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My review of Star Trek


Before I start my review, let me offer congratulations to Sarcastica, who just gave birth to a baby boy named Nolan last night. Even though you didn’t name him Adam, which is an awesome name, or Avitable, which is an even awesomer name, I wish you the best of luck with your new family!

Now, let’s talk about Star Trek. It doesn’t enter theaters until May 8th, two weeks from today, but I was able to snag a ticket to a sneak preview screening of it (thanks Jess!). I got to the theater about an hour and a half before showtime and waited at the front of a line full of some of the geekiest geeks that ever geeked. I mean, talk about stereotypical. The people behind me were actually telling Klingon jokes, I shit you fucking not. And before you talk about the pot calling the kettle black, I fully accept that I’m a geek. I am not, however, a fan of Star Trek. I’ve never seen a full episode of any of the four thousand series that existed. I’ve never seen Star Trek I or II or III. I saw the one where they go back in time to save the blue whale from extinction. It was funny. And I think I’ve seen a few of the movies that didn’t include the original cast, but they were completely forgettable. The amount of knowledge I have about the world of Star Trek is extremely limited.

As a result, I walked into this movie without the baggage that most of the Trekkies attending had. I like JJ Abrams, I enjoy intelligent action films, and I’m a fan of some scifi. Even if this didn’t have the “Star Trek” name, I would have probably gone to see it. Unless it was called “Radioactive Hamsters” or something.

For those of you who want to see this movie, I will keep the review completely spoiler-free. Rather than discuss the details of the plot, I thought I’d focus on the good elements and bad elements of the film.


The Action: This movie did not slow down for me at all. I never felt compelled to look at the time or even look away from the screen. The story is very tight, and things move at an excellent pace.

The Dialogue: Everything felt genuine. It wasn’t a bunch of hokey futuristic talk that just sounds goofy. It felt grounded and even felt like it could be our future.

The Actors: Replacing the dynamic personality of William Shatner with someone else could have been catastrophic. It wasn’t. Chris Pine did an outstanding job of making the character of James T. Kirk his very own, without in any way mimicking the affectations known as Shatner’s acting style. Zachary Quinto was seamless in his role as Spock, and Simon Pegg made a great Scotty. The two big surprises for me were Zoe Saldana, who played Uhura, and Karl Urban, who played Bones McCoy. Saldana was compelling and one of my favorite characters from the movie. Urban somehow became a young DeForest Kelley. and with the exception of a few forced lines that took me out of the movie, was quite a chameleon. Eric Bana’s villain, Nero, had gravitas and felt like he had justice on his side. The best villains are the ones who believe they’re noble, and this was no exception.

The Plot: It was simple, straightforward, and managed to simultaneously tell a fresh story while eliminating any complaints from Trekkies about continuity. That’s right – they managed to tell a great origin story without in any way compromising the integrity of the decades of continuity and canon. And they set the stage for more stories that will have the freedom to explore any avenue they desire.

The Visuals: In one word: outstanding. Everything worked, everything felt real, and I didn’t see anything that jumped out to me as being obvious CG.


The Action: During a few of the fight scenes, they opted for a technique similar to a cross between the Bourne movies and Batman Begins. Namely, very close in, action moving too fast to track, and occasionally confusing shots where you couldn’t discern who was doing what. They also pulled out for some scenes, which I felt worked better. I prefer Zack Snyder’s technique of slowing down action scenes to show the choreography to the naked eye, but that’s just me.

The Dialogue: Some of the lines were very forced and were obviously stuck in there to pander to fans. Of special note would be McCoy’s trademark “Dammit, I’m a doctor not a physicist/circus monkey/garbage man/etc./etc/.” and Chekov’s inability to say the letter “V”. These lines were minimal, though, and didn’t really interfere with my ability to enjoy the movie as a whole.

The Actors: I like Anton Yelchin, but his Chekov was grating. Using a foreign accent as comic relief seemed to be the weakest part of the one Star Trek movie I’ve seen (nuclear wessel), and it weakened the movie here, too. I would have much preferred his character to have a slight accent, if any. For me, though, and I’m prepared to be crucified for this, the worst actor by far was Leonard Nimoy. It felt like his every line was him winking at the audience, breaking the fourth wall, especially the voiceover towards the end. I understand why they brought in a legacy character, but it was just indulgent, unnecessary, and annoying.

The Plot: The only complaint that I have about the plot is that it felt a bit anti-climactic. Without spoiling anything, I can only say that I was surprised that the end of the conflict was the end and there wasn’t anything additional about to happen.

The Visuals: Other than the too-close, blurry action scenes, I have no complaints about the visuals.


Winona Ryder’s old age makeup. She was excellent in the role, and it was nice to see her acting again, because she’s one of my favorite actresses, but her old age makeup was just as bad as it was in Edward Scissorhands, which was almost 20 years ago. Why they couldn’t take some of those excellent visual effects and just apply them to her face ala Cate Blanchett in Benjamin Button, I don’t know.


It’s a very strong reboot to a faltering franchise. Star Trek is fun, exciting, and accessible to diehard Trekkies, casual fans, and newbies. It’s not going to win any Academy Awards (well, maybe for technical shit), and it has a few missteps, but overall it was a very good film.

I give it a B+.

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29 Replies to “My review of Star Trek”

  1. Amanda

    The only one I’ve “seen” is the one with the whale that I slept through in chemistry my sophomore year of high school. Our teacher made us watch is as a “treat”. I’m not a fan. I’ve never seen the show.

    But I’m kind of psyched about this movie. I think it’s just good marketing/my love of JJ Abrams.

  2. Karl

    Cool, thanks for the review, dude. I’m looking forward to this movie as a fan of (1) Star Trek, (2) science fiction in general, and (3) JJ Abrams.

