10 May 2009

Star Trek - The Spoiler-Free-ish Review

*** WARNING: While I won't be going into plot details, I may spill a hint or two about the movie. If you haven't yet seen the movie and you wish to be surprised when you do, you might want to stop reading this review now. But if you don't care, by all means, read away. ***

Star Trek has been a major part of the American psyche since 1966 and has permeated our lives in ways many of us don't even realize. Cell phones, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), speech translation devices and web sites, and GPS are all technologies that we have today thanks to the vision of Gene Roddenberry. Quotes such as "Live long, and prosper", "I'm a doctor, not a ...", "That is illogical", "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?", "He's dead, Jim", "There seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.", "Beam me up", and "Space, the final frontier ..." are part of our American vernacular. Everyone knows that the unfamiliar red-shirted security officer accompanying the main characters on an away mission will be the only person to die.

I said all of that to say this ... if you profess to know nothing of the original Star Trek universe, you're an idiot and a liar. The original series (and movies) set the tone, the pace, the humor, and the rules of interaction for its other Star Trek children. If you've seen Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, or Star Trek: Enterprise then you've seen the original Star Trek series.

And I said all of that to say this ... the Star Trek of J.J. Abrams universe is not the Star Trek you've come to know, not completely.

In other words, forget about 90% of everything you've come to know about Star Trek. That universe has forever been altered.

I'm not going to go into details about the hows and whys because I would like to keep some mystery for those of you who have not yet seen the movie. Suffice it to say that time traveling is involved. Now I'm not fan of time travel as a plot device. I think it's lazy writing. Write yourself in a corner? Time travel! Run out of ideas? Time travel! Want to relive the past? Oh, now that's too easy. But this movie, this plot, this time travel ... these writers have incorporated it in a way ... the only way I've ever seen ... that says, "Yeah, we did this. And it will change everything." And, boy, does it ever!

Of course, there are things that will not change. The Kirk-Spock-McCoy ménage à trois bromance is not in full bloom, but the seeds have been sown. The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise will become the close-knit family we've always known. And our favorite characters will continue to spout out those oh-so-famous catch-phrases we've come to know and love.

Trekkers and Trekkies, or anyone who is familiar with the original series, will be severely rewarded with little here-and-theres sprinkled throughout this film. Abrams, his writers, and his cast have tons of hat-tips to the original series and cast. Watch for nods to Star Trek: The Wrath Of Kahn, Star Trek: Enterprise, the original series pilot "The Cage", the TNG double episode "Unification", and the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", to name a few. Also, the new actors pay homage to the original actors without becoming parrots or caricatures.

As a hardcore Trek fan (though far from being a Trekker/Trekkie), I'm pretty well versed in all things Trek. I've seen all the various series (except for that horrid Star Trek: Enterprise). I've seen all the movies. I get upset with things are not right or out of line with Roddenberry's vision.

Until this movie.

It's so well written, so well directed, and so well acted. And SO MUCH BLOODY FUN! Abrams has resurrected this dying franchise and is poised to shape it in his own image. And that's not a bad thing.

Do yourself a favor and go see it.

1 comment:

Nomad said...

Now, if only J.J. Abrams would reboot Wolverine, X-Men Origins...