‘Star Trek’ (Film)

     

‘STAR TREK’

Please feel free to comment on the review.

The Kelvin Timeline Begins
By Tim Bradley and Timelord007

Tim Bradley:
‘Star Trek’ (2009) wasn’t the ‘Star Trek’ film I wanted to see.

Timelord007:
Trust me, Tim. By the end of this review, you’ll be glad you did.

Tim Bradley:
Here we have the first of the ‘Star Trek’ reboot trilogy. The film was released in 2009 and was the eleventh made in the ‘Star Trek’ series. This was my first ‘Star Trek’ movie experience at the cinema when it came out in May 2009. J. J. Abrams directed the movie and produced it with Damon Lindelof.

At the time of this film’s release, ‘Star Trek’ was considered dead. ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’, the final film of ‘The Next Generation’ was not the success it could’ve been and the spin-off TV series, ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’, got cancelled in 2005 after doing four seasons. Interest in ‘Star Trek’ had waned by then.

Timelord007:
I think what happened was so many spin off series got made around the same time that the fans became bored. What was needed was for ‘Star Trek’ to go back to its roots but with a fresh take and a new cast. To keep the core values of what ‘Star Trek’ is about and give it a modern up-to-date spin.

Tim Bradley:
‘Star Trek’ (2009) was an ‘attempt’ (if you can call it that) to rejuvenate the series by providing that fresh take and a new cast by going back to its roots. The original idea was to do a prequel film set before the events of ‘The Original Series’ where Kirk, Spock and the gang were at Starfleet Academy.

Now this is a good idea and it would’ve worked well as a prequel film. The idea had been considered as the plot for ‘Star Trek VI’ at one point. I saw the 2009 film twice that year, both at the cinema and on DVD that Christmas. Beforehand I was pretty excited to see my first ‘Star Trek’ movie at a cinema.

I hoped to have a good time watching the film around that May. But upon my first viewing of it, I came away feeling very disappointed. The film wasn’t what I was hoping for in terms of a ‘Star Trek’ film and the series continuity was totally taken out of context before ‘The Original Series’ happened.

Timelord007:
I too had reservations about rebooting ‘Star Trek’ with a new cast. I mean, you can’t ever replace William Shatner as Captain Kirk or the late Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. They are ‘Star Trek’ legends. However, what this film got right is that it’s actually a part of the canon because of Spock’s actions. He unwittingly creates an alternate timeline where events play out more or less the same, just a little differently.

Tim Bradley:
Yeah, I suppose that makes sense considering I’ve re-watched the film for the review and I’ve done some research into how the ‘Star Trek’ reboot films fit into the overall continuity of the series. But I suppose it’s because I just wanted this as a prequel film and not have it set in an alternative timeline that I didn’t take to it.

I know there are people who regard this movie highly and I can’t deny there are some good things to enjoy from it such as some of the casting; the acting and the music. But at the same time, I have issues with regards to how certain scenes are played out in the overall presentation of the film itself.

Anyway, let’s talk about the movie. The film begins sometime in the 23rd century where the Federation starship called the Kelvin investigates a ‘lightning storm’ in space. Out from the ‘lightning storm’ comes a Romulan mining vessel called the Narada. It attacks the Kelvin without any warning.

Timelord007:
The Narada’s first officer, Clifton Collins, Jr. as Ayel, soon demands that Faran Tahir as Captain Richard Robau comes aboard the Narada via a shuttle-craft. Robau agrees and hands command of the Kelvin to his first officer George Kirk, whose features bare an uncanny resemblance to Thor.

Tim Bradley:
(realises) Oh so that’s where I’ve seen him before! Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk! Good choice as he uncannily almost looks like Chris Pine who plays James T. Kirk in the film.

Timelord007:
Robau orders Kirk to wait fifteen minutes for his signal and then evacuate the ship if he does not make contact. Robau is taken aboard the Narada while the crew of the Kelvin monitor him. Ayel interrogates him first about a particular ship and the whereabouts of Ambassador Spock, with whom Robau is unfamiliar with. The Narada’s captain, Eric Bana as Nero, impales Robau with a teral’n, a pronged bladed weapon.

Tim Bradley:
Let’s be honest. Eric Bana just wanted to be THE HULK AGAIN!!!

Timelord007:
Blimey! Thor and the Hulk in a non-Marvel movie and we’re not even at the opening credits yet!

Tim Bradley:
Trust me, Timelord! Those two won’t be the last!

The Kelvin crew becomes instantly aware of Captain Robau’s death before the Narada continues to fire upon them.

