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What did I think? Well...



I'm going to preface this by saying I had a metric fuck-ton of animosity towards this movie. The sheer fact that Paramount decided to "reboot" the franchise instead of "revitalizing" it was too much to bear. In this world where young and "hip" Hollywood types believe that they can remake anything (Friday the 13th, anyone?), JJ Abrams got on my shitlist real quick. I've seen your work (Alias, Lost), but I've also seen your un-produced work. In case you don't have Adobe Acrobat (which you should have, by the way), I'll take a moment to explain it to you:

During the development hell that would eventually become Superman Returns, there were a lot of scripts and ideas bandied about. Some were okay, some were sheer evil (Jon Peters'-driven Kevin Smith script). Most of them, however, were determined to reboot the Superman franchise with a(n) (minimal) effort to pay homage to the entire mythos and put a fresh spin on the World Greatest Superhero. With that said, JJ Abrams did so, as well. What we got was utterly and incontrovertibly horrible.

JJ's version of a Superman reboot included a Krypton that didn't explode, Kryptonian martial arts, Jor-El's evil brother, Kata-Zor (who doesn't have the House surname of "El", oddly), Clark's evil Kryptonian cousin, Ty-Zor, a gay Jimmy Olsen (which wouldn't be a problem, but it's oddly homophobic the way he is portrayed), Clark getting killed by kryptonite, Jor-El committing suicide so that Clark can live again, and a giant battle across the world involving kryptonite and Superman leaving in the end to fulfill the prophecy of Krypton.

I'll give you a moment to re-read that so that you can absorb the sheer scope of idiocy surrounding that script/reboot.

...

...

Revolting, isn't it?

And this was the guy Paramount was entrusting its franchise to? Rao, help us!

I saw the new USS Enterprise on one of the Trek messageboards I frequent and gagged. No way could this be the Enterprise. I read somewhere that JJ wanted it to be like a "hot rod" in space. Really? The Enterprise was graceful in its simplicity, a lovely lady with a crew of 400+ and a captain who brought her back largely intact after his mission(s). I look at JJ's Enterprise and...ugh! Imagine if someone took the TARDIS and put a bright orange racing stripe on it! Hideous, isn't it? That's the same reaction I get from this ship.

But...I dye grass. Let's get to the movie.

Holy shit, it's the Ten Rings terrorist guy from Iron Man playing the captain of the Kelvin! That guy can't catch a break, can he? He gets his ass handed to him by Robert Downey, taken out by Starman, and now impaled by the Hulk!

Why was there a plastic curtain in a shuttle? Seriously, is there a slaughterhouse in the aft section of the shuttlecraft? Bah!

I thought Kirk was born on Earth...in Iowa? Bah!

I should probably point out that this is an "alternate reality" and, from now on, I shall refer to it as STINO (Star Trek: In Name Only).

Flash forward to Iowa (which the on-screen graphic kindly points out) and STINO gives us James Tiberius Kirk stealing a car that...has...a...Nokia...phone/communicator thing in it. Seriously? Seriously? Product placement? Unbelievable.

We flash to Vulcan (screen graphic!) where Spock is beating the snot out of some Vulcan children who are making fun of his human half (even going so far as to call his mother a "human whore". Vulcan children are asses.) I can totally understand that and it works well. You can clearly see Spock wrestling with his dual nature in this movie which goes hand-in-hand with what we know about Spock Prime. Even when he stands before the Vulcan High Council and summarily turns them down (due to his "disability"), Spock proves that it is not logical to judge him based on their prejudices. Just like Star Trek: Enterprise before, we get specist Vulcans. :: le sigh ::

Flash forward to Iowa (screen graphic!) and we've got Uhura sashaying onto screen, ordering various drinks, and getting appraised by young Jimmy Kirk. In that indomitable Kirk-style, Jimmy hits on Uhura and, as a result, gets beat up by some cadets. After a guilt-inducing trip down memory lane by Christopher Pike (Hell of a recruitment speech there, Chris: "Come to space. Die like your daddy."), Jimmy decides to ride out along the fields of Iowa (screen graphic! No, no, not this time...) where he looks up at the partially constructed Enterprise (blargh!) and smiles. (Note: The USS Enterprise's spaceframe was actually built in San Francisco and then launched into space where it was completed, but whatever, man).

Jimmy shows up at the cadet launch, climbs aboard and promptly meets Leonard McCoy, portrayed by Karl Urban. Oh my God, Urban was AWESOME! He did DeForest Kelley proud, IMHO. That whole spiel about his wife getting "the whole damn planet" and his phobia was a fantastic nod to TOS.

