For those interested, the Circle Lounge is as good as ever, but I missed the little selection of tapas or savouries you used to be able to order. They now offer three-course meals, not really what I want when I'm watching a film. So I just shared some Cajun fries with Greg and had a crème brulee and a coffee which was all very yummy.
Trailers seen: the latest Terminator, Angels and Demons (shame on you, Ron Howard!) and Transformers, which looks like fun.
Before I cut, here's a little non-spoilery B7 moment for the fans. When I first saw the little alien, I cried with delight, "A Decima!" (well, not really, but he was vaguely leafy). And who played him? DEEP ROY! This made me ridiculously happy.
And now, before I've read anyone else's reviews, here's mine. I've tried to leave out all major spoilers, but people's criteria vary and you might like to pay it safe and come back later. :-)
Apart from some idiocy with cameras (see below), I really enjoyed this!
Down another trouser leg of time
This isn't in fact the prequel it's advertised as, or the reboot the NZ Herald review calls it, but an AU branching off from the Star Trek universe we know. The timeline of the existing series is safe (I refuse to believe otherwise) because multiple--perhaps infinite--alternate universes are canon in Star Trek. Exploring one of them does free future films or even series up go off in new directions. Of course one can nitpick about characters all being fairly unchanged and all going into Space Fleet together, but hey, maybe time is really viscous.
Things I loved
- I was never once bored or embarrassed, and I certainly can't say that for all of the other Star Trek films.
- The casting was almost all excellent. There were times when Chris Pine was so very Kirk in his mannerisms and expressions (esp one scene on the transporter pad with Spock) that it was uncanny. Zachary Quinto was a wonderful and utterly believable Spock, and never once made me think of Sylar. Simon Pegg obviously had heaps of fun playing Scotty, and so did I watching him. Our own Karl Urban and the stunning Zoe Saldana were very good as McCoy and Uhura. My one reservation there was Chekhov. His acting was fine, but couldn't they find someone who looked like a 17-year-old Chekhov? OK, maybe the kid had a bad perm, but his face just wasn't in the least bit like Chekhov's.
- One of the original cast turns up and this filled me with joy.
- We get a non-medical explanation for McCoy's nickname "Bones".
- The same guy who does the music for Lost did this. At one point we get what Greg calls the Lost March (last heard as Locke leads his group along the beach). The underground base looked rather Dharma-like.
- The little alien mentioned above, played by Deep Roy.
- Scotty gets some info from a time-loop rather that that in The Voyage Home.
- The mining ship looks like a Shadow one from Babylon 5.
- There's a bit early on which shows that space is silent which was very cool. But after that? Nope, all the usual space battles sounds and explosions.
- What were those impressively huge shapes on the Iowa horizon? I wish we'd been told. Spaceship hangars? But why wouldn't they be built in space?
- Why were the Romulans all bald and tattooed? Is it a ship fashion, or don't they talk about the hairy ones? ;-) Romulans have always looked just like Vulcans but for their Roman culture, and the captain is called Nero, so why drop that?
- Some stuff with astronomical phenomena which just wasn't consistent or logical, but I don't want to be more specific.
- One much more major niggle though is that there's really only one woman in the film: Uhura. There are some bit roles, but that's it. If they were going for an AU, why not have some more women in authority--and not in mini-skirts?
"Enough with the lens flares already!"
...was what I said in the first space scene. It was funny when they did it in The Lion King all those years ago, but really, showing (or pretending) a camera is being used does not in fact make it more real. It tells the theoretically disembodied viewer that there's a flawed device between them and what's happening which put a barrier between me and the film and kept on doing so. It wasn't just space scenes but almost every single shot. WTH? Either they used cameras that couldn't handle normal light levels, or, more likely, they added it digitally. WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT? People's faces, the action, the gorgeous sets and effects, were all obscured at least part of the time by flares, light artifacts (like the recurring blue horizontal one, stabbity stab stab) and sometimes completely replaced by white glare. Most of the time there was nothing reflecting or emitting light my cheap little camera wouldn't able to handle.
I enjoyed this film greatly, but this incredibly stupid conceit is probably a deal-breaker for watching it again. Whoever thought that one up? The golden spork for you!
[Edit] I found it was J J Abrams, and he did it to show the future is bright (see my next post). News for you, J J: it did not work.