• Star Trek

    by  • May 13, 2009 • Movie Reviews and Features, Writing

    Directed by: J. J. Abrams
    Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Eric Bana
    Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content.
    Parental Notes: This is the first Star Trek film to be rated PG-13, and it’s a deserved rating. Parts of this film will likely be too intense for sensitive youngsters, but the violence isn’t particularly graphic.

    Coming Up In Film
    Coming Up In Film
    Got a film event you want listed? Email reviewer@ealasaid.com with details.
    MAY
    * May 20, 7pm: The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of “La Cenerentola,” encore presentation. See www.fathomevents.com for details.
    * May 22 & 23, midnight: “Terminator Salvation” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
    * May 29 & 30, midnight: “The Professional” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
    JUNE
    * June 5 & 6, midnight: “The Ring” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
    * June 7 (11am) & 10 (7pm) at Camera 7: Verdi’s “Don Carlo” performed at La Scala Opera House, Milan. See www.cameracinemas.com/operas.shtml for details.
    * June 12 & 13, midnight: “Brazil: Director’s Cut” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
    * June 19 & 20, midnight: “Repo! The Genetic Opera” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.
    * June 21 (11am) & 24 (7pm) at Camera 7: Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” performed at Palar de les Arts “Reine Sofia” Valencia, Spain. See www.cameracinemas.com/operas.shtml for details.
    * June 26 & 27, midnight: “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” at Camera 7 (Friday) and Camera 12 (Saturday). See www.cameracinemas.com/midnight.shtml for details.

    Reboots and prequels are rather popular these days, and “Star Trek” manages to be both. It’s set before not only the other movies but the original series as well, and manages to reboot the franchise while it’s at it. Director J. J. Abrams (who brought us “Felicity” and “Lost” on TV) wraps everything up with a nice neat bow and provides an opening for plenty more films featuring the new cast. That he somehow managed to make a ripping great space adventure yarn and not entirely destroy the original series characters is something of a miracle.
    I should preface the rest of my review by saying that I went into the theater fully expecting to loathe “Star Trek.” I was raised on the original series and Spock was my favorite character — and from the trailers, it looked like Spock had been utterly ruined. Plus, what the heck is Chekov doing in a prequel to the old series when he didn’t show up til season two?
    Chekov’s presence (and other continuity tweaking) is conveniently explained with time travel. The film opens with a highly advanced Romulan ship appearing out of a singularity and destroying the USS Kelvin as the crew and passengers (including James T. Kirk’s mother, who is in the process of giving birth to the future captain) flee in escape pods. I won’t spoil the enjoyable process of finding out what exactly the Romulan ship is up to, but suffice it to say that it’s nothing good.
    The destruction of the USS Kelvin is the first deviation from the timeline established by the previous “Star Trek” productions, and causes lots of small ripples which wind up, twenty-five years later, giving us a USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) with Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) as first officer and a quasi-disgraced James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) being snuck on board by his friend Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban).
    The film has an epic feel to it, and is too packed with characters to do them all justice in a brief review. The performances are spot-on, respecting the original cast without slavishly trying to imitate them. Pine even managed to make Kirk likeable to this long-time Kirk hater. As for Spock, whoever edited the trailer that so dismayed me was taking things out of context. Quinto’s performance is excellent, and is an homage to Leonard Nimoy’s iconic portrayal rather than an impression of it.
    There’s plenty of humor, both in the banter and quipping of the script and in numerous little nods to the original series. Add to that adventure, fistfights, shootouts, aliens, and a nonstop build toward a thrilling climax, and you have a recipe for a grand time at the movies. It’s not at all necessary to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy the new film, but if you are already a fan, you’ll probably still like it — provided you can jump on board with the rebooted timeline, which differs from the original one.
    Abrams has effectively positioned things for a whole new series of films — as the USS Enterprise sails off into the stars and the credits start to roll, things are arranged more or less as we would expect them to be, but we know this is an alternate timeline, so new things will happen. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll do with them.

    About

    Ealasaid is a technical writer, freelance movie reviewer, bookbinder, and geek-of-many-trades based in Portland, OR.