Sunday, November 29, 2009

Movie of the Week

This week,

STAR TREK (2009)

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Starring- Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Leonard Nimoy

In this reboot/retcon of the original crew's adventures, we see new actors attempt to fill the shoes of their famous counterparts. As a lifelong Trekker, I was very skeptical about the absence of Shatner and the other original crew members in the key roles, but J.J Abrams and his people put together a great cast that honored and expanded on the beloved characters. This film was not perfect, but it did have enough good parts and performances to make you eager for the planned sequels.

The film is really the story of how the original crew came together to their familiar positions on the Enterprise. Abrams uses time travel to great effect to craft his story without having to remain fiercely loyal to Star Trek canon. This technique frees the franchise from the constraints of having to match up with the original T.V. shows and films. In addition to the crew's formation, Star Trek tells the story of a rogue Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) who to sets out to get revenge on Spock from the original timeline, played by Leonard Nimoy. The two stories merge bringing Nero into conflict with Kirk, Young Spock and the rest of the crew. With old Spock's help, they defeat Nero's destructive plans and begin a new five year mission together.

Some moments of the film are very reminiscent of the classic films and episodes- especially Karl Urban's turn as 'Bones,' certain lines of dialogue, Sulu's fencing, Chekov's mispronunciation of w's and v's and Chris Pine's chemistry with Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock respectively. There were other elements that were new, but very welcome including- Bruce Greenwood as the avuncular role model Captain Pike, a re-vamped Enterprise, a decent score by Abrams regular Michael Giacchino and some good old school special effects. Finally, certain things could have been scaled back or eliminated like- the Spock/Uhura love story, the scads upon scads of lens flares and Eric Bana's scenery chewing villainy (leave that kind of acting to Ricardo Montalban).

All in all this film puts Star Trek on the right course for the next decade. I look forward to adventures with the crew as they continue to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Things to watch for-

A toothy Winona Rider as Spock's mom
The tribble
The cool new transporter effect
Tyler Perry as an Admiral (Medea Goes to Starfleet)

"I like this ship. It's exciting."

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