Friday, May 8, 2009

To Boldly Go... the movies.

It's just a bit before midnight on Thursday and Tara and I just got home from Star Trek . Now, I was always a Star Wars, rarely--very rarely--a Star Trek fan. I've seen maybe 5 episodes of the original series, and somewhere around a season's worth of The Next Generation. To me, Star Trek was more akin to a space-based soap opera whereas Star Wars was action and cool special effects. Still, seeing the trailers for J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek series got me a little jazzed.

So, how did it turn out? I know reviews have been littering the intrawebs for a couple of weeks already, but regardless, I'm gonna write me own and I'm definitely gonna repeat some of the same opinions. Star Trek makes me, a Star Wars child, want to go back and give the original "space soap opera" a try. This reboot had enough sci-fi action, sans the over-abundance of crappily used CGI, to give Star Wars a run for it's money. Well, no, I take that back; it pretty much decimates Episodes I-III, but still falls a little short of what the original Star Wars accomplished (c'mon, I'm not gonna turn my back on a childhood love that fast).

The Enterprise's crew were all likeable, IMO, the acting, spot-on. I've heard that Chekov (Anton Yelchin) rubbed people the wrong way a bit, which I can see, but he didn't bother me. Chris Pine, who I'd never even heard of before this reboot hit my radar, did a bang-up job as Kirk; he had all the charisma, cockiness, and command needed to pull of his role. Zachary Quinto was pretty much the only possible replacement for Leonard Nimoy's Spock, but that's fine seeing as he absolutely nailed it. Karl Urban, who'll I've always had a fondness for (along with anyone else who was in the Lord of the Rings), was pretty damn amazing as "Bones" McCoy. John Cho, known for his comedic roles, really pulled his weight as a serious character in Sulu's shoes. Zoe Saldana's portrayal of Uhura was one that made her instantly likable (and she wasn't bad on the eyes, either). And finally, my favorite actor--who I wish had more screen-time--was Scotty, played by the always-amazing Simon Pegg; instantly and unerringly likable.

Nero (Eric Bana), really the only baddy worth mentioning, was amazing. To have a villian who was a regular joe was refreshing. Instead of having some criminal mastermind, we have an everyman Romulan who watched his entire civilization destroyed, blames Spock and the Federation for not helping, and simply wants revenge. He's a "man" who just lost his way due to immense tragedy, and he's going about righting the wrongs the only way he knows how. Doesn't make him right or likable, but a part of you can almost understand why he's doing what he's doing.

Moving past the cast and on to the production value, Star Trek has way, way, WAY better effects than last week's Wolverine. The CGI used was restrained. Obviously a lot of CGI was necessary for this film, but it was employed ONLY when necessary. It was flashy, sure, but it wasn't at the expense of the story and the characters. First and foremost, it was apparent that J.J. made this film with the original series and the fans of that series in mind.

So yes, it does do the original series justice, just as it does that series' characters justice, but it doesn't create a dividing wall that leaves the fans satisfied and the newly-initiated scratching their heads. This film is complete in its presentation. Even someone who has never seen a single episode of Star Trek can sit down in a dark theater and understand what is being shown to them.

To me, even though it's only the second released, Star Trek is the fist summer blockbuster to truly be worthy of being called a summer blockbuster. It's fun, emotional, beautiful, and all-around engaging. If it came down to it, I'd recommend Star Trek above Wolverine, hands-down. See it in theaters. Hell, if it's available, see it in IMAX.


I'll be back next week with a review for Angels and Demons. The week after that, the McG (really, what kind of name is that?) sequel, Terminator Salvation, hits theaters and there'll also be a review there.

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