Star Trek Betrayal!!!

From the only reliable news source on the internet, the Onion.  The new Star Trek movie opens today.  We will quickly learn if there will be a divergence of reaction between the hard-core “yes-this-Star-Trek-uniform-is-what-I’m-wearing-for-jury-duty” and the rest of us Terrans.  I hope the acting is several notches above what can be seen for free on the net in the  Star Trek Phase II episodes.

While we are at it, here is my rating order for the six original Trek movies:

1.  Star Trek II:  Ricardo Montalban as Khan was truly unforgettable, and made the most compelling of the Star Trek villians.  Shatner gives the best performance of his career as Kirk copes with not only a villain but also middle age.  Excitement, good combat scenes, humor, the Genesis Project, what more could a Trek fan ask for?

2.  Star Trek VI:  Perestroika in Space.  What happens when the Klingons and the Federation decide to attempt to make peace?  Christopher Plummer is brilliant as Chang, with the memorable line:  “In space all warriors are cold warriors!”  Kirk’s reaction to the prospect of peace initially with the Klingons, “Let them die!” was a rare bit of honest emotional reaction in a franchise often cloyingly PC.  The comparisons of the Klingon empire to the dying Soviet Union, down to a Klingon gulag, make this now an interesting period piece.

3.  Star Trek IV:  Save the whales.  The most humorous of the movies and none of it is to be taken seriously including the heavy-handed “green” message.  Hearing Russian  Chehkov asking a cop in mid-eighties San Francisco  “Which way to the nuclear wessels?” was almost worth the price of admission alone.

4.  Star Trek III:  A bit melodramatic for my tastes with the murder of Kirk’s son by the Klingons, but Christopher Lloyd does a competent job as the ruthless Klingon commander.

5.  Star Trek I:  About the best that can be said for this mess is that it was the first.  Tedious to sit through.

6. Star Trek V:  Proof that letting Shatner direct should be considered a crime against humanity.  Boring, silly, pretentious, etc.  Reviews at the time and since have almost all been devastating.  Here is a fair example.  One of the worst movie going experiences my wife and I have ever suffered through.  So bad that many Trek fans refuse to include it in the movie canon.  No redeeming features.

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25 Responses to Star Trek Betrayal!!!

  1. Anthony says:

    Me loves good Trek. From everything I’ve read so far, this is a good one! Having listened to the score, I think they did a great job in the music department as well.

  2. As someone who has, on occasion, appeared in public in Klingon makeup, I have to pick a nit: In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Christopher Plummer played General Chang. Kang was played by Michael Ansara in the Original Series episode “Day of the Dove” and the Deep Space Nine episode “Blood Oath.”

    I generally agree with your ratings of the original cast movies, but I do have a redeeming feature to offer for Star Trek V: the subtle anti-euthanasia message when we learn that McCoy had euthanized his own father when he was suffering from an incurable illness, for which a cure was found shortly thereafter. I appreciate that McCoy still feels the guilt of the event. (And besides, the 9th movie, Star Trek: Insurrection, was worse still.)

    I am looking forward to this new movie with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.

  3. Anthony says:

    Couple of things.

    Regarding Star Trek: The Motion Picture… I recommend the DVD-released Director’s Edition. Robert Wise was given the opportunity to re-edit and complete effects, and the result is a marked improvement. In fact, I believe this version is even a few minutes shorter, as he got rid of things that were repetitive. Additionally, it is in many ways the most true “Trek” film made in terms of scope of ideas and visualizing the ‘world’.

    There are things I like about it – Spock’s reappearance after having failed to reach pure logic. McCoy’s cantankerous rejoining Starfleet, complete with beard! The concept behind V’ger is also rather nice, if handled a little too slowly.

    Yeah Star Trek V is pretty terrible, but even there are bits to like. The trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy is still enjoyable to watch… and there is nothing particularly bad conceptually about a renegade Vulcan who believes he’s physically found God at the center of the galaxy. But a bad secondary villain, an obviously rushed production, bad special effects and a real sense of going through the motions keep this from being on par with the rest of the series. I’ve never been opposed to letting Shatner do his own revisions here as well, at least to get the visuals in a place that is not embarrassing.

