What I Loved About It
It’s Just Fun
It is. It has the kind of balls-out sense of fun the Star Wars prequels were grimly lacking and, while it doesn’t have the overall cleanness of Galaxy Quest or Serenity, it’s certainly packing their moxie.
Everyone’s having a good time and putting in a fabulous ensemble performance. And while Yelchin has the least to work with (I’ve no doubt there’s a deleted scene explaining his baby genius back-story somewhere) and Bana is a very simple villain (he’s just a dude who’s gone a bit sideways after seeing his entire planet annihilated) there’s no one in particular standing out of place. Although at one point, Quinto does go Full Sylar. It’s less ‘Angry Tears Emotional Outburst’ and more ‘I’m Enjoying Hurting You.’ Reign it in, Zach. Also Simon Pegg’s accent, rather predictably, wildly vacillates.
The script does as best as it can while it shoehorns in “first meetings”. It has very funny moments, some great action and everything zips along at a cracking pace, never slowing down enough for you to revel in its flaws. They’ve also done a great job at wiping the slate clean with the “well, we’re in an alternate reality now, none of that other shit from the other movies/series’ is relevant to this or any future plot” storyline. That means there can be genuine peril; they can even kill Kirk off if the mood strikes. Vulcan is completely destroyed, FFS. That’s just a glimpse of how far they can fuck with us in the future.
What I Hated About It
Constant Lens Flare (a.k.a. J.J Abrams’ “Ow, My Retinas”)
Seriously, it’s insane. I read afterwards it was all done organically on set, a bunch of people shining flashlights into mirrors. In the words of Mr Christian Bale: “IT’S FUCKING DISTRACTING!” Also, I feel I may be semi-permanently blinded. Since, Abrams has admitted “I know there are certain shots where even I watch and think, ‘Oh, that's ridiculous. That was too many [lens flares].’” Put simply, it creates a glass wall between you and the film. Which I don’t think is a Good Thing.
The ‘Red Matter’, which is a big red liquid ball, is a MacGuffin straight out of Abrams’ TV show Alias. I groaned when I saw it. There’s a knowing wink to ‘what has come before’ in a person’s career, and then there’s the Red Matter. We’ve seen Rachel Nichols in her underwear covered in green paint; do we really need Rambaldi’s Engame as well? No. Also, one drop of that shit destroyed a planet. You’re telling me 20 gallons of it wouldn’t probably swallow the entire universe?
I have to say, as a chick, this bothered me the most. What, you couldn’t create a strong, intelligent female character without her being the third point in a love triangle between Kirk and Spock? Give me a break. Why couldn’t Sulu be the love interest? Maybe Scotty is into Asians, I don’t know. Surprise me!
Because of the glinty-glinty lens flares, fast editing and generally cluttered CGI, it was pretty fucking hard to tell what was going on during the ship battles in space. Is the ship in the black hole? Is it? What just happened? No clue.
The score was a little intrusive, especially at the beginning.
It was a really good Movie, but a dodgy Film. It was good popcorn-y fun and I’m looking forward to the next one.