29 May 2009

Star Trek

Star Trek
starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho,
Anton Yelchin
,Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Bana written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
based on "Star Trek" created by Gene
Roddenberry
directed by J.J. Abrams

Paramount, 120 mins., 2009


Frakktacular!

OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!! !OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH
MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!

Star Trek
is awesome! Outstanding! Perfect! Fantastic! Fun! Witty! Brilliant! Amazing! Pretty! Majestic! Glamorous!

By the time I have finally sat down to write this full review, I've seen Star Trek three times; it's impossible for the movie to get old. In fact, this sci-fi epic may very well surpass my 'theatrical movie quota' of seven viewings awarded to Star Wars - Episode III: Reve
nge of the Sith in 2005, it's THAT damn good. The movie is exciting and wonderfully acted. Quite simply, it's perfect in my eyes. And because of my uber-love for the movie and my nutty state of 'Woah', I find it difficult to write anything of actual substance, so I've thus decided to go the '5 Reasons Why' route in my review. As follows:

- The cast. Pitch perfect. Chris Pine (Smokin's Aces) as James T. Kirk was simply brilliant; he personifies Kirk perfectly. Equally awesome is Karl Urban (The Bourne Supremacy) as Leonard McCoy - I would honestly purchase a $10 DVD that has his scenes alone and wouldn't call it a waste of money. Zachary Quinto (TV: Heroes) is basically the only choice for our Vulcan friend Spock, and he performs above expectations (that's a good thing); completely channeling Nimoy but making the character his own, Quinto's Spock is a highlight. Bruce Greenwood's Captain Pike is awesome, and delivers some of the best lines from the movie. Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), John Cho (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay), and Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation) are all terrific in their respective roles of Soctty, Sulu and Chekov; I'm especially fond of Cho's Sulu, kinda iffy on Yelchin's Chekov as it's the only one of the lot that doesn't feel completely 100% true to form, and Pegg's Scotty is a delight every second onscreen. Zoe Saldana's Uhura definitely deserved more screentime (though the same thing could be said for Scotty). Last but certainly not least, Eric Bana as the vengeance-driven Nero: completely unstable and consumed with hatred towards Spock and all of Starfleet, Nero is a frighting force to be reckoned with, and Bana's performance is nothing less than extraordinary. Not persuaded? Just off the top of my head, Bana's delivery of: "Hello Christopher, I'm Nero." Priceless.

- A perfect movie deserves a perfect score; a year ago, I probably would have recommended [John] Williams or [Hans] Zimmer without hesitation, but since encountering Michael Giacchino's music in Speed Racer, Cloverfield, and the TV series Lost, there really was no better choice. (OK, maybe Steve Jablonsky would be a runner-up, but he was probably busy with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) Giacchino's music is marvelous; for evidence of this, I present to you Exhibit A and Exhibit B: A) The destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin and birth of James T. Kirk; the entire sequence is devoid of sound effects, with only George Kirk and his wife communicating via their nifty space phone thingies, and Giacchino's haunting composition conveying every emotion within the sequence. B) When the Romulan ship started going kablooie, Giacchino's score takes center stage as the choirs goes all choirs-y and creates a chilling, epic sensation to the death of the baddies. For anyone who even remotely enjoyed the score, I implore you to find the soundtrack and buy it - you won't be disappointed. To this point, it's the best soundtrack of the year, although I fear Jablonsky might take the mantle with his Revenge of the Fallen score. Point is, it's wonderful.

- Quite simply, the special effects in Star Trek is, well, even more perfect. Realistically rendered, and never actually 'feeling' like CGI properties, and isn't that a good definition of perfectly crafted visual effects? The CGI didn't over-step its bounds, never making it more important than the characters or the story, unlike Lucas and his Prequel Trilogy which was nearly all spectacle. And speaking about spectacle, the U.S.S. Enterprise has never looked better, nor has Warp Speed ever been so stunning. One scene that particularly left my tongue drooling on the floor was when the Enterprise emerges from the dust clouds around Saturn - that was b-e-a-utiful.

