Friday, May 8, 2009

I Hated Star Trek “Reboot” For Making Me Love It!


I hope a suitable nickname for this movie can be found other than “reboot” or the inevitable “Star Trek, the First Generation.” Being a trekker for longer than I care to admit, the thought of anyone playing Kirk and Spock other than William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy was near sacrilegious to even consider. After being bombarded with on-line ads and articles, I grudgingly gave in and checked one out on U-Tube. What immediately hooked me was Karl Urban’s flawless performance as a young “ever bitching about something” Dr. Bones McCoy. Even within the brief seconds that he appeared in the preview, you could tell that his was a McCoy you could accept.

I got more excited when I saw more previews and grudgingly decided to go see the damned thing at the local theater. What sealed the deal was reading of Leonard Nimoy's involvement in the plot as "Spock Prime.” One suggestion here to the producers that would pull more “old school” fans in would be to divulge that the movie is actually about Spock (“our” Spock-Leonard Nimoy) setting out to save Earth from destruction by time-traveling Romulans. As for those upset that I'd reveal Nimoy's involvement and appearance in the movie, it's been on the web for months and known to all but those who live under a rock.

Eric Bana fans are sure to love his performance under all that makeup as the Romulan Captain Nero.

What I liked/loved:
The majority of the main cast did a superb job of putting their own stamp on legendary and iconic figures. By showing Kirk and Spock growing up, it was easier to accept the younger actors. Zachary Quinto is flawless as Spock. Karl Urban as Bones made me grin in recognition of the ghost of Deforest Kelly throughout the movie. Simon Pegg as Scotty provides the laughs, even when he’s in peril. When he gleefully bursts out with how much he loves the ship and how much fun he’s having, you just have to grin right along with him. I even recognized Majel Roddenberry as the computer voice… even though it wasn’t on the Enterprise.

In fact I actually found myself grinning from ear-to-ear several times, which I really didn’t expect. There are many touchstone lines honoring the old TV series and any “trekker” will love that they were included, and any “newbie” to the franchise, once hearing them, will become an instant fan.

The “alternate universe/time shift” assumption is very well (and thankfully) quickly explained. For us true fans of the original, think of when Leonard Nimoy played an evil Spock with a beard in the original TV series. Once you get past that, the rest is pure enjoyment, because suddenly you accept Pine, Urban, Quinto, Pegg, Saldana, Cho, and reluctantly Yelchin as the original TV/movie characters you’ve known and loved over the years.

The action and special effects are spellbinding and LOUD.

What I didn’t like/hated: (lest I be accused of gushing.)
The action and special effects are spellbinding and LOUD.
The theater where I saw it played the movie at a near deafening sound level. I actually began plugging my ears during the battle scenes. To my astonishment, a mother ushered her four young children out of the theater within ten minutes of the opening. I’m not sure if it was a particularly violent scene that caused this, or the kids putting their hands over their ears. That said, this is not a movie for kids under twelve-years-old.

Sorry folks, but as Star Trek bad guys go, Eric Bana as Nero was no Khan. The intense and passionate hate, plus the driven obsession with revenge that Ricardo Montalbán so excellently put on the screen made Bana’s Nero look only mildly pissed off.

I’m a huge fan of movie music, which in a lot of cases can be as important as the script. Alexander Courage’s original TV theme or even those time-honored “eight notes” is to be found nowhere in the body of the movie. I say this for those who are like-minded and anticipating them. Oh you’ll forgive the omission even before you leave the theater, but in my opinion it is still a nearly unpardonable sin.

Chris Pine needed to work on his Shatner impression. I didn’t mind that his performance wasn’t an out-and-out imitation of the man, but it seemed to me that Pine went out of his way not to be Shatner, and after all Bill did originate the part. The other actors are true to themselves (as they should be,) but still paid grateful homage to those who brought them to the honored stage where a very select few are permitted to stand.

For Spock to have a love affair with one of the crew desperately needed a rethink before it made it to the screen. Not that he wasn’t young and half human, but the “real” Spock” wouldn’t even consider unprofessionally having a tryst with one of his subordinates. While everyone loved (including me) Sulu having an excuse to have a sword in his hand, whipping out a rapier in the middle of a mid-air fight with phaser-armed Romulans probably wasn’t a good script idea and frankly a bit contrived. Anton Yelchin’s Russian accent was just so damned over-the-top heavy, even the Enterprise computer didn’t like it. While I watched the movie it became more of a distraction than anything and made it hard to accept him as Checkov.

The star of the show/movie has always been and should always be The Enterprise. Remember how you cried the first time you watched Kirk being forced to destroy her in “The Search For Spock?” More attention was needed to be paid to her and regretfully wasn’t. Also, when Kirk pulled up on his “motorcycle” (Richard Geer in “Top Gun”) to see her being built, suffered because she was barely recognizable behind all of that scaffolding. Fortunately the scene was so brief that it didn’t give you time to wonder about why a huge starship was being built on the ground instead of in space. Earth's gravity truly would’ve tested those engine and saucer section pylons to the limit and most likely beyond.

To conclude:
The movie, despite its flaws is magnificent. I went in prepared to nit-pick and hate it, but I applauded when the final credits came on. J.J. Abrams proved himself with this one, and it’d be a shame if they didn’t assign the inevitable sequel to him.

I think; no I’m sure that Gene Roddenberry is looking down from heaven and smiling.

WARNING: Reproduction of this article is forbidden without the author's permission
©-2009 by Jet in Columbus/Jet Gardner/

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