If I had to choose, I would fall on the Star Wars side between Star Trek and the holy trilogy (let's pretend the Star Wars prequels didn't happen, okay?). I like to set the stage so that everyone understands my point-of-view. I've send every major Star Trek movies, multiple times, and am a big fan of Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn and a The Undiscovered Country as well as The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home. It's those pesky odd numbered films that I like to ignore.
So in going to see the new J. J. Abrams "Star Trek" last night I had high expectations. The last trailer I saw looked rocking and had plenty of action and some fun, quirky one-liners that I thought would play out on the big screen. But then I saw Abrams on The Colbert Report and he admitted that he wasn't a Star Trek fan and I thought that was a bit odd in that he'd want to make a movie about a series that he wasn't a fan, but I brushed it off.
The film opens with a bang and, if I might say so, the best part is the opening. There's more eye candy there than you can handle. Phasers and ships blowing up and photon torpedoes, oh my! But then the action slows and you're brought through this muddled plot that makes no sense. I loved the introduction of the characters early on, but by the time you get to some really weak writing such as "Hey, I'm stuck here too, isn't it neat that we all happen to be meeting up at once? Just right when we need such special ability?" that I started to lose interest. To make it even more of a bore, a flashback scene with a voiceover explains what the heck has happened so that you can connect the dots. I just shook my head and sighed. Come on. I'm not stupid, but I guess if you have such a weak plot that you need to make certain that everyone gets that you're re-inventing the Star Trek universe and you happen to throw in lots of bad science, contrived plot lines and extremely weak characterizations.
I'm trying to remain vague on purpose but the big baddy (Captain Nero) decides to spend 25 years of his life trying to capture someone. He does and his big revenge is to release this person (what the?!) so that he can live with all the pain that Nero has. Then, late in the film, Nero says something like: "I knew I shouldn't have let him go! Gosh darnnit!" (Well, I added the "Gosh" part.) It's plot holes like that in which you just scratch your head and think: The baddy can blow up planets and he's too stupid to keep his enemy locked up? Are you kidding me?
I could go on and on and on with all these crazy plot holes, but I'm getting bummed. I'm glad that the Blu-ray versions of the original Star Trek films are coming out next week. I'll see them again. Now don't get me wrong. There's some good in these films, but the plot so weakens this film that it's not even funny. Really, it's not. I thought the acting was good, but many of the supporting cast have nothing to do in the film and that's a shame because I would have liked to have seen them work more together. But, I expect the next film will move onward and develop those relationships.
As for the effects, they're top-notch. The sound is immersive (though I wasn't a fan of the score) and there are some great battles. It's just my belief that the best is in the first 15 mins. You never really see anything that matches that throughout the rest of the film. Out of a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7 (a 70 passing grade but nothing to write home about).
One last comment: There's a scene in which Bill Hunt of www.TheDigitalbits.com says explains why this film "isn't your father's Trek." I now know what scene he's talking about (it's in the elevator of the Enterprise with two characters). I thought that scene was self-serving and didn't really add much to the story or the plot. Seemed to be thrown in there for shock value as though Abrams is saying, "See, I'm hip! Really, I am." I get it. I really get it, and for the record, it's not hip. Wasn't a shocker for me. Just made me roll my eyes as, again, the connection didn't matter to the story. Just was thrown in there.
But I don't want to end on a low note. Chris Pine as Kirk is a splash of fresh water and I really enjoyed his portrayal of the iconic Kirk. Nicely done! There's a lot to love in this new film if you ignore the lame baddy and the plot. So basically, treat it as a popcorn flick and you'll have fun. It's no "The Dark Knight."