John T. Stanhope

Born in the small northern California town of Oroville and raised on a farm, John grew up loving film and film music -- fantasy & science fiction have always been favorites, with the original Star Trek series and original Star Wars films being huge influences. He wound up going to film school at San Francisco State University, then transferred to and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in film production. After graduation he worked in various aspects of the film industry for several years (his last stint was as Assistant Visual Effects Editor on the 1999 film version of MY FAVORITE MARTIAN) before moving to Colorado Springs, CO. He and his wife currently own a Coffee & Tea house called Pikes Perk (named after Colorado's famous Pikes Peak mountain) and John contributes film-related articles to the Colorado chapter of YourHub.com, the Colorado Springs newspaper insert for YourHub, Cinefantastiqueonline.com and Geek Monthly magazine. He also now posts tiny reviews of films (and other things that may strike his fancy) at Twitter.com/PocketReviews.


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5 responses to “Star Trek: One Trekkie’s Contrarian Thoughts – Film Review”

  1. Savik451

    What? What!? Oh, wait — maybe you’re right. I guess I might have to watch it yet again.

  2. Dennis Fischer

    My thoughts are even more contrarian than Mr. Stanhope’s. In addition to the flaws mentioned, a major problem with this well-produced STAR TREK film is that it simply isn’t about anything. Unlike previous TREK motion pictures, there is no real theme being explored. Instead of confronting science or philosophy, the new STAR TREK remains a simple-minded action film that does some disservice to these beloved characters from the past.

    Additionally, it sets up a time paradox in which due to Nero’s changes in the timeline, the previous version of Spock (as played by Leonard Nimoy) would no longer exist–major events from his past could not have occurred, including Kirk meeting both his parents for the first time, Spock returning to Vulcan to devote himself to Vulcan discipline, Spock’s katra being brought to Vulcan to merge with the new body created by the Genesis Effect–you get the idea.

    Additionally, where the series Kirk described himself at Starfleet as a grind and was described by someone else as a stack of books with legs, this new film’s Kirk is a juvenile delinquent, a constant rule-breaker and risk-taker, who gets unrealistically promoted to first officer without even becoming an ensign.

  3. Trekgeezer

    I thought it was an exciting film, but as Star Trek fan since 1966 at age 11, I could really pick this thing to death.

    The movie has the structure of a TV pilot. All the characters are introduced and then shoved together in a weakly plotted story.

    The one huge implausibility to me was Spock allowing his home planet to be destroyed without trying to figure out a way to go back in time to stop it.

    Also, when did the planet Delta Vega get moved within visual distance of Vulcan. This was the planet with the dilithium cracking station where Kirk attempted to strand the god-like Gary Mitchell in the second Star Trek pilot.

    I really disliked the bridge which looks little Playskoolish to me.

    The redressed industrial complex also doesn’t pass muster as a proper engineering set.

    I could go on and on, but I won’t. I do agree with Dennis, the film lacks a theme.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they come up with for a sequel.

  4. yomark

    (Spoiler alert: DO NOT READ if you haven’t seen the movie)

    First of all: I did really enjoy the “ride” of the film. I’m a fan of J.J.Abrams’ work, and an avid fan of “Lost”.

    I recently read John T. Stanhope’s review: “One Trekkie’s Contrarian Thoughts”, and though I don’t disagree with what he said, I feel he failed to comment on what I feel was the most significant item: the destruction of the planet Vulcan. Some others did comment on this, as well as some of the other points I will comment on below.

    Although it was quite a surprise and a stunningly dramatic event, in retrospect, Vulcan’s destruction seemed to be in the plot merely for the shock value, while missing the potential for being a pivotal event (much like Spock’s death, which was tacked onto the end of “The Wrath of Khan”). I’d grudgingly climb on board if I felt it propelled a truly integrated and engaging plot. As with Spock’s death, this twist lacked the repercussions in the story that such an event deserves. This is not even to mention the devastation this causes to the original time-line well-established by not one, not two, but six separate T.V. series (don’t forget the 70’s Filmation animated version), and ten prior films.

    The prior care-takers of Gene Roddenberry’s legacy have gone to extreme pains to integrate the entirety of Star Trek lore (e.g.: Commander Decker in the original ‘ST: The Motion Picture’ -who was the son of Commodore Decker from “The Doomsday Weapon, “Colonel” Worf in “The Undiscovered Country, Zefram Cochrane in ‘First Contact’ and the DS9 crew inserted into the classic episode “The Trouble with Tribbles just to mention a few). After all these pains by multiple creative people in front of and behind the cameras, the destruction of Vulcan lacked the significance which would justify such radical disregard for what preceded.

    I fear that the old writers’ magic-wand: “Time Travel” may eventually be used to re-direct this choice. As evidence, time-travel was introduced into Abrams’ series “Lost”, and as viewers of that show will note, many of the questions that have been nagging us from the beginning are being answered by this all-too-convenient device.

    To bring up more minor points in the same vein: the classic series had established that Kirk had served on more than one vessel before being assigned the captaincy of the Enterprise. This has a lot more veracity than simply being appointed captain in the field. In the series, Kirk had apparently earned his place through performance and experience (and was STILL the youngest captain in the fleet), not simply jumped over to the center chair because Capt. Pike “saw something he liked in him” (this in a kid who BARELY wanted to join Starfleet in the first place).

    Finally: Spock’s affair with Uhuru, though an interesting twist, seems completely out of left-field, and rather unlikely for a man that was raised from birth to suppress his emotions (not to mention the fact that Vulcans were only supposed to experience sexual desire every seven years). In Abrams’ version we’re shown the child Spock reacting more like a human would to his school-mates’ taunts. It seems more likely that Spock would have tried even harder to fit in, by becoming the quintessential, non-emotional Vulcan.

    These may seem to be small points, but taken in sum, I believe it calls into question whether what Abrams put on the screen really was Star Trek, or some tale of his own that borrowed heavily from many, many others’ hard work over the past four decades. If you want to go your own way and tell an engaging tale, that’s fine. But when you market a major blockbuster COUNTING on the cache of a cultural icon like Star Trek, I think you owe a little more consideration to all of those fans you’re banking on will buy tickets.

    Where will it go from here? I submit that without some very VERY clever writing (perhaps bordering on the convoluted), what proceeds will resemble increasingly little of what we go to see when we decide to attend a Star Trek movie.

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