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Monday, 13 May 2013


This is fun, but nothing more.

Star Trek, on a character level, has always been about the conflict between gut and logic.

Gut, of course, is Captain Kirk. He acts on instinct, acts according to how he feels, is at times irrational and hasty, gets himself and his crew into trouble.

Logic is, naturally, Spock. He has taught himself not to feel, and bases his decisions on simple probability and rationality.

The journey of the Enterprise also contains the journeys of the two main characters, Kirk learning how to control his impulses, Spock learning how to feel.

And this film is no different. In the beginning of the film, precisely because he has acted without thinking, Kirk is relieved of his duties. And Spock, who thinks without feeling, alienates his now girlfriend, Uhura, and Kirk too, who has just saved his life.

Each episode of the old series, and each new film, explore these themes, and the growth of each of the main characters towards something more than their natures.

This film is no different. The problem is that we have seen this before. And in fact we have seen most of this before. There is nothing new here. The new generation Scotty, Bones and Chekov are barely more than impersonations of their original manifestations. The supporting cast have become caricatures of who they are representing.

The whole thing has the feeling of a cartoon or comic-book. There are so many life-threatening situations, so little damage. Time and again the characters are on the verge of death or serious injury, and emerge unscathed.

There is no depth to the story. We meet an old Star Trek villain, Khan, who is homicidal and cunning. He has a destructive plan, our heroes are out to foil him. There are scrapes, explosions, betrayals, battles, holes in the hull, problems with the warp drive. The Enterprise comes close to total collapse a number of times. Par for the course.

There are some spectacular set-pieces, and another scene of Kirk falling headlong through space while trying to steer himself in a certain direction, as in the first film. But that's the least you can expect from a movie that cost hundreds of millions to make.

Fundamentally, there is nothing new here. It is a slick rehash of elements that even I, who only has a passing interest in the franchise, have seen many times before.

As I said, it is fun, but the film lacks any of the greater significance that the previous Star Trek films seemed able to achieve.


  1. It was a fan's film, replete with geeky references; what with Bones' metaphors and his tribble, the red-uniform crack from Kirk to Chekov, the "death scene," and not to mention the main antagonist. Having been a fan for years I picked up on these things and it made me feel special and clever for a few seconds but on the whole I also felt they could have been much more original with the story and the characters. So I have to agree with you that there's not much new in this and there was scope for so much, too. I mean, having established in the first movie that this is now an alternate universe to the one belonging to Shatner and Nimoy's characters I thought they might have freed themselves to invent new villains and new civilisations and really boldly go where no movie had gone before but they didn't.
    Still, I can't say I didn't enjoy it. The big explosions and space battles and punch ups were great and it had some genuinely funny and even touching moments but at the heart of it, it was just another nice, safe, big-budget summer blockbuster after all.

  2. Yeah, I wouldn't have picked up on all of those references. Also, what was the story with Spock talking to Nimoy in the middle of the film? I don't remember, was this something they did in the first film? Is this Spock from the future? How does this work? Confused :-)

  3. I have to agree the movie was entertaining but nothing new in terms of character investigation. The references to the original series were enjoyable, but I feel that the script writers used too many "convenient" character introductions to move the plot along. Nimoy's being a case in point.

  4. The older Spock was a major plot device from the first film. He had come back in time and inadvertently created the crisis which caused the destruction of Vulcan. Marooned in the past he set about working to find a new home for the Vulcan survivors. So he was still hanging around.
    One has to assume that he was always intended to be used as a convenient catalyst or plot device in this way. It definitely felt like a cop out.

    1. yeah "i swore never to interfere in your timeline...but having said that..." !!! WTF? Anyway - its just a movie. Although I'm convinced no one in hollywood can write a coherent action movie these days


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