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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek (A more optimistic view of Abrams' future and his film)

I would love to insert a witty (A.K.A cringe-inducing) quote from previous Star Trek installments here to start this review off but unfortunately, if this movie is any indicator at least, I have no prior knowledge on any star trek canon beyond the simple “Beam me up Scotty” and Spock’s death grip. Even though I had no knowledge on the matter I still wasted no chance to ridicule anyone who showed a particular liking towards the series or anything having to do with the series. I unfairly mocked Trekkies and upheld Star Wars’ superiority; an upheld opinion I still see as true. Today I am glad to report that all my previous judgments have been turned over and I send an apology to any Star Trek fan I may have mocked in the fan because I believe, unlike my good friend Shaun, that this movie was amazing and beyond anything I could have expected.

The film starts off immediately with U.S.S Kelvin (I apologize in advance for any misspelled ships or creatures since I have no idea as to anything about them prior to hearing about them in this movie) being attacked by a Romulan ship led by the evil captain Nero (Eric Bana). Right off the top the visuals are stunning with Nero’s ship, which is this massive mining vessel that just reeks of evil, emerging from a lightning storm in space in front of a miniscule by comparison Kelvin. Nero summons the captain onto his ship and immediately kills him upon learning that he knows nothing about anyone named Spock, who Nero is searching for, and proceeds to attack the ship. The new captain George Kirk valiantly flies his ship into Nero’s giving his wife enough time to escape and give birth to their newly christened child Jim. Fast forward years later and we are introduced to the characters of Spock and Kirk as children and then adults ready to enlist in Starfleet which sets the movie in motion.

There is much to rave about this movie and it has been hyped up since the beginning, but the first place that really succeeds, or the backbone of it all, is the story. It’s a complex tale revolving around the introduction of all the original crew members and also adding to the mix a time travel bit which sets up an alternate existence. Without getting too much into spoilers let me quickly remark that while some people (cough cough) have found parts of this time travel arc ridiculous beyond any means or reason, I myself found it extraordinary not only in the fact that it serves great purpose to the story itself, but that it also manages to set up this prequel perfectly by having the time travel create this set of characters as an parallel universe to the original characters and storylines. So in the show apparently Spock was never captain and Kirk’s father never died, well this new movie changes that and it allows for introductions of all of the characters once more and wonderfully builds those characters from the ground up which is I why I think someone like me, who had no previous knowledge, could enjoy it so much.

So you have the story and you have the effects, and that’s better than most movies get these days (I’m looking at you Wolverine), but it’s not over yet. People still had to worry about the acting and how these new people were going to revive or ruin the characters that they had grown to love and after seeing this movie I have to say that I don’t think any one of those characters could have been replaced. (With the exception of maybe Uhuru.) The acting was just so good in this movie that you could probably sit down watching these characters talk to each other in a white room and you wouldn’t get bored of it. First you have Chris Pine as Kirk, who is really just a stupid college kid who gets into trouble a lot and has no real goals in life. I never really bought this guy as someone who could lead a starship or do anything (in other words, he was NOT Kirk.) Especially since he seemed to get his ass kicked in every scene that he fought in, but then at the very end you can see that he has grown as a person, and as he majestically takes his seat on the enterprise you know that he is now Kirk. Eric Bana isn’t amazing as Nero, but he does an ok job, and I bought him as a villain, although if we’re going to nitpick and I had to find something wrong with this movie I would have to say this; If you watch your planet get destroyed as Nero did and then get sent back in time (Way back in time) wouldn’t the first thing you try to do be… save your planet and not wait around looking for a man? That’s might just be me though.

Of course while Kirk may be the lead character in this film, the big show stealer is his future partner in crime Spock played by Zachary Quinto from Heroes, and Quinto is, well, amazing. There was not a second that went by in this movie that I doubted him as Spock, and I didn’t even know who Spock was. I just knew that every line that he delivered was perfect and by the time he pulled the infamous Death Grip on Kirk I was jumping up and down my seat with the knowledge that if all else fails, at least there was one amazing performance that came with this. Apart from the major characters all of the side characters get their parts done well too. What I like particularly is that none of the crew members that we are introduced to are expendable. They are each shown to us and instead of disappearing into the background immediately to be used as props more than anything, they are each given their time to shine. Each crew member gets a moment where the movie tells us, “This is Scotty…and this is why he belongs on this god damn ship.” You have Zulu who says he learned to fence, and then they show us his fencing skills and he saves Kirk. Scotty who can beam you up like no one else can. Seventeen year old with the accent whose name escapes me is just awesome in his own right, and Bones (probably the best of all the supporting actors) who just nails his character.

Overall this is an excellent movie, and one of the best movies that’s out right now, so your choice should be easy if you and your friends have no clue what to watch this weekend. There’s action, there are awesome characters, it’s funny, it’s well directed, well written, and It’s just a great movie. See IT! 4.5/5

I’ll now take a moment to point out Shaun’s arguments (Warning: Spoilers Ahead! This may get messy) beginning with our little mutual agreement; Uhuru..

I feel that Uhuru was also wasted on this film, not so much that she was completely disposable (But if you had to choose one character, she’s the one to go), but in that she was the only character that they never really fleshed out or used. She got to use her skills once, and even took over a higher ranking official because she was better at languages, but that’s pretty much it. She’s thrown into this relationship with Spock which was never introduced and we’re just supposed to accept as an audience, but unlike Shaun I don’t feel she was there simply to aggravate the tension between Kirk and Spock (because that never happened with her) but as a parallel of Spock and his own father, which made Spock all the more human. So not a complete waste of time and space, but definitely could have been better.

I liked Chekov! (Thanks for the name, I’m assuming he’s the seventeen year old) I thought he played his part really well and he was funny. Not in the way that I was laughing at him, but at what he did. “I can do that! I can do that!!!!” He was an awesome little guy, and was nowhere near the sludge that is the epic/date movie crapfest.

I think Kirk was awesome because you’re right he wasn’t Kirk. He was not playing Kirk the entire movie until the very end, in essence the whole movie is just the road that leads some idiot kid to become KIRK! And I think the movie played that out really nice. “What a great way to try to develop a character by essentially cheating and telling us that there's no reason for Star Trek to remain true to its form” Well hey Shaun, isn’t that kind of a recurring joke in the movie. You might think it’s cheating because you view it as a perfect system which shouldn’t be messed with, and I see it as a great idea that brought great changes to the film and a wonderful way to move the story along.

Abrams decided to keep the Enterprise’s look roughly similar to the original (I would have said it was the same, just shinier until you said it had changed…) because the ship is as much of a character as anything in the original series. It’s the God Damn U.S.S. Enterprise! But Nero’s ship on the other hand is nothing. It’s not a major cardholder in the Star Trek universe. It isn’t something the average Joe would know anything about, and it is these types of things (minor cardholders) that I think are entitled to be changed by Abrams. So what if it doesn’t keep in check with how Romulans actually design their ships? It’s a mining vessel so it’s huge, understandably, and it looks amazing and evil. You can’t get mad every time some detail is changed in a remake/reboot. If you’re not going to change anything, why bother making a new version?

I could tell from the beginning that we were going to have to agree to disagree, but those are my points to your points. I thought it was great, and you thought it was horrible. If there’s anything else in need of debate I have no problems with discussing this movie more.

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