Star Trek [2009]

star_trek_casts

We here in the Fortress were unanimous on Karl Urban's performance as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy.  Nicely written and well acted.  He (in blue) even has the look.

We here in the Fortress were unanimous on Karl Urban's performance as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Nicely written and well acted. He (in blue) even has the look. "Darn it Jim! I'm an actor not a doctor!"

The Fortress sees all from its Arctic perch.  We can view Star Trek from the everyman’s perspective as well as that of the Trekker.  Both are needed as this movie attempts to mainstream the longstanding franchise out of the depths of geekdom.

The famous (or infamous) Shatner "Get a Life!" skit from SNL.

The famous (or infamous) Shatner "Get a Life!" skit from SNL.

Doing a “reboot”, “re-envisioning”, “reimagining” — whatever they are calling it now, is a perilous tightrope where too far to either side alienates half your audience.  The adage, “if you are going to reimagine, go for it in a big way” is not true in these cases.  Film producers can further derail a franchise 45 years in the making easier than reinvigorating it.

"Did someone call for a franchise killer?"

"Did someone call for a franchise killer?"

So they gave Kirk a new origin.  The everyman does not care, and Trekkers may find it more fitting for Starfleet’s future all star.  However did they have to make young Kirk such a punk?  That whole car theft scene – trashing a beauty of a corvette and subjecting us to 90 seconds of musical carnage accomplished what exactly?

Kirk and the under construction Enterprise:  The ground-based dry dock made for some awesome visuals.

Kirk and the under construction Enterprise: The ground-based dry dock made for some awesome visuals. As you can see it was almost impossible to find this stealthy, secret construction facility.

Spock was altered the most, and in our opinion too far.  It undermined what the character is about.  Everyone always knew Spock may be sad underneath, but he could never show it and you sympathized and related to him.  It was a great counter balance to his superior strength and intellect.

Sure, you probably felt a little bad for boy Spock picked on in a logical manner by full Vulcan twerps.

Sure, you probably felt bad for boy Spock picked on in a logical manner by full Vulcan twerps.

Grown up Sylar...er, Spock was a jerk.

Grown up Sylar...er, Spock was a jerk.

There was little room to sympathize here.  He bullies and is arrogant.  He has a romantic relationship with Uhura that will throw many for a loop.  “Isn’t he a Vulcan?” those with even the slightest Trek knowledge may ask.  In the 45 years of Star Trek history, have we ever seen a Vulcan kiss much less steam it up scene after scene?

Dude!  Get a grip, or a (transporter) room.  Come on, for 45 years the private Vulcan's most intimate public gesture was the touching of a couple fingers.  This is a serious PDA.

Dude! Get a grip, or a (transporter) room. Come on, for 45 years the private Vulcan's most intimate public gesture was the touching of a couple fingers. This is a serious PDA.

The Enterprise was not immune to “reimagining”, but with such an iconic design (even to the less initiated) it was done in a way that did not burn the corneas of our Star Trek sensibilities.  We do not think all the new bumps and lights were necessary or added to the aesthetics, but the all import proportions were respected.

Some of the sectoins seem to jut out at ackward angles, the lower hull was made too busy int eh front.  Also honestly, of all the things they could have put on the front of the nacelles, they chose silver mirrored balls?

Some of the sections seem to jut out at awkward angles, the lower hull's front is busy, and the mirrored balls on the nacelles are -er, different. Is it better than the Enterprise of Star Trek: The Motion Picture? No. Is it at least fair to the franchise? Yes (more-or-less).

The space battles were dazzlingly rendered.  However this seemed to come at the price of clarity.  Making it pretty does not mean you are communicating what the heck is happening.  Everything became confusing pulses of flying light.  Star Trek’s two most iconic weapons – phasers and photon torpedoes – might just as well have been bundles of bottle rockets.

What is happening here?  I do not know.  Are those microscopic blue dots supposed to be phasers?

