Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Star Trek: Movie Review

This is simply a great movie. For those of us who grew up first on the television series, then the series of motion pictures, then "The Next Generation," this is the TV series on special-effects steriods, and in my opinion the second best movie of all Star Trek movies, next to "The Wrath of Khan."

The first 20 minutes is jarring, and you have to pay attention. It runs the viewer from Capt. Christopher Pike (played by a one of my favorites, Bruce Greenwood), to the evil Romulan Nero (Eric Bana, sans Hulk get-up), to the young Spock, to the risk-taking James T. Kirk (played supremely in this role by Chris Pine), then finally to the late-teen Spock who chooses Star Fleet, played by Zachary Quinto. Yet somehow the editors managed to keep the essential plot lines straight. Kirk is exceptionally bright, but a hell-raiser. Uhura (Zoe Saldana) is as beautiful as can be, and ironically has no interest in Kirk but rather is in love with Spock. Kirk proceeds to get beat to a pulp by almost everyone in this movie. (First it's cadets from Star Fleet, then Spock, then the Romulans. You begin to think Kirk was taught to fight at UN peacekeeper school).

Above all, what makes the movie is the development, on multiple levels, of the friendship between Kirk, Spock, and to a lesser degree, Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg). John Cho plays a straight Sulu, thank God, and Anton Yelchin does a good job as Checkov.

The plot revolves around the "prime"/older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) trying to save Romulus in the future, and failing. Somehow, the evil Romulan Nero comes through a time warp to the past to destroy Vulcan out of revenge---and to make the young Spock watch!

Don't get wrapped up in debating the "time continuum" stuff, just go with it. There is a glitch with this at the end (the same person cannot exist in two places at once, or two people from different times can't co-exist, or . . . ah, forget it).

Instead, just enjoy the origins of the comeraderie, the sexual tension between Spock and Kirk over Uhuru, the one-liners, and above all, the fantastic way the actors adapted the characters to their own personas while maintaining much of the original Kirck/Scott/Bones/Spock personalities. At times, you can almost see Shatner coming through Pine; unfortunately, at times, Urban tries a little too hard to "be" Bones, and of all the characters, his is the least developed in terms of motivations or past. But the friendship between Spock---at any age---and Kirk is wonderful, if rocky at first. When Spock prime says to Kirk, "I am, and always have been, your friend," it brought a tear to my eye as I recalled Spock dying to save the Enterprise in "Wrath of Khan."

If CGI had existed in 1966, instead of cardboard sets, this is what that Star Trek might have looked like. Enjoy. Live long and prosper, unless, of course, you are Spock prime speaking to Spock in which case, as he noted, "It would be self-serving."

1 comment:

  1. Essentially I agree with your Trek review, I can only say that it didn't "feel" like Trek to me, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing because I thought it was a fun movie, as well.

    I was the biggest Trek fan in the world in the late 60s and early 70s. I actually met Roddenberry once somewhere in 1974 or '75 or so. I even had the first version of the Star Trek Compendium that was made by the fans and put together on xerox, long before Ballentine books bought the rights to print the thing. But I am very much ready for a new era in Star Trek and don't find anything in the new one as sacrilege.

    You know, I should figured you were a Star Trek fan!

    One thing I don't think most people "get" is that we are viewing an "alternate universe" Star Trek, though. I don't think too many understand that the new series of movies that they are sure to make will NOT fit into the original series time line because it isn't IN the same universe, but an alternate one.

    So, my first question... how long until this new Trek finds the other, other alternate universe, the Mirror, Mirror universe? Now THAT is going to confuse people! Ha, ha.

    Thanks as always.

    Oh, by the way, I had to come to the aid of the founders on religion again the other day in mine titled "Another Entertainer Shows Historical Ignorance" on my site publiusforum.com