Monday, May 11, 2009

Your Obligatory "Star Trek" Review: Of Warp Core Ejections, Sandwiches, Ostentatious Lens Flares, and General Space-Related Tomfoolery

Hot damn, Star Trek is watchable again. Cool, even. This popcorn movie is a breath of fresh air for those of us who have suffered through an endless stream of uninspired and downright terrible Trek television series and film adaptations (they made an entire movie about rescuing humpback whales for christssakes). This one is an out and out crowd pleaser. Fans of the series will be delighted by the movie's faithfulness to the core sentiments and ideas of the Star Trek universe as well as the many nods to the original series. Casual moviegoers will have a blast with the pacing and action. And for the rabid Trekkies who nitpick stuff like the nacelles on the Enterprise not looking quite right, well quite frankly, this is a better movie than you deserve. You jackasses can live long and prosper in your mother's basement for all Rickey cares.

Whereas past Trek movies have felt like plodding exercises rehashing hackneyed plots about androids trying to be human or whether or not to disrupt the once peaceful lives of creepy space Mormons in order to save them from an interstellar mist, this movie just feels fun and original. Space is once again full of wonder and weird beasties. We're talking really good pulp science fiction--everything the Star Wars prequels should have been.

The film captures the excitement of a young crew hopping aboard a newly minted Enterprise and venturing into the interstellar void together. It's exactly what enthusiast of the property have been clamoring for: a handful of brave and cocky explorers in space, trading quips and playing fast and loose with the laws of physics, all rough and tumble and whatnot. The movie really gets the spirit of the franchise right. For example, one scene showcases the crew tinkering around with the engines of the Enterprise or something and somehow piloting a starship at faster than light speeds smack into into Titan's atmosphere, because they pretty much figured: golly, think of what what fun we'll all have!

Now normally, Rickey's not a huge fan of origin stories and their need to retell everything from scratch, but in this case, it was necessary and it works wonderfully. Is it a reboot? Technically, no. In a very clever plot twist, the movie's villain Nero travels back in time from the Next Generation era to the Federation's formative years, hell-bent on altering history. And he does, thereby effectively giving the studio carte blanche to do what they want with the characters in future sequels. What was once canon is now reborn anew. Yes, there are a few supernova sized plot holes in the script, but they're completely redeemed by the acting. The characters are very much the ones we all know and love: Chris Pine perfectly captures the cockiness of Jim Kirk, Karl Urban's impression of Dr. McCoy is so pitch perfect it's scary, and much to Rickey's pleasant surprise, Zachary Quinto's Spock shines as the real star of the movie. It's terrific fun to watch the movie fire on all cylinders as rejuvenated versions of Sulu, Chekov, and Montgomery Scott all shine. Another hour could've been tacked on to the movie's 120 minute run time and that would've been just fine with Rickey.

To give any plot elements away would be a great disservice to those of you who haven't seen the movie yet, so we'll boil down the important stuff for you into pithy bullet point format:

- In the future, there are sandwiches.

- Spock is a straight up pimp.

- James T. Kirk owns a copy of "Ill Communication" by the Beastie Boys. (h/t to Adam for the funny)

- Fencing actually has practical real world applications, thereby completely validating Rickey's jaunt on the high school fencing team.

- Director J.J. Abrahms LOVES lens flares. They're in every goddamned shot. The artistic insinuation being that the future is so brilliant and bright that it practically shines off the screen at the audience. It's a little grating, but we're assuming it was done primarily to render the pirated camcorder versions over at TV Shack nigh unviewable (not that Rickey would know anything about that. Ahem).

-Dudes wearing red shirts have cruelly short life spans.

Rickey's final verdict: go see it, pronto. It's most likely the best summer flick you'll see this year that doesn't involve giant robots punching each other.

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steves said...

I am pretty excited about this movie. I was never a huge fan of the original series and was too young to have ever seen it in it's original run. I did watch it on re-runs and remember the movies very well. TNG was a good series, IMO, but it went downhill from there.

I am glad it seems like a fun movie. Like Star Wars, I never thought the Star Trek Universe was all that deep. I watched it mostly to be entertained.

Smitty said...

With a screaming endorsement such as this, I will gladly abandon my general disdain for Star Trek and go see it.

weesle909 said...

Rickey, a comment and a question and then I'll turn down my radio and listen to your reply.

Comment is that in Star Trek red uniforms have always been deadly to the dudes wearing them, even since the mid 60's. So good to see that's the same.

Question is: Can I bring my 9 year old to see this, or is it too violent? Seriously. He's a Trek fan and I'd love to see it with him but not sure it's cool.

Oh, one other comment. I have to get this off my chest cause I'm pissed. I liked Jerry Manuel. I truly did. But at this point he's doing more harm than good, and I can only admit I was wrong and that he's a terrible game manager. Yes, he's ok with the media, yes he's ok with the team when they are not actually engaged in playing the game of baseball.

But Goddammit. Who the F**k didn't want to see Bobby Parnell pitch to one more batter?

I’d say Manuel outsmarted himself if that didn’t imply there were some brains involved.

Rickey Henderson said...

9 years old? Hm. Rickey's not the best judge of these things. There's no blood--just a lot of intense action, explosions, etc. There a sex scene with Kirk and a scantily clad green lady too. It's your typical PG-13 blockbuster. You be the judge.

Yeah, last night flat out sucked. It's depressing when your ace pitcher has a .78 ERA and two losses. Oh, and while Manuel's move was terrible, a lot of blame goes around for last night's loss. The defense was AWFUL.

Adam said...

Nice review, buddy- and even better you incorporated some of my bullet points into your post. Spread the good word of The Jack Sack!

Now, I wonder what Keith Hernandez thought of "17 Again"...

Jeff said...

Saw it. Loved it. You've captured my sentiment exactly.

Couple of things... I wish I hadn't been reminded of CSI Miami everytime I saw one of those lens flares.

Also, could have done without the Willy Wonka water tube scene. WTF? Why did they think that was necessary?

Otherwise it was awesome. In fact I liked it so much that I actually went 2 days in a row. First time I've ever done that.

Great review Rickey!

steves said...

Question is: Can I bring my 9 year old to see this, or is it too violent? Seriously. He's a Trek fan and I'd love to see it with him but not sure it's cool.Maybe. It was certainly more intense and violent than any of the other movies, with the possible exception of Wrath of Khan. If are ok with him watching something like Transformers, then this would probably be ok for him.

Ms. Henderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rickey Henderson said...

Adam, wait, since when are legitimate points being made over at the Jack Sack?

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