Timelord007:
As the situation worsens, George Kirk realizes that the damage the Kelvin is sustaining compromises the lives and safety of everyone on board. He orders the Kelvin’s crew to evacuate in the escape pods and shuttle-crafts, including his wife, Jennifer Morrison as Winona, who is about to give birth.

Tim Bradley:
The birth scene of George and Winona Kirk’s baby is pretty emotional, even for me, especially as George says goodbye to his wife when he pilots the Kelvin on a collision course with the Narada. As George sacrifices his life, he and Winona decide to call their new-born baby son – James Tiberius Kirk.

Approximately ten years later and….James Kirk is a young reckless boy driving an antique corvette down a road in Iowa before he gets caught by a police officer. Okay. Interesting introduction to our main hero before he becomes the captain of the Enterprise! He seems a bit of a troublemaker here.

Timelord007:
Kirk being reckless, I can understand. He’s obviously lacking a father figure, so his actions of causing trouble are plausible.

Tim Bradley:
Elsewhere on the planet Vulcan, we’re also introduced to a boy named Spock, who is half-human and half-Vulcan. Spock gets bullied by the other Vulcan boys at his…well, school I suppose…as they call his father a traitor for marrying a human ‘whore’. This is really uncomfortable on so many levels. Spock then attacks the bullies, doing it in such an emotional way that he can’t control his emotions.

Timelord007:
Yeah, Spock attacking the bullies, despite the derogatory comment about his mother, seems out of place. In ‘The Original Series’, the character had always managed to purge his inner human emotions. Here, it doesn’t take very much prompting for Spock to unleash his anger and give the bullies a good hiding. Although to be fair, they did call his mother a ‘whore’. Obviously not mastered the Vulcan way of ‘Live long and prosper’ yet, has he?

Tim Bradley:
Also, why would the Vulcan bullies call Spock’s mother a ‘whore’ when she’s clearly not a sex worker. Don’t Vulcans understand the meaning behind the term? It reeks of lazy writing. By the way, Winona Ryder (who was in Tim Burton’s ‘Edward Scissorhands’) plays Amanda, Spock’s mother here.

Eventually Spock, who becomes a grown-up and is now played by Zachary Quinto from that sci-fi TV show called ‘Heroes’, gets accepted to join the Vulcan Science Academy. But Spock decides to join Starfleet Academy instead because…the Vulcans view his human mother as a ‘disadvantage’. Yikes, the future doesn’t look good with prejudice on Vulcan, does it? Where is the logic in all of this?

Meanwhile on Earth, Kirk, who has also become a grown-up and is now played by Chris Pine, is still reckless but is pretty intelligent. He tries to hit it off with Gamora…uh, I mean, Zoe Saldana as Uhura…

Timelord007:
Blimey, another Marvel star in a ‘Star Trek’ movie!

Tim Bradley:
See, I told you it wouldn’t be the last one. Say, while we’re at it, let’s throw DC into the mix. Chris Pine was in ‘Wonder Woman’, didn’t you know?

Uhura is a Starfleet cadet that Kirk meets at a bar in Iowa on Earth. And quite honestly, I don’t see why Uhura is mean to Kirk as he’s doing his best to be charming. I mean I know she has a relationship with Spock, but we’ll get to that later. Anyway, Kirk gets into a fight with other Starfleet cadets over Uhura. Wow! This over a woman?! Surely Starfleet Academy disciple is better than this!

Eventually the bar fight gets stopped when Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike enters. Yes, yes, the one from ‘The Cage’ and ‘The Menagerie’ episodes. Kirk later meets Pike who encourages him to enlist at Starfleet Academy; be like his father and to graduate in four years. Kirk is reluctant first, but after seeing the Enterprise constructed on the ground, he agrees to join Starfleet.

Timelord007:
Kirk arrives to join the new recruits and as he passes Pike, he says “Four years? I’ll do it in three.” He boards the recruit shuttle where he meets Karl ‘Judge Dredd’ Urban as Leonard McCoy, who…surprise, surprise…has also featured in a Marvel movie – ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ as Skurge the Executioner.

Tim Bradley:
Yikes, I’d forgotten Karl Urban was in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. I usually associate him as Éomer, son of Éomund in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Timelord007:
McCoy argues with a cadet who repeatedly commands him to sit down. He sits down next to Kirk and starts waffling on about what could physically happen to them should anything go wrong with the shuttle’s systems. What a barrel of laughs he is! Kirk laughs and reminds McCoy that Starfleet is based in space. McCoy explains that he has nowhere else to go; having lost everything he had in a divorce. The only things he has left are his bones! (groans) Kirk and McCoy become instant friends.

Tim Bradley:
Okay, so this is probably a good time to talk about the characters and the actors who play them. Let’s start with Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. Now to be fair, Chris Pine is pretty good as Kirk. He almost sounds like William Shatner and does portrays the mannerisms of Kirk pretty well from the TV series.

