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13 May 2009 @ 06:07 pm
Star Trek  
I have resolved to post more often, so you may find that I post about a whole lot of random things you did not know I like for a while. :) Skip on if it's not of interest!

I watched the new Star Trek movie yesterday. I'm so grateful for not knowing anything about it going in, so... I have to admit I watched it with great trepidation. I love Trek, but I always loved New Gen a lot more than Original, and I especially didn't like Kirk. Also, I always found Zachary Quinto creepy, and not in a good way, and was not thrilled at him cast as Spock. However, this film won me over a lot more than I was expecting. It is still not the Star Trek movie 'for me', but they pulled off more than I expected them to.

I thought they did a good job of retaining the tone of the original series, despite the action-movie cinematography. I also thought that as a movie it was well-paced, exciting and successfully plotted. My nit-picks was sometimes debunked. And other nitpicks were more of the sort I would have with any overly dramatic blockbuster (e.g. 'she has to give birth in the same second that her husband explodes? really?') which are really just plot shorthand, and which I can forgive if the rest of the surrounding movie is successful, which it largely was.

In some ways, I felt they did too good a job of remaining true to the original characters for me to enjoy it with all my heart. I enjoyed it as entertainment, but I didn't really connect with any of the characters, which is fine, but some Trek does give me that other level: this didn't. I thought there were lots of neat (and 'cute') character moments, but I was very conscious of being emotionally distant from them. Which was ok, I got some laughs, but that was it.

Kirk irritated me in the way most heroes do, and certainly in the same way that the original Kirk did. But it particularly annoyed me in this case that he was shithot at hand to hand combat... until he actually had to do any as a Starfleet officer. I was also disappointed that we got nothing of him actually learning at Starfleet's coursework. I get that he's supposed to be above it all, but I would have rather seen it portrayed as 'knows all the rules perfectly, so knows how and when to break them' than what we got, which was just 'breaks them, successfully, thanks to enormous good luck'.

I liked the supporting characters better (as always) and thought McCoy, for instance, was pitch perfect. I enjoyed Bana as the Romulan villain. And Quinto... really won me over. I can see why they cast him (I always could), but his acting was better than I'd expected.

I was not terribly happy with some Trek details being overlooked (I shared had this writer's nitpick with Vulcan relationships--see para 6--he really did hang around calmly on that transporter pad!!), but they didn't massacre it the way I feared.

However, the one way I'd hoped that Abrams would improve on the original was in the gender dynamics, and that was a big let-down. Oh, good, we're still using women as the emotional barometer of men. Preferably women in mini-skirts. Now, I grant that the mini-skirt may in part be a continuity-with-original decision, but there was virtually nothing done to avoid gender cliches anywhere in the movie. Did I need to go back to this? Trek has had some amazing female characters. Uhura was likeable but forgettable, and her introduction, with that 'clever tongue' line, was straight out of a Bond movie.

All of this made me spend a lot of the movie remembering why I don't like the original series of Trek. I thought they made this really well, I'm just not sure it was a place I wanted to revisit. It also seems to me to be part of a pattern of 'revival' blockbusters that go back to the original source and rather than toning down the sexism, embrace it (see Superman Returns, Spiderman flicks, The Dark Knight). I guess the Enterprise crew are the superheroes in this instance... and that was never what I liked about Trek.

*token Adam Lambert icon* (blame supacat!)

Also, I am doing the I-have-work! I-have-work! happy dance. :) Freelance rocks!

ETA: Link me to your review of Star Trek if you have one.
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The First Evil: Cunning Plan - mata090680asta77 on May 13th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
My Review.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I think I wasn't upset by the lack of female roles considering the men only succeeded through luck rather than any intellectual ability. And if Abrams hadn't depicted Kirk as an ass who only advanced ridiculously fast because of the work of everyone around him, I would have had more issues.

K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: TW smilebop_radar on May 13th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Ha! Yeah, Kirk was true to form. I just never liked him, which is what I had to grapple with.
Nora Norwichnorwich36 on May 13th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
I wasn't thrilled by the gender issues (I had the same quibble about Jim's mom giving birth in my review , though I disagree with you about Uhura--I thought she was completely awesome--but I was also quite persuaded by this review discussing the gender issues .

On the other hand, I'm an old-school TOS fan, so I didn't have to be persuaded to love the characters. I was actually a lot more bothered by the destruction of Vulcan (and Amanda--and I loved that they cast Winona Ryder as Amanda, even though it made me feel very old), and the heavy borrowings from Star Wars (WTF, JJ?)--though all in all I loved it for a lot of the same reasons LaT details here .

And if you're looking for a great roundup of fandom responses, check this link: http://jmtorres.dreamwidth.org/1330689.html
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: DW Sally Sparrowbop_radar on May 13th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
I liked the actress that played Uhura, but I felt too distanced from the whole thing emotionally to really like any of the characters. I really do think it was very true to the original: and that's exactly what held me back because I'm not emotionally invested in those characters. It was dramatically compelling though. Thanks for the links!
dianora: star trekdianora2 on May 13th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I think that going to a Star Trek TOS reimagining to see strong women is like going to a vegetarian buffet and looking for steak. ;) (One reason I've never been fan, tbh.) I was glad they at least made Uhura smart and interesting and someone who could go toe to toe with an emotionally difficult lover. She had a quiet strength that some of the men would do well to emulate. I liked her.

Also, just because I've seen this a few times and it's starting to drive me nuts, JJ Abrams did not write the script. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: DW Madame Pompadourbop_radar on May 13th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, this is true. I'm just sick to death of blockbusters with retro-poor gender dynamics. But yeah, it wasn't like I'd got my hopes up with this one, it was just more of a 'oh yes, THIS that I hate!' thing. I do agree Uhura had a quiet strength, but the overriding cliche bugged me.

JJ Abrams did not write the script. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did. :)
I stand corrected.
thrace_adama: K/L roaming with gunsthrace_adama on May 14th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
I quite liked Star Trek and might even see it again soon, which surprises me, as I really never had any interest in the show(s). The aliens are still not my thing (their lack was a big part of why I originally agreed to watch the BSG mini the first time *sigh*), and like you, I didn't really feel any deep connection with any of the characters, but I found it highly entertaining anyway.

I was also disappointed that we got nothing of him actually learning at Starfleet's coursework.

Same here. I usually really enjoy that hero-learning-the-ropes part of movies. And yeah, I agree that it would have helped to see it for a (possibly) more grounded look at Kirk. Still, I have to say that I think Chris Pine is really hot and definitely liked the bar fight. I'm shallow like that, yes. :)

Oh, good, we're still using women as the emotional barometer of men. Preferably women in mini-skirts.

Yeah, that was too bad. I liked Uhura, but she didn't get to do anything except shut down Kirk and support Spock.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Adam Lambertbop_radar on May 15th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was highly entertaining!

I too enjoy the hero-learning-the-ropes thing, but oh well. I guess that's just not a very 'Kirk' kind of plot.
Allisonfrolicndetour on May 17th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
I just saw it this weekend, and yeah, Uhura was the one let-down for me. I was spoiled for her being paired with Spock and I wanted so much to like that, and her, but really she was the least dynamic character of them all. Sad. :/
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on May 17th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was a let down. Pity, because this movie was therefore almost-great in my eyes.
Enderenderwiggin24 on May 17th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
my always hyper-proficient review :DDDD
New Star Trek movie: mission accomplished!

actually, this is my review:
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on May 17th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: my always hyper-proficient review :DDDD
Heee hee! It was pleasingly gay. *nods*