Star Trek, as a franchise, has a rich and varied history.
It’s a franchise all about the bright future humanity has waiting for it, all thanks to technology and scientific development.
The future is a world of peace. A world without poverty. It’s a world we all want to live in.
I find it odd that so many people think the future is dismal and dreary. Best guess: it’s pure selfishness. The truth is, now is the best time to be alive. A century, or even a decade ago, life sucked in comparison.
In 2003 we didn’t have DVRs, or Wi-Fi. The internet was still in its infancy, and medical technology was… well… we’ve made advancements. Okay, no cure for cancer, but there is the HPV vaccine, to start.
So given all that, many people hope the world would end tomorrow, so this time isn’t just the greatest time to be alive in comparison to all that came before it, but all that came after it. They don’t want to think that life gets better, because then they’ll just be jealous of the future.
I’m honestly jealous of the future. It saddens me to think martian colonies will not be established in my lifetime. My children will probably be long dead well before that happens.
But regardless, the future is waiting for us, and life will only get better. So let’s keep pushing that.
The second Star Trek series, The Next Generation, pushed the franchise from the 23rd into the 24th century. Which was a brilliant move, since we got to see how things get even better as time marches on.
Enterprise, the fifth entry in the franchise, was a prequel series set in the 22nd century, and is often considered Star Trek’s biggest misstep.
I don’t know if I can agree, I kinda like Enterprise. But I understand why some may not. It pulled the series back, when it probably would’ve been better to move forward.
I mentioned last time, that there were proposals to continue the franchise into the 26th, and 31st centuries. Both would have been fantastic. I would have loved to see either of those series in the light of day. It would have been the right move. Pushing the series’ history further and further into the future.
Sadly, they didn’t do that. Because the powers that be decided to do something completely different, and completely stupid. After Enterprise, the only follow-up we got brought us back into the 23rd century, a century we already covered. Following a crew we already know, the one from the original series.
And I honestly think it was a bad idea.
But ideas don’t matter, only execution. Something I’ve learned over the years. So I think it’s time I gave this film a fair shake.
Let’s talk about Star Trek… wait… I mean… I think I should start talking about Star Trek- no that still doesn’t work.
Okay, there’s a film, called Star Trek, and it’s a recent entry in the franchise called Star Trek. I’m referring to the specific film, not the franchise as a whole, when I say I want to talk about Star Trek… the film… made in 2009…
I hate my life.
You see, this is the problem, they’ve already shot themselves in the foot out of the gate, by naming their movie, Star Trek. This may seem prejudicial, but think about it for a second. The franchise as a whole is called Star Trek. Calling an entry within the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek, is a stupid fucking idea, and will only confuse people in the long run.
Not only that, the franchise is named after the original series, which was called Star Trek. It wasn’t called Star Trek: The Original Series, because that would have been presumptive when it was the only series. It was just called Star Trek. So now “Star Trek” refers to 1966 television series; the 2009 movie; and the franchise as a whole spanning five television series totalling 703 episodes, and an additional eleven films.
At least we can call the TV show ‘the original series.’ What do we call this?
It’s stupid is what it is. But I’ll try to excuse it, because there are two acceptable reasons to do this.
The first, it’s a remake. This has been done in Hollywood multiple times. A highly successful film from days gone by, is remade in the modern era with advanced CG and modern techniques. Is this what we’re looking at?
No. Because the original series was a series, not a film. I also don’t recall any episode in the series that featured a time travelling Romulan.
Second, it’s a reboot. Which is perfectly plausible. Take Battlestar Galactica, for instance. The series started in 1978 and I never saw it. Okay, I saw a bit of it, but couldn’t be arsed to watch the rest. Didn’t really like it.
It lasted merely a season, but 26 years later, it was brought back in a completely new form. And I mean, completely new. To put it simply, it was in no way the same series. They merely took the core concept; of humanity being wiped out by a robot race called the Cylons, and the only hope resting with a rag-tag civilian fleet, led by a single battleship; and did something completely different with it.
For starters, the new series was a lot darker. In the original series, their leader, Adama, refused to leave any ship behind. Which is a problem, since only the Galactica has FTL capabilities. In the new series, they leave several ships behind, because they don’t have any other choice. It’s a lot darker, and a lot more realistic.
So is that what Star Trek is? Well… yes, and no.
It’s actually kinda hard to identify Star Trek in relation to Star Trek. Is it a reboot, a prequel, a sequel, or a completely new franchise?
I think it’s best to start from the top on this one.
