zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
[personal profile] zeborah
So it was great. For one thing, it's about time Star Trek gets into an alternate history it can't fix. For another, the easiest way to make a new movie without worrying about screwing up the continuity is to say "Stuff the continuity", and they did that with style. Win-win.

I am totally shipping Spock/Uhura. That was just beautiful and perfect: the respect she had for his vulcan-ness and his ease with her humanity. The way they negotiated his stuff-up over the "favouritism".

A bunch of the plot was really stupid (promoting a cadet to first officer???) but it didn't matter because it was fun.

Also, imploding Vulcan takes some guts.

---

Some things I noticed that I thought were problematic:

[Edits 26/5 thanks to comment from andres_s_p_b]

* The black captain of colour dying so that Kirk's father can have his twelve minutes of glory. Whereas when Pike got captured so that Kirk could (eventually) get to the captain's chair, he got to survive.

* Kirk's mother disappears from the screen as soon as she's given birth. Spock's mother disappears more dramatically...

* Uhura really needs to learn how to stop her boyfriends beating people up. The helpless maiden look doesn't suit her.

(This isn't problematic except in reinforcing the "It's not like violence actually hurts anyone" theme so common in action movies, but seriously, Kirk got beaten up three times in a single movie.)

* Uhura's hair was *really* straight. Granted Nichelle Nichols' style wasn't anywhere near as curly as I remembered, but it wasn't *that* straight.

* Number One never existed. She isn't even there to get killed heroically in an attack.

* Not many other women are there. Green-skinned girl. And some extras. Also not many other people of colour. The head of the Academy. And some other extras.

* Chekhov's accent... I can't tell if they were going for comic effect or if they'd actually considered the embarrassment of voice activation not working and how over the years after this he'll work to modify the accent to fit in with Star Fleet's idiotic non-customisable computers, which is why it's so much stronger than in the TOS we're familiar with which was set relatively in the future to this. IOW, it made sense but it also made me wince.

* Apparently being short makes an alien perfectly fitted for the role of cute mute comic relief mascot.

* Star Fleet fails at prosthetics. OTOH a promotion's nice.

---

This doesn't mean I don't think this was a heap of fun, just that it would have been cooler if the movie had gone like this:

Black Captain of Colour doesn't go aboard the enemy ship because that's dumb and achieves nothing plotwise, but does the "Captain goes down with the ship" thing after Kirk Sr gets blown up at one of Star Fleet's Explodey Consoles(TM). (I don't think there's any way for him not to die, but he can at least get the name of hero for himself, dammit.)

The robot traffic cop is female or androgynous.

Uhura uses some of that self defense training the Academy no doubt gives all its recruits to get her boyfriend off Kirk for at least five seconds. Kirk and/or the boyfrind then resume the fight, at which point she calls for reinforcements.

Kirk Jr's recruiter doesn't have to talk about his father's hallowed name; it's no more use than talking about how important the Federation is blah blah blah. What he *should* be saying is "You'll get to drive really fast ships."

Kiddie!Spock's tormenters cast aspersions on the mental integrity of his father.

More women and POC in the bit parts. In fact, there's so few of them and they're so bitty, you could have those parts be entirely women and POC and the movie would still look full of whites and males.

Number One is mentioned, stuck elsewhere when the emergency breaks out.

Spock's mother lives. His father dies. His mother gives Spock an appropriate balance of emotional and logical comfort.

A few of the evacuated Vulcans have dark skin like Tuvok. Maybe even one of the council. [26/5: Various people have told me they did see Vulcans with dark skin; I clearly fail at noticing things and should watch the movie again as penance.]

The alien mascot and Scotty communicate in ASL. (BSL would make more sense, unless there's a specifically Scottish sign language? Or Alien SL, but that'd be a nuisance. ASL would be easiest. Subtitles optional: call it an easter egg.) Also he/she/it does something useful at some point. (Like reprogramming the computer to understand a broader variety of accents. Well, okay, maybe not in the middle of action, but still.)

Future!Spock actually tells Kirk *how* to make Spock show that he's been emotionally compromised, to wit by suggesting he inherited madness from his father.

Uhura has learnt more self-defense in the meantime and gets Spock off Kirk herself. This is made easier because, angry as he is, he's still very much in love.

Pike gets either prosthetics or a way niftier wheelchair.

Since Spock is emotionally compromised he's not suited to be that high in the chain of command. He therefore takes up his role as science officer.

Starfleet decides that, while these kids are pretty darn competent, still they're all straight from the Academy, so they assign Number One to be Kirk's executive officer, just in case. Kirk refrains from being a git about it. --This paragraph would possibly need to be deferred to the start of the next movie, for shape reasons. But if they could find a way for her to be instrumental in the plot somewhere that's not the Enterprise or Earth (the evacuation? but I do realise movies have time constraints) then it'd work at the end of this one.

---

I say these things because I love it.

---

(Comments are screened because I don't have enough mental energy to actually spell out a comment policy and because I'm an evil despotic censor like that.)

