Star Trek

Stars:  **** out of Four

Summary:  The filmmakers took the spirit of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, with its high flying adventure and gripping emotion, and deftly fused it with the ‘Trek’ mythology and philosophy.  The resulting film is as epic as the franchise itself.

Review:  One of the longest running sci-fi properties, ‘Star Trek’ was created by Gene Roddenberry with the intention of telling exciting, adventuresome stories with moral parables embedded in them.  It took off against all odds, and eventually produced 6 television series and 10 movies.  And the unthinkable happened… it lost steam, and fans dropped off, dissatisfied.  After the last feature film, it was very evident the franchise needed new blood and a new face.  Paramount eventually hired innovator J.J. Abrams, mostly known for his creation of television series such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Alias’, to reboot it.  Not a ‘Trek’ fan himself, Abrams sought the help of known fans in the development process, eventually warming to it and embracing it utterly.  They took the spirit of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, with its high flying adventure and gripping emotion, and deftly fused it with the ‘Trek’ mythology and philosophy.

The resulting film is as epic as the franchise itself.

A brave new cast, a brave new crew, and a brave new tone dominate it.  It’s unlike any other summer movie, except ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.  Yes, it’s on that level.  The action is spectacular, going where no sci-fi movie has gone before, with unbelievably well-rendered special effects.  It’s photo-real.  The story is strong, not the best in ‘Trek’ history, but still very cathartic.  There are minor plot holes, due to the extremely complex time travel narrative, but no more than other similar films.

The new cast all fit their roles pitch-perfectly.  Chris Pine embodies James T. Kirk without being an imitation of William Shatner, and Zachary Quinto does the same for his turn as Spock.  The new Dr. McCoy, though, is in my opinion the best; Karl Urban, best known for his action roles, plays him with the utmost respect for the character but with the most similarity to the previous actor, DeForest Kelley.  Leonard Nimoy returns as the future Spock, and he connects new ‘Trek’ to old ‘Trek, letting us all know that this is still the franchise we know and love.  The villain, Nero (played by Eric Bana), from the future, feels underdeveloped, but is still threatening and badass enough.

A very memorable, stirring, intense, optimistic, and bold feature, that’s easily the most cinematic of all the ‘Star Trek’ films, and can stand toe-to-toe with even the classic ‘Wrath of Khan’.

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2 thoughts on “Star Trek

  1. This movie was awesome. I was a Next Generation fan in high school, and had seen all of the original motion pictures as a child. Before I even knew this was coming out, I had been rewatching all of the movies last year, from both TOS and TNG. So for me, the timing of this release was perfect. They clearly gave the franchise the reboot it deserved. The story is so well done that they can almost take things wherever they want in the future, as far as I can tell. And how can you not love Nimoy? His sagely voice echoing in the trailer left me anticipating this movie for months.

  2. Between the time I saw Star Trek in the theater and its recent home video release, I came across a number of user reviews that were very harsh toward this film. Many of them were from long time Trek fans, others weren’t. Granted, this film has a different tone and pace than Star Trek has ever had, but in my opinion, most of the negativity is unfair, and sadly, unfounded.

    In the interim, I wondered if I was wrong…if I had simply not noticed certain things, or if my radar for bad summer blockbuster conventionality had malfunctioned. Having just given the Blu-ray a thorough viewing, my conclusion is that this film frankly came up against a lot of prejudice, at least from long time fans, if not from some of the newer viewers, as well. A number of people rifled away at plot holes that just do not exist. Judging from the nature of their comments, they probably did not go back to the theater for a second viewing, and likely just missed things that they assumed were the the fault of the filmmakers.

    And to the long time fans who were disheartened by the new feel, who waylaid and bemoaned this film’s “need to please” a modern audience…can we please stop pretending that the original Star Trek films, not to mention the series itself, do not contain their share of Shakespearean melodrama, structural narrative cliche, and awkward moments? There are two types of corny, and Abrams decided to go with the more “rock ‘n’ roll” kind…big deal. I am saying this AS a fan. I concede, there is only so much Hollywood, that is, blockbuster style convention, that I can take, as well, but for my tastes, while this film has some of that, it does not have too much, and is far more well-rounded than many others of its kind.

    Also, for the long-timers…I fail to see how Chris Pine did not capture the same cowboy persona that Bill Shatner did. Was he too cowboy? Let’s not forget that he was portraying a *young* Captain Kirk, let alone the fact that Kirk has always been wild. Was he not cowboy enough? I doubt that, this script gave him more than ample opportunity to show it. How exactly did Pine belie his character?…Did Simon Pegg give us a moronic Montgomery Scott? If silly equals moronic, maybe, but in my estimation, he simply came off as a smart guy with a sense of humor and amiable personality. And I seem to remember a certain James Doohan knocking himself out after exulting in his own knowledge of the ship.

    There seem to also be plenty of those who take issue with the story. I respect those who have yet to see this film, so I won’t give any spoilers or plot summaries of my own. But without divulging any details, let’s just say that they did it in such a way as if to shout in so many words, “Can’t we all just get along?!”…almost like maybe they saw this barrage of naysaying coming, but then again, when attempting to revitalize a cultural obelisk of this caliber, such a prediction should go without saying. Even if, in the spirit of making a “true” prequel, they would have indulged the purists and encompassed more details from TOS’s pilot (which were not entirely lacking), they would still be dodging bullets shot by the betrayed bride of Star Trek’s dawning epoch. Alas, while she may have good intentions, she is intrinsically complex, both individually and collectively, and making her happy is a daunting task. Pleasing everyone would have been, and proved to be, impossible.

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