Thursday, May 21, 2009
REVIEW: Star Trek
Let's be clear: I'm not a Trekkie. I've never watched the TV show, and the only film I remember is Star Trek Generations (stinker). I was watching this with an open mind and no knowledge of in-jokes or easter eggs. When I think of Star Trek stereotypes, I think of cheesy dialogue, goofy alien prosthetics, a "sterile" look to the series.
Imagine my surprise when Star Trek exceeded all of my expectations. It combined the grand story of A New Hope with the gritty, dirty, character-driven world of Serenity. The film is built around a conflict with a miner from the future (yep, there's a time travel plot) who has a grudge against Spock. His name is Nero and he's played by Eric Bana. If you were expecting an awesome, powerhouse performance from him like in Troy or Munich, you shouldn't. He's merely just the baddie who scowls and sneers when called upon.
The film is much more about the crew of the Enterprise. Chris Pine is the new Kirk, and if you like cocky, rebellious swashbucklers like Han Solo and Mal Reynolds, you'll like new Kirk. He doesn't feel like a rip-off. Zachary Quinto plays Spock, and even though Heroes is dumb and his character sucked on 24, I enjoyed the logical Spock. The rest of the crew has their individual moments to shine. Eomer as Doc McCoy talks with a cool accent. Chekov humorously can't say his V's (what the hell?), and Scotty (Simon Pegg) yuks it up for the camera. Not only did I enjoy all of the main characters, but I loved constantly noticing the "wait, I know that guy!" moments. Cameron from House! JFK from Thirteen Days! There's Malagant from King Arthur! That guy was in 24! Wasn't he the linebacker in Playmakers? There's the creepy doc from Scrubs!
Now, to the plot. It moves at a breakneck pace throughout the film. The story is constantly moving and escalating, and there's never a dull moment. It's interesting that LOST genius producer Damon Lindelof oversaw a Star Trek plot that believes in "the future can be changed" version of time travel, while also writing the "Whatever happens, happened" school of thought for LOST. Old Spock shows up to help explain matters, and I'll admit that, as a non-Trekkie, I was in awe of Leonard Nimoy.
Does the altered timeline screw up previous Trek canon? I really don't care. Like new Hulk or Batman Begins, this new franchise is a reboot and a retelling like Casino Royale. Perhaps a universal story isn't in place like Star Wars, but this is definitely a franchise ready to continue with many more adventures.