Sunday, May 10, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek (2009)

When any thing has a cult following, the subject has to be dealt with great care. The director has to not only satisfy the audience, he has to be careful so as to NOT offend the existing fans and he has to do it while showing something "new" to them. When the movie is Star Trek, the burden on the director increases by manifold as many of the fans will pick and discuss each and every minutest thing in great detail. Everything has to be logically perfect and yet it must be cool! If done right, it will easily make such a movie the biggest movie of this weekend! If done wrong, it can easily make it a big flop.

The thing that I liked about watching this particular Star Trek movie is that the movie has a "new movie" feel about it. Its kind of like the "new car" smell you experience in a new car. The tag line of the movie says "The future is here" and the movie lives up to its tag line. The visuals in the movie are very fresh and clean. The surroundings in the spaceship appear to be new and futuristic. You do not get the feeling of "Hey, That thing reminds me of that other movie. Or This scene feels like its from the Matrix."

The new Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine has been given a "I care a damn" attitude in the movie. Something that is different from the old Captain Kirk that I was used to after watching the television series. Although it is this particular quirk about the movie that might make me want to watch the movie again and therefore it actually works to the movie's advantage if others want to do the same!

Spock! With his odd eyebrows and his seemingly indestructible strength and his high level of intelligence combined with his famous hand-on-the-jugular-maneuver that can instantly render the opposition unconscious, it is but logical it was this character in the Star Trek series that I always wanted to be! Although, I must say that the character played in this movie was not as aspiring, it is perhaps the length of the series that made the Spock of the series way way cooler (its logical, isn't it!)! Played by Zachary Quinto, the Spock of the movie is also cool as he retains all the qualities of the (dare-i-say) original Spock!

Hikaru Sulu is played by John Cho. (the biography of this character is quite interesting.) The reliable helmsman of the most famous star ship in the world! The character in the movie is vulnerable, yet solid enough to feel at home in the Enterprise!

"Beam me up, Scotty!" - Perhaps the most famous dialogue in the era of Star Trek! Played by Simon Pegg, this character is the practical scientist. A little eccentric, but full of ingenuity. In this movie he has a relatively small yet memorable role.

Dr. McCoy. The ship's chief medical officer and a personal friend of James T Kirk. Played by Karl Urban, Dr. McCoy smuggles a renegade Kirk aboard the Enterprise in the movie (revealed only because this is not vital to the plot) and also serves as a bit of a comic relief.

Uhura is the ship's communication officer. Her character is played by Zoe Saldana. Oddly, I thought she was being played by Beyonce in the movie. Logically speaking, the mistake was made by me because Beyonce also had a movie coming out around the same time and there was quite a bit of a resemblance although I did think that the character made Beyonce look skinnier and a little - for the lack of a better word - ugly! I found her bio data quite impressive and her looks unattractive! She has a memorable screen presence in the movie and also serves as a corner of a love angle in the movie.

Of course, as it goes with any action movie, the movie will only be as good as its villain. And the visuals apart, this is perhaps the strongest point in the movie for Nero is real "bad" villain who manages to strike fear in your heart! Ruthless, cold-blooded, calculative, scheming, cunning - he makes bad look cool! Played by Eric Bana, I really liked his characterization a lot even though there is not much time devoted to building it. That may be one of the reasons why I ended up liking his character, because unlike Captain Kirk, the director did not waste any screen time in developing this character. It just unfolded as the story progressed! Efficiently ruthless!
The plot of the movie is simple and yet its complex enough to warrant for a second viewing. There is enough "nerdy details" for a Trekkie to discuss over a few cold beers! Like the creation of an alternate parallel universe caused by the altering of the past by knowledge from the future! A good thing to cause an argument and then discuss "what could have happened" by buying the DVD of the movie.

The only quirk that I had was - even though the cast was international, at least in terms of race, once again the action was centered around the US! It gets a little repetitive to time and again see movie makers show - the world = US - in movies! makes me want to be a little crass and say "Come on - get your head out of your ass! There are other continents too. Its OK to go a little more international. The whole world is a market place now and its for yours to take!" There are other things that I want to discuss too, but it will mean revealing a bit of the plot and hence I refrain for now. And since I have digressed, here is a treat for you...

A visual compa rision of the Old v/s new
Star ship... just for kicks :-) Note that the new star ship is shiner! Also note that many more stars are now visible as this is the age od High Definition :-))
The commendable thing about this Star Trek movie is that the director J.J. Abrams has managed to give it a fresh feel while retaining the original Star Trek flavour in it. I can see it winning awards or at least posing serious competition to the other eagerly awaited flick of this year - T4!
Go watch it! The ship is really cool, the characters are exciting and funny, the action is also cool and the plot is deep. This movie has enough in it to make a Trekkie out of you! And if you do not get converted in the first screening, we'll make sure to get a vulcan sign out of you the second time around :-)) 7.5/10 is my rating! Its really good!

