Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Star Trek (2009)

Directed by J.J. Abrams.
2009. Rated PG-13, 127 minutes.
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Zoe Saldana
Leonard Nimoy
Eric Bana
Bruce Greenwood
Simon Pegg
Karl Urban
John Cho
Anton Yelchin

Chris Hemsworth
Jennifer Morrison

Plot: A young James T. Kirk (Pine) and all your favorites from the original series party, go to school and embark on their maiden voyage aboard the Enterprise. Kinda, sorta but not really a prequel.

The Good: Everything go boom. In what appears to be a conscious effort to draw in younger fans, the action is amped up considerably in comparison to most of the Trek canon. This injects some welcome fun into a franchise often thought to be overly cerebral and somewhat inaccessible to those who aren't devoted Trekkies. Fortunately for the faithful, the story comfortably fits the final frontier with its use of time warps and angry Romulans, led by Nero (a barely recognizable Eric Bana). This generation's Kirk, Chris Pine, is nearly as cock-sure as the original but without the over the top histrionics of the iconic William Shatner. More than any other element his work as Kirk and Quinto's as Spock determine whether the movie sinks or swims simply due to the magnitude of the character's they're playing. Both do an admirable job portraying the contentious beginnings of their friendship.

The Bad: Everything go boom. Though multiplying the explosion count of most ST outings exponentially works for us normal folks, I'm sure many Trekkies will rue the day thier beloved franchise churned out a simple popcorn flick. Another change that's somewhat problematic is the character Uhura (Saldana). Despite being a relatively minor character, she became a very popular crew member and sex symbol, eclipsed in fame by only the big three (Kirk, Spock and Bones) and perhaps Scottie even though she rarely moved from her seat on deck. This movie strains to expand her role. Saldana does a fine job with what she's given but her storyline feels forced. One other actor, does a horrendous job. Anton Yelchin plays Chekov and his Russian accent is nothing short of cringe-worthy. Its so bad, ex-football player Tony Siragusa who naturally speaks with a heavy Jersey/Italian accent does a better Russian accent in Spike Lee's 25th Hour.

The Ugly: Yes! They worked in Kirk's liason with a green chick, early! So what if its of absolutely no consequence, here.

Recommendation: If you're a Trekkie, you have to see it and form your own opinion. Period. If you're not, its a fun sci-fi romp with lots of explosions, characters you happen to be somewhat familiar with yelling at one another and exchanging meaningful glares. In other words, its a solid intergalacic shoot 'em up.

MY SCORE: 7/10

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