Star Trek – the New Movie

When I first heard about this movie and that it would be headed up by JJ Abrams, it frankly worried me some. JJ can create some compelling concepts but hasn’t always shown the ability to see them through to the end in a credible fashion. Alias went through so many twists and changes in its five seasons that by the end I just found it to be a convoluted mess. Lost was excellent its first season and hasn’t come close since, although JJ claims that all will be revealed. We’ll see.

A storied property like Star Trek would not be easy for anyone to do. After all, many of the potential viewers carry quite a bit of emotional baggage with them just due to the passage of time and their familiarity with the Star Trek universe. Even a smaller minority of fanboy trekkers would be waiting in the wings to bash every minor deviation from established canon. JJ said his intent was to create a movie that had broad appeal and would also remain true to the source material.

Was he able to do it? I have to proclaim boldly that yes he was. I was privileged to see the movie last night, a day earlier than the scheduled release date. Now I’m not one of those people who gets all bent out of shape just because the Enterprise looks a little different (it does, but honestly cooler) or changes to canon were made with no regard to continuity. (Frankly there was a lot of that done, but there was an excuse for it, although I found it to be feeble.) I just hoped to see a great movie, be entertained and at the same time still feel like I was watching Star Trek and not Mission Impossible with Star Trek characters. In the end I left satisfied. It was a good and entertaining movie period and it was also a great Star Trek movie.

The story is honestly a little weak, but it’s not non-existent. Star Trek has always been character driven and even with tons of spectacular special effects (effects so good that no product bearing the Star Trek brand has ever been as good) and fast paced story telling, the characters do not get lost amidst all the explosions and booms. They are central to the movie and quite well defined.

Many who haven’t seen it yet will wonder how well the actors pulled off playing the crew that we know so well and love. I think they all did a credible job giving that their characters were not blank slates that they could define as they pleased.

Chris Pine handled a difficult role as James T. Kirk with remarkable ease. Shatner’s Kirk has been spoofed so many times, that a carbon copy performance would have looked ridiculous. So instead of Shatner’s familiar cadence, Chris Pine abandoned that but still played up the other things that make Kirk uniquely Kirk. The young Kirk is just as libidinous as you would expect, given to playing hunches, and shows a predilection for doing whatever he darn well pleases. Chris Pine moves physically a lot like Shatner so given the aspects of Kirk he wisely abandoned and the aspects he chose to keep, Chris Pine turned in a splendid performance.

 Zachary Quinto  played Mr. Spock. At that young age Spock remains conflicted with emotion and uncertainty. Quinto portrayed that quite nicely, managing  to be quite logical and detached, but yet with a vulnerability, especially when contrasted against Leonard Nimoy’s much older and wise Mr. Spock, a Spock who has long ago reconciled his two natures.

Karl Urban’s Dr.  Leonard McCoy was spot on without becoming a bad caricature. He had the accent and the mannerisms down pat, especially the crusty old country doctor who was distrustful of technology.

I also have to give props to Zoe Saldana as Uhura. She just sizzles with being beautiful everytime she is on the screen, but she is so much more than just the eye candy in this movie. Uhura is capable, self-confident, and ambitious. There is one big surprise involving her character that I will not reveal.

So all in all it was a very succesful effort. A great movie that triumphs on just about every front and the weaknesses that I found in it are not deal-breakers whatsoever. Go see it if you are a trekker. Go see it even if you are not.

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2 Responses to “Star Trek – the New Movie”

  1. I agree with every single thing you said. I loved this movie.

  2. I guess I have to go see it now… Good and honest review!

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