Monday, September 28, 2009

Where Everyone Else Has Gone Before

Saturday, Trillium and I went to see Star Trek at the dollar theater. In some respects, this was a first for me. I had seen all of the other Star Trek movies within the first or second showing of the films on the first day of their release. I am a Trekkie! So what! The fact that I did not see the movie during the first week (as did my two sons) did not particularly distress me. I thought "Good for them; good for me!"

In preparation for Saturday's jaunt, I had watched all of the Original Series (all 79 episodes)and first six of the Star Trek movies. What a waste of time! The opening scene of the movie saw to that. The dingbat Romulans and Spock obviated any advantage that I might have otherwise gained in the enjoyment of the movie. The whole Star Trek universe had its reset button pushed and everything, just about everything worth knowing about Star Trek trivia, was dumped into the trash can. Was I upset? Not at all. Now the boys at Paramount can do anything they want, assuming that anyone would be interested in a newly created worldview of the 23rd century. Most Trekkies like to argue about the sharpness of the blade of Kodos the Executioner and how many tribbles can dance on the head of a pin. All that is mercifully behind us now.

My hesitancy to going to the theater in the first place was borne out shortly after the previews began. The sound was loud, disruptive, and the dialogue was almost impossible to distinguish from any other sound effect going on. When I buy the DVD, I will sit down in the family room and suit myself as to the auditory intensity. I walked out of the theater somewhat more stunned than entertained.

Having said all of the foregoing, did I like the story? Not bad! The new actors have not yet become endearing, probably because they could all be my grandchildren. The fellow that played Doctor McCoy, Karl Urban, worked, however, even though they had him saying some really cheesy lines that only DeForest Kelley should have spoken. His personality worked, as did his mild southern accent. I was intensely amused by the series of events that supposedly gave him the nick-name "Bones".

Zachary Quinto's Spock was okay. A little too emotional, I suppose, but that was an integral part of the story. It took a long time for Leonard Nimoy to settle into the part that made him a SciFi icon. Nimoy really didn't have him down until the first movie. The charm in this piece, though probably the most disturbing, was the love interest between Spock and Uhura. That was really inexplicable, but worked nonetheless. It was certainly better than the unnerving romance between Scotty and Uhura that took place on Bill Shatner's watch in the fifth movie.

Chekov and Sulu were hard to picture, but the accents worked, sort of. Sulu's hand-to-hand combat joke worked, not once but twice. Who knew the Romulans were packing blades? Scotty was funny, but not in the James Doohan way. That was a breath of fresh air. Bruce Greenwood's Christopher Pike was the stable focus of the movie; great casting, good acting. Spock's parents didn't work for me, probably because I liked Mark Leonard so much as the quintessential Vulcan.

The Kirk persona must have been deeply troubled by his father's death at the hands of the Romulans. I had great difficulty trying to equate the two Kirk's. And I thought that the depiction of the reprogramming of the Kobayashi Maru scenario was sophomoric and not nearly as clever as it should have been. The Kirk of TOS would have been far more subtle and devious. As a treatise on a young man crawling back from a series of social and academic blunders, I thought that the story worked, but it was not James Tiberias Kirk.

Casting Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura was a stroke of pure genius and was completely in keeping with the casting of female actresses throughout the Original Series. She had Nichelle Nichols' edge as well and her persona would have persuaded any red-blooded American boy in the 23rd century to study linguistics.

Will the boys at Paramount come up with another movie? Could be, but I hope that the characters settle down a little.


Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say that I absolutely, positively LOVED the movie! Hehehe...I thought it was fun that they took an alternate reality. Maybe that is why Kirk bothered you so much. He wasn't the super fun-loving, devil-may-care type of fellow. He had a bitter edge. I hope they do come out with another one.
P.S. The whole Spoke-Uhura thing freaked me out.

Anonymous said...

I meant "Spock." :P

Katscratchme said...

We have yet to see it...

Any willing babysitters out there?

Jen said...

Set phasers to fabulous!!

Trillium said...

I watched one trailer of the movie before we went. It contained the scene in which the boy Kirk jumps from a convertible going 60 miles per hour just before the car goes over a cliff. In Iowa. I'm not sure which was most unbelievable. the grand canyon in Iowa or the defiance of the laws of physics. Our body instincts tell us that gravity and forward momentum would have carried the boy over the edge along with the car. Such phooey. When I watched that scene in the movie, of course, my mind was determined to see the foolishness in all its glorious nonsense.

As for Spock's daddy, I immediately recognized "Harold Abrahams" from "Chariots of Fire" and I heard in my mind's memory: "you ran like a God!" Now, THERE was a great movie! :D

Rebecca said...

Victor and I have seen the movie at least twice. Maybe three times. We really enjoyed it. So did our children.

I think Zachary kind of freaked us out as Spock since we know him intimently as Sylar from Heros.

We loved the characters of Scotty and Bones. Lots of fun. It's still showing at the dollar theater here - we will probably see it again.