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.