But my issues with Kirk in this specific film are how he gets presented as the main hero we’re supposed to be rooting for. I know he’s reckless and a rebel due to this being an alternative timeline. It can be argued the Kirk in the original timeline had rebellious streaks in him both on TV and in film.

However, I can’t help feel the writing for this movie is lazy and the writers didn’t think Kirk’s character out as a young man when studying at Starfleet Academy. This is especially the case as he goes through his Kobayashi Maru test. But we’ll talk about it when I rant later on. Just remember it.

Timelord007:
I like Chris Pine as Kirk. He has plenty of charm and charisma, but my issue is, as it’s written, we see very little of Kirk’s training at Starfleet Academy. It jumps to three years later straight into the Kobayashi Maru test. Where is the growth and change in Kirk as a character? I was expecting to see the change from reckless wanderer into a possible leader. But sadly, he comes across more times than not as an arrogant jerk.

Tim Bradley:
Also, when our heroes eventually go on board the Enterprise, Captain Pike assigns Kirk to be first officer under Spock who becomes acting captain. (puzzled) Why? Apart from knowing he’s George Kirk’s son, there’s no reason given as to why James Kirk is given a position of authority in Pike’s absence. This is especially when Kirk’s just been penalised in cheating his third Kobayashi Maru test.

Zachary Quinto as Spock is also pretty good. In fact, most of the stars in this ‘Star Trek’ movie match to the counterparts they’re supposed to be playing in the TV series. Zachary Quinto mostly balances both the Vulcan logic and the human frailties in his performance as Spock throughout the film here.

But like with Kirk, the writing for Spock doesn’t do it any favours. There’s the issue I have with Spock and Kirk being antagonistic towards each other, especially in connection to the Kobayashi Maru test. There’s also Spock having Kirk dumped on another planet where he could have just put him in the brig.

Timelord007:
An excellent point, Tim! Zachary Quinto does a good job merging moments of the Leonard Nimoy version while adding his own spin on the character. However, once again, bad writing weakens this version of Spock because he wouldn’t bicker or argue with Kirk. He would simply rise above it. Nimoy’s performances as Spock showed very little emotion, perhaps only a handful of moments throughout his entire run in the TV series and movies. But when he did show emotion, there was always a reason behind it. Yet this interpretation of Spock, for me, is way too intense and emotional. It lacks the calm subtlety that Nimoy brought to the role.

Tim Bradley:
Yeah, those are very good points there, Timelord! (Pause) Anyway, let’s talk about Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy. Now…this version of Dr. McCoy, for me, is…odd. I don’t know what it is but Karl Urban’s interpretation of Bones doesn’t sit well for me. I mean, Karl Urban is very good, don’t get me wrong!

But most of the time, in this movie in particular, Bones seems to always come across as grouchy and complaining a lot. I know DeForest Kelly did that as well in his interpretation of Bones through the TV series and the films, but there were times where he could make a joke and always put on a smile.

With Karl Urban, I don’t recall a moment where he smiled or made a joke in front of Kirk, Spock or anybody else. At least, not without having a frown! Also, Bones gets Kirk aboard the Enterprise as a favour for what exactly? And he injects him with diseases to do it? (wryly) What a great doctor he is!

Timelord007:
Don’t get me started on that scene where Bones injects Kirk with several hyposprays and he swells up! That sequence as a whole is cringeworthy bad and utter stupidly farcical! It should have been cut from the movie! (deep breaths) Anyway, Karl Urban is a good actor. His role as Judge Dredd was pitched perfectly and of course his performance in ‘LOTR’ was amazing. However, his pantomime acting in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ was awful and while his acting here as Dr. McCoy isn’t anywhere near as bad, his character does come across as a grumpy old git like Victor Meldrew in space. Which ponders the question, why not just stay on Earth and be a doctor if you hate space travel so much? Again, is it the performance at fault or how the character’s written?

Tim Bradley:
I’d say it’s how the character’s written rather than the performance that’s at fault here. This leads us onto Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura. Now Zoe is a good actress and her performance is not at fault. But Uhura’s characterisation in this movie is…off-putting. She seems to come across as cold and sharp.

With Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura, she often came across as warm and easy-going. But here with Zoe Saldana’s interpretation, I didn’t really feel any of that. I know it’s early days for the characters to get to know each other, but you’d think they’d get on rather than have a stiff professional atmosphere.

Also…Uhura is having a relationship with Spock? I don’t recall Uhura and Spock sharing any intimidate scenes together in the TV series. Apart from Uhura flirting with Spock in one scene from ‘The Man Trap’, that’s it! There was more intimacy between Uhura and Scotty in the TV series and in the movies.

