I hope a suitable nickname can be found for this movie other than “reboot” or the inevitable Star Trek, the First Generation. Being a trekker for longer than I care to admit, the thought of anyone playing Kirk and Spock other than William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy was near sacrilegious to even consider. After being bombarded with on-line ads and articles, I grudgingly gave in and checked out a preview on YouTube. What immediately hooked me was Karl Urban’s flawless performance as a young, “ever bitching about something” Dr. Bones McCoy. Even within the brief seconds that he appeared in the preview, you could tell that his was a McCoy you could accept.
I got more excited when I saw more previews and grudgingly decided to go see the damned thing at the local theater. What sealed the deal was reading of Leonard Nimoy's involvement in the plot as "Spock Prime.” Eric Bana fans are sure to love his performance under all that makeup as the Romulan Captain Nero.
What I Loved
The majority of the main cast did a superb job of putting their own stamp on legendary and iconic figures. By showing Kirk and Spock growing up, it was easier to accept the younger actors. Zachary Quinto is flawless as Spock. Karl Urban as Bones made me grin in recognition of the ghost of DeForest Kelly throughout the movie. Simon Pegg as Scotty provides the laughs, even when he’s in peril. When he gleefully bursts out with how much he loves the ship and how much fun he’s having, you just have to grin right along with him. I even recognized Majel Roddenberry as the computer voice… even though it wasn’t on the Enterprise.
In fact I actually found myself grinning from ear-to-ear several times, which I really didn’t expect. There are many touchstone lines honoring the old TV series and any trekker will love that they were included, and any newbie to the franchise, once hearing them, will become an instant fan.
The “alternate universe/time shift” assumption is very well (and thankfully quickly) explained. For true fans of the original, think of when Leonard Nimoy played an evil Spock with a beard in the original TV series. Once you get past that, the rest is pure enjoyment, because suddenly you accept Pine, Urban, Quinto, Pegg, Saldana, Cho, and reluctantly Yelchin as the original TV/movie characters you’ve known and loved over the years.
The action and special effects are spellbinding and LOUD.
What I Didn't Like
The action and special effects are spellbinding and LOUD. The theater where I saw it played the movie at a near-deafening sound level. I actually began plugging my ears during the battle scenes. To my astonishment, a mother ushered her four young children out of the theater within ten minutes of the opening. I’m not sure if it was a particularly violent scene that caused this, or the kids putting their hands over their ears. That said, this is not a movie for kids under 12 years old.
Sorry folks, but as Star Trek bad guys go, Eric Bana as Nero is no Khan. The intense and passionate hate, plus the driven obsession with revenge that Ricardo Montalbán so excellently put on the screen made Bana’s Nero look only mildly pissed off.
I’m a huge fan of movie music, which in a lot of cases can be as important as the script. Alexander Courage’s original TV theme or even those time-honored “eight notes” are to be found nowhere in the body of the movie. I say this for those who are like-minded and anticipating them. Oh, you’ll forgive the omission even before you leave the theater, but in my opinion it is still a nearly unpardonable sin.
Chris Pine needs to work on his Shatner impression. I didn’t mind that his performance isn’t an out-and-out imitation of the man, but it seemed to me that Pine went out of his way not to be Shatner, and after all Bill did originate the part. The other actors are true to themselves (as they should be,) but still pay grateful homage to those who brought them to the honored stage where a very select few are permitted to stand.
For a senior officer to have a love affair with one of the crew desperately needed a rethink before it ever made it to the screen. While everyone (including me) loved Sulu having an excuse to have a sword in his hand, whipping out a rapier in the middle of a mid-air fight with phaser-armed Romulans probably wasn’t a good script idea and frankly a bit contrived. Anton Yelchin’s Russian accent is just so damned over-the-top heavy, even the Enterprise computer didn’t like it. It becomes more of a distraction than anything and makes it hard to accept him as Chekov.
The star of the show has always been and should always be The Enterprise. Remember how you cried the first time you watched Kirk being forced to destroy her in The Search For Spock? More attention was needed to be paid to her and regretfully wasn’t. Also, the scene where Kirk pulls up on his “motorcycle” to see her being built suffers because she's barely recognizable behind all of that scaffolding. Fortunately the scene is so brief that it doesn't give you time to wonder about why a huge starship was being built on the ground instead of in space. Earth's gravity truly would’ve tested those engine and saucer section pylons to the limit and most likely beyond.
In conclusion, the movie, despite its flaws, is magnificent. I went in prepared to nitpick and hate it, but I applauded when the final credits came on. J.J. Abrams proved himself with this one, and it’d be a shame if they didn’t assign the inevitable sequel to him.
I think — no, I’m sure — that Gene Roddenberry is looking down from heaven and smiling.Powered by Sidelines