Posted by: steveonfilm | May 10, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this because I can sum things up pretty succinctly:

New Star Trek = WIN

That’s really all you need to know. But if you insist on getting more of my opinion, please, by all means, read on.

I caught it last night in IMAX, and while it wasn’t shot for IMAX, everything sure looked super awesome on the extra big screen.

I’m not the biggest Star Trek fan. I’m familiar with the original series. I caught a bunch of episodes when I was a kid thanks to constant syndication. I watched a good deal of The Next Generation. By no means on a weekly basis, but again, syndication kept me in the loop. But I was never a “fan.” I didn’t not like Star Trek, I was just never that into it. Couldn’t tell you much about Deep Space Nine or Voyager, and the only thing I remember about Enterprise is that the guy from Quantum Leap was in it and the Vulcan chick was quite the hottie.

However, the idea of J. J. Abrams doing a reboot of the franchise with the Original Series characters was intriguing. I’m a big J.J. fan. I enjoyed Felicity. Alias was clever. LOST (though he isn’t really involved anymore) is my favorite show. I thought MI:3 got a bad rap. And thoroughly enjoyed Cloverfield. But what I found interesting the most about this reboot was that J. J. wasn’t really a fan either. Not in the obsessive sense of the term. Based on what I’ve read he had about the same level of familiarity as I did.

So J.J. and his writers, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, went out to take the framework that had been laid before them and then take it in the direction they wanted to go in. The characters are all there. They’re the same characters we all know (except Kirk is a bit more “reckless” thanks to a new development in his backstory). The ship is the same. The universe is basically the same.

But yet, it’s not. I can’t go into details without ruining a major story arc, but I’ve never heard such a complicated idea explained in such a simple manner as they did in this movie. What J.J. and company did was allow them to do whatever they want with the characters, and more specifically the Star Trek universe, without having to be beholden to the stories that we already know.

This is still very much Star Trek. But it just won’t be the Star Trek that leads into the events of the Original Series, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

Star Trek was a fun, fast paced, and clever movie. It was like going back to your old neighborhood twenty years later and taking note of all the renovations made to the houses on the street. Things look new, and slick, and a bit different, but it’s still very much your old neighborhood.

One of the things that I enjoyed the most was each way some of the characters catchphrases were delivered. Everyone was waiting for them, and when each one happened the crowd applauded. It was like verification that although this was new, and they might be unsure about how things were unfolding, the director was letting them know everything was going to be okay.

All of the actors were strong on their parts. Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Bones, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty, all rock solid. I’ve got to say that Karl Urban’s portrayal of Bones was especially brilliant. I’m not overly familiar with Urban’s work, other than The Bourne Supremacy and The Lord of the RIngs, but the guy nailed Bones. I mean nailed him.

There were a few forced areas, and some of the lines of dialog were a bit stiff, but I mean, with the types of things they’ve got to say in the Star Trek universe, it’s hard for everything to sound realistic.

The story never really slows down. I thought it was well paced. Lean. And nothing seemed thrown in just to pay homage. While not perfect, it’s pretty darn good, and rock solid for a summer pop corn flick.

Direction is what you’d expect for a J.J. movie. It feels very much like him. Even down to the style. The cuts can be fast, but for the most part things are framed so you see exactly what you need to be seeing. Nothing comes across as gratuitous. Everything has it’s place.

As for the art direction… I think Chris Eliopoulous on the totally awesome Scott Kurt webcomic PVPOnline sums it up best in
his PVPOnline guest strip, “it looks like an Apple computer threw up on the bridge.” It has a good mix of a Next Generation and Original Series vibe. And if you listen closely, you’ll hear some of the same sounds from the Original Series.

Anyway, it’s a solid, fun flick, and I don’t think many people, casual fans or otherwise, will feel ripped off by paying to see it. This is a movie that has quite a few shots that really need to be seen on the big screen.

And like I said at the begining, the movie is pure WIN.

Enjoy.
-Steve

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Responses

  1. I’ll read this after I watch it. Until then….

  2. I finally saw it a couple weeks ago, and loved it. A complete and total win. It was fun, frolicking, exciting. I loved seeing Nemoy on the screen again, he had such presence, really slowed it down in certain places, places that needed it. I agree there were some forced scenes, but overall, JJ delivers once again. A friend made a comparison to him being the next Spielberg. He said Spielberg is Spielberg, he’ll always be a god, but JJ is the newer generation. Not a bad guestimation.
    either way, it was definitely summertime entertainment.


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