Sunday 17 May 2009

Review: Star Trek

Year: 2009
Director: JJ Abrams
Screenplay: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman.
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy

I'm not a trekkie. I found the original Star Trek series dated and I've never sat through any of the films all the way through. The documentary "Trekkie's" also helped cement my lack of interest in the series as despite being a great movie it showed that some of those fans are FUCKING WEIRD. Some people have to follow something I guess...but seriously. So if I'm not a Trekkie why watch Star Trek? Because the reboot is created with bastards like me in mind.

As a horror film fan, I can understand why the "hardcore" fans get all arsey about their baby being exploited. I've had to sit through some dubious remakes in my time, and it is frustrating. Halloween gave Micheal Myers a cliched white trash childhood, while The Ring believes that an audience needs everything explained to them. The curiosity about what the bastards have done to your flick kills you and you end up watching a pale imitation of something you really loved. It's horrible but it's what film nerds do.

Star Trek however, appears to be created by people who seem to respect the original material. Respect it enough that they have done their best to keep "canon" intact while giving no nothings like myself a chance to get involved with the USS Enterprise crew. The result is a well paced, visually arousing blockbuster filled to the brim with a humor and kept interesting by it's entertaining cast.

The film has the odd flaw of course, for one the film's villain Nero (Bana) is marginalized quite a bit while some of the plot points are incredibly inconsistent (I'm talking about the black holes that can do what ever they want.) but Abrams has made a movie which is FUN. It's easy to nit pick at the obvious fact that Star Trek has been "sexed up" but for me, Abrams' rejig captures an essence of the original series. I said before I know nothing about the series but I was quite surprised about the amount of in jokes I got. I also enjoyed the fact that many aspects of the show are kept within the film. Hecklers have bitched at great length about the film being made for "yoof" and blah blah blah. However Abrams has kept much of the Star Trek spirit within the film. It's this spirit that seperates this from other remakes, reboots and the like. Another small issue is the action, which is formidable but not as outstanding as i would have hoped. With this said it's worth watching to see John Cho fucking people up with a sword*.

But my negative issues with the film are tiny compared to what I enjoyed about the film. Star Trek clocks in at a hefty 127 mins but is never boring (save a small lull in the middle of the film). The films main conflict between Spock and Kirk is given a strong foundation for the inevitable sequels, while Abrams manages to touch on views of race with more class than George Lucas ever did.

I also found Star Trek to be extremely funny. Every one liner or crafty in joke hits home, while every main cast member pull off the humor with a huge amount of charm. The banter they bounce off each other doesn't feel forced in any way. Yes, at times there's a high level of chesse, but it's surprisingly refreshing in a film world where many summer adaptations are starting to take themselves VERY seriously.

Acting wise, I could not pick a weak link. I was impressed with everyone on board and couldn't pick who I wanted to spend more time with. Chris Pine is confident, brash and convincing as Kirk, Zachary Quinto is a dead on Spock, while Zoe Saldana plays a spunky Uhura. Simon Pegg's dubious Scottish accent is forgiven due to his great comic timing and Karl Urban is a revelation as "Bones". I also have nothing but superlatives to say about John Cho, Anton Yelchin and the intense (although underused) Eric Bana.

Like I said before I am not a Trekkie. Until a week ago I would have said a Kobayashi Maru is a Chinese take away dish. But Star Trek is such a refreshing and entertaining flick i will be adding the Original Series to my love film post haste, and that I say to any naysayer, can only be a good thing.

*While I wrote that line about the action I forgot the opening sequence which I will describe as awesome.