Mark Watches ‘Star Trek’ (2009)

In the first “new” Star Trek film, THIS WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EXPECTED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

Well, that washed the bad taste left behind from that Enterprise finale. HOLY SHIT, I LOVED THIS MOVIE. LET’S DISCUSS.

  • As it turns out, I always thought I had seen this movie as it played in the background of a party years ago, but apparently not??? None of this seemed familiar to me, so I must have seen parts of Into Darkness? WHO FUCKING KNOWS ANYMORE. Maybe I slipped through a black hole myself and saw a movie from the Prime universe.
  • Regardless: this movie was an unending treat, at least once the film got away from some of the less savory elements in the beginning. The cold open of this film is masterful and weird and upsetting, and I WAS SAD TEN MINUTES IN. But it was a fantastic way to introduce me to this world, which looked familiar but was still strange and new. And it was the death of George Kirk which clued me in to the fact that this was a different version of Trek, one that was doing its own thing. Which I was fine with! I didn’t need this to be a carbon copy in any way. Sure, there were a lot of visual cues and story similarities to The Original Series, but I was fine with something brand spankin’ new.
  • Well, except for how gross the whole chauvinism thing was once we changed from Kirk being a rebellious kid (WHO DROVE A CAR OFF A CLIFF, WHAT THE FUCK) to an incredibly gross adult. Like, I get that Kirk has a thing for the women? And the Trek world is so straight? (WHERE IS GAY SULU, ISN’T THAT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN.) But wow, he straight-up assaulted Uhura???? That was such an awful scene! Also… only a straight white dude would assault a woman, get into a huge barfight over it, and then immediately be offered a position in Starfleet.
  • SO. I’m glad that for the most part, the film stops following this specific element of Kirk’s personality and instead gives us EXPLOSIONS. EMOTIONS. PLOT TWISTS.
  • Y’all, the pacing for this film is incredible. 90 minutes in and I thought like half the time had passed. I was transfixed!
  • And this cast is just PERFECT. See, part of the allure of this film is that the whole time travel plot allows the film series to be kind of similar to the Prime universe. In that sense, this is one of the better alternate universe/alternate timeline stories in the Trek world. It’s why I like parallel universe tropes as much as I do: How are the two worlds similar? Different? At what point do the two universes diverge?
  • Here, it’s right around when Kirk is born, as Nero’s collision into the past sets all these characters onto a different timeline, one where James T. Kirk’s father dies while sacrificing himself to save everyone else, including his son and wife. Thus, this film is both a reboot and… a sequel? Or a prequel? Or all of the above, IT CAN BE EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING WE WANT IT TO BE.
  • Which means that we get to see Spock dealing with his human emotions more, and y’all know I love watching Vulcans cope with their emotions. IT IS ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITE TREK THINGS.
  • Which means that Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty are all given WAY MORE SCREENTIME AND PRESENCE IN THE STORY ITSELF THAN I WAS READY FOR. Obviously, Kirk, Spock, and Bones were always going to have the most to do here, but wow. I know it seems like a weird thing to be excited about, but I am so glad that this reboot film doesn’t commit the same sin as literally all of the other Trek films. Sulu’s big scene on the drill was so amazing! And the fencing joke turned into AN ACTUAL FUCKING SKILL SET, HOLY SHIT.
  • The way this cast comes together is another of my favorite tropes: RAGTAG BAND OF STRANGERS WHO ALL HAVE ONE THING THEY’RE GOOD AT AND MAKE UP A BETTER WHOLE.
  • Let me also praise the fact that Kirk’s jerkish behavior is finally addressed when Spock literally ejects him onto an ice planet. In hindsight: one of the funniest fucking things in the entire Trek canon.
  • “Get this man off my ship.” :: EJECTS SAID MAN OFF THE SHIP IN A POD, NEVER TO RETURN. ::
  • I WILL NEVER GET OVER THIS.
  • Nero isn’t my favorite villain in Trek lore, but he’s solid enough for this film, which had a lot of ground to cover in just two hours. I was reminded of the Xindi plot of Enterprise’s third season, which also dealt with the future knowledge that a planet would be destroyed and someone committing genocide via time travel in order to stop it. The similarities mostly stop there, especially once Spock Prime (!!!!!! HAVE NOT RECOVERED FROM THIS !!!!!!) explains that he tried to save Romulus. Nero’s motivation is a bit shaky, though, because it’s not like Spock didn’t try to save Nero’s home and his people. He was just late! And it seems like Nero’s reaction is a bit much, but he’s also a fairly one-note villain, one so consumed with the idea of vengeance that he was willing to wait for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS outside a black hole for Spock Prime to arrive.
  • The conflict, though, is really second place to the emotional undercurrent of this film. I just wanted to see how these characters would interact with one another. How did they become friends? How did they overcome all of the ways in which they weren’t compatible with one another at first? How did they settle into their roles within Enterprise? Those pieces take a decent amount of time to settle, especially in the case of Montgomery Scott, who doesn’t even appear until past the halfway mark of Star Trek. Yet even then, this film manages to capture the original spirit of The Original Series while crafting something new.
  • SPOCK/UHURA IS CANON. IT’S CANON, IT’S REALLY FUCKING GREAT, AND I LOVE THAT IT IS REVEALED AT SUCH A RAW AND VULNERABLE TIME, AND I LOVE THAT IT’S TREATED AS SOMETHING VALID AND POWERFUL AND SO HELP ME, Y’ALL, I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED.
  • Oh god, y’all, this was truly an enjoyable experience, and I’m so glad I’m watching these movies. Perfect mix of nostalgia/references and this new canon barreling into the unknown. AND I GET TO WATCH TWO MORE OF THEM!!!

The video for Star Trek can be downloaded here for $2.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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