Friday, May 8, 2009

Movie Review: A Trekkie's Answered Prayer!

Hailing frequencies open!! Incoming message from the Alpha Quadrant. J.J. Abrams (Lost, Mission Impossible 3) has taken an iconic sci fi series and successfully beamed new life into it with his new Star Trek movie! He has created an innovative, high speed and sexy new Trek all the while keeping true to the essence of the classic one. Not an easy task when trying to please both long time fans (like yours truly) and new comers alike.

Abrams' most notable home run decision was to cast actors based on their star quality and not their star power. By doing this, he maintains two important elements in Trek lore: the main characters and their relationship developments. The most important relationship being the one between James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his counterpart Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto). Pine shines in his portrayal of the youthful Kirk with his arrogant, skirt-chasing ways one minute to the subtle signs of vulnerability and even fear the next. But never does he deliver a lame imitation of the commander made famous by William Shatner. Quinto, too, gives an amazing performance as the young Spock as one witnesses his struggle with his Vulcan and human sides all the while trying to maintain his own assuredness and authority.


It is anything but friendship at first sight when these two men meet for the first time at the renowned Starfleet Academy. But friction aside, they team up on the newly built starship Enterprise against the villainous Romulan Nero (Eric Bana), who has traveled from the future to exact revenge on Starfleet and Mr. Spock for the destruction of his home world.

What is a ship without it's crew? Whether as a collective or in their own scene stealing moments, the remaining cast is nothing if not remarkable. Zoe Saldana, as Communications officer Uhura, is not only sassy and strong as a Starfleet cadet but also in her dealings with Kirk and Spock. Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy and Simon Pegg as engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott infuse just the right amount of comic relief without being campy or trite. Urban and Pegg are spot on with not just the vernacular of their alter egos but their mannerisms as well. Even in Abrams' Trek, such things are sacred. Anton Yelchin as fresh-faced, junior officer Russian Pavel Chekov, proves how he earned his seat on the bridge. And John Cho shows everyone that helmsman Hikaru Sulu is more than just a pilot when he and Kirk have a showdown in a fantastic fight sequence with a couple of Romulan baddies. Above all, special recognition must be bestowed upon Leonard Nimoy who reprises his role as the elder Spock. He demonstrates why he was the perfect choice of the original series cast to play the "bridge" that connects the old with the new.

Star Trek will definitely keep the rapt attention of the geek and non-geek viewer. The components most responsible for that are the mind-blowing special effects. Abrams spared no expense with the top notch FX artistry seen in this film. It can hardly be argued that from the opening sequence to the last face off between the Enterprise and Nero's menacing warship Narada, there is a constant visual feast for the eyes. Even when the movie's plot drags, which happens slightly mid-way, the audience is never visually bored. Want to really heighten your viewing experience? Go see this movie in an IMAX theater if you can!

With the assistance of his screen writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, J.J. Abrams has created a movie that not only earns its place in the history of the Star Trek universe, but also ushers the franchise into a new era. With such a hit on his hands, what could Mr. Abrams possibly do next? A sequel to this fascinating prequel, logically. Hailing frequencies closed!

No comments:

Post a Comment