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Everything here feels routine—more like an inevitability than a work of art or even a piece of entertainment.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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And what's more, why no Shatner?

From Rachel Dixon, St. Louis, MO:

I take issue with a few points you made in your review of the new Star Trek movie. I was lucky enough to see it this past Saturday with my husband, mother and father, who is a diehard fan of the original series and idolizes William Shatner to a degree that is not at all weird.

First, you express confusion that Scotty is able to "beam people into another ship in outer space" but that in another scene, characters "have to physically parachute to land on a platform in the air from which the Romulans are drilling a hole to the Earth’s core." Scotty had not yet been introduced as a character in the movie when Kirk and Sulu had to parachute onto the drill, and Scotty hadn't discovered whatever equation of quantum physics was necessary to perform such a complicated transport until original/Nimoy's Spock told him how to do it in that cave.

Also, while the Corvette was a bit anachronistic, Kirk was driving it toward what must be the only unlevel part of Iowa, not the Grand Canyon.

Your argument that warp speed "is a convenience not only for the starship but also for the screenwriters, who can push a button and zap to the next scene" is only partially wrong. Every captain since James T. has made use of it, and it's not unreasonable that the writers would want to make the technology look as cool as possible to entice a new generation of Trekkies. Who wants to believe in a future where there are speed limits in space?

But because this is J.J. Abrams, the same J.J. Abrams who is able to reconcile complicated and/or absurd plot lines and conversations by simply cutting to commercial, I can see your point.

My only real criticism -- besides the shaky camera work, as I'm approaching 29 and apparently can't handle movies the way I used to -- was that Shatner wasn't included. I'm sure there's a story there, and I don't think anyone, even my dad, expected him to have a large role. But we all agreed that they could have at least had him voice the "Space, the final frontier" monologue, topping off what was, to me, a surprisingly good movie.

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