    I think we share the same dislike for really fast, jerky camera work. Some call it gritty, I call it annoying and lazy. The Bourne movies definitely come to mind, you’re right. If they weren’t such good movies, the camera work would keep me from watching them.

    Anyway, off to pack. Glad to hear you enjoyed the movie.

  3. kapgar

    Clearly I’m more of a Trekkie than you even though I don’t come close to calling myself a fan of the series at all. I have seen the original cast films, a lot of the original series, a half dozen of the Next Generation series, and some Enterprise (can’t say no to Scott Bakula). But as a whole, Trek is not a turn on or selling point for me. Yet I’m so geeked up over this, it’s ridiculous. Good to hear the casting is, for the most part, on. I’ve been intrigued and impressed with the casting choices and it’s good to see they’re panning out.

    Thanks for the spoiler-free review. I appreciate it.

    And you’re such a bad liar… you’d be first in line for Radioactive Hamsters and you know it.

  4. SciFi Dad

    The only reason you wouldn’t go see Radioactive Hamsters is because you’d be concerned that it wasn’t about gerbilling.

    Thanks for the review. As a Trek fan (not a Trekkie or Trekker or whatever, but I have seen a fair bit of TNG, Voyager and Enterprise) as well as a JJ Abrams fan, I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Grant

    Aaaargh – you spoiled it for me! I didn’t know there was going to be acting AND special effects. :p Actually, my fear was that it would be another Quantum of Solace, where the story took a back seat to nonstop incoherent action.

    Being more of a trekkie than you (I’ve seen most of the first two series in reruns and I’ve seen some of the 1 to 3 series that followed), I recommend #2. It’s still my favorite, followed by #3. You have my permission to skip the first movie.

  6. Finn

    I loved the whale movie! It’s the only one I’ve seen as well, although I used to watch the original show back in the day (in RERUNS) and used to watch “The Next Generation” for a while. I guess I’m a casual fan.

    Thanks for the review.

  7. Avitable

    Maria, Brokeback Trek Mountain.

    Amanda, it’s what the Star Wars prequels should have been.

    Jess, well, you may have a point there.

    Karl, it worked for me with the Bourne flicks, but definitely not Batman Begins.

    Breigh, I’ve never understood why studios don’t release worldwide simultaneously. It’s stupid.

    Becky, you’re a fan of Star Trek?

    Kapgar, it’s true. I’d be a huge fan of a Radioactive Hamsters movie.

    Sybil, you should go see it on the big screen. It’s worth it.

    SciFi Dad, is gerbilling a real world?

    BE Earl, thanks for the correction. Aren’t you jealous that I got to see the new one, though?

    Robin, how about offtered?

    Grant, I still enjoyed QoS quite a bit, but this wasn’t not like that at all.

    Finn, I don’t know how anyone can watch the original show.

    Summer, same here!

  8. delmer

    My boys and I will undoubtedly see it. I’d not realized Simon Pegg was Scotty — there’s something about him that’s likable.

    Some of the action scenes sound like they were shot in the same manner of the latest Bond flick (Quantum of Solace?). They were hard for me to follow at times. Maybe I have old eyeballs.

  9. hello haha narf

    why are you surprised that i like star trek? i had a huge crush on kirk. loved the shows. even had a tribble that purred and squeaked up until about a year ago when i gave it to a friend who got to sit in the captain’s chair and is a HUGE fan. since i had him from when i was a little girl, i have visiting rights.

    also? to this day i have an irrational fear of klingons.

  10. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    ::yawn:: ::stretch::

    I would try to give you a witty comment but c’mon now. You probably already know I have no clue who JJ Abrams is and have never watched Star Trek.

    Sometimes, when I read your posts, they make me feel like I am not as much of a geek as I thought I was.

    You’re good for my self-esteem. Clearly I am way more awesomer than you.

  11. Avitable

    Delmer, the fight scenes were shot like that, but the action scenes were pretty esay to follow.

    Becky, I just never saw you as a Trek fan!

    Sheila, have you ever heard of the show LOST? Or Felicity? Or Alias? That’s JJ Abrams.

  12. Twinkie

    I haven’t been to the theatre for years but I’m willing to come out of hibernation for this one. I loved the old Star Trekk’s but I wasn’t necessarily a “Trekkie” by any means.

  13. NYCWD

    I’m not a huge fan of the jerky shots either… but I have to be honest… the commercials make John Cho look badass… and if they can make HIM look badass… well then you’ve got something.

    Sad to hear about Spock.

  14. Theresa

    Dancing Avitable Rocks! I definately want more. Anyway, I found your page through Maugeritaville and I’m so glad I did. You’re a nice homogenous mix of humor, truth and unabashed craziness with a little bit of “Oh My God!” thrown in. Thanks for the laugh.

  15. Jessica

    I am so JEALOUS! I’m not a ‘die hard Trekkie’, per se, like I wouldn’t know any Klingon jokes but I watched quite a bit of star trek growing up.

    I really like your review, I think I’d be more inclined to read them if they were like yours. It was pretty comprehensive without spoiling anything, and you sound pretty fair in your assessments.

    I can’t wait to see it!

  16. Sue Walkenhorst

    For awhile,I believed i was afraid Star Trek was a passing away franchise. Then JJ Abrams came along. Nice touch. The scene with kid Kirk was a tad too quirky in the film, although it was incredibly hot in the trailer. Star Trek XI breathed new life into this favorite Roddenberry world. I’d like to see all of this Enterprise cast come back for additional outings. I spent my childhood years with the original series. Heck, my father got us a color TV just so we could watch Star Trek every single Friday evening. Today, I’m stuck on these new characters. In MHO, they’ve breathed life into their characters and made them their own. I, for example, am eager for more.

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