Star Trek is back! Spoilers!
I saw the new Star Trek movie today and it was completely awesome. Star Trek has returned from its long slumber that was brought about by tired writers and clueless producers.
Be Warned there will be spoilers below. If you don't want to read them, proceed no further.
A little bit of background on my life as a Trekkie... I've been a Star Trek fan since The Next Generation's (TNG) fifth season (1991-1992). I've seen every episode and film multiple times and have an extensive collection of novels from the re-launch series by Pocket Books.
My favorite series was Deep Space Nine (DS9) for being so creative and trying (in vain) to inject some real drama and action into a slipping series. The show was the most inventive with compelling characters and storylines. I stuck with Voyager (VOY) and Enterprise (ENT) even though I knew that they were killing the franchise and it was painful to watch most episodes. The final nail in the coffin was really 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. It was a bloated, horrid film that was beat at the box office by a Jennifer Lopez flick. Unfortunately, Enterprise puttered along was finally killed (after some new writers tried to salvage the mess) in May 2005 (Its best episode came in that last season).
Now four years later Star Trek is returning to the big screen and it's roots first seen in The Original Series (TOS). JJ Abrams (Lost, MI:III) with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) have created an excellent story that takes us back to the days of James T. Kirk and Spock's first adventures aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Through the use of a black-hole and time-travel a villainous Romulan (Nero) travels to the past to extract his revenge on the United Federation of Planets, Spock, and the entire Vulcan people. By altering the past during his quest the old canon is thrown away and a new universe of possibilities (and stories) is created.
First of all. I loved this movie!
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it!
I'm, still, a bit in awe, so I'll need some time to digest, but everything in this movie worked so well for me.
I was never a Canon-ista and most of the time I felt that Star Trek's 43 years of Canon bloated down the stories and limited what could be told. This movie literally creates a whole alternate universe and truly wipes out that past, so that new stories can be told.
My thoughts on the film!
I actually got weepy when George Kirk, Sr. rammed his ship (U.S.S. Kelvin) into the Romulan ship (Narada) and sacrificed himself. He did this so his wife, son(s?), and rest of the crew could have the time to flee before the Narada recovered and slaughtered them all.
25 years later... The Enterprise was so beautiful in action. She looked and felt every bit the heavy cruiser that she is. Especially when backing out of spacedock. The shot where she climbs out of Titan's (Saturn's Moon) cloud layer was stunning. Now, I think that they moved the bridge further down into the saucer dome, but even that made sense as the bridge always felt so exposed at the top of the saucer. I was, also, worried about how Engineering would look since it was filmed in an actual brewery, but it really looked wonderful. The pipes and knobs just felt correct. It made the ship appear so vast.
The cast... Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and Simon Pegg as Scotty were great. I was so worried about Pegg, because is such a ham in his other roles. Both were perfectly cast and brought such joy to the characters. I had a hard time adjusting to Anton Yelchin's voice for Chekov. It was stereotypically Russian, but since the actor was born in Russia, I figure that he knows best.
It was nice to hear Majel Barrett-Roddenberry's voice as the computer one final time (She passed in December after recording her voice). Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike, Chris Pine as Kirk, and Zachary Quinto as Spock were perfect in their respective roles, but I wasn't really worried about those casting choices. Zoe Saldana was very good as Uhura, but I'm not sure how I feel about her relationship with Spock (he is a senior officer).
For me, Ben Cross had the hardest role to
portray in Sarek (Spock's father). Mark Lenard originated the role and was outstanding. Cross gave a perfectly
acceptable performance as Sarek, but his role was quite minor as most of his scenes were cut. I look forward to seeing some of his
cut scenes on the DVD. Was Winona Ryder even in this film? Heh! She barely had any scenes as Amanda (Spock's mother) and then she was dead. Now, Amanda's death was really shocking when I read the spoilers, as she was
always a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, the character barely had anything to do
in the film, so her grisly death didn't really get to me.
The Kobayashi Maru test sequence was hilarious. I had hoped we'd get to see the one of the two times that Kirk failed the test, but the ingenious decision to reprogram the test was nice to see. Pine's swaggering and eating an apple was ridiculously delightful and perfectly Kirk.
Finally, it was wonderful to see Leonard Nimoy return to play an Older Spock from the future and the Prime universe. Watching him try to stop Nero from destroying the planet Vulcan and then failing was gut wrenching. Especially, for a Vulcan who suppresses his emotions. For the audience, watching Vulcan implode was shocking and really universe altering. Though, in Star Trek alternate universes are common.
I take comfort in knowing that in the Prime universe all our favorite characters still exist. Though, we'll never see them again. There will always be comics and novels for fans to enjoy.
All in all I give it a 9.5 out of 10. It's probably the best Star Trek in the last 25 years. I eagerly look forward to a sequel. Especially, if it is in the hands of JJ Abrams.