Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek

It's taken me longer than I expected to write up my review for Star Trek and I blame these damn spring allergies. It reminds me of that episode of Original Trek where the crew gets a dose of Alien pollen causing everyone on-board, except Kirk, to be lazy asses. I have seen the new film twice now and I am determined to fight through this and get my damn review. Before seeing Star Trek I was nervous about what J.J. Abrams and company were going to do with my beloved Trek. I can call it my Star Trek because, like the Yankees, it has been passed down Father to son. My Dad did it right too he started me off with The Wrath of Khan. As soon as I saw Kirk (William Shatner) walking out of the light and into the simulator room I was hooked forever. I truly loved these characters but as I grew I realized that not everyone saw the crew the same way I did. This became abundantly clear when I showed my wife The Wrath of Khan. Let's just say the reaction was far different than mine. How could she hate this I thought to myself--doesn't she get the sheer awesomeness of Captain Kirk and company. Sure they can be a little melodramatic and talky. So what, it doesn't mean it's any less great. She tried to be nice but I knew I couldn't get her into it. It was frustrating but now I can say all of that is now in the past/ As I write this I can happily say that J.J. Abrams has done what no other Trek writer/Director could do, he has convinced my wife that Star Trek, put simply, is--Awesome.A vengeful Romulan miner named Nero (Eric Bana) finds himself time traveling back to the early part of the 23rd century and proceeds to blow shit up thus creating an alternate Trek universe. We are shown the backstory for both Kirk and Spock and how they have been affected by Nero's actions. Kirk, (Chris Pine) tries to rebound from his fractured childhood by joining Starfleet. Spock (Zachary Quinto) finds his loyalties are torn between his Father's (Ben Cross) homeworld on Vulcan and his Mother's (Winona Ryder) on Earth.I truly enjoyed the fast pace and snappy dialogue. If you are a fan of the original show the characters are true to their original incarnations and I can even say that some of the smaller character roles have actually been improved upon. Like Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) all got a bit more to do in the new film. Chekov, especially, got some fun comedic moments reminicent of the old show. Kirk, Spock, McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg) were always well defined in the original show, as they are here. Plus it was great fun watching Karl Urban's crotchety McCoy. It was a nice tribute to Deforest Kelly, who originated the role. Chris Pine has breathed new life into Captain Kirk in ways I wasn't expecting. He has the arrogance with an added chip on his shoulder. Not to mention his constant randiness. This guy is always looking to get laid. Pine really pushes the accelerator on Kirk's personality. He's got the smarts and the instincts to get the job done. Especially in the training seminar scene. I won't go into too much detail but it was a blast watching the legend unfold. Pine is unflappable, funny and nails the scene. As much as I love William Shatner, I really felt this kid filled his shoes perfectly without skipping a beat. The pacing is fast but you do get some great moments in the begining with the origin stories and between the crew members especially between Uhura and Spock. I also really loved Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), who provides leadership and guidance to his young crew. Also I really appreciated the scenes with, as they call him, Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy). There have been many objections to Nimoy's appearance in the film but I felt that when the movie changed something from the original continuity Spock Prime was there to set the record straight. In a sense he was there for the die-hard Trek fans. He was the comforting hand that asks us to be patient and to try to go along with it. For the most part I think the strategy worked.I truly did love this movie, front to back, but there were a few things that just didn't work. For starters what was the point of the creatures on the ice planet. Kirk is stranded on an ice planet and is pursued by a big nasty monster creature that eventually get's eaten by an even larger creature. That felt a bit too much like Empire Strikes Back or the Phantom Menace. I get that they want non-stop action but this sequence was really unecessary. Also Kirk got promoted through the ranks pretty quickly. Now this didn't bother me that much--I get it. But it was a bit of a stretch for him to go to cadet to first officer without ever serving on a ship before. I also didn't think the last sequence where Spock Prime reveals himself to Young Spock was that necessary? I was always told it was a bad thing to encounter yourself while time travelling, something about the space time continuem being distrupted thereby destroying life as we know it. Words of wisdom I think.This was a great ride and it truly pumped new life into this series. It was a great homage to the show and it really paid tribute to the best film in the series, The Wrath of Khan. I really can't wait to see what they'll do with the sequel. So if you are looking for a great slam-bam action flick with awesome characters and some great Space battles, then go and check this one out. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Grade 5 Buckets


Speck said...

I might have given the movie 5 buckets if:

It wasnt shot like a TV show, which doesnt translate well on a big screen. Never has, never will.

Didn't make me so damned sick of seeing lens flares.

Didn't once again over use shaky cam handheld.

Had a real villain, not just some dude with tattoo and no real story.

Had phaser guns that recoil like a combustion based handgun.

Sure, there is plenty to like about this movie, Its fun. But hell if JJ abrahms deserves the mass praise he is getting for this movie. Its FAR FAR FAR from perfect.

Jeff said...

I never said perfect--I stated a few of the things that bothered me.
That villain you spoke of was kind of weak but I think that was the point. It wasn't a story about him. He wanted revenge and he got it. He didn't talk about he just did it. Sure he didn't seem to have a fleshed out personality but that didn't bother me. It was the cast and crew of the Enterprise that was most important in this regard and they passed that with flying colors.
In the end these things just didn't bother me enough to lower the grade. For Star Trek this is a big boost--it is certainly not as good as my favorite Trek The Wrath of Khan but it is a worthy installment. And a really great re-boot.

Cody Dee Williams said...

I liked it enough, but my biggest issue with the movie was that Mr. Sulu wasn't nearly gay enough... or even Japanese for that matter.

And Karl Urban seemed to be the only new actor that decided he was just going to do a bad impression of the original actor.

Oh, and the time travel stuff just seemed like a gratuitous story device to get Nimoy into the movie.

Other than that, solid flick.

Captain Mike said...

I never knew Kirk was a Beastie Boys fan.

Of course, in the 23rd century, the Beasties will be like Bach so I guess it doesn't make him all "with it" and "hip."