Reimagining is a term that science fiction fans have become accustomed to. In recent years, sci-fi TV standards such as "Dr. Who" and "Battlestar Galactica" have been dusted off and spruced up to reach out to a new generation of fans. And now, under the helm of J.J. Abrams, who has brought us shows such as "Lost", "Alias" and "Fringe", "Star Trek" gets its 21st century makeover. Of course renewal isn't anything new to the "Star Trek" universe which over the past four decades has spawned six different television shows and eleven movies, however they all steered clear of re-tooling the original main characters of Kirk and Spock until now.
For a while, the new "Star Trek" movie is impressive, full of fresh production values and the trendy but still effective documentary style hand held camera shots that blur the action with lens flares and movement that helps put the viewer in the middle of the action. Yes, it's exciting to see the geniuses at ILM lather up the "Star Trek" universe with 2009 era special effects, but as the spectacle wears off and you drive away from the theater you can't help but think how muddy the storyline actually was.
A day after seeing it, the plot of the new "Star Trek" seems really convoluted, the villain is forgettable, and I still can't shake the notion I had when I saw the first screen shots that the new Trek seems like "High School Musical" in space. Chris Pine's Kirk comes off as ridiculously young to be in the Captain's chair, and it's hard to shake off Zachary's Quinto's other persona resulting in Spocklar, a weird combination of Vulcan and the villain he plays in the TV show "Heroes". And while it's fun to see Winona Ryder as the ultimate space milf, the only retread character that really seems to 'get it' is Karl Urban who does a great job as the young 'bones' McCoy.
And as much as I love seeing Leonard Nimoy in his ears again, tying the plot into the original Spock was a mistake. By trying to include him, the new Trek creators are weighed down and forced to create its own trumped up parallel universe so that it fits in with the existing mythology. Whereas the re-invented "Battlestar Galactica" succeeded by cutting ties to the original, the re-imagined "Star Trek" stumbles by trying to hold both timelines at the same time.
Clearly, J.J. Abrams and company were fans of what still is the best "Star Trek" movie, "the Wrath of Khan" and at times, the movie liberally borrows from the Nicholas Meyers film. Abrams includes scenes that quote directly from the Khan script, and offer an interesting moment where we get to see Kirk passing the Kobayashi Maru test, however the tribute goes a bit too far when they throw in an unnecessary scene with the villain dropping space worms into federation officers again. Where's Ricardo Montalban and his fake chest when you need him?
In the end, as a popcorn munching summer sci-fi flick, the new "Star Trek" is worth checking out. It's the kind of movie that the less you hold onto your ideas of what "Star Trek" is about the better you'll like the new movie. Sure, maybe there's no moral message that would've made Gene Rodenberry proud, but the new Trek includes hot, green-skinned aliens in the Academy for Kirk to chase, and I guess that's what they think matters to the new Trek fans. Still wondering about the point of the whole corvette scene, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2009 - Purple - Air Date: 5/13/09
USA - 2009