A generally unbelievable movie experience Star Trek 2009 turned out to be. Kudos to the Scriptwriters for coming up with a terrrific script, and for J.J. Abrams for putting it all together.
‘The Good News’
The first fifteen minutes of the movie involving the birth of James T. Kirk is I think one of the elite highlights of the film, and one which most people will remember. It is sort of wonderful, action-packed, tragic and emotion-filled all at the same time. From those first few minutes alone, you end up thinking, “Yes, this movie have, and is going to continue exceeding all of my expectations”.
Chris Pine made for a great young James T. Kirk. He is charismatic, and has that distinct, commanding presence, that confidence despite looking so young, of being a believable Captain of the Enterprise. I think one of the main differences between his version of Kirk and that of Shatner, though, is that Chris tends to be more intense or serious on screen than Shatner ever was.
If you look closely, though, you will see some subtle, but very distinct mannerisms of Shatner’s Kirk being incorporated into the character. One prime example: Chris walking down the stairs of the academy in a quick stepping manner, with his hands bent at the elbows. I had a good laugh at that one. Very “Shatneresque”. I’ve seen Shatner do that in previous films, and seeing Chris do it sort of enhanced the connection between the old and the new Kirk.
Another was Chris’ easygoing manner on the deck during the “Kobayashi Maru” test. Again, a lot like the Shatner of old, when he just sorts of plays around with the command of his ship. These subtle clues sort of left me feeling very good, like seeing something familiar that I enjoyed seeing in the past.
I felt Spock’s character by far ended up as the best defined in this movie. We see his struggles all throughout his life about his mixed heritage, and his love for his human mother, and how it eventually made him choose Starfleet over the Ministry of Science.
From the trailers, I initially had reservations about Zachary Quinto playing Spock, I felt he was showing too much emotion in terms of anger, but seeing him in the movie changed my mind, I think he was just about right.
Leonard Nimoy looked really, really old in this film, prompting me to think that our time left with Leonard here on Earth will not be so long anymore. Its not just the makeup that made him look like he’s 150 years old, but in one of the scenes, I did saw him shuffling his feet when he walked, just like a very old man. The good news, is that the way the movie was setup, we will likely see more of him in the next sequels, as long as he is with us.
‘Other Good Stuff’
The other positive, familiar things about the movie:
– I think Carl urban and Anton Yelchin got the old characters down pat. Carl with the mannerisms and way of speaking of Deforrest Kelley, and Anton getting Walter Koenig’s ridiculous, heavily Russian accented English;
– McCoy and Spock arguing about something onscreen, and McCoy losing and ending up flustered.
‘The Bad News’
There are some loopholes in the movie, which is not so apparent when you’re watching it because you tend to forget it and focus more on the events on the screen. But when you look back on the film, you start thinking on some scenes like, “how did it …”, or “wasn’t that supposed to be ….”
One loophole for me, was how Nero knew when and where Spock Prime was going to appear. It just wasn’t clear to me. If he stayed on the same spot waiting for him to arrive … not very believable. If Nero had left a ships to watch that spot on rotation, that would’ve worked better.
Also, Chekov saving Kirk and Zulu using the Transporter. How did he do it? Was he just quick with his hands? What innovation did he use?
Same thing about Spock Prime creating a black hole to absorb the material off the dying star. The black hole ended up opening a portal to the past, so wouldn’t the venting of the star’s material into the past been a bad thing?
Despite the flaws, it was one fine movie, very entertaining, exceeding all of my expectations. I feel they just need to work on the flaws, I felt the movie got away with it the first time, but it won’t work in the sequel. If they try to pull it off again next time, I feel it will have a greater, negative impact on the movie.
But overall of the best movies of the year, and ensuring the continuity of the Star Trek franchise for at least another sequel (franchises nowadays are only as good as their last sequel).