Saturday, May 09, 2009

Star Trek

And so, after two years of waiting, two years in which my hopes about how good it might be were raised, and my dreams of being cast as the new Kirk were dashed, I have finally seen the new Star Trek movie.

And I bloody loved it.

OK, OK, so you could argue the point, as it was mentioned to me by a friend on Facebook, when haven't I liked something with Star Trek in the title? And I would admit that's a fair point before saying that I really disliked the sixth season Deep Space Nine episode 'Resurrection.'

But this Star Trek was different - because, to quote Admiral Kirk at the end of The Wrath of Khan, this Star Trek "made me feel young" again by bringing the original series, my favourite Star Trek, back to life in a brave new way.

As anyone who's read the last couple of posts I've written, I've been a bit subdued these last couple of weeks, but from the moment it started until the moment the end credits played out to the sound of Alexander Courage's classic TOS theme tune, I forgot everything that had been troubling me outside of that cinema screen. For 127 minutes I was quite literally mesmerised by the most enjoyable slice of Star Trek I've had the pleasure of seeing since, quite probably, the DS9 episode 'Trials and Tribble-ations' 13 years ago.

It was that good.

I was hooked from the word go. In a way that mirrors the bank job that takes place at the beginning of The Dark Knight, Star Trek opens with a dramatic pre-credits sequence that introduces the movie's villain and could quite literally stand apart as a short film in its own right. It was a stunning way of reintroducing us to the universe of the 23rd century, and those few short minutes were, quite frankly, far more enjoyable than any of the last four Star Trek films. And I actually enjoyed the last four Star Trek films.

From there the story moved on to introduce us to Kirk and Spock, first as children and then as adults - played by new actors, yes, but still recognisably the Kirk and Spock I admired when I first started watching Star Trek all those years ago - before shifting the action away from the origins of our heroes and on to the Enterprise (and that's the NCC-1701 - no bloody, A, B, C, D, E, or NX) where their confrontations with the Romulan Nero could begin in earnest.

But while the characters, the ship, and the uniforms were all gloriously familiar, this film made no bones (if you'll pardon the pun) of the fact that this is a new kind of Star Trek unbound by 43 years (or 45 if you count 'The Cage') of continuity. Events take place in this movie that left me aghast - not because I was outraged at what I'd seen, but because I couldn't believe the filmmakers actually had the guts to go through with them. For example, when Data was killed in Star Trek Nemesis I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and thought "yeah, whatever, there's another one on the Enterprise," but here I was watching the familiar Star Trek universe being rocked to its foundations and forever changed. It was a bold statement that literally amounted to JJ Abrams and his team saying "yeah, look - nothing's sacred, if it serves the plot, we'll do it," and I couldn't help but think bravo to that.

But while the Star Trek universe was changing before our very eyes, some things were staying comfortably the same. Well, ish. The Enterprise itself, though recognisable, was definitely different from Matt Jefferies' iconic original. To be honest, I'd not been too sure about the design of this newest version of the Enterprise when I saw the first pictures, but on the big screen it looked just about perfect - a stunning blend of the old and the new, both inside and out. Also perfect were the Starfleet uniforms that successfully revived the style and vibrant colours of the original series, while at the same time making them appear modern and practical for a crew living and working aboard a starship; it was a delight to once more see a Star Trek vessel full of colour.

The casting could not have been more perfect; Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto ARE Kirk and Spock - I cannot give them any higher praise than that. Other stand out performances for me included Karl Urban, who admittedly was a little underused as Dr McCoy, but he was utterly perfect for the role and I can only hope he gets more screen time in the next film, the beautiful Zoe Saldana, who showed that Uhura can do more than just say "hailing frequencies open," and Anton Yelchin, who greatly surprised me with his wonderfully humourous performance as Chekov. And of course, it was a sheer delight to see Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as Spock again.

So for my money at least, JJ Abrams' Star Trek was a great success and everything I hoped it would be. It was fun, action-packed, and dramatic; it charted a brave new course for a franchise that has, in the last few years, become moribund and over-familiar. It reignited Star Trek and my passion for the universe that Gene Roddenberry created all those years ago.

May it well and truly live long and prosper.

26 comments:

WillowC said...

It was perfect. I have no higher praise than that, aside from that I've told at least 5 people it's my favourite movie of all time (aside from LOTR, which is not a movie, it's a phenomenon). And I mean it.

Sooooo... when are we going again?

And then, when again?

WillowC said...

p.s. Thank you for arranging the whole thing - wouldn't have wanted to see it with anyone else!

Ian said...

Conspicuous by his absence in your list of cast members is Simon Pegg. For me he was the real weak point in this film. He's a fine comedy actor - and his was a comedic role, but his accent (when he remembered to do it) was so dreadful it kept taking me out of the film. If they'd cast Scotty better the film would have been consistently great throughout. As it was Pegg's performance meant the film dropped a few gears whenever he was on screen.

