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Film review: Star Trek The Future Begins Movie

Q: How many ears does Captain Kirk have?
A: Three. The left ear, the right ear, and the final frontier.

091002 Star-Trek

On Saturday evening, Jed and I went to MarkJ’s house, where his brother supplied the latest Star Trek movie. It was an amusing, entertaining film, and if you think I’m only saying that because I don’t know MarkJ’s brother well enough to slag off his taste in movies, I appreciate your dilemma. You’ll have to use your discretion. Sorry.

Star Trek 2009 is a reboot of the Star Trek franchise, telling the back-story of the crew and the series of flukes via which James Tiberius Kirk comes to be captain of the Starship Enterprise.

No idea what the plot is about. It involves a fleet of Romulans. I’m not sure why the producers didn’t choose more compelling intergalactic villains for the franchise premiere – for example, the horny-headed Klingons; or the terrifyingly ridiculous-looking and inalienly strong Gorn. But there you go.

Anyhoo, the Romulans pootle around the universe applying impressive special effects to planets. Apart from that, even Eric Bana’s freakishly small head fails to make the Romulans look the least bit threatening. They have no exoskeletal anomalies, no surplus proboscises, no multiple recessed jaws; they are even a standard Caucasian colour. Although their blood is greenish-yellow, there isn’t half enough of it splattering about the set.

I suppose they do have impressive cranial tattoos – but then so do lots of people – I mean, it’s hardly chillingly blood-crawling.

Q: How many Star Trek landing party members does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the extra red-shirt will die in the attempt

The movie introduces Kirk as a foetus, and unfortunately the character does not appear to mature in any measurable way throughout the course of the movie apart from a rudimentary mastery of his motor functions. Impossible as it may seem, Chris Pine’s incarnation of Kirk made me wistfully yearn for William Shatner.

091102 Kirk

Even Uhura, embarking on her mission to boldly sleep her way to the top, keeps Kirk firmly at bargepole’s length. Which tells you all you REALLY need to know.

But since you asked nicely, I will of course tell you more.

Kirk is so whiny and boisterously annoying, you want to ground him until he reaches adulthood – about 20 years. The only new life forms he is interested in seeking out are the female variety (demonstrating a disturbing fetish for bottle-green redheads).

Q: Does Kirk become the first cadet in the history of the Academy to outwit the Kobayashi Maru Simulation with his blistering intelligence and encyclopaedic knowledge of Klingon war strategy?
A: No, Kirk CHEATS.

Q: Following his suspension from the Academy, does Kirk unexpectedly disguise himself as the First Officer and blag his way on board the USS Enterprise?
A: No, he is smuggled aboard by his friend.

Q: Does Kirk detect a Romulan trap using his powers of deduction and encyclopaedic knowledge of Romulan war tactics?
A: No; by pure chance, he overhears Uhura talking about it in her underwear (although the fact that he recalls the information at all with Uhura clad only in her underwear is undeniably admirable).

Even worse, Kirk’s bravery does not translate to skilled combat.

Q: When a Romulan is stamping on Kirk’s fingers as the rest of him hangs from the edge of a drilling platform, does Kirk lunge for his assailant’s ankle and pull himself back onto the platform while simultaneously hurling the Romulan to his death?
A: No, Sulu saves Kirk’s dangling ass with a timely sword thrust.

Q: When another Romulan is in the process spanking Kirk with nothing more than his fists and a big sneer, does Kirk distract him with a talking newt before bludgeoning the Romulan’s head to a fine paste with his thumbs?
A: No, he pulls the Romulan’s own gun on him.

And this is the permanently pubescent person chosen to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly pilot the USS Enterprise where no man has gone before.

In fact, the only positive character attribute exhibited by Kirk is a totally unfounded bravery.

Well, Kirk might be brave, but so is Rambo, and I wouldn’t hand the reins of the Starship Enterprise over to him.

Although I would if the only alternative was Kirk.

The vaunted friendship between Kirk and Spock is made possible only by virtue of Spock’s paucity of emotion.

091102 Fascinating

For some reason, the story features two Spocks. Obviously, this is a good thing – but replacing Kirk with Spock altogether would have been better still.

Spock’s ears appear to have been ‘modernised’ into immobile wax sculptures on either side of his head. Why? WHY? What was wrong with Spock’s original aural devices? I’ll tell you what: NOTHING. Spock’s ears used to be sublime perfection: those delicate pinnacles of silicon pointiness that looked like they might fly off into the control console at the slightest hint of turbulence; that, when you flicked them with your index finger, made a satisfying thwippety thwippety sound that resulted in a cochleal orgasm.

Q: How can you improve on that?
A: You can’t.

Terrific movie; well worth a watch.

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