Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek [2009]

Set phasers on action! J.J. Abrams take on Star Trek is indeed more accessible to the masses – while remaining true to the original Star Trek canon – and also recreating it for this generation. Makes sense? Now, was never much of a Star Trek fan growing up – so please forgive me if I get this wrong…

This movie is more true to the original radio show version of Star Trek when it was called Buck Rodgers – and later adapted into cartoon form called Duck Rodgers – then later turned into a Charlton Heston film about apes – and later several thousand versions of a TV show. Seriously, everybody – it’s Star Trek – there’s Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty and Kenny… I mean the red shirt guys. They go into space – meet a bad guy – and eventually defeat the bad guy. Star Trek!

What I really appreciated was how they used a few of the stale story elements that frustrated me about Star Trek to make a more interesting story – namely time travel. It always confused me why Trek seemed more interested in the past rather than having adventures in the future – so they introduced time travel to go back and talk to whales and stuff. Time travel in this film is used as more of an accident and an opportunity to be able to reboot Star Trek from the beginning without discounting everything that went on in the previous films or television series.

There was also butt loads of action – plenty of which seemed to fit into the story – some of which seemed like it was there in order to fill a void. The action was fast paced and somewhat memorable – and I do appreciate heavy doses of action in my summer action films. The only complaint I had with it was the shaky cam – the new staple in action films. It gives you a sense that what’s happening is happening in such an exciting way that that it’s tough to keep up – but you also draw the line of it giving you little to focus on and actually take in.

As for the casting – I guess everyone did a good job taking over the well known roles – but it felt like they were teenagers – everyone just seemed so young. That’s not really a complaint – but it somewhat felt out of place to me – seeing a space ship being run by a pack of horny co-eds doesn’t feel like an amazing plan to me. Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty) was the only one who I got the feeling was older – and he is – but I get the feeling it was more because I’ve seen him in other things so he’s not that new to me. It’s possible after another film – I’d feel differently.

As for the story – it revolved around Kirk and Spock – and the both of them developing as characters and as a team of rivals to run the U.S.S. Enterprise together. In reintroducing the crew there was plenty of interesting and humorous elements – that came together and worked well. There was a nod to a common joke regarding each of them – which was nice and didn’t feel like it took away from the film negatively. My worries with this being a reboot and rewriting the Star Trek past – that I would find myself lost in a concern thinking “what’s the importance of this action – and what happened originally”. Those concerns were taken care of in a couple instances – which was very nice for me. The other part of the story – “the main threat” as it were – involving a Romulan called Nero – felt incomplete and a bit of an afterthought – almost like a tacked on means to an end.

What I didn’t like about this movie was the villain – Nero played by Eric Bana - who was again stiff and dull and provided nothing to the role that any other actor couldn’t bring. I also didn’t care for a part of Nero’s plan – and how nobody decided to do the simplest thing to stop it. For those of you who have seen this movie – what did they do to Nero’s plan when he was attacking Earth and why didn’t they do THAT when they were attacking earlier? Wasn’t that a bit of a no-brainer way to stop Nero? I personally thought I missed something stating a reason why they couldn’t do that – because it was the very first thing I thought of doing.

Overall it’s a good film – maybe a bit overrated in some of the lofty reviews I’ve seen – but certainly worthy of a couple hours of your summer. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.

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