The best Star Trek

The best Star Trek May 11, 2009

My verdict on the Star Trek movie: The best Star Trek movie by far. And one of the best Star Trek episodes. Director and producer J. J. Abrams–who has also kept me hooked on “Lost”–did a superb job. The actors, playing the younger versions of the later characters, nailed their roles. I tend to scorn mere special effects, agreeing with Aristotle that spectacle is the lowest of the dramatic arts. But these special effects were integral to the story and very well imagined: the battles soundless as they would be in space; evocative images, such as what a planet might look like where it to be sucked into a black hole; images of outer space and other planets of the sort the old black and white TV show could never pull off. [Note: Trekker informs me that the show was in color. My family didn’t get a color set until I left home for college. Still, the sets were wonderfully cardboard and fake-looking.] It was also full of fascinating sci-fi plot points, such as time travel and, again, black holes.

One criticism I heard is that this movie doesn’t do anything with the great Star Trek themes of intergalactic tolerance and a future filled with hope. First of all, that this was a theme of Star Trek was greatly exaggerated and nearly non-existent in the original series. In the succession of Next Generations, it devolved into a tone of self-righteous, politically-correct, touchy-feely superiority that I found insufferable. This version had none of that self-conscious posing–just a good story and strong characters–which made it all the better. Nor did it play for laughs or irony or camp (though there were plenty of allusions and foreshadowing of the TV series, which were fun). It was just a very satisfying movie. You’ll like it.

(In responding to your comment-reviews: Peter, this was NOTHING like those other Star Trek movies that you, like me, find “insufferable.” Michael Poort, we do have two time-lines and two alternative histories: The old Spock, remember, could recall his time-line, in which Kirk’s father lived, Vulcan was still doing fine, etc. That’s the cosmology in the show and in the books. But the time travel interfered, setting up another history that would unfold. . . .Listen to me! I’m soundling like a Trekkie! I’m not one. Really.)


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  • Trekker

    Dr. Veith,
    Sorry that you had to see the 1960s TV Star Trek in black and white. That’s interesting. The program was filmed and broadcast in color on NBC, 1966-69.

  • Trekker

    Dr. Veith,
    Sorry that you had to see the 1960s TV Star Trek in black and white. That’s interesting. The program was filmed and broadcast in color on NBC, 1966-69.

  • Carl Vehse

    After seeing the movie yesterday I tend to agree with most of Gregory Weinkauf’s ÜberCiné review, Lost, in Space: This ain’t your daddy’s Star Trek — alas”. CAUTION: Gregory’s review is spoiler-laden!

    Hint: the new Star Trek movie has a lot of Star Wars hand-me-downs.

  • Carl Vehse

    After seeing the movie yesterday I tend to agree with most of Gregory Weinkauf’s ÜberCiné review, Lost, in Space: This ain’t your daddy’s Star Trek — alas”. CAUTION: Gregory’s review is spoiler-laden!

    Hint: the new Star Trek movie has a lot of Star Wars hand-me-downs.

  • Carl Vehse

    The link to Gregory’s review is http://www.ubercine.com/StarTrekXI-G.html

  • Carl Vehse

    The link to Gregory’s review is http://www.ubercine.com/StarTrekXI-G.html

  • Jim

    Yeah, I agree it’s the best Star Trek movie — but then that’s not a particularly high threshold to meet.

  • Jim

    Yeah, I agree it’s the best Star Trek movie — but then that’s not a particularly high threshold to meet.

  • Peter Leavitt

    OK, Dr. Veith, I’ll give it a try on your assumption that later versions of Star Trek tell real and compelling stories. My son, a Trekkie, has been trying to tell me this, though he likes most of the stories going back to the beginning.

  • Peter Leavitt

    OK, Dr. Veith, I’ll give it a try on your assumption that later versions of Star Trek tell real and compelling stories. My son, a Trekkie, has been trying to tell me this, though he likes most of the stories going back to the beginning.

  • Trekker: Yeah, it was broadcast in color. Some of us didn’t have color sets yet, though, back then. I know we didn’t at our house.

    And this movie will have to be pretty good to beat The Best Star Trek Movie Ever–Galaxy Quest!

  • Trekker: Yeah, it was broadcast in color. Some of us didn’t have color sets yet, though, back then. I know we didn’t at our house.

    And this movie will have to be pretty good to beat The Best Star Trek Movie Ever–Galaxy Quest!

  • @5

    Peter, I didn’t mean to imply that later Star Trek told real and compelling stories. I think the EARLY Star Trek told some compelling stories (I’m not sure about real). And this is the earliest of them all, chronologically. I believe I agree with you about the LATER Star Treks, which I consider annoying rather than compelling.

  • @5

    Peter, I didn’t mean to imply that later Star Trek told real and compelling stories. I think the EARLY Star Trek told some compelling stories (I’m not sure about real). And this is the earliest of them all, chronologically. I believe I agree with you about the LATER Star Treks, which I consider annoying rather than compelling.

  • Carl Vehse

    “The Best Star Trek Movie Ever–Galaxy Quest!

