How do you reboot Star Trek? Look to what they did in Doctor Who and repeat. That at least is what the new Star Trek movie felt like.
Before going further in my review, I will state that I did not, and still do not, think there was a need for a “reboot.” I will also point out there will be a couple “spoilers” contained in what follows.
When Doctor Who returned to the BBC screen, the Doctor became the last of his people, his home planet destroyed in war. To bring the Doctor out of his grief, Russell T. Davies decided it would be best to add a romantic interest to the show, changing the dynamic and feel of the companion/Doctor relationship. Moreover, in the new series, the story is told on the fly, often leaving little to no room for explanations if things did not appear to be right. Finally, the Doctor has found himself in a universe in which he has the ability to change time, to change what he knows – and, as to be expected, this is used to explain away inconsistencies between the new series and its classical counterpart.
Fast forward to the new Star Trek. Here it was decided they wanted to create an alternative universe so that the story can move forward without being burdened by the show’s history. In this universe, Vulcan becomes destroyed, with only a handful of Vulcans left; while Spock isn’t the last of the Vulcans, he is one of the last. Finally, romance is brought into the show – not, as expected, through James T. Kirk, but through Spock – where Spock and Uhura fall in love. No mention needs to be had that the pace and speed of the new movie is on par with the pace and speed of the revised Doctor Who – save for one slow, over-explanative scene between the young Kirk and an elderly Spock.
For many, this new Star Trek will be supported because it is “hip” and “bold,” but for me, I felt, despite all the changes, as if it rehashed all the previous Star Trek movies and put them together as one. The villain, Nero, feels too much of a mix between Khan and Dr. Soran. And that, in my mind, is a part of what is wrong here. It isn’t as fresh as it could have been, should have been. To camouflage that problem, there is an attempt of humor in the movie. But it just doesn’t work. It’s not Star Trek IV comedy, it’s Starship Troopers. And that just isn’t right for this.
What was the need for a movie like this? There is so much more one could have – should have – focused in the Star Trek universe. I fear I will be one of the few voices to say – this just doesn’t work. It close, but not there. And I think in the future, once the hype is over, and people start to pick apart the storyline, they will see that it is the truth.