A No Win Situation? Andy B on Star Trek

So I’ve been mulling over what I wanted to say about the brand new Star Trek film. Everyone is going to have their own take on the reboot, some good, some bad. I was with a gang of people at a Friday night screening. After we waited around for the end credits (no extra endings, if you were wondering), we all gathered as a group outside our theater and started mulling over what we thought of the film. When it came to me, all I could say were three words:

I don’t know.

And I didn’t. I really couldn’t put my finger on what I thought of the film. I knew I “liked” it, in the way that I was never bored. I liked the storyline (a vengeful Romulan out to destroy planets and one particular Vulcan, and the young Starfleet officers that try to stop him). The film was beautiful to watch and was clearly ably directed by J.J. Abrams. So what was it? What was gnawing at my brain? What stopped me from enjoying the film as much as I’d hoped I would?

After some thinking and mulling, I realized that much of what was missing for me were the things that will likely help make this Star Trek a blockbuster and appeal to a whole new range of fans.

I missed the guys. I missed William Shatner. I missed Patrick Stewart. I missed Takei, and Nichols, Frakes and Sirtis. I missed the actors that brought me to the dance in the first place. I was happy to see Leonard Nimoy one more time, but it sure made me wish to see Shatner with a phaser in his hand again.

That being said, I thought Chris Pine did a great job as James T. Kirk. The guy is good looking and a solid actor, and delivered a bang-on performance. But the moment I loved most came early on into the film, when we see how Kirk managed to defeat the dreaded Kobayashi Maru. In that scene, I defy anyone to argue that Chris Pine was not doing close to a full-blown Shatner/Kirk impression. And I loved it. It was spot on. And the perfect illustration of what I felt was missing. I guess I would have liked a little more of that sort of homage in the performances, but I also understand that for the masses,that just wouldn’t have worked. J.J. Abrams and his cast did right by not delivering pastiches and playing their parts straight. That’s what the franchise needed if it’s going to succeed and move forward.

Something else that was missing for me – a memorable score. I kept waiting for some sort of musical cue as stirring as the opening theme to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it just never came. Finally, once the end credits started rolling, we got the classic 60’s theme music, but it was too little, too late in my mind.

Having thought it over a bit, I’d say that I did enjoy Star Trek. It may not have had everything I wanted, but I’m optimistic about what comes next. J.J Abrams did a solid job in honouring the past (I swear Kirk bumping his head is straight out of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) while looking towards the future.

Boldly going where no one has gone before.

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