melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2009-05-11 12:29 am

Mother's Day!

Hello to new subscribers! And everybody else! I will getting to all the online stuff I need to be doing soon, I swear. I've been offline all weekend, more than I was planning to be, and I am *so* behind.

By which I mean, [personal profile] stellar_dust and I went to see the new Star Trek movie with Mom yesterday!

From here on in, there may be spoilers in cuts and comments on this entry. !! I haven't been reading anyone elses' reaction posts, but if you posted it in the last two days, chances are I have it open it a tab to read as soon as this goes up.

To start with, I liked the movie. It was a good movie! It was fun! It was laugh-out-loud funny in many places! The characters were great, the characterization was great, the actors all did either a great job mimicking the originals or a better job than the originals. It was deeply geeky and full of glee and was clearly made by somebody who loved Star Trek and thinks Kirk and Spock are doing it.

And now I am going to be one of the people in that Onion video and list all the things that were wrong with it.

1. It didn't feel like a Star Trek movie; the design was all wrong - the sets, the cinematography, the soundtrack; it didn't read as Star Trek at *all*. I got to liking the Enterprise sets. And the uniforms were awesome all around. But the rest of it? Not Star Trek. And the music not only wasn't Star Trek, it made no impression on me at all, which is enough to kill half my chances of fangirling a movie right there.

2. Way, way, *way* to many Star Wars references. If I never have to think of Kirk as Luke and Spock as Obi-wan again, it will still be too many times. >:( (I adore SW, I just don't want it in my Trek.)

3. It missed the point of Star Trek. By which I mean, too much death. Too much killing. The whole point of Star Trek is that there is a way that doesn't involve killing, and that we, we people, *will* be able to find that way if we just try hard enough. This is a message I believe in. It is the thing that makes Star Trek worth watching. Kirk doesn't win his Kobayashi Maru by killing a bunch of weaponless, defenseless Klingons that can't fight back; Kirk wins his Kobayashi Maru by progamming the simulator so that the Klingons think he is The Great Captain James T. Kirk and surrender without a shot fired because they know can't possibly win against the famous Captain Kirk. Then they help rescue the crew, and Kirk invites the Klingon captain to dinner on the rec deck.

This is how it works in the *real* Star Trek, anyway. I get that they wanted a "darker, grittier" Star Trek, but the whole point of Star Trek is that it's a shining white hope against the darkness. Not gritty. What possible purpose on Earth is there for a Star Trek that's just like every other Sci-fi movie and show in existence? (Yes, we've had "darker, grittier" already with, like, the last fifteen or so seasons of Trek tv. Which is why I never watched them. At least now instead of just denying that they exist, I can pretend that they actually belong in reboot!continuity instead of real!continuity. ...I now declare that Real!continuity is Rihannsu!verse and all the stupid non-Ael compliant Romulan stuff is in Reboot!verse. Yes.)

4. The plot made no sense. Like, there was basically no point in the plot at which it made sense. Name me any plot point, and I will point you to how it either made no sense, or requires significant fanwank in order to do so. Also, OMG, Starfleet *makes no sense*, in that everything involving the way Starfleet works was made of dum and 12-year-old-boy. In fact, I wrote a Starfleet that made more sense when I *was* twelve. I will grant you that in a Starfleet in which George Kirk wasn't around to teach Captain April & his contemporaries about "rules", and in which the Garth of Izar thing happened very differently through lack of Kirks, Starfleet regulations might not be the same. I cannot grant you a universe in which a Starfleet that apparently operates like the one in the reboot movie is actually *functional*.

5. They managed to take two steps back in handling both race and gender. Two steps back from *1966*.

That takes *effort.* OMG.


/end capslock. (That is maybe possibly a direct transcription of what I shouted over the credits. Which may or may not have had people on the other side of the theater laughing at me and telling me to find my control. Writing out female characters is not c'thia. Bastards.)

But. Yeah. Cast that has one female character, you turn her from an independent, competent scientist into a clingy girlfriend, and you write out at least two canonical kickass chicks and add in a sexy green alien bimbo instead? I am literally trembling at this point, I didn't know I cared this much, but DAMMIT STAR TREK IS SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER THAN THAT.1

They did mildly better on race, in that the only canonical characters they wrote out were white ones not counting Francis Drake Reed. And Sulu and Uhura still both rock. They more or less completely missed the point of Chekov, though. Note to producers: Chekov's ethnicity was relevant not because he had a silly accent, but because they put someone we were fighting an ideological war against on the bridge of Earth's flagship. You missed your chance to put in Pakistani or Iranian bridge crew, to sit with everyone else and face the universe. (Possibly a female one! Imagine a character who wares a modest version of TOS female uniform! Would that not have been the rockingest thing ever?) Either this production team learned nothing from watching Star Trek, or we have moved *backward* since 1966 in terms of what we can portray on a screen, and either way, y'all suck.

