Star Trek 2009: Better SFX, Awful Everything Else

Remember when you were a kid and you borrowed your parents’ video camera to make movies, usually with the neighborhood kids? Inevitably, you would produce a Star Trek movie.

J. J. Abrams did that exact same thing only his Star Trek movie had a $150 million budget and was released by Paramount.

The original Star Trek cast (above) versus the Star Trek 2009 cast.

The original Star Trek cast (above) versus the Star Trek 2009 cast.

Abrams’ Star Trek, the 11th of the franchise, lost Land of Punt as soon as the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage blared through the entertainment system of a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine (i.e. a car).

With less intelligence than half an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, Abrams’ Star Trek 2009 is two painful hours of loud, obnoxious action with characters that just happen to have the same names as the characters from the original series.

Gene Roddenberry isn’t rolling over in his grave he’s dug himself out and is now tracking Abrams down. “Brains!”

The movie is more of a wacky-comic romp through space than a well-thought out science fiction action-drama.

At times Star Trek seemed less like a movie and more like a bad sketch.

At times Star Trek seemed less like a movie and more like a bad sketch.

Chris Pine’s Kirk is great if the Enterprise was a zany college fraternity. He has no chemistry with anyone in the cast.

Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, is absolutely awful. We’ve seen better Spock impersonators at Star Trek conventions.

McCoy, overacted by Karl Urban, basically jams every McCoy-ism he can think of into the dialogue, regardless of whether or not it makes any sense. Of course that problem plagues the entire script. Also, his hair was the single most distracting object in the history of western cinema.

John Cho plays Sulu

Simon Pegg is Scotty, at least we think he was. We’re actually not sure what character Pegg was playing. LOP believes the filmmakers forgot all about Scotty and added him at the last moment.

Anton Yelchin’s Russian accent was as ridiculous as it was insulting. The person who allowed Yelchin to play Chekov like that, should be dematerialized.

Winona Ryder plays Spock’s mom. Her makeup is excellent—they really did a good job to make her look younger (you’ll get that joke when you see the movie).

Tyler Perry appears in the film as an admiral. He’s ’s the head of Tyler Perry’s Starfleet Academy.

Eric Bana plays the bad guy and he’s unbelievably average. Of course, that’s what you expect from a Star Trek film. Besides Khan, the franchise has never been known for their villains.

Zoe Saldana’s Uhura and Bruce Greenwood’s Captain Christopher Pike are awesome. They’re the best parts of the movie.

The Enterprise is always cool.  Not even Abrams can screw that up.

The Enterprise is always cool. Not even Abrams can screw that up.

Land of Punt serious doubts if the screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, ever even saw the original series… or the inside of a science classroom.

Abrams’ direction was great for a CW program. Land of Punt expected the movie to go to a commercial break followed by a couple of trailers for Reaper and Gossip Girl.

The incomparable Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock. Despite pushing 106, Nimoy was fabulous, kudos to him. His appearance also revealed that Vulcans get shorter as they age (you’ll get that joke too when you see the movie).

And yes, Nimoy’s Spock meets Quinto’s Spock (surprise) in the culmination of the best aspect of the movie and the only part of the movie with any Star Trek quiddity.

To explain away the parts of the movie that deviate from Star Trek cannon (i.e., to mask the filmmakers’ laziness and lack of imagination) Star Trek 2009 is set in an alternate timeline.

Star Trek 2009 looked great but had none of the charm of any previous incarnation of the franchise

Star Trek 2009 looked great but had none of the charm of any previous incarnation of the franchise

While extremely cheesy, it’s quintessential Star Trek. Therefore LOP will overlook the fact that this gimmick gives Paramount carte blanche to basically do whatever they want with a franchise that’s a bona fide, box office hit.

In other words, the plot device was more commercial than it was creative.

Unfortunately, the revelation that Star Trek is set in an alternate timeline was hurriedly compacted in a 100 second montage conveniently introduced by a Vulcan mind meld. Yes, the script is that vapid.

This movie can best be described by the following phrase, “Star Trek Go Boom!” While it “updates” the franchise it completely lacks the spirit of Star Trek.

In a stroke of utter stupidity, reminiscent of Superman Returns (remember that filmmakers omitted the line, “American Way”) Pike nonchalantly mentions to Kirk Starfleet’s mission. He does so in such a condescending way that it feels like the movie is mocking Star Trek’s principles of peaceful coexistence and exploration.

Then at the end of the film, in the ultimate insult to the spirit of Star Trek, Kirk and Spock brutality blast the helpless Romulans out of the sky (space).

That’s not how Star Trek rolls.

This movie is style over substance and it lacks humanity. If that’s what “updating” means then we want our old Star Trek back.

Quinto and Pine had absolutely no chemistry.  Pine was way over his head and Quinto was downright awful.

Quinto and Pine had absolutely no chemistry together. Pine was way over his head in the role of Kirk and Quinto was downright awful as Spock.

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