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So, the alternating pattern continues, as the abysmal “Into Darkness” is followed up by... hell, probably the best Trek film since Undiscovered Country? The reboot finally steps out of the shadow of the original series, and is all the better for it, finally feeling fresh and exciting. Hell, that's practically one of the movie's themes, letting go of the past, and I can only hope that carries through from now on.

Spoilers and specific comments below:

- I'm still not entirely warming to reboot-Kirk; mainly because his characterisation seems to keep resetting every movie and his daddy-issues just aren't interesting enough to keep dwelling on. Fortunately he snaps out of it quickly, and for once behaves like a professional leader... still, it's an uphill battle to care about him when his character arc always seems to come back to “I don't even want to be here!”

- McCoy finally gets a proper role and gets to be the bridge between Kirk and Spock. He was somewhat wasted in the previous films, so it's great to see him finally getting some major scenes of his own.

- Actually, this is probably the best of all the Trek films, old or new, when it comes to making use of the whole cast. The cast is really the strongest part of the reboot setting, and it was great to see everyone get their chance to shine.

- Nimoy. Ahh, geeze. I was expecting a tribute of some kind, but not to this extent, and it wasn't easy watching Quinto effectively eulogising his predecessor. What was nice was that it did tie into the themes of the film, and didn't just feel like an awkward reference to real-life events.

- Yelchin. Again, hard to watch, but nice he got to play a major role, and his last lines being claiming scotch as a Russian invention was perfect.

- Sulu. Star Trek finally does it; we get a married character who's spouse survives! Alright, I'm kidding, but it's long overdue to have a gay character – though I was hoping for a bit more – a mention of his husband when Yorktown comes under attack, a reunion at the end, something.

- On that note, Yorktown Starbase! Man, it's awesome, and it was nice to have somewhere other than Earth come under attack. We've seen giant starbases and stations before in the various series, but finally we get to see one that feels like it should, a city in space, a statement of what the Federation achieves and builds.

- Can we get Jaylah back? The ending leaves it open for her to return, and it would be nice to have another woman in the cast. (I've given up on ever seeing a reboot-Rand...)

- The villain. Well, they made the same mistake as Into Darkness of only revealing his real identity and goals too late to really detail them, but he was fun. Nice that he turned out not to just be a xenophobic alien who hates our freedom the Federation, but a human unable to live with change. And I can't believe the Xindi of all things got name-checked!

An odd thought – since he's from the Enterprise era, he presumably has a counterpart in the prime universe too... room for fanfic there.

- Dare I hope that the destruction of the Enterprise means the end of it's over shiny, over-sterile bridge and corridors? When they mentioned a new, more advanced ship under construction, I was kinda hoping for a reboot Excelsior, but I'll settle for an Enterprise-A if it feels more human inside.

- Was it just me, or did the mountains of the planet look suspiciously like the Vasquez Rocks?

The title is still terrible and means nothing, though.


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David Newgreen

September 2017

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