Friday, December 11, 2009

Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, 2009)

A circular spacecraft named Enterprise, bald aliens wielding a large drill, and the burgeoning friendship between two rivals are at the centre of an exciting new film called "Star Trek," an intergalactic tale about men and women who like to fly around the universe in gold, blue, and, if their unlucky, red outfits; in the men's case, the shirts are the only item coloured in this manner (their trousers and boots are typically black). Not knowing anything about this storied franchise beforehand, I sheepishly entered this film, which is directed by Felicity creator J.J. Abrams, like a newly hatched Jem'Hadar about to receive their first dose of Ketracel-white. This inexperience with all things Star Trek put me in a unique situation; in that, I was able to appreciate the space battles, macho posturing and planetary destruction from a fresh perspective. Similar to one of Weyoun's many clones, yet not similar at all, I approached the material with the stealthy cool of a disgraced member of the Obsidian Order. Now, I know what you're thinking, and you're absolutely right, I do sound more like a disgraced member of the Tal Shiar. But what super secret intelligence agency best represented my spiritual temperament as I sat in a room for two hours and stared at a giant screen that featured angry dudes with pointy ears getting all huffy is not important. What is important, however, is that I enjoyed the shapes, colours and sounds that washed over me in this film (you know, despite my fake ignorance).

Starting off on the planets Earth (which in the future looks like Iowa) and Vulcan, the film is basically about a cocksure human named James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and conflicted a half Vulcan/half Human named Spock (Zachery Quinto), and their rocky journey to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, the most powerful ship in the United Federation of Planets. The standoffish relationship between the forceful Kirk and the logical Spock is the driving force behind the film; as it should be.

The plot involving a deeply troubled Romulan (who are now bald and have facial tattoos) named Nero (Eric Bana) and his desire to destroy one of the Federation's most digable planets is just an excuse to get the two science fiction icons to stop bickering long enough in order to have them to team up and shoot lasers together by the third act. In terms of geekiness, the moment Kirk and Spock open up on a group of Romulans with their laser guns in the engine room of their vile looking ship was my favourite.

Looking at things from a purely action-based perspective, I'd have to say the skydiving sequence was the most thrilling. And on top of being an exhilarating spectacle, it also gave Sulu (John Cho) a chance to make his presence felt–he engages in a sword fight with a couple of Romulans on the roof of a giant space drill, and, of course, rescues Kirk. In fact, all the members of the supporting cast are all given the opportunity to rescue one another throughout the film– it's a quick and easy way for the ship's crew to build trust.

Out of all the characters who assist/rescue Kirk along the way, I'd say that I was most impressed with the hilariously gruff performance by Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and Anton Yelchin's thick Russian accent as the boyish Chekov (who has dropped the mid-60s Rodney Bingenheimer look). I must admit, felt a kinship toward the surly doctor. Mainly because he was always annoyed with something–and let's face it, space can be pretty annoying at times. His line about space being "disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence" had me nodding slightly in dorky agreement.

While Chris Pine (Just My Luck) brings a swagger to Jim Kirk that is all his own (the only time he reminded me of William Shatner was while he was eating an apple during a battle simulation), Zachary Quinto (So noTORIous) is coolness personified as Mr. Spock. The blue shirt, symmetrical haircut and pointy ears all seem to fit him perfectly. Now, I don't want to say that he was born to play Spock– that would be extremely dweeb-like. But there was an air of nonchalance to the way Quinto brought the logic-obsessed Vulcan-Human to life. And I loved the how he said the word "fascinating," as it was very Nimoy-esque.

Oh, and how super terrific was it that Winona Ryder plays Spock's mom? Yeah, so it's not quite up there with Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, but it was still kinda terrifically super.

Since Star Trek is rated PG, I knew going in that the chances of seeing Spock's space penis were pretty slim. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean the film is completely limp in terms of sex appeal. The image of Nichelle Nicols' Uhura sitting at her station, her beautiful, pantyhose-covered legs crossed ever so gingerly, is the stuff of sexy legend. Sure, I didn't see the original series until the mid-90s, but her healthy thighs remain an unmistakable part of my existence. So, in terms of pressure, I'd say Zoe Saldana (Centre Stage) had the biggest boots to fill out of the new actors. Of course, there's no way Zoe can replace Nichelle, but she does bring her distinct charm to the role. Sporting an expertly tied ponytail at all times, Miss Saldana is more than just a glorified secretary, she's a gifted linguist and a Vulcan jizz receptacle.

Anyway, Winona, babes with green skin (Rachel Nichols), ponytails, the skydiving sequence, and Karl Urban all make this "re-boot" an experience that is on the cusp of being worthwhile.


  1. I'm a big fan of all incarnations of Star Trek. I've always been a bigger fan of it than Star Wars. I loved this movie. Great view of it. It's definitely the shot in the arm this franchise needed. I can't wait to see more movies.

  2. "Spock's space penis"--hee hee.

    This is definitely a surprise review. I hate to be repetitive, but as I've said before, I bet reading this review would be a more enjoyable experience than actually watching this film. My father and I used to make fun of my mother's love for Star Trek.

    Thanks for the Bruce Greenwood pic. :)

    Oh, I put some Canadian news on my Twitter feed. I heard all about the Toronto transit controversy surrounding the dating service ad for married peeps.

  3. Keith: I'm not a fan of every incarnation, (DS9 is my Trek of choice), but this flick is definitely a step in the right direction.

    Karim Amir: I added the word "space" to the phrase "Spock's space penis" at the least minute -- you know, to jazz it up. And, judging by your the reaction, it looks like that was the correct course of action. :)

    This particular review has been languishing in word-pad hell since May. So I'm just as surprised as you are to see it appear all of a sudden.

    Ouch! Tag team Star Trek mockage.

    [re; Greenwood pic] No problem. :)

    Yeah, the ads apparently promoted infidelity. *fake gasp* I'm more concerned about the fare hike that kicks in January. When a single fare will cost 3 Canadian dollareedoos.

    I can remember a time when it only cost 25 cents. Ah, inexpensive times.

  4. "...and his desire to destroy one of the Federation's most digable planets..."
    pardon me, but this made me love you :)

    Once again, here is a film which I thought knitted together the threads of comedy (true antics, not simply cracking wise) and action-oriented drama tightly and neatly. I would go so far as to say other films could actually learn a little something from Abrams execution.

  5. What can I say... The ad for Tide laundry detergent that features Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" has been playing a lot in my neck of the woods as of late.

  6. I was a big fan of Deep Space Nine before I moved overseas. Now many years have past and I never did finish watching that series -- easily my favorite of the Trek TV reboots. So I caught your DS9 references, even if I still haven't caught up with watching that show.

    Bones was easily my favorite character in this new Trek movie. Karl Urban owns the part now. I liked Simon Pegg as Scotty, but he's no James Doohan.

  7. I'm glad you caught the references, as a lot of them are from Deep Space Nine's last two seasons. (My fave DS9 story arc was the war between the Federation and the Dominion.)

  8. Your "Vulcan jizz receptacle" trumps my "full Guido regalia." Well played ;-)