I have to confess that ever since I heard about a relaunch of the Star Trek movie franchise, I wasn’t all that excited. Perhaps I felt already burned by the Star Wars prequels (ugh). Maybe I was worried J. J. Abrams would be having an off year (Fringe, anyone?). Or it might have been knee-jerk reactions every time I see William Shatner (shut up, Priceline Negotiator!). So I didn’t mind when ScottE went to see it without me. But he so thoroughly enjoyed it he was willing to see it again, so yesterday I gave it a shot.
It’s a good thing I did, because the movie is a whole lot of fun. I don’t think it’s the most “holy crap awesome!” movie of the year, but I can guarantee you’ll leave the theater smiling. Just make sure to see it on the big screen, because this is one that deserves to be seen with huge visuals and booming sound effects. Expect this one to sweep the technical Oscars this year!
The storyline is a simple idea – it’s a prequel/origin story of the original crew of the Starship Enterprise. We learn the background for Kirk’s cavalier attitude as captain and about his friendship with Bones and Spock. The central conceit of the storyline might irk some hardcore Trekkies, but time travel (no worries, it’s not a spoiler) won’t be new to anyone who has been watching Lost this past season. I also thought it was clever in the sense that the film is now perfectly set up to become its own series of movies, separate and apart from the original TV series and films. Considering the blockbuster numbers it’s pulling at the box office, I fully expect we’ll be seeing a sequel in a couple of years.
The strength of the movie is in the casting – really great, despite some reservations I’d had going into it. Chris Pine is a good mix of bravado and smart ass attitude, and he ain’t bad to look at, either. Zachary Quinto was the perfect choice for Spock – I mean, those eyebrows! I was most nervous about John Cho portraying my beloved Sulu, but he puts his own spin on it which is cool. The real revelations for me were amongst the rest of the crew. Zoë Saldana is a commanding presence as Uhura – a heady brew of intellect and sensuality. Antonin Yelchin and Simon Pegg provide the perfect amount of comic relief as Chekov and Scotty. The audience will also be treated to a few other surprises that I won’t spoil for you (I loved the big “NO WAY!” from a guy in the back of our theater at one point.)
Overall I give this movie an A-. My grade was a bit lower yesterday, but as it has sunk into my mind, my impression grows more favorable – enough that I’d be willing to see it again in the theater. And for me, that’s the mark of a really good film. In case you’re curious, I’m not really a Trekkie, but I did grow up watching some of the original series, and most of the original films. This is a movie for anyone that likes a good action yarn.