Star Trek (2009)

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by KillerCannabis, May 8, 2009.

  1. KillerCannabis

    KillerCannabis Slow, Deep & Hard

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    I’ll get something out of the way right now, just so you know what to expect from this review: I am in no way a “Trekker”, nor have I seen every film and television series in the vast Star Trek canon which has existed for close to 45 years. I own a few of the early films on DVD, yet I’ve only managed to watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a fantastic film which is frequently hailed as the high watermark of the series. I also own two seasons of the Original Series, a program I enjoy as much for its kitsch and camp factor as I do for its well-written plotlines and characters. Outside of that, I have little knowledge of the Star Trek universe. The subsequent TV series, including Deep Space Nine, Enterprise and others whose titles escape my memory, always seemed too cerebral and obtuse for me to fully embrace.

    Enter J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Abrams is someone who’s work I’ve been warming up to, although it’s more for his cinematic endeavors and less for his much-lauded TV work. I don’t watch much scripted television, so you can’t count me among the many followers of Lost or Alias. He hit my radar after making what is arguably the best entry in the Mission: Impossible series, M:I:III, and for producing the best monster movie since 2005’s King Kong, Cloverfield. One thing that has struck me about the man is that he has a penchant for thinking outside of the genre box, so even though I was fairly indifferent to seeing a new Star Trek film on the big screen, the attachment of Abrams as director did pique my interest. As for Orci and Kurtzman, the duo is most well-known for writing 2007’s Transformers, a fact that had me worried until I read that they were both hardcore Trek nerds. That fact alone didn’t make me anticipate the film any more or less, but it did tell me that they were bound to treat the characters with far more respect than anyone speaking a line from Michael Bay’s robotic orgy. Now there was some dreadful dialogue.

    This film has a tightly-woven, intricate plot, but it’s not so technical that viewers will be lost. Think of it as Star Trek with a Star Wars sensibility. Sure, there’s lots of geek speak, but nothing so nerdy that you’ll need a detailed post-film breakdown to figure it out. The film is a re-boot to the classic series, tracing the origins of the characters of James T. Kirk and Spock, while also detailing how they came to work with Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and Uhura. Interwoven within that story is the revenge tale of Nero, a Romulan who has traveled through time searching for Spock, whom he holds responsible for the future destruction of his home planet, Romulus.

    Though the film is ostensibly focused on providing background on all of the classic crew members, this film is undoubtedly Spock’s. Played here by Zachary Quinto, and, thanks to the disruption of the space-time continuum, Leonard Nimoy, the film traces Spock’s history, from his childhood as a social outcast to his adolescent struggles with his own inner turmoil. Being a human/Vulcan hybrid, he is constantly in a state of inner turmoil, never quite sure whether to fully embrace his emotionless and logical Vulcan heritage, or to express his constant stream of very real emotion as a human would. Nimoy owns this role and it’s what he’ll always be remembered for, so I have no qualms with his acting here. Hell, I can hardly accept seeing the man without his trademark haircut and pointed ears. Quinto, on the other hand, took some getting used to. Initially, I had reservations about whether or not he was right for the part. His acting style seemed too schizophrenic and uneven, but then I realized that he was mirroring Spock’s inner conflict, so his performance was bound to be as such. Make no mistake, Spock is a much different incarnation here; he has a furious temper in addition to a love life, which some purists may or may not be able to accept. Still, by the end of the film Quinto’s Spock fit in perfectly with the rest of the crew on the bridge.

    Spock may have been the film’s primary focus, but almost as much attention is focused on the birth, childhood and start at the academy of James T. Kirk. Famously portrayed with ham-fisted, scene-chewing panache courtesy of William Shatner, here the role is taken over by Chris Pike. Pike still has that cocky swagger that made Kirk such a memorable character, but he’s also a much tougher man. Gone is the stilted dialogue that has become a trademark of Shatner’s; Pike is headstrong and confident without resorting to cheesy mannerisms. His rapid ascent to Captain of a Federation Starship is the most-convincing of the crew’s many promotions (more on that minor gripe in a bit). I’m glad the role didn’t go to Matt Damon, as had been rumored, because a role like this calls for a relatively unknown actor and, though Pike may be limited in range, he has the necessary chops to lead the film series.

