Star Trek (2009)

 Trek Wrecker Logo

Director: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban

So, anyway, Trek died with Insurrection and got zombiefied with Nemesis. I could see a tentative new telly series somewhere down the line, maybe, but not a movie. When I heard about a reboot, my first thought was Next Gen and we’d have that dimwit android B-4 bumbling about comically. Fortunately – or not, if you’re a blinkered nerd – we didn’t get that…

star trek01-edit

Goes something like this (and bear in mind I haven’t got a clue what’s happened here, something terribly knotty by all accounts); Romulus has exploded. Nero, lowly Romulan miner turned vengeful warrior, is absolutely apoplectic with rage about this and to be fair, you would be too. It’s not fixable is it, when yer entire planet blows up. Ah, but this is Star Trek, it is fixable… sort of. The Spock we know and love (or Spock Prime if you will) had promised to help the Romulans avoid exploding using something called ‘red matter’ but he got there too late. His only course of action; alter the timeline with said red gubbins. I don’t know why he bothers coz all it does is infuriate Nero even more – even though Romulus now exists again, coz it’s about 130 years earlier and… oh, what am I talking about? Does it even matter? Heh! See what I did there – matter… red…? No? Look, it’s Kirk, Spock, Uhura, et al… and they’re all younger but exactly the same as they’ve always been, except different. Eh?

The new recruits had a hard time grasping the concept of a 'forward view screen'

The new recruits had a hard time grasping the concept of a ‘forward view screen’

A cinematic convergence took place. See, I’d been reading up on the IMAX format with interest. When my interest peaked, the first film available at the local IMAX was Star Trek. It’s true to say I was more intrigued by the technology than what I was going to be watching. It was very odd queuing up; thought I would be surrounded by uniform-wearing geeks but the audience was a normal cross-section, sensibly dressed, young and old. Not yet properly understanding IMAX I sat too close to the screen but by the time I realised, it was too late to relocate; full house (this was a morning show, day after opening night). Two things struck me outright; Rachel Nichols’s big green tits. Okay, three things… The other I wasn’t prepared for at all (not that anyone can ever be prepared for big green tits); emotion. I got choked up watching the prologue, as George Kirk rams the Kelvin into the impressive Narada. That I wasn’t expecting. No Star Trek movie had done that to me previously. I think it was the moment George (Chris Hemsworth) calls out to his wife, Winona (Jennifer Morrison) just before impact and the way she responds, heartbreaking – good work from both actors and Giacchino’s score. Alas, the movie doesn’t find that level of emotion again.

Toddler Spock - decent, wanted to see more of his story

Toddler Spock – decent, wanted to see more of his story

Is there any need to go into depth here? This thing has been picked apart enough already surely. J.J. Abrams has basically said to Paramount, ‘I don’t care about anything that’s happened on Star Trek before now, not my problem. I’ve got Roberto Orci, he’s a Trekkie and he’ll hold on to some kind of through-line but bottom line, I’m making a sci-fi action movie that’s gonna appeal to a general audience and make you money…’ So, along with Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof they set about pissing off every overly precious nerd in the galaxy to deliver an entertaining if forgettable piece of fluff. And make no mistake, it had to be done; over the last couple of films Trek had disappeared so far up its own arsehole you’d need echo location to find it. Abrams openly admitted he was a Star Wars kid (like me) – he was always going to bring that sensibility to his Star Trek and lord knows Trek was in dire need of a fierce slap around the chops. The old school were simply too respectful; times change, audiences change… hey, don’t shoot the messenger, but why do you think Rendezvous With Rama languishes in development purgatory? No ‘action’. Studios are windy of thoughtful sci-fi; we can have thoughtful contemporary dramas and whatnot but if a film is stamped ‘sci-fi’ then it’s got to be flashy CGI and noisy and peowm-peowm coz that’s what the audience expects from sci-fi. Don’t we. Don’t we?

