Call it media brainwashing. Because all my friends liked it, because the reviews were generally positive, and because The Onion said you were an old fogey if you complained about it, it took a while before my dislike of the new Star Trek movie bubbled to the surface. But bubble up it did. So let me make it clear:
The new Star Trek movie, the so-called "reboot", is a mess. I don't like it. And you can call me all sorts of names and I still won't like it.
What's not to like? After the dark and dismal stories of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, the new Star Trek is colorful and optimistic. On the surface, Star Trek is bright and shiny again.
But that's the problem: it's all on the surface. Underneath, the Star Trek movie is flimsy and weak, with muddled motivations and an overreliance on deus ex machina.
It's not about canon. It's about good story. I don't care if it's old Trek or new Trek or new old Trek or what. I want a good plausible story. And in that respect, the J.J. Abrams film failed to deliver.
I mean: the Romulan miners travelled to the past, so why didn't they work to prevent the destruction of their planet when they could? It's not as if it was the Federation or the Klingons who caused the supernova. If anything, the Federation tried to save Romulus. It just so happened Spock was late. Was that his fault?
And they waited 25 years for old Spock to appear? What did they do in the meantime? Twiddle their thumbs? They obviously had the firepower to destroy Klingon and Federation armadas. And in all that time, they're just waiting?
People say that the old Star Trek relied on technology doubletalk to advance the plot, whereas this new Star Trek uses action. Hello? Red Matter? That can cause singularities with a single drop from a giant hypodermic needle? Transwarp transporter technology? So they can get back on the USS Enterprise without the dirty business of getting a fast ship? This new Star Trek has got convenient doubletalk plot devices in spades!
How convenient, too, that new Spock should just happen to order new Kirk thrown off the ship so that he conveniently lands on Delta Vega where old Spock has been conveniently marooned, and where they conveniently happen to meet Scotty who was conveniently left to man the outpost. Oh, and by the way, Scotty conveniently invented transporter gobbledygooky technology, too, so they can conveniently transport to the Enterprise travelling at warp speed.
The Kirk that I remember managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by some unconventional, clever, and underhanded trick (that being the point of his Kobayashi Maru solution). This Kirk's solution? Beam aboard the enemy ship and find a way to destroy it. Why not just fire a torpedo up the exhaust port while you're at it? It's so...ho-hum.
This Star Trek story, in fact, is so ho-hum, but you just won't notice it under the relentless assault on your senses by its arsenal of bright and shiny designs, lens flares, one-liners, and Orion beauties (what I really wanted to say was Orion slave girl, but apparently they're Federation now.) Even if your brain wants to complain, you you'll be drowned out by the nostalgic sighs of old starcrossed fans and the cheers of newly reconstituted "Trekkies."
And yet the fact remains: the new Star Trek is crap. Bright and shiny crap, yes, but crap nonetheless.