Spoiler warning. Many, many spoilers.
JJ Abrams did something many thought impossible – an absolute reboot of a fan loved franchise, kept in continuity (more on this later), and surpassing most everyone’s expectations. Long review short, this is the best summer movie I’ve seen since Dark Knight, and in its own peculiar way, it’s just as good. If not better.
- The main cast. They are near perfect. Chris Pine shows he’s got the leading man gene ingrained into him. He’s wildly charismatic, hilarious and can kick some ass when need be. He doesn’t do a Shatner impersonation, which may irk some die hards, but he gives so much more. Quinto is just as good as Spock, always on the brink with his emotions. Plus, you get to see him kick even more ass than Kirk! I can’t imagine anyone else playing these two young characters. Karl Urban is admirable in a largely thankless role as Bones, Yelchin is terrific with the “wictor, wictor” type of stereotypical Russian accent, Cho plays a fine Sulu with a couple of moments to shine, and Pegg is his usual terrific self as Scotty. Zoe Saldana is probably the weakest element, less because of her acting and more because the movie has Uhura be little more than Spock’s worried woman.
- Continuity. Probably the biggest thing I was worried about, but Abrams sidesteps this issue by having a storyline that perfectly explains the differences. Having this be essentially an alternate universe to the main Star Trek realm, it allows Abrams to pretty much do anything he wants. It allows
- Shit happens. Speaking of doing anything he wants…he destroys Vulcan! It was inconceivable that he would actually do something this drastic, but he went and, as Spock says, made the Vulcan people an “endangered species.” Not only that, he doesn’t pussy out and have a time travelling reset button waiting at the end of the movie. Six billion Vulcans are dead and that’s permanent in this new continuity.
- The film making. This is a very, very pretty movie to look at and hear. Yes, the overabundance of shining lights and streaks can annoy people but I thought it lent the entire enterprise (pun most definitely warranted) a distinct look and feel. The music is also commendable, with sweeping orchestral pieces and quieter melodic tones. A few scenes were definitely reminiscent of Lost, what with the soundless slow motion and tear wrenching music in the back, but I love Lost so I love those scenes here.
- The Warp jump and teleporter. I love how the new jump to warp speed is a little reminiscent of Battlestar’s jump, with the added gunshot like sound. The teleporters are also pretty cool, with swirling lines of light while still keeping the classic sound.
- Beastie Boys is classic music. I like how Beastie Boys’ Sabotage is still around in a couple hundred years as the futures classic music.
- Not enough Nemoy! I love the guy and what little part he does have in this movie, it wasn’t enough. He brought the gravitas in spades and I’ll never tire of his voice. I didn’t expect a leading role, but I did expect more than about 10 minutes of screen time.
- Eric Bana. I like Bana, but here he was indistinguishable from any other third rate, screaming villain in any given sci-fi movie or TV episode. Yes, he has a decent motivation behind why he’s imploding Vulcan, but you can only yell and look menacing for so long before we wonder – is that it? Is that the full extent of your complexity?
- Ice planet monsters. I’m not sure if this was some kind of throwback, but I don’t remember ever watching a Star Trek episode where people were being chased by giant monsters. I don’t mind the notion, but it was pretty badly don here. The one blemish on an otherwise great show of CGI.
- “I’m James Tiberius Kirk.” Who the fuck says their full name when someone asks you who you are? I hated this line in the initial teaser, and I thought I got over it but when it happened I hated it even more!