back to the future

Star TrekI did it. I went out and saw the new Star Trek. As an avowed fan of the original series (and quite disinterested in all of the other series), this is the first of the films that I’ve seen since either The Undiscovered Country or The Final Frontier.

Regardless, after all of those years and the disdain I’ve felt for the non-original Star Trek, I wasn’t too skeptical coming into this. Though I hadn’t heard much about it and I wasn’t thinking much about it, I did have it in my mind that it might be worth checking out. Of course, the fact that it is a prequel to the original series and would feature the classic characters, did make me wonder how much they would work to tie it in to the existing history. Only after the movie did I realize that it had been directed by J J Abrams (of Lost), otherwise I might have been prepared for some the alternate reality involved. First off, the whole premise. It is, yes, the story of the young (original) crew of the Enterprise and their (and the Enterprise’s) first mission. But instead of just doing a straight up prequel to the original series, he has thrown in some time-chucking to make it both a prequel and also an alternate history.

An evil Romulan, Captain Nero, has come back in time to wreak some vengeance on the Federation and the Enterprise crew must once again (though for the first time) go up against unbeatable odds to defeat a seemingly undefeatable enemy who will otherwise destroy the Federation. In the midst of this, we have to see the characters and relationships that we know so well begin to develop… Starting out with an exciting sci-fi battle and then moving to Kirk’s youth (and an unexpected Beastie Boys song… it certainly does have its cheesy moments) and the formation of our core folks. There is lots of action and space battling, the special effects are nicely done… This I especially appreciated because of lot of the stuff didn’t look too far removed from now. Wandering through the Enterprise it looks like you could have been just wandering through the aircraft carrier, rather than the spacecraft. There were some other good ships and some fun science stuff… Though I hate those silly “black hole/worm hole” theories, I did enjoy the Red Matter.

I thought that it was an interesting way of being able to use the same characters but yet also be able to do whatever you want with the story (and I believe, move us into a whole new series of movies using the classic characters). Of course, as with the second chunk of Star Wars movies and anything prequelesque, it feels a bit too self referential (even going so far as to give us the Kobayashi Maru incident and also an unusual and surprising take on a rather infamous romantic angle from the show)… But I find it easy to forgive such things in this case. Though I wonder how most of the movie will be perceived by people who are not thoroughly familiar with the classic star trek series.

The casting is pretty good, but most outstanding is the choice of Karl Urban (previously seen as Eomer, the great warrior of Rowan in the Lord of the Rings movies) as McCoy. Though his attempts to pull of McCoy’s mannerisms may at time seen a bit overdone, he actually makes it come across pretty well. But then, with the original series, being overdone is part of the package. And though it has a few corny and light-hearted moments that don’t really interest me, some of the other “funny” stuff I didn’t mind. Especially surprising was seeing Simon Pegg as Montgomery Scott… And when the credits rolled I realized that I had unfortunately and completely missed that Spock’s mother was played by Winona Ryder!


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