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Star Trek - "Her first name is Nyota??"

Since I've written up all the films I've been watching in bed this week, I'll also say something about the one we actually saw in the cinema last week. As it happens, the only Trek novel I have read in the last twenty years is a Vonda McIntyre story about how Kirk and Spock got together, so I had already been exposed to one origin tale. (Her recent account of her involvement with the Trek franchise is also entertaining.)

I am sure Vonda McIntyre, who I know reads this lj occasionally, won't object to my conclusion that the film is much more memorable. Films generally are more memorable, because they are more of a social experience: it's not just you communicating with the author via a hunk of dead tree, it's your imagined interaction with the characters on screen; and your shared reactions with the person you're seeing it with, plus all your friends and acquaintances who have seen it, in a group experience that only books about Harry Potter can achieve. (All of which is muted but still not entirely absent if you're watching the film a year later on a crappy MP4 player while in bed dosed up on painkillers; cf my write-ups of Hellboy II, Iron Man and Dark Knight.)

The decision to set the new Star Trek in a parallel timetrack, where Kirk's father died, Vulcan is destroyed and Spock is in love with Uhura, also of course liberated JJ Abrams from many of the constraints that McIntyre's novel had; she had to end up with the Enterprise as we know it, Abrams theoretically didn't but we cheer because he did anyway. We cheer at a lot of places in the film, in roughly this order: Uhura, Captain Pike, the hungover McCoy, the green-skinned girl, the first appearance of Spock, the Enterprise including Chekov and Sulu, the appearance of Old Spock, Scotty (and his sandwiches and sidekick), and Leonard Nimoy's closing monologue. It looks fantastic, spaceships, monsters, dying planets and all. The supporting characters - Chekov, Sulu, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty and even Captain Pike - get a lot of very pleasing development. There are some cracking lines of dialogue, even if some of the references to Trek history may pass you by as they did me. There were of course a number of Things Which Don't Make Sense (another area where films often seem to have more liberty of manœuvre than books) but it would be unkind to list them. (Just one example, though: McCoy smuggling Kirk on board the Enterprise would surely have resulted in court-martial and expulsion from the service for both of them!)

This was really good fun, and I venture to predict that it will win next year's Hugo, and other awards, by a country mile.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2009 09:39 am (UTC)
When I saw it the entire cinema was full of geeks and nerds so it was a riot. I've always said a good audience adds to a film (best example had to be 300) and this was an awesome audience.
Jun. 12th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
But what dawned on me as I walked out was that now they have to go and save the whales again!
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
But at least Old!Spock! can warn them now so that they can do it properly this time. :)
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Yes. Prepare themselves ahead of time to blow that probe out of the sky.
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I really don't get the rabid dislike, especially among the self-selected more literati fans, of tie-ins. Yes, a lot of them are abysmal, but so are the majority of published novels. It's NOT easier, necessarily, to write in someone else's world to spec, either. So I mock those who mock writers of tie-in novels.

Except for the writers of tie-in novels who sneer and attack fanfic writers despite being themselves the producers of sanctioned fanfic. (Yes, I've read his pathetic self-justifying "No! No, really I'm not!" defense. It's filled with fail; if what he says is true, then he's WORSE than a fanfic writer in some ways, speaking as a writer myself.

Edited at 2009-06-12 02:44 pm (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
I liked the movie a lot, though some of the ridiculous plot holes, messing with established continuity (even in ways that aren't adequately explained by the time travel plot -- e.g. Starfleet's inexplicably detailed knowledge of the Romulans) and appalling science (the magnetic field of Saturn's rings? wtf?) did grate a fair bit. I'll forgive it, though, because it was just so much fun.

I seem to remember I enjoyed that Vonda McIntyre book many years ago, too!
Jun. 13th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
I liked the film - but there were a lot of jarring things in it too. Why the engineering section of the Enterprise should resemble the inside of a chemical plant I don't know (a hat-tip to Space Mutiny perhaps?). Likewise why the entrance to the Federation outpost resembles that of an old morgue I don't know...

The villain actually has the means to prevent the disaster that befell his homeworld - and decides to do something more villain-like instead.

There's more (as Jimmy Cricket would say), but I'll leave it with three stars and hope for the future.

BTW - did anyone have a flashback to the end titles of Thunderbirds when the end titles of this film were rolling?
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
As for whether it'll romp away with the Hugo: you're probably right, but I'm very much looking forward to Dorian Gray and especially The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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