Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Review I Didn't Mean to Write

Time for some more spitting into the ocean...

(For full disclosure, Evis T's review provides a suitable counter-point to my little rant.)

I wasn’t going to go into details about the new Star Trek film, because there’s a lot of that sort of thing about right now. The more of it I hear, though, the more I keep on hearing the same thing:
“This film is amazing. The only reason not to like it is if you’re a ‘hard core’ trekkie. The sort of geek that normal geeks shun for being too geeky.”

The above statement is a straw man and tries to lump all those ‘against me’ into a single category, which it then denigrates. You know what? I didn’t think it was amazing.

As I said this morning, the characters were brilliant. The acting and the special effects were, almost without exception, fantastic. They threw the canon out the window, and that’s fine. No, honestly, I’m okay with that. TOS canon was always kind of crappy anyway.

So, why wasn’t it amazing?
  1. Lazy writing. In this case, when you just can’t be bothered to come up with a proper explanation for something, and end up saying, ‘sod it, the audience will let me get away with it’. The alternate universe in the movie was created so they could throw canon out the window. The explanation we get in the film is ‘um, yeah... science done it... Look! Here’s Leonard Nimoy!’
  2. The movie is the birth of a cash cow. It’s a precursor to a new franchise, and it doesn’t even have the decency to blush. Get into the story you want to tell with your new characters and new universe, and give us the back story in a few well-written, gutsy flashbacks.
  3. Lazy writing. Kirk needs to be captain of the Enterprise by the end of the film. He’s just graduated from Star Fleet Academy, and should expect to wait eight years before he gets command of a ship. So... look! Almost TOS music with Leonard Nimoy doing the, ‘Space... the final frontier’ speech!
  4. Mr. Spock Snr. Firstly: Oh no! We’ve written ourselves into a corner. What can we do now... hang on, here comes Spock! Look--it’s Leonard Nimoy everyone! (If only I could come up with a phrase for that...) Secondly: his acting isn’t that great in the film. I mean, he’s about seven-hundred-and-sixty (and still younger than Shatner), but still.
  5. They want to milk this cow for all they can get, but they’re going to have to square it with the canon sooner or later. So, every time I sit down to watch the latest udder squirt, I’m going to be thinking, ‘are they going to square it now? Is this going to be it? Are they going to write themselves out of this hole by fixing it now?’ The new franchise should end by the new Enterprise crew having to choose to end their existence, and the existence of their entire time line, in order for the proper time line to exist. That’s the ultimate test of their character, and of course they pass. But that’s not going to happen. Kill the cow? Even when she’s old, lame, cancer-ridden and has only got one working stomach left? No! There’s milk in there yet!

So, there we are. It was a good film, but not amazing. I write sci-fi and I know my flaws. I don’t forgive them in myself, so I find it hard to forgive them in others. I’m not over-whelmed not because I’m a hard core trekkie nerd, but maybe it’s because I’m a hard core sci-fi writer nerd.

So there.

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