Regarding the new Star Trek

So we finally watched the new Star Trek movie (on a digital screen). It was extremely entertaining, the CGI were perfect, the subtle references to all things Trek were very nice. The new Spock was fantastic too. The new Star Trek movie was not about the normal social commentary stuff found on many Star Trek episodes, but for a franchise reboot, it needed the action and visual awesomeness to attract the young generation. I am willing to give Abrams the benefit of the doubt this one time.

Where I do find myself in disagreement with JJ Abrams’ vision is in the alternative timeline route he took. To make a franchise or show believable, it should not have prop errors, it has to be consistent, and it has to be true to its timeline. Without these, you lose in believability (like “Lost” lost points this season too). Sure, there have been many alternative timeline and mirror universe episodes over the years on the various Star Trek incarnations, but well, I never liked any of them. Especially when it comes to such an important movie that’s supposed to re-launch Star Trek.

Let me be clear: altering the timeline to have Spock and Uhura together, Kirk & Spock’s father and mother respectively dying, and Pike becoming an admiral is one thing. But destroying a whole planet, Vulcan no less, is a whole another thing. Vulcan is a constant in the Star Trek universe, it’s inspirational. Removing it from the new Star Trek is like removing Yoda from Star Wars. It doesn’t work. At least not for us older Trekkies, who have spent 30+ years in that universe. The destruction of Romulus was equally unneeded.

I don’t believe at all that JJ Abrams needed this alternative timeline thing to tell his story. He could have fit a similarly impressive story within the realm of the existing timeline. Undoing 45 years of Star Trek history was just disrespectful of the franchise and the fans.

Pay attention: I wouldn’t mind at all if he had rebooted the Star Trek franchise completely. Meaning, rebooting it in the same way Moore did for Battlestar Galactica, which he “re-imagined” it. This way, we the fans, would know that the director is going clean slate and he re-starts the franchise from the beginning. Re-designing and re-architecting the whole Trek universe! And that would be fine. That would be honest. But not doing exactly that, is like toying with everybody feelings and expectations. Believe it or not Mr Abrams, we, the older Trekkies, are not dead yet.

To me, it felt like someone taking my left-over pizza, removing my toppings, adding new ones, and re-heating it, instead of simply either re-heating it as is, or redoing the pizza from scratch (including a new dough). Therefore, I felt that this movie was a cheat.

The sad part is that Paramount will continue having my money for the upcoming Star Trek movies, because as I said above, that was some good sci-fi. And it was a good Star Trek in its absolute value. But it wasn’t the Star Trek I wanted. Star Trek is much more than a 2-hour movie. It’s a universe with a grand history. You either delete the history and re-write it from scratch (if you have the chops), or you play within it. But you don’t mess with it like a child messes up his vegetables during dinner. You don’t do dat.

Two more blog posts by others, saying the same thing as I do here.

14 Comments »

Fabricio Zuardi wrote on May 25th, 2009 at 3:24 PM PST:

[Spoilers ahead]
Technically Romulus planet is still there in the alternative timeline, and the from-future Spock can easily prevent it’s destruction this time by arriving early. As for Vulcans the colony can be as inspirational IMHO as their old home. I thought it was an acceptable branch.


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Eugenia wrote on May 25th, 2009 at 3:33 PM PST:

Sorry, this doesn’t work for real Trekkies. Vulcan is the second most important planet after Earth. Romulus is low in the list. Read the two other blog posts I linked above.


William Eggington wrote on May 25th, 2009 at 7:02 PM PST:

I had a real hard time with the design of everything on this Star Trek. Why would a Romulan mining ship need those big massive dumb spikes sticking out of it? What on earth do they do? Was it just decorative? Armor? Sails? I kept waiting for them to do something but. . . apparently they do nothing. What was the point of dangling down a big hose into a planet’s atmosphere? Don’t lasers go in a strait line? Why shoot a laser from the end of a giant hose!?! Was the atmosphere going to interrupt it somehow? It can drill through an entire planet but. . . those bloody clouds! And then to have two guys sitting at the end of the hose!?! What could those guys be there for? And WHAT are the chances. . . really. . . of someone randomly landing on a planet/moon RIGHT NEXT to the cave where Spock was just waiting for him. And THEN. . . to have that within walking distance of a Federation base. . I just. . . can’t handle crap like that. I just kept groaning over and over. :-/

People are ragging on Terminator Salvation but I honestly enjoyed it far more than StarTrek. It had its fair share of “HUH!?!” moments but . . . man it sure looked good.


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Eugenia wrote on May 25th, 2009 at 7:51 PM PST:

I agree with you. Let alone of some other discrepancies, e.g. why no Vulcan ship just do what Spock did to that big nose at the end? And why was Old Spock *alone* on the way to Romulus to save it? In such a moment, no matter the bad relations between Romulans and the Federation, a whole ship of scientists would have been sent, not just a single guy with a small ship with such a powerful weapon on board!


Al Hartman wrote on May 25th, 2009 at 8:28 PM PST:

Your review sounds just like mine…

This was not the movie I wanted either. It certainly wasn’t the movie we were promised. We were promised that this movie wasn’t a reboot and would tell the story of how our beloved characters meet.

