By Marc S. Sanders

I got the urge to watch Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country after seeing the compelling HBO miniseries Chernobyl. The Star Trek franchise succeeds best when it applies current and true-life events to its fictional future set in the 23rd century.

Like the USSR, the savage Klingon empire suffers a terrible accident at one of their most powerful energy planets, that spirals them into possibly having only fifty years of life left to survive. Therefore, Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) reaches out to representing Ambassador Spock of Starfleet (Leonard Nimoy) to begin peace talks that will help prolong the alien race’s survival.

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) however, is not so keen on the idea, especially after he blames them for the murder of his son. It turns out many other factions are not enthused either, as Gorkon is assassinated and Kirk and McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) are sentenced to an ice like Siberian prison planet.

There’s much to think about in the original Star Trek cast’s final film together. Beyond the sentiments of the crew retiring and the Enterprise being put out to pasture so to speak, there’s an interesting story to ponder about how we map out the future for upcoming generations when we are still living with the past that we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s telling, considering much of the real-life events happening twenty-two years into our new century with historical statues being removed and minorities fighting for fairness among their communities.

As well, is one country or people too proud and always wanting to be at odds with another by relishing in being a super power? Can we think beyond that nature? I think that’s maybe where the curious title, The Undiscovered Country, stems from. We just haven’t seen the possibility that could be truly within our reach, if we all wanted it that way.

Christopher Plummer plays Klingon General Chang who vows revenge for the assassination. Plummer is spectacular; a villain not recognized enough on all of those on line top 10 lists of bad guys. Plummer brings his theatrical training to the role as he relies on Shakespearean quotes to take in the scene at hand. He’s at least as good as Ricardo Montalban’s Khan is remembered.

The crew is adored as usual. The supporting cast are given their fair share of lines and moments in the spotlight. Kim Cattrall joins as a Vulcan Federation Officer who’s helpful to uncover the true criminals at play.

Director Nicholas Meyer contributed to the best of the Star Trek films, and this is a perfect example of his strength within the franchise. The story was partly conceived by Nimoy with Meyer credited on the screenplay. Cold War politics really lend to this film. It’s interesting to see how the Klingons are initially in denial of assistance or the desperate problem they face which is similar to Russia’s response following the horrifying nuclear accident at their power plant in Chernobyl. I just love how the ideas within The Undiscovered Country parallel the world’s response and effects of what was happening just a few years prior to this film’s release, in 1986.

Never let it be said that movies can’t teach you anything.


By Marc S. Sanders

Leonard Nimoy is an actor who can also direct himself.  Man o’ man, he accomplished amazing feats with Star Trek III & IV, didn’t he? On the other hand, William Shatner is just an actor.  Look at Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and you’ll see what I mean. 

(Mind you, I’m not being fair, because actually Shatner is a very good literary author.  Read his TekWar series to understand what I mean.)

What a terrible shame that this fifth film in what was mostly a successful and beloved film franchise descended so poorly in craftsmanship, writing, direction and performance.  The lesson to be learned when committing to a plot that has your cast of characters meeting with the Lord, Almighty God is…I guess you’ll always come up short.  Someone will be there to say, “Well that’s not my God!” or “God?  Who is this God, you speak of?”

The behind-the-scenes story goes that Shatner agreed to return for the fourth film on the condition that he direct the fifth installment.  Producer Harve Bennett and Paramount agreed, and Shatner got to writing.  What set this film up to fail from the get go is what a skeptical producer later recounted.  If you have a film where the crew of the Starship Enterprise meets up with God, it’s never going to please everyone.  Someone-a lot of someones-are going to be disappointed.  Talk about hindsight. 

Shatner’s other mistake was offering up a shocking new development for the franchise’s most treasured character.  Spock (Nimoy) has a long-lost step brother.  Yes.  Of course, use your film installments for big moments like this, but not this way.  Sybock (a dumb sounding, uninspired character name, played Laurence Luckenbill) is a crazed Vulcan heretic who brainwashes people by easing what pains them the most.  He arrives on a planet in the neutral zone (between Klingons and the Federation) and rounds up a posse masking them as hostages to bait Captain Kirk and the Enterprise to arrive, thereby hijacking the starship.  Next stop a mythical Eden, where God presumably resides.  This is supposed to be Spock’s brother????

