I had only just gotten out of my seat, not even to the aisle, before I already wanted to see the sequel.
This evening, my dormmates and I went to a late 11:00 showing of “Star Trek.” Having watched the trailers, I got the gist of the movie. We were going to rewind all the way to young Kirk and Spock where they would fight some great Romulan threat. And as soon as the movie begins, you can see the massive Romulan ship as it destroys the Federation starship from where Mrs. Kirk escapes while giving birth. Having just seen “Wolverine” last week, I was in the mindset to immediately jump into the action, and it felt good to get the rush in a legitimate way. Sometimes, it’s good enough just for the action to look amazing. But it works out much better when it’s actually well done as well.
Watching the movie, it’s clear that it’s not your traditional Trek. Indeed, the cast including Sylar, Harold from “Harold & Kumar,” Hot Fuzz, the oracle from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” an assassin from “The Bourne Supremacy,” and some guy from “Princess Diaries 2” doesn’t sound like it’ll work. Obviously no one in the world can be Captain Kirk like William Shatner, yet it absolutely works better that Chris Pine doesn’t try. Instead of the vaguely cheesy style of classic Trek, he actually plays a believable character faithful to the cockiness and humor of Kirk, without the halting speech. Karl Urban does just as good a job pulling off a McCoy accent and maintaining his cantankerous nature. The best acting, however, came from Zachary Quinto as Spock, who’s inner conflict as half-human and half-Vulcan comes off in a truly believable way.
Another major tip-off that they weren’t going to stick to classic Trek aspects is the completely re-designed look of the ship and bridge. From the clips in the preview, you can see that the crew is no longer working on boxy, black-and-white displays, but actually have something that looks sharper than an iPhone. Even so, the general layout of the bridge remains the same with the captain’s chair in the middle, viewscreen straight ahead, and the crew in a circle around that. Combined with flawless special effects integration, and the visuals won’t disappoint.
More importantly, I think the movie works because of how it decides to maintain the Star Trek feel. It would’ve been very easy for the producers to just re-hash Star Trek in all its glory one more time. Find the old props and throw them in. Keep the transporter effect. Use the same costumes. Tell the same jokes in the same ways. But instead, they amazingly tastefully discarded just about anything unnecessary from Star Trek and kept only the spirit to appease the trekkies.
So the pace of the movie is remarkably unlike that of any Star Trek to date. It’s hip, it’s sexy, it’s dramatic, it takes itself seriously. Not to say it doesn’t stick to a couple good laughs for old time’s sake. But when Scotty yells, “I’m giving her all she’s got!”, he actually means it. The token gestures to classic Trek lines might or might not be familiar to you, though if not, I’d bet that the only reason why’d you know is the trekkie snickering in the corner at a seemingly random time.
The verdict is that this movie is fantastic. Screw the fact that it’s Star Trek; it’s a damn good movie on its own merits. Argue whether the Star Trek universe actually has the merit to pull something like this off; I don’t care. It’ll run the full gamut of amazement, humor, action, and empathy that you want a movie to make you feel. My vote’s in; cross-referenced with my “favorite movies” on Facebook, it’s the best movie I’ve seen
And I’m so glad for it, because for the first time in human history, it’s cool to be a trekkie.