We open on the USS Kelvin, in the 23rd century, as they approach a strange anomaly in the middle of… somewhere. Ostensibly, this is supposed to be a black hole. However, there’s at least one major problem with that. We clearly see that it’s a two-dimensional object. It looks more like a Stargate than a black hole. Black holes are supposed to be three-dimensional, and for the most part, spherical. They’re also supposed to warp light around them.
But what makes it least like a black hole, is the fact that something comes out of it.
This is the Narada, a Romulan mining vessel from the 24th century, and all I have to say is… WHAT!?
Look at the size of that thing! You see that little speck of dust on the right? That’s the Kelvin. Holy fuck!
I understand that generally, ships get bigger as time goes on, since it becomes easier to make them bigger. But that’s only because generally, one has a need to make a ship like the Enterprise bigger, so it can hold more personnel, more cargo, more technology, and more weapons. The Enterprise is extremely versatile.
But the Narada, as we soon learn, is a mining vessel. They mine for stuff. Why the fuck is it that big!? Best guess, it takes asteroids in from the front, and ore comes out the back. It basically, eats asteroids, and shits dilithium. It’s the only reason I can think of to make a mining vessel that size.
Okay, maybe it’s designed to hold miners, but in that case, wouldn’t it be a bit more… solid?
Whatever, so like I said, the Narada is from the 24th century, and the Kelvin is from the 23rd century. So, naturally, the Kelvin gets its ass kicked. The entire ship is torn apart. Weapons pierce the shield as if it wasn’t even there. In fact, from what we see, I’m pretty sure it’s not even there. One would think we’d see the shield react with a glow as it was penetrated, but we get nothing. Then again, with the amount of weapons fire, all we’d see in that case is a glowing spheroid surrounding the ship as it was torn apart.
It’s not long before Nero, the captain of the Narada, ceases fire, and asks the captain of the Kelvin to fly over to negotiate the terms of his surrender, which he does, after transferring command to George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk from the original series.
Nero’s first officer begins to question the captain on the whereabouts of a specific ship. But since it hadn’t been built yet, he knows nothing.
He then throws something at the captain, and… okay, he throws a hologram of Leonard Nimoy at him. How the fuck can one throw a hologram!? Oh, sure, holodeck technology and all that, but that’s a different kind of hologram. This hologram is semi-transparent, and is being used to display information. Different type, and different purpose. So what the fuck!?
Also, why throw it?
So, they ask the date, he says it’s 2233, and Nero stabs the captain in a rage.
How dare you make it be the 23rd century! You bastard!
Okay, seriously, why kill him? I really don’t see a reason for that. It’s not his fault you travelled back in time. In fact, he’s probably more useful to you alive. Which is actually what we learn later in the film, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, the bridge crew immediately realizes the captain’s dead when his lifesigns cut out. They immediately begin evacuation.
We cut to George’s wife, who’s going into labour. She’s brought to a medical-grade shuttle, and the doctor proclaims they’ll deliver the baby there and-
What the fuck!?
Okay, this sorta runs throughout the film, but I’ll address it now. What kind of alien is that!?
Admittingly, I haven’t seen every episode of every series, but I’m pretty this is the first appearance of Anime characters in Star Trek. And considering this takes place in the 23rd century, you’d think we’d have seen them before, or, actually, that we’d see them again.
I mentioned last time that out of the four founding members of the Federation, only Humans and Vulcans appear in every series. The Andorians and Tellarites are non-existent. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see a few of them here? Instead we are introduced to a new alien species, but only one member of that species, and we’ve never seen them before, and will never see them again.
This is actually one of the biggest beefs I have with Star Trek as a whole. Often, episodes will introduce us to a new species, introducing one member of that species, and we never see that species again.
In fact, according to at least one source, there have been well over 500 species on Star Trek, and the vast majority only make one appearance in the series, and are never seen nor heard from again!
I’m specifically reminded of the first season TNG episode, Coming of Age, where Wesley takes the Starfleet Entrance exam and meets a Zaldan. We learn this race hates manners and courtesy, and that they have webbed fingers… then we never see them again.
This character was obviously a member of Starfleet, so one would expect their world to be part of the Federation. But we never see them again.
Now, Voyager got away with this, since they were travelling through a previously unexplored area of space. But Next Generation, and the original series, can’t. And Deep Space Nine most certainly cannot. Deep Space Nine doesn’t move! You can introduce species, sure, but I want to see them more than once!
In fact, I think the writers should have learned, if they had the option, to reuse an old species. The Federation is only supposed to encompass an area of approximately 8,000 light years. That’s actually a very small area. I doubt there would even be 200 species in that area! Much less the 300 we see inhabiting the alpha and beta quadrants in Star Trek.