We didn’t get that. We got a story about some other people from another universe who shared the same names, but most everything else was different.

I wanted the love and care put into the Enterprise episode “In A Mirror Darkly” on the big screen. Every episode that recreated the original series sets and took place in them were top rated episodes.

Paramount isn’t listening to the fans. We don’t go to see a movie once. We go 20 times. We buy the DVD and the Blu-Ra y, the books, the soundtracks, the models and toys…

Paramount is leaving a lot of money on the table. I’ll only see this movie once, the toys and models look like dog doo, the soundtrack is not very good, the book is different from the movie in significant ways, etc…

I’ll keep watching the Star Trek Phase II fan films that get it right and give me the Star Trek I grew up with and love.


l3v1 wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 2:48 AM PST:

Well, maybe they’ll make a Star Wars rerun, where Ewoks are the main characters, who turn out to be master time travellers (since JJA can’t seem to live without alternate timelines, alternate universes, and alternate alternates), with Jedis being assylum lunatics making funny faces trying to mind control their doctors.

This Trek was wrong on so many levels it’s hard to even consider making a list of them. It was just a flashbang for the subteenagers out there, and a joke for the rest of us.


William Eggington wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 4:47 AM PST:

I’m just so confused as to why it is getting such rave reviews. Batman Beyond was confusing in that way as well. Joker rocked but. . . the rest?!? yikes. But it still blew all the reviewers away! So confusing.


Ikshaar wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 2:18 PM PST:

I understand and agree with some of the critics (romulan mining ship design, hose thing, Vulcans which seem to do nothing) you guys made. But I still loved it.

Spock+Uhura = love the twist to the old and boring “Kirk get the girl” plot

I guess I am not hardcore enough (although I saw original in the 70s) to be bother by the changes to the timeline. Plus if you consider Old Spock point of view, the entire original timeline existed (and always will – he lived it) and now a new one is added in a parallel universe. A absolute remake of the old storyline would have make impossible to say/create anything new.

Eugenia, your comparison to BSG failed to note that many fans hated the new remake for not being faithful. Exactly what people seems to be upset about this time again.

Au contrary, I think that by taking the middle ground approach, JJA did the only thing possible. Fans would have dismiss a remake from scratch for being unfaithful (except you i guess) and regular people would have been bored of being retold the same old story again if he had done a “pure” Star Trek.


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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 2:52 PM PST:

The point is, that the story of how the crew came to be together was never told before. So JJ Abrams could still keep it faithful to the timeline, AND tell a NEW story.

The fact that the original timeline still exists is a moot point. It’s like someone got some paint and painted on top of an existing graffiti. The fact that the original graffiti exists underneath the new paint doesn’t make it “right”. It was disrespectful, and took away a lot of the believability of the ST universe.

My point is, that Abrams could have told a story that fit in the original timeline, and be a story that we never heard before. The fact that there are encyclopedias about Star Trek, doesn’t mean that everything has been told.

To me, it feels like he didn’t wanna pay the extra salary of a continuity researcher.


mabhatter wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 9:29 PM PST:

First, if Vulcan was so important why did we never go there. Did they EVER go there in TOS? Only for brief scenes in the movies. I don’t recall more than one or two times in TNG either tops. Only in Enterprise did they ever really explore the Vulcans in any great detail. They like to have a lot of Vulcan characters and talk about logic, but vulcans were too “hallowed” to be part of the plot. The Planet of Vulcan means nothing in TV/Movie cannon, there’ll be plenty of Vulcan’s left to be “logical” for years to come.

I really hope we stay “stuck” in this universe for any other movies and we never see time travel again. I liked it for the novelty of being broken and STAYING broken and now the characters we know have to prove themselves in different circumstance. As a bookstore goer there are hundreds of Star Trek Comics/novels/games printed. Everything just shy of what’s in this movie has been explored to death for every possible character that ever appeared on film, in multiple timelines, and it’s supposed to all be “canon”. I felt it flowed nicely from First Contact and the Enterprise series. That series “grounded” the franchise by stripping all the “god” gadgets, and they don’t get out of trouble with technobabble, but with wits and courage.

Abrams recreated a world where nobody’s safe, anybody can be killed off and at the end of the movie now, Paramount can disavow his changes like any of the countless novels on the shelves.


risiho wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 1:50 AM PST:

Time travel opens up too many cans of worms. No matter what happens, everything can be undone at anytime. Death no longer has the same effect because you can always go back and make things undead. My fav sci fi does not have time travel. Lost was great till I found out they could go back and forth in time..


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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 9:59 AM PST:

Lost is not the same. They go back in time merely to show a story that already happened. They can’t change ANYTHING that hadn’t already happened.


JIm wrote on May 30th, 2009 at 11:38 AM PST:

Do you think that some of the mentioned changes are there to develop buzz about the movie?
Sounds like a marketing ploy and in the end we can always go back in time and clean things up.
I enjoyed the movie, I thought it was entertaining and I hope it generates more movies. I would like more accuracy, but I understand that contraversy generates talk and talk gets more people to go to the movie


Phil wrote on May 30th, 2009 at 3:10 PM PST:

Its all crap. See my 100 Reasons Star Trek SUCKED: http://startrekxisucks.blogspot.com/


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