Saturday, August 15. 2009
I guess if I'm going to do movie notes I should get them over with quickly.
Movie: Star Trek: We waited long enough on this one to catch it at a second-run theater, affectionately referred to as the Cheap Seats. I have some pedigree as a fan, given that I watched the original TV series both when it came out and in endless reruns. Also saw the first four or five movies, but never sat still for Next Generation or any of the other spinoffs. This attempts to wipe the slate relatively clean by posing an alternate reality corrupted by time travel. Just as well, given how poorly the original crew aged -- especially the second tier actors, who never were very good in the first place. On the other hand, youth can be a handicap too. Especially for Kirk, whose brilliance is repeatedly asserted but rarely suggested much less proved: in fact, he spends much of the movie getting his face smashed in and getting out of jams only through the most improbable luck. Two scenes were especially rotten: when as a child he skids a vintage Corvette into the Grand Canyon of Iowa, and when he hacks the "no win" Kobayashi Maru simulation but he acts like it's a big joke. The new Spock is even less convincing. That these two are the best and brightest of Star Fleet suggests how far the current dumbing down of the military can go over the next three or four centuries. With the background development asides and the time chewed up by protracted action sequences -- the dragon on an ice planet was a low point -- there wasn't much time for plot development, so they ran through that part pretty quick. It's all pretty crackpot, but not that hard to take. It's still worth point out that the movies seem stuck with war plots, where the original TV series was more interested in exploring new worlds, especially ones that were sci-fi variations of our own. While the movie is now set up for a protracted series of movie sequels, it would be much more interesting to scale these new versions of the old characters back down to weekly TV size. One saving grace was Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime. He not only provided what little sense there was to the movie, he gave it some much needed dignity. The second-tier actors were also much better than their prototypes, especially Simon Pegg as Scotty. B
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