Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

STAR TREK- A fun and entertaining ride

star trek full cast poster

Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s I was an avid collector of movie memorabilia so I probably attended ten or more Star Trek conventions, mostly in the NYC area as they were the ideal place to pick up some great stuff from dealers that were always there. While never a Trekkie, I must say I enjoyed going as it was fun meeting people who had such admiration for something that they clearly loved. Seeing their response when a cast member like Leonard Nimoy or James Doohan came up on stage and spoke was priceless. I’ve always said you haven’t really lived until you’ve seen grown men dressed up as Klingons and, believe me, at these conventions many an adult was. While I was never a loyal viewer of any of the Trek television series, I did see all the feature films with Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home being my favorites.

I also like a few of the ‘Generation’ films. Seeing Kirk and Picard on screen together was a very cool moment even if Kirk’s death scene never had the power that it should have had. I also enjoyed First Contact which had a creepy intensity with those cool Borgs. By the time 2002 rolled around, the Star Trek fanbase was clearly eroding (or in hiding) as Star Trek: Nemesis, the last film with the Generations cast, was creatively weak and a bust at the box-office, putting an end to Trek as we had known it. It wasn’t surprising that with the very successful reboots of the Batman and James Bond franchises that the same idea would be used to relauch Trek. Considering the fact that J.J. Abrams has overseen one of the most inventive television programs ever created in “Lost” I couldn’t think of a better person to take on this challenge. Like Christopher Nolan and Martin Campbell did with Batman and Bond, Abrams mission here was simply to tell the Star Trek story from the very beginning and show how the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise came to be. While doing that he also creates a sequel with a time continuum storyline to go along with its prequel. By constructing the story this way he’s able to pay homage to the past and make the franchise his own going forward.

Hiring a cast of talented but mostly semi-unknown actors to take on the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of the crew, Abrams breathes fresh life into the material, creating a film with a strong sense of fun while planting the seeds for strong character bonding and further adventures to come. While Matt Damon reportedly was offered the role of Kirk (in an interview he says he turned it down), it was a smart move to go with Chris Pine who is commanding and likeable as the cocky but intelligent future commander of the Enterprise. He’s also a fresh face who doesn’t bring any preconceived baggage to the part. I have no doubt Pine will become a major player in Hollywood as he clearly has a screen presence along with solid acting ability.

Zachary Quinto (Syler on Heroes) does a good job nailing Spock although his voice isn’t quite as majestic as Nimoy’s. He also plays the character with a lot more built-up anger than Nimoy ever did. Still his interaction and timing with Pine was terrific and this should become even better with future installments. Karl Urban and Simon Pegg are fun, doing almost direct impersonations of Deforest Kelly and James Doohan in their respected roles of Bones and Scotty. I also really liked Zoe Saldana’s nice updated spin on Uhura. She literally lights up the screen with her good looks and confidence. Perhaps the biggest joy in this new Trek film is Leonard Nimoy as the older Spock. His appearance in the film is not a cameo but a major player in the story. He gets ample screen time and his elegance and grace makes every line he utters something special. How many times will we ever get to see an actor play the same part spanning over 45 years. Not many, so it’s certainly something to reflect on. I want to thank Paramount for not releasing any footage of Nimoy as Spock in the film as moviegoers will have to pay to see it on the big screen.

That is a smart and classy move. The few flaws would be that Eric Bana’s vindictive Romulan villain, Nero, is somewhat underwritten given that the story’s central plot has Nero set on destroying federation planets one by one. It’s not overly compelling as this is really a Spock meets Kirk story and, at a running time of 2 hours and 7 minutes, the film felt a bit short – leaving me wanting more. Still, at the end of the day, this is a fast paced, fun and humorous, Star Trek for a new generation and I look forward to future entries. As origin movies go, it’s a good one. I give it 4 out of 5 Zombies.

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May 12, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews

1 Comment »

  1. I’m wondering if I have it in me to see this film. Yours is just another very positive review in a long line of them. I don’t think it is for me, when things like this happen (as it did last year with Iron Man) somehow I get sucked in. That being said, Iron Man was entertaining but only so-so in the end I felt, so I will likely stay on the periphery here as well. Glad you liked it though.
    The Rake
    http://thefilmnest.com

    Comment by thebsk | May 16, 2009 | Reply


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