Friday, May 8, 2009


By: Judson Rusk

Let me begin by saying that I am not, nor was I ever, a “trekkie.” So I don’t have some sort of deep seeded, fanboy attachment to this film. But I’ve been hearing from some pretty hard core Trek fans that, on average, their opinions and mine do not differ greatly on J.J. Abrams’ re-boot of the iconic series.

When it comes to “summer blockbuster,” this movie is almost flawless. Yes, I say it here in paragraph number two: This movie is awesome. From the very opening sequence where we learn that heroism against all odds runs in the Kirk bloodline, through Spock’s desperate struggle to figure out where he fits in, up until the resolution and Captain Kirk takes his rightful place on the bridge of the Enterprise, I was engrossed. This movie was a suburb blend of everything I want from a theater going experience. It had a great cast where no one seemed out of place and all of the acting in the movie (save for a handful of particular spots) was very compelling and convincing. It had a smart story that kept your attention mixed with the right amount of wit and banter to keep your brain from overloading. The action sequences looked amazing and, except for one glaring exception, helped move the plot. But most importantly, this movie did not alienate the general audience. Anyone, whether they are a Trek fan or not, can walk into this movie and be thoroughly entertained without having have the kid sitting next to them that is dressed up like a Vulcan constantly explaining things.

The movie had a very comfortable feel, mostly due to the fact that Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto fell so perfectly into their roles as James Kirk and Mr. Spock respectively. The character development in this movie is some of the best in recent history. Having to develop the characters and friendships of every single member of the Enterprise’s crew while still having a good story and a compelling conflict, is very difficult to do in the short amount of time allotted by the fact that this is only a movie, not a series. But STAR TREK pulled it off. Even the renegade, revenge-driven, Captain Nero had a very commanding screen presence even though his character was not as deep as one would have hoped. But even in his little screen time, the character is legitimately scary, and at some points pulls some very unsuspected sympathy from the audience.

Also, I stated my opinion very clearly before I saw this movie that I thought there was going to be a twist ending, where Captain Nero turns out to be Kirk’s father, presumed dead since the day James was born. I fully admit that I was totally and completely wrong. And I am very glad because of it. I had already discredited this movie quite a bit by the fact that I thought that they were going to put such a used and clichéd plot device in it, but was thoroughly impressed, and relieved when I watched the movie and saw that the writing was significantly more original. Kudos to you Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman for proving me wrong and making my movie going experience all the better. But although I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it does have some problems that can’t be overlooked.

We all knew for a long time that Leonard Nimoy was in this movie. Ok, cameo appearances are not the end of the world. In fact, they can be pretty sweet sometimes. But this takes it way too far. Instead of Nimoy playing Spock’s father, as originally thought, he instead reprises his old role from the 60’s television show as Spock himself. He appears in this film through the plot device of a time traveling, alternate dimension creating, man made, black hole. After Quinto’s Spock maroons the young Kirk on an ice planet very reminiscent of Hoth, Nimoy’s Spock of the future befriends Kirk and gets him back on track to become the great captain we know him to be by introducing him to Scotty, who then in turn, “beams them up.” Ok, I’m fine with all that. But then he doesn’t stop showing up in the rest of the movie. Even to the point where he confronts his younger self and has a conversation about how he should/has lived his life. Oh my god, that NEVER should have happened. And as the film winds to a close, we hear Nimoy doing a very familiar voice over which, to some, might have been a nice way to throw back to the original material, but to me it was just another reminder that even in the re-boot, we couldn’t cut the cord.

Although Mitch disagrees with me, I hate that Mr. Sulu goes from being a pilot to a katana wielding, action hero about as fast as Anakin turned to the dark side in Episode III. It was abrupt, didn’t fit the character, and seemed like just an excuse to add a sequence when people fight with swords; and not just any swords, but Swiss Army swords (that will make more sense if you have seen the flick). It shouldn’t be in the movie.

J.J. Abrams did a great job directing this movie but in the bar sequence near the beginning when Kirk gets into an all out brawl with Starfleet Academy cadets over Uhura, the direction was lacking. It was somewhere between a hand-cam, altered lenses, and too many tracking shots. It made the fight hard to follow. But most people didn’t seem to notice as much as I did, it might be a result of me looking at this movie through the eyes of a kid who is gearing his future career in the film industry.

In this movie, Spock and Uhura have a love fling going on. That’s terrible. That is like spitting in the face of the original Star Trek. And the worst part is that it didn’t do a single thing for the story. It was just there! Good for a couple laughs now and then, but not worth bastardizing the relationship between characters that has been set for 40 years.

But my biggest complaint is that this film is pretty much completely based around the creation and existence of alternate dimensions. But said dimensions are only mentioned once or twice in brief, passing dialogue. I admit, most of my understanding of those dimensions was explained to me after the film by other people who were apparently paying closer attention than I was. This seems to me like something that should definitely be struck on a little harder than it was.

Even though I railed on this movie quite a bit just now, I can’t stress enough that these things don’t even come close to discrediting this movie as a whole. This is 2009’s Iron Man (or 2009’s Dark Knight, for those of you who refuse to realize that The Dark Knight wasn’t as good as everyone thinks it is). It has its problems, sure. But they are insignificant enough that they won’t…no, they CAN’T ruin this movie. Star Trek has set the standard for the rest of 2009 very high, and it will be very difficult to match. Go see this movie.


  1. ha, you spelled "Trekkie" wrong in the very first sentence. Bitch.

  2. No comments about the lens flares?