So yeah, the anime character delivers her baby, and over the communication system, George and his wife start to discuss names. Obviously, they settle on James. But George has his own problems, as the auto-pilot has been damaged, and he needs to provide a distraction so the escape pods can get away. He manually pilots the ship on a collision course, saving everyone, but sacrificing himself.
Fast forward a decade or so, we’re in Iowa as we see James Kirk driving an antique Corvette across the desert, as he gets a call from Matt Parkman off of Heroes. The strangest thing to me is that we clearly see the car’s phone was apparently made by Nokia. Now, why do I find this odd? Because it’s Star Trek. To put it simply, I don’t think I can buy the idea that corporations still exist in a world where money doesn’t exist.
Anyway, he hangs up just as a policeman starts pursuing him on a hoverbike. He responds by driving it off a cliff, and jumping out, Matrix-style.
Okay, now you’re just showing off.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the planet Vulcan, no we’re not told where on the planet, but we are told the specific state in the last scene, so what the hell?
Anyway, on Vulcan, young Spock is at school, learning stuff in some strange learning pod.
Vulcans are not really the type to give a personal touch to the education of the young, are they?
As he finishes his lesson, a few Vulcans walk up to him and begin tossing insults. Wait… Vulcan bullies?
Okay, I’m gonna stop you right there. There’s no such thing. No, there are no Vulcan bullies, no. They don’t exist. How do I know Vulcan bullies don’t exist? After all, they exist on Earth, why wouldn’t they exist on Vulcan? Because they’re Vulcans. They operate through logic, not emotion. Bullies are bullies because of emotions. Generally, hate, fear, jealousy or arrogance. Bullying is not a logical action. So Vulcans don’t do it.
So the… sigh… Vulcan bullies… call Spock’s mother a whore, which is an emotional act, therefore, something a Vulcan would never do!
We fast forward a bit more, as Spock, now played by the cunt who’d never die from Heroes, stands before a Vulcan council accepting him into the Vulcan Science Academy. They say they’re impressed he was able to do so much despite his disadvantage. What disadvantage? Well his half-human heritage.
Yeah, there are no Vulcan racists either.
So he refuses to join the Vulcan Science Academy out of spite, saying “Live long and prosper, you cunts.” And joins Starfleet.
Meanwhile, or a few years later, back on Earth, we see Kirk in a bar, hitting on Uhura, who’s already a Starfleet cadet.
His approach is a bit unorthodox in so many ways, since he tries to buy her a drink, in a world without money.
Many may forget that the Federation doesn’t use money, but they don’t. So how can Kirk buy Uhura a drink?
Regardless, this is really our first good look at the new James Kirk, and I gotta say, I kinda like him. He’s as much a cocky prat as Shatner was, if not more so. But he’s less disciplined. Which might be part of the reason he ends up getting into a fight with some of Uhura’s classmates, who I think intended to defend her, but they just appear to be pricks. Especially since Uhura’s the one who asks them to go away.
Anyway, yeah, they fight, and are eventually stopped by Captain Pike, a character who initially appeared in the unaired Star Trek pilot, as captain of the Enterprise.
So, he gets the cadets to leave, and decides to talk with Kirk alone, attempting to recruit him into Starfleet.
No, seriously, why? Not enough criminals in Starfleet? Actually, it appears that Pike wrote a dissertation on the Kelvin, and his father’s run as captain, and somehow, that’s reason enough for Kirk to join. Since George Kirk was such an amazing captain, therefore his son will be too.
Yeah, I don’t buy that. Just because his father was amazing, doesn’t mean he’ll be amazing.
I’d like to pretend Pike actually knew his mother, and she suggested it, since Kirk needed direction, and Starfleet could provide.
But of course, Kirk says no. Then, after he stares at a salt shaker, we cut to Kirk arriving at a Starfleet shipyard, where a shuttlecraft will take him to Starfleet Academy.
There, we meet McCoy, and I have to say, Karl Urban turns in a phenomenal performance. If DeForest Kelley was still alive, I’m sure he’d approve.
The two of them become fast friends, as the shuttlecraft takes off.
Fast forward three years, we’re at Starfleet Academy, and Kirk wants to retake the Kobayashi Maru test.
Oooo! We finally get to see him take the test! Remember in Wrath of Khan, it was explicitly stated that Kirk cheated by changing the parameters of the test. Now, in what way did he do that? Well, I discovered one of the many Star Trek novels actually covered this. In it, Kirk reprograms the test so the Klingons run away in fear of the great Captain Kirk. Hilarious and clever! So what does this Kirk do? Well, he reprograms the test so the Klingons… deactivate their shields and remain standing there as Kirk picks them off.
