Review: Star Trek
So I’ve been looking forwards to this for months. And by that, I really do mean the better part of the year, since the time they announced it. I was even more excited because this was a JJ Abrahms product (creator of Alias and Lost) as wellas Damon Lindelof (the brains behind Lost). So I organised (a month in advance) a geeks’ outing yesterday to watch this as soon as it opened in theatres here, comprising of a variety of my friends, both trekkies and non-trekkies. I am told I managed to convert at least one of them into a trekkie after the movie.
Update: I am sorry, I made some factual errors in my review. Spock did not originally choose the Vulcan Science Academy over Starfleet, he went into Starfleet, and then went into the path of the Kolinahru after its 5-year mission. I confused his story with that of Tuvok, the other notable Vulcan in the Star Trek franchise.
The movie did not remotely disappoint – for something which was this hyped up, it lived up to its expectations. The action was fast-paced, the CGI was beyond phenomenal. And you know that Star Wars prologue phenomenon where the technology of yesteryear seems better than the technology of the purported future? Yeah, the movie suffered from that, but I am not complaining, because it was all just too cool. The writing was witty and sharp, something I was not really expecting. Five minutes into the movie, and you know for sure that this was a JJ Abrahms production even if you lived under a rock for months and closed your eyes during the opening credits. Michael Giacchino music? Check. Familar actors such as Faran Tahir? Check. Time travel? Double check.
The movie was relatively well-cast – Zachary Quinto brought a newer, slightly edgier (one might go as far as to comment, with a pinch of Sylar) version of Spock, but that’s probably because Quinto naturally has that intense presence on screen. Chris Pine was perfect as Kirk, as the dashing womanising rebel with a locked potential, and the rest of the cast was believably McCoy, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty respectively. The only problem I had with the casting was Uhura, Zoe Zaldana, who was a tall , very thin woman – the original Uhura was known for being beautiful because of her curves and womanly presence. This Uhura resembled a thin mop – largely due to her hair and straight-backed posture, and made me think she was cast on her way to a cheerleading audition, because she looked good in a short skirt. Clearly being in an alternate reality is very slimming.
The movie overall was simply awesome, mild criticisms not withstanding. Perfection is after all, unattainable. But I do not have any problems declaring this movie went boldly where no man gone before, in attaining that goal.
*Mild spoiler alerts from now on. Do not read if you are completely staying away from spoilers*
When I read this film was a “reboot” of the Star Trek franchise, I just took it to mean that they were just pulling a George Lucas and going back to the beginning – I had no idea they were creating a slightly different universe, which of course, is a convenient writing device because anything can be thrown into the alternate reality blender to be made into an acceptable smoothie of storytelling.
The story took some mighty twists, and I have problems with the explanation and existence of a certain mid-warp transportation technology which should not exist according to Star Trek canon. I also have great trouble believing some of the events which led to a young Kirk taking captaincy – moments which I shall call That Would Never Happen (TWNH), such as Captain Pike promoting Kirk to first officer, or Scotty suddenly taking over the engineering. I am tempted to throw a TWNH at the romantic involvement of Spock and a certain someone, but I shall desist, because clearly in an alternate universe, anything can happen.
Criticisms notwithstanding, this was indeed a bold endeavour, and I strongly feel that they have succeeded – after all, if it can convert non-trekkies into the fandom after 40 years of people steadily destroying the franchise, after 40 years of being made fun of in every way possible, then it must not just be me who feels the movie was simply awesome.
To the star trek franchise: Live long and prosper!