5/11/09

Star Trek (2009)

Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Eric Bana (Nero)

Directed by J.J. Abrams ("Lost")

IMDB: A chronicle of the early days of an alternate-universe James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.

Because teenager girls need pocket money, our friends Karen and Rich were able to find Saturday night babysitters to watch all of our kids. We escaped for a matinee showing, followed by dinner at a new waterfront Irish pub, which made for an almost perfect evening out--marred only by my ow damn shit foot.

Anyway, the film! Incredible! My hyperbole is likely to expand to unfathomable proportions as I go on, so forgive me.

Reason the Awesome #1: Great script. It all made sense, moved along at a hella quick clip, and still made time for moments of wry humor, friendship, and even romance. Keven mentioned that it had all the bits fans would expect, without degenerating into a greatest hits list. "Damn it, Jim!" Check. "Illogical." Check. But it never felt that cheesy. Even the slapstick never crossed the line to eye-rolling disappointment. In this scene, where all of them are turning to look at Spock--the last piece of the puzzle--I got a fantastic "They got the band back together!" feeling. Yet the obviousness of this shot was never repeated. Didn't need to be. There's even a reason why Kirk is wearing "look at how hot and intense I am" black clothing. They covered every base, slowly forging individuals into a coherent team that trusted and depended on each other.

The only criticism we could muster had to do with Eric Bana's rather shallow villain. But he served the purpose of the movie, which was to reboot the franchise and introduce a whole new cast in an alternate universe. Any sequels will need to have a more complex plot. For this adventure, however, it worked. And someone finally realized how Eric Bana should appear in a film: as a hideous Romulan! It suits him and his ears!

I digress.

Reason the Awesome #2: Incredible special effects. The opening ten minutes is insane with stuff and explosions and ships. Overall, not so much cheesy-ass CGI--just good old-fashioned model spaceships. Kickin' it Old Skool.

Reason the Awesome #3: Chris Pine. (The only more all American-looking dudes are Matt Damon and James Marsden.) Pine played a mean combination of hard-ass determination, fly-by-the-seat playboy, and smarts. Shatner's Kirk always struck me as half bravado, half luck. This new Kirk has rougher edges and a lot more gray matter to back up his arrogance. On one particular occasion, done for effect, he hit the Shatner intonation just right without making it some Priceline parody. The subtlety of his performance speaks to Pine's skill and Abrams' vision. And oh, love the eyes.

Reason the Awesome #4: Zachacy Quinto. Hellloooo, beta hero! Can Spock actually be hot? I mean seriously? Yup, in part because he has Winona Ryder as his mom. Whereas the original series posited Kirk and Spock as two sides of the same coin, this version messed with their histories just enough to make them less diametrically opposed--more like two men with complimentary flaws and weaknesses, as much rivals as friends. This Spock is...edgy, defiant, and a bit dangerous. He's swarthy like Ron Livingston and gonna go postal if pushed too far.

Because of the film's events, he reaches the limit of his ability to cope--hence, that touch of romance I mentioned. Urhua's hot for teacher, especially when he's way-whoa desperate for a little comfort.
Fanfiction will blossom all over the Trekkie universe.

Reason the Awesome #5: Everyone else. Simon Pegg's Scottish accent was worth the price of admission, and he played a fantastic Scotty. "I like this ship! It's exciting!" Karl Urban as Bones was also amazing, channeling that bizarre DeForrest Kelley Georgia accent without ever making fun. I really dug Zoe Saldana as Uhura--just enough brains and toughness to be relevant to today, while still maintaining Nichelle Nichols' role as the feminine heart of the crew. Her updated go-go style, again, kept the spirit of the original show without seeming out of date or lame. It's really amazing how many lines the movie successfully walked.

It was so much fun, more like Ironman than The Dark Knight in terms of pure, enjoyable entertainment, but equal to both films for storytelling. I can't wait to see it again, and I'm eager to hear news that a sequel is in the works.

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