Space, the Final Frontier

I have grown accustomed to being let down by movies I anticipate for more than a month or two. For well over a year, I anticipated X-Men Origins: Wolverine only to be treated to over an hour and a half of Sabretooth and Wolverine scratching each other, the fights occasionally being interrupted by an underdeveloped string of mutants whom we’re given no reason to care about, despite their seeming importance to whatever plot is being advanced.

I have been anticipating Star Trek for quite a bit longer. If you don’t know me that well, you may not know I’m a Trekkie. I’m on an incessant mission to collect all of the television seasons — I’m up to fourteen. I also have all ten of the movies currently available.

So yes, I know a little bit about the Star Trek franchise; what I wasn’t sure about was what to expect going into the latest film. Never have I been too impressed with directory J.J. Abrams; sure, Cloverfield was a fun romp around the Big Apple, but Lost is what he’s known best for, and I honestly don’t see the appeal to that series.

And when the television ads declaring “Finally a Star Trek for everyone,” I started to get scared — over a year of waiting for a Star Trek film only to get a dumbed down everyman’s Trek? Red alert!

Tonight, the long wait was over. Some friends of mine and I went to the early showing of Star Trek.

From start to finish, Star Trek gripped my attention and refused to let up, vividly reminding me why Trek has always been superior to Wars.

I’ll just get this bit out of the way: The special effects were astounding — the irony that Industrial Lights and Magic consistently makes Trek films look more amazing than Wars films is not lost on me. Seeing the Enterprise on the big screen once again was a satisfying experience, especially due to its being done without the superfluous and tedious pomp of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The story itself takes us from James T. Kirk’s birth through to his being given official command of the Enterprise. I won’t spoil plot details for anyone, but suffice it to say I wish directors of comic book films would take a lesson from Abrams on the subject of character development.

And speaking of characters, if you’re a TOS purist, you’re not going to be disappointed by the new actors portraying the classic crew.

It is those character portrayals which made this movie what it was: not only a magnificent addition to the canon of Trek, but a beautiful homage to Shatner, Nimoy, and the others who have captured the imaginations of generations.

I went in to the theater braced for disappointment. I stood up from my seat with, as Scotty might say, a tear in me eye. Star Trek every bit of a 10 star rating, and that is what I give it.

Thank you, Mr. Abrams. The Great Bird of the Galaxy would be proud.

Here be spoilers. Seriously, don’t read on if you don’t want to have major plot elements spoiled. Just stop reading. You’ve been warned.

Don’t go see Star Trek expecting to be able to criticize it for inconsistencies with established canon; the story Abrams presents precludes that entirely.

Also, it seems as though this movie was a “This is how it’s done, boys” taunt to everyone involved in the franchise’s previous big screen outing, Star Trek: Nemesis. An outrageous Romulan vessel? Check. A slightly grittier, more realistic on-ship environment? Check. A bald antagonist? Check. A sex scene? Check. A weapon capable of destroying planets threatened to be used against Earth? Check. The captain boarding the Romulan vessel in an attempt to save the day? Check. The alien ship being struck by a collision-course tactic? Check.

In other words, not only did J.J. Abrams reboot the original Star Trek franchise, not only did he make one heckuva homage to one of — if not the — strongest sci-fi series ever, not only did he make a fantastic movie in its own right… He did it all in a way which one-upped Captain Picard’s last outing in nearly every way.

And Captain Kirk defeated the evil Romulans all without crippling his Enterprise or sacrificing major members of his crew.

I can’t wait to see this thing again.

12 thoughts on “Space, the Final Frontier

  1. junior says:
    Mexican-American Covenantal Baptist

    Definite pure goodness.

    I loved that we see the characters in their early stages of their careers and relationships.

    Great script, great acting, great Trek Movie.

    While non-trekkies might think it’s all about sci-fi, gadgets, fights, and explosions, at the heart, ST is about relationships.

    Yep.
    This movie did not disappoint.
    Pure Awesome Sauce

  2. Senior says:

    Simply Brilliant.