- J.J. Abrams. That man is a friggin' genius with a camera. I wouldn't feel out of place relating his visionary style to Spielberg. And I also seem to be one of the few people who absolutely LOVE the lens flares; if it were up to me, I'd incorporate it into as many movies as deemed appropriate. If I'd have to choose between flares or shaky cam, I'd choose the flares. But aside from that nifty trick, Abrams keeps the camera in constant motion, and there's some truly interesting shots, primarily the crooked ones like during Spock's hearing about joining this Vulcan Academy club/group/whatev, or when Kirk, Uhura and McCoy are running to command center to tell Pike about the "lightning storm." Abrams' visual style adds another fantastic layer of awesomeness to an already stellar movie. The nifty thing is that it seems effortless.

- Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) have got to be one of the more intelligent but yet witty and fun screenwriters in the field today. They managed to craft a phenomenal story that works as a sequel/prequel/re-imagining, and it actually has some brain cells. Sure, if I had a more sophisticated mind, I would probably be able to spot time travel/alternate dimension/whatever inconsistencies, but as it stands, I find everything to match perfectly. I loved how they handled it all, and how they left it allows Abrams & Crew. to go in any direction they want without being burdened by continuity. And how they integrated the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, into the equation was a stroke of pure genius. Simply said, if I see Orci and Kurtzman's names on a title, I know I'm heading into a movie that has some brains, but can simultaneously be an excellent summer blockbuster flick, and that's a difficult thing to balance. I also love how they integrated original lines of dialog into this new installment, such as the two most obvious and commonly quoted ones: McCoy's "Dammit, Jim!" and Scotty's "I'm giving her all she's got!"

- (Alright, here's a sixth) Editing is tight, but not too tight. Even at past two hours, the movie moves briskly and without dodgy areas - in fact, the movie seems to go by too fast. By the time Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise save the day, and it cuts to Starfleet Academy, I didn't want the movie to end. And/or if it had to end, at least have the decently to have the sequel ready to project on the screen! And is this not a sign of a damn good movie? The re-watch value for Star Trek is super duper supremely high, in case you can't tell. I demand sequel now! Or at least a 4 hour extended edition!

In review - I loved the writing, the performances, the direction, the editing, and the score. Hell, I even friggn' LOVED the 5-minute monster segment on the Hoth planet! (yes, I realize that wasn't officially Hoth, but it was never disputed, right?) Star Trek has all the ingredients of a successful summer blockbuster movie in spades, and I'm in such a state of euphoria that I'd say it really has no faults to speak of.

When Star Trek hits DVD on a 2-Disc Special Edition, I'll buy it; and five months later, when Paramount is in the need for another cash cow and they release a 3-Disc Edition, I'll buy it. Hell, if a 4-Disc gets released later next year, I'll buy it. Why would I waste all this bloody money on a movie that I would already have in my collection one or two times over? Because dammit Jim, I love this movie! (in case you couldn't tell already) My love for this movie only intensifies with each successive viewing.

J.J. & Co. have crafted a goldmine, a perfectly accessible popcorn movie with intelligence that anyone from a Trek devotee to a random audience member will enjoy to the fullest. Go see Trek, I'm pretty darn tootin' sure you're not gong to regret it. At the very least, you got some pretty space battles.

2 comments:

Robert said...

Andy, Your review of Star Trek makes me want to get up off my ass and run to the theater to catch it. I liked the films with the original cast, but really never got terribly excited about the "Next Generation" ones which followed. I still think "The Wrath of Khan" outclasses them all, but I'm keeping an open mind. I was going to wait until this film reached DVD status before jumping in, but based on your well documented review, perhaps I should see it on the big screen, as it is meant to be seen. Take care buddy. Uncle Bob

Fletch said...

I get the feeling that you liked Star Trek...