This revu is dedicated to Mumble - who does not have a link to his blog on his profile! Can you please update it buddy? We'd like to read what you have to write...
PS: This started out as a double feature, but the review got the better of me as I started penning it... Sorry to have made you endure me twice :-)


Mumble! said...

First Comment! (Ha! Always wanted to do that!)

Thank you! Thank you again!

Now, where was I? Yup, got 100+ comics of Wolverine, and am racing through them. (Taking a break to read 'Death of Superman' tonite).

Have watched all three Terminator movies back-to-back too! Even put the poster up as my Nokia wallpaper, smouldering eyes 'n all!

Now frantically looking for Star trek TV series / books!

(I had also read through the complete dark knight titles before the movie released. All 200+! Still can't believe you slept through it!!)

With the Multiplex wars delaying all these fine movies (MUMBLE!! MUMBLE!! GRR!!) I get more time to catch up on the back stories!! First good thing to come out of this strike!

And finally, last but not the least, excellent reviews! You do write very good reviews when it comes to movies and cars. Ever think of going Pro?

eye-in-sty-in said...

You are welcome buddy. I slept in DK bcoz the theater was dark and I was tired :-) That does not reflect badly on the movie in any way... Just that sometimes, we all get a little overwhelmed by fatigue and the dark air-conditioned hall makes it hard for us to resist sleep :D

Pro? oh please, don't pull my leg too much now :-)

Vee said...

Will I be ridiculed If I say I have never been much of Star Trek Fan.. I read the review though and so agree with Cult Funda. The things get delicate and needs extra care.

Wonder if I will go for a first viewing, forget the second to break the complexity.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Not at all - not when you are a guest at my blog you wont be ridiculed :P

Apart from being a trekkie movie, it is a good movie. period! You DO NOT have to be a fan to enjoy it. the story line is quite taut and exciting. If you can watch action movies, you shd go for it. U'll like it.

And if you like adventure telly serials, I recommend starting from the original Star Trek series.

couchpapaya said...

oh noes... u watched it already ?? ... not reading the review yet, since i want to watch without any expectations ... will come back and comment after..

eye-in-sty-in said...

Watched it on the 3rd day coz I was working on the 2nd and 1st :-))

couchpapaya said...

hello, watched it last night ... was plenty impressed but bit disappointed too. the sci-fi aspect was sooo missing, everything dumped under the carpet of red matter. oh well, i know this is the first and they wanted to set up so i hope there's better writing later. and am not sure how i feel about the alternate reality thing too ...

i liked the casting of kirk, spock, to some extent mccoy when he wasnt overacting with they eyebrows. too bad he'll always be vaako to me :( and when sulu pulls out his sword all i saw was harold playing arnd with a pointy object and i burst out laughing.

this ship and bridge was awesome tho .... now if only film-makers would stop with the puerile humour in summer blockbusters i would be totally happy !!

the entire audience started clapping when the movie ended, did u have it too??? :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

Were your sci-fi expectations similar to what you saw in the series? I didn't like Kirk's character a whole lot! Perhaps its because he was too young and he was also shown to be wasting away his life in the beginning. lol @ Harold playing with pointy thing! I hope poor Sulu does not read this comment :P
The ship was cool... I liked the shiny design instead of it being all grey n boring. The clapping thing didn't happen in my show, but I heard some friends say they experienced it too. Do we get a review 4m you?

couchpapaya said...

i guess star trek has always been the more serious sci-fi show so i expected something which was explained much better than some balloon-like 'red matter' - everyone knows matter and anti-matter, where is this red thing coming from types.

as for kirk, i dont know i thought it worked with the story, he had to be a rebel and someone who thinks differently to actually have the cojones let's say to take command of the starship at his age dont u think? in the original star trek kirk becomes captain when he's much older.

i probably wont review, movies i can only review if they move me deeply - hate or love. this one was lukewarm.

all set for terminator ???

eye-in-sty-in said...

It a little less nerdy. Guess to cater to the non-trekkie fans and dumb it down for them...

Kirk was a rebel alright, but the rebellious streak was not convincing to me... And lukewarm was nice... the ship was blingy. Good 1st impression, but when the dust settles, seconds are blown away by T4!

Alll set for it - already have a plan in mind 4 it... lets see if the execution works! :-D

avdi said...

I liked the original series which dared to go where no man had gone before. But am not a cultie.

I wonder if you ever watched The Big Bang Theory on TV, its hilarious.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Ava,
I have watched a few episodes fleetingly, but never followed it like a fan. Too many shows and so little time (although when I write it, I'm now wondering what is it that keeps me so busy! Must ponder!!)

Thank you for commenting :-) If you liked the original you should like the movie. Do watch.

Mumble! said...

Well, 7.5/10 (5 for the movie, 2.5 for releasing it when the strike was still on!). Proper review later!

eye-in-sty-in said...

lol @ ur rating.... will await the revu then :-)