Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A to B Back and Forth Review: Star Trek, Part II

Yesterday, Kozy and I started with our analysis of Star Trek, posting Part I of our back and forth conversation. So yeah, read that first. Today we conclude with Part II.


My good man,
It appears your research was a bit lacking. You seem to imply that One Word Reviews encompass all the movies I've seen. This blog ain't that old, and we only do three a week. Yet there are plenty of sci-fi films contained herein including: Hulk, I Am Legend, Repo Man, Transformers, The Thing, The Iron Giant, The Fountain, Children of Men, and The Aristocrats. I'm kidding about The Aristocrats. Furthermore, you seem to forget that I'm the nutbar who's reviewed every Arnold Schwarzenegger film in agonizing detail. These include: Total Recall, Two Terminators, The Running Man, Predator, and Pumping Iron. I'm kidding about Pumping Iron, though I would hardly be surprised if one day we learned that Lou Ferigno's dad is from outer space. And have you forgotten about the time I dragged you to the Music Box to see 2001: A Space Odyssey, even though I'd already seen it ten times and owned the DVD? You think I don't have enough cred to claim I dig the genre? Puh-leaze.

But let's take on this notion of the thrill ride. Like I said before, I was pretty bored. I'll give you that the scene where Kirk and Harold Sulu land on that giant drill thing was great. Can you point to another? I really can't. Maybe when Kid Kirk jams out to a 1994 Beastie Boys song (what's the star date equivalent?) and drives a car into that gigantic trench in the middle of the Iowa desert. That's all I can think of. But hey, if people like space ships randomly crashing into shit and fight scenes where it looks like they got all the actors drunk and then placed the camera atop a Sit N Spin and just let 'er rip, I guess that's a matter of taste.
Nope, not that Enterprise either.

As I said, I like my sci-fi when there's some more creativity involved. This movie delivered exactly on what people expected. Cool looking ships, and a whole lot of phasers that go "pew-pew-zhang." The core of the movie is ostensibly about the relationship between Kirk and Spock. As I said, I really liked a lot of aspects of the Spock character. But Kirk, well, he might as well have been played by Dane Cook or Steve Stifler. I'm tempted to summarize the thing as style over substance, but that would imply that they even contemplated substance in the first place. But there's no remotely interesting scientific approach to any of this, little character development, and few action sequences with any clarity. When I said it was like a TV show, I meant that there was nothing to connect to. It just didn't matter. It didn't explore any topics at all. Where exactly am I confused?

But worse than my personal boredom, there were a multitude of things that were complete logical failures. One looms far above all of them. As you said, the Romulans made pretty piss-poor villains. But beyond that, their role in the movie makes no sense, which pretty much means the movie makes no sense. MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. If your home planet was blown up by a supernova, and the dude who tried to save it nearly did, but failed, and you were then sent back in time 100 years, would you (A) Exact vengeance on the guy who failed by destroying his home planet and making him watch, but first hanging around for 25 years to make sure that his younger self could also watch or (B) Set about using that 100 years of notice to prepare to save your home planet? Maybe even use the help of the dude who failed so you can figure out why and how he failed and then make arrangements so that your home planet is saved, or, at the very least ensure you can evacuate all of its citizens? It's a bit like if if you were up one point at the end of a Game 7 and a referee called a bad foul against your team. Luckily, your opponent split the free throws, sending the game to overtime. But you are so upset about the bad call that you take out a gun and shoot everyone in the arena. Did anyone making this movie even think about this? Or do they all think we're as dumb as Romulans? There were plenty of illogical other things, including the green chick telling Kirk she loves him and then immediately saying that she has random men sleeping over every night and the Enterprise first offering to help and then shooting the Romulan ship when they were doomed anyway and there was no reason to linger near an impending black hole. But hey, give the people what they want. END OF SPOILERS
Nero - pretending to think about stuff.

The bottom line - a Sci-fi movie with such little imagination deserves some scorn. There's not much worth remembering here, and even though everyone seems to adore this movie right now, in a few years it will end up looking more like The Last Starfighter than Alien. Frankly, I'm surprised you are such a staunch defender. I wonder if you are just opposing me for fear of angering your wife. Or if you're a closet Tyler Perry fan (what was he doing in this movie, by the way?). Either way, attacking this here blog won't make the movie any better. Don't shoot the messenger...

OK, that's quite a load of stuff I've dropped in your lap. Let's hear whatcha got!


Yo la Reed 3.0,

The definition of Sci-Fi is like porn, you don’t know what it is, but you know it when you see it. So if your definition of Sci-Fi includes The Hulk then I guess he is your green jizz-lobber. By Sci-Fi’s very nature, it allows the storyteller to suspend rationality in order to tell a fantastic fiction based story. Its enjoyability lies in using technology and scientific principles that conflict with the known laws of nature. Your nits of the movie confirm that you are not really a Sci-Fi kinda guy; and that in fact you don’t really want to imagine a world that does not exist within the confines of what you believe to be fact or rational.