    Its unfortunate what happened to the Next Generation crew. They got a mediocre transition movie and one bland script after another. A real shame considering that their one gem of a film, First Contact, had plenty of ideas that could be extended to other films ala. Wrath of Khan.

  4. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Paul you are correct as to Chang! Ah the late Michael Ansara, the man with the unforgettable threatening voice. He made Kang a Klingon to be remembered and also took the first step in Day of the Dove of a portrayal of the Klingons as not lacking a certain sense of honor and as more than one-dimensional villains.

  5. e. says:

    EXCERPT:

    “My name is James Siberius Kirk.” Those are the first words uttered in the revamped “Star Trek” trailer by a pre-teen version of the captain-to-be. Of course, fans know there’s a “T” in James T. Kirk and it stands for “Tiberius.” It’s a small mistake in the greater scheme of things, perhaps the result of a misread line or even a pronounced lisp. But you know who wouldn’t have made that mistake? William Shatner.

    Sure, one might argue that even if Shatner were the lead in this “Star Trek,” he’d never have played kid-Kirk (though he’d likely parry that with enough under-eye makeup and a well-concealed girdle, he’d be perfect for the part). But it gets to the heart of the matter. There’s only one Captain Kirk.

    SOURCE: The one, the only, Captain Kirk: WHY … it’s … IMPOSSIBLE for … anyone … else … to … FILL Shatner’s shoes

  6. Donna V. says:

    Ah, I labored under a heavy burden as a teen. To be a Trekkie is one thing, but a girl Trekkie – that is nerdy multipled by 10.

    This is the fourth Star Trek movie ranking I’ve come across online this week. It is rare to see a consensus about the best of anything, but everyone really does seem to agree (for excellent reasons) that “The Wrath of Khan” is far and away the best of the bunch.

    I also agree with Don’s choice of Star Trek VI in the #2 slot, but I’d flip #3 and #4. And #5 and #6. As horrendous as Star Trek V, the first one was the greatest disappointment for me. A blind date took me to see it. To my embarrassment, I fell asleep halfway through it. There was no second date, my gentleman caller probably concluding I had all the vitality of a wet leaf of lettuce.:-/

  7. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I almost fell asleep through the first one Donna. More’s the pity that I stayed awake!

  8. e. says:

    It is rare to see a consensus about the best of anything…

    Well, the fact that Mr. McClarey deemed Star Trek V to be the one most Treksters booted out of Official Star Trek Canon is sheer proof of this.

    As far as I know, it’s been a historical given (at least, amongst the most avid fans) that it is Star Trek IV that is the one not considered part of Star Trek lore.

  9. Donna V. says:

    Star IV was pretty goofy(disappointing if you wanted the high drama – or high melodrama – of “The Wrath of Khan”) but in that regard, it was similiar to some of the lighter TV episodes, like “The Trouble with Tribbles.” It wasn’t bearded Spock and dogfights with Klingons and time travel back to Nazi Germany every week.

    Here’s a little tidbit I heard years ago from a lawyer I once worked for. My old boss went up to Canada for a relative’s wedding – a large Jewish wedding. In the middle of the ceremony in the synagogue, there was a moment of silence broken by a little boy’s excited voice: “Look, dad, there’s Capt. Kirk! Is he a Jew too?” The boy pointed and heads turned to see Shatner standing in the back, yarmulke on head. (Yes, he is Jewish.)

    I’m not sure the bride and groom appreciated having to share the limelight at just that moment.

  10. Good summary and ranking — I think I’d have done the same. Wrath of Khan is one of the few Trek movies I’d watch again if I came across on television. The ear-infesting mind-controlling cockroach scene captivates me every time. =)

  11. Chris M says:

    Funny enough, we were just watching bits of ST:V. McCoy was certainly the high point of the film with his drawling “I doubt ANY God.. who inflicts pain for his own pleasure!” and “I liked him better before he DIED..” But yes, overall, terrible movie. Weakest of the original six.