    Not just a great Star Trek movie, but a great Star Trek movie that also manages to set the stage for many more Star Trek movies to come. A neat trick. So many movies that serve to set the stage for future films tend to suffer from the effort.

    Not this one. I’m looking forward to the next one as well as seeing this one again.

    I have only one nit. I’m pretty sure I heard Quinto deliver a line in such a way that did not make sense. The line in the script made sense, but Quinto’s delivery of it sounded like he had no clue what the line actually meant. I was grabbing for my remote to back the movie up and see that line again. I hate it when I lose the remote.

  3. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    I know exactly which line you’re talking about, Dad… Well, at least I think I do:

    “And also, I am half-human, so Earth is the only home I have now.”

  4. Senior says:

    No. That wasn’t it. It had more of a technical or tactical sense. I won’t know until I see it again (hopefully I will be able to identify which line it is!!).

    Now I want to see it again so I can hear the line you just quoted to see if I can hear your problem with it. I remember it and did not notice any problem at the time.

  5. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    My problem with it was that it seemed more like an afterthought to what Spock was currently saying. An “Oh yeah, and this…” sort of thing, which seemed very odd to me.

    I’ve seen it twice and didn’t catch the technical/tactical line you mentioned. If you figure out which it is, do let me know!

  6. Allie says:

    Amen, Rick! I am breathing a sigh of relief that you loved it like I did. I was so prepared to have you bash it. I assumed if I (not a fan of TOS at all, purely a TNG addict in the various species of Trekkies) loved it, an original purist such as yourself might bash it. IT WAS AWESOME. The great thing about it was since I wasn’t a real TOS fan it brought the whole original series vibe to life for me. Now THIS is a series I can get on board with. The new fresh actors enlivening the spirit of the original characters so well was amazing to me. My 20 year old son and I were high fiving throughout the movie!

  7. Jami says:
    Designer of graphics, website guru, developer, coder, & lead geek at www.studio-bionic.com.…

    I loved it too! I’m a total trekkie, but also a Jbrams fan-girl. I never liked Lost, but that’s actually more of Lindelof. Anyhow, Alias, Cloverfield and MI3 are my JJ faves. Did you spot the Slusho reference? That was in Alias and Cloverfield. And several 47s mentioned and shown throughout the movie as well. Total geeky goodness (and my hubby even enjoyed it)!

  8. David says:

    If I’m not incorrect, this movie was an “odd numbered” movie. I, too, was surprised by the movie’s “fun factor” being coupled so closely with the “nerd factor”.

    On the other hand, if this is supposed to be a canon show, without delving into the realms of alternate dimensions, it negates the entirety of TNG, DS9, and Voyager, leaving Enterprise as the only canon series. That idea leaves me with a chilling effect. It brings chills to the part of my spine that is incapable of feeling cold.

  9. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Well, it was a theatrical release, so yeah, it’s most likely canon. And you’re right, the movie changes the time line and “geography” of the galaxy to the point that the Original Series, Deep Space Nine, the Next Generation, and Voyager are now out of whack.

    But there’s still the chance that a later entry into this rebooted venture could correct things through some gimmicky thing. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  10. David says:

    I didn’t want to mention that even TOS would be negated because I haven’t actually watched enough of it to know whether or not they picture Vulcan at any point, nor whether or not they talk much about its history. It’s like they’re trying to re-write Roddenberry’s universe.

    I can’t see them doing anything to bring back the timeline. They messed up the Christopher Pike story, Kirk’s father’s story, and the means that Kirk uses to become the captain. From that perspective, TOS is definitely out of whack. Maybe they could pull a Newhart and have Spock wake up.

    The Onion did a fun parody newscast of the movie.
    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/trekkies_bash_new_star_trek_film

    I really like the movie, as it was released in theatres the day I was released from the spinal cord rehab hospital.

  11. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Yeah, the Original Series shows Vulcan. One of the classic episodes features Spock and Kirk battling “to the death” over a woman on Vulcan, if I’m not mistaken. Nevermind the fact that Vulcan is featured in at least a couple of the Original Series’ movie series.

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