Flash forward to three years later (screen graphic!), Kirk is at the Academy, boinking green-skinned Orion cadets, and about to take the Kobayashi Maru "no-win" scenario for the third time. Again, as a nod to TOS (The Wrath of Khan, specifically), Kirk beats it whilst eating an apple (which he did in the Genesis Cave whilst explaining to Lieutenant Saavik how he beat the scenario). Instead of a commendation for original thinking, he's brought up on charges filed by Spock (?). Hey, look, it's Tyler Perry...and he's not in drag! While Kirk and Spock engage in a tête-à-tête about the test, an alert comes in about Vulcan under attack. Due to the crisis and since most of the 'Fleet is in another sector of space, Tyler Perry orders all cadets to be assigned to available ships. Because Kirk was under academic suspension, he has to be surreptiously brought on board by McCoy who ingeniously injects him with the vaccine for a treatable disease We also get a hint that Spock and Uhura have a thing.

On board the Hotrodaprise, we are introduced to Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). I kinda felt they went overboard with Chekov's accent, but it made for a decently humorous moment when he sought to put in his code. As for John Cho as Sulu...I don't see it. I'm sorry. I like John Cho, too, but all I could think of was Harold taking the ship to White Castle. And Sulu toking up. Although, that might be hilarious, if you think about it. Then he can go all "fencer"-crazy like he did in "The Naked Time".

Ships are getting destroyed by Nero (that's the name of the Romulan pirate, by the way, who seems to be lacking the distinct cranial ridges of 24th century Romulans, but whatever, man) and the Hotrodaprise is several minutes behind them. Kirk is found out, remembering something about the Kelvin's destruction (a "lightning storm in space"), and brings it up to the captain. Spock concurs that his logic is sound; they are running into a Romulan trap. They make it there, Sulu navigates through the debris field, and are confronted by Nero who demands Pike to come aboard. Pike makes Commander Spock acting captain and, oddly, Cadet Kirk as his First Officer. :: chuckles :: Seriously? You make a CADET the acting First Officer and not one of the other OFFICERS on the ship? Really? No wonder your ass ended up in a black motorized wheelchair with only a flashing light as your means of communication. Moron.

Anyway, Pike orders Kirk and anyone else with martial experience to go after the Drill of Doom that's boring into Vulcan's core. The landing party will consist of Kirk, Sulu and Ensign Ricky...er...I mean Olsen, who is dressed to die in a killer red orbital skydiving suit. (You could see it coming a 1000 meters away, right?) They land on the Drill of Doom with Ensign Ricky...er...Olsen, dying in a blaze of glory (literally) and, thusly, begins a fight scene with Sulu pulling out his collapsible Ginsu and Kirk getting his ass handed to him. A Black Romulan? H-uh. Chekov is a transporter genius, huh? It was a cool scene, but I would have liked Mr. Kyle there to...You know what? It doesn't matter. Fuck it, Chekov's a transporter genius. The starship navigator is a transporter genius, too. Good for him.

Nero still manages to drop "red matter" (an unstable material of the rare ore "decalithium") into the core of Vulcan. Red matter creates black holes. You put the picture together. Spock beams down to the planet to save the Vulcan High Council (which includes his father and mother). He gets most of them out and, as Chekov tries to beam them up, the rockface collapses and he loses his lock on Spock's mother. An emotional poignant moment for Spock and I even feel bad for Chekov, the transporter genius. Spock, still in command of the Hotrodaprise, makes a totally emo log entry about "six billion Vulcans" gone and only "ten thousand" remain. To me, that seems like an awfully LOW number for one of the founding worlds of the Federation.

Oh, yeah, Spock and Uhura do have a "thing".

Pike is interrogated and Nero uses a...HOLY SHIT! It's a ceti eel, like the one Khan used on Terrell and Chekov! Sweet! Wait...what did he say? ... "Centauri slug"? What the fuck is a "centauri slug"? ... Ah, geez, would it have killed you to use a ceti eel instead of making something up? Honestly. Before the (not) ceti eel gets put into Pike, Nero recounts how Romulus of the future is destroyed by the supernova. Here's something to think about, Nero: if you know the star that's about to go supernova, why the hell don't you just go to Romulan space and stop it? You've got a friggin' 200 year headstart on it! I know what you're asking me, people, "Q, how the hell are you so sexii?" And I'm like, "I don't know, but it's there." But, seriously, you've probably got a question about temporal mechanics and the like. It's like why didn't Picard just travel back to the Enterprise Ten-Forward and order Doctor Soran arrested right then? Kirk Prime would still be alive (technically). So, to quote Miles O'Brien, "I hate temporal mechanics".

The moment I'd been waiting for finally arrives: Spock Prime. Much of my disdain for STINO was lessened by the appearance of Leonard Nimoy. I reasoned that if Leonard Nimoy came out of retirement to play Spock Prime in STINO, then he must have seen something in the script that appealed to him.

Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega (another planet in the Vulcan system) where Kirk faces off against TWO different alien lifeforms. Just as he's about to get gobbled up, Spock Prime saves him, mind melds with him, and we get the COMPLETE picture of what happened in 2387. Spock Prime reasons that he has to get Kirk back on the Hotrodaprise. They meet up with Montgomery "Scotty" Scott and (made up) Deep Roy. If you don't know who Deep Roy is, you should be shot. Repeatedly. Spock Prime, in homage to The Voyage Home, gives Scotty the formula for "transwarp beaming", a teleportation method which allows the subject to be beamed onto a vessel moving at warp. Spock Prime reminds Kirk that he has to take command of the ship by evoking an emotional response out of his younger self. Scotty and Kirk beam onto the Hotrodaprise where, after some shenanigans happen, are brought to the bridge before Spock. Kirk, ever the arrogant prick, gets the emotional response and Spock resigns his command. Since CADET Kirk was made acting First Officer, he assumes command of the Hotrodaprise and plots a course to intercept Nero.

