Saturday, May 2, 2009

Summer Movie Review 2: Star Trek

Star Trek Pre-Watch Thoughts: SEEING THIS ON SATURDAY!! I've never really seen Star Trek (tv or movies) before, but I have a general idea what it's about...I guess I'm more of a Star Wars person. HOWEVER, I will watch anything that J.J. Abrams does, because I really like LOST and Fringe. Also, the special effects and cast look really good. And Michael Giacchino, who is brilliant, is doing the score.

Star Trek: Rating 9.5 out of 10

This is the first movie that I have seen in an advance screening, and it was a perfect way to start the summer. The Majestic didn’t open until ten, but my brother and I got there at 7:30-ish. Everyone else there seemed just as excited as we were, and I had a nice conversation about some other movies. When the lights finally went down, I was really hoping this movie would be good, and it totally beat my expectations.

I didn’t know much about Star Trek in the first place, having just watched only one episode the day before ("The City on the Edge of Tomorrow", which was pretty interesting) and looked at Wikipedia. Needless to say, I didn’t feel lost at all. Despite the time travel and references to the original series, everything was clear and well-planned out. J.J. Abrams did an excellent job of directing and incorporating both the new and old ideas, and the script was funny (I don’t think there were any lame jokes), intense, and emotional while keeping the action going. All of the main characters had full arcs (especially Kirk and Spock), and you can see how everyone worked strongly as a team.
The reason all this works is because of the excellent acting. I thought originally that this would be a weak point in the movie, that people wouldn’t accept a new cast, but the new cast ARE the same characters. They’re all instantly likable just because they are iconic figures, except for maybe Chekov and Sulu, who I don’t know much about. Chris Pine captured Kirk’s playful manner and strong leadership skills exactly, and Zachary Quinto was completely engulfed in Spock’s inner struggle between his two heritages. I didn’t really like Quinto on Heroes from what I’ve seen, but he was awesome here. The relationship between Kirk and Spock progressed very naturally and you can see how they become friends. Providing perfect comedy relief are Karl Urban as Bones McCoy (he looks and acts almost exactly like the guy in the original series) and the always hilarious Simon Pegg as Scotty. Leonard Nimoy was really good too, and he and Quinto were very similar. Uhura did a good job, but didn’t really have much to do the whole movie. Chekov and Sulu kind of got on my nerves a bit, but at least Sulu has awesome swordfighting skills (seriously, swordfighting in a sci-fi movie? Oh wait...lightsabers). Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov, is supposed to be playing Kyle Reese in Terminator, and I hope he’s more likable in that. I think it was good that they didn’t cast incredibly famous people, because that would have been kind of distracting (the only person I felt that with was Simon Pegg).

Michael Giacchino’s score was fine, featuring some elements of the original series music. I didn’t think it was as strong as his Lost score or the music he did for Ratatouille and the Incredibles, but it did have some recognizable motifs that provided a backdrop for the action. One of the cool things was how the music changed when characters were in space rather than in a fight. The cinematography was very unique in that it used a lot of different lens flares and lighting effects (it made the action seem a lot more realistic). The special effects were also very good (the usual neat spaceships, explosions, and lasers), but I think the explosions could have been better and the teleportation effect was kind of corny. I guess if you want to see explosions, go see Transformers (they are doing a very good job marketing that, by the way...the trailers look really cool). However, the opening sequence was very awesome, and the effects and music make it very emotional. It was cool how they seamlessly incorporated CGI into making many different locations, but also used functional sets. You actually feel like you’re in space looking at different planets.

So what didn’t I like? Well, as I said before, some of the minor characters aren’t developed that much. There is a sequence on a snow planet with some monsters that feels more like Star Wars than Star Trek. It was kind of pointless. Spock’s relationship with Uhura seemed to come out of nowhere and was not developed too much. Nero, the film’s villain, didn’t do much for most of the movie, usually commanding other people, and when he does fight, the sequence is kind of short. It’s actually kind of hard to come up with any more.
It’s been said that the second movie is already in production. If so, there are four things that I think they should do:

  • No more Time Travel- It was an interesting plot device, but if they keep using it people will get tired of it and things can be too easily explained.
    More powerful enemies- I thought Nero was a good enemy in that the audience was somewhat sympathetic to him, but they really drove in the point that what he was doing he did for revenge. The next bad guy should be really truly evil, and maybe be from a group of evil aliens (that way, they don’t have to save the epic war for the third movie). The third movie could deal with some kind of cosmic power. I’m sure there’s lots of stuff from the show they can draw on.
  • Minor Characters developed more- I guess they weren’t as likable because we don’t know that much about them. If Kirk starts to grow into his role as Captain, I’d like to see him be more of the leader and the other characters change more also.
  • It shouldn’t take place on Earth or Vulcan. This movie had a lot of scenes on these planets. Writers, go far away from this solar system. The Enterprise is supposed to be exploring far away universes, not exclusively dealing with threats to this one.

I don’t want to poke at too many flaws, because this movie was very solid and probably the best movie I’ve seen in the past couple of months. Good writing, acting, directing, effects, basically just good overall. I’ll probably see it again, and I recommend it to everybody!!

1 comment:

Coffee Maker said...

The new Star Treck proves yet again why Spock is an ideal officer in Star Fleet -- nothing ever surprises him or catches him off guard