Star Trek (2009)
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Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Gene Roddenberry
Chris Pine, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder, Karl Urban, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, Anton Yelchin, Leonard Nimoy, Greg Ellis, Chris Hemsworth, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Morrison, Rachel Nichols, Diora Baird, Majel Barrett, Clifton Collins Jr., Brad William Henke, Spencer Daniels, Jimmy Bennett, Paul McGillion, Tania Gunadi, Lucia Rijker, Faran Tahir, William Morgan Sheppard, Jacob Kogan, T.J. Storm, Kelvin Yu, Bob Clendenin, Arlo Hemphill, Jeff Chase, Tiffany Collie, Marlene Forte, Darlena Tejeiro, Sonita Henry, Jeffrey Byron, Pavel Lychnikoff, David Jean Thomas, Marta Martin, Elizabeth Ingalls, Douglas Tait, Cody Klop, Massi Furlan, Susse Budde, Jason Matthew Smith, Sufe Bradshaw, Justin Rodgers Hall, Michelle Parylak, Brandon Stacy, Cole Fritch, Jim Nieb, Calvin Dean, Tony Guma, Kasia Kowalczyk, Marcus Young, Richard Arnold, Troy Brenna, Fallon Brooks, Jason Brooks, Zachary Culbertson, Ian Fisher, Wyatt Gray, Aaron Haedt, Anna Katarina, Sarah Klaren, Jill Lover, Justin Malachi, Jonathan Newkerk, Renie Rivas, Bertrand Roberson Jr., Kyle Scudiere, Katie Soo, Brian Vowell, Brianna Womick, Nancy Guerriero, Anthony Bonaventura, Christopher Jude, Taylor McCluskey, Westley Nguyen, Mark Casimir Dyniewicz, Daniel D. Lee, Devin Williamson, Scottie Thompson, Nav Mann, Zachary Quinto, Lorenzo James Henrie, Christopher Doohan, Margot Farley, Kimberly Arland, Tansy Alexander, James Cawley, Colby Paul, Randy Pausch, Sabrina Morris, Jolene Kay, Makiko Konishi, Jeffery Quinn, Jonathan Dixon, Paul Townsend, Paul Sass, Rico E. Anderson, Antonio Elias, Ronald F. Hoiseck, Alex Nevil, James Jolly, Jason Vaughn, Joseph Steven, Jeffery Hauser, Leslie Augustine, Jonathan Baca, Leonard Baligaya, John Bartlebaugh, Corey Becker, Stefon Benson, Joshua Greene, Melanie Harrison, Monte Hunter, Paul Kumar, Michael Lovern, Aaron Lynch, Nav Mann, Owen Martin, Matthew McGregor, Andrew Mew, Jessica Mika, Patrizia Milano, Jack Millard, Kevin Moser, Duane Ram, Shanequa Reed, Eamon Sheehan, Rahvaunia
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Abrams Emerges Victorious From No-win Scenario
Favorite Movie Quote: "I didn't marry your mother because it was logical; I married her because I loved her."
At the time that I saw Star Trek in the theaters, the summer lay out before me with a slew of blockbusters that had potential, and I was guarded about Trek's chances. After all, time-travel (again?) and a reboot of legendary characters rather than a go-forward approach, which seems somehow the antithesis of everything that Star Trek stands for. Several months later, lying in the wreckage of what could be one of the crappiest summers (years?) for blockbusters, Star Trek is just about the only high-budget movie that managed to warp out the other side relatively unscathed.
I'm no Trekker, Trekkie, or fanatic, but I have seen all the movies (some many times; hello, Wrath of Khan) and a healthy dose of the shows, particularly Next Generation and the original, never being partial to Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, or the space turd that was Voyager. What continuity I care about would be character and story based, not whether actors can imitate old actors' ticks and quirks and what deck the Enterprise's one toilet was located on. At the same time, what's more interesting, is more interesting, so if certain aspects of a popular half-human, half-Vulcan happen to be different than the old guard remembers, tough toenails.
Trek leads with one of the best opening sequences in my recent memory, which sets up the arrival of Nero (Eric Bana) from the future, the birth of Kirk (Chris Pine), and the subsequent death of his father, who sacrifices his life so that Kirk, his mother, and 800 other people can escape, setting up one of, if not the, central theme of the film, which is how people deal with loss. Referenced later in a conversation between Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and a bar-brawling Kirk, and laced with more clues in conversations between Kirk and the other time-traveler Nero was chasing, it seems to me this event changed history, delaying Kirk's entry into Starfleet, thus changing the dynamic between him and many of the Enterprise crewmembers. Seldom does an opening sequence do so much, so quickly. Plus it's really cool.
Next up is adolescent Spock (Zachary Quinto), struggling not to beat the pointy ears off racist little Vulcan bullies, taunting him about his human half and his human mother (Winona Ryder), setting up another theme of the film, that of finding, and accepting, one's place in the world. As he matures he must choose whether to purge himself of emotion or embrace his human half and join Starfleet.
Meanwhile Kirk is having the above-mentioned post-bar-brawl discussion in which Pike convinces him to give Starfleet a go. Soon enough, we're a couple of years in, Kirk and Bones (Karl Urban) are buddies, Kirk's tried and failed to get his meat-hooks into Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and Kirk's facing a review board for his inability to face the no-win scenario.
In one of the movie's few headscratchers, Nero and his ship have apparently been wandering the universe for the past 25 years, waiting for their quarry, which finally appears. With his ship, and the technology within, they proceed to Vulcan to set the action stage of the film into motion.
Star Trek is a near-perfect film of its type. My primary knock would be Kirk's maroon sequence in which he's chased by one ice creature (fine), but then another ice creature that looks like it got lost on its way to Geonosis. Kirk then conveniently tumbles within shouting distance of someone helpful on a planet housing 3.5 people. I also wasn't fond of the use of brain-bugs. It's been done. A lot. It was Kahn's thing. Find another interrogation technique please.
On the plus side is everything else. I really admire Abrams' balls for actually changing the universe the way he has, rather than have the villain foiled at the last second and have everything remain status quo. I liked the flip that it was someone other than Kirk that got the girl. I liked the dynamic of the cast. And I really liked the climactic sequence; when Ayel (Nero's Number One, Clifton Collins, Jr.) says, "There's another ship coming out of warp!" and the Enterprise enters the theater of war with all guns blazing, if you don't do a fist pump, at least a little one on the inside, you need to check your pulse.
As the first blockbuster I saw this year, and with the line up laid out the rest of the summer, I thought Star Trek was going to get lost. Little did I realize it was one of the few treks to the theater that was actually worth taking.
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