    [Reading a tactical display] Hey guys, there’s a red-thingy moving toward the green-thingy… I think we’re the green-thingy.

  • Carl Vehse

    “The Best Star Trek Movie Ever–Galaxy Quest!

    [Reading a tactical display] Hey guys, there’s a red-thingy moving toward the green-thingy… I think we’re the green-thingy.

  • Carl Vehse

    Rather than some temporary CGI-induced endorphin rush from the latest Star Trek movie, one might have watched one of the best Star Trek episodes, Star Trek-Deep Space Nine‘sIn the Pale Moonlight (Airdate: April 15, 1998).

    Related to the Cranach discussion on torture, one line stands out from the episode where Captain Sisko tricks the previously neutral Romulans into joining the war against the Dominion, a war that up until then, the Federation was losing –

    Garak, speaking to Captain Sisko: “That’s why you came to me, isn’t it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren’t capable of doing? Well, it worked… And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don’t know about you, but I’d call that a bargain.”

  • Carl Vehse

    Rather than some temporary CGI-induced endorphin rush from the latest Star Trek movie, one might have watched one of the best Star Trek episodes, Star Trek-Deep Space Nine‘sIn the Pale Moonlight (Airdate: April 15, 1998).

    Related to the Cranach discussion on torture, one line stands out from the episode where Captain Sisko tricks the previously neutral Romulans into joining the war against the Dominion, a war that up until then, the Federation was losing –

    Garak, speaking to Captain Sisko: “That’s why you came to me, isn’t it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren’t capable of doing? Well, it worked… And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don’t know about you, but I’d call that a bargain.”

  • Dr. Veith!

    Glad you enjoyed it! I agree with all your observations wholeheartedly and recommend the film!

    Daniel Noa

  • Dr. Veith!

    Glad you enjoyed it! I agree with all your observations wholeheartedly and recommend the film!

    Daniel Noa

  • Carl

    Well as I have been reading some of the letters and blogs, and as any of you that have seen my letters on so many web sights know I did not like this film. As I’ve been called I have to admit there is some proof to the fact that I’m an old die hard STICK IN THE MUD fan of Star Trek. The biggest problem I’ve got with the film is that it completely goes against Star Trek canon. As some people agree with me, some do not. So I think we both can come up with a solution that will appease both new fans of this film and us die hard STICK IN THE MUDS. We die hards cant do it alone so we need you new fans help and the best part about it is any of you that don’t know anything about Star Trek shouldn’t notice a thing anyway.
    I purpose introducing characters that are not considered canon but are still known to us old STICK IN THE MUDS. As well as some we didn’t get to know real well and for those of you that don’t know what I mean here some names to help you out.

    ROBERT APRIL he was suppose to be the Enterprises first Captain before Pike and was the only character ever played by Gene Rodenberry himself

    AREX he was a navigator in the animated Star Trek and had six limbs. With new C.G.I. he could be created vary easily

    WILL DECKER he was killed in the first movie but was suppose to be in the second T.V. show witch never happened.

    ILIA also killed in the first movie

    M’RESS also from the animated Star Trek she was of a cat like race easy to create now

    I feel a letter writing campaign would help with this and then maybe you new fan and us old STICK IN THE MUDS can both enjoy the ride the next film takes us on

  • Carl

    Well as I have been reading some of the letters and blogs, and as any of you that have seen my letters on so many web sights know I did not like this film. As I’ve been called I have to admit there is some proof to the fact that I’m an old die hard STICK IN THE MUD fan of Star Trek. The biggest problem I’ve got with the film is that it completely goes against Star Trek canon. As some people agree with me, some do not. So I think we both can come up with a solution that will appease both new fans of this film and us die hard STICK IN THE MUDS. We die hards cant do it alone so we need you new fans help and the best part about it is any of you that don’t know anything about Star Trek shouldn’t notice a thing anyway.
    I purpose introducing characters that are not considered canon but are still known to us old STICK IN THE MUDS. As well as some we didn’t get to know real well and for those of you that don’t know what I mean here some names to help you out.

    ROBERT APRIL he was suppose to be the Enterprises first Captain before Pike and was the only character ever played by Gene Rodenberry himself

    AREX he was a navigator in the animated Star Trek and had six limbs. With new C.G.I. he could be created vary easily

    WILL DECKER he was killed in the first movie but was suppose to be in the second T.V. show witch never happened.

    ILIA also killed in the first movie

    M’RESS also from the animated Star Trek she was of a cat like race easy to create now

    I feel a letter writing campaign would help with this and then maybe you new fan and us old STICK IN THE MUDS can both enjoy the ride the next film takes us on

  • First Contact was better.

    Red Matter is REALLY STUPID

    Supposedly Spock could destroy a star about to go nova with it but Romulans had to drill into the core to destroy a mere planet. That makes sense.

    It was tolerable if you turn your brain off.

    A kind of Wrath of the Menagerie.

  • First Contact was better.

    Red Matter is REALLY STUPID

    Supposedly Spock could destroy a star about to go nova with it but Romulans had to drill into the core to destroy a mere planet. That makes sense.

    It was tolerable if you turn your brain off.

    A kind of Wrath of the Menagerie.