Wow… that was boring.
Seriously, there were so many ways they could have made it at least a little bit clever. Perhaps involving the transporters. He increases the range of the transporters, allowing him to rescue the evacuees from the other side of Neutral Zone. Or reprogram the Klingons to be more amicable. To be willing to assist in the rescue. Or perhaps make it possible for the crew of the ship to detonate a fuel tank on the opposite side of the ship, allowing the shockwave to push them closer.
See, that would be a lot more interesting.
Regardless, Kirk is accused of cheating before some type of council, by none other than the half-Vulcan himself, Spock.
They argue back and forth, over the validity of the test, before the session is interrupted when Starfleet receives a distress call from Vulcan. And since the rest of the fleet is in the Laurentian system, they are the only ones who can respond.
Okay, seriously? What the hell!? Why is Earth always undefended? They are always the ‘only ship in range.’ It’s ridiculous, especially considering that now, they need to commission the cadets to crew the ships that are in orbit, which means they’re otherwise unmanned. It also means Starfleet has almost no personnel on Earth. Since you don’t commission cadets, except as a last resort.
Oh, no wonder Pike tried to recruit Kirk. They’re that fucking desperate. There are so few people in Starfleet, of course they’ll take James Kirk!
Also, why are there no ships around Vulcan?
So, anyway, the cadets are assigned to the various ships, and Kirk is told he’s grounded due to the inquiry.
Uhura is assigned to the Farragut, but isn’t happy about it. She goes straight to Spock, and bitches at him, since the best students should be on the Enterprise. He says she was assigned to the Farragut to “avoid the appearance of favouritism.”
How does that make sense? Assigning your best student to the best ship wouldn’t be favouritism! How could it be favouritism!?
Whatever, we got comedy scenes to get to. McCoy, who’s assigned to the Enterprise, begins to feel sorry for Kirk, and injects him with a vaccine that oddly creates the same symptoms of the illness it’s supposed to prevent. Why? So McCoy has a legitimate reason to bring him aboard the Enterprise, as a patient.
They all board the shuttlecrafts headed to spacedock, and… why are they in shuttlecrafts? They have transporters, why not use them?
Also, it appears McCoy got over his fear of shuttlecrafts.
Anyway, they board the ships, and take off. I got to say, as they engage warp, I like the effect. From zero to FTL, instantly. It looks a lot more spectacular and appropriate than the warp effect from any of the series.
In contrast, I actually hate the warp effect once they’re in warp, since it looks more like they’re travelling through a wormhole, than travelling through space.
But Enterprise is the last to leave, as the helmsman, Sulu, has failed to disengage external inertial dampeners, preventing the warp drive from… what the hell does an external inertial dampener do?
Anyway, as Kirk is recovering in sickbay, Chekov briefs the ship on the mission. He mentions an electrical storm in the neutral zone and that there was some seismic activity on Vulcan, as if the two are related, when they likely are not even remotely related.
Actually, they are, but they have no way of knowing that.
But as Kirk hears this, he puts two and two together, and remembers that he heard Uhura talking about an attack on a Klingon planet, where all the ships were destroyed.
See Starfleet, you could learn something from the Klingons. They guard their planets with ships.
Anyway, he quickly runs off, unfortunately experiencing an adverse reaction to the vaccine. Heh, more comic relief. Which is actually gonna become very inappropriate very soon.
Anyway, Kirk runs off, followed by McCoy who keeps giving him hyposprays as they search for Uhura.
Eventually, he finds her, and asks about the attack on the Klingon planet. Asking if the attackers were Romulan.
You see, he manages to put the pieces together, realizing that the same ship that attacked the Kelvin, attacked the Klingon planet, and is probably attacking Vulcan at that very moment, after doing something involving a lightning storm in space…?
I’m not sure I understand his logic.
Nonetheless, he goes to the bridge, and tries to tell Pike exactly what he pieced together, but McCoy and Spock keep talking over him, like assholes. Actually, McCoy’s trying to save both of them from humiliation, and Spock is simply on an ego trip. I’m sorry, but Spock wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t interrupt anyone, especially not like that. It’s illogical. The only circumstance in which I could see him doing that would be in a situation where time was of the utmost importance, which it wasn’t in this situation.
Yeah, I’m not sure I like this Spock. The original didn’t have a stick up his ass like Quinto.
Anyway, he convinces Pike, and they go to red alert. Ready to fight when they drop out in the middle of a graveyard.
