I think the main reason that this movie is not squee-worthy for me is that it smacks too much of DC’s COIE reboot in ’86, wiping out what came before. I had an emotional investment in DC and in Trek, and the concept that all that simply doesn’t exist anymore is painful.
So, in order to be able to be a fan of this movie, I have to consider it an AU even before the timeline was changed, and that the original timeline still exists, but in another universe.
Taken as an AU, it was a fairly good film. It kept some of the original Trek while of course rebooting the franchise. The actors chosen didn’t imitate the earlier actors, but channeled them in uncanny ways at times.
K/S: I saw some chemistry between the New Kirk and Spock, but frankly, saw more between Spock Prime and New Kirk. Leonard Nimoy was a delight to see in such a juicy role. Pity that William Shatner couldn’t have been included somehow, even in a cameo.
The characterization of Kirk: too much frat boy for my taste. A lover of the ladies he is, but a frat boy pig? A stretch there.
Though the green girl was amusing. ;)
His recklessness is Kirk, but he doesn’t have the gravitas of the original. The ‘stack of books with legs’ at the Academy, tormented by upperclassman Finnegan, apparently doesn’t exist in this universe. He’s too cocky too early in his career, and obnoxious. He doesn’t have as much of the charm as the original. I love my James T., and while this one has elements of the original, he needs to do a LOT of growing up.
I liked Kirk Prime's balance of brashness and responsibility, impulsiveness and patience, warriorhood and diplomacy, charisma and sexual energy but not being a boor about it. A man capable of commanding a starship at a very young age (though not fresh out of the Academy) and winning the loyalty and friendship of a Vulcan not because they've been told of a legendary friendship, but letting it grow naturally.
New Kirk has the look, that's for sure: beauty and Irish-American coloring with the reddish-gold hair and gorgeous eyes, blue this time around instead of hazel.
He sure got beat up a lot in this movie, didn’t he?
I did like the inclusion of the Kobiyashi Maru test. :)
Spock is an odd portrayal: since when is he hot for Uhura? Granted, she had the possibility of more with both Kirk and Spock in the series, but it was only hinted at. In this case, less is more.
And there’s some squickiness for me as I can’t help but think Sylar (Heroes) at times. A serial killer who takes the tops of people’s heads off…ugh! Still, Zachary Quinto made me forget Sylar for most of the film.
The actor playing Bones? Uncanny resemblance and even without a strong Southern accent, still has McCoy’s acerbic wit and worldview ("I'm a doctor, not a..."). Amusing that he liked Spock right away. Karl Urban is one of the best of the bunch. And I'm glad that the Kirk/McCoy friendship was established early on like it should be.
Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Sulu (John Cho) were enjoyable, and there is potential for this new cast.
Scotty’s character was a just a joy to watch. Simon Pegg was really outstanding in this part. He immediately guesses that Spock Prime’s from the future, accepts that trans-beaming formula with professional enthusiasm, and loves the Enterprise. Good man! ;)
I couldn't help but laugh at him protesting that he's given Kirk all he can with the engines while they try to pull away from the gravitational pull. ;)
I have to admit I have mixed feelings about Uhura’s (Zoe Saldana) new prominence in the cast. While I love seeing the premier female character with more to do, it just hints faintly of almost Mary Sue-ness, with her so important so quickly, and involved with Spock! Though I’m sure Nichelle Nichols would have killed for such ample screen time in either the show or movies. And a young Nichelle? I’d say she’s got Zoe beat in the gorgeous department. Close, but there’s something special about Nichelle. :)
And when did junior high hijinks make for sophisticated comedy? Jim Kirk hiding out under the bed to catch looks at Uhura undressing is kind of tacky.
Good use of Chris Pike in this film, and Admiral Komack. A shame, though, that there wasn’t that special relationship between Pike and Spock in this universe.
Why, in this reboot, destroy Vulcan? The most well-known and popular of all the races of Star Trek? My DC sensibilities kicked in, thinking of Krypton when Vulcan blew up.
Starfleet plays fast and loose with who gets to command, don’t they? A cadet fresh out of the Academy gets to take command? Granted, it was a ship full of cadets, but he’s still a recent graduate and is given a starship right away, heroics or not? Scotty comes on board and is immediately given the Engineering Department? This plays out like an afternoon soap where characters with no training or education become CEOs of major corporations overnight. I much prefer Original Trek’s history of the characters having careers for a handful of years at least before they came on board the Enterprise, at least past Graduation Day!
The film was visually beautiful. They really didn’t stint on the special effects.
There were some powerful moments: the impending death of George Kirk as his son is being born (no Sam in this universe, unless he was the angry voice hectoring Jimmy Kirk during his joyride); the destruction of Vulcan and loss of Amanda and Spock and Sarek’s reactions to both, and the joy of the final scene as Jim Kirk strides onto the bridge in the familiar gold shirt (and his “Bones” in that scene was pure Shatner).
Sarek is very different in this universe. He tells young Spock that he must choose what path he is to take, and there is no rift between them as in Original Trek. Though, to be honest, I prefer Mark Lenard over Ben Cross as Sarek.
Spock doesn’t seem as repressed as Spock Prime in his earlier days. I can’t see Spock Prime canoodling with Uhura in the early days of the Enterprise’s mission, that’s for sure! ;)
It just smacked a little of TPTB trying to push a het relationship on us as if to stifle any K/S from this film.
And the eeriest moment of the film: after Kirk has goaded Spock into lashing out at him and Spock is choking him, it’s a mirror image of the scene in “Amok Time” when Spock is choking Kirk. And Chris Pine looked exactly like a young William Shatner in that shot. *goosebumps*
Sarek should have shouted, “Kroykah!” ;)
Karl Urban looked remarkably like DeForrest Kelley at times, and Zachary Quinto like Leonard Nimoy as Spock, though I have to say, Leonard Nimoy is still the master. His Spock is an effortless portrayal after all these years.
The scene between New Spock and Spock Prime was very well done.
There is a sadness surrounding Spock Prime due to the loss of his home planet, and the memory of the friendship that defined him and Jim Kirk. He doesn’t have a Kirk with memories of him anymore. And the references to that friendship made this K/S’er’s heart glad. :)
The scenes between him and New Kirk in the ice cave were really well done. You could tell all kinds of emotions were roiling under that Vulcan façade. And Kirk trusted Spock almost immediately.
I love the use of the line “I have been, and shall always be, your friend.”
So, the original Trek will always remain nearest and dearest to my heart for many reasons, but I am willing to consider this AU. The scene with Kirk and Spock shoulder-to-shoulder on the bridge and Kirk intoning, "This is Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise" was enjoyable, as was the whispered conversation between the two.
The crew of the Enterprise now knows their reality was altered. Is there an element of a self-fulfilling prophecy here? New Kirk has been told by Spock Prime that his friendship with New Spock will be legendary and life-defining. Nero says he was "a great man" in Earth's history. Can he or anyone live up to the weight of history, altered or not?
It’ll be interesting to see how it does at the box office. Last year’s The Dark Knight roared through the summer season. Can Star Trek XI do the same?