    The rest of the cast is mostly spot-on, save for one: Sulu. Now, I realize it’s hard for anyone to step into George Takei’s signature role, but I think this called for an unknown actor rather than everyone’s favorite bong-loading White Castle fetishist, John Cho. You know, the Asian guy from Harold & Kumar. I don’t think he’s necessarily a weak link, but I just don’t think he fit the role as well as his other compatriots.

    My personal favorite was Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Urban is mainly known for heavy fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Riddick and TV series like Xena: Warrior Princess. I’ll tell you this much, the guy has some impressive comedic chops in addition to perfectly channeling DeForest Kelley (the original Dr. McCoy) without resorting to complete imitation. He was easily the highlight of the supporting cast.

    I’m a Simon Pegg fan, so I didn’t mind him taking over the role of Scotty. I’m just glad they didn’t somehow figure out a way to pair him up with Nick Frost, because that would have really thrown off the film’s balance. Pegg is a bit goofier than James Doohan’s Scotty, but not so much that it’s a distraction. I enjoyed the comedic relief he brought to some of the film’s more intense scenes.

    Everyone else works well enough. Zoe Saldana does a good job in the role of Nyoda Uhura, Spock’s secret love interest. Aside from providing an angle for a potential love triangle, there really isn’t a lot for her to do. Same with Anton Yelchin as Chekov, although he does provide some laughs thanks to his thick accent. I really dug Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Christopher Pike. He’s one of those strong character actors that makes you say, “Hey, I know that guy from somewhere”, yet you can’t put a name to the face. Keep an eye out for Tyler Perry as a court official. Yes, that Tyler Perry. You know what? The guy might make atrocious films but he is perfectly acceptable here. At least we know he can act when he wants to.

    Still reading? I’ll attempt to make the rest a bit briefer; brevity is obviously not a strong point with me. The effects here are superb. Everything is impressive; even my girlfriend commented on how awesome the effects were and she rarely gives a rat’s ass about things of that sort. Nero’s Romulan mining vessel left me completely awestruck the first time it makes an appearance. All of the landscapes, planets, interstellar constellations and alien races are so believable as to provide an almost tangible appearance. It’s not too hard to envision people inhabiting these worlds. The space battles are intense as well. Well, I felt like the entire last half of the film was intense, but the battles are just plain awesome.

    I’ve already touched on the writing and direction, both of which are impeccable. I never thought I could enjoy a Star Trek film this much and, yet, that’s exactly what this one has managed to do. I think that’s an edge that will allow this film to have some real legs at the box office: the ability to get non-Trekkers on-board. Forget whatever preconceived notions you have of a Star Trek film, because this isn’t your nerdy, virginal 42-year old co-workers Star Trek. It’s smart, sharp, witty and intensely savage at times. Everything you wouldn’t expect from a film of this ilk. I highly recommend you see this on an IMAX screen because it’s fucking insane. I have no doubt I’ll go back for one more round before the film is out of theaters.
     
  2. KR~!

    KR~! The Apocalyptic Kid

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  3. evildeadfan123

    evildeadfan123 Sam & Dean Winchester

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    I have watched almost all of the original Star Trek, and Star Trek: The Next Generation series, and me and my soon to be husband own all 3 seasons of the Original Star Trek and all of the Star Trek films, except for Star Trek 9. We both saw Star Trek last night at 7:00 and we are going to see it again.
     
  4. fattyjoe37

    fattyjoe37 Well-Known Member

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    Really liked it. 8/10
     
  5. Dave

    Dave Pimp

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    Haven't read any of the thread as I don't want potential spoilers or someone elses review to skew my own thoughts when I go to see it later this morning. I will chime in that this is the first Star Trek my son has wanted to see, and the trailer have my believing that he will like it (along with myself). I'm not a Trekkie is any sense of the word - I own none of the movies and while I own Star Trek TOS S1 on HD-DVD, that was only because I got it for a steal (still haven't watched it). I would/will pickup some of the movies on blu-ray if they release them individually.

    Anyway, I'll chime in later with my thoughts.
     
  6. SickNick89

    SickNick89 Member

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    I Never was a Trekkie. Star Trek bored me to tears. I've only seen a handful of episodes of it's various incarnations which did nothing at all for me but I LOVED THE NEW MOVIE!!!
     
  7. moogong

    moogong Arte Suave

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    I was never a huge fan of the Star Trek movies or series but new film is incredible. I was blown away by how good it was. I give it 10/10.
     