When the veil is pulled off on who Sybock is, Shatner’s scene set up is kind of anti-climactic.  He portrays Kirk in a silly kind of comedic frustration against the no nonsense Spock for not sharing this news.  Lines like “Aha…. See?  See what I mean?” creep in.  It’s kind of sophomoric and hokey, like a failing stand up comic.  Spock doesn’t even find Sybock’s arrival very fascinating. (In case you aren’t aware, Spock exudes enthusiasm by declaring something fascinating.)  Instead, it’s just matter of fact.  So, why should the audience raise an eyebrow at any of this, if Spock won’t even make the effort?

The Final Frontier fails miserably on its visual effects.  The renowned Industrial Light & Magic was not available for this picture.  Shatner and company resorted with another contractor and the lack of substance in space travel and models shows terribly.  At one point Sulu (George Takei) must fly a shuttle transport into the hull of the Enterprise.  Reader, I’ve orchestrated better crash landings with my GI Joe toys.  This is one of the few science fiction films where I can literally tell that miniature models are being used.  The ships are not filmed to appear large and carrying vast amounts of crew members.  The scale of it all seems off.  God is just a holographic face in strobe blue light.  Why did the Paramount production team allow this to happen on such a valuable commodity as Star Trek?  After the enormous success of the last three films, especially Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, you would think that the filmmakers would be especially protective of their money maker. 

I guess I answered my own question, though.  The title Star Trek sells itself, like Batman, James Bond, Jurassic Park or Marvel or Star Wars.  So, let’s not kill ourselves with money and effort.  Is that the idea?  If audiences came in droves for the last picture, surely, they’ll want more and naturally return for the next one, no matter what’s plastered on the screen.  It’s terrible corporate hubris that happens all too often though, and it’s not right.

Star Trek always succeeds when each adventure is a reflection on our world histories and/or our current events.  The Voyage Home relied on the cause of environmental preservation.  The Undiscovered Country (the next film in the series) sprung from the Cold War politics that ended terribly for Russia with the Chernobyl disaster.  I like to believe The Final Frontier was aiming for religious doctrine, but ended up being a betrayal on a level of cult status, perhaps in the direction that Scientology or NXIUM have been suspected of taking.  A zealot will brainwash you into the illusion of immediate relief from what personally ails you. Then you will follow this so-called leader on a tour to meet the almighty, himself (“God” in this film is portrayed by a man, actor George Murdock.)  It’s regrettable, because nothing was gained from this.  Characters ranging from McCoy to Uhura, Chekov and Sulu all become followers of Sybock under his hypnosis.  Yet, Shatner’s story and direction never provide a relief from what overtakes them.  Were they ever deprogrammed?  Cults do exist and sadly people have to be reverted back from the mind control that’s overtaken them.  I’d argue science fiction could allow for a more economical and immediate relief, but even that is not offered here.  So, again nothing is gained or absorbed from Star Trek V.

Film Critic Gene Siskel made a simple and wise observation about the Star Trek films as a whole.  We like these movies because we like these characters and they like each other.  William Shatner offers a simple life approach to Kirk, Spock and McCoy as they camp out on shore leave in Yellowstone National Park.  They sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  It has its charm as Spock is dumbfounded by the illogical lyrics of the song.  You smirk along with Kirk and McCoy.  However, it has nothing to do with the crux of the film.  This moment reintroduces the characters at the start of the film and then it is bookended to close out the movie.  But why?  What was proffered from this?  It goes back to William Shatner spit balling as a writer/director.  In other films, before the meat of the story would begin, the characters would reflect on Shakespeare or Charles Dickens for example, and somehow it weaved nicely into the adventure or the outcome later on.  A campfire song has no relevance that I could determine with a quest for God.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was just aimless telling, and it bothers me to this day.  By the time this film arrived in 1989, the cast was already starting to wind down.  Their age was showing, and they only had so many more voyages to travel on.  Kind of sad that their second to last exploration was dull, short sighted and massively insignificant.


By Marc S. Sanders

We owe a lot to H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine.  Without Wells, Marty McFly would not become familiarized with a souped-up DeLorean, and Earth as we know it would be decimated by the year 2286 because a probe, in the shape of a Ring Ding pastry, from the far reaches of space could not find its humpback whale friends to say hello to.  If Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is not the best of the film series, it is certainly the most fun and delightful.  (For the record, my personal favorite is Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan but sometimes I switch to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.)

