Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek: A Review

First off, I want to say I will do my best to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. There's nothing I hate more than looking up a review on a movie I've long-anticipated seeing and getting a chunk of surprise in the text I wasn't looking for.

That said, on to a little background: I have been watching some form of Star Trek since I was in the womb. My parents met at a Star Trek convention because they were both members of the same Star Trek fan club. They owned and operated a shop in my youth that was science-fiction and comic book oriented, and it was pretty normal in my house to go through periods where the question over dinner was, "What episode of Star Trek are we watching tonight?" I have seen them all, Original, ST:TNG, DS9, and the films, and I have been an unabashed fan for my whole life.

So, you can imagine the excitement/trepidation I felt about this latest "reboot"; how could they possibly update the franchise while still staying respectful and true to the original material?

Well, rest assured, all ye rabid fans out there: this film rocks.

I cannot stress enough how lovingly and capably the material is handled by Abrams and Co; he clearly understands the characters at their heart and really gets the way they interact, that special cameraderie that made the original series work so well. At the end, I really expected that moment of laughter amoung the crew you often got at the end of an episode, just before the credits rolled. Bones is irascible and irritable but also loyal and funny; Chekov is young and bright; Sulu is the right mix of calm/confident and nervous/inexperienced and boy, can he handle a sword; Uhura is warm and sexy but professional and driven; and Spock and Kirk . . . well, let's face it. Spock and Kirk were the glue of this franchise. If Chris Pine or Zachary Quinto had struck any wrong notes with their portrayals, this movie would have gone down in flames. But, they both managed to capture those characters while not doing imitations of another man's work; they understood who these people were and added their own spin, and you really feel as though you are seeing Spock and Kirk as their younger, less-tried, less-confident selves; still with so much to learn, but still so utterly familiar. Pine had, perhaps, the tougher job here; he had to take a performance that has almost become a characature itself and make it his own, and never did I feel he was doing an impression of Shatner doing Kirk. He was impulsive, brash, arrogant, and utterly the man in the room you look to for the decisions; the born leader, even when he doesn't seem to know what he's doing or have all the answers.

I also want to say a few words about Quinto's Spock, which was completely a delight to watch, especially for the clear counterpoint with his older self: Quinto's Spock is young, uptight and driven in a way Nimoy's Spock never needed to be; this is a Spock unsure of his place in the universe, still coming to grips with himself. He is a volcano trapped under a veneer of serenity, and Quinto manages to use every muscle of his face to portray the internal conflict always warring inside Spock. The most satisfying and surprising change Abrams and Co brought to the franchise comes through an unexpected relationship between Spock and another familiar Enterprise face; I won't reveal who, but I have to say that it is handled with depth and real emotion, and was utterly believable through the actors' warm portrayal. Some fans may feel betrayed, but I felt a sense of relief and delight in getting the chance to see Spock's humanity.

All in all, I can't wait to see Star Trek again, and I very, very rarely go to the theatre to see the same movie twice. It is funny, touching, reverential of the source material, and an absolute joy to experience. I have read of other fans who left the theatre weeping with joy; I have to say, I found myself tearing up at several points during the film, cheering, clapping, and as I left the theatre, I jumped up and down.

Go and see Star Trek: if you're already a fan, it will delight you. If you're not: welcome aboard.


Chyrls Origami said...

Its my first Star Trek movie I've ever watched and I loved it! Very well written review! So glad I found this blog!

Ginger said...

Thanks! Can't wait to see it again;)

Julia said...

I can't wait to see this tomorrow! My husband and I have a date to go see it :)

Ginger said...

Have fun;)

Brandy said...

I only read to the part that said this film rocks! Because that's all I need to I can go see it and feel good that I'm not wasting my money. Thanks for the review!

And for coming by on my SITS day last week!

Ginger said...

Gotta support the SITStas;)


I just reviewed this movie on my blog!! Glad to read that you liked it!!

Claire said...

Saw it over the weekend. Unlike you, I did not watch Star Trek while growing up but was familiar with who Spock & Kirk were. I loved the movie! Now I want to watch old Star Trek episodes =)

Ginger said...

Thanks for the comments! I recommend watching the show, if you haven't, but keep in mind that some episodes are better than others;)