This unwillingness to leave behind the constructs of human nature is what also makes you unable to understand the Romulans and their desire to watch Spock's planet destroyed before his very eyes, rather than saving their own planet. I gave some thought to your argument about this Romulan irrationality. Rationality is a trait that you know and require as a homo sapient. One of Spock’s most entertaining traits is his Vulcan uber-rationality, which allows you to feel a mutual connection to him.
Uhura again. And why not?

Conversely, Romulans are an alien species. They do not subscribe to these constructs of rationality that you hold so sacred. Rather, they are the warrior off-shoot of Vulcans and will not behave in ways that you can easily digest.

Tot ziens,


Hello my friend!

Rather than address my question about worthwhile memorable moments in the film, you choose to debate the nature of science fiction. I take your point that we should accept that the Romulans are rage-fueled fools. This didn't bother me during the movie - only after I walked away from it and gave the film some reflection. Without their idiocy, there's no movie, so I accept the premise. But when you talk about my confines of what I believe to be fact or rational, you're out over your skis. Plenty of my favorite movies make no rational sense in our reality. But a movie has to make sense in its reality, or it might as well be an episode of Teletubbies. Remember that this is coming from a guy who liked the movie Click.
Not that Enterprise, either.

If you have to be a Sci-fi guy to like this movie, why are you so into it? You're not a sci-fi fan (as you explained in your first e-mail). And why can't you name something you enjoyed about it?

From what you've written to me you liked this movie because you got to suspend disbelief for two hours. You live in Amsterdam. You can head to the nearest coffee shop and do that whenever you want. So I'm giving you another chance to sell me on this one. I don't want to overstate my quibbles of the finer points. My overarching problem with the movie was that I was just generally bored. I didn't hate it, but would have been happy if they had just made it about Uhura going underwear shopping instead.

Your turn, amigo!


Hola Mr. Andrew,
As you know I may be the lone Amsterdam expat that does not one-hit the coffee shops. So I guess I do need to find an alternate disbelief suspension outlet.

So you want to know what I liked about this movie. I’ll tell you. I agree with you that the scene where Kirk and Harold Sulu land on that giant drill thing was great. I also agree with you that the scene when Kid Kirk jams out to a ‘94 Beastie Boys song and drives his car into that Grand Canyon of Iowa was fun as well. In addition, I liked the bar fight scene with Kirk, the ice cap/giant animals chasing Kirk scene, the sequence with Scotty being stuck in the water chamber and nearly all of the Spock scenes. I guess the divide between us is that I enjoyed these moments more than you did.

But take note. I am not inferring you are mirthless. This galactic thrill ride was brewed for mass consumption. This is a popcorn movie for the masses and the fact that you did not have fun and were bored is not exactly surprising to me. For one reason or another it hit me on the right day or at the right time and as you know, timing is everything. Without the Star Trek legacy, this is a fun movie that perhaps does modest box office and only maybe garners a sequel. But since it is a Star Trek movie, I guess we’ll never know what would have happened .... Unless Spock can create a black hole for us to travel backwards in time through to 1966 before the 1st episode aired.
Yeah, that one.

I wonder what a 1966 audience would have thought of this movie. For starters, that the future is a scary place because gravity has been altered to a shakier state. And also, that Uhura is a space babe ahead of her time.

So that sums up my take. Any last thoughts?

Your friend,


Since I get the last salvo here, I won't be overly aggressive. But Scotty stuck in the water pipe? That's what made me think of Teletubbies in the first place.

I guess I'll just say that outside of the Romulans, there was little to hate about this movie. But also little that I found to like. I don't expect I'll watch it again, but I would be up for a sequel just to see if they put more into it now that the characters are established. I won't be overly hopeful for such a thing because this one got rave reviews and made pretty decent bank at the box office, so they'll probably make another movie with the phasers set to numb.
One last Uhura photo. Yes, I realize I've officially crossed the cheesecake line. I don't hear you complaining!

In the end, we must agree to disagree on this one. And that's a good thing. If we aligned every time, people would get sick of us. But if we're finally pulling a Siskel and Ebert here, which one of us is the fat one? Since Ebert agreed with me on this review, I guess it's me. Also, I'm fatter than you. So I have no choice but to accept your judgment, even if I believe you will never have a desire to experience this movie again. Besides, I wouldn't want your wife to burden you with extra chores just because you didn't like her new favorite.

So, until next time mon ami, live long and prosper.

Previous A to Bs:
Slumdog Millionaire
The Wrestler

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