Timelord007:
Zoe Saldana is a great actress and she can convey a wide range of emotions. For instance, her portrayal of Gamora in the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ films. She effortlessly balanced being a warrior but with a heart. However, when playing the role of Uhura, she comes across as cold and unapproachable to the point she’s a feminist. I didn’t buy into her relationship with Spock either, which felt very tagged on because the script needed a romance arc. It’s as if to say, look Spock has feelings for Uhura! They’re in love. Aww, isn’t that nice?

To put it bluntly, the cast are good actors but are given very shoddy material to work with. We need a bit of the Tim Bradley magic peppered into the script to give the character arcs more dramatic depth.

Tim Bradley:
Even some of the good actors who have their characters well-written for them aren’t given enough to do. First, there’s John Cho as Hikaru Sulu, who is pretty good in the role. But the only thing I can think of with regards to him is having a good sword fight with a Romulan, echoing ‘The Naked Time’.

Timelord007:
John Cho as Sulu is decent enough in the role but isn’t given much to do, barring a couple of action scenes. It’s like the writers quickly watched a clip montage of classic episodes and wrote the characters based off that research.

Tim Bradley:
There’s also Anton Yelchin who’s very good as Pavel Chekov! He comes across as sparky and intelligent, even for a young 17-year-old who I assume is still a Starfleet cadet. He even rescues Kirk and Sulu falling in the sky via the Enterprise’s transporter. But still, his character is underdeveloped.

Timelord007:
The late Anton Yelchin as Chekov slightly overplays the Russian accent; speaks over the intercom and…um…that’s about it. Again, Chekov didn’t turn up until ‘The Original Series’ second season. But nope! Here he is all present and correct with the Enterprise maiden voyage. The changes Spock made to the timeline wouldn’t alter events that much.

Tim Bradley:
Right, now it’s time to talk about the Kobayashi Maru test featured in the film. For you see, Kirk goes for the Kobayashi Maru test on a third attempt with Bones and Uhura by his side. But during the test, Kirk is cocky and cheats. Spock later accuses Kirk for cheating the Kobayashi Maru in a hearing!

And this is where Kirk and Spock meet for the first time! They don’t meet as friends! They don’t meet as fellow officers on the Enterprise as you’d expect them to or even as fellow cadets at Starfleet Academy! They meet for the first time when Kirk cheats and Spock somehow saw through it!

Okay, look, it was clearly established in ‘Star Trek II’ that Kirk reprogrammed the Kobayashi Maru test so that he can pass and get into Starfleet and that’s fine. But the presentation of how Kirk cheated the test in this film feels lazily written. I honestly feel it could have been handled differently.

You don’t need to have Kirk be cocky and eating an apple whilst doing the Kobayashi Maru test on a third attempt after reprogramming it. You can have Kirk act like he was trying to do the test and finding it difficult before he was able to cheat and not let anyone know. Then he’d be able to pass it.

You can still have Spock accuse Kirk for cheating as that would make him far more intelligent than anyone else in Starfleet. That way, Kirk and Spock’s relationship would be interesting. Kirk would be curious as to why Spock was able to see through the cheat whereas everybody else wasn’t able to.

But nope! Clearly there needs to be tension between Kirk and Spock in the film and this was the only way the writers could come up with that. It’s lazy! No matter how you try to justify it, it comes across as lazy! I’m sure this was not how Kirk and Spock’s friendship began in the original ‘Star Trek’!

Timelord007:
Ah, the infamous Kobayashi Maru test; first mentioned in ‘Star Trek II’, which we finally get to see in this movie. But is it worth the wait? Nope! Instead of portraying Kirk’s ingenuity, this scene shows Kirk being a smug jerk again who even has the cheek to eat an apple. This was a badly written scene played for laughs to stir up an arc for Kirk and Spock, which quite frankly sucks!

Tim Bradley:
Eventually the disciplinary hearing for Kirk’s cheating in the Kobayashi Maru test gets interrupted by a distress call from Vulcan. Because the primary fleet of Starfleet seems to be out of range, so the Academy decides to…send out their cadets to board various ships and answer Vulcan’s distress call.

Um, I don’t think that’s how Starfleet works. They wouldn’t send their Starfleet cadets, who are probably inexperienced in space anyway, to step in place for any Starfleet vessels that are out of range. This is just a quick and lazy way to get our main characters on board the Enterprise ship here.

Kirk and Bones get to see the Enterprise ship when they’re about to board it and it’s commanded by Captain Christopher Pike. The Enterprise ship is…okay. It matches well to the original starship design from ‘The Original Series’, but was it necessary for the nacelles to be fat compared to the original ship?

