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September 1st, 2009

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01:22 am - Star Trek film - pretty but empty
After already complaining about it both on and off-line, I finally saw the new Star Trek film at a local theater pub. $3.00 was slightly more than it was worth, but it wasn't horrible. What I saw was an a big-budget action picture with far more action than dialog or plot, and a serious over-reliance on over-elaborate sets (the interior Romulan ship was the set of a console game), big explosions. At most, it had the trappings of Star Trek. Also, it compared very unfavorably with the original series (made 40 years ago) in terms of sexism. Uhura was a minor background character, and there were literally no other female characters with names or who appeared on screen for more than (at most) a minute. Also, in addition to being largely non-existent, the plot was stupid.

On the positive side, it was very pretty, I really like the look of the new Star Trek, and many of the (male) characters were spot on. We didn't see enough of Scotty to get a sense of him, and I wasn't fond of Spock or Kirk, but Sulu, Chekov, and McCoy all worked very well indeed. If we are lucky, the next film will be less of a block-buster action picture and more of an actual film. If we are exceedingly lucky, there won't be a third film, and instead there will be a new TV series. Given that US TV is essentially always less regressive than Hollywood films, and can occasionally be exceedingly progressive (which Hollywood films almost never are). I think that (assuming J.J. Abrams was in no way involved, which would almost certainly be true) the cast (with a number of female characters added) could make quite a good TV show. We shall see.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
Yes, it very much left that "empty calories" impression. There was no science involved; there was no meaningful plot and no interesting social commentary; and there were no progressive values with regard to minorities. It was a hollow and testosterone-laden adventure flick with ridiculous scenes like the large and colorful dinosaur that attacked another large and colorful dinosaur only to leave it be and chase Kirk as its next meal, all as a weak way of getting Kirk to meet Future Spock.

The only good things about the film were the cast itself, though the characters as written were all either unimpressive or just plain bad (Scotty and his midget assistant or Spock and his adolescent rage), and some of the visuals. I'd like to hope the sequel (announced for 2011) will be better, but according to IMDb, they've just added one more writer to the team with the same two from the first film, and his credits are no more impressive.
[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
One piece you might find interesting is peri_peteia's explanation of why Uhura's role was actually progressive, which is here.
[User Picture]
Date:September 2nd, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
That's a valid point, but it would be a whole lot more valid if Uhura actually got to do something in the movie and (especially) if she wasn't the only female character who was on screen for more than a minute.
[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
I've said elsewhere: if it was really in the spirit of Rodenburry's Trek, the romance would have been between Spock and Sulu.

Edited at 2009-09-01 12:47 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:September 1st, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see a new Star Trek series. It'd be even better if HBO or Showtime picked it up. I'd like to see where they could go with it if they had a lot more freedom from the censors. I suspect it would be much darker, but it could go a multitude of ways.

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