Ever since Princess Leia saw her home planet get waxed by the Death Star, witnessing the demise of one’s home planet has become the gold standard of sci-fi suffering.  The new Star Trek gives us two destroyed planets.  Billions and billions of lives, but not to worry, their cultures are preserved, and would you check out those visuals?  The best Trek in TV and movies, it seems to me, always relied on heart (sometimes too much heart) and story.  The new Star Trek has neither.

The actors here are good.  Professionals armed with hours of material showing them who they’ll become, they deliver young Kirk, Spock et. al. quite convincingly, if mostly predictably.  The young Kirk was often painful to watch, but then so was Shatner.  Too campy and cutesy by half, no one could quite decide how seriously we were to take this nostalgic exercise.  Even so, if there’d been a story to care about, things might’ve gone well.

The story, however, is just plain dopey and dull and heartless.  The villain powering the plot is a misinformed idiot from the future, more to be pitied than feared if it weren’t for his big planetary drill and his red glob of black hole stuff.  The only way to save the planet is to sword fight without getting incinerated by the blasting flames.  (The game developer wrote this bit).  The villain’s ship and its interior is way spooky but must be a bitch to work in.  Looks like it was designed by an art director in collaboration with the fight director.  All in all, the future doesn’t seem very bright.  Or interesting.  Nice tattoos though.

This movie doesn’t care about the story; it’s an excuse to do what every dumb sf movie does:  Have pointless fights (fists, swords, whatever) and blow shit up.  And oh yeah, spawn sequels.  The cash cow is mooing again.  Expect more of the same II.

This is a real good and loud blow-shit-up movie with a big cheese ball (provided by Leonard Nimoy) in the middle.  Decent science fiction?  Not so much.  A thought in its head?  $$.  A big disappointment.  The previews for other crappola sf, all seeming to sport transformers and explosions, were supposed to make us grateful for the biggest, noisiest blockbuster of the summer.  Ugh.  If you want to watch decent science fiction these days, watch television.