And the other sense of "race", a hundred species of people who are as different as can possibly be, working together in concert and prosperity -- wouldn't it be nice if they'd used some of their effects budget to show non-human people who didn't look like humans wearing latex protheses, even just in crowd scenes? One Sulamid, one Denebian, one hyperintelligent shade of the color blue - but no. You added a green space babe, some guys you hired from Mos Eisley spaceport, and a useless dwarf apparently modelled on the one from the He-Man movie. Who is also possibly the most offensive portrayal of a non-human intelligent alien since before Jar-Jar. He's a freaking Star Trek officer, he is not a useless comical sidekick! Note to producers: people who don't look like you can actually play roles other than harmless, loyal tagalong to white male. I know. It's a shock.

I haven't decided yet how I feel about the fact that Captain Pike apparently ends up in a wheelchair in every universe. Poor guy. I wonder what they'll do with that in the sequels. By which I mean, I bet he never gets mentioned again.

1I like both new!Uhura and green chick, don't get me wrong. They both have potential. I just hate the world that made them the only girls other than mothers in the movie. ...okay, I kind of hate the clingy!Uhura, but that doesn't stop me from wanting the OT3 fic anyway, in which fangirls have helpfully written the clingy out.

Also, Spock is still totally a mind-slut.

ANYWAY. It was a fun movie. If you have any interest in Star Trek, or SF action flicks, or both, it's probably worth seeing. It has a lot more Leonard Nimoy in it than I was expecting, and plenty of old!Trek outtakes, and a lot of fun non-ST-specific sci-fi summer movie stuff. They considerately made it officially AU, so I don't have to be angry about the way it ruined canon. And it has rekindled my love of the real Star Trek.

... by which I mean the fanfic and the early Bantam and Pocket Books novels. If you know them at all, you may have noticed up in the cut there that I kind of live in the world of the books (and the animated series). C'thia! Rihannsu! Klingon Chess! Captain April's cardigans! The clone of Captain Kirk who the female Romulan Commander won in a duel and dragged off to dress up as her frilly delicate boytoy! That one where they all turn into mermaids! That one where they all get genderswapped and girl!Kirk is totally about two seconds from sleeping with Captain Kang before Spock interrupts! The fact that T'hy'la totally means 'soulbond', no, Jim, I don't care how many footnotes you write denying it.

You know what I'm talkin' about.

Anyway, now I'm working on putting together a packet of e-books that people who like the new movie should read. You know, 'Star Trek the Gay High School AU: the Original Version'.
Preliminary list (short version):
1. Best Destiny (I would have *hated* young!Kirk in the movie if I hadn't already gotten Best Destiny to sell me on it. And I'm tinhatting that the cliff scene was totally a reference.)
2. The Kobayashi Maru (For Kirk's real Kobayashi Maru. And Chekov's. And Sulu's. And Scotty's.)
3. Spock's World (Spock, Sarek & Amanda backstory, also why you can't ever destroy Vulcan, OMG.)
4. Crossover (In which Old!Spock gets to be Jesus instead of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Scotty and McCoy rock, and much love and nostalgia is had for Constitution-class ships.)
5. Shadows on the Sun (McCoy in Starfleet Academy, young!McCoy having incredibly strong UST with a hot assassin)
6. Dreadnaught! and Battlestations! (for 'bunch of ensigns straight out of the Academy save Earth', about equally ridiculous and Mary-sueish as the movie, but at least this Starfleet makes a *little* bit of sense.)

What else am I missing? Emphasis on backstory, old-school crack, and tie-ins with the movie. (I'm tempted to put in "Enterprise:The First Adventure" or "Strangers from the Sky". And somebody needs to tell me if I have to finally read "Uhura's Song".)

Am tempted to make a Dreamwidth community [community profile] starry_sea, specifically for the sort of Star Trek fans who know what "Starry Sea" is a quotation from. To which I could upload e-books and host discussions about things like the Ruling Queen and T'hy'la and Spockanalia and David Gerrold and stuff.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13

Should I do it?

