You know those times when you come out of a film having really enjoyed it, and end up giving a fairly detailed but largely positive run-down of the film to your friends – but when you hear someone else actually talking about what didn’t work and why, you find yourself thinking “You know, I don’t actually disagree with them…” Well, people like Abigail Nussbaum and Adam Roberts have been going into major detail on the new Star Trek film in a way that’s far more intelligent (and entertaining) than my general burblings, and they’ve also put into words some of the things that have been bothering me about the film. Because once I’d calmed down from the nostalgia sugar rush and let the good aspects of the film settle in my head, the more idiotic aspects have been a lot harder to ignore. There’s a monologue about 2/3rds of the way through that’s there to bolt together various disparate levels of plot, and it does it in a way which even with my “I am enjoying this film” hat on I found somewhat troubling and messy. It is the kind of film that basically moves so quickly that it hopes you don’t notice the problems until they’re long gone – and I have the worrying feeling that in trying to broaden Trek out, they’ve ended up shaving off just a bit too much of the original ethos. (And yes, after my mostly gushing previous post, this probably sounds like desperate backtracking. So sue me…). The one thing that all this reassessment does bring into focus (other than the fact that the genius of Spock was that he was a balance between humanity and logic, where the film marginalises the logical nature of the Vulcans in favour of can-do, all-American heroism) is the one aspect that really sat badly with me while I was watching the film – Chekov – and why it bothered me. The new version of Chekov is, to be honest, all about the funny accent – alright, Chekov was hardly blessed with the most rounded character, but it’s as if they looked at the “Nuclear Wessels” scene from Star Trek IV and said “That’s all we need!” He’s a comic character and nothing more – when, as Adam Roberts points out in his review, it was actually kind of a daring thing to have a Russian character in the original series, back in the Sixties when Russia was the enemy (and that the modern-day equivalent would be having someone on the Bridge from Afghanistan or Iraq). It’s the trouble with a nostalgia trip like this – the Trek movie is driven by tapping into the precise formula of what Trek was, but by sticking so closely to that formula they end up missing the point. It’s still an entertaining film – but it’s a very 2009 blockbuster, and anyone who actually says this is ‘top quality science fiction’ (a phrase I’ve seen thrown around a few times) really doesn’t know what they’re talking about.