Sunday, May 17, 2009

Star Trek: Postcard from the Edge

Due to a variety of circumstances, I didn’t get around to seeing the new Star Trek movie until Saturday. Very good movie, well worth seeing. Overall, it rates an A-.

The visual and sound effects were stunning, and for me, that’s reason enough to go watch a movie. The new Spock character is unbelievable. He’s not just good; he’s spooky good! You could almost imagine that it really was an earlier version of the original, and that imagining stood up just fine with a side-by-side comparison.

They also did a good job of modeling younger versions of the other main characters. McCoy was another outstanding replacement. A younger Scotty is still inventing crazy stuff that somehow works, and Kirk goes off to defend the galaxy against hopeless odds. The time twist involved in the plot was very gracefully done.

Still, there were a few detractors. The most obvious is the disgusting level of brutal violence. I’m not talking about the “high violence” of spaceships getting shot up. There was plenty of that too, and that’s fine. But the repeated use of bloody fistfights added nothing of value, and was a serious detraction. It made the film worse. The overall tone of the movie was also darker than I like.

Many of the action scenes, when they weren’t being excessively personally violent, were just chaotic and visually confusing. Stunning in visual and sound quality, but jumbled, and undisciplined. And they dragged on in that condition for too long.

As a more minor thing, the relationship between Spock and Uhura was tacky and contrived, and added nothing useful to the plot at all. The fact that the Spock character was so perfect a rendition added to the failure of this ploy. It was just clearly unnatural, and it didn’t work.

Overall the new Star Trek movie is a very good film. It could have been an excellent film with more civility, and more discipline. Sounds sort of like today’s youth culture, doesn’t it?

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