Film Reviews

STAR TREK

By • May 9th, 2009 •

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BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!
(Back to the Future: Star Date 2233.04)

Bottom Line: Warp Drive 9.5!!! That’s space talk for run–don’t walk to see this flick…that is, if you can get tickets. (The latest buzz: it could break the $100 million barrier on opening weekend–a first for this year.)

And the enthusiasm is justified. Boldly going where no director has gone before, J.J. Abrams’ phantasmagoric reboot of the 43-year old sci-fi fantasy will totally satisfy old Star Trek fanatics, and most definitely create a new generation of Trekkies–or Trekkers (take your pick).

Superbly scripted and acted, film’s unique approach brings you back to Day One when the crew of the USS Enterprise first met. Sure, there are outstanding f/x, but the essentially character-driven plot more than holds its own, and is guaranteed to hold your rapt attention throughout.

Even compared to such mega-franchises as “Batman,” “Superman” and “Star Wars,” this latest Star Trek addition will transport you to the best of all possible worlds–of the future. So hop aboard and fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a helluva joyride.

Personal Prequel to this Prequel: Three weeks ago, while clearing up some (very) old files, just by coincidence, I came across a relic of the past, an I.D. tag imprinted with:

International STAR TREK convention
BARBARA CRAMER

FEBRUARY 16, 17, 18 & 19, 1973

Aye, Captain, I was there with one of my kids at New York City’s very first Star Trek Convention, held at the Commodore Hotel. Guess you could call us the original Trekkies. (In case you’re curious, yes, I wore that tag and a Star Trek t-shirt to Tuesday’s screening of this prequel. Got lots of attention from my fellow critics.)

But back to 1973…it was truly an awesome event, filled with people of all ages–some costumed with Mr. Spock’s pointy ears or Klingon and Romulan masks and makeup, and a cavernous room filled with collectibles from past TV shows (i.e. Tribbles for about $8 each–should have bought a dozen; they’re worth a small fortune now).

In the 36 years since, I haven’t changed one par-sec, still maintaining Warp Drive loyalty to the original TV series (& The Next Generation as well), and 4th film, “The Voyage Home.” (F/Y/I- since it first appeared in 1966 and till now, there’ve been 5 TV spin-offs and 10 features, but in truth, most left me cold.)

So it was with some trepidation that I approached this newest addition to the franchise, to the never-seen 23rd century launch of the Starship Enterprise, which shows when, where and how the captain and crew met -and for the very first time at the Starfleet Academy.

Plot:

Young cadets James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) couldn’t be more unalike or so fervently dislike each other. Both are brilliant and honorable, but Iowa-born Jim is a passionate rebel (on the order of James Dean), while the half-Vulcan Spock is logical to the nth degree, desperately trying to blanket his mother’s emotional human side (a no-no for Vulcans).

It takes Romulan villain Nero (Eric Bana), dead set on destroying not only the Enterprise and its crew, but every planetary system in the galaxy–including Earth–to allow Kirk and Spock to forget their differences, unite against Nero, and forge a friendship and partnership enabling them to live long and prosper. Together.

Spock, for one, swallows his stoicism and pride through conversations with a visitor from the future–himself–via the arrival of the iconic Leonard Nimoy, the only actor from the original series. (William Shatner wasn’t invited back.) Through a quirk in the space-time continuum, Nimoy, as Spock Prime (the older version of his younger self) comes from the future, and provides the emotional core of the film, giving solid support and sensitive advice to his youthful counterpart. (An aside: was reported that when Zach Quinto couldn’t make the famed Vulcan “Live long and prosper” sign with his hand, they had to glue his fingers together.)

Also developed are the warmly developing relationships of the other cadets–people who Trekkies know so well. And they’re all there–though years younger: Scotty (Simon Pegg), Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sarek and Amanda, Spock’s parents (Ben Cross and Winona Ryder)…with Bruce Greenwood as their Captain Christopher Pike, Jimmy Bennett and Jacob Kogan as the young Kirk and Spock, and Majel Barrett as the voice of the Starfleet Computer.

In galactic perspective, this is one film that will last for light years. Creator Gene Roddenberry, aka “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” would be proud.


Trivia:

To quote from a History Channel telecast of October 2006 when they covered a special Christie’s Auction House sale:

“40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection”

“But there was more than geekdom at this event. Bobby Cramer of New York said her four children grew up watching Star Trek alongside her. She was also one of the first attendees at the conventions. She and her daughter Lauren, now an attorney and with children of her own, were part of the letter-writing campaigns to NBC protesting its decision to cancel the original series. “It blended science fiction, which I love, with humanism, which I require,” the elder Cramer told Internetnews.com. Her daughter added: “I used to kiss the TV, I had such a crush on Captain Kirk.”

And at the auction, unbeknown to each other, mother and daughter ended up bidding against each other on a fencing mask (Capt. Picard’s) used on one of the shows.” P.S. Momma won.

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One Response »

  1. Even if they did through out the continuity yet again from the original series (notice that the uniforms aren’t the turtlenecks seen in THE CAGE and WHERE NO MAN HAD GONE BEFORE or that Kirk barely knew Pike, as said on the original show as I recall?-and these are just the micro-points since the Next Generation era series started) it will be a nice cash-cow for Paramount and will be enjoyed by the fans!

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