Originally Reviewed – 2/8/2010
In the interest of complete objectivity, I am not, what most people would call, a Trekie. For me, the TV series is a complete and total mystery; hell, I’ve never seen that damn Tribbles episode people rave about. That being said, some of my fondest memories revolve around the Star Trek films and those memories always involved my dad. There he would be, after a long day (and sometimes evening) of work, sitting in the basement in his rocking chair with his bowl of ice cream watching Kirk and company gallivant across the cosmos. He loved Star Trek and it was something we always watched together.
When my dad passed away 11 years ago next week, my fascination with Star Trek ended with him. Gone were the days of popping in that well worn VHS of Star Trek IV just to watch Scotty say, “Hello Computer” while creating transparent aluminum, watching the floating Klingon bodies of VI or laughing at the hammy awfulness of Star Trek V. The decision wasn’t a conscious one but somehow it didn’t seem right to watch them without him.
Maybe it was for that reason, among others, that I cringed when the rumors of a Star Trek reboot started circulating. Never mind the fact I’ve never been a big fact of franchise regurgitation, part of me wanted to the series to stay dead, stay intact, stay the way I remembered it. Typically, I’m not the sentimental type but when it comes to Shatner and company, I make a small exception.
Luckily for me, the hype and accolades were well worth it. Star Trek is a finely acted, well balanced and wonderfully written reboot of a classic film franchise. Director JJ Abrhams has expertly woven a tale that provides just enough homage without being sappy, edge of your seat action that never seems forced and a story that does just enough to stay out of its own way. The result is classic Star Trek for a new generation.
One of the brightest parts of the film was the excellent casting decisions. The entire cast was extremely well utilized and balanced. Not only did they all look like the younger versions of the classic crew, they all perfectly balanced the mannerisms of the originals while still creating identities of their own. The only sore thumb was Eric Bana as the main villain, Nero, in that I felt his main direction was, “Be more sinister”. This didn’t detract from the film one bit, however, as the real beauty of the film was that not once did I think any of the cast members was doing an impression or a caricature of an original, and that in itself is a brilliant feat of directing and writing.
On the writing front, this is also one of the best screenplays released this past summer, despite the slightly silly storyline. The time travel angle was just muted just enough to stay out of the way of character development, which was the film’s main strength. While I could have done without the Ohura / Spock side story, the dialogue and character interactions were where the script really shined; the dialogue was crisp and the interplay between the cast members provided the emotional grounding the film needed to counteract the intense action.
And MAN, was the action intense! Everything from the hand to hand combat to the epic space battles had my home theater screaming and me grinning. To all those who are Blue Ray heads, this film is damn near reference level for showing off your system, making this a mandatory Blue Ray purchase for just that reason alone.
When the final credits started to roll, and the crew did their final “roll call” if you will, I felt a surge in my heart. This felt like the original series with a nice shiny coat of paint on it, a tribute to the past without being parody. Even without the charm of the original, this film could easily stand on it’s own and probably does for fans who never heard Khan scream, “KIRK!!”, never saw Sulu pilot a Klingon Bird of Prey and never watched Spock’s skin melt as he said goodbye to Captain Kirk for what was supposed to be the final time. Star Trek is easily in my top 5 best films released this summer and is a much watch for fans old and young alike.
One last thing. When the credits were rolling and I was getting my senses back, I felt a calm serenity that’s not like me when a movie is over. The critic in me usually starts the analysis; what I liked, what I didn’t, etc. This time though, there was none of that. Just a thought and a smile. When the film started I thought, “Hope you enjoy this dad”. Something tells me he most certainly did.
Score – 100%