Timelord007:
The Enterprise looks fine on the outside. It faithfully captures the original scale and design from the TV series perfectly. However, I don’t like the white interior as it feels to cleansed and sanitised. The bridge reminds me of a dentist’s surgery and when I think of how colourful the original interior looked, this updated interior looks cold and just didn’t cut the mustard.

Tim Bradley:
Yeah, couldn’t they at least make the Enterprise bridge more like the one from the 1960s? Make it colourful and interesting! Also, there’s a lot of blinding shots that often makes it hard to see the characters on the bridge. The angle of the shots by director J. J. Abrams doesn’t help matters either.

Timelord007:
Another plot inconsistency is that the Enterprise was commissioned in the year 2245, under the command of Robert April. Kirk was twelve years old! April commanded the ship for nine years before Pike took command in 2254. Surely the destruction of the Kelvin wouldn’t have changed this! Now in this timeline, the Enterprise is brand-new when Pike takes command as its first captain.

Lazy writing…or just badly researched?!

Tim Bradley:
It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, Timelord. What’s more important is that we’ve got to talk about our villains attacking Vulcan! The Romulans! Who are all bald-headed for some reason? Shouldn’t they seem more Vulcan-like? Maybe these are fans of Shinzon’s ‘hairstyle’ from ‘Nemesis’.

But yeah these Romulans come from the original ‘Star Trek’ timeline and they’re on board the Narada commanded by…Eric Bana as Captain Nero. And boy, is Captain Nero bizarre as a ‘Star Trek’ villain! He is decently-acted by Eric Bana no doubt. But still, Nero’s character motivations seem lazy.

He has some revenge plan for Spock from the original ‘Star Trek’ timeline who accidentally destroyed his home world of Romulus as well as his wife. But honestly I can’t help feel Captain Nero wants to be the Hulk whenever he gets angry, especially with that green lighting aboard the Narada.

Captain Nero: “IT HAS HAPPENED! I WATCHED IT HAPPEN! I SAW IT HAPPEN! DON’T TELL ME, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!”

I’m not exaggerating with that line of dialogue in capital letters by the way. That’s how Eric Bana as Nero delivered that line to Captain Pike when he held him prisoner aboard the Narada. You can see Eric Bana wanted to be the Hulk in this! I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to be the Hulk in this! 😀

Timelord007:
Eric Bana as Nero – the Hulk – looks and sounds intimidating enough. But the lazy writing again ruins any potential the character could’ve had. I mean, no way would Spock have destroyed Romulus (where did that pathetic plot arc come from?). He’s too smart and intelligent. I would have instead had an inner conspiracy where a Romulan spy seemed to have murdered Nero’s wife and pinned the murder on Ambassador Spock to trigger an all-out war with Vulcan. Spock could’ve had evidence that Nero actually murdered his wife and uncovered it as a part of this Romulan extremist group. Nero is informed Spock had evidence to expose the group and so fires upon Spock’s ship. Hence, Spock’s escape to cause an alternate timeline!

The delivery of that line by Eric Bana was very pantomime acted. It felt like the line was read off a cue card, not acted. Where was the emotion in the line delivery? SHOUTING MONOTONE DIALOGUE IN MOVIES DOESN’T ALWAYS PORTRAY EMOTION WELL!!!

Tim Bradley:
In the attempt to rescue the Vulcan high council members from the disintegrating planet, caused by the Narada’s drill machine and the ‘red matter’ to create a black hole, Spock…loses his mother, Winona Ryder as Amanda, during a failed transporter beam-out. (Pause) Wow! I wasn’t expecting that. How can Amanda be dead when she is meant to be in future ‘Star Trek’ episodes and movies?!

Timelord007:
It’s also difficult to feel any emotion for Amanda’s death because of her limited screen time. There was a scene filmed of Spock’s birth which, if it had been made to the final cut, may have added some much needed emotion for the audience to feel the sadness at her passing. Winona Ryder is a decent enough actress. But it seems for some strange reason most of her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

Tim Bradley:
As well as Amanda getting bumped off, Vulcan gets destroyed too. Again…wow! Why did the writers think it a good idea to have Vulcan destroyed? Ah well! They’ll find some way to get it back…wait! It doesn’t come back? How is this supposed to even work? Vulcan is super major to Spock’s character!

I don’t like it that Vulcan gets destroyed in the film. I get that this is an alternative timeline and things don’t always match as it is in the original ‘Star Trek’ timeline. But the writers didn’t need to have Vulcan destroyed in the film. It confused me, not realising that this was an alternative timeline.

Timelord007:
I actually find Vulcan’s destruction to be a nice plot twist, which shakes things up considerably. At least this sequence did add drama. It obviously alters the timeline and the story arcs considerably, concerning the ramifications we have yet to see.