  12. Matt says:

    Yes, I’m a classic Trekkie, but no one could rate the show very highly for it sexual ethics. However at least the old series left that up the viewers’ imagination. Apparently the new film shows us a lot more than Shatner’s goofy liplocks. Not a family film. I’ll give it a miss.

  13. e. says:

    Donna V.

    Perhaps you’re amongst the few who caught on to this. I felt the very same about that movie myself. The slapstick humour in that film reminded also of that schtick sometimes observed in the series itself which made it delightful.

    I recall (though I don’t know which episode exactly since it’s been decades since I’ve watched TOS) where it seemed McCoy broke out of character towards the closing of a particular episode, ever desirous of being the one to have the last word on a show since everybody else typically did (in particular, Kurt), and frantically “shhhh” Kurt & Spock at the end just to finally have that last word, which he ultimately did because of this and smiled quite contentedly at the end of the show.

  14. Donald R. McClarey says:

    That was the Journey to Babel episode.

  15. Donna V. says:

    Well, my kid brother called and lassoed me into seeing the new flick with him tonight. My brother is a political liberal and there are few subjects we agree on(we both have a soft spot for dogs and Star Trek TOS and deeply dislike “The Next Generation” aka “Yuppies in Space.” That’s about it.) He was my viewing companion back in the day, and practiced the Vulcan neck pinch on me frequently, so it’s rather fitting that we go see ST together.

    I’m rather excited – which is a little pitiful, I grant you.

  16. e. says:

    Donald: Thanks.

    Donna V.: With you on “TNG” as well.

    Matt: Does that mean that the content may be even more explicit than described in the following review?

    http://decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/startrek2009.html

    They have it as:

    “Much action and sci-fi violence; a brief, abortive bedroom scene (nothing explicit); ogling a lingerie-clad woman; a few coarse references.”

    If so, depending on how explicit the sexual content, perhaps it might not be so wise to bring children.

  17. Phil says:

    Take this to the top of the list! Pine as the new Kirk, Quinto as the new Spock, and Urban as the new McCoy captured the essence of the original characters. The presence of Nimoy in the film helps give it credence, and the action is great. (The questionable scenes are less than what can be seen on television these days!).

    There were plenty of great references and lines from the original actors that being an original trekkie (NBC on Thursday Prime Time) enjoyed – Scotty saying “I’m giving it all she’s got”, a line the Doohan would be called on to use regularly. I recognized it and laughed and was about the only one who recognized it from TOS, as well as the other lines “I’m a Doctor, not a …” and so on. This is one movie that I will see more than once in the theater, and I haven’t done that for years! It’s that good, and true to the original concepts.

  18. Donna V. says:

    What Phil said. My brother and I enjoyed it thoroughly and had a blessedly pleasaant, politics-free evening together. I very rarely see movies twice, but like Phil, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

  19. Tito Edwards says:

    Matt,

    I’ll be watching it with friends. The commercials are misleading to say the least. As far as your accusations of the film, I highly doubt them as these recent comments have suggested.

    Besides, I still will come away more enlightened from viewing this film than reading an New Oxford Review article.

  20. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Well, these initial reviews in this thread are encouraging! My family and I are seeing it at a matinee today. Full review to follow from me tomorrow.

  21. Nomad says:

    The new Star Trek keeps the audience’s attention so much better than the other Star Treks… there is something fundamentally wrong with a movie that feels like a chore to watch (as are so many of the original Star Treks)

  22. Elaine Krewer says:

    Went to see Trek today with hubby and daughter (age 13). I liked it, even though I’m not a hard core Trekkie by any means. Anyone with a minimal acquaintance with the classic/original series can appreciate it. The sexually suggestive scenes are, mercifully, quite brief. Also liked the way they worked in Capt. Christopher Pike, the original USS Enterprise captain from the TOS pilot episode that — if I remember correctly — was never aired back in the 60s.

  23. […] know, I Know, I’m sounding just like one of the Star Trek geeks in the Onion video, but the point is true nonetheless.  What this movie does is to reboot the startrek […]

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