Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Star Trek

I finally managed to see Star Trek last weekend.

I love classic Star Trek. I don't care if you call me a geek. I think it rocks. I think the characters are exceptional and it has a perfect balance of thought, action and humour - a balance that was often retained in the movies but completely off in most of the follow-on shows.

Shatner is a god. Nimoy is fantastic. The girls are sexy.

I love classic Star Trek.

So when I first heard about J.J.Abrams doing a 'reboot', I thought it was a bad idea. For many reasons. Firstly, remakes are utter shite. Yes, there are a few good ones but I can count those on one hand and most of the good ones were made before Hollywood went creatively bankrupt and started remaking everything. The words 'remake', 'reboot' and especially 'reimagining' make me want to puke.

Secondly, Abrams did what? One of those godawful Mission Impossibles and Lost. I hate Lost.

But, most importantly, classic Star Trek is sacred.

I began to mellow to the idea when the shots started to appear. Just a little. Then the trailer. Actually, the trailer looked pretty damn cool. But, still... Star Trek is what it is. Shatner is Kirk, Nimoy is Spock and it would take a lot to get past that.

So now I've seen it.

I liked it. A very enjoyable action sci-fi movie. Certainly exciting in places with some sequences that kicked ass. And, thankfully, it had a very healthy dose of humour.

The main thing that really worked for me were the core characters. They put together a group that worked really well together. They gelled as a group and each brought something different. However, for the most part, they bore little or no resemblance to their original counterparts. Karl Urban as Bones was the exception, who took the risky approach of trying a DeForest Kelly impression. It paid off. He pulled it off brilliantly. And there was one moment, just one, where Chris Pine was completely James T. Kirk. Pine certainly had the action and the attitude but, in the process (and this was down more to the writing), he lost the brains of Kirk.

The rest of the crew were different. They shared the names of the original characters, accents and not much else.

But, even being different from the originals, the characters worked. They came together to form a new crew - a very entertaining crew. Everyone had a role to play and I thought each actor delivered the goods for these new characters.

The action was pretty great in general and it really kicked off in full gear in the opening sequence. And there were a few good old fashioned hand to hand scuffles too. It wasn't just all space battles.

The only problem I had with the action was that there were a couple of sequences just thrown in simply to add more of it. The main one being a big monster in the snow. Had it been removed from the film, nobody would have noticed. Same with Scotty getting stuck in a pipe. They were just sort of thrown in as opposed to actually contributing to the story.

And while I'm on the story, I may as well get to the one big negative, the one thing that I felt held this movie back from being absolutely fantastic - the villain. Eric Bana is Nero, a Romulan from the future who has been thrown back into the past and is determined to wreak havoc and destroy Spock.

For some reason.

It's explained twice, in two hefty exposition sequences, and yet still it just felt like I had no real idea what his problem was. I knew nothing about him. I knew he was angry and that was about it.

And that took the power away from the movie. Massive events happened that should have been tragic and yet because it was all happening at the hands of someone who seemed so weak, so much impact was lost. Considering the events of the movie, this guy should have been an enemy of Darth Vader proportions.

Instead, he was some dude on a ship who ended up back in time for some reason.

But, even with that, the movie was very enjoyable. Was it the Star Trek I know and love? No. It was something different. But, with or without this film, the Star Trek I know is dead. And what we have now is something new. It's pretty exciting.

I'm definitely up for more of this.

Warp 4 out of 5.


Andy Latham said...

As I said in a previous comment somewhere, I really enjoyed the new film, and I'm not a big Star Trek fan.

However there is one thing that confused me about the movie. I may have missed something vital that has caused me to not understand of course. My problem is with the black holes.

The big pointy Romulan ship passed through a black hole, travelling through time in the process, however at the end of the film it was destroyed by pushing it through another black hole. Why did it survive the first one and not the second? I know Spock flew his spaceship at it and there was a fair bit of shooting. Is that the reason it got destroyed?

My girlfriend had the same problem with that, which makes me think I didn't just miss something. Of course I guess we could both be dense!!

Harriet said...

I kept saying to my husband, "That's not really possible." And he would say, "It's science fiction." And I would say, "But it still has to be believable."

The part where they flew out of the Enterprise in the little jet ski type things and then parachuted to the drill type thing. Totally not believable.

Bitter Animator said...

That black hole thing was definitely a glaring inconsistency. Not one, but two ships passed through unscathed and yet for the rest of the movie, black holes destroyed anything close by.

There were a lot of things we were asked to look past - not least of which was a bunch of cadets, one suspended, ending up in control of the federation flagship.

The parachute jump, I didn't mind so much!

susan said...

Please forgive me Bitter, I had to stop reading it because I have not seen it yet.

But you said "Shatner is a god"

I disagree. He as a god, until he sang "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

Worst. Song. Ever.

Nemoy was and still is a god- but boy, as a kid I was confused when I saw him on an old episode of 'Columbo", and he had normal ears....

But yeah, the old Star Trek rocked and I think only a real trekkie knows that Lucille Ball financed the show (it was done by Desilu Studios) and Shatner and Nicholls shared the very first interacial kiss on American TV. I was a kid at the time, but i can still recall my parents debating about that at the dinner table.

I also thought the original blonde nurse was hot and wanted to wear my hair like that when I was a teen-

Any tribbles in this movie?

Bitter Animator said...

I heard one but didn't see it.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I can't wait to see it!!! God damn swine flu!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andy Alt said...

Thank you for the objective review. Before I read it, I still wasn't convinced this movie is worth seeing. Now I'm convince, it's not worth it for me to see. I'll have to accept Star Trek is dead. The books are good though, or at least they used to be before I discovered Stargate SG-1.

No, I'm not a troll and not trying to be inflammatory.

My two favorite Star Trek series are TOS and DS9, in that order.

As for the review and comments ... some of the reasons I don't like to see the new movies. Plot holes and confusing things happen.

Anybody want to make jokes about what a joke the new Superman was? Or has that been done?

A half-hour into watching Superman, every time the scene changed, which was roughly every minute or two, I'd say to my girlfriend, in a normal tone of voice, "oh look, a new scene." I didn't even think I might be perturbing the other moviegoers because I didn't see how anyone could sit through it without thinking it sucked.

Bitter Animator said...

Far from thinking you're a troll, Andy Alt, I think that's a very valid stance to take.

The Star Trek universe is one that has evolved over 40 years and, yes, it has changed and not everyone likes every part of it but it has been fairly tight in general and is certainly dear to a lot of us.

This movie, for all its positives, does have many holes and is inconsistent in many places. Throughout the entire movie, it stretches plausibility beyond the limits just to get these characters together.

And, yes, confusing things happen.

And so many other elements are missing.

So enjoyment of the movie depends on just how much you can get past all that. I certainly found a very enjoyable movie there and I think non-Trek fans going in with no preconceptions should have an easy enough time seeing past some flaws. But it's just as valid that those flaws would make it impossible to get into the movie and really enjoy it.

Actually, the Trek fan in me wants to go into more detail in a post so I will. Possibly later today or tomorrow morning.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,

I hate to derail the disscussion, but there can be remakes that aren't entirely terrible. The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart was a remake, and so was John Carpenter's The Thing.

I'm glad the movie's pretty good. I don't see why they just didn't let it be a new cast again, but hey what works works.

Ron said...

You summed it all up quite nicely, I feel the exact same way.