Tim Bradley:
There is one of two good things to come out of this ‘Star Trek’ movie though. The first of course is…Leonard Nimoy as older Spock from the original ‘Star Trek’ timeline. I was pleased to see Leonard back as Spock in this film. If anything, I think it’s Leonard Nimoy in this ‘Star Trek’ move that saved it.

This is interesting because this movie takes place after the events of the ‘TNG’ two-parter, ‘Unification’ where Spock tried to unify his people the Vulcans with the Romulans. Now I know that because I’ve seen ‘Unification’. But I wonder if other audience members knew that when seeing this.

Despite the lazy writing for this movie and again, like Timelord007 suggested, there could’ve been a better way to handle older Spock’s story in how he ended up in the alternative timeline from the original one. But Leonard Nimoy’s performance as Spock did keep my inner ‘Star Trek’ fan so happy.

Timelord007:
The late great Leonard Nimoy as Spock simply put is a ‘legend’! Nimoy reprises the role with effortlessness and brings back plenty of childhood nostalgia for me. All of Nimoy’s screen time is, for me, the best thing featured in the movie and his interactions with Kirk and later his younger self are well-written and performed, adding much needed drama and emotion to an otherwise hollow story.

Tim Bradley:
The second of the two good things to come out this ‘Star Trek’ movie is of course Simon ‘Benji from the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies and the Editor from the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Long Game’ Pegg as Montgomery Scott, better known as Scotty. Simon Pegg is the best actor to play Scotty in this.

I’m not joking! Simon Pegg delivers a brilliant new take on the character as well as echoing what James Doohan did in the role. Yes the movie’s lazy writing still creates problems for Scotty’s character. In fact, Scotty appears late in the film’s second half. Why wasn’t he at Starfleet Academy?

But at the same time, I love how Simon Pegg balances both the humour and the engineering expertise in the character. Even after Spock bawls it out with Kirk back on the Enterprise, Simon Pegg as Scotty delivers a funny line, saying he likes the ship. Simon Pegg as Scotty is worth it in this movie.

But how dare Scotty kill Admiral Archer’s (formerly captain of the Enterprise from…‘Enterprise’) dog, Porthos, in a transporter accident. I know it was an accident, but how dare he?! MURDERER!!!!!

Tim sobs as he goes away from his computer. Timelord007, puzzled by Tim’s emotional outburst, continues the review.

Timelord007:
I have to slightly disagree with Tim here. Simon Pegg as Scotty occasionally, I felt, hams it up with ‘Horns of Nimon’ Soldeed overacting. His Scottish accent occasionally slips and I felt sometimes he played the character for laughs. However, I eventually warmed to his performance of the character. He proved his worth, especially towards the film’s climax portraying selflessness and heroic bravery.

(realises) Oh wait! Tim’s coming back!

Timelord007 moves aside as Tim returns to his computer, wiping the tears from his eyes. He breathes deeply before continuing.

Tim Bradley:
So anyway, let’s just quickly gloss over on two more cast members in the movie. Bruce Greenwood is decent enough as Captain Christopher Pike in the movie. His scenes are mostly to encourage Kirk to join Starfleet as well as to be captain the starship Enterprise before getting captured by Nero. But still, why did Captain Pike promote Kirk to be a first officer? It still doesn’t make sense why he did it!

Timelord007:
Favouritism? (laughs) I reckon Pike knew Kirk’s father quite well and maybe saw that in Jim Kirk. Have to agree, Tim. It’s rather baffling, especially as Kirk was exposed for cheating a few hours beforehand, nearly getting expelled from Starfleet. Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike does a decent enough job for the small screen time he appears in the film.

Tim Bradley:
Ben Cross is also reasonably decent as Sarek, Spock’s father. He doesn’t exactly match Mark Lenard’s interpretation of the character, but I liked the scenes he had with Spock as a young boy and as a grown-up. Also the moment where Sarek tells Spock to stop beating Kirk on the Enterprise was good.

Timelord007:
Ben Cross as Sarek gives an okay performance. But I didn’t feel the chemistry or a bond between Ben Cross and Zachary Quinto that Mark Lenard and Leonard Nimoy shared so magnificently in ‘The Original Series’ and movies.

Tim Bradley:
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Kirk; Spock and the Enterprise manage to defeat Nero and the Romulans and their universe is saved. They return to Earth where our heroes graduate from Starfleet Academy and Kirk…is promoted to captain instantly and takes command of the Enterprise.

(baffled) Interesting decision! I mean…surely Kirk needs to be ensign; lieutenant; lieutenant commander and full commander before he becomes captain of the Enterprise. But…the film has him be captain immediately. Why? (Pause) No clue! How does that make the film work even better here?