Porn Trek: The Search For Cock

Porn Trek: The Search For Cock

Star Trek was going to stand or fall on its casting, principally the Holy Trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. No arguments, all are nailed by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban. The only one I was properly aware of, Urban, is a revelation as Bones. Some folk didn’t think he possessed the ‘humanity’ to play the Doc; clearly they hadn’t seen Urban in Out Of The Blue otherwise there would never have been an issue. If I’m honest I too had reservations, mainly about accent, inflexion… I need not have worried coz he’s spot on. Pine embodies what I’ve always imagined about a young Kirk via snippets of series dialogue, a brash, rebellious ladies-man. Pine is also savvy enough to throw in flashes of Shatner; at the cinema I laughed out loud (the only one who did, oddly – perhaps the geeks weren’t keen on seeing their hero the subject of sharp mimicry) when he walks onto the bridge in his gold shirt at the end of the movie – it’s all Shatner, that. Quinto I knew from Heroes and he is unquestionably Spock, not as angular as Nimoy but I accepted his portrayal instantly (and Jacob Kogan playing little Spock is good too). Zoe Saldana easily fits a young Uhura but she’s not given a great deal to do beyond doing her communications thing and comforting Spock (wasn’t Uhura canoodling with Scotty in The Final Frontier, the brazen hussy). John Cho is fine as Sulu, gets to show off some swordplay and while Anton Yelchin is okay as Chekov, I’m not keen on the accent, would’ve much rather him dial that down a few notches – way too close to parody. Of all of them, I thought Simon Pegg as Scotty was a nice bit of casting. However, I’m yet to be convinced; I’m seeing typical Peggisms and not enough Chief Engineer.

Kepler didn't spot that bugger coming, did it...

Kepler didn’t spot that bugger coming, did it…

Nimoy reprises his role as Spock Prime. Does the character need to be in this or is his presence merely to pacify the nerds? The damnable cynic in me remains sceptical of the writers’ motivation, though I’ll concede they’ve done a good job grafting him into the story (I gather there was a failed attempt to shoehorn Old Kirk in there as well). Captain Pike is in safe hands, Bruce Greenwood is a top actor and he brings a sense of nobility to the movie, really like him in the bar room scene with Pine. Eric Bana should have been immense as Nero but the character remains steadfastly one-note. Luckily, the pressure is off the bad guy this time around, with so much other new stuff going on around him the movie just about gets away with it. You’re supposed to feel a degree of sympathy for Nero but the convoluted (and heavily edited) events of his past mangle any such compassion; he’s just a crazy renegade Romulan in need of a photon-enema. I do like his informal greeting of Pike though; “Hi, Christopher. I’m Nero.” Raised a smile, that. Then you’ve got Ben Cross and Winona Ryder as Spock’s father and mother. Winnie does all right in her one major scene with Quinto, while Cross puts in a dignified shift and does quite well with the obligatory ‘show no emotion in an emotional moment’ scene – must be the bane of any actor essaying a Vulcan cameo.

"C'mon, Bruce, it's a nice home and there are lots of old people like you there, you'll love it!"

“C’mon, Bruce, it’s a nice home and there are lots of old people like you there, you’ll love it!”

Some of the nerds weren’t happy. The general audience seemed to like it though and several non-Trekkies where I work confirm the enjoyment factor (but notably can’t remember anything in the film now), as does my Trekkie mate; he doesn’t seem hung up on the minutiae at all. There’s no real depth of character (it can wait – we’re reintroducing the characters here and technically we know all about them anyway) and the script is largely perfunctory – something dyed in the wool fans couldn’t forgive, that and the director’s intent to make Trek as cool as Star Wars (and when I say Star Wars I mean 1979-1983 Star Wars). A lot is made of ‘Planet Convenient’; it’s certainly a spectacular arrangement of coincidence, but put yourself in the shoes of the writers for awhile… You’ve got to get Kirk onto the planet in order to meet Spock Prime. Would Big Ears throw Kirk off the ship? Probably not, but factor in Spock’s state of mind – his planet has been blown up, his mother’s molecules got splashed across the universe right in front of him and his species is now endangered. It’s enough, go with it. Would Kirk end up in the same cave as Spock Prime? Basically, who cares? But for the sake of discussion let’s say they’re both making their way to the Federation Outpost from roughly the same direction and the cave system is on the way. Spock has taken shelter from the blizzard; enter Kirk some time later. It’s not a stretch, but then I’m more forgiving when it comes to the mad stuff in movies. The sensible way of doing it would be for Spock to shuttle (or beam) Kirk directly to the Outpost and leave Scotty in charge of him – then with the Enterprise on its way, Spock Prime arrives and we get the mind-meld. But that’s not very exciting is it!

