South Park Self

live fast and prosper


Took myself off to see the new Star Trek yesterday, which apart from anything else was a good excuse to drive my new car places. Which is just as well, because I'm not entirely sure the film justified the trip. It annoyed me. I'm a bit out on a limb here because I've never watched the original series1, but based on my voracious consumption of the entirety of Next Generation in about two months flat, I mostly think JJ Abrams has the tone all wrong. (And I don't think this is just because Canal Walk's sound balance and volume are habitually set by ham-fisted drunken gorillas).

Into Darkness was frenetic action from the get-go; loud, brash, violent, fast. In my sense of it, Star Trek is not a standard action narrative. The TV series (certainly Next Gen and the odd episode of TOS I've seen), and even the older films, are at least partially contemplative; they dwell on character interactions and evince a sort of leisurely, self-indulgent enjoyment of the utopian aspects of this futuristic society, both scientific and social. They have exciting action sequences, certainly, but they're interleaved at suitable intervals with slower sequences to give a very different sense of pace. The two new films don't have that; they're all action, with the contemplation (and there is some contemplation; I liked the examination of moral decisions, and the attempt to redeem the immature-twit-Kirk-should-not-be-in-charge plot holes from the first film) tacked onto action sequences in breathless gasps. JJ Abrams films are all chorus and no verse. They're exhausting.

This is a pity, because I think he has his cast absolutely right, they're really enjoyable to watch. And I spent most of the film giggling at inappropriate moments because the classic Kirk/Spock slashy subtext is so beautifully pandered to. Honestly, you can feel a thousand slash writers squeeing in the background in some of those sequences. I think the films have the Kirk/Spock dynamic pretty much down, particularly because their version of Kirk is such an impulsive, emotion-driven idiot, and I love these versions of Scotty and Bones et al. It's just a pity that the mood and pace (and the script, with its usual giant logic holes and reliance on cliché, good grief) don't match the characterisations.

I just wish they'd done more with the tribble. I was expecting trouble.

1 I feel the need to watch the original series, anyone have it?

Subject line: if I actually need to gloss my random concatenation of "Live fast and die young" with "Live long and prosper", I'm saddened, is all. Saddened and disappointed.
Re: Yup.
TOS is not a dearly-held text to me in the same way that it is to you, but I can see how the film would be a betrayal of a lot of intrinsic stuff.

Would love to borrow TOS! Are you guys back from overseas yet? Can I feed you supper?
I enjoyed it because it hit all my big brash blow things up action button, and because I would listen to Benedict Cumberbatch read the phone book, so was able to ignore most of the actual words! I was very aware though that if I were to take my 3d glasses off and put my feminist lenses in, I would have had to have a very different reaction. Two female characters only, who don't actually ever speak to each other, let alone over anything other than a of whom strips to knickers and PUSH-UP BRA on a spaceship??? Oh, and the Kirk/Spock goes beyond pandering, beyond subtext. Uhura complains Spock is emotionless, he explains he doesn't dare feel after the destruction of his planet... until Kirk is irradiated to death and Spock suddenly turns into raging weeping emo guy! Yes too to the tribble. It was remarkably untroublesome, sadly.
Gosh, I didn't even react to the Bechdel Test fail, although of course you're right. I think I'd almost immediately given up any expectations of coherence or thoughtful intelligence from the film, so the dismal treatment of women was really all of a piece. You can actually read the Kirk/Spock intensity along similar lines, in fact - clearly Spock's relationship with a fellow male is far more important and meaningful than his interaction with a female love interest. (Whose purpose in the plot was almost solely as love interest). And thus slash is born...

I'm fascinated that they relocated the radioactive death from Spock to Kirk. Some interesting star-status stuff going on there, I think.
I wondered if the switch was perhaps subconciously echoing the changes in society since the first film (subconsciously because I'm doubtful JJ sat down and planned deep insightful sociological issues into his film!)When the first film was released it was unusual enough for a man to feel and display emotion for a friend so openly; nowadays we are more open (almost surfeited) with permission and encouragment for men to express themselves and their feelings, even for other men. By switching to the Vulcan, supposedly emotionless, the shock value is regained.

Also, quite possibly, I am analysing an action flick beyond rationality! I did enjoy it though, and yes, it hit the slashy buttons :D Although Cumberbatch always does...

Have some owls on my profile pic - they popped up on Facebook from the Festival CEO this morning so you'll probably have seen them already, but I did think of your wols when I saw them and abducted them for my own!

That seems to be the problem with many modern films, specially those in 3D. All swoosh, spectacular effects, CGI and very little plot or character development. Which is indeed a shame.

I watched TOS when it was broadcast on the BBC, hence don't have it. Now I'm just showing my age!