Saturday, May 9, 2009
"Star Trek" Movie Review
I'm not a Trekkie. Them cats epitomize the corniness in corn ball. I always rocked with the young James Tiberius Kirk though. Maybe it's because my intro to good science fiction, not that throwaway ish, was the original "Star Trek" series, the reruns of which I watched religiously when I was growing up on the black and white tv. Or maybe it was how he matched gully for gully fighting against gully ass muh fuckers of different species.
Or how he smashed the green broad.
The show blew my young mind on so many different levels. The true multi-cultural crew, the depth of the stories, the sets, the special effects, the fight scenes, the technology, like the phaser, the bugged out design of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701A, the sexiness of the women, this show won on all levels and the bar for all subsequent serious science fiction contenders was set extremely high.
The entire cast of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek were iconic in their own right. Spock, McCoy Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and the incredibly exotic Uhura played by the incredible Nichelle Nichols, that was a team that held Kirk down against all types of intergalactic fuckery. The series ran from 1966 to 1969 when it was canceled due to low ratings. Despite that, the show was nominated for several and won a couple of highly esteemed science fiction awards.
I didn't eff with any of the follow up "Star Trek" series, on account of how, although it seemed as if they retained the smartness of the original, there was no parts of gully. Plus, I didn't like the way they played the brother with the shell on his forehead. Or how they had Kunta Kinte rocking the Kanye West shades. Whoopi Goldberg playing the space traveling Aunt Jemima didn't help the franchise's image in my eyes either. The movie versions were kinda cool, but it was mad distracting that Kirk and Spock visually came off as being mad geriatric. Not that geriatrics can't get down, just that I'm not checking for a gang of them in my sci fi movies. "Wrath Of Kahn" was mos def hardbody.
J.J. Abrams' (of "LOST fame) "Star Trek" wins for all the same reasons the original series won. Instead of further building on the massiveness that the franchise has become, "Star Trek" goes back to the basics, actually a bit beyond. The movie opens up with the very early days of James Kirk and Spock. We get their story, who and why they are, way before we get swept up in all the extra-terrestrial eye candy and story plot that this movie has to offer. And it all makes sense as to why they've been like that. Chris Pine does an excellent job of playing Kirk, and subtly channels the swagger of original actor William Shatner onscreen. Zachary Quinto ("Heroes") is so seamless in his portrayal of Lenoard Nimoy's Mr. Spock ithat I almost forget that there ever was a Leonard Nimoy. What makes their performances so great is that in channeling their predecessors, Pine and Quinto manage to make the old characters theirs. Not like Brandon Routh's performance of Christopher Reeves' Superman in "Superman Returns", where Routh comes off as doing his best Reeves impression.
I saw this on an IMAX screen and shit was awesome B. The Enterprise was the same as the one I grew up watching, but mad brand new. Most of the gadgets too. The old trocorders and phasers, but brand new again. My viewing was like getting a sense of nostalgia from something new in your life. And in a very good way. One of the things from the original series that stayed pushing my little wig back was how they would have members of the crew transport back and forth from ship to planet and back. Watching them flip the transporter in this movie, tweaked just a bit, took me so back to when I used to peep it on the small screen.
The plot ain't bad either. At it's core, this is a basic story of revenge by some gully ass Romulans. Back in the original series, the Romulans were a mean ass warrior race whose intention it was to fuck up your day, all types of ways. Same shit here, with Eric Bana who does an incredible job playing the role of Nero, an evil ass bastard who captains the rest of the Romulan crew. The fight scenes are just right as well. It's so great to watch a Kirk who likes to get hit as much as he likes hitting.
As much as the special effects displayed in "Star Trek" is breathtaking, and there's some real breathtaking special effects, the main thing that makes this movie a must is the cast. Every member of the core crew of the Enterprise revitalizes the roles established by the series 43 years ago. John Cho as Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Chekov and the invaluable Simon Pegg as Scottie make it feel as if the original cast never left us. Karl Urban who plays Dr. McCoy is pure shits and giggles whenever he's on screen. And Zoe Saldana as Uhuru. Oh. My. God. Fine ain't got nothing on sweet Zoe.
There's some time travel stuff going on, and a bit of a mishap in the casting of the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, as some old Vulcan, but that's a small thing. What's great is that this movie is a well executed reboot of the franchise, so it won't matter if some veiwers are totally new to the "Star Trek" experience. They won't feel like they're missing any of it's history watching this.
J.J. Abrams succeeds in doing something so rare amongst all of these major television to movie adaptations of late. "Star Trek" is most definitely a big screen of a gem type piece, but watching it on that huge ass IMAX screen, all I kept thinking was how magical it was in that it felt as if I were watching an episode of the original series, just on the IMAX and with having to pay $14. "Star Trek" made me feel like that kid from the 1970's again watching the 1960' show.
And that feeling was priceless.