What is happening here? We do not know. Are those microscopic blue dots supposed to be phasers?

Back in the day when photon torpedoes meant something:  This shot from Star Trek: The Motion Picture shows those cool flare lines that were so visually fun and easy to track.

Back in the day when photon torpedoes meant something: This shot from Star Trek: The Motion Picture shows those cool flare lines that were so visually fun and easy to track.

Star_Trek_motion_picture_photon_torpedo

star_trek_motion_picture_photon_torpedo_2

The plot was classic Trek for better or worse, mostly the former.  One sentence synopsis?  A vengeful enemy from the future appears with a ginormously powerful ship with which he destroys an inhabited world, and only one man and his heroic band of freedom fighters…  oops, sorry –  only young Kirk, overly amorous Spock, and a new inexperienced crew stand between the destruction of its next target, Earth!

Chris Pine had the Kirk command chair poses down.

Chris Pine had the Kirk command chair poses down.

star-trek-inspirational-poster

To “mainstream” it the movie was also very un-Trek.  You may notice the lack of “technobable”.  There was barely a hint of “rerouting the power”, and not a single instance of “reversing the polarity”!

Now was there a single scene filmed in Vasquez Rocks with a guy dressed up in a rubber alien suit.  Scandalous!

Nor was there a single scene filmed in Vasquez Rocks with a guy dressed up in a rubber alien suit. Scandalous!

In a few places it felt like Star Trek was made by people who do not know the franchise.  The lack of green glows on the Romulan ship – heck, those guys hardly even looked Romulan.

Honestly, does this guy look very Romulan?

Honestly, does this guy look very Romulan?

Here Kirk himself demonstrates what a real Romulan looks like.

Here Kirk himself demonstrates what a real Romulan looks like.

It was entertaining.  However the time-traveling, continuity-wrecking story comes at a high price.  Trekkers will forever have to differentiate now between “original continuity” versus “Abram’s continuity”.  We suppose this gives him license to take Trek wherever he wants now, which was probably his plan from the start.

Bruce Greenwood did well as Capt. Pike.  It is nice to see that character unearthed from Star Trek lore.

Bruce Greenwood did well as Capt. Pike. It is nice to see that character unearthed from Trek lore.

It was great homage to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which is well regarded in the Fortress) in the area of the Admiral's uniforms.

It was great homage to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which is well regarded in the Fortress) regarding the Admiral's uniforms. (But where are the bald female Deltan crew members?)

Star_trek_deltan_ilia_peris _khambatta

Be careful for what you wish for J.J. Abrams.  The Star Trek franchise is sharp on both ends, and fans of any sort can be hard to please.

There is Pine pulling off the Shatner/Kirk command sit again.  The sets were so white and sterile that they reminded us of some space dental office.

Pine pulls off the Shatner/Kirk "command sit" again. We were glad to see blue come back as a prominent color. However, the sets were so white and sterile they reminded us of some space dental office. "Darn it Jim! I'm a doctor not a denti-, ...ah, never mind."

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65 thoughts on “Star Trek [2009]

  1. I see your point, it is hard to please everyone, however I believe the film was fantastic and a great remake on the oringinals.

    We shall see what is to come in the future wont we and then we get to critisize some more. We are human after all and love to critisize.

    • Most would agree to let Abrams roll with it, certainly the studio will with the cash coming in.

      I do not think you have to be a die-hard to notice something was a little “off” with Spocks PDA’s. As for the rest of the characterizations, they did a decent job.

      There are plenty of fish in the movie for Trekkers to fry. Some for non-trekkers too, but without nitpicking the film was entertaining.

  2. Awesome classic pics. I agree that continuity is an issue for any longstanding series, and breaking from the cannon is a huge risk. In my movie watching, I try to take that in stride, otherwise I’d just fret too much and not enjoy the film.

