Here's my history with Star Trek:
When I was a kid, Channel 11 (11 Alive) would run original Star Trek episodes at midnight. Followed by Twilight Zone. Followed by Honeymooners at 1:30 AM. To this day it's my favorite two hour block of tv programming ever. All reruns (at the time) but all new to me! Every night! I remember sitting downstairs late at night like 11 or 12 years old in the dark plowing through these two hours night after night. My parents were probably weirded out that their weird kid would stay up all hours watching TV like a zombie til 2AM. Little did they know that my kid brain was being punch drunked and suplexed by this one-two-three punch of TV awesomeness.
My Trek involvement continued in later years-- embracing Next Generation totally. I think Earl Grey (hot) is my favorite tea now because of Picard. Next Generation was totally solid (although I could have done without Whoopi and never fully trusted Riker) but I never went beyond TNG. Deep Space Nine always struck me as tethered and Voyager seemed off from day one. (I guess I wasn't sold on a female captain in this world. Sorry. Yeah, I'm that jerk.) But maybe I was just done with all things Trek. Burnt out on the lame-ass string of Trek movie disappointments. Realistically, since Khan it's been a slow spiral into a blurry mish-mash of dead Spock and Borg and blue whales and Data's makeup looking weirdly thick and junky scripts with worse humor and miscasts galore. C's and D's. Eventually this pathetic slide on the way to 1st base was tagged out in the cinematic splatacular which was Nemesis... or was it 'Insurrection'? Whichever. Whatever.
Anyway, I've been longing for a juicy Trek relaunch for probably over a decade! But I did have some initial concerns when I heard Old Spock would be in this 'prequel'. That meant timetravel would be in new Trek. I didn't want to go there. I don't like timetravel shenanigans. But the Nimoy concern was countered with the overdue smackdown of telling Shatner he doesn't even get a walk on. Sure, Shatner was an excellent circus ringmaster in his hayday but over time he seemed exposed as the guy who was overheard yelling at the snackbar guy to 'use to stale hotdog buns because those idiots don't know the difference'. Nimoy seemed to be above it all. Unaffected by the highs and lows. And weirdly, onscreen and off always seems to be in some form of vulcan character.
Anyway, this wow flick was a long overdue colorful shower for Star Trek. A prison style hosedown that just blasted away the caked on dirt and lice. It turned up the art and turned down the cornball lectures and hamfisted wangtugs . Scene after scene, I started to actually feel like a weight was coming off my shoulders. The childhood wonder that kept me sitting too close to the tv was tingling up strong. This flick was good enough to remind me of what was-- while moving forward with what can be. I liked what it was doing: re-introducing characters, being ballsy enough to tweak personalities and relationships, cut the cord to the past and all that. Plus it was wrapped in a poppy tricked out colorful atmosphere (certain scenes were friggin literally beautiful)... but unfortunately I still couldn't avoid having issues with this flick.
As much as I understand it was totally necessary, the eyerollingly meteoric rise of Kirk through the ranks from local a-hole to Captain did seem a bit much under any circumstance. The Spock stuff (although acceptable out of respect) seemed jammed in there sideways and confused me. The overall good guy/bad guy planetary destruction plot was hookless fare. And at times the humor played like a last minute call-in-the-hack punchup.... Oh, and the Ice Planet stop-over was a wayward bedshitter.
I can really pick at this thing like a scab if I wanted to-- but I'm not motivated to dig in that way. I appreciated the refreshing healing feel of it all and was loved that it was winning. Now I'm all psyched and comfortable for new Trek adventures! And even if this flick wasn't the end all be all-- it was the best Trek flick since Khan and it got me all bug-eyed wonder psyched to explore the universe with this new gang. I'm just hoping it takes full advantage and goes way out into real Sci-Fi depth-- and stays the far far away from corny ol' Earth.
Three Good Things About this Movie
- The first scene was awesome looking and I was stunned to be actually
emotionally affected by the birth.
- None of the new cast bugged me. And each achieved a personal newness. And I liked seeing Pike.
- The skydive drill scene was the perfect mash of the old and the new.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- The ship strained under the weight sometimes.
- It felt a little like a 'Dora the Explorer' style makeover...
- Plenty of 'looks awesome'. Not enough jawdrop stunner scenes.
All in all this movie gets a healthy bravo. As a half-assed Trek fan, I'm going all-in on this new series (of course, if there will be a new series. the show I saw was shockingly unsold-out) because this new Trek is flat-out cool. Cool! But... umm... maybe a little too cool? I just hope as this goes along it remembers who owns the place! Us nerds! My only lingering concern is that in with the new franchise-- the party will be run by the cool kids for the cool kids. And boldly strut to a place where no Trek has gone before. Leaving true sci-fi and trek nerds outside in the trees with electronic devices strapped to their heads sadly looking in on the house they built-- and feeling betrayed by the beautiful people partying inside.