Tuesday, April 7, 2009

1st Star Trek Review

While Star Trek was premiering at Sydney Opera House, it was also taking a bow at AICN Butt-a-thon. For those fans that showed up, they thought they were going to see a pristine print of Wrath of Khan but what they got was Star Trek writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof riffing until Leonard Nimoy shows up to provide a print of the first movie. The full review and story is here, below are highlights (and spoilers) of the overall positive review.

- The movie starts off as the USS Kelvin is attacked by Nero's Narada as it appears out of a black hole. (Result of time travel in the TNG universe).
- Nero is searching for the elder Spock (or Spock Prime) for his failure to save Romulus (as seen in Star Trek Countdown comic book).
- Nero grabs the USS Kelvin captain to get Spock's location. In the meantime George Kirk is promoted and begins evacuation saving his wife and about to be born son Kirk. (Hence the screaming women and line about "he saved 800 in 12 minutes, I challenge you to do better" line in the trailers).
- My theory of three main parallel universes (Prime, 2.0, Mirror) is verified in the review, "Without any cop-outs, Abrams and his team establish that with this single event [destruction of the USS Kelvin] everything has changed."
- Use of aliens and the look of the future are consistent and handled well by Abrams.
- Nero is a decent villain but not a real match for Kirk, i.e. he is no Khan. As noted, no surprise since "He’s almost a truck driver that happened to be off planet when something horrible happens, causing him to seek his revenge" (again as seen in Countdown).
- Pine apparently nails the Kirk swagger, humor and command presence. All the actors, especially Karl Urban (McCoy) did excellent jobs in their roles.
- First 45 minutes is solid, second act was had problems, mostly in trying to get the classic bridge crew together and give them their moments while bring in Spock Prime also to move the story into the final act.
- "My biggest complaint is that it feels like they just got started up when the film ended. I want more! I want to see the further adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew aboard the USS Enterprise."

Film School Rejects also posted a review and above picture. Basically they loved it. They enjoyed the story, visual effects, sound design, the cast, and essentially their review is very similar to AICN.

It’s early but the movie is off to a good start review wise with the casual Star Trek fans giving it a thumbs up. The real question is what will non Star Trek fans think of the movie as that is what the reboot is all about. I am especially curious on how the hardcore Trekkies think, especially since The Original Series (or Prime) canon has been bypassed with the launching the 2.0 parallel universe. On the plus side, at least that means the Prime Universe can still be explored in books but sadly in the realm of TV and film, it is officially dead with this movie.

Update: AICN posted some fan reviews from those that were at Austin. One was from a die hard Trekkie that expressed some of the doubts I had (Kirk goes from Cadet to Captain from one mission)
Some minor spoilers ahead: So what does a hard-core Trekkie think of the new movie? Well, I liked it. Much, much more than I thought I would. Sure, there are some definite issues from a "Starfleet" point of view (Kirk getting a battlefield promotion to First Officer when he hasn't even graduated the Academy? Scotty taking over the Transporter Room and Engineering 5 minutes after coming on board? Spock abandoning his post when Pike has been captured in order to rescue his parents? Seriously?)

It was fun, and enjoyable. I laughed at the funny parts, I got tense during some of the big action scenes, and I had good time. The big question on my mind right now as I type this is: "Was it Star Trek?" I'm still on the fence about this one. Parts of it definitely "felt" like Star Trek -- certainly much more than the later Next Generation films or heck, all of Voyager. Honestly, I think I need to see it again to make that judgement. But I gotta tell you, that's a personal call, and in the end it just doesn't matter -- this hard-core Trekkie still enjoyed the film. I'm glad I saw it, and I'll definitely go back to see it a second time.

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