Monday, May 18, 2009

Where Star Trek Fell Apart For Me (Spoilers)

I've been giving this a lot of thought. Star Trek got a 95% positive rating on the tomatometer, and I just wonder if I'm too close to the subject to see it objectively, like when I didn't like the Dark Knight when nearly everyone else did. After two days, I've found the point where it falls apart for me. It's not about the time travel or the new continuity or the design of the ship or the plot structure. As it should be, Star Trek is about characterization.

Where the movie goes flying off the track is the point when Spock kicks Kirk off the ship. It was the "Wait...what?" moment of the whole film. I can see punishing the insubordinate cadet who messed up your Kobayashi Maru test. There's this thing called a brig on most ships. It's a place where people can be safely contained until such point they can be dealt with with due process. But essentially throwing him overboard in a life raft was, well, extreme to say the least, and a very un-Spocklike thing to do. Where is the logic in sending the guy that the captain made your first officer to a hostile, alien predator-filled environment, landing him 14 kilometers from the nearest Federation outpost, which is manned by two engineers? In my wildest imagination, I can't see any incarnation of Spock doing that. It just seemed to serve the plot points of picking up Scotty and meeting old Spock, and no other reason.

Speaking of old Spock, why in the hell did Nero drop him off on a little planet to watch Vulcan be destroyed, and then allow him to go free? I felt like it was a Dr. Evil moment where Scott Evil suggests shooting Austin Powers in the head, rather than Dr. Evil's idea: I’m going to put him in an easily-escapable situation involving an overly-elaborate and exotic death."

I'm pretty sure that's where the wheels came off for me. I really wanted to like this movie, and to a certain extent I did. But when characters go that far away from who I think I know them to be, it takes me right out of the drama and makes me start thinking critically, and that's never a good thing for me when watching a movie, particularly when it's a subject about which I care deeply, like Star Trek or Batman.

By the end I was thinking, let me get this straight: Kirk went from a third-year cadet on academic suspension to captain of the Federation flagship in (more or less) one day? Riiiiight.

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