- Adam Roberts hits it out of the park with his review. The whole thing is quotable and also very funny, but this is the point that floored me, which hits on something that niggled at me throughout my viewing but which I wasn't able to put into words:
Trek09 is a text so absolutely incapable of representing a collective—a functioning group, a society—that it strays into rank idiocy. It is teenage wish-fulfilment bang-zap-frot fantasy all the way through. But (and this, I’d say, is what people celebrating the Star Warsification of the Trek franchise in this film, are missing) precisely what made Trek so notable in the first place was its creation a communitarian world. Not an ensemble cast all vying for screen time; a knit-together group of people. The Star Wars universe is an open-ended, malleable space for individual adventure. The Trek universe is about having a place. It is, really, about belonging.As I said in my review, Star Trek as a story is wholly oriented towards placing Jim Kirk in the place God intended for him, the captain's seat on the bridge of the Enterprise, but because of the dysfunction Adam notes the film's notion of what a captain is boils down to 'the guy who gets to tell everyone what to do.' Kirk is never a leader. His Enterprise functions not because of any action on his part but because he happens to have been lucky enough to end up with a band of under-qualified cadets who figure out, all on their own, how to work together. I never got the sense that Kirk cared whether his crew got along or respected him so long as they enabled him to be captain, or that the film cared about any relationship that had more than two people in it.
So Trek09 grandly misses the point. My problem was not that Kirk, in this film, is a tool at the start and a tool at the end. He is, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that Star Fleet is so toolish: so completely, dysfunctionally unbelievable as an organisation. ... The Enterprise, as a group of individuals functioning together to crew a space ship, is—in this film, and for the first time in the Trek franchise—Not Fit For Purpose. It's a wholly unprofessional bunch of people squabbling and vying. It's dysfunctional.
- Nick Mamatas is an utter wronghead about the Star Trek franchise, but probably right on the money when it comes to this observation:
And the J.J. Abrahms movie? Well, it's...not bad. Not great, but not bad. Actually, it isn't even a Star Trek movie. I swear to God, it's Galaxy Quest: The Motion Picture. There are inexplicably Willy Wonkaesque architectures for the characters to get stuck in, the captain and his alien buddies aren't really friends though they are somehow supposed to be, a monster is replaced by a bigger monster during a planetside interlude, the transporters don't seem to work right, the first captain is tortured by the villains (ooh, waterboarding!), and the end of the movie involves Spaceship A turning around and rushing Spaceship B. Plus the baddy snarls his lines five inches from the camera lens, a la a heel pro wrestler threatening to destroy Hulk Hogan on a Saturday morning. Just like Galaxy Quest. But not played for laughs.
- As with the presence of women, lots of people have talked about the lack of diversity in Star Fleet and on the Enterprise (I note that the film took the standard Trek approach of having a mainly white cast and a black admiral), but Rachel M. Brown really gets to the heart of the difference between emulation Star Trek's form and emulating its spirit:
The point of Chekhov in the original was not that he had a funny accent. It was that he was a proud citizen of a country that, at time of airing, was America's # 1 enemy. The modern USA equivalent of Chekhov would not be Chekhov, but a crew member from Iraq or Afghanistan.
- A Fox News commentator takes Abrams's overturning of Roddenberry's message to its logical conclusion:
The new "Star Trek" film shows Captain Kirk's Starship Enterprise making good use of photon torpedoes and force fields. So the question comes to mind: Would Israel be safer if it could shoot down enemy missiles and rockets with such photon torpedoes, or block them altogether with a force field? Of course it would.
- A report from a Q&A session with screenwriters Orci and Kurtzman, in which they try to justify the film's numerous plot holes. The whole thing is quite delicious, but this is undoubtedly the money shot:
In the minds of the creators, the focus of the plot is that Nero’s destruction of the timeline has altered history to the point that the all important friendship of Kirk and Spock is now threatened. If these two don’t come together, the fabric of space and time itself is endangered (as we have witnessed by the universe itself being saved countless times over the last 40 years). Kirk “coincidentally” running into Spock Prime is an example of fate itself trying to bring these two together. That’s how important it is.Also, apparently Kirk was only sleeping with Uhura's Orion roommate in order to gain access to the computers running the Kobayashi Maru scenario. What a prince.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
A few more interesting links and then I'm done with this movie, I swear.