Sci-Fi, 132 Minutes, 2013
Like the horribly disappointing “Promethues” [Our Review], this was written, in part, by Damon Lindelof [IMDB] who seems to take a perverse pleasure in completely ignoring beloved source material. He did the same thing, by the way, with “World War Z” which I recently reviewed at our sister site, MoreBrains.com. This guy is getting on my nerves.
Like those other movies you can consider this in two ways. As a stand-alone film this really isn’t that bad. It’s got some real, ugly stupid but as a mindless summer flick it’s not that bad. As a “Star Trek” movie? It really sucked.
The movie suffers terribly from lazy writing. Our characters do horribly, terribly, ridiculously stupid things. The script constantly ignores the obvious to support its own ends. Do you want to see Spock on a volcano? We’ll forget that we have transporters. Do you want to see somebody disappear? We’ll remember that we have transporters. Want to see people running on the ceiling? We’ll pretend there’s a “down” in space. Do you want to see the “Enterprise” underwater? Fine, we’ll forget that it’s just fucking stupid.
The biggest problem with the movie, however, are those many points when the script makes half-heartedly, ridiculously contrived attempts at fan service. The plot swings wildly to accommodate original series touch-points, character swaps and callbacks. This compulsive need to present both the old and the new creates a meandering, often-senseless story progression that serves neither and collapses spectacularly in the final minutes.
It’s difficult to fault the mechanics of the movie. It’s gorgeous (I particularly loved the newly designed engine core, it finally looks like a machine) and expertly presented. I really enjoy the new cast even if they are forced to say and do ridiculous things. I’ll also admit that I actually liked it while watching it… but as soon as I had any time to consider, as soon as the shiny, explody things faded to black, things fell quickly apart.
It captures none of the thoughtfulness, consideration or magic that’s made “Star Trek” such an enduring phenomena. It lacks such respect for the source material it should be embracing that it actively works against it whenever possible. It may be a decent sci-fi movie but it’s a truly awful “Star Trek” movie.