The Franchise Lives on With this (somewhat) Strong Undertaking (Spoilers)
May 10, 2009
Pros: Stellar special effects; okay plot-line
Cons: Some plot holes, of course; not enough character development.
The Bottom Line: The movie is a fun, exhilarating, fresh body of entertainment
The Star Trek franchise has been alive for over forty-five years and through all of the various incarnations: Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Trek Deep Space Nice, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek:Enterprise, as well as nine motion pictures, I have been an eager and loyal fan.
But the new century has not been as kind to the world dreamed up by the late Gene Roddenberry. The latest Star Trek spin-off, Star Trek:Enterprise only lasted a short while before being canceled due to low ratings in 2005 and Paramount needed to jumpstart concept lest it fade from American popular culture. Enter Star Trek directed by adrenaline junky JJ Abrams and staring a cast of (virtual) young unknowns.
This Star Trek the movie once again explores the oft-misunderstood and frequently filmed world of time travel. The movie explores the birth of the legend that will become James T. Kirk in the Star Trek universe. The baddies are once again the Romulans, or in this case one Romulan in particular, named Nero portrayed by Eric Bana (Troy, Munich, The Other Boleyn Girl). Nero, who captains an advanced mining ship, is out to avenge the destruction of his home world Romulus some 129 years in the future. The Spock of the future portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, promised to stop said destruction by a super nova by using a substance called red matter, but he was too late, the planet was destroyed and Nero blames Spock.
Meanwhile, a 25-year old James T. Kirk is convinced-rather easily if you ask me-to join Star Fleet by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood - St. Elsewhere, Knots Landing, John from Cincinnati) who knew his father before he perished at the hands of Nero. Spock the younger (Zackary Quinto - 24, Heroes) also joins Star Fleet and the two along with Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Checkov and a lovely Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana (Six Degrees) are all trusted together onboard the Federations newest flagship, the U.S.S. Enterprise N.C.C. 1701 on a mission to save the Federation.
My Thoughts There is not much to dislike in the re-boot of the classic series. The movie is well acted with stellar special effects and a credible enough plot-line. There were of course liberties taken with the story, but the look and feel of Star Trek is as authentic as one is liable to expect. For instance the depiction of the Enterprise's engine room as one filled with machinery large and small, and pipes snaking hither and yon, would put a smile on any sailor's lips, especially those referred to a snipes (engine room personnel).
Screen writer's Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman penned a genuinely (mostly) smart script. Woven throughout Star Trek are little nuggets of the past designed to draw in old fans like myself, yet appeal to a whole new generation of viewers.
Both Orci and Kurtzman seem to know the classic series well enough to find the right tonal blend of drama, humor, and mockery. They know what to poke fun at, what to have fun with and what to pay reverence to. So as each classic character-now young and vibrant-is introduced they deliver something fresh as well as something familiar to the viewer drawing all audiences.
There were notable holes in the script, however, like how a ship designed for mining in deep space is able to find off whole fleets of warships, Federation and Klingon and live to destroy whole planets. I did not like the cloak of invincibility ala the Borg. Nor did I find it particularly believable that the Vulcan's would have proved unworthy of the task of protecting themselves. Please!
Abrams for his part, as he is wont to do, as is his trademark, keeps the action moving swiftly. Star Trek packs more action and effects onto the screen than any previous endeavors. But, this is where the move falls short of the mark. So concerned is Abrams with moving at a oft-break-neck pace, and introducing all the familiar elements that there is scarce time for a real (human) story that conveyed any of the thoughtful ideas that creator Gene Roddenberry made such an integral part of the original series.
While many consider Roddenberry's Star Trek an allegory for the myriad of problems plaguing 1960's America: racism, Vietnam, the Cold War, social unrest, and even environmental concerns, Abram's Star Trek is no allegory; it's an action movie complete with fist fights, blood, and lots and lots of loud explosions. It would not be a stretch to state that Abrams Star Trek lacks the soul of the original, so in its own way it mirrors the contemporary society in which it was born. Gone are the noble aspirations of "exploring new worlds and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before," this is survival baby, this is war!
No doubt if this were the first iteration of the (Star Trek) story on film it would not enjos the cult following of its 1960's namesake, but as a new edition to the existing well-established franchise, it is a fun, exhilarating, and fresh body of entertainment.
Movie Mood: Action Movie Viewing Method: Studio Screening/Premiere Film Completeness: A few glitches, but mostly complete. Worst Part of this Film: Nothing
What was your first impression? Very negative Plot summary? A new cast of the characters having the same name is introduced with a new storyline. Kirk and Spock forge a friendship under fire. What's the bottom line? There are some bad moments that will turn off many long-term Star Trek fans but if that happens, watch it a few more times and concentrate on the relationships between the main characters.
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Star Trek tells the story of James T. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew, following their time together at Starfleet Academy as well as their first mission together.
Chris Pine as James T. Kirk
Zachery Quinto as Spock
Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime
Bruce Greenwood as Captn. Christopher Pike
Karl Urban as Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Simon Pegg as Scotty
John Cho as Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov
Eric Bana as Nero
Ben Cross as Sarek
Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson
J.J. Abrams Star Trek represents the first time in sixteen years since Leonard Nimoy has played the character of Spock.
Originally, Star Trek was slated for a Christmas 2008 release, but it was decided that the film would fair better as a summer blockbuster. It would also allow for more media coverage as well as more time to work on the films visual effects.
This Film also represents the last time that Majel Barrett Roddenberry played the voice of the Enterprise Computer. She died shortly after she had finished her work on the film.
J.J. Abrams' 2009 feature film was billed as "not your father'sStar Trek," but your father will probably love it anyway. And what's not to love? It has enough action, emotional impact, humor, and sheer fun for any moviegoer, and Trekkers will enjoy plenty of insider references and a cast that seems ideally suited to portray the characters we know they'll become later. Both a ...