So I finally watched it
I finally watched the last Trek movie and I consider it to be slightly inferior to STXI because it lacked the emotional punch of STXI and because the story is kind of forgettable. It's like with Harry Potter, I did not dislike the one book I read and the two or three movies I saw but the stories evaporated, they didn't burn themselves into my memory.
To go into details, like the previous movie STID suffered from evoking too many familiar aliens and notions (namely the Prime Directive, militarization of Starfleet after the Nero incident, tensions with the Klingons and the Klingons themselves) but not delving into them. It felt like an album snippet, i.e. more like an appetizer than a real meal. From a fan perspective the problem is more grave as we all know a better previous Trek story about the Prime Directive, the Klingons or the exploration-military tension in Starfleet. Sometimes less is more.
On the positive side, unlike in STXI this unfinished medley was not in the least fanwankish. The Klingons were not a bad copy of previous incarnations, they were something new and just not enough in the spotlight. Or take Marcus' little ships, there were more pre-UFP vessels among them and they did not in the least feel like Picard's toy ships.
The villain suffered once again (and after three times in a row it becomes predictable and boring) from lacking an understandable motivation. OK, we understand why Khan wants to go after Marcus and that he wants to conquer the world but I simply did not understand why he wants so direly to blow up Starfleet HQ. In TWOK there is a reason for Khan's obsession, in STID there is not.
The main problem is that the movie is too ambivalent about Marcus and vilifying Khan too much. The ending suggests that the lesson is that Marcus is the bad guy, that Starfleet is about exploration and that revenge is bad ... but in the actual movie we see Kirk and Spock happily avenging the deaths of Pike (Kirk beating a prisoner who just surrendered) and Kirk (Spock going after Khan), Marcus being treated far too respectfully by his fellow officers after he has committed treason and Khan being portrayed first as calm guy with reasonable motives and then as madman. In other words, while the story outline suggests something like TUC or Homefront / Paradise Lost plus the "Augments as an unsolved problem from humankind's past" notion of ALL previous stories that involved Augments or humankind and genetics in general (Bashir), i.e. something that emphasizes that, pardon the pun, the enemy is within, the actual story externalized the enemy. Marcus wasn't so bad and Khan isn't an error from humankind's past but a lunatic terrorist superman.
Like in the previous movie STID created the impression that you are really there. I loved that there was again a shot which zooms in from the outside of the ship into the window/viewscreen of the bridge. Furthermore the acting of The Seven plus the three co-stars was top-notch (Alice Eve played OKish IMO but then again it could just be that she played fine but that her character did not have much to do). Kinda nice to have Admirals which actually radiate competence and authority for a change.
The opening scenes on Nibiru showed all this in a nutshell. Great visuals that make you feel as if you are really there, great acting and character writing which totally convey the notion that these people have worked together for some time and an unfinished story idea (if you are new to Trek you would not understand the point of the non-interference rule at all and perhaps even think that Kirk is right).
The warp core was plain brilliant. Instead of the tiny reaction chamber we are used to ever since TMP we actually get a large reaction chamber surrounded by a lot of stuff. It looks far more realistic than any previous design.
Last edited by horatio : 09-10-2013 at 11:04 AM.