Posted on 19 May 2009.
Thank you J.J. Abrams for not only meeting my expectations with Star Trek, but also surpassing them. You are now the saving grace behind the franchise and you gave it a much-needed dose of adrenaline. Through all the years that I’ve liked Star Trek, I’ve never experienced a mass communities excitement over a new film set in that universe. Usually people would mock it and often associate its fan base with being “nerds” or “dorks.” Especially in the past seven years, Star Trek was at a low point. The last film, Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) was the lowest grossing film of the franchise and its last remaining TV Show, “Star Trek: Enterprise” was canceled in 2005. There was little interest by the public and it appeared Star Trek would just be a celebrated franchise of the past. Thanks to director Abrams, I can now (for the first time) talk about Star Trek with anyone and not feel embarrassed about it.
I loved this movie. Loved it. I’m perhaps saying this because I’m a huge fan, but anyone will enjoy this. This Trek takes a different approach, by making the characters more human than before. Abrams (not a “trekkie,” but actually a Star Wars fan) had the right idea by taking the characters of Kirk, Spock etc. and focusing on their younger lives, before they joined Starfleet. We are already familiar with these characters and we get a chance to see them when they were young, reckless, inexperienced and only on the verge of greatness. Of course, how can younger audiences be familiar with these characters when they weren’t exposed to the shows? Easy, Abrams plays it loyal to the original show, but starts from the beginning of everything so we become familiar with the characters at the start of their lives. We all start from the beginning.
When a Starship named the U.S.S Kelvin is investigating a strange black hole, it’s mysteriously attacked by a huge ship coming from the hole. When the Kelvin asks the mystery ship about the unprovoked attack, they respond by asking the captain, Richard Robau (Faran Tahir), to come aboard. Robau meets Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan miner bent on revenge. Robau is unfamiliar with Nero’s questioning and is killed as the Romulan ship continues its attack on the U.S.S. Kelvin. The acting captain, George Kirk, takes control of the Kelvin and orders the evacuation of the ship, including his pregnant wife. When his son is born during the evacuation, he names him James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk Sr. collides with the Romulan ship on a suicide mission to give the rest of the crew time to get away. It’s revealed that the Romulans were accidentally sucked into the black hole while their home world, Romulas, was destroyed by a supernova. The Romulans, who were from the 24th century, realize they’re 154 years in the past and can’t get back. Before the time warp, Nero was seeking revenge on Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) after he failed to save Romulas.
Twenty years after the Kelvin attack, an older Kirk (Chris Pine) is convinced by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to join Starfleet. Spock (Zachary Quinto) also joins Starfleet because he doesn’t feel fully accepted by the Vulcan culture, since he’s half human. While at Starfleet, Kirk meets and befriends Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) and Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana). After beating the impossible Kobayashi Maru test (a Starship bridge simulation test), Kirk is accussed of cheating (which he did) by Spock (who programmed it) and must stand before the Academy to await his punishment. This is one of the few times where Abrams actually references an older Star Trek movie, which talked about Kirk cheating the Kobayashi Maru in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. During the hearing, Starfleet receives a distress call from Vulcan (Spock’s home world) that they’re under attack from an unknown ship. Kirk is suspended indefinitely and the rest of the cadets are rushed into action aboard the brand new U.S.S. Enterprise (which hasn’t even had a maiden voyage). Kirk, wanting to get into the action, becomes a fake patient of McCoy’s and he manages to sneak aboard the Enterprise. While on board, Captain Pike discovers Kirk and promotes him to first officer, since he had a terrific tactical record at the Academy. Spock is also promoted to captain in case something ever happens to Pike. Kirk recognizes the similarities between the attack of the Kelvin and Vulcan and warns the crew that the Romulans are behind it. The Enterprise must travel to Vulcan to stop the attack during which Kirk and Spock are uneasy with each other.
Star Trek will certainly rank at No. 2 on my “From First to Worst” list of the Star Trek films. It is also the first Star Trek movie to features the Romulans as the principal antagonists, despite them being the longest running de facto alien villains of the TV series. I was really impressed with Eric Bana as Nero. You feel for him, but also hate him at the same time. Chris Pine is a good Kirk and didn’t do any William Shatner impressions. I can’t say he’s better than Shatner, but we’ll see over time, as he develops the character in future reprisals. He portrays Kirk on a new level and it’s good to see the character young again, not an overweight captain who wears a “Go Climb a Rock” t-shirt (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier). Karl Urban is eye-popping as McCoy. Not only did he quote famous lines like “God damn it Jim,” but he also has the same speech delivery and body mannerisms as the original McCoy, DeForest Kelly. Urban did mimic Kelly, yes, but did it so well that it works in his favor. He was very funny and definitely one of the brightest parts of the movie. The best performance, however, goes to Zachary Quinto as Spock. He looks like a younger Leonard Nimoy reincarnated, but plays it better than Nimoy ever has. Quinto’s Spock is a lot darker and edgier, which easily makes him the most interesting character. Nimoy returns as an older Spock (Spock Prime) and I got chills when I saw the legendary character return to the big screen. Nimoy plays Spock as cool and intellectual as ever and I was glad Abrams made him a major character and didn’t reduce him to a stupid cameo. Simon Pegg as Scotty and Anton Yelchin as Chekov also provide the movie with some humor. I did, however, think Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of Uhura is weak, as it’s forced and actually made her come across as a bitch.