  8. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    The original Star Trek is great. I've always enjoyed the television series, but the first 6 movies with the original crew will always be favorites of mine. As for the rest of the series and the movies with the next generation crew, I couldn't care less - IMO this is where the trek stereotypes actually become valid - pompous, boring, moralizing, melodramatic junk. yes, patrick stewart is a fine actor, but that show and the last 4 movies were dull dull dullsville. i just watched the new movie tonight with my girlfriend and some friends, and we all agreed that it was fantastic. not only was it a lot of fun, but it was intelligent as well. this is, hands down, the best "reboot" i have ever seen. I was really impressed with how they tied this film in to the original series, and I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
     
  9. sundownrider

    sundownrider Guest

    From all the positive reviews. Now I really have to see this. Keep the reviews coming please!
     
  10. indiephantom

    indiephantom Horny Spirit

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    Not to spoil the thread, but I really didn't care for this film.
     
  11. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    I am now basking in the warm happiness of having walked out of the first Star Trek movie that I don't have to feel apologetic or generous for liking.

    I am a moderate fan of the original and a huge fan of TNG. Once TNG ended, I lost track of the rest of the spin-offs. I've seen all the movies and still like most of them. So, while I don't mean to disrespect the rest of the series, I am really tempted to say that after 40 years, they finally got it right. This really is everything a space epic should be. The performances are convincing and strong with nice nods to the original characterizations of the performers that made them icons. But, most importantly, this is a film that doesn't pander to anyone. There are none of the fan service moments that plagued the TNG films. No attempts to dumb the plot or characters down for the kiddies. The script is witty and intelligent and chock full of action that comes off as a natural extension of the story line, not some random assembly of set-pieces.

    Yes, Roddenberry's heavy humanism is toned down, but it is still there. The film does still have the "heart" of Star Trek, even if it does play loose with many of the established characters. And, as someone else said, the speculative science really is more Star Wars than Star Trek. But, this is still a film that exudes a love of space and technology, much as the original series did.

    In the end, I am really impressed with the film. It had a daunting task and pulled the whole thing off with grace and elegance. It is thrilling, emotional, hopeful and inspiring. All the best that Trek had to offer.

    The only sadness that comes from the film, is the gnawing sorrow that deep space travel will not be possible in my lifetime.
     
  12. Dave

    Dave Pimp

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    Great flick! I enjoyed it and both of my boys did as well. Fun, exciting, and the best Trek since Kahn.
     
  13. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Eh, wasn't too impressed. The plot's pretty dumb and character arches aren't any better. The execution of it was very solid, and I think there's great possibilities for the sequel, but I'm not going to go out of my way to ever see it again.

    It was better than Insurrection, that's about all I can say for it.
     
  14. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    This movie was a gigantic piece of shit.

    If you don't like Star Trek then it is a big noisy fun summer movie.

    And to be fair the casting was excellent, performances good, and direction more than adequate.

    But erasing 40 years of continuity (That's like 10 movies, 5 series, etc) for no reason at all SUCKS. The ep. Amok Time now never happened. Nor did Star Trek III, and because of the resolution of Star Trek III, none of the other films happened. Best of all - they didn't need to change continuity to make this movie. The Starfleet years were theirs to create. If they wanted to tweak characters and take some liberties Trek fans would not have cared but they mucked it up for no reason at all.

    If you are a fan at all, AVOID THIS PIECE OF SHIT.

    F**k this movie to hell.
     
  15. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    Well, technically speaking, everything that happened in the original series, and TNG, and DS9, and all the movies, etc, still happened. It just got erased when the Romulans time traveled and changed the course of history.
     
  16. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Why do you hurt me?
     
  17. ReelFear

    ReelFear New Member

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    if nothing else, STAR TREK was very entertaining.
     
  18. delicreep

    delicreep Active Member

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    I'm definitely a Star Trek fan. My father and I would watch the OS and went to nearly all the films together when I was a kid. There is a definite sentimental attachment to this series.

    However, I saw nothing wrong with what the writers did with the new film.
     
  19. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Wow, I totally disagree. Esentially everything for the last 40 years is gone. And those writers are terrible - look at their credits.
     
  20. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    dude, its not that it didn't happen, its that it hasn't happened yet. as a fan of the original crew films, i left the movie excited by the prospect of getting to see these characters live their lives all over again! i thought that this was an infinitely more respectful way to restart the series, because instead of throwing the old characters out the window and starting over, they've taken the same beloved characters and rejuvenated them. i absolutely love the fact that these are the same characters. to me thats much more important than making sure that they experience the exact same adventures as last time.
     

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