  3. you humble me. my post about star trek was from the perspective of an avid moviegoer but not a star trek fan. you, on the other hand, are the expert. we’re 2 sides of the same coin. *peace*

    • Ha. Thanks for linking that pic comparison. That is huge!

      Some of those interiors looked more like the inside of a hydro-electric dam than a starship. Now I can see how they might actually fit after all.

  4. Interesting article and while you’re probably right in that a lot of ‘old trekkers’ probably felt alienated, after watching the terrible Nemesis film they made in 2002, I’m glad that they rebooted the franchise as they’re sure to garner a whole new fanbase. I’ve added your blog to my blogroll, interesting articles :)

  5. Yo dude, tks for the comment earlier. And yes, very much love those photos. Seems to me there’s some inconsistency to the movie, like why so many warp core ? Why engineering looked like an oil rig factory? Why is the enterprise built on land? etc. There’s a lot of these questions that our fansite in Singapore were discussing. Even said so, the movie is worth the watch! =D If you asked me, I will rate this 10 out of 10. =D

    • Oil rig! Ha. Funny. That set was indeed out of place.

      By the next gen era starships were assembled in orbital facilities. The Constitution class was refitted in orbit, but that does not mean originally constructed there. It could have been done on the ground, and that did make this part of the film unique.

  6. Hello humans. My name is spockett and I have no emotional reference to the movie since i am a Vulcan.

  7. For an obvious Trek fan you sure had a good time with all of those hilarious nit picks. I expected any new sequel in the series that involved a new-old crew to come at a bit of a price for the real trekkies. Even if Abrams tried to mimic the past to a T, it wouldn’t have been good enough and he would’ve been ripped for it. Still that doesn’t mean fans shouldn’t complain just because they see a lose-lose situation for the director.

    There’s another review I came across that’s more like an omnipedia than a review because it covers the history of ST before the latest movie. The guy uses photos kind of like you and seems a little more willing to see where Abrams effort takes the franchise. You might be amused by his take. Check it out at http://emscharf-the-media-magnate.blogspot.com.

  8. Concerning Spock’s PDAs: Men, a word to the wise — if you go all negative on this YOU WILL LOSE MAJOR POINTS WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND if she happens to have a secret crush on Spock.

    • The no-weakness Spock with a sensitive heart as depicted in the movie is definitely a chick magnet. We here in the Fortress think men should train their women early and often to avoid devastating point losses regarding overzealous PDA’s. ;)

  9. OMG!!!!!!! I have to be star treks biggest ever fan!!!!! i have seen the movie 2 times and im going to see it again tomorrow!!!! The sexiest guy in the whole film is {hands down} *sighs* SPOCK!!!
    yOU CANT GET ANYMORE HOTTER THAN THAT !!!!!!!!

    • Too much of Spock’s strengths, and a glossing over or outright ignoring of his weaknesses has led to this result with many females. We understand where you are coming from though Spockett.

  10. Very nice take! I’m not a Trekker, so much of the “reimagining” may be lost on me, but I certainly understand your point. I did watch the original Star Trek series many times when I was younger and really enjoyed it, and would be shocked to find some significant (and not so significant) changes to the Star Trek universe. Even the subtle exclusions or inclusions might make one shake their heads sadly (i.e. the change to the ship’s design–even if it does look nice and stream-lined, and that awkward affection Spock shows…several times apparently). But I think I can appreciate what the director tried to accomplish even if it’s a bit hipper than I’d like.

    “Reversing the polarity.” Nice. :) I guess that line was too old school to be hip today. Sad really.

    Even better –> “Dude! Get a grip, or a (transporter) room.” LOL

    And so true about the lack of a rubber-suited alien. Ha! Maybe they could have shown an officer in their off-hours watching an old retro sci-fi series where they used rubber alien suits…just a musing thought.

    I have yet to see the movie, but now I know what to expect thanks to your review. Hopefully when I find the chance to watch it I won’t be confused about the storyline. Us non-Trekkers need to be explained what is right and wrong when it comes to revamping the story. ;)

    • We here in the Fortress like your level head. Bring your intelligent commentary anytime.

