When I saw last weekend’s box office numbers for Star Trek I began to think, am I too close to these projects? Have I completely lost perspective? To me, it’s a no brainer, Star Trek is a far superior movie than Wolverine, so how could one have brought in so many more viewers? Is it because of the fan base? Was Wolverine better than I thought?
So, I say, let’s tear these films apart and see who the real winner is…
What do the two films have in common?
- Both have HUGE casts.
- Both end with two people coming together to fight an evil villain.
- Both star a main character that doesn’t follow the rules.
- Both films deal with family issues.
- Both leads get beaten up a lot before their final scene where they overcome.
- Both were written right before the writer’s strike began.
- Both are based off of a series with a large pre-existing fan base.
- Both leave us ready for another film.
BUT… in my opinion, one film worked and one film didn’t. Below I will break down why I feel Star Trek is a superior movie and then give you the chance to agree of disagree with me….
Both films had HUGE ensemble casts. The main difference was, in Star Trek, it didn’t feel like there were a lot of characters and in Wolverine, it felt like there were far too many. When you have an ensemble cast, each actor must fulfill a part of the story, not have the story rely on their appearance, they should merely add to the greater whole.
Wolverine: There were more characters than you could handle. Writers David Benioff and Skip Woods kept throwing characters at you, one right after the other. It gave the appearance that they were wedging characters into the script, just so that they could show some familiar faces that fans of the series would be excited to see.
Star Trek: As you may have noticed William Shatner did NOT appear in the film. This was not because they didn’t like Shatner, in fact Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman tried to add him, but they couldn’t because there was no logical way for him to fit and so they left him out. All the characters had to have a reason for being aboard The Enterprise. Everyone had a role, had their moment, and even when they didn’t have a line, they were a part of the scene. Their placement as set pieces was needed and helped give the Enterprise a realistic image. It wasn’t about bringing them on for a day, it was about making them a part of the bigger picture.
The writers of Wolverine would have found a way to shoe-horn William Shatner in for kicks.
My Winner: Star Trek
This really isn’t a fair comparison. It’s fair because they both were working with similar budgets, but if you’ve seen the two films, I don’t REALLY think this is a competition. Although Wolverine had its moment, Star Trek had the entire film packed with amazing special effects.
Wolverine: Wolverine’s claws (especially when he’s playing with them in the mirror) and the helicopter exploding (Die Hard from the 80′s is back!) were probably the worst parts for me. They (again) felt forced and unnecessary to the story. It felt as if someone wanted a helicopter to explode so they built a scene to support the explosion. Without any reason behind an action sequence, it just becomes another pointless explosion and therefore takes the audience away from the story. The film no longer gives you that “escapism” feeling you’re after because you can no longer believe in the world you’re watching.
They did however do an great job with Deadpool’s sword fighting scenes, Sabretooth running on all fours, the opening war sequence, and the tank scene. So I will give them some credit for a few great moments.
Star Trek: I could list the special effects scenes that I loved all day (like the sky-diving scene!), but the reason why this film is superior is because I can’t think of ONE problem with them. They were all substantiated by the story, they all looked realistic, and they were beautiful to watch. What more can you ask for?
My Winner: Star Trek
This was J.J. Abram’s second feature film and as we know he has a huge background in writing. Gavin Hood has a done a handful of feature films and has been a well-respected actor for a long time. Although performances are important, a Directors job is to be able to tell a story. In terms of that, I think Abrams background helped him a lot more than Hood’s.
There seemed to be a lot of bad choices in Wolverine. From the script to the final product, nothing felt finished. I know that a “director’s work is never done,” but in the case of Wolverine, it really wasn’t. Everything, the dialogue, the special effects, the story, all just looked like a rough draft that needed another edit.
I also think that during the WGA strike effected both Directors were forced into production without the help of their writers. Perhaps J.J.’s background allowed him to handle the script problems that Gavin THOUGHT he could fix with acting. Wrong!
My Winner: JJ Abrams
For me, this is not even a debate…
Star Trek: The script was funny, it was easy to follow, and each transition felt seamless. They had a lot to fit in and a long run time, but I never felt overwelhemed, I always felt as if I knew what was going on, and the movie flew by without hesitation. I didn’t even want to get up to go to the bathroom because every moment had something that intrigued me.
Wolverine: Although there were a few good lines, they used them all up in the trailer. In fact if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the best lines. The dialogue in the film (again) was so bad that it kept me from suspending my belief enough to enjoy the ride. I’m more than happy to look over a few problems if I’m entertained enough, but when all I can see are the problems and the stilted dialogue, I get stuck on the small stuff and have trouble just going along for the ride. (It still baffles me why Gambit went after Wolverine when he could see Sabretooth. Can anyone explain that?)
My Winner: Star Trek
To me the acting was actually pretty equal. The thing is, a bad script can cripple a great actor, and a great script can save a bad one. So this one is tricky. Let’s take a look at the films leads.
Hugh Jackman: We all know he can play Wolverine and he can play him well, but with a bad script, a bad director, and bad special effects, he’s basically f*cked! He didn’t have any of the witty, hard-ass lines that we have come to know and love from him in previous films. He was completely serious the entire time, and in doing so, they turned him into a whiner. He’s always saying, “I’m going to kill ____” and then when he gets the chance he doesn’t! Again, I think Jackman did a great job with what he had to work with, I just think that his performance was crushed by everything else.
Chris Pine: Although I don’t want to take anything away from his abilities, he did have it easier than Jackman. I think the smartest decision Pine made was just to play it his own way and just go for it. He didn’t hold back, he looked like he was having a lot of fun on set, he was charismatic, headstrong and yet vulnerable, and he never let the weight of the project effect his performance. That being said he was also surrounded by good actors and had a good script to work off of. So although his role was easier…
Winner: Chris Pine (Sorry Hugh! You know I still love you!)
So, all that said and done, can anyone tell me why the hell Wolverine made more money than Star Trek? And is anyone willing to debate me and say that Wolverine was better in ANY of these categories?