Kirk, McCoy (William Shatner, DeForest Kelley) and company have managed to resurrect their comrade Spock (Leonard Nimoy, also returning to the directing chair). Now, they are enroute from the planet Vulcan to Earth awaiting trial for the crimes and violations they committed in the prior film.  However, they must follow a detour back in time to the year 1986 and pick up a pair of humpback whales.  The sea mammals are the only creatures that can speak with an alien probe and salvage the Earth from becoming destroyed.  The probe isn’t an enemy.  Its arrival is simply unsettling the planet’s oceans and core because it can’t communicate with whale life, that is now extinct by the time 2286 has arrived.

So, in a Klingon Bird of Prey that they took command of and dubbed the HMS Bounty, our favorite Federation crew, arrive in late 20th century San Francisco.  Problems lay ahead though.  Their dilithium crystals (fuel) are depleted, they are unfamiliar with the daily activities of life during this period, and just how are they to find a pair of mammoth whales by walking around the city?  As well, Spock is not exactly himself since his rebirth.  His knowledge is there, but his common sense that stems from his human half is lacking.  This leads to some funny engagements with the city folk as he develops a habit for some colorful language not commonly used in the 23rd century.  A scene on a city bus with a punk rocker is a terrific highlight. 

Well, within the film’s two-hour time frame a pair of whales is located at The Cetacean Institute and they are overseen by a spunky and emotionally caring guide named Gillian portrayed by Catherine Hicks.  Now the gang has just gotta get home to their time before it’s too late.

The script for The Voyage Home is really quite brilliant and such a pleasant surprise.  All of the characters have their own moments for humor to occur.  The best being that Chekhov and Uhura (Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols) have to find a nuclear power source to make up for the lack of dilithium crystals.  Imagine, during the time of Reagan/Gorbachev Cold War politics, a man with a heavy Russian accent politely asking a motorcycle cop where he may find the “nuclear wessels…NUCLEAR… WESSELS.” It’s also inspiring to place a cynically cranky Dr. McCoy in a city hospital only to question how medical practices were ever tolerated at this time. “Is this the dark ages?”

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy make such a sincere pair of friends as Kirk and Spock.  Shatner is especially good in the Star Trek films because he performs with a way of sarcasm and whimsy.  He works like Errol Flynn, unreserved while he swings into the danger.  Yet, he’s also so sincere.  There’s a flirtatiousness to him that’s impossible not to like.  He’s just so personable.  You also feel for his Kirk when he wishes his old friend, Spock, would just return to the way he once was and simply address him as “Jim,” not Admiral.  I couldn’t help but relate to it as someone who may wish that with a relative suffering from dementia.  The loved one is still there, and yet he/she is not there.  That’s how Shatner touchingly approaches this relationship.  The chemistry between Shatner and Nimoy is unparallel.  The recasting of the roles in later years has not matched up.  The original actors just read each other’s timing perfectly like Laurel & Hardy or Felix & Oscar.  There’s Newman & Redford.  There’s Lemmon & Mathau.  There’s Shatner & Nimoy.

I always had my facts mixed up.  I was always under the impression that this film was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar.  It in fact wasn’t.  Yet, it really should have been.   The Voyage Home has a message on the importance of preservation of life and an urge to hold on to the integrity of our environment.  Thankfully, it’s not preachy.  There’s a combination of science fiction, adventure and humor at play here that I don’t think has ever worked better in what I’ve seen of the Star Trek universe of films and TV series. This is just a very, very smart film with good, insightful direction from Leonard Nimoy. 

Nearly forty years later and this picture still holds up.  So many of our planet’s species remain endangered.  Many are suspected to be extinct by the hands of man.  The Voyage Home touches upon these facts.  It still feels so up to date that you even get a lump in your throat at the top of the film when a dedication is made to the memory of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew.  The makers of this Star Trek installment really presented a timeless film with the help of time travel, and you don’t have to be a Trek fan to appreciate its merits.


By Marc S. Sanders

Leonard Nimoy accepted the director’s chair for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.  Though background stories dictate that he was done with the famous character especially following the end of the previous film in the franchise, one hanging thread was left untouched to permit another chapter.  It’s fortunate that Nimoy worked with so much good, solid and well written material for him to oversee on this follow up picture.

