' ' Cinema Romantico: Star Trek

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Star Trek

It does not take long in the so-called rebooting of the venerable "Star Trek" (now out on DVD) franchise to realize you are now in the presence of a J.J. Abrams made film. A Starfleet ship has just encountered some sort of mysterious Romulan piloted spaceship with stellar weaponry and so phasers are fired and damage reports are given and then an order to evacuate. But then the Romulan ship holds fire and offers to discuss terms with the Starfleet captain (Reveal #1) who hands the reigns of command over to young man with the last name of Kirk (Reveal #2). But then the Starfleet Captain is killed forcing Kirk to take control (Reveal #3) and goes after these dastardly villains in order to buy enough time for the escaping shuttles. This would probably be more than enough of a slam-bang opening for most filmmakers. Not J.J. Abrams. Suddenly there is a pregnant woman aboard the Starfleet ship who must bolt (Reveal #4)! But she's not just any pregnant woman, she's the wife of just christened Captain Kirk (Reveal #5)! She makes it to an escape pod as her husband proceeds on a suicide mission to save her life. But having her be merely pregnant isn't enough! She's in labor! So she gives birth! During battle! To a baby boy they decide to name.......James! (Reveal #6.)

Vintage J.J. Abrams, and all in a mere 10 minutes! He always brings to mind track #1 off Kylie's "Fever": "More, more,more." And it's best to weave some sort of domestic distuburance into all the action packed goings-on. This was the hallmark of his fantastic (for three seasons) "Alias" where Sydney and Vaughn would be earnestly discussing the constant neglect of Sydney's father in an airplane while strapping on parachutes to sneak behind enemy lines at some remote enemy base with two thousand armed guards in the Carpathian Mountains. Sigh....I miss Sydney Bristow.

But stop me before I get off topic! Abrams' "Star Trek" takes things from the ground up, introducing us to young Kirk, a rabble rouser, and young Spock, highly intelligent, of course, and getting in fights when he is picked on. Again, we see the touch of Abrams. Sure we're in the 23rd century but the problems of people remain quite grounded, juvenile delinquets and bullies. (Did he need the title card, though, for "Iowa"? I mean, it's a land with nothing but cornfields as far as the eye can see! Where else would it be?! Apparently even in the 23rd century my home state still doesn't have any "cities"!)

Soon, though, they are older and after a still rebellious Kirk initiates an old-fashioned barfight in a useless attempt to the snare the hot-to-trot Uhurah (Zoe Saldana) he is approached by Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) who has seen Kirk's aptitude test, knows it's off the charts, knows his dad was a Star Fleet captain for 12 minutes and saved hundres of lives, and tries to enlist James T. for the Starfleet. So Kirk does, climbs aboard a ship for new recruits and winds up sitting next to an extremely irritable man who harbors a flask. Why, who else could this be but Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban)?!

We then transition into the obligatory training sequences of which there are not many because the film has far too much ground to cover to keep the audience stored away inside simulation battles when there are real battles to fight!

I'm no Trekkie, thats for sure. My favorite "Star Trek" memories are limited to the corny jokes of "The Voyage Home", the campiest of the campy episodes from the original TV series and Jerry and George discussing "The Wrath Of Khan" ("That was a hell of a thing when Spock died"). Once you get into all that Patrick Stewart and Deep Space 22 stuff I have no idea what's going on, which is to say if the film has gaps in logic or inconsistencies within its own Trekkie Universe I have absolutely no idea. As I see it Abrams task was five-fold.

1.) Tell its story from the start.
2.) Make it fresh for a new generation, which he does through details such as Sulu (John Cho) sporting an apparent samurai sword and Uhura having the hots for Spock (Zachary Quinto).
3.) Introduce us to the entire crew we all know and love so well - Kirk and Spock established as adversaries to give the film its driving conflict - without letting the pace slack.
4.) Include one of the original cast members (Leonard Nimoy) despite the fact there is already another actor playing that same character, which he does through the device of some time travel mumbo jumbo.
5.) Do it all in two hours.

I thought he succeeded for the most part. The villain (Eric Bana) is kinda bland, not enough Ricardo Montalban-ish overacting for my taste, just sort of hanging around so there is a foe to fight. Some of the action sequences left me uninterested, though that is more about how I respond to movies, I suspect, than them being poorly made.

So allow me to speak directly to all the non-Trekkies out there and say that "Star Trek" was definitely made with you in mind.


Wretched Genius said...

>>>Did he need the title card, though, for "Iowa"? I mean, it's a land with nothing but cornfields as far as the eye can see! Where else would it be?!<<<

Clearly it's been a long time since you've driven through Nebraska.

Also, never, never drive through Nebraska.

Nick Prigge said...

Yeah, I love that football team more than anyone should but outside of Omaha and a little bit of Lincoln that state is just.......................

Question of the Day: Is Nebraska combined with eastern Colorado the most unscenic section of the country?

Anonymous said...

I know I rarely like giving my opinion of movies, especially if I did not like them, but this movie was so terrible, it tore a hole in the fabric of space/time, allowing for a possible universe where this was a good movie, but then (because this movie was so terrible that possibility was too unrealistic), that universe imploded. This movie was just terrible. I'm not saying that as a Star Trek fan. This movie re-wrote the rules from a time before the original show, so it got to re-do everything (which was cool). But it ignored way, way, way too may plot holes and continuity errors it created. Awful. Just awful.

But on the upside, Keith Urban was great. He seemed to be the only cast-member trying, and he almost made up for the rest of them. And now everyone can rest easy, finally knowing how I, Anonymous, feels about this film. ...I'm so very sorry.

Rory Larry said...

Not only is it Iowa in the 23rd Century, its an Iowa which is base of operations for starship building. How does an industry that important and profitable not draw a huge population. Billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and at least a marginal military base (and probably a sizeable one)

Rory Larry said...

And Anonymous is right, this movie was pretty bad

Castor said...

Don't insult Star Trek in any way else you will get a massive geek invasion spamming your blog