Saturday, May 16, 2009

Popcorn for One: A Review of STAR TREK (a few spoilers)

So okay, I'm a sucker for STAR TREK (ST), especially the original (OST) series with Shatner, Nimoy and company. I've lost count of the number of times I have seen all the episodes. I also enjoyed NEXT GENERATION & ST: DS-9, and the first two seasons of VOYAGER, although I'll admit that after the pilot & first few episodes of ENTERPRISE, both Donna and I gave up. I've also seen all the previous Big Screen ST films, at least once and several a few times when they started making the rotation on television. It was obvious from my initial viewing of the "Under Construction" trailer prior to last year's San Diego Comicon that I was going to be psyched for this movie.

As a fan of LOST and CLOVERFIELD, I was willing to give J.J. Abrams the benefit of the doubt on his take on the franchise. He admitted he wasn't a fan, and frankly, that might be a good thing, especially as the film takes things in a different direction. These are not the characters I have followed since high school and I'm fine with that. Maybe part of the problem with some of the earlier ST films was that we were already overly familiar with Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the bridge crew. We could almost guess what their reactions would be in any given situation. For a 'new generation' (pardon the expression) of fans to accept the series it had to move into new ground.

In the first few minutes of the movie a gigantic spacecraft emerges from a wormhole and engages a Federation ship. From that point, all bets are off. The appearance of the Romulan ship, commanded by Nero (Eric Bana) changes events and creates an alternative timeline. The characters we knew from OST are not the characters we are introduced to throughout the film. The names are the same, but almost everything else we knew has been changed.

The James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), and Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) we see here are for the most part closer to the 'classic' ones we knew. Spock (Zachary Quinto), or NuSpock as he as been branded in fan circles, is by far the most radically different from how we knew the Vulcan portrayed Leonard Nimoy. As both characters appear in the film, the versions are easy to compare. Sulu, Checkov, Uhura and Scotty are all here, with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) given quite a bit different persona than we saw from Nichelle Nichols. It will be interesting to see in the sequels (which I'm sure we can expect given this movie's critical success and box-office) where the different characters go from this point.

I liked the new actors, and thought they did good jobs in the roles. I don't think I'm the only one who will be willing to see some more of the new Enterprise crew.
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