Live long and prosper

Star Trek (2009) movie posterMy rating of Star Trek (2009): A (Outstanding)
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Bruce Greenwood, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana
Directed by: JJ Abrams
Studio: Paramount Pictures

Originally posted at Youthpad.

Late review, I know. I watched this movie a few weeks back (a few days before I came down with chickenpox) and have been meaning to do a review for quite some time. I was both looking forward and not looking forward to this movie. I was looking forward to it because it’s directed by J.J. Abrams (best known for the TV series Lost – I used to watch that for the first two seasons; those were the days when the series came close to making any kind of sense). I quite liked what he did with Mission: Impossible III. On the other hand, that guy was the writer for Armageddon. Yes, the same movie which is known for its highly scientifically accurate script, NOT! (That movie is a fun to watch though. Purely for its sheer lunacy coupled with a “Yee-haw!” attitude.) Also, the marketing for Star Trek was quite confused. All the trailers were pretty much identical to each other – and practically all of them used a different font for the movie name. Even the posters. Either there’s a Douglas Adams-ish tendency in the Trek universe to be inconsistent or they let an intern at Paramount create the publicity material.

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Watch the trailer for Star Trek

I must confess that I’m not a Trek fan. Despite George Lucas’s douchebaggery of always re-editing films all with quite weak storyline in the first place, I like the Star Wars series. probably because Darth Vader is the most badass villain ever! Still, I couldn’t let this opportunity of watching Star Trek pass being an SFF fan. I hadn’t seen much of the TV shows earlier expect for a few episodes, maybe a few Next Generation thrown in.

Good for me because this movie is supposed to be a ‘reboot’ of the whole movie series. Trekkies can enjoy it to and so can those who aren’t acquainted at all with the series. And the movie manages to achieve that admirably! The movie would probably be best enjoyed in IMAX but for now normal theatres would have to suffice in India.

The movie provides a detailed back-story of pretty much where all the main characters came from. At no point does the movie drag its feet – it’s action all the way till the credits but action not in the sense of a Michael Bay movie (where simply flushing a toilet might result in explosions). Thankfully there isn’t too much obnoxious product placement to deal with since a major part of the movie is set in space; deal with Godrej Aerospace Labs didn’t work out I guess. Except for this one scene in the very beginning where young James Kirk trashes his guardian’s car where there’s in-your-face promotion of a Nokia cellphone. Speaking of that scene, that was so totally unnecessary, especially the bit where Kirk does a daredevil stunt by jumping off a speeding car before it crashes off a cliff.

For a large part though this movie works because of the stellar performance of Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. The same Chris Pine who spent the days when he was young and foolish playing the role of a young and foolish guys in romantic comedies / Disney princess movies with his hands permanently in his pockets. Since all those parts only required him to stand in one corner and ‘look handsome’ we didn’t get to see much of his acting abilities. If there was ever one guy you’d expect to screw-up his serious film debut then it was Chris Pine, and Chris Pine proved all his critics wrong. He plays the role of a drunk, reckless, skirt-chasing son of gun who has the balls to storm enemy ships with bravado to perfection.

The other praiseworthy performance comes from Zachary Quinto as Spock. No doubt this is his breakout role – he hasn’t even acted in anything in particular in the past! His one task as a Vulcan was to be emotionless and he manages to keep that facade up most of the time. The times when he does lose are ones where he is supposed to lose it according to the script. The voice he used has a startling resemblance to Alan Rickman’s in the Harry Potter movie series.

None of the other characters get much screen time. Keeping up Hollywood tradition we have Anton Yelchin’s character from ‘Mowther Rosshia’ who ‘kennot spik Engleesh’ properly who provides comic relief. Simon Pegg’s short but crazy performance as Scotty (he also played the role of Benji in MI3) is nice. Eric Bana as the Romulan leader Nero was disappointing – no memorable dialogues to remember because most of the time he kept barking words along the lines of “Fire everything!” (maybe that was intentional, as a reference to the Roman emperor). Then there’s dewy eyed Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike, Karl Urban as Leonard McCoy and that guy Harold from Harold & Kumar who make up the motley crew of Starship Enterprise. They all do their parts…but nothing much to speak of since they’re all pretty much replaceable doorknobs in the storyline.

On the whole, this movie gets a thumbs-up / don’t-miss if you’re science fiction / fantasy lover whether or not you’re already aware of the happenings in Trek universe. If you aren’t into science fiction then you’ll find this space opera movie boring – avoid.

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