Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obligatory Review of the new Star Trek movie

Punchline: I had a grand time, as did my 12-year-old daughter (full disclosure: she's a fan of the original series). A hearty recommendation for fans, and a solid recommendation for newbies or folks who haven't liked any of the TV shows (particularly the latter shows).

Finally finally finally they have realized Star Trek is much better when it has a pair. A big pair. (I half expected the Enterprise to be sporting these, a tacky little trend that hopefully will be a short one.) And some hot green chicks, to boot.

The nicest surprise is that Sulu turns out to be a badass. Fans will recall that from the original show the episode where everyone gets wasted on an alien virus and Sulu ends up darting around the halls shirtless, challenging everyone to a fencing battle. Non-fans will enjoy things a bit more knowing that bit of history, and let's leave it at that.

My daughter's verdict, besides being the best movie she's seen this year (wow, huh?) was that they did a great job of casting. And they did.

Sulu is my favorite casting choice, as they used John Cho from the Harold & Kumar movies, and, as mentioned, he freakin' BRINGS IT. My next two faves are Karl Urban as Bones (he nails it while bringing the character freshness) and of course Simon Pegg as Scotty.

Kirk and Spock are cast wonderfully, too, though a few times you catch Zachary Quinto (Spock) being just a bit too doe-eyed for the Spock we know and love - but then it's actually a plot/character point, so even that works eventually.

J.J. Abrams was handed the keys to the kingdom, and admitted that he was not a trekkie, which was probably a saving grace. He clearly did his homework and was able to come to this without the nostalgic emotional haze original fans had, and so did not try to recreate that. His grokking of the series is so complete, I think he even included Galaxy Quest in his research, because there's a couple tips of the hat to that movie, too.

I can't say "my only quibble" because I don't really have one, if you follow Ebert's old rule of reviewing the movie you saw, not the one you wanted to see. If we step out of that restriction, my one wish is that Chris Pine (Kirk) had just once found a way to do Shatner's famous verbal tick when he was trying to remember a line where he would ... pause … before … rushing out the rest of the line. Maybe he's saving that for the next one.

And, oh yes, there will be a next one. They do manage to reboot the series in a way where they can do new adventures without having to betray anything that occurred in the original.


Anonymous said...


I agree Sulu and McCoy were great (McCoy even had the eyebrow raising thing down pat). The more-human-than-vulcan Spock idea will probably pay off big time. Even Kirk had some good moments (although he swaggered more than I liked, imho).

But I guess I'm just an old-fashioned sci-fi geek. I'll cherish TOS til my dying day, and pay little attention to anything else (Caveat: Some of the early movies and a few episodes of TAS make the cut. And if I ever get around to seeing the Borg episodes in TNG, I'll probably dig em. But thats bout it).

And i'm gettin old...


Whisky Prajer said...

Kinda fun to see who the kids dig and who they don't. My 12-year-old was on-side with everyone but the new Chekov. I was surprised. I asked, "You don't think the new guy's cute?"

"His hair's not right! And I'm sorry, dad, but he's just not funny."

Hair ... not funny ...?"He's not a ham, dad. And, c'mon: the hair needs to be glued into place."

I'd hoped I wasn't nurturing the ironic impulse too early, but I seem to have failed in my quest.

Sya said...

I wanted to see it last weekend, but I had a major exam to prepare for. In a way, that was good, because now I get to hear how everyone liked the film and now I'm totally psyched to see it (hopefully this weekend).

yahmdallah said...

Pete, yeah, the borg eppys are worth your time. I think they've even boxed them up in a set. And, if you can find them amongst the rest, those dealing with just Data and his origins are fun. Other than that, TNG just made me wonder how in the f___ LeVar Burton could be so good as Kunta Kinte but find new ways to suck in each and every episode.

Whisky, tell your daughter they did the hair thing right, actually. The original Chekov's hair was based on the Monkees (to bring in the young girls) and the new one's based on NSYNC's Justin Timberlake. The circle is complete.

Sya, have a good time. But go in with no expectations or you might be let down. It's good, but not revelatory.

Whisky Prajer said...

Justin who??