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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reinvention and Revival

(Spoilers ahead) I've been a 'Star Trek' fan for many years now, and have been cautiously optimistic about this weekend's release. After my first viewing, I would have to classify it somewhere between “OK” and “Good”, but let's begin with the bad. Scott, you were right about one thing, and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew everyone would to use their catch phrases at least once in the film, but I was hoping they wouldn't overdo it. Yes, it did happen, but it wasn't obscene. Now hearing McCoy ask Spock if he was “out of his Vulcan mind” annoyed me because we have already heard this line uttered in 'Star Trek II' (One of many parallels I feel the filmmakers tried to force in this movie). So that aside, I guess I can live with the other obligatory phrases, even though they did make me twitch with frustration.

Another element that irritates me happens with about 90% of major films released these days, and that is the lack of development. No one takes their time anymore in developing characters and scenes. This could have been the perfect movie to introduce and develop every character in their respective elements. This is a story of origins and should have been allowed to take it's time. They could have concentrated more on the Starfleet days and had them all wind up serving on the ship in the end and guess what...It would have been great....but no, we've got to get to the action as fast as we can, plus we've got some CG to show off. But, as my experience watching movies has taught me, this was also to be expected, so I fight through it and take out what's left for me.

Perhaps the biggest offender of this movie, though, and the one I will not accept as having had to be there, was the casting of Leonard Nimoy as “future Spock”. This in no way gave any credibility to the story, nor did it make any sense. It's so forced that they couldn't even give a better reason for present day Kirk bumping into him on a remote planet by accident. Guest appearances are something that should be reserved for the series only. Hell, 'The Next Generation' featured almost all the original cast at one point or another. But for the movies, I think we should be able to rise above the mere charm of having an original cast member in it. If you have to put Nimoy in the movie, why not cast him as Sarek?

OK, so what was good about it? First of all, I think the entire cast was stellar. I was really pleased by everyones performances, especially since we weren't subjected to two hours of straight character impressions. Karl Urban came close with his Dr. McCoy, but I actually found him to be a pleasant surprise in this movie and thought he did a great job. I thought Chris Pine was excellent and delivered a young Kirk as well as anyone could. As far as the actual characters, I felt Sulu and Checkov were the weakest. They were just kind of there for the sake of introducing us to the rest of the regular cast. Sorry, we're focusing on the positive now so I won't get into Checkov not even being in the first season.

Overall, I have to say the story was pretty damn good. The “future Spock” element aside, I never found myself shaking my head in disappointment, which has become habit for me after virtually all of the “Next Generation” movies. In fact, there was a point for me after the destruction of Vulcan and the death of Spock's mother that I almost was in disbelief. Why were they re-writing our beloved Star Trek history? And then it made sense, the story itself was re-writing history and doing it effectively. It was a brilliant way to weave a new story into old fabric and therefore reinvent the saga. It worked. Although, I could have done without the “Back to the Future” explanation of timelines to the audience. I sometimes cringe at using a word like “fun” to describe a movie, but I did have a lot of fun with this one and would like to see it again. Could it have been better? Absolutely. But since the bar for Star Trek movies has been lowered so much over the years, it was nice to see one that delivered a story worthy of being a full length movie and not just a glorified, two-hour episode.


  1. Hal, I didn't know you were a trekkie. What else don't I know about you? Your not living a double life on the down low as a gay man are you?

  2. Great stuff Harold. I repeated some things and added a few more of my thoughts. I like the multi reviews. Renke is a Von Trierie.