We open with a comedic scene in which Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) tries to broker a treaty between warring races, and ends up with his shirt in tatters after the incensed but miniature natives attack him. You think you have to start with a clever/funny scene to keep us in our seats, we're too dumb and distractable to stay if you don't start with a big joke? Wow. Director Justin Lin carries this ADHD directing style throughout the film. More frustrating than that were the plot points that were so blatantly obvious I was ticking them off on my fingers as we progressed:
- Kirk is tired of being Captain, and has applied for a Rear Admiral position (he'll decide not to)
- Spock (Zachary Quinto) has decided to leave the Enterprise to go help the Vulcan race (he'll decide not to)
- Kirk rescues Jayla at the last second (obvious and cliché)
- The Franklin, in attempting to achieve terminal velocity, appears to have crashed (I predicted the use of the appears-to-have-crashed-soars-to-safety cliché shot ... why the hell does any director think that's effective anymore?)
I actually got to eight or ten blatant clichés and/or obvious plot points. And as with Tamara Drewe and X-Men: Apocalypse this is by no means a sign of genius in me to be able to predict plot: it's a sign of horrible, complacent laziness on the part of the writers and directors, using tried-and-true (and thus incredibly predictable) plot points because it's more convenient than actually thinking of something interesting.
Sure, it's easy to predict that Kirk will remain Captain and Spock will remain with him ... but these are things anyone could guess so the dramatic tension that suggesting their departures creates is approximately nil - so the sensible thing to do would be not to bother mentioning it at all given we'll all "guess" the outcome anyway.
The basic idea of the movie wasn't actually too bad: Kirk and the crew have to face a swarm of small ships that literally tear the Enterprise apart through advanced technology and sheer numbers, but the thought process of the authors (one of whom is Simon Pegg) doesn't seem to have stretched much beyond that.