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May 31, 2009

Star Trek

At the suggestion of a few friends I went to see the new Star Trek at my local pleasure palace, the Rancho Mirage Regal 16, where I was careful to tell the nice ticket man exactly which showing I wanted to buy a ticket for. He wanted to sell me a ticket to the show that had already started 12 minutes before I got to the window, but thought better of it upon my suggestion.

Pretty impressive effects, and I was even more impressed when the "digital artists" came up in the credits. They had to go to four columns, and it was still more than a screenful. If some nerd out there has counted the number of times the word "digital" appears in the credits, I'd like to know that number. Also pretty impressive way to restart a series. I'm surprised no one has thought of this before, not even in the Terminator series. For anyone who missed it, the young Mr. Spock stands up and explains it, talking almost directly into the camera. It seems unlikely that we shall ever see Kirk and Spock mix it up in an amok time fight scene again...at least not on the planet Vulcan, that is.

It's good to see that John Cho has gotten a respectable acting job. I'm sure his mother is relieved.

I was delighted that Captain Pike finally gets his rightful day in the sun. I've been waiting for decades.

Iowa. First thought to flash through my mind upon sighting Iowa was "Imperial Valley." Almost no where is Iowa THAT flat, and they don't grow that much alfalfa either. But they don't manufacture star ships there either, not yet at least. In the credits they thank Kern County, so I was wrong about Imperial Valley, it was San Joaquin Valley. So I'm a little put-off when I read news articles from the Des Moines Register and Iowa.com that indicate the greatest concerns among Iowans are (1) there ain't no big quarry like that in Io-way; and (2) James Tiberius Kirk was supposed to have been born IN Riverside, Iowa...Gene Roddenberry promised! That's what you get in alternate realities: premature labor. But no Iowa farmer noticed it was really California?!

At first I was pleased that in a couple of scenes the people making the movie showed they understood that "in space no one can hear you scream." But they forgot that pretty fast when they realized people would want to hear a real satisfying bang when a star ship popped into warp speed.

Kirk gets booted off the Enterprise onto the planet Delta Vega which has (as so many planets do in Star Trek) about 1G of gravity, a breathable atmosphere, and weather not too different from the cold parts of Earth. Still, it must come about as close to Vulcan (which has about 1G of gravity, a breathable atmosphere, and comfortable temperatures) as Earth does to its moon, judging from the clear view the Leonard Nimoy Spock has of the destruction of Vulcan. Even so, the ice on Delta Vega is not water ice, judging from the fact that once Spock and Kirk reach the Star Fleet outpost, the snow in Spock's hair never melts, even though the air temperature is high enough the moisture in their breaths is not visible.

What's with the rather noticeable mole/wart/birthmark near Jim Kirk's right ear? William Shatner never had that:

Chris Pine
Chris Pine
William Shatner
William Shatner

With a budget of $20 trillion for special effects, I would think they could either (A) cover up the mole/wart/birthmark; or (B) explain it away as something caused by the circumstances of his birth: "Aye, we often see these moles on babes aborn on escape wessels under Romulan attack - we dinna know the cause!"

Near the end of the movie when the two Spocks meet face-to-face, did anyone else notice that a lot of the close shots of Leonard Nimoy were unclear, like they had used a cheap lens, or had decided after the fact to do a [bad] digital zoom? What was up with that?

And finally, in the climactic sequence, why did no one on the Enterprise anticipate the fact that the very same singularity that was drawing in the Romulan vessel would also be a threat to the Enterprise? Why did they stay around to unnecessarily fire photon torpedos at a vessel that would be crushed in moments by other forces. I was never admitted to Star Fleet Academy myself, but I could see the unnecessary risks they were taking. Where's my medal, huh?

Anyway, 5 stars (out of 5). I gotta get the DVD so I can freeze certain scenes.

Filed under Film/Movies | permalink | May 31, 2009 at 11:05 PM


Turns out there are a couple of critical scene deletions and 1 deleted sentence (!) that would have made things much more comprehensible and smoothed the plotline.

You can read the writers' take on it all here:

Here is why the Enterprise blasted Nero's ship as it fell into the black hole:

Why did Kirk feel the need to fire all weapons at a doomed ship? After all, Nero’s vessel was mere seconds away from being crushed inside the black hole. Not true, said the Trek scribes – Nero’s ship was built to travel through black holes, so if Kirk hadn’t done anything, the bad guys would have slipped away and emerged god knows where (and when) ready to do more evil."

Posted by: b at Jun 1, 2009 5:37:31 AM

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