Date: 2009-05-09 10:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] painoarvokas.livejournal.com
I really like the "You'll get to drive really fast ships." idea :)

Date: 2009-05-09 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] painoarvokas.livejournal.com
Some random things that I liked about the movie that I didn't mention in my own review:

– the pre-reboot Spock lying about time travel paradoxes (and how he avoids the accusation:)

– the way they reinvented Uhura (despite the pointful comments you made above)

– that they explained the nickname "Bones" (though the explanation could have been better)

Some things that I think could have been done better:

– Why the hell only one of the drop team carried the explosives? Losing one was a high probability. Poor mission planning.

– As you noted: why was a student promoted to XO without having distinguished himself yet? (Although I think one can make the case that the Enterprise was crewed entirely by students, apart from Pike and Spock, and Kirk apparently was the top student.)

– Where was the commodore of this little ad-hoc squadron? Or did they *again* send a set of ships with no overall command authority in harm's way?

Date: 2009-05-09 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] painoarvokas.livejournal.com
The first time I wondered about the commodore was before they warped out. Handling that many ships close together takes coordination, and usually that's provided by the flag staff.

Date: 2009-05-09 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mjlayman.livejournal.com
I'm seeing the movie tomorrow with some of the bookgroup folk (I don't mind spoilers), and I remember Uhura's hair as being completely straight most of the time, with straight-and-a-curve-in-at-the-bottom later.

Date: 2009-05-15 04:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joenotcharles.livejournal.com
I'm pretty sure I saw a black Vulcan (sorry) sitting just behind Sarek just after they get evacuated to the Enterprise.

Date: 2009-05-23 02:31 pm (UTC)
ext_33229: replace fear of the unknown with curiosity (infinity of worlds)
From: [identity profile] tuawahine.livejournal.com
Oh, I totally forgot to mention these myself:

* Number One never existed. She isn't even there to get killed heroically in an attack.
Yes!! My favourite Star Trek woman, and given her lack of backstory (or even name) they could have done anything with her. *pouts*

* Not many other women are there. Green-skinned girl. And some extras. Also not many other people of colour. The head of the Academy. And some other extras.
I admit that I didn't notice the lack of non-European faces, possibly because of Uhura (and Sulu), but the lack of women bugged me. Just because they were stuck with the uneven gender distribution of the main cast was no excuse to make almost every other speaking role male as well.

* Chekhov's accent... I can't tell if they were going for comic effect or if they'd actually considered the embarrassment of voice activation not working and how over the years after this he'll work to modify the accent to fit in with Star Fleet's idiotic non-customisable computers, which is why it's so much stronger than in the TOS we're familiar with which was set relatively in the future to this. IOW, it made sense but it also made me wince.
I will admit that at first I laughed at the idea of voice activation not working, but I am also faintly offended at his accent being played for laughs this much. (I have not seen any TOS recently, and no idea how much of an accent Chekov had originally.) Besides, isn't Starfleet/Earth supposed to have some universal language that presumably everyone speaks? I mean, not even aliens have accents on Star Trek.

Actually, I have the same kind of beef with Sulu forgetting whatever-it-was when going to warp speed. Yes, it was funny, but he's a trained pilot. How unlikely is it that he would not know the procedures backwards?
Edited Date: 2009-05-23 02:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-05-24 08:24 am (UTC)
ext_33229: replace fear of the unknown with curiosity (Default)
From: [identity profile] tuawahine.livejournal.com
voice activation on Apple Macs is awfully buggy if you've got a New Zealand accent too
Huh, that sucks. (I wonder how people in Texas deal with that? :P)
Give it another ten or twenty years, and voice recognition will be so much better that people watching the movie will react the same way we do today to the TOS communicators.

Date: 2009-05-25 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] painoarvokas.livejournal.com
Actually, I have the same kind of beef with Sulu forgetting whatever-it-was when going to warp speed. Yes, it was funny, but he's a trained pilot. How unlikely is it that he would not know the procedures backwards?

I'm just guessing the strain of "OMG, this time it's real!" got to him. It did feel rather gratuitous though.

I took it as the scriptwriters' reminder that the characters are young and inexperienced. They hadn't even finished their training yet.

When I took my driving test this January, I had lots of trouble with the starter key. Then the examiner asked me, "What could be causing that?" Instantly I realized that the steering wheel was leaning on its lock, and all I needed was turn the steering wheel a tiny amount for it to work. Note: that was something that I knew already – it was just the anxiety of the moment that made me dumber than I really am.

I totally buy the Sulu incident.

Date: 2009-05-26 05:41 am (UTC)
mapache: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mapache
Sorry, but that "black captain" was in no way black. He was clearly of Indian subcontinent ancestry (and likely upbringing, if I'm remembering his faint accent correctly and not just conflating it with his ethnicity), and a quick search turns up that the actor playing him is Faran Tahir, born in LA to Pakistani parents. If you're going to rant about privilege, please be careful about lumping together completely disparate ethnic groups with little in common other than being not white. (And if you're wondering why some random person is commenting on your LJ, I simply found this entry on a Google search about Uhura's hair.)

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