      We agree the movie can be enjoyed by Trekkers and non-Trekkers alike. There will be some issues for the latter however. Some of them are sad but most of them are lost on the average movie goer ignorant of the legacy that is the foundation of this rev’s success.

      Glad you appreciated the humor. The PDA’s have to go. ;)

  11. ROFL at the caption on the pic of Nero. Although, actually, he does look very Romulan. He looks like a Romulan who is bald and has tattoos on his face. (Note the ears and eyebrows, man. ;P) <3 They must have done that to make Romulans look more evil. Or perhaps to make sure they're easily distinguishable from Vulcans to the regular ass person, as they are typically indistinguishable from them even to trekkies.

    Anyway, I've been a trekkie since I was a little girl, but I honestly can't agree that Spock was altered too far. I was absolutely in love with Spock played by Leonard Nimoy in the original series, but I always felt that character was a little… incomplete. I always thought that the internal conflict of being half Vulcan and half human — especially when it was made clear on several occasions that Spock does indeed have feelings — would have been more of a major theme of the character, but I never felt it was explored as much as it could have been. In the movie, I think it was.

    As for him being arrogant and a bully… Well, I maintain that the arrogance was present in the old Spock and was simply more accentuated or more extreme in the movie. A bully? I wouldn't go that far with the terminology. He was arrogant and headstrong, as anyone would be when dealing with someone like Jim Kirk. Remember that Kirk wasn't the captain of the Enterprise — he didn't even have clearance to be on the ship, much less on the bridge. He may have been right, but in a (pseudo)militaristic organization — such as Starfleet — it doesn't matter if you're right; you don't mouth off to your superior officer(s). And in Jim Kirk's case, Spock was superior until nearly the end of the movie, at which point Spock fell immediately into place and was cooperative and quite helpful.

    Don't get me wrong. I love Captain Kirk in any appearance, and I fully understand that the movie would have, of course, gone nowhere without his actions. But the fact remains that he was way out of line for most of the movie and I simply can't blame Spock for acting his part of superior in reprimanding him (or at least attempting to do so).

    Besides that, in terms of overall mannerisms — in speech, posture, expression, etc. — I think Zachary Quinto played a wonderful Spock. I believe that any Star Trek fan ought to be able to accept the fact that it's an alternate reality (as was outright stated in the film) and sit back and just enjoy it. Hell, I was able to and my parents had been exposing me to Star Trek since the day I came home from the hospital. (P.S. Both of my trekkie parents, all of their trekkie friends, and all of my trekkie fiends absolutely loved the new film.)

    • Thank you for the in depth comment. We do not agree with some of it, but we found all of it interesting.

      Vulcans with twice a human’s strength, intelligence and lifespan needed a weakness to offset these qualities. It has for 45 years been the colder, less passionate lives they led.

      The movie threw that overboard. While this makes the girls go crazy for Spock, it does not do the Star Trek universe or the character justice. Original Spock was always a bit of a sad, tragic character. It made everybody feel for him, not just the girls.

      New Spock became the adversary for much of the film. There is little excuse for marooning Kirk on a man-eating monster-filled ice planet, or choking him to death on a starship bridge no matter the provocation.

      Most of us in the Fortress are trekkers, and we enjoyed the film. We can do that and still not care for some of the directions Abrams is taking the franchise.

      We would enjoy reading more of your comments.

  12. I am indeedd back, and i would like to say that i am not emotionally compromised, aswering the question many people have, and will ask again. The then that says i am emotionally compromised was what humans call a typo? Well I have to gte back to Kirk, he needs my help with something. Live long, and prosper.

    • Oh Spockett, you crazy Vulcan. Just because Vulcans are logical (with the possible exception of this movie’s young Spock) does not mean they do not make mistakes. ;)

  13. I am not a crazy Vulcan. The facts show becasue i am able to type this message right now.You need to be more logical. Live long and prosper.

