Monday, December 28, 2009

Star Trek: Beautiful Misery

In celebration of Monday being Sci-Fi and Bureaucracy day we've opened up the Star Trek (2009) DVD that I got for Christmas. It reminds me that the new movie is so beautiful, so well cast, so spectacular, that it is almost, almost, almost possible to completely miss the fact that the writing is utter crap. When we saw it in the theater it wasn't until after we were outside that I realized the plot holes big enough to fly the Enterprise through. Further, they could have removed the whole thing that masquerades as "the main plot" (i.e., ditch Nero/Bana) and I would have been happier. Then we could've just followed our favorite characters around while they give each other a hard time and the biggest plot issue would have been the Kirk/Spock/Uhuru love triangle. It also would have saved me from the moment in the movie when they reveal The Red Matter and I asked myself, "Damn, is this product placement for Target branding?" Seriously, that was my first reaction. NOT the way to engage the emotions of your audience. Although it did make me crave some pretty, useless items for my home.

And the whole Sulu with a katana thing? I'm sure that George Takei rolled his eyes at that one, cool and modernistic a weapon as it may have been (wicked cool transformer katana!) it totally flew in the face of the non-stereotyping choice of a foil that George had fought for in the series. Yes, I caught the nod when 2009 Sulu says he studied fencing. But if they wanted something sturdier than a foil they should've gone with a sabre. In his own mind 1966 Sulu is more Musketeer than Samurai. It's his life, he has the right. Must we change him so much? Have we slid backwards on racial stereotyping since 1966? I often think we have.

But, all that aside, they did manage to capture a big part of what made Star Trek immortal: camaraderie and humor. Hopefully next time out they can also tap into the intelligence and social commentary aspects. Until then I will content myself with just not watching the parts I think are stupid. It's a shorter movie that way, but much more enjoyable. This unfortunately means that I have to skip the Spock Prime scenes, the Spock I love above all Spocks, but I can only hope that Leonard Nimoy will forgive me. I daresay that if I talked to him about it he would shrug and say, "Don't look at me, I didn't write the goddamn thing. If I had it would have made more sense."

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