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Star Trek(2009)

Spoiler Grumbles
WARNING: Please do not continue reading unless you have either seen the movie or do not mind having it spoiled.

First off, why is there so much talk of JJ Abrams being the next Spielberg? Abrams is definitely my guy, but he’s only directed two movies. Even Joel Schumacher has “The Lost Boys” and “Flatliners”. Not that I don’t have great expectations for Abrams, but let’s not go comparing a child in the field to one of its greatest titans.

Back to the movie. Not even the greatest films can escape petty criticisms, and Star Trek has quite a few. The sky diving scene. Why is it that the 23rd century has space ships but no personal rocket-packs? In fact, the most ridiculous sequence of events in the movie is Sulu opening his cloth parachute, landing on the platform, and then pushing a button to rapidly retract the chute into the mechanical bag-pack while arming himself with a spring-loaded, fold-out sword and dodging laser fire. Which of the things in the last sentence sound outdated? Answer: cloth parachute. Sure swords are sort of outdated, but it was a super cool fold-out, so nobody can gripe about that :-) Unfortunately, as cool as swords are, this movie did not see fit to get a decent choreographer, the fight with Sulu and his enemy proceeded to be nothing but uninspired sword swiping. I’m not asking for a full fledged fight, but just one or two moves from any Jet Li movie would have been enough.

Along the lines of action sequences, what was that arctic animal chase all about? I assure you, I enjoyed it very much while it was occurring, but in retrospect it doesn’t fit the bill. Two monsters, one large and the other ginormous chase Captain Kirk through the snow. One, it makes no sense that a human can outrun a large animal. Most humans can’t even outrun a hippo. Two, it makes no sense that a human can outrun said animal in the snow, since the creature likely has adapted to its arctic home over many centuries. This scene seemed more like a Star Wars nod than a necessary action sequence. All the same, I enjoyed it.

Another unnecessary/stupid ‘action’ sequence was the whole bit with the water pipes. Scotty gets sucked into a water pipe, and Kirk spends 3 minutes on screen time trying to help him out. Uh-oh, but the clock is ticking because the water pipe leads to a ridiculously dangerous chamber of blades. This scene was much like the part in “Transformers” where the robots play around in the Witwicky backyard for what seems like an eternity. There is nothing really entertaining about it for adults, but kids love it. On that note, I guess I can’t really gripe about this scene too much; instead I should appreciate even more the brilliance of Abrams in attempting to target a large audience. This guy…I tell ya.

One of the biggest gripes for the movie, that many fans share, is that Kirk is a fool. As I mention in the review, I am a big fan of the new, reckless Captain Kirk, but on a more serious note, he really doesn’t seem like captain material. It is slightly unbelievable that a goof ball who gets into nothing but trouble would be allowed to take over command of the Enterprise without objection. The script tries to address this by making Kirk out to be a prodigy in the academy and the only option when times are dire, but even then it’s hard to swallow. Well, hard to swallow for some, not me. I ate it right up! But what the movie really needed to do to create a credible character was give Kirk a moment of wisdom every once in a while. True wisdom, not just his “I think this will work, let’s try it” antics. Giving him more apparent intelligence like Shatner had, would make the new Kirk more convincing.

But then again, I’m just a dude, what do I know.

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