My non-spoiler review of Star Trek

Okay, I’ve done as I was asked and kept my opinion of the new Star Trek movie to myself until it opened. I attended a Paramount preview screening of the film in New York City on April 23 and have been cogitating on the film ever since.


In a Hemingway sentence: I liked it.

That said, I feel the need to clarify my statement.

The good: It’s a really fun action thrill-ride. A terrific summer movie. It is the best-looking, best-sounding, most visually impressive Star Trek movie ever made. Its pacing is excellent, and it has moments of genuine emotional impact. Although the details of many characters’ lives and relationships have changed as a result of the alternate-timeline conceit of the story, they all remain recognizable as true to their classic personas.

I plan on seeing it more than once over the next month.

The bad: While the movie works as a sensory experience, it is less successful as pure storytelling. It has many narrative contrivances that are absolutely asinine. Its depiction of astronomical phenomena is completely wrong. The engine room of the Enterprise bears an uncanny resemblance to a brewery, and the bridge looks like an Apple Store with its lights turned up to “11.” And the film’s writers appear utterly ignorant of Star Trek technobabble, military protocols and culture, and basic logic.

(To see some spoiler-filled specific complaints that illustrate the paragraph above, see this blog post by fellow author William Leisner.)

The bottom line: Lots of fun and deserves to be considered as one of the top five Star Trek movies ever made — provided that you can turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride.

5 Responses to “My non-spoiler review of Star Trek”

  1. Lefty Banks

    David: Thanks for commenting – I was curious to know what some of the ST authors had to say about the film.

    What I wanted to know is this: how will this franchise reset impact future novels? From my reading of the film’s logic – the ST Prime timeline is basically gone but I’m assuming (in our world), it’s not like all the ST authors are going to start over again as a consequence.

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  3. David Mack


    For now, those of us who write and edit the books will view it as an opportunity. A whole new vein of Star Trek has been opened — we’d be fools not to mine it when the opportunity arises….

  4. Lefty Banks

    An excellent (and pragmatic) point.

    I’m curious though – if you can share – I’m assuming there’s some kind of Star Trek creative management that basically approves of storylines for new novels/comics, etc. If so, are they going to be approving not just new, post Star Trek movie plots but also plots that continue along the Star Trek Prime timeline? (I’m assuming yes since the “Countdown” comic seemed to suggest that timeline was still intact).

  5. David Mack

    For the time being, the Star Trek novels will continue to tell stories in various settings spanning the entire gamut of the canon, including the established literary-original series.

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