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Going Boldly — With Spoilers

May 10th, 2009 - 12:01 pm

If you haven’t seen the new Star Trek yet, or if you don’t care about spoilers, then go ahead and click through. Everyone else — move along.

UPDATE: Will Collier has his review posted.

Loved the new movie (review below), but there were some problems. Here’s the place to hash them out — along with a few praises I couldn’t sing without spoilers.

My biggest beef was with the death of Spock’s mother, Amanda. First of all, what was the reviled human female doing deep in the Vulcan holiest of holies? Well, she was there as a plot device, so that Spock could try (and fail) to save her. Otherwise, there’s no reason for her to be there, and lots of reasons for her not to be.

Spock’s recurring theme, his arc, was having to choose between his Vulcan and human heritages. Wouldn’t it have been better to have turned his mother’s death into a choice? He could save Vulcan’s cultural archives, and thus preserve his preferred race, or he could save the human mother he loved. Of course he’d choose the archives. Spock’s Vulcan-ness would then have come at a terrible price, giving his character a tragic depth. This was the only place the writers really chickened out, other than Spock Prime’s lousy, non-sensical exposition.

The engineering room looked like the inside of that German warehouse in J.J. Abrams’ “Mission: Impossible III.” The Enterprise is big, but she ain’t that big. Give us a little claustrophobia, or we won’t believe we’re inside a ship.

For me anyway, the destruction of Vulcan was dramatic only in retrospect. When the plot uses time travel, and something horrible happens, you (or at least I) instinctively dismiss it. “Hey, they’ll just use some more time travel to bring Vulcan back.” So — good on the filmmakers for not cheating and undoing Vulcan’s Big Implosion, but the immediate moment lacked the impact it should have.

McCoy hardly said anything that wasn’t a McCoyism. They were crowd-pleasers, all of them, and Karl Urban delivered them flawlessly. But he almost became a caricature of himself.

I liked the Spock/Uhura romance, just because. But it seems unlikely for a guy hell-bent on denying his humanity. And in future movies it could be used as a really awful plot device.

But no one I’ve read or talked to has mentioned the best news of all. Sure, the black hole messed up all the continuity, giving us all-new adventures with our favorite old characters. But some of the older cannon remains unchanged. Somewhere out in space, unmolested by the ravages of a black hole or a supernova, floats the Botany Bay.

Your spoileriffic complaints or praises?

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