Star Trek; the New Version - Now That the Hype Is Over
The New Movie; first blush
We've all seen it.
Since it didn't stink up the theatre like a dead mackeral, we were in rapture. Because it was better than okay we were in ecstasy.
Of course, stepping away ... nearly a year's worth of away... we can assess it with a bit less emotion and a bit more intellect.
The Movie; Second blush
If one didn't know Star Trek, if one wasn't prepared to love it like their first born, how would it be seen and assessed?
The opening scenes did nothing. The dialog was forgotten as spoken, the images didn't convey very much, in fact, if one wasn't a Trekkie the point is, 'why should we care?'
This I blame on casting and writing.
The first scene should have had some reference to time/past "if I went back and killed my grandfather...."
The scene with Kirk as a boy; just doesn't work.
He wouldn't have behaved so stupidly.
It's something a double digit I.Q. would do.
That kind of mindless psychopath behaviour is not Kirk and would not lead to
becoming a Captain Kirk.
When I saw that scene I felt like walking out. That is how bad it was.
How out of character.
(I'll come back to 'Character" again.)
And using the term Character brings me to the Casting.
Spock was brilliant. Uhuru as well. The jury is still out on Scotty.
But Bones and Chekov...no.
A resounding No.
As with Kirk.
James T. Kirk had the authority. He might run down women, he might break rules, be a bit irreverent, but it was clear he was the Captain.
William Shatner brought that with him. Whether one wants to argue camera angles or stage set, even in a group, it is clear who is in charge.
William Shatner had Presence...real tangible presence.
That personal authority is not in Chris Pine. He never had it, never will. Most of us can think of a dozen young actors who have more of a presence than he did.
Along with this was the bad writing.
One expects Kirk to succinctly define a situation.
His line is supposed to be the most powerful.
Unfortunately, the writers seemed to want slapstick and special effects so avoided
any possible set of words which could be put in Pine's mouth which conveyed that.
The casting of Zachery Quinto was perfection plus. He was Spock. His scene when making the choice to attend Star Fleet was excellent. It answered the questions Trekkers had always had. Answered them perfectly.
The only flaw in the entire presentation of Spock was his relationship with Uhuru.
This brings me back to 'Character'.
It is in Spock's character to feel but keep his feelings unspoken, unacted upon. The last scene was so wrong; for not only wouldn't have Spock behaved emotionally in public, but surely not in front of his Captain.
The casting of Zoe Saldana was brilliant. She brought so much to the character. Uhuru had always been somewhat peripheral so the development of her character was more than desired.
Her falling for Spock was ridiculous. If the show runners wanted to hint at a relationship, then nothing ought have happened in this movie.
There should have been hints, a few thwarted gestures, for the tension ought have been given time to develop.
The scenes of Uhuru and Spock should have been more cerebral than physical, in keeping with both their characters.
Because the Original was not 'Arced' that is, being a continuing story not a set of episodes, there had always been a few discrepancies here and there. Instead of trying to align TOS to the prequel movie, the 'alternative future' was used.
This was, in some ways a cop out, in others, a chance to tell new and different stories. However, I don't think anyone wanted a different Trek.
One of the reasons why Star Trek; the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were so strong was that they kept to Canon.
Yes, this was different and that was new, but the basic premise remained.
Viewing an episode of TOS one now sees the crumminess of the sets and the quick answers which were all the budget could buy. However, the interplay of the characters, and the core plots; call them moral tales if you will, have value.
With this new clownish Kirk and randy Spock, one wonders if the 'sequel' will be worth seeing.
An Honest Assessment
The Movie was really not all that good.
Yes, it gave us Quinto's Spock and Saldana's Uhuru, but how much more was there?
With an altered time line anything can happen, and having made irreparable changes to those two characters, the damage might not allow the story to proceed in a cogent fashion.
It was better than we expected, but certainly not as good as we hoped.