Years ago, the Simpsons did a brief parody of the then-current string of original crew Star Trek movies, a clip from some ridiculously numbered Trek movie entitled “So Very Tired”.
After only three movies, somehow it seems it should be Chris Pine sighing and saying, “Again with the Klingons”.
Let’s get this straight. When the first of the reboot movies came out, I thought it was amazing that anyone had managed to find a little life in the old franchise.
When the second one came out, it, well, felt like a sequel. Whatever spark of originality that was in the first one had faded, dulled by a fanboy-ish desire to rewrite the familiar Trek plotlines and re-engineer Khan.
Mind you, it was still a superior effort. It was just a little shopworn.
But this one sums itself up early on, when James T. Kirk, making a new log entry three-and-a-half years into the well-known five years mission, comments on how in deep space one day seems to slip into another (followed by a glimpse of a closet full of identical yellow uniform shirts) and then notes how their mission seems…
Yep, a beautiful, post-modern joke, which unfortunately sums up far too much.
This one is loud, with lots of action and CGI (some of it, like Kirk riding his motorcycle into battle, surprisingly bad). There’s even a little plot stretched around it all. And it makes no pretense of being anything other than a sequel.
Yeah, we have a new story, rather than a reboot, but it makes no changes to the Trekiverse, nor does it radically alter the basic by-the-numbers dynamics of our heroes. For a moment there, when Scotty ends up teamed up with a thrash-metal loving gear head alien girl with Daryl Hanna’s Clan of the Cave Bear makeup, it almost seems like they’re about to go way out on a limb and actually do something un-Hollywood. Hey, let’s give the middle-aged comic relief Chief a smoking hot girlfriend.
She doesn’t even fall for Kirk.
It all has this by-the-numbers quality about it. Even the huge shock – the Enterprise is destroyed! – is so very, very, very familiar. It was in the third (yes, third) original movie after all. And the last episode of TNG. And Star Trek: Nemesis.
Well, what else can you do when you get desperate? There are no sharks to jump in space.
What’s worse is that it reminds me, more than anything else, of Star Trek: Insurrection, the nadir of Trek films, which also featured the Enterprise crew stranded on a hostile planet.
Which leaves us with the film’s much advertised Prostration to the gods of Political correctness. Yes, we all know about George Takei’s private life, and we’ve heard all about how the filmmakers planned to honor him by making Sulu gay.
But, obviously they must also have read those reports which showed that movies promoting the homosexual agenda have been losing money big time. So what we get is an entirely deniable, blink-and-you-miss it moment.
My Filipino sister-in-law actually asked, “is that his brother?”
And even George Takei wasn’t happy with it.
Oh well, at least the screenwriters, got to show off how progressive they were. That’s what really matters.
As long as no one blinked.
Bonus Feature! Follow this link to download Paragon models’ nice cardmodel of the 2009 movie redesign of the Enterprise and build your own. Just remember: it’s harder than it looks!