Tuesday 23 March 2010

Star Trek 11. 2009. US. Directed by J. J. Abrams. Paramount DVD. Region 2.

Let me say, from the first, straight up, with no unnecessary shilly-shallying... Star Trek 11 is not a terrible film. And in some ways it’s actually quite good.

It was designed to reboot a tired franchise and it does so by going back to the original TV series and splitting off a separate timeline which can go anywhere.

Yes there are bad points... franchise continuity sucks, for example. If they were really going back to a time before the Kirk timeline was getting properly started then everyone would be wearing the costumes from either of the original pilot episodes, “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before” (I really liked those polo-necks) and not the classic Trek look. And don’t even get me started on the fact that they’ve got new models of ships which aren’t exactly the same or the fact that most of the sound effects aren’t quite right.

I’m just lucky I’m not one of those Trekkies you hear about because I would really have been upset about this movie.

And if Spock’s timeline has now been irreparably altered... how come “old” Spock doesn’t just wink out of existence there and then... not to mention the fact that if a separate timeline was set up then Spock probably wouldn’t have had the same future where he accidentally created the time travel inducing black hole to begin with.

So yeah, this movie has about as much grasp of the laws of time as the temporally-challenged Back To The Future Part 2... that is to say... absolutely no understanding at all.

But there are also loads of good things about this movie... the performances of the new young upstarts are particularly good... all of them... Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu, Chekhov... all of them great. And as for the brilliance of “younging up” Simon Pegg and making him Scotty... best thing that happened to the production process.

The uniform that “Admiral” Pike wears briefly at the end of the movie is very much an homage to Admiral Kirk’s costume from Star Trek: The Motion Picture... so brownie points there!

Lots of action, drama, comedy and... you know... fantasy peril. ;-)

And Giachino’s score is a really great piece of work... even if I didn’t understand half of the track titles on the CD. Yeah... you tend to expect to hear more than just the odd paltry reference of Alexander Courage’s original theme which is all it’s given in this film... but it does come back properly for the end titles with some nice interweaving in of Giachino’s new themes... a powerhouse score.

There was an old well-established theory among stick-in-the-mud trekkies in years gone by which stated that if a Star Trek film was an odd numbered film then it wouldn’t be that good while the even ones were always astounding. Well... I would end this article by saying that Star Trek 11 finally breaks this rule (by giving us a pretty good odd numbered movie)... but I think the dire quality of the two movies preceding this one (Insurrection and Nemesis) have already knocked that perceived wisdom for six as far as I’m concerned.

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