Posts Tagged ‘bad movies’

Kurtzman and Orci are poor writers

May 14, 2009

I saw the new Star Trek film yesterady.  Right up front about this, I’m a Trek fan and there will be spoilers. I really like the series and while I don’t read the books or have everything from the shows/movies memorized, I am pretty damn picky when it comes to Star Trek and what they do with it. Especially when they want my eight bucks to see what they’ve done.

A glance at Rotten Tomatoes tells me that a lot of people really like this movies. From talking to other people, the movie has also been really well received by the public.  But so was Transformers.

And it was crap, too.

If all you are looking for is an action movie with Star Trek props then this movie is for you. As a special effects extraveganza with a lot of stuff blowing up it excels. Abrams sets a break neck pace that attempts to not allow you to think about anything that is happening on screen.

Which is goood because the moment you start thinking about the movie it goes all to hell. This isn’t to say that I, or anyone, should expect Oscar calibre work on a Star Trek film. For better or worse it will always be looked at as just “Star Trek.” But Kurtzman and Orci can’t write a decent script to save their lives.

They get the character names right, they get the props right and they lift all of the significant lines for the characters from the original Star Trek cast. But they have no idea how to deploy their forces correctly or efficiently. The lines seem thrown in and forced by the actors, used because they were expected to be used. They don’t give Nero any real depth of character, relying heavily on “he’s a bad guy with a big ship” while never really giving him a chance to be an enemy. He blows up a planet and…well, that’s it. And he really hates Spock.

And this isn’t the half of it. The method of destroying the planet, and the tool used for it, are less than thoughtout and seem to be around because, well, it looks cool and allows space for another fight scene where one guys brings a gun, which he loses, and they end up fighting with swords. And you have to wonder, or at least I have to wonder, why Nero wouldn’t go to Romulus and work to save his own planet with his knowledge of the future rather than detroy a bunch of other planets while still leaving everything else the same. He says something about destroying the federation to ensure Romulus’s future but the Federation didn’t blow up the star that whiped out Rumulus (and, apparently, most of an entire galaxy which makes me think that Kurtzman and Orci don’t have any idea on how big a galaxy actually is and how many stars actually explode without whiping them out). 

The movie entirely lacks an internal logic and structure.  While Trek isn’t exactly hard sci/fi, this movie continues a Nemesis tradition of showing a frightening lack of basic knowledge about science and isn’t even consistent with it’s mistreatment of science. Sometimes blackholes suck you through space and time, sometimes they just rip your ship all to hell. Apparently, it’s justa coin toss as to which of these events will happen and you just take your chances.

On the plus side, Simon Pegg was excellent as Scotty but I think a lot of that goes to Pegg  just being good at his work. Bana was horribly underutilized as Nero. Nero could have become an iconic Trek movie antagonist if the writing was better as it looked like Bana was really selling the character. The rest of the cast I’m lukewarm over. They cast for the right ethnicities but none of them were overly memorable beyond Chekov’s accent jokes (which were funny). Unfortunately, I thought Urban’s portrayal of Bones bordered more on charicature than anything.

So I’m not looking forward to the next Trek movie as Kurtzman and Orci seem to have been given the reins for that one, too. They write bad movies. They have always written bad movies and they will continue to do so. But people like seeing stuff blow up even if it makes little to zero sense in the events leading up to and leading away from the stuff blowing up. I’m not against revamping Trek, or even against Abrams speeding it up a bit, but they need better material to work with.