Saw Star Trek this morning, and at any given moment I go from loving it, to really hating it, back to loving it again. For the benefit of those who haven’t seen it yet (and if you haven’t by now-chances are pretty good you won’t until the DVD comes out), I’ll keep any spoliers to a minimum. In fact the only spoilerish thing I’ll say, is that the story involves time travel.
To which I say: Fuck time travel! Fuck alternate universes where Spock and Uhura make out, and various and sundry things happen. Time travel is very tricky to do, and the writers make no attempt to even have any of it make sense. So please, don’t think about it too hard or you might just implode. I hated that aspect of the movie-to the point that it nearly ruined the whole thing for me.
Having said that, what did work in the movie, worked extraordinarily well. The relationship between Kirk and Spock was a joy to watch unfold. Perhaps even more moving was watching the friendship between Kirk and McCoy develop. Having loved Karl Urban in Lord of the Rings as Eomer, I couldn’t imagine him as the feisty doctor; but dammit Jim, he’s an actor, and embodied everything about the character you’d expect. He is one piece of casting that serves as the glue to keep the whole together. When he refers to Spock as a green blooded hobgoblin at one point, it was like seeing DeForest Kelley. Not to say he was aping Kelley’s performance from 40 years ago, but more like channeling him. He steals every scene he’s in, I just wish he was in more.
Chris Pine managed to bring the essence of Kirk to the screen, without making you think of Shatner once. So good is he in the iconic role, I forgot about Bloat Shatner for two hours. His womanizing, arrogant persona is intact-yet he doesn’t come across as unlikable (as the original sometimes did for me); he brings a humanity to the role that simply wasn’t there in the last 4 decades.
Zachary Quinto is a perfect replica of Nimoy’s Spock, bringing everything Nimoy has invested in the Vulcan to the table. My only problem with Quinto is he seemed a bit too, fey is the word I’m looking for, so when he kisses Uhura it certainly doesn’t seem authentic. his nasal delivery doesn’t really help matters much either. Despite that, he brings a strong counterbalance to Kirk, even though he can be every bit as arrogant-in spite of his logic which compels him to act.
And then there’s Scotty. WTF did they do to Scotty? When did he become the fricking comic relief? If ever there was any miscasting in the movie, it was Simon Pegg as Montgomery Scott. I like Pegg a lot. I loved Shaun of the Dead, and liked Hot fuzz, but in ST, he’s wasted. For this I blame the writers. They did such a good job in capturing the essence of every other character (though like the series, all given short shrift), how did they manage to fuck up Scotty? And that little rock like companion, what the hell was that? I was afraid George Lucas had done some script doctoring.
What works best in ST are the characters, it’s just unfortunate that in a pretty enjoyable franchise reboot, they had such a lame story to tell.