinner and assist in rescuing the crew of the Maru.

Equally pompous, and done the same way (modifying the program). Kirk's still a smart ass.

Incidentally, this is one of the few Trek books I still own after so many years of attempting to trim my physical library (in fact, I think it's the only Trek book I have now), mostly because it was a very interesting set of stories on various characters taking the Maru test (obviously Kirk's the only one who wins). Scotty's scenario is especially hilarious.
posted by linux at 1:40 PM on May 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pallas Athena- Checkov tells Uhura she has the conn as he's running to the transporter room.
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2009


I loved it, although I was a little uncomfortable with how everyone was fine with Vulcan being destroyed. I mean, 6 billion people, but ok we got out Sarek and a few old farts. Sort of like Alderaan and Uncle Owen / Aunt Beru.

And really, Star Trek IV they went back in time to save Earth, doesn't a megaholocaust like this warrant a trip back?
posted by condour75 at 1:58 PM on May 11, 2009


Aw, the movie was fun. Dumb, but fun.

But New Uhura is way too skinny. I miss curvy Old Uhura.
posted by Nelson at 2:03 PM on May 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Equally pompous, and done the same way (modifying the program). Kirk's still a smart ass.

It would have been funnier if he'd reprogrammed the Klingon ships in the simulation to accept a Federation prefix code.
posted by Caviar at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2009


Actually, it would have been even funnier if he'd programmed the Klingon ships to receive a transmission from the Klingon homeworld informing them that following the rescue of their outpost at Narendra III by an unnamed Federation ship, the Empire and the Federation were no longer at war and they should let the Kobyashi Maru go. Collapsing the timeline is always good for a laugh.
posted by Caviar at 2:16 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding Chekov, and completely unrelated to the movie:

I am surprised nobody has tried to make a parody of 'The Scream' by inserting Chekov as the perpetrator of the titular scream.
posted by kldickson at 2:25 PM on May 11, 2009


condour75: Well, I can fanwank that: the events of the TOS episodes where they learn the slingshot technique have not happened yet (and may never), so they can't slingshot. Why black holes created in the 23rd century don't behave in the same way as the 24th century is the question. I'm going to guess that the proximity of the 'unignihted red matter' allows Spock and Nero's ship to pass through without being destroyed by red-matter created distortions; or passing through the distortion (not a real black hole) once removes the ability of the red matter to create holes further backwards in time.

I'm still looking for the tubes labeled GNDN
posted by theclaw at 2:48 PM on May 11, 2009


Forget going back in time to save Earth, Nero was already back in time, and he could've, you know, given Romulus a heads-up about their upcoming destruction sometime during the 25 years he was cooling his heels waiting for Spock to reappear.

I thought the Corvette might've been a shout-out to Heavy Metal, but the one in Heavy Metal was white.

it's like they deliberately left out 'He's dead, Jim' just so they could add everything else

I have to admit I whispered that to my companions when Captain Kirk's dad died.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:06 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


They call it insanity because you don't necessarily see the logical ways to solve your problem without killing a few billion people in revenge.
posted by Caviar at 3:24 PM on May 11, 2009


> When Spock's voiceover estimated that there were only 10,000 Vulcans left alive in the galaxy, I realized that either intentionally or unintentionally the movie was really emphasizing the Vulcan / Jewish connection. Ten thousand Vulcans in the diaspora, and Spock Prime off to establish a new homeland...

If they're going to play that one through it'll be someplace like Andoria.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:50 PM on May 11, 2009




kirkaracha: I think they accounted for that -- when Pike told Nero that Romulus was still around, Nero said that he was going to destroy the Federation planets anyway for what he considered to be neglect and abandonment of his people. That is, they promised to save them and failed. So, even though that hadn't happened yet, he knew it would, and thus exacted his revenge retroactively. I think he also said that he was doing it do that Romulus could "thrive", implying that he was going to save it, too.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2009


Also, keep in mind that Nero was sent back in time by being sent to a different universe. No matter what Nero did, his Romulus was still destroyed. This one, in this alternate universe, is not identical to his own.

