Friday, May 15, 2009

Good reset

 

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I saw the new Star Trek on Wednesday with my wife. 

That comment alone should say something about falling for all the hype of the movie.  My wife is not a huge sci-fi fan, and really not a Star Trek fan, but with the constant positive reviews for the new Trek, who could resist? 

Let me first say that I’m not a huge Star Trek fan either.  I’ve watched all the movies, but hardly any of the original show.  I watched quite a bit of the Next Generation (Borg episodes are great), some of Deep Space Nine, little Voyager, and not a single episode of Enterprise.  If I were to rank the movies, it would look like this:

1.  Star Trek 2:  The Wrath of Khan

2.  Star Trek:  First Contact

3.  Star Trek 6:  The Undiscovered Country

4.  Star Trek:  The Motion Picture

5.  Generations and Search for Spock

And everything else.

I’ll come right out and say that this new Star Trek ranks second on the list for me.  In terms of a good summer sci-fi flick, Star Trek does a nice job.  The special effects are first rate.  It is the first and most obvious exception to the other Star Trek films.  I like the idea that if we are going to upgrade the series, do it right and spend the money.  They did a masterful job with visuals.  The actors not only nail down the traits of the former stars, but bring to the table an ability to evolve the characters into something even better.  They were young, fun, and gave the series a much needed vitality that attracts this generation of movie-goer.  I’ll admit that I had serious doubts that J.J. Abrams (the director) was going to be able resume a sci-fi series that for all intents and purposes should have been dead years ago.  Well, if the point was to bring in the next-gen cinema fan and reset the series to square one, Abrams nailed it down cold.  Bravo to him for that.  I’ll be watching the series in theaters in the future.

(SPOILERS BELOW) 

However, let’s not get out of control about the movie’s place in the Star Trek genre.  While very good, the film has flaws that The Wrath of Khan overcame back in 1982.  First of all, the storyline has been done many times over in the Star Trek Universe.  Time travel, change history, blah, blah.  Not very original.  Whereas the entire story of Khan was creative and took us places that we had never been, this story was pretty predictable.  We knew the outcome, not because we know the crew survives for the series, but because this has been done before.  Fine, so the planet Vulcan is destroyed.  Sorry, but that doesn’t come close to the response that Star Trek 2 received when Spock died.  It was shocking, sad, and genuine sense of loss gripped the hearts of movie fans everywhere.  And speaking of Spock, Leonard Nimoy’s scene’s in the new Trek flick seemed out of place.  He seemed overly emotional, too comical, and actually made some of the movie lose its flow.  Finally, the bad guy.  Eric Bana’s portrayal of Nero was good, but not fantastic by any means.  He was a working man’s villain that wasn’t really meant to be flamboyant and outgoing, which is fine for the film and I don’t mind.  But you really can’t compare Bana’s performance to that of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.  Khan Noonien Singh was angry, poetic, and vengeful in ways that were brilliantly portrayed on screen.  Montalban seemed to enjoy playing the part, and he will live on as being one of the best film villains.

So I’d give the movie a solid 9 out of 10, which is really a good rating.  It might be one of my top 100 of all time if I actually get around to figuring that list out.           

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