Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hanging out for Andorian shingles: "Star Trek" reviewed

Star Trek casts

Mmmmm, well now that the new "Star Trek" film is out throughout most of the world, I can attempt to review it, but where to start?

I loved it, but then, I knew I was going to love it, based on the fact that I really appreciate JJ Abrams' (and friends') storytelling style on TV's "Lost", and the quirky hit movie "Cloverfield". I trusted that JJ knew what he was doing, the trailers looked great, the marketing and secrecy has maddened - and tantalised - diehard Trekkies everywhere, and the feedback from several sneak previews and gala premieres was so overwhelmingly positive. "Countdown", the prequel comic tie-in from IDW, also cemented in my mind that I'd enjoy the film proper.

Last night I saw the movie for the third time. I have no complaints - except where were my Andorians (a cameo in dialogue only)? - and there are many, many scenes that thrilled me.

The pre-title sequence with George Kirk Sr (Australia's own Chris Hemsworth, below left) and his wife, was excellent. Accompanied by one of the most emotional tracks on the movie soundtrack, it threatened to coerce a tear or two - and this was the opening few minutes of a film, with characters we'd never actually met before!

Chris HemsworthEric Bana

I loved Eric Bana (above right) as Nero the Romulan miner-turned-pirate, too. Many fans were critical of his often-relaxed delivery, but I found it added to the character's quirkiness and unpredictability.

Spock's childhood evoked memories of the animated "Yesteryear" (TAS), and his retraining in "ST IV: The Voyage Home". There's a Kirk bar room brawl that never sounded too good in descriptions but everything fitted together in its context. Karl Urban was channeling DeForest Kelley as Doctor McCoy. A running gag with a spray hypo is hilarious! Scotty and Chekov got plenty of laughs, and Uhura, Sulu and Pike were also given plenty to do, and offered lots of surprises. (One of Pike's costume changes was a wonderful, unexpected salute to "The Motion Picture", the movie that made me a Star Trek fan way back in 1979.)

As a collector of Star Trek soundtracks, I reckon Michael Giacchino's music is unmissable, and the themes grows on me with every play. Beautiful stuff from the composer of "The Incredibles", "Mission: Impossible 3" and "Lost", and plenty of little salutes to Alexander Courage (TOS theme), Jerry Goldsmith ("Ilia's Theme") and others!

At the three screenings I've been to, the audience was mesmerized. Laughing in the funny bits, sniffing in the sad bits, jumping in the scary bits, but otherwise totally engaged with the screen. I know there are a few diehards who absolutely hate what JJ has done, but hopefully the overall increase in Star Trek's popularity as a franchise will hang around for a few years more now. Fandom has needed new, young blood for a long time.

I noticed a great quote on one of the online message boards: "There was a few minutes there where I was really angry at [MAJOR SPOILER REMOVED] ... and that's when I realized how great this film was turning out to be. I was supposed to be angry... it made Nero the great villain that he needed to be. I wanted to see Spock and Kirk take this guy down hard... and they did just that."

It's so heartening to see the movie getting such great professional and fan reviews. I can't wait for the next one. Maybe we'll get more than just Andorian shingles next time.


Coffee Nomad said...

rather than calling this new Star Trek a "reboot" they should call it "downloaded onto a far more sophisticated machine, edited, polished, then rebooted."

Therin of Andor said...

Well, to be fair, no one at Paramount or Bad Robot was using the "reboot" word! ;)

De said...

I think the continuity grousing is puzzling considering no one seemed to have a problem with the Mirror Universe for 40+ years.

Annie said...

I loved the movie too despite my fears. There were a few bits that weren't so perfect but hey, it was far more perfect than I thought it could be.

Thank you Lord and JJ Abrams for saving Star Trek!