I went home for the weekend, and one of the lynchpins of my going home is hanging out with the fellas. Oftentimes, that hanging out includes going to the movies, and this time was no exception. The movie du jour this go around was the franchise rebooting saga Star Trek, and this was definitely a franchise that was in desperate need of a vicarious rebooting. With its hitting and missing of not only movies but TV shows themselves, including the movie and TV show that put a kibosh on the entire franchise itself – that would be Star Trek Nemesis and Star Trek: Enterprise. It even lost me, and I am an unashamed Star Trek fan. This was a franchise that was so in the dregs it didn’t even qualify for life support; in fact, no one was really sure that anything could save it.
Enter J.J. Abrams.
J.J. Abrams, who was not a Trekkie, agreed to take the helm and created nothing short of a masterpiece. In this film, the original crew is fresh from Starfleet Academy, and they are forced to grow up quickly in the face of a time-traveling nemesis named Nero, played by Eric Bana. There are a few loopholes that are thrown in that end up separating it from the original series that some of us all know and love, creating an alternate reality in the process. I won’t go in to explicit detail, because that would just spoil the whole damn movie, so take my word on it. But, I will say that some of the things that manifested themselves on screen were hard to believe – yet, it was oddly comfortable to see it take place. Also, I will say that the Kobayashi Maru was executed wonderfully. Now, since I can’t say more about the story, I’ll just skip to the actor reviews.
Chris Pine absolutely nailed the role of James T. Kirk. When we meet up with Kirk, he’s simply a misguided youth who revels in hitting on girls out of his league and serving as a punching bag to Academy members. Pine takes the role and instead of mimicking William Shatner (well, except for one part), he makes it his own. It’s almost as if it’s one part tribute, one part re-imagining, and it’s done very well.
Zachary Quinto is known as everyone’s favorite bad boy Sylar from Heroes. However, he re-images himself and literally becomes Spock. Watching him on the screen is like slipping into a pair of comfortable shoes. He carries the part with an air of gravity and resonance that almost instantly makes you forget about Leonard Nimoy. His Spock wrestles with his emotional human half and leads to some very interesting on screen developments.
Karl Urban was the best choice for Dr. Leonard McCoy in my opinion. Hearing how he casually slips in what would soon become his nickname in the series was killer to me, and the way he said McCoy’s classic lines had me in stitches. The interaction between Kirk and McCoy felt natural, and it was inherently comical to see how he…ahem…”helps” Kirk out in certain situations.
First of all, let me go on record as saying I would drink Zoe Saldana’s bath water. Now that I have that out of the way, I can continue. Her Uhura was a different take on the one initially created by Nichelle Nicohls, and this one was smart and sassy (I hate calling anyone sassy, but it fits in this case). She holds her own with the brash Kirk, and isn’t afraid to put him in his place if needed. Also, she not only is integral to the plot itself, she also has some very interesting scenes herself.
Most people only know John Cho from the Harold & Kumar movies, whereas some others only know him as the MILF kid from American Pie. I didn’t really know him as either, but he was responsible for bringing Hikaru Sulu to life again, and he did a top notch job. He even brought a dimension of Sulu to life that I don’t think anyone knew existed – Sulu’s a fighter! Not only that, but he’s a GOOD one! It makes me long for what could happen next with the character himself.
Anton Yelchin is someone I’m not really familiar with, but I loved his Pavel Checkov. The thing with Checkov was that he had a hard time saying his “v’s”. A scene from Star Trek IV hammers the point home when he’s with Uhura, and they’re looking for “nuclear wessels”. Yelchin played the part as he saw fit, and he did just fine in my opinion.
Simon Pegg is another actor I’m not real familiar with, but I liked what he did with Montgomery Scott. Scotty was his normal silly self, delivering his lines with a Scottish brogue that only a British actor could provide…I’ll let you think about that for a few minutes. He is footloose and free with the portrayal, and he does the late James Doohan proud.
Bruce Greenwood is an excellent Christopher Pike, and he also serves as an excellent mentor to the young Kirk. Greenwood takes the opportunity to make Pike into something that he really wasn’t in the original series, and that’s a heroic and likeable character. He shows genuine concern for his crew, while not being afraid to put them in their place if need be. His speech to Kirk near the beginning of the movie sent chills down my spine, and the commercial cuts don’t do it justice.
Michael Giacchino had some big shoes to fill when doing the score. Alexander Courage’s theme was beloved by all, and he really had to find a way to fit it in and create a moving score around it. I think he did that in spades. The primary purpose of a score is to set the tone for a scene and actually attempt to breathe more life into that scene. This score was driving and it really hammered home more some of the more poignant scenes in the film.
Let me go on record as saying I loved the way the Enterprise handled in this film! If you think back to how the ship looked as it was “flying” through space in some of the other shows, it didn’t really look like it was going anywhere. It was almost as if it were standing still and space was moving around it. Not in this movie, though; in this movie, the ship was sleek and stylish and had much better handling. In fact, it was able to go at warp speed and come to a complete stop without falling apart. How’s that for power brakes, huh? Let’s not forget how the bridge looked like it came out of the Apple Store somewhere…
I simply can’t get over how much I loved this movie. There are movies where you nitpick to death, then there are movies that you nitpick a little bit. Finally, there are movies that you just lose yourself in and realize that you can’t nitpick anything because it’s perfect. Star Trek fell into the latter part to me. I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan; that would be too easy. I’m saying it because I was able to lose myself in the movie and feel like a big kid again. That hadn’t happened since Transformers two years ago, and I honestly didn’t expect it to happen with this movie. Thankfully, I was proven wrong, and it will most certainly be bought upon its release to DVD. This movie gets an unprecedented five dragon heads out of five, and I recommend you hit maximum warp and go check it out.
You won’t be disappointed.
EDIT: As of this date, I think I’ve watched this movie on Blu-Ray about 3,000 times. That may be an exaggeration, but it actually may be closer to the truth than I’d be willing to give out.