You’re in for a treat this summer: Star Trek is poised to be a popular success on the level of Iron Man. It’s exciting, funny, and entertaining in ways that are accessible both to die-hard Trekkies and average movie lovers… except for the parts where it sucks.
I had a chance to see Trek at an advance screening last week, and yes, I liked it a lot. But the critics have already started over-praising it Dark Knight-style, and I know everybody else is going to join in soon too. So allow me, just for a moment, to counterbalance the raves with some sanity and present to you the reasons Star Trek might not be the best thing ever. (Be warned that there are spoilers in this article.)
1. Director J.J. Abrams Tries & Fails to Avoid Stealing Stuff from Star Wars
Abrams has said he was a Star Wars, not a Star Trek, fan growing up. It shows. In this Star Trek movie, Kirk is basically Luke Skywalker with the charm of Han Solo. He’s a troubled young farm boy who leaves home at the urging of a wise older man who claims he knew the farm boy’s father. Sound familiar?
How about the early cantina scene featuring a wacky-looking alien and a bar fight? Or the scene near the end when one character announces the humorously low odds of a plan’s success? Or the scene where the bad guys blow a planet up? C’mon now.
2. Product Placement is Slightly More Obnoxious than Usual
I don’t really have much against product placement — if it helps offset the budget, thus allowing the movie to be made in the first place, who cares?
Turns out, in a futuristic space movie, it’s kind of annoying to hear a familiar ring tone and then see Kirk playing around with some kind of phone/GPS hybrid with a big “NOKIA” symbol on it.
By the way, did you know Budweiser is still around in 2265?
3. The Villain: Not That Cool
When Star Trek was casting its roles, the rumor was that the producers were trying really hard to lure Russell Crowe into playing Nero, the bad guy. It was a smart idea: typically, the better the villain, the better the movie, and Crowe would’ve made a great villain. He eventually turned it down, and they offered the role to Eric Bana, another Australian, who accepted.
Bana does a fine job, but now I know why they were trying to hide the role behind a famous actor: because it’s crap.
His motivation is reasonable enough, and he has a cool toy — he drills a really long chain into the center of planets and then creates a black hole that implodes them — but he’s pathetically weak. His plan is easily thwarted — if you break the chain he’s using, which isn’t hard to do, he’s out of luck — and he’s easily dispatched. The Enterprise basically trips and falls into victory. Hell, he and Kirk don’t even have a big satisfying climactic fight. Kirk briefly fights one of his underlings and that’s it. Lame.
4. You Can Drive a Truck through the Logic Holes and Coincidences
At one point, Kirk gets temporarily exiled from the Enterprise and stuck on an ice planet, seven or so miles away from a Federation outpost. He wanders around for a little while, a big space monster starts chasing him, he finds a cave, runs in it, and meets…Leonard Nimoy, playing Spock from the Future.
The plot does a pretty good job explaining why Spock would be in roughly the same solar system as Kirk. But Kirk happens to land on the same planet, happens to land within a one-mile radius of where Spock is hanging out, and happens to run into him?
Let’s go a little further. Turns out Spock has been stranded on the planet by Nero. Nero was kind enough to drop him off, as I said before, roughly seven miles from a Federation outpost. Another coincidence. But the bigger question: why has Spock been hanging out in a cave instead of heading over there? As it turns out, for absolutely no reason.
5. What’s with All the Exposition?
Laughing in the face of screenwriting teachers everywhere, writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci decide to reveal the back stories of both Nero and Future Spock not organically through action or dialogue, but through two really long monologues.
Way to grind the momentum to a halt.
6. And Finally…the Green Alien was a Bad Idea.
Seriously, she looks absolutely ridiculous.