Same reason why there's nothing Spock Prime could really do to make sure he saved Romulus in time. Sure, he might be able to make sure that this Romulus is saved... But the one from his original universe is just gone, baby. Gone.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:41 PM on May 11, 2009


The movie has problems (and the sequels will face problems) with gender, no doubt, but I have to disagree with the idea of "a female Chekov" or the like. Everyone runs to the Starbuck example, but Battlestar Galactica was a tv series very few people watched, that lasted something like 22 episodes in 1979/1980, and was never syndicated until the SciFi Channel started running it again in 1992. Star Trek's 79 episodes have been on television nearly constantly since cancellation in 1969, for forty years. They're some of the most familiar characters in all television.

Putting aside that the entire concept of this movie is that all of the characters in it *are the original characters*, just in a splinter universe, you could never get away with making Chekov female after forty years of constant, worldwide syndication. There's just no comparison.
posted by tzikeh at 6:34 PM on May 11, 2009


you could never get away with making Chekov female
Besides, he's gay. And delicious looking.
posted by Nelson at 6:41 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


you could never get away with making Chekov female

Besides, he's gay. And delicious looking.


How is he gay if he's almost easily swayed by illusionary Wild West ladies and femdroids? Anyway, we got rid of 'female Chekov' in 'The Way to Eden', and she was a dirty hippie.

Although somehow he continues to appear teenagerish even when he's 50. But for his white hair and his copious wrinkles, Walter Koenig looks almost exactly the way he did when he played fresh-out-of-the-Academy early-twenties Pavel Chekov.
posted by kldickson at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2009


My biggest beef with the movie was the ice-planet monster. Why is it red?
posted by stargell at 8:35 PM on May 11, 2009




Why is it red?

Why not? It's entirely possible it has nothing to hide from.
posted by Caviar at 9:35 PM on May 11, 2009


I thought it was flawed but big fun, and the characters feel fresh and new again, which bodes well for future installments. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who immediately thought "why in hell would a snow monster be red?" I also thought, shortly thereafter, "Han will save him!"

Why the hell did they cast Winona Ryder as Kirk's mom, though?

My pet suspicion is that they have further universe expansion in mind. Maybe a movie about young Spock's mom on Earth, before she was married to Sarek, or some sort of pre-destruction Vulcan story so that the event in this move becomes retroactively more tragic.

Or maybe it was a favor.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:59 PM on May 11, 2009


Why is it red?

Perhaps it was boiled?
posted by brundlefly at 11:21 PM on May 11, 2009


If they had made Chekov a woman, I would personally have written the production team a very nasty letter!
posted by Jilder at 11:34 PM on May 11, 2009


My pet suspicion is that they have further universe expansion in mind.

More likely there was a scene of Young Spock with his mother - around the time he was bullied - which would have made Winona age appropriate and the aging make-up was necessary for the scenes that they actually kept in the film.

I also thought, shortly thereafter, "Han will save him!"


It was really more like the "bigger fish" sequence in The Phantom Menace.
posted by crossoverman at 5:44 AM on May 12, 2009


More likely there was a scene of Young Spock with his mother

Don't bring your logic and most-likely kinds of reasons in here! I want reasons that point toward universe-expansion and more movies only!
posted by LooseFilter at 10:06 AM on May 12, 2009


McCoy materialized out of Gene Roddenberry's long-dead brain and got a Metafilter account?
posted by kldickson at 10:29 AM on May 12, 2009


RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie! RED DWARF movie!

You do know they just did three new half hours, right? You do know they sucked?
posted by Chuckles at 10:32 AM on May 12, 2009


Why the hell did they cast Winona Ryder as Kirk's mom, though? That was terrible. There is no movie makeup in the world that can convincingly age someone - they should have just cast someone of the right age.

Uh ... you do realize that Winona Ryder is thirty-seven, right? If Johnny Depp had gotten her pregnant, she could have a kid old enough to be halfway through a military academy. (And she did The Age of Innocence in 1993, and was aged more than twenty years in that film.) Anyway, I thought she was visually perfect for someone that Sarek would want to marry -- in fact, in this imdb photo she even looks Vulcan herself.

