After last week’s false start with the somewhat disappointing ” Wolverine” , the summer season got right back on track today with Star Trek. Hold on to your seats because the on screen action grabs you and takes you for a warp-speed spin giving you barely moments to catch your breath. Is it formula? Not nearly as much as you’d expect and besides its supposed to be! This is big bold unabashed unapologetic huge budget blockbuster movie making at its best.
Directing and Writing
J.J. Abrams feature movie directing resume isn’t long but man is it ever action packed. His previous big budget movie was Mission Impossible III. Any director that can keep an audience looking at Tom Cruise for two hours deserves another chance and Mr. Abrams got it with Star Trek. It was a gamble that has paid off. The directing is perfect for this type of movie. The camera angles complemented the special effects, the pace was spot on and the top notch cast was expertly , directed. No doubt “traditionalists” will compare this movie to the iconic “Wrath of Khan” but it will be to the detriment of the later. This one is better except maybe in one or two ways. The writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did a very nice job but the movie does lack that one memorable line to rival Montalban’s Ahab-esque, immortal “from Hell’s heart I stab at thee”. (“To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell‘s heart, I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”) The other thing that is lacking may or may not be a shortfall depending on your taste. Rarely has the screen seen such a dramatic clash of characters played by such exceedingly dramatic actors as William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.I believe that we won’t see their like again for a long time to come. This movie lacks that dynamic but I suspect that not everyone will miss it, truth be told I sort of did.
Like everyone else I was very curious to see how Chris Pine would fill William Shatner’s shoes. He filled them very well and, naturally, with significantly less overacting. The biggest surprise is Carl Urban’s Leonard McCoy. Urban gives the character a more rounded, more edgy and more of a three dimensional feel than that made famous by his predecessor. This new rendition is as comfortable in the “sick bay ” as away from it, and that works out just fine. The most controversial of the new generation will probably be Zachary Quinto‘s portrayal of a young Mr. Spock. This more youthful version is also somewhat more emotional and conflicted. I thought the performance to be very appropriate given the plot but don’t be surprised if this turns into an all out Trekie cat fight between the traditionalists and the noobs.
I’ll give away as little as possible but if you don’t want to spoil the surprise skip the blue.
A good part of the movie is a biography of Captain Kirk literally from birth to his first Star Ship command. Truth be told this was big gap in the Star Trek saga that has been now properly filled. We are also treated to a much shorter version of Mr. Spock’s life story up to and including his not so peaceful acquaintance with James Tiberius Kirk. The unanticipated sub plots that ensue form this keeps us guessing and adds yet another dimension to the movie. I am not used to that in a Star Trek sequel it certainly is a pleasant surprise and one of the reasons why I say that I give this movie an edge over “Khan.”
The movie also introduces us to the twenty something version of the rest of the Enterprise”s crew and how they ended up on the fateful ship. There is also a very surprising romance interest which the purists might deride but, logically speaking, I can’t find fault with it.
The main story line is that a mad Romulan, Eric Bana is hell bent on destroying the Federation or at least a few chosen planets. Stopping him falls on the shoulders of the young cadets manning the Enterprise. I know, I know cadets were called int o battle once before 😉 . As the cadets are the future most storied crew ever to serve on a Star Ship, the Romulan gets his pointy ears boxed but good.
A heroic tale of self sacrifice, friendship, loyalty, love and duty and honor. Yes its all that, and isn’t that great!
I’ll go see it again next week, with the wife this time, and I imangine that many of you just might go see it more than once too.
Come on you knew that I just had to do this