Of course Kirk’s right, and the Narada begins to open fire, until Nero realizes the ship they’re attacking is the Enterprise. He hails them, addressing Spock directly, and requesting the Captain join him.
Of course they know history could repeat itself, but Pike has no choice. He goes over, with Kirk, Sulu, and chief engineer redshirt, dropping them off en route, in the middle of space. Why? Because the Narada is actually holding a giant energy drill over Vulcan, which is somehow stopping them from sending transmissions, or transporting anyone. How? I have no fucking idea. Anyway, the three of them are planning to drop onto the drill platform, and deactivate the damn thing.
They do, but it seems the redshirt is a fucking moron, since he pulls his parachute way too fucking late, and gets caught in the energy beam.
So, he’s dead, and the others fight. Sulu pulls out a collapsible Katana, which I love. I also love the fact that they remembered that there’s no sound in space during their descent.
But of course this scene, and one near the end, are the only two scenes with that effect.
So they fight a bunch of Romulans who were hiding inside the platform… though I don’t know why they were in the platform. I would think that thing would be automated, since it’s just a giant energy beam.
Anyway, they disable it, but it’s too late, the drill already reached the core of Vulcan. Why is this a problem? Because the Romulans have something called red matter, which they then drop down the hole. And the moment it hits the heat of the planet’s core, it ignites, and creates a black hole.
Yeah, things are about to get dark.
The Narada starts to retract the drill, and Sulu falls off, Kirk dives after him, and pulls his chute again, which he retracted upon landing. Sulu had to cut his off.
But Kirk’s chute fails, and the transporter can’t get a lock. Until Chekov intervenes, and manages to get a lock on both of them as they fall to the surface of Vulcan. Apparantly, he’s really good at that.
Spock then arrives at the transporter room, and goes down to the surface, crouching, for some reason. He has to get the high council out of the council chambers, so they can be evacuated to the Enterprise. Most of them make it out, including his father, and human mother.
Why is a human on the Vulcan High Council?
Regardless, the beam out begins, but the ground starts to fall away, and Spock’s mother falls into oblivion before she could get beamed out.
Oh sure, Chekov. You could beam out your fellow crew members as they fall to their deaths, but not Spock’s mom, could you!? You Russian cunt!
Anyway, the black hole consumes Vulcan, killing everyone.
It’s a really cool scene, and I know it should be sad or whatever, but I didn’t find it particularly sad, since as far as I was concerned, everyone was evacuated.
They say there’s a population of six billion, but we don’t see any cities, or people on the planet. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see Spock running through the city streets, on his way to rescue the high council?
In fact, does Vulcan have cities? I guess not. We never see them. We just see the occasional sparsely populated building. There are volcanoes, and mountains. But that’s it. I’m sorry, I don’t feel the loss.
You can say six billion died, but it would help if we actually saw a bunch of them.
In fact, I always thought Vulcan was uninhabited.
Anyway, as everyone tries to recover from the aftermath of that event, Uhura approaches Spock in the turbolift, and asks what she could do to help him get through this. She even starts kissing him and… wait… WHAT!?
…So, that’s what he meant by favouritism! Yeah, you’re not allowed to date your students, Spock. In fact, given their interaction, I’m pretty sure this didn’t start on the Enterprise.
But what about Pike!? He’s still with Nero, who’s trying to extract the codes to deactivate Earth’s planetary defences. Well, hold on, how’d he get the codes to deactivate Vulcan’s planetary defences? Vulcan did have a planetary defence system right? …right!?
Oh fuck off!!!
So the rest of the crew discusses the situation, and Spock determines that with his advanced weaponry, and technology to create a black hole, Nero must be from the future, and that everything that had happened since the attack on the Kelvin, likely caused history to deviate significantly from the history he knows of.
Yes, that is right. Every episode of every Star Trek series, with the exception of Star Trek: Enterprise, since it was a prequel, has been wiped from canon. None of it happened, and none of it will. It’s a new timeline, and for all intents and purposes, a new franchise.
This film quite literally killed Star Trek.
Of course if you ask the producers, they’ll say that it’s actually an alternate reality, and that the prime reality, where all the events we know of occurred, still exists, and stories can still be written about them.
Okay, big problem. That’s not how time travel works in Star Trek.
I’ll refer you to a Voyager episode from season five: Timeless. In it, Voyager was destroyed with all hands, testing out an experimental warp drive to get them back to the Alpha Quadrant. Chakotay and Harry Kim were on a shuttlecraft when it happened, so they managed to survive, and 15 years later, they use a Borg temporal transmitter to send a message back in time, telling them to abort the mission. But when his attempt fails, he knows instantly, since he’s still in the same room with the temporal transmitter. If the plan worked, he wouldn’t have even been there, and basically, his timeline would cease to exist.