Once again, this is lazy writing to establish the ‘Star Trek’ characters we know and love from ‘The Original Series’ including Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov to be on board the Enterprise at the film’s end. Because…that’ll get the movie a high rating and be a stonking success!

Moment of silence.

Timelord, I don’t get this!

Timelord007:
Me neither! Kirk’s promotion to captain at the movie’s end jumps the shark. I mean, the guy was a hair’s breath away from getting kicked out of Starfleet and the next thing he’s promoted to captain of the Enterprise? Lazy writing sadly sums up Hollywood movies nowadays. Style over substance! The film looks nice and shot well. The action is engaging and exciting. But chip away the surface into the actual story and it’s very lazily written. It’s just so they can set up a sequel with this new crew without showing Kirk having to build up experience to earn a captaincy. It’s like…nah, we can’t have that here! Kirk, you saved the day! So we’re promoting you to captain! Now go away and write a sequel!

Tim Bradley:
Another issue I have with this film is that director J. J. Abrams as well as the writers decided to make this film more like ‘Star Wars’ than ‘Star Trek’. They wanted this to have more of a rock ‘n’ roll feel instead of the classical music feel that ‘Star Trek’ usually tends to have with its movies and TV shows.

Now, I don’t know about you…and I know this sounds obvious…but ‘Star Trek’ isn’t ‘Star Wars’! ‘Star Trek’, as Captain Kirk and Captain Picard describe it in their shows, is a series about a starship exploring the galaxy to seek out new life and new civilizations. Leonard Nimoy’s Spock said it as well.

But surprisingly, there’s not much space exploration in what is supposed to be a ‘Star Trek’ film. I get that they’re trying to make it more action-packed, but ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ don’t go together. It’s ironic that J. J. Abrams would be more suited to the ‘Star Wars’ universe in films later on in 2015.

Timelord007:
‘Star Trek’ should be about a crew venturing out into space to discover new planets and civilisations while ‘Star Wars’ is your old fashioned good vs. evil story arc as well as love; death; hope and redemption. However this re-imagining ups the action and lacks the heart of what Gene Roddenberry wanted ‘Star Trek’ to be.

Tim Bradley:
The film’s music by Michael Giacchino is actually pretty good mind. I like Michael Giacchino’s recreation of the original ‘Star Trek’ theme music composed by Alexander Courage in the film’s end credits. There are also a few nice memorable music motifs in the film that make it feel so ‘Star Trek’.

Timelord007:
The score by Michael Giacchino is possibly one of the film’s strengths. It captures both the drama and action scenes well. Giacchino’s rendition of Alexander Courage’s original theme literally gives me goosebumps.

Tim Bradley:
The Blu-ray special features are as follows. The movie was released on a 3-disc Blu-ray set. So for Disc 1, there’s a feature-length commentary with director J. J. Abrams, producer Damon Lindelof, executive producer Damon Lindelof and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Wait! Let me look up on those two…

Tim ‘googles’ Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Apparently, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote the movie screenplays for the first two ‘Transformers’ movies by director Michael Bay as well as for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. (realises; annoyed) Oh, of course! Well, seeing how those movies turned out to being somewhat lazily written, I’m not surprised that the film screenplay for ‘Star Trek’ (2009) was lazily written as well. (groans)

Timelord007:
Michael Bay! Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Timelord007 collapses. Tim is confused. Then Timelord007 wakes up.

Timelord007:
Err…um…where am I; who am I and who are you?

Tim Bradley:
I’m not the Rani, Timelord.

Timelord007:
(confused) Ah yes! Tim Bradley! Hello, my boy! (Pause) Hmm! Now what was we talking about before? (ponders) Ah yes! The lazy writing from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who haven’t got a clue what the core of ‘Star Trek’ is about. They simply phoned in this script with lazy character arcs, hoping J. J. Abrams’ action sequences would gloss over the cracks.

Tim Bradley:
Anyway, back to the Blu-ray, there’s also a BD-Live functionality option that provides an RSS feed of latest news from the NASA website. I can’t access this special feature on the Blu-ray myself as this requires special settings on the Blu-ray player. Also, quite honestly, what has this got to do in connection with ‘Star Trek’ (2009)?

