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This is a SPOILER DISCUSSION. That means it's for people who have already seen the movie. So if you haven't seen the latest Star Trek movie yet... you may want to do so before reading any further.
Fair notice given...
First let me say I enjoyed the movie. It was a roller coaster ride. That noted...
THE THINGS THAT DROVE ME NUTZ
Can you say LENS FLARE?
Seriously, the #1 fan complaint in the 2009 movie was lens flare. They promised us far less lens flare in this movie. Apparently "far less" means "until we run out of lens flare" because it's used regularly and gratuitously in this film.
Speaking of gratuitous, nice "take off your clothing before donning your space suit" scene. Have we ever seen that done by any crew member... ever? Well, gotta have something to make the trekkies talk. : )
Hmmm... and I just mentioned it didn't I?
I sure am glad the Enterprise has shields. I'd hate to see how many huge gaping holes get blasted in her and people blown out into space if they didn't have them. Wow, the mind boggles.
KAAAAAAAAHHHHNNNN!!!!!! Look, I know that both Christopher Pike and Kirk just died, and I know that this is an alternate universe... and I know that in this universe Spock repeatedly kisses Uhura and is a bit more in touch with his human side that the original Spock-- but this was almost jump-the-shark time. The only thing that prevented it from being so was the direct and obvious homage to the original movie.
Sherlock Holmes as Kahn. Oh wait, I mean Benedict Cumberbatch as Kahn, of course. Pasty, frail-looking Benedict Cumberbatch. Look, the guy is a good actor and played the part well. But personally I think someone like THE ROCK would have made a much better Kahn, right? Of course he would have stolen the show, but isn't that kinda the idea? As good an actor as Benedict is he just wasn't built for the role of a superior genetically-enhanced human... and failed to make the character legendary as did his predecessor. Good acting... but perhaps poor casting.
Speaking of casting problems... forgive my heresy, but Scotty...; he's just not. Scotty was the one person out of the entire crew that was 100% loyal to Kirk, the one person Kirk could count on to back him up in a crisis. Well, kiss that concept goodbye. First, I view Scotty as being a bit uh, larger than Simon Pegg... a bit of a brawler if you know what I mean. James Doohan was not a small man. And speaking of small, does that little oyster-shell munchkin seem as superfluous to anyone else or am I alone in that opinion? Okay, he'll probably sell a few dolls and maybe the little kids like him. Or not. He has all the personality and pertinence of a clam.
ACTION! I think that was the first call of the movie, and they just never yelled "CUT!" This movie starts out with Indiana Jones running through the forest being chased by spear-throwing natives... oh excuse me, I mean James Kirk uh... running through the forest being chased by spear-throwing natives... to planes crashing into the Twin Towers (wait, I mean... a huge explosion in a library archive)... to a hovering plane outside Anakin Skywalker's apartment trying to take them out... wait... I mean a helecopter outside the skyscrper with Neo... no, I mean a projectile-ammunition attack on the Federation Counsel meeting to-- well, suffice to say the action just never ends. Nor the plot theft.
There is in fact, so much action in this that one can see why they didn't have time to come up with new plot devices. One does not stand up in the rollercoaster to monologue about his feelings for the girl next to him. You stay locked in your seat and hang on. That's what we find ourselves doing in this entire film.
At least they finally stated their true 5-year mission: "To boldly go where other plots have gone before."
OKAY... THE THINGS I LIKED
Oddly enough, all of the above and the entire rest of the movie. Because despite the obvious flaws and un-plot devices, the film is a lot of fun that I will definitely see again-- when a friend or family member wants to go see it or it comes out on DVD. (But they'll have to offer a pretty nifty collectors item at WalMart for me to buy the DVD. That's how they hooked me last time. I have four very nice metal Starfleet badges...)
The special effects were very special. The CGI was meticulous. As an example, the inside of the Enterprise warp engine room was incredibly detailed and huge. The ship to ship battles make ya wince. The fight choreography was well-done and the tails on those two girls... uh... I mean... the attention to detail is impressive. Face it, the movie is very well-produced.
It's also Star Trek, despite the 180-degree plot twists. Unlike the first six Star Trek movies (which to be honest, didn't impress me), this new franchise has the feel of the original Star Trek, the characters as believable and effective as the original crew. Chris Pine is a great Captain Kirk. Zachary Quinto is entirely believable as Spock (I've almost forgotten he's an ex-serial-killer from HEROES). Bones is Bones. Uhura is decently sultry. Sulu is definitely Captain material and well-played. This is Star Trek as Roddenberry envisioned and portrayed and the old feeling of the original show is definitely back.
I kinda almost like the new Klingons, although they had the stage presence of mannequins. Rather under-used I think. Maybe that will improve in the next movie (of which I already know the basic plot because I read an interview and the author/director/whatever accidentally on purpose let a clue slip snicker snicker).
If there's anything really positive I can say about the new movie, it's this:
* Star Trek is back... albeit every four years
* It's an entertaining ride all the way through
* It could have been worse. Far worse. As in "Hollywood does Star Trek" worse. As in the first six movies worse. So that being the case... must give creds that the last two movies have been enjoyable and possibly even awesome.
Okay, that's my take in this right-after-seeing-the-movie review. Your turn! : )