Yeah, I too would have preferred if his win of Kobayashi Maru were more impressive. Say, reprogramming the psychology of the Romulan AI. His apple-eating insouciance seemed directed at the simulation managers rather than the opposite team. What this boiled down to was showing Jim Kirk, rule-flouter, instead of Jim Kirk, brilliant gut-driven strategist.
posted by dhartung at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009


So, ok, magical time travel via red goo and black holes? Sure!

11-year-olds leaping out of crashing cars to safety? Awesome!

A somewhat secondary male character being reimagined as female in order to freshen up a stale and white-dudey cast? OHMYGOD, THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN IT'S TOO CRAZY NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE IT.
posted by emjaybee at 11:27 AM on May 12, 2009




So, ok, magical time travel via red goo and black holes? Sure!

11-year-olds leaping out of crashing cars to safety? Awesome!

A somewhat secondary male character being reimagined as female in order to freshen up a stale and white-dudey cast? OHMYGOD, THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN IT'S TOO CRAZY NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE IT.


As was said above, this Star Trek is supposedly at least connected to the main Trek continuity (unlike Battlestar). There'd have to be a pretty crazy narrative justification for changing the gender of a lead character. It would make more sense to write in a NEW female character entirely.

By comparison magical "science," technobabble and dodgy physics are completely within the normal Star Trek continuity.
posted by brundlefly at 12:49 PM on May 12, 2009


There'd have to be a pretty crazy narrative justification for changing the gender of a lead character.

Not really. The break from the original timeline occurs with the appearance of the Narada and destruction of the Kelvin, ~25 years before most of the events in the movie. With Chekov only being 17, that's a full eight years for different things to happen which result in a female instead of a male to be born (if we're going to insist that she has the same parents as original-timeline Chekov), or a full 25 years of difference if you don't and just want to have a female Russian cadet who happens to be named Chekov but has no particular in-universe relation to the original.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2009


You do know they just did three new half hours, right? You do know they sucked?

I thought it was just as bad as every other Red Dwarf episode. Which is to say kind of sucky, but entertaining. I guess it helped that my expectations were so low from the drubbing that it received from fans that the only way it could have sucked as much as I feared was if it had been directed by George Lucas.
posted by stavrogin at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2009


Not really. The break from the original timeline occurs with the appearance of the Narada and destruction of the Kelvin, ~25 years before most of the events in the movie. With Chekov only being 17, that's a full eight years for different things to happen which result in a female instead of a male to be born

Fair enough, but it's seems like a pretty arbitrary change to make, and one that would still require a certain amount of explanation, if only because it would stand out from the sameness of the rest of the splinter universe.

I'd probably be more down with it if the movie went further with the alternateness (millionth word!) of its universe, and there were tons of ripples from Nero's intervention. Chekov's a woman. McCoy is a terrorist.* Sulu was never born. Etc.

*There could be a grisly explanation for his nickname.
posted by brundlefly at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2009


Female Chekov would have rocked.

All that and more. Be careful what you ask for.
posted by mazola at 6:12 PM on May 12, 2009


jbickers: Okay. So the lens flares were real. I'll give Abrams credit for that. It's clever. But still ...
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:42 PM on May 12, 2009


Chekov would have to be named Chekova.
posted by kldickson at 6:53 PM on May 12, 2009


The women being in skirts really bothered me. There is no reason other than sexism to have women in skirts. What happens if they have to fight? Or fall down? Or do anything remotely physical? I can understand why they might not have wanted to change any of the original characters to women or introduce new female characters (this time), but going back to a sexist costuming choice that Star Trek had otherwise abandoned really bugged the hell out of me. (I otherwise loved the movie, despite this and a few other problems.)
posted by Mavri at 7:17 AM on May 13, 2009


Starfleet training includes classes on how to fight, fall down, and change lightbulbs while wearing a skirt.
posted by Caviar at 7:37 AM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unitards.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on May 13, 2009


Unitards are always the solution.
posted by Jilder at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2009


Couldn't you just wear a unitard under the skirt if that bothers you?
posted by Caviar at 10:48 AM on May 13, 2009


Unitard we stand, divided we fall.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:09 AM on May 14, 2009


It looks like Nimoy is enjoying all this. He just walks onstage in this SNL clip with such authority and joy.


