Wednesday, May 20, 2009
REVIEW: Star Trek
Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Leonard Nimoy
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13
In 2005, Paramount Pictures was eager to make another Star Trek film and contacted writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who were writing Mission Impossible 3 for Paramount. Orci and Kurtzman asked J.J. Abrams, their producer for Mission Impossible 3, to produce the new Trek film after filming was finished for M-I-3. In February 2007, Abrams accepted Paramount's offer to direct the film, but only went through with it because he wanted to help out writers Kurtzman and Orci who had a tough time looking for the right director. It was only after reading the script that Abrams felt compelled to do it himself rather than let someone else do it. He wanted to be the one that gives this old franchise a new face and blast it to fifth gear. Nearing the end of 2008, the film was essentially done and ready to make the December date. Paramount instead chose to delay the film by 5 months since they believed the movie would perform better during the summer rather than the winter.
The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before!
The only thing that pops into my mind when someone mentions Star Trek is the fact that their is character named Spock who has pointy ears. I hardly know anything about the series that has been a cultural phenom from day one. The good thing about the new Star Trek film is the fact that you don't have to be a "Trekkie" to enjoy it. Director J.J. Abrams did something that not every director is capable of. He rebooted the series and made it more accessible to more audiences. Nolan did this with Batman Begins and now Abrams has done it with Star Trek. The writers chose to stick with a time travel storyline that mostly works out fine, but does run into some hurdles. The story is mostly predictable and hardly feels fleshed out. The characters although very entertaining and lovable, hardly show enough emotion to make them feel human. I also wasn't impressed with the main villain of the movie, Nero. I was confused at times on what his motives were and what he was trying to establish. It also doesn't help that his presence on screen is hardly enough to capture the feeling of "this is a bad guy and hes trying to destroy the world" type thing. The films dialogue can also be simply cheesy at times and come off funny when its trying to look serious. The cameo appearance by former Spock, Leonard Nimoy is also a nice addition to fans of the series, but wheres William Shatner? After all, the film is about Kirk and Spock. Shatner's cameo would have only made that more faithful. Still, the film does prove to be entertaining and simply exhilarating at times. It mixes the right amount of humor and special effects to create a film that is essentially viewable to anyone. I have high hopes for the series and its going to be interesting to see how it pans out.
Chris Pine steps in the shoes of William Shatner to play Capt. James T. Kirk. He gives a fine performance that I wouldn't really call special, but pretty damn entertaining. He had tough shoes to fill, but I'm glad he made his own version of Kirk instead of following what Shatner would have done. Hes sleazy, upbeat and ready to start trouble. I like how he kind of made his character the screw up in the film. He made it so everyone in the theater knew that was our hero. Zachary Quinto fills in for Leonard Nimoy as young Spock. Quinto does a good job of mimicking what Nimoy as Spock would have done. It also helps that Quinto looks like a perfect Spock when it comes to facial recognition. Abrams makes Spock feel like an isolated animal and one that everyone seems to pick on. Its interesting to see how his relationship with Kirk begins and how its only going to get stronger in the upcoming sequels. Eric Bana plays as the evil being of the film, Nero. His performance is a mixed bag in my opinion. Although I think Bana is a wonderful actor in most of his movies, he feels alittle weak here. His screen time is somewhat short compared to everyone else and I cant help, but feel that he isn't right for the part. I still enjoyed his character to some extent, but also felt that someone else could have easily played this part more better. Karl Urban plays as Kirk's friend, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Urban does a pretty good job in this role, but he also looks a tad older than everyone else thus making him feel somewhat out of place. I would have personally went with James Marsden.
The visual look of Star Trek is easily the best aspect of the movie. The films special effects are pretty top notch and definitely deliver when needed. They aren't the best effects I have seen, but they still make for some pretty awesome scenes. The most notable scene is when Nero destroys a certain planet and you can literally see the planet being sucked into a black hole. The image is also free of film grain and features a strikingly smooth picture. I didn't notice any micro-blocking or scratches. Colors are also fine tuned to stand out. The picture isn't bleeding with color, but everything seems nicely done in terms of color. Black levels are also strong and probably the best I have seen from a new release. The lighting is fantastic and never manages to make the image seem too dark that you cant see anything. Flesh tones are accurate and realistic. They seem natural and perfectly fitting for the movie. Detail is generally solid and should hold up well in High Def. The image isn't as sharp as say The Dark Knight or the previously just released X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it still fares better than some of the other new releases released this month.
The soundtrack in Star Trek is simply smashing. The films original music is composed by Michael Giacchino who also composed the animated Pixar hit, Ratatouille and J.J. Abram's island hit, Lost. His score for the movie is pretty good and goes well with the new updated cast. Theirs a good amount of music in the film and it definitely makes every scene alot more enjoyable than it normally is. The original Star Trek theme is also played in some scenes and it still sounds fine even to this day. Its amazing that music hasn't aged one bit. With a film like Star Trek and director J.J. Abram's name on the table, you are bound to expect alot in terms of bass. I'm happy to report that just like the Abrams produced monster flick "Cloverfield", Star Trek is definitely another winner. The bass is strong and truly dynamic. The theater was rocking and every little thing was heard loudly, and clearly. The film doesn't disappoint in terms of bass and hardly allows you enough time to catch your breath. I imagine the film to sound even more powerful once it hits Blu Ray.
Star Trek is a good film and one that's definitely worth watching for pure entertainment values. The film not only makes it more accessible for non Star Trek fans to enjoy, but its also currently the best summer flick to watch. After the disappointing release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the soon to be released Terminator Salvation (judging by the latest reviews the film has been getting), Star Trek is likely to be the Iron Man of this summer. The film has wonderful characters that are fun to watch and care for. The story ain't perfect and the dialogue can come off cheesy at times, but the amount of humor, and right action scenes more than make up for it. The visual look of the film is simply dazzling at times and definitely eye candy in some scenes. The soundtrack is wonderful and pretty awesome to listen to. I can easily recommend this film to those looking for a summer action movie. Its fun, its accessible and very much entertaining. Star Trek is definitely worth your theater money.