|Assembly Line Summer Film Done Right||1 out of 2 users found this review helpful.|
A young man, tired, beaten, and out of breath, stands leaning against a white railing. The people of the crew around him stare in awe and in fear. The acting captain has just about killed him after being provoked with a slew of emotional trauma. With no one to turn to, he steps forward and decides to helm the ship. This is the birth of a legendary captain.
Star Trek is J.J. Abrams reboot of the series by the same name. Abrams version is flashier, brighter, louder, and shakier. Gone are the thought provoking moments, replaced by people running, jumping, and narrowly escaping death. The new movie is a more primitive counterpart to a series known for its depth. A visual festival for a younger audience use to things going boom.
This isn’t to say it doesn’t work. Quite the opposite, it works well amazingly well. The transition from hard science fiction to space opera is a needed facelift in many respects. It does its job of entertaining. However, I personally, was a fan of those moments were the captains sit in their chairs, hands on their chins in thought, pondering what to do.
The story for the movie goes back, using time travel as the premise for which we are seeing the past. It also works to give Leonard Nimoy a cameo alongside his replacement. A Romulan named Nero, hell bent on vengeance for a destroyed home world, is hurtled back in time where he plots to tear apart the Federation by simply causing certain events to never happen, and by ripping apart their core worlds. He has the ability to cause worlds to collapse and become black holes.
We follow the birth of the legendary crew, even despite the changing of events. We see how Sulu, Scotty, Uhura, Bones, Chekov, and the rest of them fall into place. Re-established are the personalities we know so well, though most of them aren’t established enough. Even Kirk and Spock, while on center stage, play second fiddle to the spectacle of what is going on around them.
My problem with a movie like this is that it follows a tried and true blockbuster formula with a franchise that is anything but blockbuster material. Things blow up, our heroes fight, more things blow up, our heroes get past their differences, and then more things blow up. In depth character portrayals are swept aside for the sake of keeping the action flowing. We see the characters peek out, but only for moments.
The movie is entertaining, but it plays it all strictly by the book. All the things you need are present. Big, sinister looking ship. The ability to destroy worlds. Bald, crazy man with facial tattoos and scars. Young inexperienced heroes placed against overwhelming odds. The Star Trek movies, and series for that matter, never played it by the book. Sure the series had a flow to it, but it never played like an assembly line summer flick.
The acting is alright, though its clear who the better actors were. Pegg could dance circles around most of the younger cast, and actually does once he shows up. Eric Bana does something I never thought of him to do. His portrayal of Nero is interesting, but Nero suffers from a lack of screen time. I would love to see what Bana could have done with more of the movie to play with. The rest of the cast fit the molds, bringing their own minor touches to the characters.
Abrams does do a lot of fan service though. We get to see Kirk cheat at that the simulation which was mentioned in “The Wraith of Kahn.” Simon Pegg makes sure to deliver Scotty as he should, and even makes the same “dump the core and detonate” suggestion. Bones flat out gives us “Damn it I’m a doctor...” These are the moments that make it worth it.
Now, I’m not saying Star Trek is a bad movie. By all rights, it’s a very good movie. It just feels wrong. It is kind of like Star Trek light. All the names, half the thought, with extra explosions for flavor. There were some rather questionable directorial decisions as well. Abrams showed a love of twisting and turning cameras which really amounts to nothing more than to make you wonder what that was about and what he is trying to show besides a “stunning visual.”
All in all it’s a fun movie. It is everything you would expect for an early summer blockbuster. Its loud, its fast, and its fun. The two hour and six minute running time flies by. It does its job, and that’s the important thing. My only hope is that we get more characterizations and less explosions in the future.
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