The way Spock has evolved into the linchpin of the Star Trek multiverse is, for me, the most compelling thing about this new way forward. Ebert is right to point out Star Trek's now complete surrender to Space Opera. But my own apologism for Star Trek had long since led me right to the doorstep of Abram's reboot.

It's almost perfect.

Leonard Nimoy wrote I Am Not Spock in 1977, and spoke of the way Spock had become something much larger than himself--an identity from which he would struggle to distinguish his own. In 1995, in I Am Spock, he apologizes to the fans for the frequently misunderstood previous title, and makes more explicit the relationship he has with Spock in a series of back-and-forth missives with his Vulcan half.

Spock has always been a man who fully inhabits the space between. His is an unending struggle to reach balance. All Vulcans must master and suppress their passions. For Spock this was made more stark by his Human genes. In his old age, Ambassador Spock matured and found peace with himself, and commited to the reunification of the peoples of Vulcan with their long-estranged kin on Romulus. His fated attempt to save Romulus of the 24th Century deposits him at the Death of Vulcan in a universe that is no longer his home. So he logically chucks the timeline and sets out to lead his people through the wilderness, embracing a ponderous new identity which he had hardly sought.

After this film, I enjoy the parallels and contradictions implicit in Mr. Spock (and Mr. Nimoy's relationship with him) more than I would have thought possible after all these years.

-
posted by General Tonic at 5:35 PM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Okay, I'll cave in. I saw it and it fucking rocked. I was amazed. And I'm so glad Spock was actually gettin' some.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:54 PM on May 21, 2009


I just wanted to ruffle Chekov's hair and pinch his cheeks.

Notes for future movies: A talented linguist who is good with people and can think on her feat? That's not bridge candy, that's a spy.

Also having your homeworld blown up and your people massacred? Not a recipe for sanity.

Also, more Scotty.
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also that bait-and-switch joke from the trailer (you know the one) was really, really funny.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on May 22, 2009


Agreed. Checkov II was ADOOOORABLE. He completely and totally stole those scenes. A nice surprise since Checkov I always annoyed me.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:47 PM on May 23, 2009




It was good and fun. But having only a single female lead in the A.S.R.B.S.* era feels odd and just plain wrong. If you're going to reboot, then frigging reboot, you know, throw a new character in if you're scared of tampering with the originals. And Tyler Perry, really, WTF was that about?


After Starbuck, Roslin, Boomer & Six
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on May 24, 2009


Oh but there is plenty of room for stronger female leads in later movies. Plus 2 hours of movie vs. 12 hours of episodes. You gotta pick and choose your focus.

That being said, Uhura could carry the next movie. I mentioned before, she's perfect spy material. And now that she's more ......enmeshed with the Kirk/Spock leads, it makes more sense to have her front and center in another story.

The obvious new direction is that she really doesn't like Kirk very much. You can go in a number of directions from there, but hey! characters reacting based on emotion and previous history! That's good!
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on May 24, 2009


Oh but there is plenty of room for stronger female leads in later movies.

No time like the present.

After seeing the cornucopia of female leads in BSG, it felt hollow and false to see just one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 PM on May 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I miss the quiet grace and dignity of the original Uhura. The current one didn't really do anything, did she, 'cept randomly discover a transmission? She didn't help in the fight in the bar, 'cept scream "stop", otherwise she was an object of Kirk's lust or a comfort to Spock.

I'm not talking about just on the Enterprise crew, but there didn't seem to be many women in positions of power throughout the movie, not on the Kelvin or among Starfleet high command. Not so much a statement about the movie, which was fun and enjoyable, but rather the admirable aftereffects of BSG, where having multiple powerful and strong women around just doesn't feel right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 PM on May 24, 2009






Agreed. Checkov II was ADOOOORABLE. He completely and totally stole those scenes.

Getting back to one of the sub-topics of the post, while I'm not into slash, I'll be somewhat disappointed if they don't start working Chekov into these things from this point on.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:10 AM on June 3, 2009


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