Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Friday Night Blog: Star Trek

And so the future begins again.... J.J. Abrams, the man who brought us Lost and Cloverfield and Alias gets his hands on Paramount's crown jewels, and delivers a new Star Trek, not exactly for a new generation, as he's rebooted the original Kirk and Spock series, rather than creating a new crew.

In a time-twisting plotline that rewrites history, Abrams effectively wipes Starfleet's future history, from the moment his protagonist, the Romulan Nero, arrives from the future (around Picard's time), destroys the USS Kelvin, and kills the father of the still-being-born Jim Kirk. The future of Star Trek - all the films, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager all now exist down another leg of the trousers of time. The only thing that remains intact is the future Spock (who also travelled back to try to stop Nero) and the prequel series Enterprise.

Got that? Good.

So is it any good? Well by rebooting the series that means we have to have new actors playing the iconic roles. This is tricky, because the actors have to give us the essence of the characters, without sinking into parody.

Karl Urban gives us a brilliant McCoy, all gruff and grumpy and sarcastic, Chris Pine actually manages to feel like Kirk, while avoiding Shatner's stilted delivery, and Zachary Quinto gives a brilliant performance as Spock, once you can get over the fact that he's not still playing Sylar from Heroes. You half expect him to raise a finger to Kirk's forehead and start slicing....

The other crew members remain much as they were, generally character-less, except they all seem to be geniuses at something or other. For example, Anton Yelchin's Chekov (with his over-the-top accent - Walter Koenig's was dodgy, but this is just too much) is suddenly a transporter expert, being able to lock onto fast-falling objects. The usual Trek genius, Scotty (played by Simon Pegg with his tongue firmly in his cheek) doesn't appear until the last third of the film, so I suppose they had to find someone to fill his shoes for that scene. Uhura is the only character to have more of a developed character than she ever did in the original series, acting as a surprise love-interest for a major character.... And Zoƫ Saldana isn't exactly ugly, either!

There are enough nods to the original series to keep the fans happy, enough differences to make their blood boil, and probably enough to keep the non-Trekkie entertained too. The film looks brilliant, from the Enterprise's new iBridge (I like the idea that the viewscreen is also a window now, rather than just the old screen), to the more realistic, down-and-dirty engineering section, all pipes and water and steam. Looks like Abrams been watching his Firefly...!

I liked the film, but I didn't love it, but then I've never really been a fan of the original series (more of a Next Gen boy). I felt the plot, although emotionally engaging, was a little slight, and I'm pretty much sick to death of time-travel shenanigans in Star Trek, which I'd hoped we'd left behind. I'm sure there'll be more films to come, and this is a likeable, fun version of the crew to go on new voyages with.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Drop me a line!

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home