5/7/09

Star Trek


This is the one we've all been waiting for. Trekkies everywhere have been waiting with bated breath for a glimpse of the new classic. Some have little hope for it, others anticipate nothing but greatness from Bad Robot, JJ Abram's production company. The way the movie is set up, there are so many things I could spoil... the slightest mention of the plot could undermine the entire experience. I can only tell you what JJ Abrams has already been saying: you have nothing to worry about.

Before I watched the movie I tried to go back and watch some of the Romulan episodes of the original series to get a sense for the background of the relationship between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire. I knew that in Balance of Terror it was noted that no one had ever seen a Romulan's face. And I knew that Nero was a Romulan and that the movie took place before Balance of Terror. In short, I was ready to make a list of things in the movie that ran contrary to canon and about ten minutes into the film I had to just throw the list away. This is masterful storytelling as far as a Star Trek story goes. There is really no better word for this story than "reboot." A complete overhaul. But in a good way.

Even explaining so much as that gives a little more insight than one might want to know, but I'm confident that even if you know the entire story you'll enjoy watching it again and again. The action is non-stop from the very first frame, there is comedy reminiscent of the original movies as well as new comedy, there is a driving storyline, fully fleshed-out characters, and superb acting.

Speaking of the acting, I felt like the characters were completely reborn. Not in the sense that they are totally different, rather in the sense that the spirits of the characters that you know and love have been infused into new bodies. When Chris Pine walked onto the bridge of the Enterprise as the new Captain it was like young William Shatner had trained for the screen all his life. When Karl Urban introduced himself as the doctor who had nothing left on earth but his bones it was like he was psychically channeling DeForest Kelley. And with Sylar's ability to understand how things work, Zachary Quinto analyzed the deep intricacies of Leonard Nemoy's signature character and brought to Spock a life we could only previously imagine.

There is one minor thing that fans may start whining about, and that involves a relationship between two of the crew members. I won't give away any details, but the addition of this relationship seems tacked on. It doesn't particularly fit very well into the established Star Trek universe, but in a broader sense it does work. I can't go into an argument for or against it without releasing any spoilers, but suffice it to say that if this relationship had occurred in the original series it probably would have gone over just as well as having a female captain, if not worse, which is probably why nothing like this ever happened. But I think in the spirit of a reboot to the franchise, it's a fitting tribute to the show's original morality and sensibilities. That's as much as I can say at the moment. I'll probably discuss the topic further when the movie has been out for long enough that it won't be spoiling anything.

This really is the Star Trek movie that we've all been waiting for. We've been waiting for it without knowing it. Fans have nothing to fear and newbies have everything to gain. This is a fresh start for Gene Roddenberry's vision; one that is well deserved and welcomed with open arms. May it live long and prosper.