J.J. Abrams is a man who I’ve always thought was way overrated – I’ve hated just about everything that he’s been involved in including Alias, Felicity, Mission Impossible III and that god awful Cloverfield. I’m also not a Trekkie, I’ll watch Star Trek the original series on occasion and Voyager whenever it’s on but I hated the Picard crew with a passion. So for these reasons and more I wasn’t really feeling the new Star Trek prequel movie. I wanted to be the one who comes out hating this movie, but I can’t. Abrams has knocked this one completely out of the park. This is an almost flawless movie. The acting, plot, pacing, cinematography, SFX is almost perfect.
Beyond the reasons listed above I thought all the trailers for this movie were, “Meh” and the casting really awful. But a funny thing happens as you watch, it soaks in that I was completely wrong, this cast is absolutely perfect and spot on. I started to have double vision, I could easily imagine these people 20 or 30 years older with their big stomachs and years of experience being together as a crew. I always say how much I hate prequels, but it’s time to say that when done well they can be a lot of fun. It’s just very rare that it’s done well. Prequels should be more than just “how the big things came to be,” they should be about the characters themselves and the little moments, things and character “ticks” that fans of any given show come to love.
It’s great fun watching Scotty (Simon Pegg) run around the engineering room and scream for the first time “She’s breaking up,” or watching Spock (Zachary Quinto) give James Kirk (Chris Pine) the Vulcan pinch or watch Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban) showcase his neuroticism and how about that Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) she was hot back in the day and doing it with Spock – not Jim like I always thought. Yeah there’s a lot of nice little fan service and winks and nods in this movie. Something the Wolverine film completely lacked.
If I had to quibble it would be Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman script centers around a time traveling Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana) who is out for revenge against Spock was a bit silly and for some reason the only good Star Trek movie villain is still Khan. This guy Nero never commands the screen and his motivations while clear and plausible somehow lacked gravitas. But this movie isn’t really about the typical conflict, like I said it’s about the fan service. Watching the characters meet for the first time, seeing the chemistry build and their interactions.
There was also a big, gaping whole with regards to Jim’s relationship with his mother. I kept waiting for a scene between the two and we never see it. It seemed weirdly out of sync with everything else in the film. We see his birth and the death of his father, yet we never once find out what type of relationship he had with his mother. Did he hate her, love her see her. How did she feel about him knowing his birthday reminded her of his father’s death? The movie begins with his birth and everything surrounding it. So it would have been nice to have at least about the impact it had on their relationship and how it shaped James to be the young man he is in the film.
Star Trek is a truly good, dare I say great movie. But I don’t think it has a lot of re-watchabilty and it’s not in the league of say The Dark Knight, but it’s clearly one of the best films of this year.
Final Grade A
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 5.08.09