So how familiar are you with the Star Trek movies? Can you name them all and give a synopsis? Can you quote most of Khan? Are you familiar with the odd number curse? Yeah I can do all that but don’t worry that isn’t required for you to read this post. Well you do need to know about the odd number curse. If you have seen the movies you are probably somewhat aware of this curse. Each odd numbered movie was significantly worse than the even numbered movies. Think about it. Star Trek the Movie. The first, the suck. Seriously, who’s idea was it to cast Kirsty Alley as a bald Vulcan? I’m assuming lot’s of drugs were involved in that decision and also the choice to make the “villain” a Voyager Satellite that wondered off into deep space becoming sentient and deciding to come back looking for daddy. I’m assuming this is the origin of the Borg and Kirsty Alley became the first Borg Queen. This isn’t canon but it sure makes me feel better about the movie. Compare that to Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan and you get the picture. If you are a fan the first movie isn’t bad, but compared to Wrath of Khan it isn’t even a shadow of how frigintastic the series can be.
This curse carried through with the Search for Spock, The Undiscovered Country, Generations, and Insurrection. Each of these had good parts and a theoretically good plot, but each failed to really push into a great movie with game changing moments.
This brings us to Star Trek (2009). This is a reset movie and is the 11th Star Trek movie in the franchise. It is an odd number but also another one. In many ways the curse should have doubled down on it resulting in something worse than The Undiscovered Country, in which they find god who isn’t God. This movie, on the other hand, is easily in my top 3 favorite Star Trek films. It is difficult to surpass Wrath of Khan, which was the second, or First Contact, which was the second Generations movie. I think Wrath of Khan is still more quotable which means it was better writing, but you can’t get past the action from this movie.
Actually, I feel like Star Trek (2009) took a lot from Wrath of Khan. Not to say that they stole things but rather that they saw what made it good and tweaked it into a new and very different movie. They did use the giant ear wig looking things and there was a speech from the villain that sounded like one of Khan’s speeches but other than that there were no direct pulls just a general kind of feeling that linked the two.
I’m not saying the movie was perfect though. They really messed with some parts of the franchise. I mean really messed with them. That kind of hurt but I get the reasoning.
Still the pluses way outweighed the negatives. It was great watching the characters interact. They did a great job with the dynamic of various character interactions. I especially enjoyed watching Spock and Bones. There were plenty of jabs and one liners that were a throwback to the original series. Scotty was awesome and they even had a great red shirt homage (didn’t think I knew that word did you?).
Of course I’ve been very careful to avoid any specific details. I want to talk about those for people who have seen the movie though, so beware
There be Spoilers beyond this point
Can’t say I didn’t warn you. This is a reset movie. The timeline from previous movies and shows is changed in the opening sequence of the movie. In it a Romulan mining ship travels back in time and destroys a Federation star ship. Kirk’s dad becomes captain for about 12 minutes before going down with the ship to save the escaping crew including his wife who is delivering their son James Tiberius Kirk at the time. It really is a great sequence but it changes, somewhat, the character and most certainly the timeline. Later it gets worse though. Eventually Vulcan is destroyed leaving an estimated 10,000 Vulcans in existence. This will not be something that the race will quickly recover from.
One thing I’m not sure about is the future of the franchise. In the past they would make a huge thing like this to happen then reset things back to normal. In the shows this would often happen at the end of the season allowing fans to wonder how they will fix it between seasons. In Wrath of Khan they kill of Spock but bring him back in the Search for Spock. It is possible the next movie will offer a reset by repairing the timeline. This isn’t impossible and it would allow for some variances because the crew the restores the timeline would be able to remain themselves thus explaining differences in canon. At this point I’m not too worried either way but I would love for the next movie to offer a reset, unless they bring back Khan. In the original series Kirk faces Khan much later in the timeline for the first time, but with a reset they could bring him in sooner and have an epic showdown again. It would be pretty amazing to see them go that route and I’d rather see that than a reset.
My single biggest complaint is the relationship between Uhura and Spock. If you didn’t see the movie I’m sorry for ruining that for you but I did warn you. Yes, you heard me right Uhura and Spock have a relationship. She is hanging all over him and kissing him and he is … well a Vulcan. That really didn’t make any sense to me. I’m not saying she should fall for Jim. In fact I think that is just plain wrong, but so it Uhura and Spock. This is something they must fix before bad things happen.
That said, I will be buying this movie at the earliest possible moment. It was truly epic and is very honoring of the franchise even with the unbelievable changes. What did you think?