  14. I am back again and i would like to say that I will be seeing Star Trek for the fourth time. I am not emotionally compromised but i do like the movie in ways all of you can not comprehend because of your encapability to be logical. live long and prosper

    • Although I did go to see it a second time with a friend, I think if you are going to see it for a 6th time you took one hit too many from a full Vulcan twerp. ;)

      • Spockett said this on July 19, 2009 at 15:33

        You are wrong beacause it was the other way around. It was Spock and i that got many punches in on them. Spock and i almost never got hit. That goes to show how illogical you humans are, making practical jokes that we vulcan take no part in and have no idea why you do it. Live long and prosper.

        Spockett

  15. I hated that movie! No real trekkie could ever love it. I agree with most of the stuff you say about it!! I especially hated the whole Spock/Uhura thing. So stupid!

  16. After watching the movie I’m back again to offer a little input.

    Ha! I see what you mean by young punky Kirk stealing 90 seconds of our lives. Beastie Boys? In Kirk’s time they must have been as classical as Beethoven is to the 21st century.

    Bones was indeed played well. I believe he, tied with young 20s Kirk, were among my favorite renditions of the classic characters. Along with Scotty. Ahh, I really liked Scotty from the classic series and I appreciated the direction to keep him just as fiery as I remember him. (Just be sure not to insult the Enterprise in front of him. ;) )

    Ah, Spock, we knew him well. I’m not sure what Abram’s was going for. Mushy gushy and teen angst? I know Spock didn’t have such an easy childhood, but some of his actions in the movie were out of character. I still feel for this movie version of Spock, but by no means do I want to grab his collar and draw him in for a ki–ahem. In other words, I’m not sure I understand the rampant fangirling on him. The poor character’s had enough to deal with already. Heh.

    I see what you mean by the blurry mass of lights and phasers in the fight scenes. Back in the day of smaller budgets and less grandiose computer graphics I think we all came to love the simplified, but more impactful photon beam (if I’ve got my terminology right). The results were certainly clear. Star Trek 2009 seems to have taken a cue from some scenes in the original and later Star Wars films.

    And last, hmm…what was with the space agey Captain’s bridge? I did not like all of the blue lights and modern designs. I know they had to vamp it up for the 21st century crowd, but I do miss the less cluttered bridge of those that came before it.

    Thanks again, and cheers!

    • We are gratified to hear from you again, and to hear that you have not fallen into fangirlism for new Spock like poor Spockette (comments above).

      We think you hit on a good point too: More complexity does not necessarily make something better. In the end ST 2009 is worth watching, but one must take the inspired with the fluff, the revamped with the gilded, and the characters that work with– well, you know.

  17. Fortress, what does this word [fangirlism] mean and is this one of your human jokes? I would certaintly like to know. Live long and propser.

    I would also like to remind you that my name is spelled Spockett.

    • Our dear Spockette, “fangirlism” is the ability to be enamored with someone despite the fact that (in this case) they were written as overpowered jerks designed to illicit female interest and take away from the main character.

      Even new Spock’s weaknesses were endearing, like his love for his mother. The producers succeeded in making him a chick magnet, but at the cost of some of the franchise’s integrity.

      We like the Star Trek franchise, and we like the character of Spock as originally conceived. If you are going to change the franchise, be prepared for reactions. Also, be prepared to paint yourself into a corner. Original Spock was a tragic figure with equal amounts of strengths and weaknesses built into his character. You cannot just make him all strengths and sail smoothly forever.

    • We did not realize Spockette’s fanbase was so far-reaching. Okay, we will answer her last comment dated August 5.

      PS – Fascinating interests you seem to have Spockett Lover…

  18. Fortress, I don’t have much time to talk but I would like to say that I do not love Spock, for that would mean emotional compromise.Live long and propser. P.S. I just think that he’s hot.

