Star Trek is the most unexciting exciting movie I’ve ever seen.
I admit, that doesn’t really make sense. Allow me to explain. Star Trek is confusing because it seems as though it should be exciting. Riveting, in fact. It has all the necessary components of excitingness. It’s got big space ship battles, some suspenseful scenes, planets getting blown up, and time travel. And somehow in the midst of all that, it finds time to squeeze in some much-appreciated character development. But despite all its efforts, Star Trek faisl to weave these ingredients together to make a compelling whole. The movie ends up just being sort of…okay. It’s a fun thing to watch on a Friday night on Netflix if you finish studying early, but not really anything to get worked up about.
Part of Star Trek’s problem is that its action scenes feel, for the most part, uninspired. While the effects are dazzling enough, the fight choreography and stunt work is mostly lackluster, except for one pretty awesome scene involving swordfighting and a giant drill, which, unfortunately, comes in the first half of the movie. The climax is especially underwhelming. The shoot-out between the baddies and Kirk and SPock feels perfunctory, and the method by which they end up triumphing (I’d call that a spoiler, but come on, we all know who’s going to win) is a pretty big case of Deus Ex Machina. The Enterprise wins not through cleverness or combat, but through technobabble and a series of coincidences so contrived they kill your suspension of disbelief and then dismember its corpse with a machete. Basically, it all comes down to this. Kirk is beamed down to an ice planet and just happens to stumble upon a cave containing the future version of Spock, who tells him what he needs to defeat the bad guys. Are we supposed to just accept that they just happened to bump into each other? There’s been times I’ve failed to find my friend at a Wal-Mart, and this is a whole planet we’re talking about here. Then, as if things weren’t unlikely enough, they go to get help from the Star Trek officer stationed on the planet, and he just happens to be Scotty (as in, beam me up, Scotty), some kind of super-genius who invents some kind of magic teleporter thing. Well, that was convenient.
Another problem is the villain, Nero. It’s been said that a film is only as good as its villain, and if that’s true, it might explain why Star Trek is only okay. Nero is about as memorable and inspiring as a trip to the grocery store. His motivation is questionable at best, and evidence of severe mental retardation at worst. His only defining qualities are his tattoos, his weird eyebrows, and his awkward dialogue. I don’t get this guy. Is he supposed to be taken seriously? Is he supposed to be funny? All I can say is, he ain’t no Darth Vader.
Kirk and Spock, the only characters with all that much to do, are good in their roles, but at times they feel a little like caricatures of themselves. We get it, movie. Kirk is arrogant and reckless. Spock is logical and cold. We understand. You’ve made it painfully clear. Can we move on, now?
On the technical level, Star Trek is a mix of hit and misses. The gravity and black hole effects are cool, as ar the laser beams. The music is rousing. But the camera-work is just plain annoying. I guess they blew all their budget on computer effects and had to buy really cheap cameras, because the number of lens flares in this movie is ridiculous. Seriously, it’s distracting. There’s a lens flare in just about every scene. There’s a lens flare in pretty much EVERY SHOT on the bridge of the Enterprise (where a lot of the movie takes place). Sometimes two or more in the same shot. I’ve never seen so many lens flares in my entire life. I suppose the director was trying to add a feeling of realism into the movie, but after a while I forgot what was going on and began to focus on the colors flashing in my face, counting the number of seconds that elapsed between one lens flare and the next.
Seriously, count the lens flares…and this isn’t even on the Enterprise yet…
The film has enough to make it worth a watch. A few fun scenes, some good music and effects, and a decent, if corny, story involving time travel and parallel universes. But it doesn’t have the same excitement and wonder as, say, the first Star Wars film (that’s Episode IV, not I, I’m talking about). It never brings you to the edge of your seat, but it’s not boring, either.