The Enterprise is returning to Earth following its entanglements with Khan.  Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is morose following the loss of a close colleague. In addition, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) is mysteriously unwell.  Meanwhile, the newest invention, Project Genesis, is being thoroughly studied by Kirk’s son David and Lt. Saavik, now that it has formed a planet of its own.  Genesis has become a clandestine and highly politicized issue among the Federation Of Planets and it is not to be discussed in public arenas. 

Shortly after Kirk arrives home, he is approached by Spock’s father, Sarek (Mark Lenard).  They both realize that before Spock’s unexpected self-sacrifice, he left his “spirit” within the mind of McCoy.  Now McCoy is unstable in the current life and Spock’s afterlife is not settled as well.  Kirk and crew must find a way to escort McCoy to the planet Vulcan, along with Spock’s corpse that is resting on the Genesis planet.  So, without authorization, they hijack the Enterprise and off they go into the far reaches of space all over again.  It won’t be easy as Christopher Lloyd has been cast as a vicious Klingon who commands a Bird Of Prey ship that can cloak itself just before an attack. 

Due to the enormous popularity of The Wrath Of Khan and The Voyage Home (even numbered installments in the movie series), The Search For Spock doesn’t get the recognition it truly deserves.  People love to point out how the odd numbered installments are the weaker films.  Star Trek III negates that observation for me, though.  Maybe whatever dismissal it carries is also in part because it’s a short film and doesn’t feature the main attraction for many Trek fans, Spock.  Yet, Nimoy with a script written by producer Harve Bennett tackles some shocking developments in the continuing adventures of Kirk, Bones, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov.  All these years later and two eye opening moments occur in the film’s third act where I tell myself, “Wow, I can’t believe they actually went there.”

The film has a very gratifying ending.  Yet, it ends with a couple of big cliffhangers.  Look, when Darth Vader revealed his big secret, moviegoers had to wait three long years to find out the backstory and what was really the truth.  With this third Star Trek film, there’s much to account for as to what will become of our first favorite science fiction crew.  Leonard Nimoy hit all the right notes leaving audiences wanting more.

Nimoy has directed a well-versed picture.  The film doesn’t just belong to Shatner this time. Though he’s just as marvelous as the last film.  He just has such a likable charm to him, and his dramatic moments can be heart wrenching.  DeForest Kelley is given good material here.  At times, his mental dilemma is a struggle for the character.  In other areas, his curmudgeonhood comes out for humor as he curses Spock for what he’s left him with.  It’s a humorous kind of sci fi prejudice (sort of like Archie Bunker) that made Spock and McCoy a good pair to traditionally watch spar with each other.  George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and James Doohan are blessed with moments as well that feature some funny one liners (“Up yer shaft!” and “Don’t call me Tiny!”).

It’s easy to regard the third film of a “geek culture” as just another film.  However, in its brisk ninety-minute running time, The Search For Spock explores facets of religion, albeit fictional, and debates with science and discovery.  If that’s not good enough for you, at least it’s also a helluva great adventure.


By Marc S. Sanders

I was only a mild fan of the original Star Trek television show. Some storylines were flat and simply a bore. It had some thrilling moments though, including episodes that I’ve watched on repeat. (The Squire Of Gothos was always my favorite.) Unfortunately, the first big budgeted Trek film followed suit of the weaker, less interesting aspects of Gene Roddenberry’s series. Thankfully, Paramount Pictures with producer Harve Bennett had enough faith to try once more and get it right. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan is one of my favorite science fiction films of all time.

Bennett invested time in rewatching the entire series looking for the return of a formidable foe against the crew of the famed Starship Enterprise, and he settled on the power mad muscled genius, Khan (played with gravitas and impressive pecs by Ricardo Montalban) from the series episode Space Seed.

Khan, along with his wife and crew were left marooned by Captain James T Kirk (William Shatner) on a barren planet for their crimes. Fifteen years have passed and Chekhov (Walter Koenig) along with his Captain (Paul Winfield) unexpectedly come upon the villain’s vessel. Now Khan has taken control of their starship with a vow for revenge upon Kirk.

Caught in the middle of this conflict is a new age device called “Genesis” which has the potential to create life from non life. Find a planet devoid of any living organism and allow the device to go to work. In Khan’s hands though, it could serve as a terribly destructive weapon.