Simon Pegg's portrayal of Scotty, by the way, was fantastic!


Watch this as you read this next part...

Chekov, the transporter genius and navigator, figures out a plan to get the Hotrodaprise close to the Narada without them noticing: they can follow the Narada and stop at Saturn's system, remaining undetected by its magnetic field. I shit you not. How the hell does he know that will work? What if the Narada has better sensors that can cut through magnetic fields? Whatever, man. Spock concurs (Really?) with Chekov's logic (never thought I'd see those two words together) and volunteers to gain the black hole device (the Jellyfish) and save Earth. Kirk agrees to accompany him and save Pike. Hooray! Comraderie!

The Romulans deploy the Drill of Doom again and attack near San Francisco. Scotty beams Kirk and Spock into an assumed empty cargo bay, but they land in an occupied area. Phasers and disrupters go off with Spock gaining control of the Jellyfish ship that Spock Prime used (and the ship's computer recognized Spock, referring to him as "Ambassador Spock" which sets off the light bulb in Spock's head). He blasts his way out of the ship. Kirk, however, gets his ass handed to him by Nero, then Ayel (Nero's second in command), then kills Ayel, then rescues Pike.

During this time, Spock destroys the Drill of Doom, warps away (followed by Nero), and then attacks the Narada. Nero orders Spock destroyed, and the Hotrodaprise shows up, blasting the missiles away and beaming Kirk, Spock and Pike on board. The Jellyfish rams into the Narada, igniting the red matter, and creating a humongous singularity...near Saturn...in the Solar System...

...

...

H-uh. Physics: gotta love it!

Kirk offers to beam Nero and his crew off, but Nero refuses and, Spock, uncharacteristically, doesn't feel like showing Nero compassion. Kirk agrees and fires on the Narada, adding insult to injury, as the ship is swallowed by the singularity. The singularity starts to suck them in, too, but due to some brilliant thinking by Scotty, they get away.

Back on Earth, Pike is promoted to Admiral (for doing NOTHING for most of the movie) and CADET Kirk is promoted to...

(Look, I comprehend what JJ was trying to do. I do, but there is NO WAY IN THE NINE HELLS THAT CADET KIRK IS GOING TO JUMP ALL THE WAY TO CAPTAIN AND GRANTED COMMAND OF THE FEDERATION'S FLAGSHIP! NO WAY! I suspended belief when Voyager kept beating the Borg every other week, but this is ricockulous! NO WAY! He should have been promoted to Lieutenant, at least, and got assigned to the Hotrodaprise in Phaser Control or, hell, Chief of Security or something! Spock was a COMMANDER and got passed over for a CADET?! WHAT THE FUCK?!)

...Captain and given command of the Hotrodaprise. In a nice epilogue, Spock and Spock PRIME come face to face, debating the consequences of time travel and fast friendships. Nice! Spock reports to the Hotrodaprise and is assigned as Kirk's First Officer. The movie closes with Spock PRIME delivering the famous opening mantra of the show (though it would have been cool if William Shatner had delivered it).

The movie itself notes that its an alternate reality created by Nero's incursion. Even with that said, ultra-purist Trekkers will find this movie utterly repugnant because of the sheer amount of canon violations. There's no Tarsus IV colony for Kirk that helps define the motivations of Kirk Prime. He doesn't go up against the dikironium cloud creature which haunts him and helped him become the man we know today. Chris Pine is NO William Shatner, which is both a compliment and a detriment (LOL!).

Personally, I didn't get a grand feeling of mankind's universal brotherhood during the 23rd century. Star Trek was groundbreaking in its inclusion of a Russian (during the Cold War), a Black woman (during the Civil Rights era) and an Asian. This movie couldn't do that because its not that big of an issue, but I feel that STINO was lacking in that respect.

This movie was, with me, trending to a weak 4. For casual fans and non-Trekkies, it's going to deliver explosions, some sex, violence, and lots of sparklies. That damn camera panning effect that JJ used with the various lens flares pissed me right off, detracting some because I kept having to readjust my eyes from it. This movie is very much influenced by the success of the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot without being "Battlestar Galactica". That bullshit ending dropped it down to a 2, but it rebounded, upon further reflection, with the brilliant performances of Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, and Zachary Quinto. Leonard Nimoy's Spock Prime, bridging the gap between the old and new, along with the dedication to Gene & Majel Roddenberry at the end garnered some points with me, too.

3.5 out of 5

Welcome to the Abramsverse. May the Great Bird of the Galaxy watch over us.
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