Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Okay, first a little background on me with regard to the Star Trek franchise.

I'm probably a B level fan of it all.   I did eventually see all three seasons of the original TV series that was shot at Desilu for about 39 cents.   Unlike other devotees, I watched the episodes once.   I don't rerun them.   I don't commit entire scripts to memory for recitation.   I don't view the characters as extensions of my family.

As for the other Star Trek iterations on the tube, meh.   Never saw them whatever they were called.   Starship.   The Next Regurgitation.  Blah.  Blah.

Okay, now for the movies.   I think I've seen them them all because, well, sometimes you need an excuse for buttered popcorn.  And I've viewed them all with varying results.   The very first one directed by Robert Wise?  Garbage. The one with Ricardo Montalban and Spock was flying around in a space casket?  Excellent.  The one where they were walking around present day San Francisco and saving the dolphins?  Ludicrous.

Of course, the franchise branched off with other actors playing new characters and young actors playing old characters because the originals are...well...old or dead.  And I must say that the new theatrical version with the likes of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto has been good to date.   I especially enjoyed the first one, largely because a big chase scene was filmed in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

That brings me to the current Star Trek movie, which is the third or the thirty-third in a series and produced by JJ Abrams.   "Star Trek Beyond" is the title and it's a perfect setup for a punchline.   Because it's beyond...




To say that this latest Star Trek adventure is a mess would be insulting to how the word "mess" is defined by Webster's Dictionary.   This is a movie that looks like it was put together on a laptop in Mom's basement.  Seriously, the bargain basement special effects paid for by Lucille Ball in 1967 were better looking and more convincing than the CGI crap put forth by director Justin Lin, who thinks that his Fast and Furious franchise can be easily transferred to outer space.   

I'd love to see the script for this disaster.   My guess is that every page looks the same.   Kirk says something.  Spock responds.   The villain gives a menacing look.   AND THEN WE BLOW UP A LOT OF SHIT.  Because that's what happening.   And, indeed, part of the shit that is blown up is the Enterprise. There goes that nifty tie-in with the rental car company.

Somewhere in this universe, there's a plot for this movie.   It just doesn't come across here.   There's an arch enemy named Krull who looks like one of the original make-up sessions for "Creature from the Black Lagoon."   He eventually morphs into actor Idris Elba, who is fast becoming the Samuel L. Jackson for the new generation.    He's creepy even without scales on his face.   But, frankly, who cares?   Because as soon as he's done with his next line of dialogue...


Nothing in "Star Trek Beyond" even remotely makes sense.   And a fascinating sidelight is the acting of Chris Pine as Captain Kirk.  Is it me or is he starting to pick up the facial tics and mannerisms of original portrayer William Shatner? Note to Mr. Pine: this might not be a good thing, since Shatner is arguably one of the top five worst actors ever to appear in a Hollywood feature or TV show.

Of course, Lin stops the TNT briefly for some homages to the original cast, which is slowly migrating to Forest Lawn Cemetery.   Plus there are silent nods of tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy and to Anton Yelchin who currently plays Chekov and was recently run over by his own car.   Yes, I did just write that.  Of course, as I was watching this piece of crap, I couldn't help but think about Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry who must be doing so many flips in his grave that he's sparking a 6.5 earthquake.

Oh, I'll probably see whatever new iteration of Star Trek comes out next.   And, given how devoid Hollywood is of any new ideas, you can be sure this franchise will be mined over and over again.   My fear is that the real quality of it all is long since gone.   Especially as moviegoers increasingly like to see films where they...


LEN'S RATING:  One-half star for the lush orchestration of the original theme at the very end.

Dinner last night:  Chopped chef's salad.

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