So if you change the past, the future changes with it. Of course if you’re in the past, you’re no longer part of the future, so you’re no longer affected by temporal incursions in your current present. That prevents certain paradoxes from forming.
Anyway, Nero’s actions should change the future. But according to several behind the scenes sources, the original timeline still exists. Star Trek Online takes place there.
That doesn’t make much sense. When Nero went back in time and changed things, it should have actually changed things!
Anyway, how did he travel back in time? Well, through a black hole… That… ugh. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is stupid. But it might explain how the original timeline could still exist. He didn’t actually travel back in time, but diagonally. He travelled to the past of a nearby universe.
However, it doesn’t excuse the fact that as he travelled through the black hole, the entire ship should have been spaghettified. Spaghettification being the technical term for the cause of death from falling into a black hole.
But it’s science fiction, I’ll excuse it.
Anyway, it’s at this moment, Spock, now captain, announces his decision to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet. Communication systems are damaged, so merely calling them is not an option. They need to make a beeline for the Laurentian system.
But they know Nero’s headed to Earth. So Kirk objects. He argues that since Nero has the technology to create a black hole within a planet, they need to act now. In the time it would take to get to the Laurentian system, and back to Earth, the planet would already be gone.
But Spock is adamant. Now some may argue that Kirk is out of line, but I forgot to mention something. Just before he surrendered to Nero, Pike appointed Kirk as first officer. And one of the duties of a first officer is to offer a second opinion. So technically, he’s well within his rights. Though he might be pushing the line a bit, by not knowing the difference between offering an opinion, and undermining the captain’s authority. And that’s forgivable, since he’s merely a cadet.
But this begs the question: Why in the hell did Pike make Kirk first officer!? I’m asking honestly because in the hour of screen-time he had prior to that moment, Kirk never really demonstrated any sort of command ability; Only cockiness, with emphasis on cock.
Anyway, Spock decides to respond to Kirk’s objections by nerve pinching him, throwing him into an escape pod, and marooning him on a planet in the Vulcan system. Bit of an overreaction, no?
The planet is called Delta Vega, which is weird because it’s also a planet from the original series that was located at the edge of the galaxy. This is a different planet.
He starts to wander the frozen landscape, before encountering a large, slavering beast looking for dinner. He legs it, but is eventually saved by a larger creature, who eats the first creature, and then decides to go after him.
So after a bit of running, he eventually finds a cave, which the creature follows him into. But he’s saved by an old man waving a flaming torch, scaring the creature off.
The man turns around and reveals himself to be Leonard Nimoy.
That’s right, we have two Spocks!
This Spock is actually the original Spock from the original timeline, who came through the black hole with Nero. But while both of them entered the black hole at the same time, Spock emerged twenty-five years after Nero did.
Um… how… why? Why exactly would they emerge at different times?
I guess I just don’t understand time travel.
So Spock tells us the whole story. Turns out he was sent on a mission to stop a supernova that threatened the entire galaxy.
How exactly could a single exploding star threaten the entire galaxy!?
As I mentioned before:
[Episode 3×18, “The Lights of Zetar”; First aired: 31 January 1969]
Kirk: No natural phenomena can move faster than the speed of light.
Was the star moving through subspace? Was it a subspace supernova!?
The plan to stop the supernova involved a new substance called red matter. It was loaded into the fastest ship in the Federation, the Jellyfish. But before Spock could enact the plan, the star had already consumed Romulus.
Red matter, as I said earlier, reacts to heat by creating a black hole. So when he threw a small amount into the supernova, it ignited, creating a black hole that did consume the supernova, but also pulled him and Nero in.
Nero was actually attacking Spock at the time. Wanting revenge for the destruction of Romulus. It’s also why he destroyed Vulcan, and left Spock on Delta Vega, for him to watch.
Nero kidnapped Spock when he emerged from the black hole, and used the red matter on the Jellyfish to destroy Vulcan.
He still has the ship.
Anyway, Kirk is sort of forced to believe him, since Spock used a mind meld to give him the information. I find this odd, since I think this is the first time a mind meld was used for exposition.
They begin the trek to a nearby Starfleet installation, where we meet a young, disgruntled Starfleet engineer named Scotty.
Simon Pegg does a decent job here. He’s a bit more cheeky than the original, but not as gruff. I think I like the original Scotty better.
Anyway, turns out he was assigned to the outpost as punishment for beaming Admiral Archer’s dog from one planet to another, and losing him in the process.
By the way, it’s supposed to be the same Archer who was captain of the original Enterprise. So he’d be… what… 150 by that point!?
Anyway, Spock gives Scotty a bit of future technology so he could complete his work on transwarp beaming, obviously taking inspiration from the original Scotty. Why? So Scotty could beam Kirk back onto the Enterprise, which is now travelling at warp speed.
The engineer looks over the equation, and comments, “It never occurred to me to think of space as the thing that was moving.”
So, he forgot how warp drives work!?
Before Kirk leaves, Spock advises him to retake command by assuring him that given the circumstances, both Spocks are most certainly emotionally compromised, and not fit to be in command.
So, Scotty joins Kirk for some unknown reason, and they beam onto the Enterprise, in the engineering section, next to a tube labelled ‘inert reactant.’ Um… that’s an oxymoron. If it was inert, it wouldn’t react with anything.
Actually, Kirk appears next to the tube, and Scotty appears within the tube. Suddenly, something turns on and he starts flying through the tube, triggering a comedy sequence, until Kirk activates an emergency valve, saving the engineer.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, Chekov is alerted to the valve’s activation, for some reason. I wouldn’t think the activation of a release valve in engineering would trigger alarms on the bridge. Spock activates the security cameras, and orders both Kirk and Scotty to be brought to the bridge.
They arrive, and Kirk starts to egg Spock on. It actually works, and Spock snaps, attacking the prat quite brutally. But he stops when his father says, “Spock.”
Gee, if that’s all it takes, why’d he wait until Spock had his hand around Kirk’s neck?
He steps down, and Kirk takes command, immediately directing the ship to Earth.
You know, I think it’s time to talk about something that really bugs me about this film: The cinematography.
Throughout the film, from first to last frame, the camera keeps shaking like the cameraman just had 50 Red Bulls. I actually watched it on a small screen, I can only imagine how much vomiting I would do if I saw it in theatres.
I don’t understand the modern obsession with shaky cam. It’s as if they think it’s more impressive if the film looks cheap. I can remember seeing this as early as 2001. 24 used shaky cam to great extent, and it worked pretty well there, because it could make you feel like you were right there on ground level. Same with Cloverfield, but in that case it worked even better because the camera guy was an actual character.
In contrast, the shaky cam in Star Trek doesn’t make you feel like you’re on ground level, it just makes you feel dizzy, and confused. It takes away from the film, it doesn’t add to it.
This is especially apparent in an early scene, where Nero kills the captain of the Kelvin. But we don’t actually see him die. We just see Nero running forward, then several indistinct black blurs, before cutting to the Kelvin where they’re alerted to the captain’s death.
In a normal film, we’d get a long shot of Nero running at the captain, the captain taking a step back in shock, and perhaps Nero doing a final Matrix-style leap as he makes the killing blow.
That would’ve been a lot more badass, but it appears the director here decided to take a few cues from Michael Bay so he could properly fuck everything up.
Keep the camera still you pricks!
On the bright side, during most of the fight scenes in the film, the camera manages to stay focused in the same spot, for the most part, so we could at least tell what’s going on. Or at least we would, if it wasn’t for the excessive bloom and lens flares.
Seriously, what is the point of that?
In the opening scene of the movie, the Kelvin’s captain arrives on the bridge, which is flooded by light from a nearby star. We can’t see a damn thing, and I’m pretty sure no one else can either. That is, until the captain orders them to polarize the viewscreen. Wow, what a brilliant idea, now the bridge crew can actually work without being blinded. Why didn’t they do that sooner? It makes no sense in the context of the film, and we end up seeing the same effect throughout.
Not to that extent, admittingly. But the Enterprise bridge is covered with bright white lights pointed directly at the camera lens. It only serves to piss the viewers off.
Anyway, back to the plot. The whole crew is finally together, and they start to discuss the situation. Chekov reasons that if they drop out of warp behind one of Saturn’s moons, their arrival would be unnoticed.
Spock had some time to cool down. So, he arrives on the bridge, offering to be the one to beam over and collect the black hole device. Kirk says he’ll join him, to find Pike. So, they drop out of warp within Titan’s atmosphere, and Kirk and Spock beam over. But not before Kirk orders Sulu to destroy the Narada, if he can, regardless if they make it back or not. Oh, and Uhura gives Spock a goodbye kiss.
… Yeah, still feels wrong.
So they beam over. And unfortunately, they end up in a heavily populated area. Cue glowy firefight, which is really well done, I must admit. Except for one tiny thing: A phaser shouldn’t have recoil.
