I am a fully credentialed Trekker from all the way back: Old Trek in syndication, Next Gen, DS9, Voyager, everything but Enterprise, which I thought started strong but lost momentum and then got tedious. Unlike many, I really loved DS9. I once pitched two Next Gen stories to Ron Moore over the phone, and was told that were the series not in its final season he would have passed one of them the line--the most painful near-miss of my life in SF! I've seen all the movies, and agree with those who think the even-numbered ones outclass the odd-numbered ones by a mile (favorites: The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home). There's no way a Trek movie could be made and I wouldn't drive 45 miles to see it if necessary (which it was).
So I did that last Friday, and I came away feeling disturbed. I'll put the cut here, so if you haven't seen it yet you needn't have your first impressions interfered with by mine.
Watching the movie, I was pretty happy. I liked it that the focus remained pretty tight on the characters without ceding too much ground to special effects. I thought the casting of the young Kirk, Spock, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura was good to excellent and the Scotty character acceptable; the only real miss, I felt, was the young McCoy, who didn't look right at all and didn't even have a southern accent. Nobody but Mark Lenard can ever cut it as Sarek for me, but the actor who played him did a decent job; the fault I find is with the writers, who make Spock's father much too supportive in the film. I stayed pretty engrossed in the story while still in the theater; the only thing that threw me out was finding that Spock and Uhura were now an item. Keep in mind that I bring an enormous amount of baggage to any Star Trek screening and never care as much about the story line as I do about how the characters interact in dealing with whatever they're given to deal with.
Driving the 45 miles home, though, I realized that I felt sad. At first I thought this was just the sadness of nostalgia, of being brought back in contact with something that had played such an important part in my life for such a long time, and realizing how much had changed since that had been true. It wasn't till about twelve hours later, in the middle of the night, that I abruptly understood why my mind had keep brooding over the movie all evening. You've probably figured this out already: the very premise of the movie (oversimplified)--that vengeful Romulans had traveled back in time to emerge at the moment of Kirk's birth and change the time line--had annihilated the entire Trek universe we know and love. These young whippersnapper movie writers had decided to wipe the slate clean and start over: same characters, same Starfleet Academy, same Earth, brand new game.
Me, I don't want
a brand new game. I want a new look at the same old game. I know why they eliminated the story we know, I see what good sense that makes in terms of Hollywood and box office and the demographic, but I'm talking here about what I
want, and this wasn't it.