PDR Into Darkness

Sometimes I remember that posting my opinion of movies is a perfectly valid use for a website.

So Marq and I saw the new Star Trek movie the other day. I’m going to preface this by saying that I enjoyed it. I have to clarify that because it is basically all complaining from this point on:

I’m going to try to avoid spoiling the movie, but I must say that my biggest complaint is one that I and many others predicted. I went in accepting that this was the case, so I was actually thinking for some time that I liked the way they were going about it. They’d taken what I didn’t want to see and were showing it in such a way that I thought “Hey, they’re doing it differently than I expected, so that’s good” but then it all came crashing down.

I thought the point of the whole movie time-travel reboot relaunch thing was to do things in a new way for a new generation of viewers. The cast of the new movies is definitely good enough that I want to see them doing their thing. Their own thing, specifically. Large plot points in this movie are only significant in their relation to old Star Trek stuff and I think that that is a shame. At least, I suppose, now that they’ve shot their wad for this particular plot they will get to do something new next time around (Note: I will pay Hollywood as much as Ten Canadian Dollars to make a movie based off the Frog of Fortosia).

Secondly, I know I’m just a cranky old man, but can we have movies rely just a little less on setpieces? It really takes me out of movies when I have thoughts like “Did this fight scene really need to happen on a flying car?” I fully accept that plenty of people will just say that I don’t like fun, and those people are probably correct, but I stand by it. If a fight scene is meant to have emotional importance in the narrative, you shouldn’t have to try so damn hard to dress it up and make it interesting.

Finally, I honestly hope that this is the last movie I will ever see in which someone is hanging over a ledge, clinging on for their life and at the exact second they lose their grip someone appears to grab their hand. Honestly.

There’s at least two other things I consider worthy of discussion, but they’re both give away even more of the plot, so maybe I’ll get back to those some other day.

A Lost Episode of Star Trek

THE FROG OF FORTOSIA!

Kirk: Captain’s Log Stardate: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We were continuing our five year mission to seek out new life and discover new civilizations today and we came across a planet. It could easily have life or civilization on it, so we’re going to check it out.

Kirk: Spock’s readings state that the planet is composed almost entirely of cardboard and styrofoam, meaning it is the same as every other planet we have discovered to date. I have decided to beam down an away team made up only of main characters, to avoid the death of random crew members.

And so, on the planet’s surface…

Kirk: Well, here we are, men. Let’s seek out that stuff we seek out.

Spock: It would seem we have all neglected to bring our tricorders. We will have to search the planet manually.

Bones: Your stupid Vulcan logic again, eh Spock?

Chekov: I am scared of the sky here.

Kirk: We’ll split up. If anyone finds new life, or maybe a civilization, let the others know.

And so the team split up and investigate.

Bones: Sure, split up. I’m stuck looking at this boring cavern while that dirty Vulcan gets to look at interesting stuff. I hate Vulcans. I wish I could just enslave them all. Yeah, that’d be nice. I could have a Vulcan mopping my floors and making my supper. That’d be…

Meanwhile, Captain Kirk finds something…

Kirk: Now what’s this? It looks like a frog. (into communicator) Hey guys, I found something.

Frogodes: I’m no mere frog! I am Frogodes! I am the omnipotent ruler of this world!

Frogodes: Now that you’re here, I think I’ll torture you with my vast powers for my own entertainment. Yeah. Maybe I’ll make you and one of your friends fight to the death. Or I could make one of you stand on another one’s face.

Chekov: Captain! What did you–?

Chekov: Ahhh! What’s that? I’ll shoot it!

Frogodes: I think you’ll find that your weapons are useless against me, fool.

Chekov: You’re right… But it still makes me feel like a real man to have it.

Kirk: Frogodes, you mustn’t do this. We are… explorers. We seek only to make peace with you.

Frogodes: Too bad! I’m omnipotent!

Frogodes: Watch as I pick a random low-ranking crewman from your ship and bring him here, dead!

Kirk: What?

Bones: It’s true, Jim. Dead.

Kirk: Dammit!

Bones: Consarn these omnipotent aliens! Just once I wish one of them would join the Federation! That’d make things easier for us. But no! They all have worse attitudes than a Gargiruian Catfish!

Meanwhile, back on the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet.

Uhura: I just received a report from Deck Seven. One of the low-ranking crewmen just vanished.

Uhura: It’s almost like he was teleported away.

Sulu: Hey, wanna see me take off my shirt and do some sword-fighting?

Uhura: Not now.

Scotty: We’ll have time for that later, Sulu. Uhra call the Captain and tell him what happened.

Uhura: My name is “Uhura”, Mr. Scott.

Scotty: What? For real? What kind of name is that?

Uhura: What kind of name is Uhra?

Scotty: Geez, all these years I’ve known you and I didn’t even know your name. I feel like a bastard. I’ll be getting drunk because of that, I tell ya. Now, just call the captain.

Uhura: There’s some strange interference now, but I’ll work on it.

Scott: Well, work quick. We need the away team back here so Chekov can take out the garbage.

Back on the planet…

Frogodes: And so you see, you are helpless before me! I am your ruler!

Kirk: No… Not our ruler. Because of Free Will we will never be helpless against… tyrants like you. It is our job… our mission… to oppose the likes of you.

Frogodes: You said your mission was to seek out life and civilization.

Kirk: While opposing you on the side, yes.

Scotty (over communicator): Captain, we’ve got a situation up here.

Scotty: The garbage is piling up and I’m embarrassing myself in front of the bridge crew. Also, some guy disappeared. You should hurry up so I can get back down to engineering.

Kirk: Hang in there, Scotty. We’ve got problems too. You’ll have to give us twenty minutes or so.

Scotty: I’m not sure we can hold together that long, Sir.

Kirk: You’ll have to! Kirk out.

Chekov: But Captain, what can we do against such a supremely powerful being?

Q: Did someone say “Supremely Powerful Being?”

Chekov: What the Hell?

Frogodes: Q? What are you doing here?

Q: I’m all the omnipotent alien that this universe needs, Froggy. That’s why…

Q: You’re dead!

Kirk: Thank you for the help, stranger. If–

Q: Right, whatever. I just wanted the Frog’s treasure. Goodbye.

And so the away team returns to the ship.

Scotty: It sure took you guys a long time to get back. I feel like I’ve aged by decades from the stress of running this ship.

Chekov: What the hell is that? I’ll shoot it!

Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Research
Originally posted on Contains2 on Sunday January 30, 2005