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Thursday, May 07, 2009

STAR TREK (2009)

If ever there were a franchise that sorely needed a reboot, it was STAR TREK, and I'm glad to see that in enacting the reboot the filmmakers chose to start over at the beginning, with the original crew of characters and a slightly altered timeline. That's all I'll divulge about the overall plot, but I enjoyed it very much and would rank STAR TREK right next to THE WRATH OF KHAN as the best in the series. I say that as a person who grew up on the old school cast and prefers The Original Series (or TOS if you prefer) over all subsequent TREK entries, so make of that what you will. I can't guarantee that it will please the inflexible purists out there whom I know (I'm betting cash that both Scooter and Peter the Red will find endless fault with it), but take it from me that this is in every way the correct way to handle a TREK relaunch. As for the particulars:
  • The actors do a damned good job of giving us the Enterprise crew we know and have taken to heart, and I'll eat my own buttocks on live television if Karl Urban isn't channeling the late De Forest Kelley.
  • I thought I would hate Zoe Saldana as Uhura. I was wrong. I always loved the original for being an indelible part of the bridge crew (to say nothing of her being one of the hottest women in TV history, as well as the first hot black chick on the tube) but back in the days Uhura amounted to little more than an inter-galactic switchboard operator, so seeing her reinterpreted for an audience that comes forty-some-odd years after her creation was definitely something that had to be done and it is done quite well here, although I would have given her an African accent, but that's just me and it's a very minor quibble. (I know the original Uhura didn't rock an accent but she was supposed to be African and occasionally spoke Swahili, admittedly sans accent; now sounds like she just strolled in from a mall shopping spree somewhere in California and no mention is made of her place of origin, so for all we know she could be from Van Nuys.)
  • I love the new Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Yes, I just admitted that in a worldwide public forum.
  • I'm still not down with the Enterprise's new look, but then again I didn't care for its re-design in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) and that design not only eventually grew on me, but I now consider it a classic for many reasons. So who knows what the future will bring? (No pun intended.)
  • Simon Pegg as Scotty. I wouldn't have thought to cast him, but he acquits himself quite well.
  • For me the bit of casting I dreaded most was Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. Simply put, how the fuck do you even think of getting someone to step into the unique characterization William Shatner brought to the table? For all of Shatner's over-the-top acting, Kirk would not be remembered at all if not for Bill giving him a sense of lovable fratboyish assholism, and it would have been dangerously easy for an actor stepping into the role to turn it into inadvertent parody. Pine takes some of the Shatnerian traits that made Kirk legendary while reigning in the Shat's (in)famous thespic stylings, allowing Kirk to be seen as a somewhat realistically acted character. I think he did a great job and I look forward to seeing how his portrayal evolves.
  • I was far less concerned about Zachary Quinto stepping into the Spock ears and bangs, but he was superb and the script addressed my favorite aspect of Spock's character, namely the seething rage within him that grew throughout his life as a mixed-race outsider on his homeworld. I can never get enough of the character and I can't wait to see more of Quinto's take on him.
  • Giving away nothing, we even get a tasty and fleshy Orion woman, aka that epitome of the classic STAR TREK alien babe, "the green chick," so I was a very happy camper.
Rachel Nichols as the all-too-briefly-seen Gaila, proudly representing for green chicks throughout the galaxy.

Anyway, the bottom line is that it's fun, so TRUST YER BUNCHE and boldly haul your ass to STAR TREK this weekend. And if you don't feel like combating the opening-weekend hordes you'll miss nothing by waiting a few days; if you know old school TREK you know what this is all about, but it's a blast seeing the series get exactly the shot in the arm it's needed for well over a decade.


bobquasit said...

Am I Peter the Red?

Anonymous said...

Never gave Star Trek a chance when I was young, but saw some of the movies and found them a bit hard to follow. But your review has intrigued me. I am gonna trust my bunche and see it. - Xtina

Deacon Blue said...

You haven't led me wrong yet, Bunche. I'll be there as soon as I can slip away from the wife and little girl.

Satyrblade said...

Saw it last night - once again, largely because of your recommendation. And, like Kung Fu Panda and Tropic Thunder, I loved a film I had expected to suck. Some of the scenes were silly even by Star Trek standards (two words: ice planet), and the crew was too young and pretty by half; that aside, however, the movie rocked. It got damn near a standing ovation at the show we attended, and we plan to catch it again in Imax next week. Thanks for the heads-up, Bunche!

(This post's capcha: pronspa. If that's not a word, it should be, and damned if if it doesn't remind me of "prosper.")

Laser Rocket Arm said...

Saw it in IMAX yesterday. I thought the beginning blew, way too Hollywood pat for my tastes, but it improved immeasurably from there despite the cast looking like "Star Trek 90210" (and Karl Urban, a/k/a McCoy, looked like everyone's dad). This is one of those movies that HAS to be seen on the big screen, TV's not gonna cut it.

Chris Weston said...

Man alive... what a relief! I was convinced you were gonna go all purist on me and be determined to hate it!

I loved it, and in many ways its the Star Trek movie i've always dreamed of seeing.

My only gripe is we aren't gonna see the adventures of this crew on a weekly basis.