I know I’m months behind the Kool Kidz, but I finally had a chance to watch the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot. (Minor spoilers ahead, just in case you’re even less hip than I am, and haven’t seen the new Trek yet.)
- The visuals were amazing, as is to be expected of current-day CGI. The space battles were fantastic, exciting, fast-paced stuff. Favorite shot: the unlucky female crew member of the Kelvin getting sucked out into space through a hull breach, and careening off past the phaser battery that’s firing back at the Romulan ship.
- The set design was also well executed. The bridge of the new Enterprise makes the Apple Stores look like they were put together by the Amish. The uniforms approximated the original series’ velvet pajamas without looking either cheesy or like a bad homage.
- The actors mostly got the characters’ idiosyncrasies down, and created their own interpretations without just doing Kirk/Spock/McCoy/Scotty imitations. The only one that grated a little was the guy who played Scotty—he had a hard time keeping up a convincing Scottish accent.
- The science, particularly the “red matter” business. Ouch. The stuff is so volatile and powerful that it can generate a singularity, yet you can keep it contained in a Vulcan ship, siphon it off with a needle, and bottle it?
- What was the point of Young Kirk trashing that ‘Vette, other than establishing that James T. Kirk a.) has a severe issue with authority, and b.) really likes hanging off precipices by his fingertips? (He ends up in that position three or four times in the movie.)
- The Enterprise being put together in a dry dock in the middle of Iowa? How are you going to get the whole thing into space when it’s done? Every bit of technobabble related to Trek makes clear that the Enterprise needs her transporters because she can’t make planetary landings. It made for some awesome CGI shots, though.
- The villain. I’ve liked Eric Bana since Blackhawk Down, but he doesn’t come off as very menacing or convincingly motivated in this one.
- Academy cadets staffing a commissioned vessel (the flagship of the fleet, no less!), because the rest of the fleet is busy somewhere else? Does Starfleet have such an abundance of ships that they have to resort to filling them with trainees in an emergency?
- Kirk being evicted from the Enterprise, shot down onto the desolate ice planet…and ending up literally on top of Old Spock?
- Do a three-man HALO drop with Kirk, Sulu, and a Red Shirt…and give all the detonators to the Red Shirt? (Hands up, all of you who didn’t see Red Shirt’s fate coming from a mile away.)
- Amazingly creative field promotions—putting cadets above Fleet officers into command positions.
- Promoting a maverick Academy cadet straight to Captain, and giving him command of the flagship of Starfleet?
Overall, however, it was a fun ride, and a mostly well-executed (and much-needed) reboot of the franchise. I did like how they mostly pulled off the whole “alternate reality” thing, to wipe the slate clean regarding continuity. It’ll be interesting to see where they take the whole thing from here.