Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: Star Trek

I'd like to preface this review with the statement that my favorite mind in Hollywood right now has shifted from M. Night Shyamalan to J.J. Abrams.  Night had a good run but he is no longer the creative genius in the entertainment business.  With Star Trek, Abrams now holds the title as he continues to churn out hit after hit in both TV and movies.  This movie appeals to both Trekkies and Trek virgins alike.   I happen to fall somewhere in the middle as I've seen all Star Trek movies but have not watched much of the many incarnations of the TV show.  

This movie keeps you interested throughout and never lets up in terms of tension.  The pacing is gripping and reminds me of how I felt while watching United 93.  Although both movies are completely different, they both grab a hold of the audience and don't let go until the credits roll.  Much of this credit can go to Abrams as he has a great visual eye for the sci-fi genre.  The script is spot-on too and really weaves the classic Trek story with some present-day humor in a seamless manner.  I especially like how time travel is introduced and sets the stage for the rest of the re-imagined series based on an alternate reality.  Man does J.J. love him some time travel.

The acting is really good all around.  I went into this expecting to be fixated on Zachary Quinto and his portrayal of Spock.  While Quinto was indeed excellent at mimicking Leonard Nimoy (who himself takes a quality turn at passing the torch to the younger generation in this film), the real "star" that emerges from Star Trek is Chris Pine.  I've never seen Pine in any other film but he totally embodies the spirit of the Kirk character.  He is engaging and hilarious throughout the film.  In one movie he has more spunk and spark than Shatner did in most of the earlier movies.  Karl Urban does a wonderful impression of DeForest Kelley ("Bones" McCoy), and Zoe Saldana is an even better modernized and spirited version of Uhura.  But while most of the "new generation" of actors are doing very good impersonations, Pine is taking Kirk to a whole new level.  

Eric Bana is serviceable as the lead villain in this film but what keeps this movie from getting a perfect score from me is Anton Yelchin as Pavel Checkov.  He just seems too much like a caricature of the classic character form the earlier films.  I'm hoping Yelchin's acting will improve with the next movie (which they WILL make).  

The bottom line with Star Trek is that it does a fantastic job of rebooting the series scoring 4.5 out of 5 JRs.  This reminds me a lot of the reboot of Batman with Batman Begins.  I think Trek is slightly better than Begins, but the next movie will be the deal breaker.  If the quality of the next Trek can compare at all with how Dark Knight improved upon Batman Begins, we're in for a once in a millennium film in 2011 or 2012.  By having all of the origin stories out of the way, this new dynamic, engaging and entertaining cast of the U.S.S. Enterprise can truly go where no science fiction film has gone before.

1 comment:

Mommy, Esq. said...

I'm seeing it on IMAX tonight!