Regardless of its ending, The Wrath Of Khan offers the best performance by Willam Shatner with his memorably storied character. There’s more depth than ever in Kirk. He is now ranked as an Admiral who in turn is denied of directly commanding a starship, his greatest career accomplishment. He’s fearful of aging as his birthday approaches. He also meets up with a past flame whom he shares a son with. There’s plenty of dimension devoted to Kirk, and it all works. None of it feels mired down. This is a story devoted primarily to Shatner’s character with the others in tow. He looks so comfortable in the role as he walks the halls of the Enterprise. Because he always looks like he knows where he’s going, so does the audience. He’s very casual in his manner. The setting of the starship has life when Kirk is populated within it.

Furthermore, the friendship he has with Spock (Leonard Nimoy) feels solid. When Spock gifts Kirk an antique copy of Charles Dicken’s A Tale Of Two Cities, you feel cozy in the history of these two people. It’s further noted in Kirk’s relationship with Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelly). It’s important to realize that this film is only the second film following three seasons of an episodic television show that more or less just showed villains of the week. We never had an opportunity to really get inside Kirk’s head before. So despite the vastness of Star Trek, it’s main players were arguably still quite green.

Director Nicholas Meyer (the best one of all the films), turns two sea captains upon one another amid an ocean of space as they play battleship. You get a strong idea of the tactician that Khan is. Montalban is great as a Captain Ahab seeking to destroy his Moby Dick, suitably relying on quoting Melville’s classic novel. Meyer is so good at drawing from the best of both sides. The adversity between Khan and Kirk works very effectively that you hardly realize that Shatner and Montalban never appear on the same set together. Both primarily work from their Captain’s chairs. The set ups play with much strategy and good back and forth dialogue as they communicate by screen images. Call it their “Zoom Session” if you must. Ultimately, this film demonstrates that how a movie is only as strong as its villain.

The Enterprise setting also looks superb with its elevators, curved and endless hallways, engineering platforms & alcoves and submarine like doors. The command bridge looks realistically functional too. Everything on the Enterprise seems like it has a working purpose. When crew members are running towards something or climbing a ladder, Nicholas Meyer makes it feel like you know where these people are going and what they are trying to do.

Composer James Horner also needs a good amount of credit. At times, his music comes off frightening. As Khan makes various approaches with his ship, Horner has this claw like thunder clap cued in to the danger. His more upbeat tempos feel like proud militaristic marches for the Starfleet characters. You get that feeling especially in the opening credits. During a sequence where the two ships are flying blind through a nebula, the music is eerily string like and quiet. Horner studied this film to get the absolute best notes.

The ending is heartbreaking and suitable to the character arc that Kirk experiences. While it is surprising, it’s also pleasingly foreshadowed, wrapping up the internal dilemma that Kirk grapples with over the course of the film.

I would argue that Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan turned out to be the most vitally important chapter in the famous franchise’s history. It succeeded in acting, writing, effects, setting, score and direction. Had this film not generated a response from audiences, I have to wonder if any more of Star Trek would ever have been seen again.

One thing for sure, you don’t have to be a die hard fan to really appreciate a great film like The Wrath Of Khan.

STAR TREK (2009)

By Marc S. Sanders

Well Batman did it, and James Bond did it.  So why can’t Star Trek do it too? 

JJ Abrams adopted another franchise to direct when he rebooted the outer space western originally conceived by Gene Rodenberry over 50 years ago.  He did well with it too, if you are willing to dismiss the final polish to the look of the picture that Abrams couldn’t resist.  Not so much a polish as it is a tarnish, unfortunately.

I was late to the party of realizing that Abrams has a terrible habit of using “lens flares” on many of his films.  Now that I’m attuned, I can’t help but notice.  I typically get quite entertained by his pictures.  Mission: Impossible III is still the best of the series as far I’m concerned.  The Force Awakens thankfully carried the original trilogy tradition of the Star Wars franchise.  His one original film that he directed, Super 8, is criminally underrated.  However, those films were spared the over saturated and very unwelcome lens flare that dominates his first Star Trek film.  The film opens with an outstanding special effects battle as a Federation starship is being overwon by a Romulan war ship.  The sets of the bridge and decks of the ship are slanted to emote chaos.  There are sparks of fire falling all over the place.  Crew members are being sucked into space, and falling over each other.  And there’s lens flares aplenty which are not so distracting within all the hysteria depicted.  The scene climaxes with the birth of one of the two most celebrated franchise characters, James T Kirk.  It’s a spectacular opening sequence that seems to uphold the traditions of Star Trek while feeling fresh with outstanding visual effects.

