If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’re probably not a hardcore Trekker so this warning can be ignored.
Seemingly unsatisfied with destroying a lifetime’s worth of work by people like Rick Berman, Michael Pillar and Brannon Braga with the story of the first film – J.J. Abrams and his crew saw fit to rip off elements from the best Star Trek movie of all time – The Wrath of Kahn, instead of actually coming up with something new and different. The film starts with the cliched non-interference prime directive plot device (TNG – Who Watches the Watchers and ST:Insurrection) with Kirk brazenly flouting federation principles to “save” Spock – insert needs of the many apologue here. Kirk is demoted, looses the Enterprise to Pike, Pike dies, Kirk gets the Enterprise back. Yippee. Kahn is the bad guy, Kirk gets captured, Spock calls up old Spock to ask about Kahn, old Spock says he won’t divulge information about the future – then proceeds do exactly that (WTF!?).
Then we have the worst scene of the film, the role reversed death of Spock from Star Trek II. Complete with hands on the glass and tears.
Instead of leaving the revival for a sequel with a second plot device (Genesis) in this new version Kahn’s blood is a magic cure all that revives Kirk and thus the status quo is restored, like a bad episode of Voyager – no harm no foul. The whole anti-apologue lesson about the needs of the one is completely lost in all the over the top special effects and useless teenage sitcom drama (Spock and Uhura) thrown in for no good reason other than to sell Trek to an uneducated, unimaginative market of tweens. There are things I love about these new Trek movies (ship exterior scenes, space gore, the music, even some of the casting isn’t THAT bad (Zachary Quinto)), but there are just far too many things that I hate, why destroy a whole timeline only to then proceed to rip it off, and not even do a very good job. I was thinking J.J. Abrams could save this franchise (new Trek) by revisiting the Nero incursion in a future film and undoing the damage to the timeline, but now I fear even that would be too little too late. I purposely avoided all the teasers, posters and trailers to give this film its best possible chance of impressing me, instead I left feeling uncomfortable and cheated.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad Sci-Fi movie, and judging by the critics, it’s mostly favorable reviews and undoubtedly set to break some box office records, but as a Trek fan I have much higher standards – and this doesn’t cut it. Too many plot holes, predictable story elements, an out of character appearance by old Spock – the whole thing comes off cheap, like some non-canon fan fiction (no offense to the wonderful men and women ST novel authors). I will watch it again, and I wouldn’t go as so far as to tell people not to see this movie – but don’t get your hopes up too much, this is certainly not a return to form for Star Trek and most unfortunately, certainly not the last of this style. Perhaps eventually, once ST Online wraps up, we might be able to get back to proper Star Trek, in the prime universe – and forget J.J. Abrams and his crew ever existed.