I am not sure which had more hype, the 2009 *cough* “re-boot” of Star Trek, or the anticipation for my review of it.
Having recently seen it in an overly packed theater (which goes against everything I stand for), here is the moment you were waiting for:
It was pretty good.
It was pretty good.
Before you read too much into this, let me clarify, it was not great! I have read many of the reviews and opinions of others, and I still feel the masses are being swayed by the pretty lights and big explosions. We, as a nation of Trekkies, (Trekkers? Trekkons? Trekastitions? Trekatholons?), have been starved for quality Star Trek for some time now, and this movie is better than the constant vomit the team of Berman/Braga spewed at us for the past twenty years or so.
Okay, maybe I am being a bit overly dramatic, but I think their constant re-writes of the Trek mythos really damaged the franchise and became very skewed from what Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a lot of episodes of Next Generation, and some of Voyager (particularly the Seven of Nine episodes… weird huh?). I really wanted to like Enterprise, but it became so painful to watch, and by the time they figured it all out, the show was cancelled. I’ve only seen one season of Deep Space Nine… that was quite enough thank you.
So like many of you, I was eager for a new Trek, but given all the factors, I was quite terrified at the concept, (see the pre-review blog here). I am however, very happy to report that it was not as bad as I had feared… but it was still flawed in a few ways.
Let us take a moment to dissect this movie with a fine toothed phaser:
J.J. Abrams – Director: This is a billion times better than Cloverfield, but someone seriously needs to buy this man a freakin’ steadicam! Much of the shaky camera and tight shots on the action were frustrating to watch. Overall, there was nothing that overly impressed me visually; with the exception of some of the starships… those were cool. The interiors all felt a bit cramped to me. The Enterprise is a ship that stretches out for half the length of a football field, so you would think they could space things out a bit better. Even in The Original Series, they had plenty of room to throw each other around in.
Story: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman created a simple safe straightforward storyline. I mentioned in my pre-review blog that they wrote for Xena and Hercules and this movie was at least as good as any of those episodes were. They created some nice homage’s for Trek fans, and I appreciated that. They were able to sort of re-create the universe and keep the essence of the characters intact. But, seeing it in a packed theater, I would expect the occasional cheers or applause during big moments. There were none. Was my audience all asleep, or maybe it just didn’t have any of those ass kicking moments like we would have enjoyed.
James T. Kirk (Chris Pine): For me, this is one of the huge flaws in this movie. I was not looking for a cheesy William Shatner impersonator, but the concept of Captain Kirk is someone who kicked ass, took names, and then had sex with a green skinned alien woman. Maybe he did all those things in this movie, but it felt somehow forced, or like he was just going through the motions. The key word here is charisma, (or maybe even star power). I did not feel any of that from him. There was nothing about him that made me excited to see him on screen (let alone in the Captain’s chair). If the casting here is flawed, I would also point a finger to the writing as well, because any sane military commander would have thrown him in the brig in the first five minutes. Oh, but I guess the ship didn’t have one? Weird…
Nero (Eric Bana) aka bad guy: Two important aspects of a movie of this type are how good the hero is, and how good the villain is. This would be flaw number two in my book. The bad guy was very bland and painfully forgettable. I am amazed I remembered his name long enough to do this review. He was a disgruntled Romulan Miner. He’s no Khan, he’s no Palpatine, and he’s no Sylar. Now who was I talking about…?
Spock (Zachary Quinto): Very nice! He looked and felt like Spock. Was he doing a Leonard Nimoy impression? I don’t think so, but I still enjoyed it. Zach is one of my friends on myspace by the way, (call me buddy!). Warning: High Geek Content Alert! Everyone knows him as Mr. Spock, but there was an episode (This Side of Paradise) where someone asked his first name. His response: “…you couldn’t pronounce it”. I have been eagerly awaiting his first name since that time. It seems they overlooked this extra nerdy fact for the movie as everyone simply calls him Spock. Oh well…
Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban): Very cool again! He stepped nicely into the scrubs of Deforest Kelly. It was nice to see the friendship between him and Kirk during the academy days.
Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana): I felt a bit disappointed by this. Maybe I am being too nitpicky here, but Nichelle Nichols had a certain aura about her. She was a classy intelligent beautiful lady. She almost felt like royalty somehow. Zoe is a beautiful sexy lady, but maybe does not have the air about her that the original Uhura had. Maybe I should just shut the hell up and enjoy the memory of her in her bra and panties.
Hikaru Sulu (John Cho): I have two words for you… White Castle.
Really?? Are there no other young Asian men with a good physique and deep voice like George Takei available in the world? As he drove the Enterprise, I was eagerly awaiting him to ask the captain to make a quick stop at the White Castle first.
Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin): Okay, maybe the actor is Russian, but why did his accent sound like a parody of Russians? Warning! More High Geek Content Alert! The original concept for Chekov was to attract younger people to the show, so they brought in Walter Koenig who they felt had a Beatles/Monkees look to him. Somehow, I think younger people seeing this guy will think… what a dork.
Scotty (Simon Pegg): Sure. Works for me. Oh, you want more? Um… James Doohan was the original Scotty, and I met him once. We both liked the same episode of the original series (Doomsday Machine). I have always liked Simon Pegg, so maybe he would enjoy it as well, cause I know in the real world, he is quite nerdy himself, (See Shaun of the Dead, or the BBC series Spaced).
Yes, I’ll buy the Trek 2009 DVD when it’s released, and yes I would watch the series if they made one, and yes I’ll be interested to see a sequel. But I still don’t think it’s as awesome as others are saying for the reasons mentioned. Maybe I would give it eight green skinned Orion women out of ten.
For now, I think its way past time to change my profile picture.