Sunday, June 1, 2014

J. J. Abrams Star Trek reboot/sequel

Star Trek is one of my favorite Sci-Fi franchises. Star Wars, Stargate and Animorphs are a few others. While I didn't particularly like Star Trek: The Original Series for a lot of reasons, this revived my interest. You see, for every decent episode in my eyes, they had many that were extremely uncomfortable to watch. That sometimes happens with shows, but I just found The Next Generation so much more polished, entertaining and fun. Granted, I will watch it occasionally when it's on TV, which says something about the state of Television these days if a show from forty years ago that had a ton of episodes that were just unsettling and horrifying in their content, if not downright boring when you watched them more than once is better then anything else on TV. Besides, I much preferred the books based on TOS to the actual TOS. That might infuriate some people, but I just like TNG better. Why? Well let's put it this way: Holodecks, and a lower mortality rate.
But now, into the actual review.
Star Trek is a 2009 film that is a quasi-reboot for and quasi-sequel to the classic Star Trek franchise, which utterly tanked with the failure of the last film in the series, Nemesis. Whether that was due to them slicing the film up to draw attention to a confrontation that wound up being short, sad, lame and anticlimactic, or due to the fact that it (Almost completely) destroyed a beloved ship and killed one of the main characters, just like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (And wound up having exactly the same amount of long term impact as the events of ST2 did) the relevance of this statement is fading, so let's talk about Star Trek.
The movie feels as if it's had a few scenes cut out, but not in the amount or severity that its predecessor was subjected to. In the end, it feels a lot tighter, and it's most definitely a better movie. I remember thinking that this was a horrible idea, that it wasn't going to be any good, and that it couldn't live up to the things that came before. Then I saw Star Trek Nemesis.
I'm going to level with you, I liked all of the Star Trek movies except Nemesis. I'm weird like that, but then again I did see them all one after another in the space of about a month.
I've been going off on a lot of tangents in this review, so I'm gonna reign myself in and talk about what the header says I should talk about.
The special effects and music are as good as the ones from the sequel. I've found when review a sequel before its prequel you can't say much about it that you didn't say about the sequel, demonstrated in my Modern Warefare 2 and CoD4 reviews. But here, they're two very different movies. Star Trek is very much about both how the universe came to branch off from the main one, and about how the characters became who they are, and that's something that hasn't been explored much in official materials as far as I know (But there are so many Star Trek books out there I could be wrong and just not know it because I didn't read them) and it makes for a good movie.
One thing I have to complain about is that the kid they got to play young Kirk doesn't look like Chris Pine, the guy they got to play the adult Kirk. Other than that, there's not much. It took a while for me to get used to the idea of Zachery Quinto as Spock, but eventually it clicked for me. And as for the other actors, I pretty much like all of them. Scotty doesn't look a whole lot like James Doohan, but he knows how to act like him. And Leonard Nimoy has a rather major role in the plot as the Spock from the main universe.
The plot is actually both swift and sweeping, despite the fact that the movie seems to pass like Sonic The Hedgehog was tapping into The Speed Force while jacked up on caffeine.
But a movie that passes too quickly is always better than one than has you tracking the time until it's done. It might not be the perfect movie, but in the end that's not what matters. What matters is that it's a better movie then what came before and it's spawned what could be this generations epic science fiction series. Star Trek: Into Darkness is one of my favorite movies from last year, and it's also one of the best I've seen.
Star Trek has a few flaws, but the original series had its flaws as well. As did TNG, DS9, Voyager (Ugh) as well as the movies.
All in all, it's a movie that begs watching, because it's something that's fun to watch. It's something that lets you escape the drudgery of everyday life and step into the shoes of adventurers who travel the cosmos, saving worlds and solving mysteries.
Perfection is not what to look for, because that's unimportant. A good movie has its flaws, but the polished bits overshadow them. Looking back upon when I first saw it several years ago, I remember it fondly. For everything someone might say is wrong with it, it's fun.
Check out my review of the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.