Friday, May 08, 2009

Review of the Star Trek movie

I liked it. This is the Star Trek movie worth the waiting for. J.J.Abrams did a great job of rebooting a tired old franchise to injected in a shot from the fountain of youth. Looking at the cast, one wonders why is all these youngsters running around, let alone running the flagship of Star Fleet, USS Enterprise NCC-1701.

Like his previous movie, Mission Impossible and television series Lost, Abrams has given us a non-stop action movie involving grand space battles, fistfights, guns/phaser shots and destruction of planets. This is an action Star Trek oriented Star Trek movie that should appeal to all science fiction buffs of all ages.

[warning. Contains spoilers]

The movie opens with a future Romulan spaceship Narada, captained by a half crazed Nero, entering Federation space through a blackhole. Encountering a Federation spaceship USS Kelvin, the Narada destroyed it. In its last moments, the Federation spaceship was captained by George Kirk, the father of James Tiberius Kirk. At that instant at the beginning first few seconds of the movie, it should be apparent to all hardcore Star Trek fans (Trekkers or Trekkies) that something is different. Something has changed.

As the movie progress and it is twenty years later. Ambassador Spock came through the same blackhole and was captured by Captain Nero. Captain Nero, who blamed Spock for the destruction of Romulus (this was told well in the comic prequel series Countdown) then proceeded to destroy Vulcan (by using 'red matter' to create a blackhole), after first destroying a whole Starfleet armada (except Enterprise, of course). As revealed by the comic series Countdown, the Narada which was a mining vessel was enhanced by Romulan and Borg technologies, making it the most powerful ship in the galaxy. Captain Nero then continued to earth to destroy it. He was stropped by the crew of the Enterprise.

It was a novel way to reboot the Star Trek universe. Over more that 45 years, the Star Trek universe has became incredibly detailed as the television series, movies, fan stories, novels, comics, computer games, and fan-pictures each add to the corpus . One has only to look at the encyclopedic websites Memory Alpha , the wiki Memory Beta and the Star Trek Fan: Expanded Universe to appreciate the incredible details writers, Trekkies, Trekkers and others have added. At the Star Trek shipyards, one can also download detailed schematics of each class of spaceships. Against all these odds, Abrams has chosen instead to create a new timeline where he can develop the similar crew of the Enterprise. In a new timeline, he can do whatever he likes without the old guards crying foul.

He has selected a brand new and young cast to act as James Kirk, Spock, McCoy (who does look eerily like a young Deforest Kelly), Uhura, Chekov, Sulu and Scotty. They are young and Abrams will have the opportunity to develop their characters in the sequels. They are likely to be slightly different from the Original Series.

The movie is fun to watch with plenty of action and comedy. Embedded in the movies are many references to all the Star Trek series and it will be fun to find all these references. I cannot wait for the DVD to come out. In the Original Series, the relationship of the crew is always with the ship Enterprise. Enterprise often gets more airtime than some of the actors. Abrams seem to downplay the spaceship, making it no more than a background. Though the CG makes the Enterprise bigger and sleeker, its interior however looks more like an oil refinery with enormous pipes and walkways.

Another thing that is absent is the music theme. One thing that holds all the many television series and movies together is the Star Trek music. The Star Trek theme music is conspicuously absent. And also the 'where no man has gone before' narration. Sigh. I missed that.

This is historical and excellent piece of cinematography. We had the Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS), Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9), Star Trek: Voyager (STV), Star Trek: Enterprise. Now Abrams offers us Star Trek: The Mother of Presequel (MOP) or Star Trek: The Alternate Version (TAV).

Live Long and Prosper (reboot when necessary).

What others say:

Star Trek bursts back to life with a resplendence, charm and gusto that are thrilling to see. Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

Thinking Faith
Film Review: Star Trek
Reviewed by Ged Clapson
Prequels are a difficult genre to pull off – particularly when they relate to a programme like Star Trek, which has a cult following with very high expectations. This film is the prequel to end all prequels. It’s rich in subtle humour. It honours the best of human nature: sacrifice, friendship, compassion. Read more >>

They're back, the crew of the Starship Enterprise, to boldly remake a cult sci-fi hit that first appeared on TV in the mid-1960s.

Plenty of Fresh Enterprise by The Independent

They're back, the crew of the Starship Enterprise, to boldly remake a cult sci-fi hit that first appeared on TV in the mid-1960s.

New York Times by Manohla Dargis

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Anonymous Coffee Nomad said...

I absolutely loved all the characters except for the new Spock -- i liked the original stoic version more than the new condescending version

4:15 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Coffee Nomad,

Welcome. I agree with you. Somehow the younger Spock don't act like 'Spock.' I still go with Spock Prime.

12:27 AM  

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