Star Trek the Movie, a Disappointment

Start Trek Admit

I am not a trekkie, but I am a fan of the original TV series.  And as a fan of the original series, I have to say the movie Star Trek fell short of my expectations.  Sure it was entertaining – plenty of bone shaking special effects and intense action scenes.  Seeing the young crew of the Enterprise working together on their “first mission” brought back fond memories of watching the show in syndication for many years.  However, I was disappointed in the historical inaccuracies peppered throughout the film, which made me think the writers never bothered to study the original series.

Star Trek technology and the companion soundscape from the original series always fascinated me:  the swishing sound of the doors automatically opening and closing;  the hypnotic hum of space travel, with a complete repertoire of sound effects for the ships computers and all the interesting and innovative gadgets and medical devices.  The movie had lots of sound effects, but mostly to accompany the action, not the technology.  The technology I would have expected was curiously absent, or so modernized as to be undetectable.  No tricorder on board?  And what about the food replicator, and the universal translator  – are these technologies too old school? And three dimensional chess – couldn’t there have been at least one game? The film featured an updated transporter operated with a joystick and a computer screen.  Fascinating, but what happened to the sliding controls of the mixing board for beaming up the landing party?

The actors were mostly cast well and played their parts admirably.  “Bones” McCoy though was unconvincing – too tall and calm…no “damnit man” but he did call Spock a “greenblooded hobgoblin”.  Unfortunately, the script seemed to veer off course, especially the romance that developed between Uhura and Spock, which would have been unlikely in the original series given the ritualized mating traditions of Spock’s Vulcan heritage to which he was bound.   The script strayed further off course by suggesting the Enterprise was Kirk’s first “assignment”.  I won’t divulge the plot details, but should point out that a quick bio check on James T. Kirk reveals that he was actually assigned to two ships prior to the Enterprise and that in the original series, there is no mention of a training mission, on which the movie is based.   And young Chekov is portrayed with such a thick accent that the voice recognition system can’t even understand him.   Not funny – if you want funny, see the Star Trek spoof film Galaxy Quest.  In the original series, Chekov was known more for his hot temper and fierce Russian pride, which led him to comment once that “scotch was invented by an old lady from Leningrad”.

And what happened to Shatner?  Did he not approve of the movie citing artistic differences?  Nimoy does the voice over for “Space, the final frontier….” stealing Kirk’s lines.  Blasphemous!

I did enjoy the film, but ultimately reject the arrogant notion that after all these years, the producers have the right to invent a story that does not jibe with the history of the original show.   The main plot line was weak – not nearly as interesting as any of the TV episodes; the action scenes were over the top; the romantic subplot, simply silly and out of place; and the nuances of technology that made the show in the words of Spock, “fascinating”, were sadly absent.

3 Responses

  1. I think they definitely made this film with no regards to the fans of the past episodes, and it was almost as if they began it again forgetting what had already happened.
    The script, I agree, was a shame, but the film was pleasing to look at and the soundtrack was awesome :)

  2. While I agree with the reviewer in that the movie did “veer” from the original series, I did not find the offense reprehensible. I believe this movie has captured a new generation of Star Trek believers, those who would have previously scoffed at the idea of being a Trekkie or more correctly, a Trekker.

    40 years ago when the reviewer and I were approximately 10 and 6 years old, the world was introduced to Star Trek featuring way over-the-top Shatner, the charmingly logical Nimoy, and the blustering, somewhat alcoholic Deforest Kelly. We loved the trio as well has the then stunning technology, the wistful cosmic sounds, the voice of the pleasant, yet distant computer (Majel Roddenberry), the hum of engineering, the swish of the doors, and the chirping comunicators. We loved it because it was all just so COOL! The series was blasted by critics for being too cerebral, too futuristic, and too full of sensitive subject matter. The older generation then just didn’t get the COOLNESS of the show.

    I think the new movie is this generation’s COOL. Okay, it isn’t true to the details of the orignal, but frankly the history has run its course. Without a fresh reboot, Star Trek would be trapped in a forever time loop with nostalgic, middle aged Trekkers its only fans. Now, it can experience a new history – one that will ensure its survival for another generation.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have a deep respect for classic Sci-Fi. As a high school teacher of a Science Fiction course, I spend a great deal of energy trying to convince teenagers of the value of Clarke, Azimov, Bradbury, Butler, Wells and Huxley. With the course, I have always featured the orginal Star Trek series and its ground-breaking contrubutions to the Sci-Fi genre. Until this year, my students merely tolerated Star Trek to appease their aging Trekker teacher. But this year, because of this movie, their interest in Star Trek is amazing. For the first time ever in my 27 years of teaching, teenagers greet me in the hallway with the vulcan sign. I am delighted. The new movie has given new life to the dying Star Trek so it will ‘Live Long and Prosper” indeed.

  3. Well said. I’ll not tribble with your commentary.

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