Tim said...

Willow C - It was great, wasn't it? I'm seeing it with my brother next week, I think, but I'll definitely be up for a third round sometime!!

Ian - Hello! Yes, well, when they announced the cast Simon Pegg was the only one I was a bit dubious about. I just didn't see him as Scotty. But to be fair, I enjoyed his performance a lot more than I thought I would- particularly the interaction with his little assistant. For me, though, there were just so many more stand out performances in the film.

watch*paint*dry said...

I LOVED it and I still want to live in the legs of The Enterprise. I think it may be too noisy in the big round bit. ;>

When is the next one? And can I be a Trekkie too now, or do I have to learn the proper names for things?

Emma said...

It was the most I've enjoyed a movie since Serenity, absolutely awesome! And I can't believe that I now fancy Bones! Thanks for arranging the trip, I wouldn't have got to see it on the big screen otherwise ;o)

I did have a bad dream about the big red ice monster though :( But Scotty's assistant was so cute, I loved the way he climbs on everything. Want more.

Tim said...

Watch*Paint*Dry - But dude, all the good stuff happens in the round bit!

The next Star Trek movie? Two years maybe, based on how quickly they're turning round sequels to Iron Man and Transformers … I know the studio's commissioned a script already!

I'll let you be an honorary Trekkie; you don't get full membership till you can say something in Klingon. Or learn how to do the Vulcan salute without using your other hand to separate your fingers.

Emma - High praise indeed! It was a great movie, wasn't it? I wouldn't let the ice monster worry you - Old Spock will always appear to banish it with a wooden torch!

I think we need to campaign for Scotty's assistant to have his own spinoff!

Tara said...

That Spock....I would live long and prosper with him any day...Oops! (blush)..Did I type that out loud? ;)

My mom and I saw the movie today. She didn't care for the multitude of times Kirk was beat up (too long and boring for her), but she liked the movie. I liked it too, the casting was perfect.

CyberPete said...

It sounds great. I have to set a date so I too can watch it.

This NCC not A B C business, is that star dates or am I completely clueless?

watch*paint*dry said...

I can do the Vulcan salute. With both hands. Am working on Vulcan neck pinch thingy at the moment. Well that is my excuse for getting up close and personal with peoples.

Nasty people always aim for the big round bit when they shoot. I am not sure it would be too safe to live in there. I think I will stay in the leggy bits.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I'm envious. I probably won't be watching Star Trek until Wednesday. Although, if you had been cast as Kirk, Tim, I'd've been first in the queue, naturally.

Tim said...

Tara - Quinto Spock does seem to be getting rather a lot of attention from the ladies … wait, you did mean Quinto Spock, didn't you?

Cyberpete - Nope, it's a play on a line of dialogue from the TNG episode with Scotty in where we asks the holodeck to recreate the bridge of the Enterprise. The computer asks him which Enterprise, and he says the first one - no bloody A, B, C, or D. Of course, since then we've had the Ent-E and Enterprise NX-01, so I added them to the list!

Watch*Paint*Dry - Have you been practicing all weekend? Most people do aim for the round bit, but can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a stray photon torpedo clipped the leggy bit?!

Inexplicable Device - If I'd been cast as Kirk you'd no doubt be setting phasers to rohypnol!

CyberPete said...

I feel so ignorant.

Oh by the way, your superman photo is HOT!

Tim said...

Bless you. It was the quickest and easiest fancy dress costume ever.

CyberPete said...

Next time wear the glasses too..

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Phasers? You're underselling your resiliance. I've armed my Rohypnol torpedoes!

Targeting... Targeting... Lock acquired.

FIRING!

* FWOOOOSH! *

CyberPete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

Cyberpete - I was going to buy some cheapo glasses, but I wasn't sure if I was actually going to go to the party until the last minute. Next time I definitely will - and I'll wear my pants on the outside.

Inexplicable Device - Oh look, your targeting sensors are in dire need of calibration - you struck that old lady in her front garden down the road. And no she's coming for you. How do you feel about GILFs?

CyberPete said...

Next time only wear the pants...

Wait did you wear tights?

Tim said...

I couldn't only wear the pants - that's totally out of character.

And no I didn't wear tights - I was tragically very out of costume from the waist down - just jeans!!

CyberPete said...

Well, even Superman must have casual Fridays or something.

Tim said...

Yeah, but I was just being lazy!

CyberPete said...

Did you get too close to IDV?

Maybe it's contagious.

Tim said...

No, not that close. NEVER that close!

missyandchrissy said...

i've heard the movie was amazing from other friends too - i have to get to see it eventually. but i'm glad it was as good as you had hoped it would be!

Tim said...

Not eventually - NOW! Go see it, go see it!!