08 May 2009

I like this ship! [SPOILERS]

To quote the rebooted Montgomery Scott, that is. Because I agree with him. The photos released of the new Enterprise don't do her justice. She's still a proud ship standing tall, and i was in love the moment I saw her on the big screen. Fair warning, I'll probably drop SPOILERS in this, since it is a review of sorts.
As a matter of fact, I am DEFINITELY DROPPING SPOILERS IN THIS - DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.
We saw Star Trek last night. I was minorly concerned at first; I'd been reading non-spoiler material, listening to the occasional JJ Abrams interview, and generally psyched that my favorite Space Opera was coming back with new material. Ultimately I'm pretty easy to please. As I've said before the only thing in Trek that ever really got me "mad" was lazy writing, but that's another post for another time.
Sure the plot was a little thin in this film, but this film wasn't about the plot. This film was about Abrams & Co. saying "Here's the new take on Star Trek that we came up with, this is who these characters are now and how they came to be." The bad guy and other incidentals like the story are secondary to the characters. And oh what characters:

Thanks to bad-buy Nero, George S. Kirk dies saving his wife and in-delivery son, living long enough to name the boy after his grandfathers: James Tiberius Kirk. Chris Pine's Kirk is an excellent re-casting of the character. Absent his father he has no Starfleet role model to emulate, and grows up brilliant but unruly. It seems like Starfleet was the missing piece in his life, because once he's convinced to sign up, the pieces fall in to place rapidly. Maybe this is the natural order of the universe re-asserting itself? After all, Kirk was always meant to command the Enterprise, just as he was always meant to defeat the Kobayashi Maru - eating the apple was the best part of that scene.
In a delightful twist on the original, it is Spock, not Kirk, who is the instructor at Starfleet academy, and this younger Spock we meet is more willing to access his human emotions as a young man than the uber-Vulcan we first knew him to be. Quinto's Spock is fantastic, and when Nimoy and Quinto stand face to face, it's a fantastic moment. Winona Ryder must be a big ol' Trekkie, 'cos I can't figure out why else they'd get such a big name for the minor role of Amanda.
Karl Urban *is* Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Dammit, man, he's an actor not a brick layer!
Simon Pegg's Scotty is fantastic - almost TOO funny, but Pegg somehow keeps it from going overboard. The whole "Admiral Archer's prize beagle" bit is priceless, and a great nod at continuity, even if it is in reference to the ol' scenery snacker.
Zoe Saldana is sexy, capable, and romantically involved with Spock the Younger - WHAT - Oh hells yes she is. That was the biggest surprise in the whole thing for me.
John Cho and Anton ... Anton ... the kid what played Chekov - they were both good, but other than "good pilot who fences" and "whiz kid with a Russian accent" respectively, we'll have to wait until the next installment to get more into their characters; hopefully. Maybe we'll eventually see that series everyone wants with Sulu captain of the Excelsior?
My fears melted away as I watched the film. I could feel the Star Wars oozing through that Abrams promised to being in, but I didn't mind it. I enjoyed it, actually. After all those years of crap action on the TV shows and lame action in the movies, it was good to see the Trek franchise with some kinetic energy. Kinetic is a word that occurred to me frequently in the watching. The score made me sad, though, only because I think it was a missed opportunity to give us some more iconic movements. Battle in the Mutara Nebula, an Angry God, Life is But a Dream, The Genesis Device, The Enterprise, Stealing the Enterprise, the Opening Credits (VI)... just off the top of my head these are movements from 5 of the first 10 movies that provide a lot of re-listening enjoyment. I did like the inclusion of the drums, though, but the fanfare should have been all over that movie, and it didn't show up until the end.
I know that plenty of nerds out there will hate something about the movie, but I didn't. Go see it many times, because not only is it worth it, but the more money it makes the more likely we get new trek, and I've just about seen every minute of Trek on video, twice. I'm hungry for some new voyages, and the new crew I was introduced to last night are just the people for the job.

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