Friday, May 8, 2009

At the Box Office: Star Trek

Thank you Paramount. Thank you J.J. Abrams. Folks, Star Trek IS everything you’ve read about it.

I was not expecting the film to be so lyrical, for lack of a better term. The creators of this movie, from director Abrams on to several prominent members of the cast, have mentioned that they were not fans of the classic sci-fi series, but you would never know it based on how loving and respectful their new version turned out to be.

Not that this 11th Trek film is slavishly devoted to all that has come before, because this movie rewrites the Trek canon in major ways, and that IS a good thing. Believe me! No the central point of this relaunch/reboot is to establish a brand new status quo, where pretty much anything goes...if this film proves successful enough to earn sequels. If I was an executive at Paramount, given all that Trek has added to the company’s coffers, I couldn’t help but accept that box office be damned; mission accomplished.

Man, what an awesome experience watching this movie was, it is very difficult choosing a favorite from among the cast, but I will add my voice to the jaw-dropping chorus for Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy. It is absolutely eerie, how he seems to have stepped so fully into the boots of Bones McCoy (nice to finally hear how he got that nickname). Ditto for Simon Pegg as Scotty, whose role doesn’t show up onscreen until later in the movie, but boy did he run with it when he showed up. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is, damn, damn, damn, effective, and there is also a surprise twist with her character (one of many in this cool picture), that really works well. Anton Yelchin’s Chekov is funny and believable, too. Several secondary characters add tremendous depth with, despite being relegated to slightly more limited parts, but what they do with their screen time was amazing. Bruce Greenwood was an outstanding choice for Captain Pike and the same goes for Ben Cross as Spock’s father, Sarek. There is just too much that could be said for many more of the actors, but before I talk about Kirk and Spock, I have to say that although John Cho is good as Sulu, and he does get to do something pretty neat in the movie, out of the entire cast, Cho’s role is the most minimized.

Chris Pine is outstanding as the young James T. Kirk, and you will be hard pressed to find fault with anything that he does as the new Captain of the Enterprise. Wow, he took William Shatner’s iconic role and just ran with it. I easily bought him as the younger Kirk and that surprised me quite a bit. I doubt that anybody who saw him inthe film, Smokin’Aces, would ever have thought that this was the guy to pull off this tough follow up to a famous sci-fi hero. Well done!

From the moment that Heroes star, Zachary Quinto was announced as the new Spock, I agreed that he LOOKED the part, but he also had a tough act to follow in his iconic role and he made it his own in powerful and understated ways. The fact that both of these guys so successfully pulled this off in the same movie is coin a phrase. I very much look forward to seeing the pair back on screen as two of the most famous action buddies of all time. By now, everybody knows that Leonard Nimoy also reprises his original role of Spock, too. His appearance in the movie is also a revelation, and what becomes of his "older" Spock, took me by complete surprise. I did not expect the resolution that he received, nuff said.

To me, Eric Bana didn’t seem “over the top”, an accusation that appeared in a relative few of the early reviews that I read, but considering that his characters villainous actions led to what has happened to the Trek universe ala J.J. Abrams, the audience simply has to accept that he is the heavy – and for a good reason – with very little to go on. Lucky for me that I read the prequel graphic novel that fills in some of Nero's history. Go seek it out from publisher IDW.

The effects, the score, well gosh darn it everything about Star Trek is spot on, and this is one of those rare movies that will deserve multiple viewings. I hope that Star Trek is a huge hit, because it deserves to be.


Wayne Skiver said...

I can't wait! We will be seeing it on Mothers day as my wife (Oh how I love her!) said THAT would be an awesome mothers day gift for her.

Sam said...

Man...I cannot wait to see this. Just about every review has been positive. Chuck would you say this is better than "Wrath of Khan"?

Nomad said...

i was so impressed by this new Star Trek, from character development to action effects to the fluidity of the plot... IMO this is the best Star Trek ever