Saturday, 9 May 2009

Of Star Trek

Yup another trip to the cinema this week, this time to see Star Trek, something I've been anticipating a LOT more than Wolverine. So was it worth the hype? Well I wasn't really hyping it, it was more sort of a "oooh look at the names in this movie, I'll go see" sort of thing. However yes what enthusiasm I did put forward to seeing this movie was definitely worth it. Now I have to give a slight disclaimer, I have never seen anything Star Trek related before. Nothing. No movies, no episodes and no video games. But I do have a knowledge of it. I know of Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Red Shirts, The Borg, that battle music, KHAAAAAAN!!! and of course that legendary battle between which captain is better Picard or Kirk.

So, I'm sort of the perfect audience for this movie. I got a lot of the jokes aimed at trekkies, a lot of the references so I was able to see a lot of them in context which was fun. However just because I got the references doesn't mean I thought the movie was good. Luckily I did think the movie was good, in fact it was great. Best movie I've seen since The Wrestler. Whilst The Wrestler is still by far the best movie I've seen this year and I don't seen this changing any time soon. But Star Trek is easily the best Summer movie I've seen this year, but with Transformers, Terminator, Harry Potter and Angels and Demons coming that might change.

But I digress. The movie is great and I'm sort of the audience they want to attract. I don't think Star Trek is too geeky at all. Yes their are people that enjoy it but then there are also people who memorise every member of their favourite football team, how many caps each player has and decorate their room in the style in the form of a football pitch and yet they aren't seen as geeky. But that is an entirely different point. So Star Trek is perceived as geeky but this movie is going to go a long way to change those opinions.

J.J. Abrams knows how to make mainstream movies. Mission Impossible 3 is easily the best Mission Impossible and Lost (whilst he has minimal involvement) is one of my favourite television shows of all time. So he manages to create a really mainstream movie whilst still appeasing the hardcore fans. In fact I'm going to say one thing now which may give me a lot of heat. Star Trek is the movie that Star Wars 1-3 NEEDED to be. They bring back that enjoyment of watching Star Wars 4-6 whilst still maintaining it's own unique Star Trekness. Star Treks may just one of the best space based sci-fi things this century, just after Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.

Now the story. The story makes sense...somewhat, it involves time travel so makes as much sense as any time travel movie can. The movie isn't just a prequel, it's a complete reboot. The reason being Spock and Nero going back in time creates an alternate universe where the events of the original series or any of the other Star Trek's ever happened. Meaning J.J. and team have free reign to do whatever they want over the franchise that has already been formed with the confirmation of Star Trek 2 already. So we can look forward to re-imaginings of classic Trek storylines. So the story is fun, my friend says "it lacks epic" but really it's a lot like Iron-Man. It's a fantastic set up story for a sequel which is obviously going to be far better, especially now that all of the characters have already been set up.

The characters are all exactly the same with the obvious standouts being Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk. Both of them are fantastic in this and really bring a kind of modern edge. Whilst Leonard Nimoy being in the movie does detract from Quinto's performance, Quinto was fantastic and showed off some great skill with the character, something he hasn't shown on Heroes since Season 1. Chris Pine whilst definitely not being William Shatner (I really should start drink game about how often I say/hear his name) is great as this sort of new generation Kirk, even if someone pointed that "Kirk is more of a risk taker than thrill seeker" you have to remember this Kirk's father died so he's going to be a little different (hence why Spock and Kirk aren't friends in this movie till the end).

Now I can talk about my favourite bit of the movie. Simon Pegg. Damn. He was fantastic. Hilarious in EVERY SINGLE scene he was in, even if it was just a movement of his eyes. Simon Pegg is easily one of the funniest men in the world at the moment and it seems that the Trek guys know just how to get the best out of him (outside of Nick Frost and Edgar Wright). So whilst we might have a while to wait for his next truly great comedy movie, we can be safe in the knowledge he will always have a place in Trek lore. Only problem is he doesn't appear in the movie till about halfway through and gets most of his best stuff in the next 20/30 minutes then kind of disappears for the rest of the movie. However for the moments he gets he is glittering shining point in an already great movie.

Overall Trek is well worth going to see. It's a heck of a lot of fun and I heartily recommend it. The special effects are fantastic (as is to be expected from ILM) and the cast is pretty much perfect for who they're playing. The movie might not be "epic" but it still works on a much more intimate level in that it is an introduction to the characters. The story is solid but is again a bit of an introduction to which we'll get a lot more expansion in Trek 2. The movie is accessible to non-Trek fans but it definitely pays to have at least a passing knowledge of the world (particularly popular lines from Star Trek: The Original Series). Oh and if a sci-fi action movie to what looks set to become a great franchise in the same way as Iron-Man, isn't what you want to go see, just go see it for Simon Pegg. We all love Simon Pegg and he is hilarious in this movie (if he was on screen I was laughing in seconds). 8/10

Oh and badass trailer combining two great things (one greater than the other):

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