Film and TV

On Trek

The 10th Trek film, ostensibly the last featuring the Next Generation crew (or any other, c'mon), plays like a greatest-hits remix; like Die Another Day, it's bent on resurrecting a moribund franchise by recalling all the things you used to love about it till you grew into big-boy pants. And so the geek weenie tingles at the mere mention of Kirk and Tholians, at the sight of Whoopi Goldberg and Kate Mulgrew, at the conjuring of oldies-but-goodies Romulans as the enemies at long last; plenty of pointy ears to go around this go-round. But more than anything, this epic (two hours, and you feel every last second) plays like a Wrath of Khan remake, down to the near-destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise and the, ahem, death of a key crew member. Instead of Kirk and Khan, we get Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) dueling in a space cloud with his cloned "brother" Shinzon (Tom Hardy), who intends on leading the Romulans against the Federation using a weapon that a bit too closely promises the wholesale destruction delivered by Khan's Genesis device. (There's also plenty of Undiscovered Country here, for those keeping score.) For a while the movie is fun and not a little funky; there's the promise of a space nudist colony, which is perhaps better left unseen (make your own Klingon joke, though preferably not in Klingon). Questions abound, though, such as when did the transporter get replaced by a dune buggy? And why do wedding bands in the future still sound like they did in 1978? And why does Brent Spiner insist on singing whenever possible? In all, the fifth-best Trek film. If I have to tell you the other four, you've no business reading this at all.
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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky