Star Trek: Lost in the space-time continuum

I went to see the new Star Trek movie Tuesday night.  Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve been a die-hard trekker since 1967 when I saw my first episode by hiding behind a chair in the living room.  I didn’t really want to go see the movie, but I was bullied into it.  I should have held out.

I will say that the IMAX experience was amazing.  The effects were stunning.  There were moments when I was jubilant to see the youth of our favorite characters played out before my very eyes instead of merely alluded to in dialogue.  If they had stuck with that, I would have been the happiest person on the planet.  I would have extolled the virtues of JJ Abrams and crew from the highest mountain.  But they didn’t.
Without giving too much away….aw hell!….I don’t care.  Read on and skip the movie.

Star Trek has dealt with alternate time-lines and realities before, a la “Mirror, Mirror” and a host of others.  That’s fine.  The one thing they always did was to return to normal before the end of the episode/movie.  That makes everything okay.  I think I know why the movie was released when it was.  The Great Bird of the Galaxy and his devoted wife, Majel Barrett, have both passed.  They would turn over in their graves if they saw this one.  I feel certain that Majel would not have allowed it to be made.

Okay, so this Romulan goes back in time to seek revenge on Spock for allowing the destruction of his home planet.  Fine.  First, he attacks and destroys George Kirk’s ship, killing Jim’s father in the process.  Everything from that point on is altered.  Suddenly, Jim’s father is dead, his mother remarries and Kirk is nothing more than a juvenile delinquent in the making.  I get that certain things would change by the simple act of killing Jim’s father, but it would NOT change the fact that the USS Enterprise was built in San Francisco, where Starfleet Headquarters is.  All butterfly wings aside, one man’s death wouldn’t change all that.

Now, the Enterprise is apparently built in Iowa, where Jim was SUPPOSED to be born.  I guess they had to get him back there somehow.  Pike is the one responsible for getting Jim into the Academy.  Sure, the re-programming of the Kobayashi Maru stands pat, but suddenly Cadet Kirk has a thing for Uhura and Spock ends up with the girl.  Wha?????

During the course of the movie, Spock’s entire planet of Vulcan is destroyed and his mother (the only person who ever loved or supported him) is killed.  His life pretty much continues on its normal course, except for those two facts.  Spock Prime would never have allowed that to happen, never mind new Spock.  Spock also believed in the Prime Directive.  Neither of those Spock incarnations would have run around telling people the formula for beaming a man directly onto a ship traveling past light speed.  They would never have allowed their mother to be killed, and if they did, they would have traveled back in time to fix that.

So, I’m supposed to believe that Spock Prime traveled back in time to bring Kirk and Spock together and to give Scotty his future formula for said trans-light transporting…but he would NOT travel far enough back to prevent the destruction of his planet?  Or to prevent the birth of the man who caused it?  Or to correct his own mistake and save Remus thus preventing the Romulan, Nero, from causing all this time-line destruction?

My head hurts with all the ways this is wrong.

If they had made this movie without calling it Trek, it would have been fine.  An outstanding time-travel space opera with all the action you could hope for.  Why on Earth they allowed a non-trekker to be in charge of a Trek movie, I’ll never know.  What was Abrams’ ultimate plan?  To revive the series by making a movie of each TOS episode, re-worked to fit HIS new altered time-line vision?

The only thing he had to do to save this movie and make absolutely everyone love it was to have the Enterprise go back through the black hole at the end, hit the right moment in the past, and stop the whole thing from happening.  Kirk would have insisted on it.  Spock would have stolen a shuttle and, with the help of Spock Prime, returned everything to normal in order to save his mother and home world.  It would have taken about fifteen minutes of screen time and made everyone happy in the end.

The casting was interesting.  I loved the characters of Spock, Scotty and Bones.  Bones was dead on and I adored him.  Kirk, a character I have adored since I was trapped in puberty, became almost unlikeable to me.  I could find nothing endearing in the arrogant portrayal, despite repeated attempts at interjecting humor.  He was more side-kick to Spock’s starring role.  I hated that.

And by the way, the name of the man who so tormented Jim Kirk at the Academy was Finnegan.  It would have been nice to use him and at least nod to the days of yore.  And Spock does not kiss women unless under the influence of alien spores.  And the Enterprise was not a brand new ship when Kirk arrived on her.  She had been Captained by not only Christopher Pike (who already had Spock in place and visited Talos IV BEFORE Jim Kirk ever took control of the ship….alternate time-line notwithstanding).  Robert April was Captain before Pike.

I hear there’s a sequel in the works to be released in 2011.  IF they use that movie to go back and fix the whole altered time-line fiasco, all might be forgiven.  MIGHT.  I enjoy the new actors, though Neo Spock needs a little polish.  Sulu seems a bit more gun-ho and macho and I found the improved character to be exactly that: improved.  Chekov was a bit of a bitter pill.  The inflection and accent were way over-played, to the point where I groaned if he was on camera.

So, the whole thing could have been avoided with the asking of one simple question: If you had the wherewithall to go back and fix the death of your father or mother, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to do so?  Especially if your best friend came back in time to tell you how it had happened?

Damn straight!

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One Response to “Star Trek: Lost in the space-time continuum”

  1. Another Perspective - Star Wars Reviewed | David Niall Wilson Says:

    […] to work with, Patrick Cumby, read my take on the new Star Trek Movie, and that of Patricia Lee Macomber, my better half, and sent me this in e-mail. With his permission, I’m reprinting it here. Patrick is a long […]

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