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Star Trek XI: Where No Lens Flare Has Gone Before

Date: Monday 7th December 2009
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Film wise Star Trek has the longest running stretch in a marketable franchise, it has 11 films, to date, from the TOS (The Original Series) era, through to the Next Generation era and now back to slightly pre-TOS - I say slightly pre-TOS because it's set before Kirk's original 5 year voyage and concentrates on the first adventures of the TOS crew, during their Starfleet Cadet years. Each film has its highs and lows and the series itself has a stigma attached, as the even numbered films are generally better than the odd numbered ones.

For those that don't know, the films are:

TOS era

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (aka The One with the Whales)
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The Next Generation era

  • Star Trek: Generations
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • Star Trek: Insurrection
  • Star Trek: Nemesis

Slightly Pre-TOS era

  • Star Trek

As you can see it, starts off being numbered, then they drop the numbering, which can be confusing - but hey, let's just go with it as we'll know that this is the Next Gen era. Then for the 11th film they go back to the original era and just call it Star Trek, which, although I can see why it was done, it can be even more confusing given the previous entries. I really hope they come up with something imaginative for the title to the twelfth/second Star Trek film because it'll just be a repeat of the confusion with the Star Wars films, as in when someone asks you if you've seen the first Star Wars film, do they mean Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) or Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)??

Now, I know, I did throw you with the use of "twelfth/second" and as I explained earlier, the latest film was set during the cadet days of the TOS crew.

Star Trek XI is the only film in the series that I really can't make my mind up whether I like it or not. It is seen as a reboot to the series and it makes a huge change to the continuity that has been established during the TV series and subsequent films (see above). That is, to completely change everything the fans know about the film by going back in time and disrupting events a la The Terminator.

Reasons to not like it:

  • Lens flare. There is just too much of it!
  • The iEnterprise, although I think the director, J. J. Abrams (Lost, Mission Impossible III) used so much lens flare that it had the adverse effect of whitewashing the walls in iPod white
  • The convenient way in which Kirk meets Scotty, it seemed like the writers just gave up and said, sod it, he's here on the same random backwater planet that Kirk is marooned on, a planet that no one in his/her right mind would ever visit. The film is not for the Star Trek fans anyway and nobody is going to care....
  • The engine room(?!?), even the worst Star Trek tv series Enterprise got that one right and it is set during Starfleet's first voyage (before the birth of the Federation)
  • The strange flip hand phasers and the machine gun-like ship phasers

Reasons to like it:

  • Zachary Quinto - he looks the part!
  • The outside of the Enterprise
  • Some of the action scenes were well done, like the one where the interior ship's corridor is blown up and the camera follows one woman being sucked into space
  • Some of the script was ok in some areas
  • Simon Pegg, even though he looked nothing like Scotty, he did successfully pull off the scottish accent

As you can see, there is, for me, points for and against, it has enough points for me to see it again (and I have), so lets just wait for the follow-up and see if it improves. Although I would have preferred it if they went from the Next Gen era to DS9 or Voyager, but it looks like that'll never be.

You can't expect miracles from Hollywood.

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