Thursday, May 23, 2013

Missing The Boat (Or Spaceship, As The Case May Be)

What makes a great science fiction story? 

Creativity of world-building details.

The underlying story should have memorable characters and timeless themes, but it's the world-building that scifi fans are looking for. We want fantastical new planets to explore, with shocking cultures and inhabitants. We want unique alien creatures. We want fabulous new technology: weapons, spaceships, and more.

If you're going to make a film using one of the most iconic scifi spaceships of all time...The Enterprise, then by God, you better deliver on the scifi portion of the movie.

Perhaps my expectations were too high. After falling in love with the 2009 Star Trek movie, I had very high hopes for Star Trek Into The Darkness. Same amazing cast of characters. And I love the whole concept of going back to the very beginning of space exploration. It is a superb premise for a fresh new twist on the Star Trek series.

Nevertheless, Star Trek Into The Darkness was, in my humble opinion, a big boring, predictable snooze-fest. And worst of all, the "scifi" portion in Star Trek was sorely missing. If you're going to make a movie about a spaceship which explores new frontiers, then for Christ's sake, let it do some god-damned exploring. What made Star Trek scifi? Alien lifeforms, strange new planets and cultures, new and exciting technology. This Star Trek movie had about 50% of the scenes...on EARTH!

The opening sequence was by far the best part of the film. Why? Because we are on an alien planet...gorgeous cinematography, fascinating alien culture, some typical Captain Kirk/Spock interactions. After that, too many of the scenes took place in the boardroom, on Earth, and on the Enterprise itself. The zip and pop and excitement of the first film were missing.

There was one big tease: a discussion of the Klingons. Finally! We're finally gonna get some cool, bad-ass aliens!

And they were FANTASTIC! For all of 60 seconds. And then it was over. The alien planet looked like an outdoor industrial plant. Not too impressive. And then we're back on the Enterprise.

Come back, Klingons! COME BACK!

This turned into a regular old action film, with a lot of guys running around hallways with guns. But every scene was predictable. There was no tension at all in the film.

At the end of the movie when Kirk and Spock have their super emo scene, touching hands through the glass barrier...

I laughed.

Out loud.

In the theater.

(For the record, I went to a 10:20 AM matinee, so it was just me and two other dudes).


I'm not even going to get into the fact that the initial "conflict" made no sense...Kirk getting in trouble for failing to follow the "prime directive" while Spock did the exact same thing...because it's not worth it.

I watched Galaxy Quest recently, the hilarious parody of Star Trek starring Tim Allen, and I found that film more entertaining than this.


I'm hoping Star Trek 3 will be an improvement.

Hopefully they will finally get off the DAMNED EARTH AND DO SOME SPACE EXPLORATION.

Peeved and Pissy,


Anonymous said...

God, I loved it!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Angela! I would say I am definitely in the minority. Most folks, including the Boston Globe, loved it. But I have seen some disgruntled viewers and reviews, too.

I'm not giving up yet. Waiting for Star Trek #3!

Geek Amicus said...

There were things I definitely loved, Benedict Cumberbatch, for example. And who his character turned out to be. I like how they brought in a bunch of stuff that has ramifications for the older movies, and I loved that Cupcake made it in this one too. But I agree with you as far as it not really stirring the soul. You know the best critique I read of Galaxy Quest (one of my favorite movies) "Finally, a good Star Trek movie!"

Did anyone else think that Peter Weller is starting to look a lot like Ronald Reagan? Just askin'.

Penny Watson said...

Hey Geek!

This movie had no soul.

Peter Weller looks like an orange plastic head stuck on a Star Trek uniform.

Galaxy Quest is wicked, wicked good. Perfection. The whole damned thing.

Unknown said...

We loved it too. Though the guy sitting next to me cried when Spock and Jim touched hands through the glass. I did laugh at him. :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Ha. The image of you laughing has me smiling uncontrollably. Sci-fi is definitely an acquired taste. I like it but nothing trekkie.

Penny Watson said... we didn't know Kirk was going to get injected w/ the serum and come back to life. YAWN! No suspense at all!

Oh boo hoo hoooooooo! Kirk! Don't die! You

*Penny waits for the Klingons to come back*

Penny Watson said...

Juju...I have high expectations for my scifi movies.

Julia Barrett said...

Ah. This is exactly what I was afraid of. And I didn't even like the first movie because it was not character driven and it was too heavily special effects laden.

We love the original series for so many reasons - mostly the relationships between the characters and the action/interaction when faced with strange, silly, preposterous aliens and alien worlds.
You aren't alone. My nephew said it was one big bore.

Penny Watson said...

Julia...I'm glad someone else thought it was boring. Every single scene was predictable. *GIANT EYE ROLL* I did love the 45 seconds John Cho was on the screen. He is adorbs!

Geek Amicus said...

Oh, and that was the biggest damn tribble I've ever seen. Holy Great Aunt Hannah, what were they feeding that?

Heidenkind said...

Galaxy Quest is a good movie. lol I was contemplating seeing this one in theaters, but I think I'll just wait for the DVD now. Or rewatch the first one.

Unknown said...

No, No, No No No

Loved it although you are correct in a couple of bits, BUT they have gone back and rewritten the time line and they must have knew you were going to give it a lousy review and tell em to get back into space, that's why at the very end of the movie Kirk is given back command of the Enterprise and his orders are to go out on a 5 year mission 'to explore new worlds'

So, young Mr Abrahams has been building the back story and now we can get out there and 'do it'

But I thought the Klingons were hilarious not a ridged forehead in sight, sheesh

Penny Watson said...


Not really.

Penny Watson said...

Tasha...1st one was WAY better.

Galaxy Quest is top 10 material!

Penny Watson said...

Tom, here's an idea. How about making the backstory....5 minutes long? Instead of a 2 hour and 3 minute full-length feature film with NO SPACE EXPLORATION!

If an author made her entire book backstory for the rest of the series, she would be skewered.