You get sloshed, fall asleep and some joker always draws on yer face don't they...

You get sloshed, fall asleep and some joker always draws on yer face don’t they…

Remember ‘Brandon’ from Galaxy Quest? Those people actually exist, I’ve seen them online, the kind of people who will avidly tell you it’s impossible to beam onto a spaceship travelling at warp speed, as Kirk and Scotty do in the film. Newsflash; beaming folk isn’t possible and neither is warp speed (at least not yet). They can do whatever the hell they want, it’s make-believe. This particular sequence finishes with comedy Scotty being sucked around a water pipe in the engine room (complete with arbitrary ‘chompy crushy’ thing, got to be a reference to Galaxy Quest). I can just about handle the ‘swollen hands/ numb tongue’ section of the movie but Scotty in the pipe gives me a Jar Jar Binks-sized hump. Interesting look for the engine room isn’t it, a brewery but I kinda like the idea of having an early engine design. I tend not to get too poncy about plot holes, more likely stuff like that angled camera push-in behind Spock during his ‘confirmation’ ceremony. I just think all the camera shots on Vulcan should be… well, logical – ordered and precise. Dare I say Kubrickian? I just did. Spock & Uhura – where’s that going then? Very worrying. Lens flare? Mate, didn’t even notice lens flare till people started to bang on about it…

"Help, Spock, I can't tear my gaze away from Rachel's big green tits..."

“Help, Spock, I can’t tear my gaze away from Rachel’s big green tits…”

I’m happy coz Trek looks like it belongs on a cinema screen again, this ain’t no TV episode. Top notch FX, good looking film, great looking hardware & sets, a cast and crew clearly enjoying themselves and Michael Giacchino finally delivers a majestic version of the original series theme. More importantly, I’ve finished my Star Trek series. It took longer than expected; blame the Next Gen movies (3 of them at least) coz they were a largely demoralising experience. As far as I’m concerned, J.J. came through and did the business. But he’s gonna have to do a little bit more in the ‘depth’ department with Into Darkness…

 

Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/b85cxat

 

Cheers, folk.

ThereWolf, February 2013.

 

Pics from dvdbeaver & cinemasquid.

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About ThereWolf

I only come out at night... mostly...

28 responses to “Star Trek (2009)”

  1. ThereWolf says :

    Rushed that review – don’t like it.

    Just wanted to get Trek finished with & get something new up.

  2. Xiphos0311 says :

    The interesting thing about this movie is that it showcased Abrams skills as both a film maker and a lens flare artists. He took what was another shitty script by Cuntzman and Orcshit, those mega uber hack fucks, and made a watchable movie out of the steaming pile of shit he was handed. Good job Abrams I didn’t know you had it in you.

    I mean come on the two scrotebag hackbots “wrote” a movie about scowly tattoo face that hung out in black hole, or a time vortex, or something dopey for 20 years on the off chance of something I forget happening. I think there was something about red kyrptonite and some other stupid crap and hackneyed dialogue. Abrams was able to beat that pile of nonsense into a relatively OK flick. Plus Abrams painted Rachel Nichols green and stuck her in a skimpy outfit and that’s a little bit of alright. That proves we need a She Hulk movie.

    I wonder what it is about Sci Fi that brings out the worst in the nerds? The Trekkies maybe being the lowest of the bunch. The Brown Coats and those freak show 501 Brigade Star Wars dorks give then a small run but nobody can beat the Trekkers for sheer loserness. Outside of maybe Twatlight I can’t really remember another series that immerses dorks in such in pathetic asshattery like Star Trek does to its nerds.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Yeh, Nero… I think a lot of his story got dumped. Apparently he wasn’t chillin next to a wormhole for 20 years. The Narada, disabled after being rammed by George Kirk, gets picked off by Klingons and the crew spend a goodly number of years in prison. Abrams does a fair job getting the information across in the mind meld sequence but it’s still not nearly enough. Then they spin that – ‘and if you read the comic tie-in it explains what happened to Nero during the intervening years…’ We’re watching a movie, nobody should have to read a comic to work out what’s going on.

      As far as nerds go – while they’re dressing up and going to conventions and shit, I guess they aren’t hurting anyone…

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I guess i would need to watch it again, I missed all that, but i don’t care enough to do that. As far as having to read a funny book to get the movie that’s just incompetent writing by unskilled hacks that can’t convey the info via their own script.

