09 November 2013

#2LR - Star Trek... from the FUTURE!

New form of posting today, writing it in.  Today's movie is the reboot of the Star Trek franchise, otherwise known as "The Universe Hates James T. Kirk's Face."  Please follow me below, warp speed into Spoiler Space Below, and we'll explore all the ways.

The movie starts with one of the most bizarre "spaceships" that have been trotted onto the screen. It's all long spikes and no propulsion (or safety from the void of space).  How does it move?!  Anyway, it manages to completely trash a starship, and we find out that one of the escapees was James T. Kirk's mother... while his father, the acting captain "for twelve minutes", kamikaze's his ship into the attacker... but doesn't completely damage it.  Barely even scratches it, and come to think of it... with a whole starship and a suicidal captain, how did it manage to do NO DAMAGE?

Anyway, the story jumps forward more than a few years as we see a snot-nosed ten-year-old kid driving a cherry Thunderbird (IIRC), which turns out to be a young Jim Kirk.  However, we know WHY "The Universe Hates James T. Kirk's Face" pretty much right off the bat, as in a dick move L'il Jimmy manages to play chicken near the cliffs of Iowa (?!), letting the Thunderbird fall five hundred feet to its doom while he laughs about it.  Curse you, Kirk!!

Anyway, some years later, he ends up in a bar where he gets beat up by Starfleet Academy plebes as he's trying to make the moves on a young Uhura.  One of the men from Starfleet come in to break up the fight, and it just so happens that he remembers Jimmy's dad.  After some convincing, Jim's ready to sign up to Starfleet.

Oh, and Spock's in it... he's a not-a-Vulcan who gets into fights when someone disses his momma.  Important for later, too...

Kirk runs across Bones on the flight into Starfleet and the two make fast friends over a flask of hooch.  It cuts to a couple years later, as Kirk is taking the Kobayashi Maru test for the third time.  Instead of using Marrissa Flores Picard's smooth moves, Kirk just reprograms the computer so that he wins by disabling all of the simulated attackers' ships.  The computer programmer is hopping mad, though... well, he's Spock, so he's quietly seething now that he's got a crapload of emotions and all.

So, Kirk gets dressed down in front of Starfleet, and instead of giving a hell of a good excuse ("A captain has to pull out all the stops to complete his mission and save his ships, including changing the parameters if needed"), there's pretty much just no defense.  He gets dressed down by Tyler Perry and the "American Idol" jury.  At that point, we find out that Vulcan is under attack, and all the cadets are assigned to ships... except for Kirk.  Bones manages to half-beat-up Kirk (through the use of viruses and pharmaceuticals) to subterfuge Kirk onto the ship that Bones has been assigned to, the Enterprise.  At the same time, Uhuru half-blackmails Spock to be put on the Enterprise, where Chekov and Sulu are already manning the help... and Captain Christopher Pike is in control.

So the starships all go off to Vulcan, but Kirk bullies his way to the bridge... he tells the Captain and the first officer Spock that the reports indicate that it's a trap.  As the Enterprise gets to Vulcan, they find Spiky Ship.  Spiky Ship ends up launching a drill at Vulcan.  Kirk is sent to take out a drilling platform that the ship launches against Vulcan, getting beat up by a Romulan in the process and both saving Sulu as well as being saved by Sulu.  Spiky Ship and the Romulans succeed in destroying Vulcan.  Spock attempts to beam down to the surface and beams back up a few of the elders of Vulcan, but unfortunately his mother falls in a rockslide and is not grabbed by the transporter.

The captain has been taken hostage by the Romulans, and prior to his leaving he places Spock as acting captain with Kirk as first officer.  After the Romulans take off, Spock moves to join up with Starfleet and Kirk argues vociferously to go after the Romulans.  Spock has Security beat up Kirk for the third time this movie and sends Kirk to the ice planet Hoth... err, Delta Beta Whatever, which is a snow planet.

Kirk gets chased by an almost-Wampa, but the Wampa is beat back by a huge lizard-ish thing that ends up chasing Kirk into a cave.  Kirk gets saved by the lizard-ish thing by the actual Nimoy Spock (known as Spock Prime), who runs off the beast and tells Kirk about the time-travelling Romulans and time-travelling Spock.  They both head to the Federation outpost, being manned by none other than Scotty.  Spock Prime tells Kirk to take control of the Enterprise through compromising Current Spock, then gins up Alternate Universe Scotty's warp transporter calculations and ends up sending them back to a speeding Enterprise.

Kirk rescues Scotty from the hydraulic system and gets beat up by Security, which happens to include the original bar cretins from the beginning of the movie.  Predictably, Kirk gets beat up.   Before Kirk is thrown in the brig though, he starts insulting Spock's momma.  The beginning of the movie showed us that Spock hates the Yo Momma jokes, and Spock ends up beating up Kirk.  (We're up to four and a half!)  Spock realizes that he's acting like a jerk and takes himself from command... leaving the Acting First Officer Kirk in charge.  Immediately he sets a course for Earth to intercept the Romulan Spiky Ship.

The final part of the movie starts with the Enterprise getting in range of the Romulan Spiky Ship and both Spock/Kirk beaming over.  There's a firefight on the Spiky Ship, and for a change Kirk doesn't get beat up.  Spock finds the part of the Spiky Ship that the Romulans are using to destroy planets, which happens to be Spock Prime's Scooty-Puff Jr..  Spock runs off with it, leaving Kirk in the Spiky Ship.  He ends up getting a rifle-butt to the side of the head (Five-and-a-half!) as the remaining Romulans try to get the Scooty-Puff Jr. back.  Kirk wakes up but starts getting beat up by the Romulan captain, who's just about ready to drop Kirk to his doom... until Kirk grabs the Romulan's holstered gun and shoots him in the gut.  We'll call that one a draw, one-half to one-half... bringing the final total of The Universe Hates James T. Kirk's Face count to six.

Nimoy Spock shows up for the epilogue and looks on as Kirk is proclaimed a Hero of Yavin.  Shortly after, the credits roll but unfortunately they don't drop on top of Kirk's head.

Spoiler Space over.

Whew.  There's a lot of action that they packed into these two hours.  I could tell that Shatner wasn't involved though, he'd end up winning those ridiculous fights rather than losing them.  To be sure, the movie worked far better as "The Universe Hates Jim Kirk's Face"... he's still young and he's not worldly enough to either avoid these fights nor smart enough to bluff his way through them.  However, there is one aspect of his character that shone through and was most endearing was his perseverance.  He did NOT give up one single inch.  Thankfully, letting Kirk be right about everything also is helped by Kirk's signature luck (such as finding Spock Prime in a random Hoth ice-cave.

Other than that, the movie had its share of humor, Chris Pike was good a taking both a punch and a pratfall.  It's certainly a worth-enough story for Star Trek, and while derivative at times it's still a solid movie... especially if you like sci-fi.

Final Rating: 3.5

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