film, Reviews

Movie Review – Star Trek (2009)

I’m not the guy writing the review for Bureau42 – which means that my thoughts on the movie go up here. So, it all comes down to this simple question – it’s technically an odd numbered Trek movie, whether you consider it number 11 or number 1. After all the hype, after seeing the re-designed ship, seeing the cast list, learning whose directing it, and reading the prequel comic. There is only one question that needs to be answered – is it good?

Note: I’m going to try to avoid spoilers – I may not succeed.  So, for those viewing this on the site, I’ve got the meat of the review below the cut. If you’re reading this through the RSS – be warned. I may include some material from the Star Trek: Countdown comic as being “not-spoilers.”

The Premise:

The film tells the story of the first meetings of what will become the bridge crew/senior officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise – Montgomery Scott, Pavel Andreyovitch Chekov, Hikaru Sulu, Uhura, Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy, Spock, and James T. Kirk, as they, and the Enterprise, face off against Nero, a crazed Romulan from the future, seeking to avenge the distruction of his world by punishing the grandfathers for the sins of those as yet unborn.

The Good:

This is probably some of the best characterization the crew of the Enterprise has recieved in all the films, with excellent performances to go with it. In particular, Karl Urban nails Bones – he can’t totally replace the late DeForest Kelly, but I cannot pick a better successor. Zachary Quinto does an excellent job as Spock. However, the 3 performances I have to give the most credit to are Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Zoe and Anton really have a lot more material for their characters then Nichelle Nichols (sp) and Walter Koenig had over much of the show. In particular, this film really gets across Uhura’s technical aptitude, and particularly, Chekov’s scientific aptitude (you can reasonably say from here that, to a certain degree, Chekov in this film displays the scientific competence to explain why Star Trek II Chekov got the job as Reliant‘s science officer).

The Bad:

Nero’s motivations sounded, as persented in the film, rather shallow. Fortunately, I read IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown prequel miniseries, which fleshed out the character a lot, but all things considered I really shouldn’t have had to.

Would it have killed them to let Chris Pine (Kirk) deliver the closing speech “Space, the final frontier…”? I mean, I know you’ve got Nimoy, but still.

The Ugly:

I understand that the design estetic of The Original Series, and even the sequel films was based a lot on the budgetary limitations of the time – and I liked the Designed By Apple ™ bridge. And besides, white lighting is good for a bridge design, because it helps you do more with less lighting. However, there was way too much lens flare in this movie, and for all the good things about the Director of Photography’s work on this film, he needs to be beaten about the head and shoulders for the lens flare.

Also, while I understand why they designed their Engine Room the way they did (an attempt to ground things in a somewhat realistic fashion), all things considered it seems a little impractical – especially since from what I can tell there isn’t a centralized control room or something in the engine room.

The Verdict:

Watch this movie. Watch it in theatres. Watch it in Imax if you can. And when it comes out on DVD or Blu-Ray – buy it.

Trust me.

It is that good.