The effects are good (provided by Industrial Light and Magic), but the true visuals were the actors. They made us fall in love with the characters all over again and even improved on some of them, mainly Kirk and Spock. Abrams focuses on the most important element of Star Trek, the characters, and it paid off. Yes, it’s an action-oriented Star Trek and it has mind-blowing special effects, but it’s the characters that ultimately draw us in. Once again, thank you J.J. Abrams for making a once proud franchise, proud again.
Posted on 06 April 2009.
I’m so excited for Star Trek. I’m a self-admitted fan and have attended “Star Trek” conventions in the past. I’m only a causal “Trekkie,” however. I’m not someone who dresses like a Star Fleet officer or gets married in Klingon make-up. I’m sure the others from The Film Nest ranks will not show the same love for Star Trek as I do, but hopefully they will boldly go where no non-Star Trek fan has gone before by seeing this movie. I was a huge fan of the Star Trek “Original Series” (William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, etc.) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, etc.).
Gene Roddenbarry originally created “Star Trek” as a sci-fi TV show in 1966. It only lasted three seasons and it was then cancelled. The show, thanks to reruns, gained a huge cult following and it ended up spawning an animated series, four additional TV series and ten movies. Star Trek will be the eleventh feature of the series and it will be one of the rare times I will favor a “reboot.” I’m glad J.J Abrams decided go back to what originally made “Star Trek” famous, with Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Spock. McCoy, Scotty, etc. I hope (I’m sure Abrams and the studio are thinking the same thing) it will reintroduce Star Trek to a whole new audience.
Star Trek will follow the early lives of James Kirk (Chris Pine, Smokin Aces) and Spock (Zachary Quinto, “Heroes”) before they joined Starfleet Academy. When a rebel Romulan (pretty much looks like a Vulcan, pointy ears) named Nero (Eric Bana, Munich) comes from the future to destroy the United Federation of Planets, the young crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is sent to intercept him. Following Nero from the future is an older incarnation of Spock (Leonard Nimoy, to bring the reboot credibility) to help assist the inexperienced team. Star Trek will feature how Kirk assumes command of the Enterprise as captain. The movie also explains Kirk’s father’s (Chris Hemsworth) role in Starfleet, something the Star Trek series hasn’t really touched upon.
Star Trek is directed and produced by J.J Abrams, who also directed Mission: Impossible III and produced Cloverfield. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who both collaborated on such movies as Transformers and Mission: Impossible III, wrote the screenplay. I feel relieved these two have given this movie justice by bringing back the old costumes and staying faithful to the “Star Trek” story. The rest of the cast comprises of Scotty (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead), Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban, Lord of the Rings), Uhura, (Zoe Saldana, Vantage Point), Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin, Alpha Dog) and Hikaru Sulu (John Cho, Harold and Kumar).
I’m stoked about this movie after seeing the excellent trailer. I’m sure thousands of Trekkies will flock to see this, but I think that someone not familiar with Star Trek whatsoever will enjoy it as well. This could possibly be the best Star Trek movie to date.\
Star Trek opens May 8th.
Posted on 03 April 2009.
Wrapping up the week, we have found some more interesting tidbits to share with you in our Film News Daily.
The biggest deal of the week is that we added the Bruno trailer yesterday. It looks every bit as funny as Borat. Fooking hilarious!
Also, see our The Hangover trailer with Mike Tyson. We have seen the movie, our review is dropping soon.
Rabbit Hole has had Nicole Kidman attached for some time but now [Production Weekly] reports that Aaron Eckhart will join her. This is supposed to be a major tear-jerker (the movie, not the news – and not because Two-Face is not Eckhart’s character).
Little Fockers appears to be the next project on the horizon for Paul Weitz. This should be the final installment in the comedic series where Meet The Parents was good and Meet The Fockers was not. [Rope of Silicon]
Stringer Bell, bka Idris Elba, and Star Trek‘s Queen Uhura, Zoe Saldana, become part of DC Comics’ The Losers, along with Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen infamy. [Screenrant] has more goods on the prospects.
[MTV] has more goods on David Cronenberg’s The Matarese Circle which is supposed to star both Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise. That is one of the biggest star pairings in years as far as I can tell, but Cronenberg has more quirky tastes than most blockbusters would allow. This one is interesting.
Vin Diesel and Chris Pine are officially in for Green Lantern. [Moviehole] actually says check that. Pine is close to signing for the lead in “Lantern” and Diesel is looking to play “Sub-Mariner” in another comic property film.
Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) has added Ben Stiller to his untitled film that is underway in LA. Stiller is doing drama this time (a welcome departure, I think) says [Film School Rejects] and Rhys Ifans is also on board.
Sex And The City 2 gets an official release date of May 28, 2010. Mark your calenders. Or don’t. I’m still hopeful it will be re-cast and re-titled, “More Sex, Less City.”
[ShockTilYouDrop] has info on Scott Nicholson’s “The Home” book adaptation turned film. It’s a horror novel in which experimental treatment on chidlren brings back the spirits of the titular house”s former residents.