    • Hmmm, Spockette. It seems you indeed made be emotionally compromised regarding Spock. I would like to think that your logic would overcome such base things like physical attraction.

  19. i think you are totally right ! i would like to add a thing or 2. how can chekoff have curly hair? how is chekoff even on the enterprise?he wasn’t on until the 2 season of trek. in the bar part uhura orders a “cardassia something” the cardassians weren’t found until next gen! I felt like” J.J. im 12 and i know more about trek! THE MOVIE STUNK

    • We know how you feel. JJ was very loose with the Trek continuity. We do not think he really cared. Nor did the studio. They wanted to revive the Trek franchise in the form of a popular movie no matter the intellectual cost. One that would bring in a lot of sales from the 13-24 year old demographic. Apparently they thought it was time to sever the shackles of canon and do their own thing.

      So it was pop movie first -using the Trek name and recognizable elements, and congruency with what Trek really stands for second. So now to a whole new generation, this movie is what “Star Trek” is about.

  20. Actually, I am not emotionally compromised, as I only say what is indeed logical to say. I said that Spock was hot because after research about him, I found that many people think he is indeed hot, and I was stating facts. I did not mean to say that I myself thought he was hot. It was a wrong choice of words. I should have said that many people living on earth think that Spock is hot.

  21. Of course her fanbase is far reaching! And it’s OBVIOUS that she’s not emotionallt compromised by her statements of PURE LOGIC!!!!

    P.S. Spockett is the BOMB!!!!

  22. I DO sound like her??? THIS IS AWESOOOME! I’ve been emailing her so that I could try to talk like her and it’s WOOORKINNG! Thank you thank you thank you for the awsome compliment :D

  23. When effusive fan behaviors emanate from teenagers, one can chalk it up to an overabundance of energy and hormones and a lack of moderating experience. But when those same enthusiasms spring from adults, there’s something rather unseemly about it. A wide swath of entertainment culture is fixated on geeky, teenage fandom and lacks a mature vision despite growing technical prowess. This accounts, in my view, for the spate of useless, pointless, redundant, ad nauseum superhero and superspy genres in the last two decades.

    I took Shatner’s advice and got a life. I still indulge once in a while (this blog is a good example of such indulgence), but there is little doubt that the last bit of high-minded idealism from the 1960s-era Star Trek (mixed with obvious prurient interests) has in the latest movie been jettisoned in favor of becoming an overwrought potboiler. Although most of the Star Trek movies suffered from maudlin reprises of the main characters (even with the New Generation cast), the transformation of the two principal characters into a petulant prick (Kirk) and a superhero heartthrob (Spock) abandons the core concept of Star Trek. I agree with Fortress Guy that on its face, it appears Abrams cares little about Star Trek continuity, canon, or characters and merely wishes to cash in on established good will, sort of like George Lucas rererereleasing the Star Warssaga to scoop up some more ticket sales.

    • You describe an interesting point that we think has merit. While technical prowess continues to grow and refine, the target maturity of productions is lowering. It is a little sad but does explain a number of big budget features with questionable elements.

      The core portrayals of Kirk and Spock were different than every other past rendition. We think this was especially the case with Kirk. The only leeway we give this feature is that it was an origin story, and we really never got to see that with Shatner.

      You are right too about the milking of franchises. That is a sad reality. Star Wars is Lucas’ to do with as he pleases. But just because he can, does not mean he should.

      We are glad Brutus that you still indulge enough for the occasional intelligent comment.

    • Ah Spockett. You were a fun and amusing commenter. We remember you and your fun “sidekick” Spockett Lover. You definitely showed us an angle of Star Trek (2009) Spock fandom.

      We hope the years have been good to you. You must be getting ready to graduate high school. Whole new adventures await you. You may “boldly go where no one has gone before.”

      Vulcan_Vixen_by_DeziDesire

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