Friday, May 29, 2009
Since I've now seen Star Trek twice, I suppose it's about time I blog about it. I love this movie. Let me go back a bit and explain exactly why that fact is so extraordinary. I have never, ever been able to STAND anything Trek-related. I'd go so far as to say I ventured into hatred and loathing a time or two - my aversion to all things Trekkie runs deep and true (and it's not for lack opportunity to see the movies or watch any one of the ten million television episodes readily available). Several of my friends are Trekkies, and even my dad enjoys the show (but just to qualify that, my dad'll watch just about anything...just sayin'...).
But when I heard about this new film and started to see the previews, I couldn't help but be intrigued. Since it was touted as a reboot of the franchise, I figured it would be a good starting point for me given how ignorant I am of the intricacies of Star Trek lore. I saw this movie opening day with a group of friends, most of whom weren't die hard fans of the franchise either, and we all loved it. As I later discussed with one of them on Facebook, we still can't stand "old Star Trek" but we're wild fans of "new Star Trek." Sort of a B.C. versus A.D. moment...it's all changed now, people. Of course the biggest reason this movie works for me was because of how similar it felt to Star Wars: A New Hope, with Spock and Kirk echoing Luke and Han's journeys. These similarities are nicely encapsulated in this handy video:
(If the video doesn't work click on the link above.)
I had no idea that this movie would be a literal reboot of the franchise that would run parallel to the established stories thanks to the convenience of a time-space tunnel, blah, blah, blah. The first time I saw this film I was so incredibly mad when old Spock appeared and ground time to a halt in order to explain the screw-up in the space-time continuum. Now I don't have anything against rifts in the fabric of time as a general rule - I'm a huge fan of Primeval and Doctor Who, both shows that gleefully disregard any respect for the sanctity of time. However, the first time I saw Star Trek, the whole time thing felt like a massive cheat. Upon further thought, the fact that the time cheat thing ticked me off so much is really a tribute to the filmmakers and actors - I was so completely absorbed by the story that I didn't want them to have to "go there," grinding the action to a halt in order for old Spock to explain the time mess to new Kirk. Happily after a few weeks and a second viewing, I've come to terms with the whole time thing and I understand better why it needed to happen (i.e., Hollywood is going to give me a sequel with the yummy Chris Pine reprising his role as Kirk! YES!!).
Which brings me to the cast - I thought they were superb, and as an ensemble they all "clicked" and gelled really well on-screen. My passing familiarity with old, pre-awesome Star Trek (*grin*) gave me enough of a knowledge of the characters to appreciate everyone's new take on the classic roles. The standout of course would be Zachary Quinto as Spock. He had enough of Leonard Nimoy's presence and mannerisms, but he brought a little more humanity and relatability to the role IMO. Simon Pegg was genius casting as Montgomery Scott - the man stole ever scene he was in. Bruce Greenwod was fabulous as Captain Pike (seriously the older he gets the better looking he becomes - just had to throw that out there!). Karl Urban as Bones was a little weird to me. I mean I love me some Karl Urban, but his acting seemed so forced and fake in comparison to the other characters. However, I will own that my lack of familiarity with the original Bones probably has a lot to do with how I viewed Urban's take on the character (particularly since I've read in several places online that Urban's Bones is probably the most faithful incarnation of the original character in the entire new film). All that aside, Bones had some excellent buddy chemistry with Chris Pine, the guy who's taken the role owned by William Shatner and livened things up with a nice dose of Han Solo-like hotness. Of everyone in the cast I predict this movie will be the making of Chris Pine's career. He absolutely nailed the brilliant, devil-may-care hero type with attitude to spare. My second favorite character would be Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin. He is too stinking cute! LOL! Absolutely loved his scenes - they were so much fun! I could mention the other main players in the cast, but I'm tired, and frankly don't care enough.
A few other notes...the pacing of the movie, except for that section taking place on a planet eeriliy reminscent of Hoth (HA!!), was fantastic, never letting up. The fight scenes were fantastic to behold - all of the special effects were, as to be expected of course (but still, it's worth noting IMO), veritable feasts for the eyes. The camerawork was on occasion WAY to jerky and closeup for my tastes. I sort of think that must be due to J.J. Abrams television background. The guy has got to learn that it's okay to pull back on the big screen every once in a while (please, for the sake of my stomach...LOL!). I also enjoyed Michael Giacchino's score for the film (though Kaye tells me many of the passages are nearly identical to the man's work in Lost - however, since I don't watch that show, that's nothing for me to quibble about). There were some really well done moments that used a softer, more orchestral score instead of a more typical, bombastic action cue, adding to the emotional impact of the scene (the first scene that comes to mind is when George Kirk sacrificies himself for the crew and passengers of the U.S.S. Kelvin).
So, all that to say, if you STILL haven't seen this movie by some freakish chance, it's worth checking out. I'm a diehard anti-Trekkie, and I am really, REALLY looking forward to the sequel.