Thursday, May 7, 2009

Make Seeing Star Trek Your Prime Directive

Full disclosure time.  I love Star Trek.

Like, a lot.

Growing up, one of my best memories is my entire family gathering together every Thursday night to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation together.  All of us, even my two younger sisters.  (Although they might deny it now, they loved TNG as much as I did.)  That was a special time and because of it Star Trek will always hold a special place in my heart.

It took a while, because I was definitely a TNGer, but my Aunt Julia had all of The Original Series on VHS (the height of technology at the time) and every time I visited East Texas, I watched some more of the crew that started it all and I began to appreciate the history that was behind Picard, Riker, Data, and my beloved Enterprise-D.

I remember clearly the first time that I saw City on the Edge of Forever and the way that it blew me away like no episode of television ever had before (although a few upcoming Next Generation episodes would have similar effects on me, most notably Inner Light and Time's Arrow, not to mention All Good Things...).  I remember seeing Space Seed and then watching Wrath of Khan shortly after and deciding that I did love the original crew just as much as the Next Generation crew.

I remember laughing and watching The Voyage Home over and over.  I remember being very disappointed in The Final Frontier and loving, loving The Undiscovered Country, the first Trek film I saw in theaters.

Star Trek is in my blood as much as my beloved Star Wars.  Whereas Star Wars was with me even before birth (my parents saw it while I was in utero and it shaped me, of that I have no doubt), Star Trek was with me growing up.

I was very concerned about this film.  As more and more was revealed and more and more reviews were released my hopes began to grow despite my fears that I would be disappointed.  Luckily those fears were unfounded.

I can say this with complete confidence as a huge fan of Star Trek.

Trekkies, there is no need to worry.  JJ did us right.

If you are a fan of Star Trek there are many moments at which you will SQUEE with excitement.  Moments to see for the very first time, moments that we've heard about, but never witnessed (hint, does Kobayashi Maru mean anything to you?).  There are the little in jokes that you hope for.  And most importantly, the spirit is there.  This feels like Star Trek is supposed to feel and looks like Star Trek is supposed to look.

For everyone who doesn't know a damn thing about Star Trek, this movie doesn't make you suffer for that.

It takes place before The Original Series (although after Enterprise, but trust me that doesn't matter, although if you did watch Enterprise, there is a nod to that series in the film) and technically in an alternate timeline since the plot of the film revolves around an event that happens at Kirk's birth (and the very opening of the film) that changes the future that we Star Trek fans know.

Unlike most prequels, which in a way this is, there is true suspense because we are immediately put into an alternate timeline.  The future that we know no longer necessarily exists.

Perfect for a reboot.

The new actors playing the main characters are all very good.  Chris Pine has most likely the hardest part as Kirk, and he really makes the character his own.  He doesn't even try to do a William Shatner impression, but instead embodies the same spirit that Shatner had as Kirk.  There are a couple of different times in the film where I went, "That's Kirk.  That is exactly what Kirk would do there."  In his body movements and his attitude, Chris Pine becomes Captain Kirk.

Zachary Quinto is dead on as Spock.  He is so good it almost makes me want to forgive how bad Heroes has become and catch back up just to see some more of his acting.

Karl Urban likewise captures Bones McCoy perfectly.  The second that he steps on screen (preceded by his voice) you just know it is Dr. McCoy.

Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelkin also do a great job recreating the iconic characters they play (Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov respectively).  I honestly couldn't have expected anything better from any of the cast.  And really, right there you've already solved most of the potential problems that could have occurred with this film.

The plot is without question the best plot in a Star Trek movie ever.  While if you made me rank the films I'd probably still put Wrath of Khan at the top, this film actually does give it a run for its money, and for those of you who aren't Star Trek fans, trust me, that is incredibly high praise.

The action is fantastic, the effects are the best Star Trek has ever seen (thank you Industrial Lights and Magic, aka Mr. Lucas), the plot is perfect, and like I said, the spirit is pure Star Trek.

Until Next Time, Whether you are a huge Star Trek fan or just a fan of good movies, "Boldly Go" to the theater now.  Make it so.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

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