Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek - "Damnit Jim!..."

Star Trek
Director: JJ Abrams
Date: May 8th 2009

I grew up with a dad that was a huge Star Trek (the original series) fan. I watched all the episodes and absorbed as much as my teen mind would accept without rejection.

I have recently gotten hooked on the comic movie phenomenon - and while this isn't comic inspired, it is sci-fi and deals with "mutant" or "alien" type life forms. I had mixed feelings as I decided whether or not to see it. Part of me was like -BAH, dorky sci-fi flick, I don't wanna see it. The other part, remembers the characters and was so intrigued about how some of my favorite actors would fit into this legendary roles.

First off - the legend begins with JJ Abrams. His direction is superb. I kept reminding myself he created one of my favorite shows....LOST. As the movie progresses, you can see his genius. Clean and wonderful shots, crisp and gorgeous scenery, but also some shots reminiscent of the original series (ie the "shaky" scenes when the ship is in turmoil) those made me laugh. But also the COMEDY. He had to have worked with the writers on this a bit, because the comedy was perfectly timed and had you laughing so often - very similar to how LOST does.

Casting. One word. Perfection. If you were familiar with ANY of the legendary characters from the original series - you will appreciate and be in utter shock at how similar they are. Zachary Quinto as Spock. He is an amazing Sylar in NBC's "Heros", so I had no doubt he would be able to portray the outwardly emotion-less, however inwardly soft Vulcan first mate. He surpassed what I thought he would do, and with surprise roll of Leonard Nemoy, (you have to see it to get it) it was like a cherry on top.

The break out performance of the movie, by far was Chris Pine as Cpt. James T. Kirk. He truly shocked me, first with his comic timing, and then with his uncanny ability to create the same cocky and flirtatious moments, as effortless and as identical to William Shatner. His sexy prowess toward all women who crossed his path was equally matched by his bad boy rebelliousness to the federation and Spock.

The supporting characters - who truly made the original series what they were - were not overlooked either. McCoy, who made the statement "Damnit Jim...." famous - was wonderfully portrayed by Karl Urban (best known for his roll in the LOTR trilogy as Eomer). Jim's side kick and buddy in Federation school as well as on the Enterprise. Zoe Saldana played Uhura - which at first you think will be the love interest for Kirk. The twist is surprising but cute and sweet to watch. She was fairly reserved in the series, and she carries the same character quite well over to the movie.

Chekov and Sulu were cast questionably for me, at first, but redeemed themselves quickly. Anton Yelchin played Chekov, his Russian accent being the funniest part of most of his scenes. John Cho (best known for his lead role in Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle) was a great Sulu, and actually he could have had more scenes, as I remember Sulu being more prominent. Lastly but certainly not least, Scotty. I remember this character as always slightly drunk, cracking jokes and making you giggle at the perfect times. Played brilliantly by Simon Pegg (best known for his lead role in Shaun of the Dead). My only complaint is that he was introduced so late in the movie, we really didn't have a chance to enjoy his character.

Lastly - the graphics. The graphics in the original series were nothing more than small ship models on strings. I remember them being comical they were so bad. Thats what made these graphics that much better. The Romulan ship was just thousands on jagged knife looking things - it was fresh. The Enterprise was just as I remembered it, only better. Overall, the graphics werent STUNNING, but they were impressive none the less.

The ending was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Just tears of joy when you experience something that has come full circle. When they show a new beginning, with old reminders and words....truly an enjoyable journey.

Rating: ***** the best movie i have seen in a while and most definitely in my top 10 of all time

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