They kill every Romulan in sight, except for one, which Kirk merely stuns so Spock can mind meld him, to get the information they need.
They go straight for the Jellyfish, which immediately recognizes ‘Ambassador’ Spock.
For some reason, Spock thinks this means Kirk didn’t tell him something. Which is true, but I don’t see how Spock would know that. What sort of clue does Spock have, that told him Kirk met future Spock?
Anyway, Spock shoots a hole in the Narada with the Jellyfish, and flies out, as Kirk goes to rescue Pike.
Meanwhile, the Narada has already lowered the drilling platform, and has targeted the waters off the coast of San Francisco.
I’m… confused. If he drilled the hole in the ocean, how could he drop the red matter down there? You’d think the ocean waters would intercept the stuff and carry it out to sea.
So, Spock flies the Jellyfish under the ship, and shoots the drill platform, causing it to fall into the ocean.
Kirk fights Nero’s first officer, then Nero, who starts to taunt him. He gloats about the death of Kirk’s father. Now, how in the hell did Nero know he killed Kirk’s father!?
There are quite a few of these plot holes, aren’t there? With characters mentioning information they shouldn’t have. I understand it’s hard to keep track of who knows what, but put some effort into it, writers!
Spock jumps into warp, and the Narada follows. Kirk kills Nero’s first officer, gets away, and rescues Pike.
Upon dropping out, Spock initiates a kamikaze run, well aware that such an act would ignite the red matter. Thankfully, the Enterprise also drops out, and beams all three of them to safety, as the red matter ignites, creating a black hole in the middle of the Narada.
On the Enterprise, Kirk offers to save Nero, who belligerently refuses help. So, instead, Kirk fires all weapons. Won’t let me rescue you? Fine, I’ll kill you.
So the Narada is destroyed, but unfortunately, the black hole already has a hold on the Enterprise, and they can’t escape it’s grasp. The ship starts to break apart. So much for the structural integrity fields, eh? It just re-begs the question: How did the Jellyfish and Narada survive the trip?
So they push the engines to maximum, but can’t get away. So as a last-ditch effort, Scotty ditches the warp cores, and detonates them, creating a shockwave that pushes them free.
Wait… warp cores? As in plural? Yeah, I count at least six. That’s certainly a new one. How would that work? I guess the other five are back ups.
Anyway, yeah, they survive, and are now stranded in the middle of empty space, with no warp drive and no communications.
So, with that, we skip ahead a bit. Nevermind their rescue, and return to Earth, we just skip to them being on Earth, and receiving their commendations. Kirk is immediately promoted to permanent captain of the Enterprise, which might be the dumbest thing in this film. To be promoted instantly from cadet to commanding officer of the Federation flagship is laughably ridiculous. It almost feels like it should be in a parody of Star Trek instead. Okay, sure, his first command was an incredible success, but that just qualifies him as a dynamite tactical officer, not a captain. The way I see it, he got lucky.
Meanwhile, Spock is at a spaceport where he meets Spock and tells him that he plans to leave Starfleet and be a leader of his people. But Spock explains that he shouldn’t, since Spock could take his place and establish a Vulcan colony to house the remainder of their species.
By the way, was Nimoy even trying during this scene?
So, Spock appears on the bridge of the Enterprise, as they’re about to begin a proper shakedown cruse under Kirk’s command. He requests the position of first officer, and Kirk accepts. They take off to begin further adventures, which I hope I’ll never have to see.
So that was Star Trek, and all I have to say is that it’s not horrible.
I want to hate it a lot more than I do, but I can’t, because it was a fun movie. The plot holes are aplenty, and the cinematography is shit, but as a whole, the film is well made, and well directed, and it works.
It’s also the first film to focus heavily on Spock’s dual-heritage. It was covered briefly in Star Trek IV, but it was a cursory mention, nothing more.
This film deals with the conflict Spock has, between his human heritage, based on emotions; and his Vulcan heritage, based on logic.
There’s also the prejudice he experiences from his fellow Vulcans, but as I said earlier, that makes no sense.
Regardless, I appreciate that kind of duality. But as we’ve seen from other Vulcans, such as Tuvok from Voyager, Vulcans are not without emotions, they just learn to control them.
So, all that being said, Star Trek, overall, is not a bad film, but it is a bad Star Trek film.
It makes me think of TRON: Legacy, which I felt the same way about. And as such, I’d like to consider Star Trek to be completely separate from Star Trek.
That’s right, I’m officially declaring that Star Trek, is no longer a part of Star Trek. Let that sink in.