Afterwards, the visual effects stay on course with the updated technology that Hollywood now relies upon.  Nothing here looks CGI.  It all feels tangible, hot, and operationally functional.  Abrams accomplished a great looking science fiction film, but then he and his cinematographer spray painted a graffiti of light streaks that never end.  Crew members will be walking down a hallway – there’s a lens flare.  A character gets abandoned on a deserted snow planet – there are more lens flares.  A bar fight occurs, only to be blinded by lens flares.  Every time a guy throws a punch, it’s literally followed with a lens flare.  A hearing in an assembly room takes place.  Why do we need streaks of light in here of all places?  If I were on vacation and taking in the sights of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco within this future, my pictures would be terrible.  Apparently, lens flares have taken over the state of California.  (I guess I should be thankful knowing the state did not in fact eventually sink to the bottom of the ocean.)

The rebooted story line is fine, yet simple.  A Romulan terrorist named Nero (Eric Bana) from a further distant future is obsessed with exacting revenge on Spock.  Next to that plot, this film serves more as opportunity for production company Paramount Pictures to reintroduce the beloved seven main characters of the original series of television and films with new actors.  Chris Pine is one of the best casting selections.  His Captain Kirk is his own performance and yet when he finally sits in that captain’s chair on the bridge, I could recognize the stature and expressions of William Shatner.  He gives a nice salute to the character and the original actor who played him.  Zachary Quinto is also good as Spock, though this character is distant cry from the original Leonard Nimoy portrayal.  I found it interesting.  This Spock has greater challenges with emotions harbored in the human side of his brain.  Karl Urban is fantastic at taking over the reigns of DeForrest Kelley as “Bones” McCoy, the Enterprise’s eventual resident doctor.  Urban is given the opportunity to be hilariously cynical upon his entrance into the film.

While the visual effects and sets are at the top of their game with Abrams and crew sparing no expense, it is a little eye opening to see the sexuality of the characters take a step forward.  Abrams is not shy about showing Zoe Saldana as Uhura disrobe into her under garments with Kirk standing on the other side of the bedroom.  I’m not offended or prudish about this material but was it really necessary to go with the Porky’s angle?  It doesn’t have to be a requirement to take some of the most beautiful actors in the world and get them to strip to uphold a film.  Star Trek always had much more to offer than that.  Scenes like this come off like a cheap shot.  Pine and Saldana are better actors, worthy of favored franchise fare (DC and Marvel films) than just material like this. 

There are some surprises in this reboot for both the casual and obsessed fans.  It’s kind of welcome actually as it takes the familiar universe of Roddenberry’s conception and turns it on its head.  Certain well known locations and characters arrive at unexpected fates.  Though, unfortunately, the alternate timeline motif pushes its way through the middle of the picture.  I fear for these kinds of stories.  All they do, time and again, is open up unanswered and (forgive me for the pun) illogical answers.  Marvel and DC films are on their way to doing this with their upcoming films following the year 2021 and I can see the whole thing unraveling at the seams.  Was it necessary here, though?  I really didn’t think so.  Abrams had an opportunity to win back an appearance of an actor from the original series and it seemed forced into the film like a square trying to fit into a circle.  The older installments had their moment in the sun.  Let that go.  Focus on this new cast and this new vision.

Again, this Star Trek is a gorgeous looking film full of color and clean looking set designs all around.  The bridge of the Enterprise is something that I’d love to see in person.  The cast is actually quite perfect filling the shoes of their respective roles.  However, JJ Abrams tried too hard I think with a couple of plot developments, and an extremely distracting and very unwelcome LENS FLARE.  I KNOW I’M REPEATING MYSELF.  YET I’M NOT BEING ANY MORE REDUNDANT THAN ABRAMS WAS WITH THE STUPID BLINDING PIECE OF LIGHT. 

Maybe the next time I watch this picture, I’ll wear my sunglasses.