tanithryudo: (IDIC)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
No I didn't watch this in the theater. And for once I didn't bootleg it either. =P I watched it for $3.99 on Google Movies. After, of course, having already thoroughly spoiled myself on the plot already, so I already knew going in that it was supposed to be more like a normal TOS episode than the previous two.

And, y'know, I actually kinda liked it, as a Star Trek AU. And considering how much fanfic I read, I don't have anything against AUs in an of itself.

The best thing I think which separates this movie from the previous ones is that they stopped trying to highlight the mainpain. Kirk's little mid-life crises, and Spock's little freakout over his alter-self's death were both only briefly mentioned. The movie doesn't drag it out and make it this big thing central to the story. Plus they both resolve themselves sorta in the background along with the rest of the story flow. It...makes them seem a (teeny) bit more like adults. Professionals. Not a bunch of traumatized children with no business flying a starship (though there is still a bit of that).

The second thing I liked about this is the world building (in terms of physical setting). Star Trek is such a huge setting, and so much of the background is never gone into with any depth, mostly due to the constraints of a TV budget. (Also, because many writers have no sense of scale, but that's a problem all sci-fi has.) I really liked Starbase Yorktown, both the concept behind it and the CGI implementation. We hear about the UFP being a union of many races, but we seldom get to see this in the TV shows or previous movies. Yorktown is a showcase of what a Federation should be able to do with that concept. And I love the fact that it's just the first of many.

(Also, despite people saying that Yorktown proves the Kelvin Timeline 23rd century Federation is much more advanced than the Prime TL 24th century, I don't think that follows at all. Just because the movies are filmed later with better CGI, doesn't mean that the setting necessarily must be more advanced. Yorktown is something I can see well within the Prime TL Federation to be able to build. And, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Prime Federation had them, though perhaps closer to the core worlds and not out on the borders of unknown space where who knows what might get offended and attack...)

Though, in terms of world building, I think something they've actually missed in this film was the worldbuilding in terms of alien races as more than just a one shot gimmick (like prehensile hair or acid snot). But then again, Star Trek has never been all that good at alien design for one-off characters. They have been slightly better with major characters, but there's only one (actually, half) of those in the cast. And I am slightly annoyed that there's not much Vulcan-ness to the reboot Spock. Honestly, much of his lines could've been just as easily swapped with Sulu or Chekov.

The third thing I liked is the fact that this was an ensemble film. Yes, Kirk did get to throw down with the bad guy and save the day at the end, but the whole effort leading up to it gave everyone to shine. Both Scotty and McCoy, and even Sulu and Chekov, got their time to grow and shine. Scotty gets to make the big inspirational speech, McCoy gets to swoop in and save the day, Sulu gets to show off his husband and daughter (*squee*), and Chekov shows the chops to become an excellent XO. Uhura gets some good scenes too, but I'm ok with her not having as big a role as the previous films given she had a bigger role in the last one. I do wish Spock would've gotten a more...unique role, but I suppose he's not horrible.

I know some nay-sayers online to scoff at the fact that Kirk was being an unprofessional whiner at wanting off the captaincy that he didn't deserve anyway to take up another early promotion to admiral that he doesn't deserve... But honestly, I think that entire character arc can be easily headcanoned away.

I mean, I always got the impression that Starfleet had a tendency to promote problematic captains into the admiralty out of the way where they might do less damage than in charge of a ship -- that's what a lot of people claim happened to Janeway when she showed up as an admiral in Nemesis, after all. Considering that the last movie had that crazy conspiracy against Kirk, I can see the admiralty wanting to get rid of a captain they might not like but can't punish for PR reasons by promoting him out of the way.

As for Kirk -- well, everyone forgets that the Prime Kirk did let himself get promoted after the 5 year mission (and I don't think he had a captaincy before the Enterprise either), so it's not really something that's completely out of character for him. Honestly, I do see the whole thing as a sort of mid-life crisis for Kelvin-Kirk. He's lived in the shadow of his father all this time, and now realizes he's older than his dad was when he died, and that makes him question where to go from there.

Some other nay-sayers decry the fact there was no moral lesson to the film. And yeah, I guess that's true. The constant lip service the characters keep on putting into unity being strong and etc... that never really came to much. Aside from that one alien girl, there wasn't any way that diversity featured into saving the day at the end.

But...Eh... while I think Star Trek is a good vehicle for social commentary and moral lessons, sometimes trying too hard to be deep doesn't work either. I mean, just look at STI The Motion Picture. Fun but not deep (like STIV) is still better than trying and failing (Insurrection). What this film did deliver on is a good deal of character focus and character growth -- which is something that's important to a franchise that is so centric to its cast, and especially for this one that didn't have a long running TV series to delve into characterization.

The only big weakness I feel this movie had was the villain (again). It's a little unfortunate the actor is a black guy, and his story/motivation feels disrespectful to veterans who come back from war with PTSD. IMO they probably would've had better luck with making it a mysterious/crazy alien. Or even a renegade from a race that used to be in conflict with the Federation...

Oh, but y'know what I feel really sorry for in this film? The Enterprise. Poor baby. She was brand new out of construction in the first film. The second film took place about a year afterwards. This one is supposed to be three years into their five year mission, so being generous, it takes place three years after the last movie. That means the ship was only four years old when it was destroyed. That beats the Enterprise-D record of 7+ years in service before being destroyed. Ouch.

Also, I saw some folks wondering at the fact that they had the Enterprise-A immediately ready to go at the end of the movie. However, I want to raise the fact that what we saw was very obviously a time-lapse construction. At the beginning of the shot, the ship was still being constructed, and I think it was mentioned still had a while to go. So I'm guessing the crew hung around Yorktown for a few months until it was ready.

Anyway, TLDR: Good popcorn movie. Useful world building movie. OK ensemble characterization. Try not to think too hard about the villain or generally anything about the villain plot. Fluffy romp; don't expect deep thoughts.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Just commenting on the one thing: Sulu being gay - George Takei actually didn't want Sulu to be gay, since that was not how he portrayed the character in STO and felt that it wasn't how Sulu was written. He came out against the idea of making Sulu gay just because the actor himself was, as he felt it was disrespectful and lazy writing. Instead, he wanted to see NEW characters who were gay. Or at least characters who made sense *coughKirkSpockcough*, rather than a token gay just because the actor was. That would have been braver and more envelope pushing than this kind of tokenism.

Frankly, I agree. I would have much preferred a gay new character or KirkSpock canonized than making Sulu gay, which didn't have any real impact in terms of pushing the LGBT envelope.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-07 02:06 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Hence why I'm not really feeling the "yay" for canon gay!Sulu. There's no risk to the choice at all. And given that Takei was against it, the decision feels pretty disrespectful. "Let's represent LGBT...but ignore the gay actor saying he doesn't want his character gay..." =.=
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