Star Trek… the final nerd frontier. I was never ever a fan of this long in the tooth science fiction show or any of the films and spin-offs (though I did watch Star Trek Voyager for Seven of Nine…). Needless to say when the rumblings of a Star Trek “reboot” began to surface a year or so ago I really paid it no attention. No offense to you “Trekkies” out there but Star Trek always came off as silly to me. This is especially true of the originals where overacting and low budget sets, costumes and effects were the rules of the day. I guess if I’m to suspend my disbelief, I need to believe that the world I’m seeing is possible. I never felt that with the older Star Trek films or shows.
So along comes J.J. Abrams who has done only one thing I’ve liked (Alias) and several things I don’t really care for. Mr. Abrams, I am sorry I doubted you. You took Star Trek, stripped it of its cheese factor (for the most part) and like rebuilt it into something a wide audience can enjoy. The film is flash and spectacle, but Abrams and crew did a remarkable job of adding a believability factor I’ve never experienced with Star Trek before. In spite of the CGI effects, I believed I was looking at unique and distinct worlds and creatures. It is clear that sets were constructed and wire work was done and that Mr. Abrams did not lean on green screen technology to bring this franchise into the 21st century.
Abrams and his crew also accomplished another feat, coaxing genuine acting out of the cast members. My personal favorite is the always entertaining Simon Pegg, who in the film plays Scotty, the matter transport dude. Pegg comes into the film in its final act and its a real shame because he quickly becomes an endearing character. Zachary Quinto, who I tried to disassociate from his role as Sylar on Heroes, does an excellent homage to Leonard Nemoy in his role as Spock. Newcomer Chris Pine plays the arrogant but skilled James T. Kirk in a role made famous (or infamous) by one William Shatner.
The only flaw I really felt held the movie back was the initial bouncing back of scenes of Spock and Kirk as boys. Kirk’s flashbacks were especially unneccesary as the audience would totally understand he’s reckless during a bar fight scene. I didn’t see a reason we had some snot nosed kid actor destroy a muscle car. Don’t get me wrong, it was great visual spectacle but I didn’t think it advanced the character. More interesting was Spock’s struggles against the xenophobia (or species-phobia?) of the Vulcan race as his mother is a human.
Overall, Star Trek provides a shock to the franchise, like a difibulator reviving a long dormant heart. It’s loud, it’s soft, is sad, it’s funny. It’s great entertainment. I’m actually looking forward to the inevitbale sequels.
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