Now that we’re at the end of Trek Week, I have a confession to make: I really like parts of the Abram’s Trek reboot. Sacrilege, I know. How can I – Admiral of Starfleet Continuity Audits and former captain of the USS Nitpicker – tolerate these stupid movies that are riddled with contrivances and plot holes and mostly serve as a showcase for fanservice, explosions, and tits? Why am I not burning with outrage at the travesty that Trek has become?
The truth is: Abrams didn’t make Trek into dumb action schlock. Trek had been dumb action schlock for years. He just made it into good action schlock. Generations was a lame and awkward attempt to pass on the Trek legacy via fisticuffs. First Contact was a bit of fun, but it was also more than little silly since it had to mess around with both the Borg and time travel to tell its story. Insurrection was offensive, sanctimonious, idiotic, regressive, shallow, and cheap looking. Nemesis was stupid, joyless, and ugly. The last good Trek movie was Undiscovered Country. In 1991.
Abrams didn’t kill Trek. Trek has been dead (as a movie franchise) for twenty years. He just finally shoved the corpse out of the room and hired a replacement.
I admit I’d love it if the Trek movies tried to approach sci-fi more like Gattaca, Moon, Inception, or Pandorum and less like an action movie with an aging cast and cheap effects, which is what we’ve been getting. Good sci-fi would be nice. But if the series is going to be yet another ephemeral action franchise, then it might as well be fun ephemeral action.
I know it’s popular to mock Abrams, but the guy is really good at his job. Compare him to Michael Bay: Both guys start with a script that’s barely worth filming. But Abrams has great cinematography, wonderful castingI don’t understand why everyone complains about Chris Pine’s acting. Isn’t he supposed to be a replacement for SHATNER?, interesting set design, action scenes that make sense, jokes that aren’t gross/offensive, good pacing, a firm grip on tone, and occasionally some interesting dialog. If Abrams wasn’t brazenly slapping the Star Trek name on these things, we’d probably be celebrating them as fun sci-fi adventure along the lines of Fifth Element.
And underneath all the annoying plot holes, continuity errors, and ridiculous contrivances, there are parts of the new movies that I really enjoy. Every single scene with Pike is pure gold. His dialog with Kirk in Into Darkness is a conversation I’ve always wanted to hear: Someone calling Kirk out on his rule-breaking and risk-taking. Simon Pegg is a delight to watch. Karl Urban’s only sin is that he needs more screen time.
I don’t begrudge people who hate the reboot movies. The TV shows are all done, and nobody seems eager to make more. If you’re a Trek fan, this is all you have left. If the reboot had happened twenty years ago, I would have been outraged too. But I’ve had a long time to let go of Trek. I went through the seven stages of grief after Generations. Then First Contact got my hopes up so the last two movies could dash them forever. Trek was already over for me. Let Abrams have his fun. His movies aren’t intellectually challenging, but they’re vastly more enjoyable than what we’ve been getting.
 I don’t understand why everyone complains about Chris Pine’s acting. Isn’t he supposed to be a replacement for SHATNER?
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