Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Boldly Go...


Yesterday Bruce and I went to see the new Star Trek movie. It's been a long time since we've been to the movies but we're both Trek fans and the review in the NY Times was favorable, so we went. I'm happy to say that we enjoyed the film.

First, the casting was superb. Chris Pine captures the brashness of Kirk while Zachary Quinto captures Spock's conflicted nature. Their initial confrontations form a nice foundation for their future deep friendship. Karl Urban does a splendid job as a young McCoy - I've liked him ever since I saw him on Hercules and Xena. Zoe Saldana as a super-sexy super-smart Uhuru and Simon Pegg as the irreverent Scotty round out the main crew. John Cho does a nice job as Sulu and Anton Yelchin is fine as Chechov, although he seemed awfully young and why was he so smart?

I wasn't too crazy about the Romulans, but they were renegades so I could overlook the tattoos. I still don't know what to make of their ship.Yeah, it was big and scary and kind of cool but it really didn't make sense to me as a functioning spaceship. It was a mining ship, which I guess would account for the drill. But Red Matter? Seriously? Couldn't they have come up with something better?

I liked Leonard Nimoy showing up as Spock from the future and his ship was very cool. It reminded me of the Vulcan ship from Enterprise. The time travel angle creating an alternate future was a clever idea. It allowed the writers to pay homage to the original series without becoming locked in by the existing canon. I am not, however, a big fan of this technique as a plot device.

Ben Cross does a nice turn as Spock's father Sarek. I especially liked the scene between Sarek and the young Spock when Sarek explains that Vulcans are actually deeply emotional, but that they cultivate logic so that they are not ruled by their emotions. This was something I had twigged to when I was watching the original show, leading me to use Spock as one of my early role models.

Unfortunately Winona Ryder was not very memorable as Spock's mother Amanda. And what was the deal on the costumes for the female Vulcans?

But these criticisms are really just quibbles. Overall, a very good movie, and a worthy addition to the franchise. It might even give it a new lease on life. I especially liked the way the movie ended - with on updated version of the opening of the original show complete with a big E beauty pass and soaring original sound track, but with Leonard Nimoy doing the voice-over narration.

Sharp-eyed viewers will spot Paul McGillion (Dr. Carson Beckett of Stargate: Atlantis) in the scene where everyone is getting ship assignments.

My only other WTF moments: building a starship on Earth? Spock and Uhuru? A green Orion girl in Star Fleet?

And what about Nurse Chapel? Of course Majel was the computer voice. What will they do now that she is gone?

Oh, yeah, and where was Yoeman Rand?

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