View Answers

7 (53.8%)

0 (0.0%)

I have no idea what you're talking about. But it sounds fascinating.
4 (30.8%)

Spockanalia had ticky boxes.
2 (15.4%)

(Wow, there's like twelve new DW communites with "Star Trek" in their interests since Thursday.)
eleanorjane: Spock looking "orly"ish (bitch please)

[personal profile] eleanorjane 2009-05-11 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
I think the thing that aggravated me more than anything else about the movie - which I did enjoy, although you're right, it wasn't Trek - was: they confirmed Kirk's acting captaincy when he is a THIRD YEAR CADET. What the fucking fuck, people, SERIOUSLY. This Starfleet MAKES NO SENSE.
eleanorjane: The Enterprise at warp speed (vroom)

[personal profile] eleanorjane 2009-05-12 03:45 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, I can fanwank it away with that explanation - thankyou. :)

What's wrong with the command structure? I'm not familiar enough with real navies to notice the problems.
sarken: spock, kirk, and mccoy on a striped background ([star trek] kick it old school)

[personal profile] sarken 2009-05-11 08:20 am (UTC)(link)
And the music not only wasn't Star Trek, it made no impression on me at all, which is enough to kill half my chances of fangirling a movie right there.

It didn't make much of an impression on me the first time I saw the movie, but I blame that on the fact that instrumental music does nothing for me. I saw the soundtrack posted online a few days later, made a face, and wondered aloud, "Who would want that?" But then, when I saw the movie today, I was absolutely blown away by the music. I considered being That Girl and whipping out my cell phone to tweet about how amazing the music was as Daddy Kirk flew the collision course. During a fight scene later, the music sounded, to my untrained ears, just like a more modern version of the music from a fight scene in "Mirror, Mirror," which I had just rewatched Saturday night.

Cast that has one female character, you turn her from an independent, competent scientist into a clingy girlfriend...

I found the new Uhura pretty much unrecognizable, but for the opposite reason. I always found Uhura to be boring and useless, and when I saw this Uhura, my immediate reaction was, "Wait, what? Did J.J. Abrams run Uhura through the feminism machine? She's pretty kickass, but, damn, she is not Uhura at all. I might have actually liked the TOS version if she had been like this." Of course, then they effectively undid that with the odd Spock/Uhura gratuitous movie romance thing, which I still don't get at all, even after watching what were supposedly 'shippy Spock/Uhura scenes from the series. (And I'm still a little bit like, "They just paired the main black female character with the only main non-human character. What the hell is up with that?" For some reason, that pinged me the wrong way.)

wouldn't it be nice if they'd used some of their effects budget to show non-human people who didn't look like humans wearing latex protheses, even just in crowd scenes?

I saw several throughout the movie, one of whom was on the bridge of the Enterprise, I believe, and there may have been another on the bridge of the Kelvin. I even think I saw one or two in the crowd at the Academy hearing for Kirk. It was actually one of the first things I noticed at my first viewing of the movie -- "Hey, awesome, weird looking aliens! Their makeup goes beyond forehead ridges!"

Though, gah, I could not agree more about how uncool their treatment of Scotty's coworker was. I wanted to smack someone when Kirk helped him down off whatever he was sitting on in the shuttle craft. I also wanted to smack Scotty in particular for his treatment of him.
stellar_dust: Stylized comic-book drawing of Scully at her laptop in the pilot. (Default)

[personal profile] stellar_dust 2009-05-12 04:30 am (UTC)(link)
"They just paired the main black female character with the only main non-human character. What the hell is up with that?" For some reason, that pinged me the wrong way.

Me too. Although, tbh, I was more upset with it before I saw the movie than after. It was pretty faily, but it was a lot less faily than I expected it to be.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2009-05-11 11:58 am (UTC)(link)
You have to read Uhura's Song. Ignore the Mary Sue and focus on the kickass worldbuilding.

naraht: Girl drawing the solar system and orbits with chalk (nasa-Orbits)

[personal profile] naraht 2009-05-11 01:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes. It's one of the best-drawn alien cultures in Trek, I think. And a lot of fun besides!
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2009-05-12 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
Definitely one of the best alien races I've ever encountered in fiction.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

[personal profile] beccaelizabeth 2009-05-11 12:44 pm (UTC)(link)
thanks for the list of wrong with it
is much the same list I thought of on the bus home, only more so.
it's like, the film was great, then I started thinking about it.
elspethdixon: (Default)

[personal profile] elspethdixon 2009-05-11 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Spock's World is still my favorite Star Trek tie-in of all time, even above the Vulcan Academy Murders and Home is the Hunter.

Also, I think I read Dreadnought! in elementary school. Is there a guy in it with wings and a really Sueish female character?
naraht: Moonrise over Earth (nasa-Moonrise)

[personal profile] naraht 2009-05-11 01:50 pm (UTC)(link)
YES to a Dreamwidth comm.

