Saturday, May 25, 2013

Movies: Star Trek Into Daftness

How do you know your shiny new J.J. Abrams "Star Trek" movie is in trouble?

1. The screenplay comes from the same guys who brought you "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," one of the most poorly written movies ever, and

2. There's a message onscreen dedicating the movie to "post-9/11 veterans with gratitude for their inspired service abroad and continued leadership at home."

A shame, it all looked so promising in trailers:



And that's not to blame the actors, who do a great job with the material they have. In particular, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have fantastic chemistry here, and really capture the Kirk-Spock bromance that was at the core of the original series and movies. The special effects, editing, and directing are all pretty good, too. Heck, I've even warmed to Michael Giacchino's score, though it'll never compare to Jerry Goldsmith's work on "First Contact."

No, the real problem is the writing, which seems to ditch continuity and consistency whenever it's convenient to the plot. One moment the Enterprise can't raise anyone on comms, the next moment, Spock's having an intergalactic heart-to-heart with Spock Prime. Transporters can't lock onto anyone who is moving, unless it's the villain, in which case the transporter can instantly send him halfway across the galaxy (why bother with starships then?).

Even without talking about actual plotholes, the whole thing starts to get silly. There's no way of knowing whether the screenwriters will impose some arbitrary constraint on 23rd century technology for the sake of drama, and thus no fun in seeing the Enterprise crew figure out clever solutions to their problems (e.g., bringing down the Reliant's shields in Star Trek II, constructing a whale tank in Star Trek IV, creating a plasma-seeking photon torpedo in Star Trek VI, etc.). That's not a huge part of "Star Wars," which Abrams is also taking over, but it's central to Star Trek, and that's why STID gets a...

Rating: 6/10

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