On Disc 2 of the 3-disc Blu-ray, there’s the behind-the-scenes overview called ‘To Boldly Go’ with cast and crew interviews. It focuses on rebooting the ‘Star Trek’ series. There are four ‘Branching Pods’ segments to it: ‘The Shatner Conundrum’; ‘Red Shirt Guy’; ‘The Green Girl’ and ‘Trekker Alert’. There’s also the ‘Casting’ documentary (speaks for itself regarding cast and characters) and the ‘A New Vision’ documentary that looks at the…(sighs)‘Star Wars’ influence on the film. There’s another ‘Branching Pod’ segment that accompanies the ‘A New Vision’ documentary called ‘Savage Pressure’. There’s the ‘Starships’ documentary focusing on starship designs in the film. This has the ‘Branching Pod’ segments: ‘Warp Explained’; ‘Paint Job’; ‘Bridge Construction Accelerate’; ‘The Captain’s Chair’; ‘Button Acting 101’; ‘Narada Construction Accelerated’ and ‘Shuttle Shuffle’ attached to the documentary. There’s also ‘Aliens’ that looks at the various aliens seen in the film. The ‘Branching Pods’ segments attached to this documentary include ‘The Alien Paradox’; ‘Big-Eyed Girl’; ‘Big Bro Quinto’; ‘Klingons’ and ‘Darkpulis Anatomy 101’. There’s also ‘Planets’ that looks into the various planets in the film. The ‘Branching Pods’ segments attached to this one include ‘Extra Business’ and ‘Confidentiality’. There’s the ‘Props and Costumes’ documentary with the ‘Branching Pod’ segment ‘Klingon Wardrobe’. There’s also ‘Ben Burtt and the Sounds of ‘Star Trek’; the ‘Score’ featurette with composer Michael Giacchino; the ‘Gene Roddenberry’s Vision’ documentary; nine deleted scenes with optional commentaries; the interactive ‘Starfleet Vessel Simulator’; a gag reel and four trailers of the movie.

On Disc 3 of the 3-disc Blu-ray, there’s a playable demo of the video game ‘Star Trek D-A-C’ as well as a digital copy of the film. When I purchased the ‘Star Trek’ reboot trilogy on Blu-ray, I had the 1-disc Blu-ray edition of the ‘Star Trek’ 2009 film. I’ll have to purchase the 3-disc Blu-ray set of the ‘Star Trek’ 2009 film another time.

Timelord007:
I haven’t viewed any of the Blu-ray extras and have no desire to.

Tim Bradley:
Timelord, do you know what?

Timelord007:
No, what?

Tim Bradley:
After I saw this movie at the cinema back in May 2009…I watched ‘The Man Trap’ from ‘The Original Series’ on DVD back home. (Pause) I found that episode a lot better than what I saw in the movie!

Timelord007:
I can understand why! It’s a tense, dramatic episode. There is drama; emotion and in Dr. McCoy’s case – loss. But more importantly, the crew feel like a family which I didn’t grasp whatsoever from this 2009 reboot.

Tim Bradley:
I mean, ‘Star Trek’ (2009) is okay as a film. It has some impressive visuals; the action sequences can often be good and the performances of the cast are well-done. Looking back with hindsight, I can accept this and other films of this alternative ‘Star Trek’ universe for what they are and enjoy them.

But dear me! This was not the ‘Star Trek’ movie I wanted to see. It would’ve been better for this just to be a prequel rather than a reboot of the series set in an alternative universe. It also doesn’t help with the story and the characters being so lazily written. I would’ve done it better had I written this!

Timelord007:
‘Star Trek’ (2009) isn’t a terrible movie. If you like big action sequences, then this movie delivers the action in spades. The younger mostly unknown cast are a capable bunch of actors and the pacing is brisk, cramming a lot into 127 minutes. However, for me, it doesn’t capture what the essence of ‘Star Trek’ is about with its lazily written cut ‘n’ paste script from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as well as poor character arcs. Overall, this is an underwhelming debut for the ‘Star Trek’ crew of 2009.

Tim Bradley:
But of course this is not the end! For whatever reason, ‘Star Trek’ (2009) became a success and it guaranteed a sequel. How would this alternative ‘Star Trek’ universe progress and continue in the movies? Well, that’s what Timelord007 and I are about to find out as we delve right ‘Into Darkness’.

Timelord007:
Who knows, Tim! Maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn from their mistakes with ‘Into Darkness’. I wonder who the villain will be.

Tim and Timelord007 stare at each other for a moment.

Tim Bradley/Timelord007:
(shouts; in unison) “K…!!!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

‘Star Trek’ rating by Tim Bradley – 7/10
‘Star Trek’ rating by Timelord007 – 6/10


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2 thoughts on “‘Star Trek’ (Film)

  1. Timelord 007

    Ha, thoroughly enjoying reviewing this trilogy with you Tim, our review styles complement each other brilliantly, weird i originally held this film in higher regard but rewatching it over the years the flaws became more apparent, it’s a big budget outer space movie which just happens to share the title Star Trek.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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