My earliest memory of Star Trek is from seeing it on a TV at my daycare when I was just a wee thing.
This was the late 70's. Most of the early Star Trek films I saw at my cousin's house because we lived
out in the country a bit and couldn't get ABC (the network that seemed to have a lock on showing
Trek films for a number of years, they seemed to have a similar deal with the Superman films as well)
When I could catch repeats of the original series (TOS) I was rapt. When Next Generation came along I was
there with baited breath. Deep Space Nine too.
Then Voyager came along and it was clear that after many many years,,,the blush was finally off the rose.Rick Berman was quoted in TV Guide as saying there just weren't any new stories to tell in the Trek Universe.He just mentioned it in passing like it wasn't even a big deal.
Since then I've kinda viewed Trek as living in captivity.
I cringed at every new asinine creative decision or public comment the guy made...always hoping for the best while fearing the worst.
So then finally...Berman was handed his walking papers and JJ Abrams was given a shot at rejuvinating Star Trek.
I liked what I saw on the commercials but one thing concerned me. It was just a feeling. I can't explain where it came from exactly. I knew all the trappings of Trek would be present and accounted for but would the heart
of the characters be there?
The exclusion of Shatner spoke volumes. JJ didnt want comparisons between "his Kirk" and that old guy.
And while I liked alot about this film (about 50/50) Chris Pine's Kirk would not have fared well from the comparison.
Not that he isnt a good actor and entertaining to watch, but he is definitely missing something in the "presence"department.
I mean, Vulcan is destroyed and Pine's Kirk knows that time travel is at the heart of its destruction and that he is in the company of someone (Old Spock) who knows a thing or two about the subject. Is there even a moment taken to say "hey...can we undo all this?" Nope. And the old Kirk wouldn't have missed a beat in asking that question.
Does that mean it had to be "undone"? No. But the question needed to be asked. And if you weren't going to do it, you needed to explain why. Because James T Kirk doesn't just take the destruction of whole worlds lying down.
Yes, the movie implies that Nero created an alternate timeline and so the best anyone could do by attempting to undo it would be to create yet another...but for one thing, that goes against everything Trek has established up to this point about time travel and second, it guts the emotional resonance of any story told in the trek universe from here on. If we embrace the idea of countless Trek timelines to follow, then the death of no world or individual really matters because a multitude of them exist out there. One Spock dies? No need to defy Starfleet and steal a starship to try against all odds to save him. Let's go find another,
The film includes the legendary Kobayashi Maru simulation that any Trek fan worth his/her salt knows that Kirk beat by reprogramming it, because Kirk "doesn't believe in No Win Scenerios"...and yet, here he seemed to accept the most "No Win Scenerio" of the film (The Destruction of Vulcan) with relative ease.
Most of the problems I had with this movie could have been addressed if Mr Abrams had just tried a little harder.Instead, he treated them like puppets that would dance how he wanted whether it made sense or not. There was far more potential here than Abrams even began to realize. So many missed opportunities I could make you a list.
This new Trek is entertaining but these characters are smaller, less passionate, less defiant, and less memorable.