YES to "Enterprise: The First Adventure."

YES to reading "Uhura's Song," which is fantastic in a fanfic-ish sort of way.

I'm really tempted to add every original series Diane Duane book ever written to your list, but I will confine myself to making a little pleading noise for "My Enemy, My Ally."
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)

[personal profile] trouble 2009-05-16 04:00 pm (UTC)(link)
OH MY GOD YES! Doctor's Orders was the bestest!
bessemerprocess: Elder duckie Ursala Vernon (acid-ink) (Default)

[personal profile] bessemerprocess 2009-05-11 03:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Wait, you haven't read Uhura's Song? Go, do, now! Seriously, it's up there with Best Destiny and Prime Directive, oh, and Enterprise! It confirmed me as a Spock/Uhura shipper as a little kid (I was probably about 9 the first time I read it) and when I feel crappy it's one of my favorite re-reads still.

I really felt like the movie was written by a fanboy who had read the early books at least (I haven't seen the animated version, so I can't comment on that) because I kept seeing things from them. The warp cores in the end were so from Kobayashi Maru, from Kirk's desperate second attempt, I think. Uhura was definitely the Uhura of Uhura's Song and Traitor Winds. Kirk had Best Destiny written all over him and echoes of a future Prime Directive. Though I'm terribly confused by the cadet to Captain thing, unless we find out the whole, real fleet got wiped out by the Klingons, an still.

Sexy!green babe was an Orion. An Orion who wasn't a slave girl. She was a Starfleet officer. That was more than enough to make me happy on that front.

(Also, sometimes I am really bad at figuring out ethnicity, but I sort of thought that the Kelvin's original captain was Middle Eastern?)

I also thought the shots of Engineering were wrong, wrong, wrong, but I sort of loved the bridge for the pretty.

I also wish they hadn't refrigerated Amanda, because Amanda was awesome. Not that Sarek isn't awesome too, but if was I writing it and I needed Spock to have a dead parent in this storyline, Sarek would've been the one to go, further distancing Spock from his endangered race.
bessemerprocess: Elder duckie Ursala Vernon (acid-ink) (Default)

[personal profile] bessemerprocess 2009-05-12 11:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I missed most of the TNG novels, they weren't cracky enough for eleven year old me. I didn't remember any Orions not being slavegirls (though I know I read something where they rescue Orion slave from behind fake bulkheads and the whole books was pretty much an AoS anti-slaver mission.

The Captain of the Kelvin, or at least his actor, is Pakstani. (I totally had to look him up on imdb the figure that out.)

I think Spock must actually be older than Sarek now, which has to be odd, even in the we're not talking about way that Vulcans sometimes have. Amanda was so freaking awesome. I loved her from the books. She was competent and intelligent and wily and wry.

Also, I was thinking today, did they basically just obliterate all of Star Fleet along with Vulcan? Because all the adults were off somewhere in a battle right? And then all the cadets were killed too. Does Star Fleet have any ships left besides thee Enterprise?
siegeofangels: The angel from Guido Reni's "The Angel Appearing To St. Jerome" (Default)

[personal profile] siegeofangels 2009-05-12 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I kept meaning to say: for backstory and crack you cannot beat Enterprise: The First Adventure. Because of the circus, and the flying pony, and the bit with Uhura and Janice Rand. And, oh, the part with the steak, and the puppies, and WOW, I never realized how much crack was in that book.
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)

[personal profile] trouble 2009-05-16 04:03 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm really really quite distraught about Pike. But I commented on that at naraht's, so I maybe won't repeat it here?
cathexys: Uhura (new) (uhura (by universeunfolds))

[personal profile] cathexys 2009-05-16 04:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes to a lot of your complaints but re Chekov, of course that's why he was Russian in STOS, but would you have just recast him in a different ethnicity (thus creating the issues with recasting Sulu) or just replaced him with a different character altogether???
cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

[personal profile] cathexys 2009-05-16 05:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I totally agree on *other* characters. I was just curious about Chekov specifically...

cathexys: dark sphinx (default icon) (Default)

[personal profile] cathexys 2009-05-16 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL. Yes, that'd be an interesting twist/addition!
tablesaw: -- (Default)

[personal profile] tablesaw 2009-05-16 08:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I now declare that Real!continuity is Rihannsu!verse and all the stupid non-Ael compliant Romulan stuff is in Reboot!verse. Yes.
So were you another person who was waiting for the movie to say whether or not Remus was consumed in the supernova?

My OST novel reading is pretty limited, but after seeing the reboot, I really want to get my hands on The Kobayashi Maru.