      • Jarv says :

        Got to agree. Do not want to be reading comic books, watching animated series or whatever to get across information that should be in the fucking film.

      • Droid says :

        Nothing wrong with companion media, but only shit like spin off stories and stuff that expand on the films central story (which works on its own). Nothing in the companion media should be necessary to know.

        The writers of this aren’t that bad. O&K are generic Hollywood pap writers, no better, no worse than a lot of others. They write perfectly mediocre movies for perfectly mediocre directors like JJ, Ratner, Favreau etc etc. The result is (at best) perfectly mediocre movies. They cannot be blamed for the plot if a director decides to cut story elements from the film that explain it. JJ Abrams is more to blame because he would have had a hand in the story as well. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t care enough to think about the time travel conundrums of the plot. I mean, this is a movie featuring ultimate macguffin “red matter” and an enormous drill that features a platform for no other reason than it provides an exciting scene of free falling heroes and fisticuffs. Logic is a naughty word.

      • Droid says :

        Speaking of companion media… Jarv, here is your latest assignment.

        This…
        Southland Tales

        and its companion media…
        Southland Tales Prequel

      • koutchboom says :

        Well Defiance plans to be the end all in companion media.

      • Droid says :

        I think you mean the end OF all companion media.

      • ThereWolf says :

        Judge Droid… heh, heh…

        I was going to mention Southland Tales as a good (bad) example of companion media – well done.

  3. tombando says :

    Hey good write up, good movie-that wa Ryder as MOM Spock? Gawrsh the things you learn…..

  4. Droid says :

    Yeah, this is alright. I liked the opening, Bana, and the fact that it was more Star Warsy. Completely forgettable and I didn’t really care about anything. An okay timewaster.

    Congrats Wolf. You made it! What’s the next series?

    • ThereWolf says :

      Cheers, R2. Dunno what’s next. Thinking of doing an open-ended Sci-Fi series, get a few of the oldies in there. I’ve also got plenty of The Biehn’s to go at as well yet…

  5. MORBIUS says :

    .
    Woof
    Well done you, a pleasurable read … that is not to infer I was
    pleasuring myself whilst reading it … okay, maybe just a little …
    alright already tissues were involved, and now i’m turning red …
    but, does it matter?

  6. Jarv says :

    had disappeared so far up its own arsehole you’d need echo location to find it

    Stealing that.

    Nu Dork Trek? Meh. Can barely remember it and feel no need to get back to it. I genuinely do not understand the reverence that dorks hold for Trek (agree wholeheartedly with Xi). It’s overly pompous, didactic, transparent nonsense for the most part and 90%+ of the movies are utter dogshit.

    Congratulations on finishing the hardest series any of us have taken on.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Cheers, Jarv.

      The hardest? D’yer reckon? The Next Gen films were tough – brought me to a standstill those did, to the point where I didn’t even want to face JJ Trek. But I enjoyed watching his version again.

      • Jarv says :

        Would have defeated me. 1 is honk, 4 is honk, 5 is honk, 7 is honk, 9, 10 and 11 all honk.

        And not just bad, awful.

      • ThereWolf says :

        1 – second half is decent.
        2 – good.
        3 – first half is okay.
        4 – okay.
        5 – disgrace.
        6 – very good (probably my fav).
        7 – boring.
        8 – good.
        9 – utter disgrace.
        10 – drivel.
        11 – good.

  7. Just Pillow Talk says :

    Yeah I enjoyed this while watching it but it certainly doesn’t resonate but eons better than all the picard versions except the borg one…which I would rate similarly.

  8. kloipy says :

    great review Wolf. I really liked this movie. I went into it with pretty much zero expectations, and I was really surprised. I don’t think it is a great movie and not the best Star Trek movie, but it was a fun movie. That being said I do hope the new one goes a little deeper into the real Star Trek, but by the trailers it doesn’t appear so.

  9. CMrok93 says :

    Good review. One of the better sci-fi movies that I can remember in the past decade and has me really amped-up for the sequel.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Thank you muchly, CMrok.

      I think if the sequel has more of the first film’s prologue vibe it’s got a good chance of bettering the initial effort. I kind of trust Abrams, but I don’t completely trust those writers…

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