Star Trek Reboot
Posted on Monday, May 11 @ 17:40:24 Eastern by Chris_HudakCONDITION GREEN: WE DON'T HAVE TO KILL J.J. ABRAMS
In another reality not necessarily so different from our own, it might have come to that, you know; if J.J. Abrams had loused this one up... oh man, I don't even like to think about it.
Happily for all involved, director J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible III, Lost, Cloverfield) has artfully dodged that particular photon torpedo with his high-energy, sexed-up (and at many unexpected moments, surprisingly funny) blockbuster cinematic sci-fi re-boot, Star Trek. Us Trekkies and Trekkers—there is a difference, don't even get me started—have been waiting for just this kind of hip, savvy resuscitation since, oh, about nine minutes into the cringe-inducing Star Trek V.
Mind you, we all keep William Shatner near and dear to our hearts and always will — but honestly, many of us simply pretend that Trek V never happened. Nope, negative, nuh-uh, la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you, just flat never happened. In our personal time-lines, things just went "blip!" right from time-snatched whales of San Francisco to The Undiscovered Country's topical—and entertainingly-bitter—glasnost-in-space routine. All the crapola in Trek V? Rocket-boots, second-rate recycled effects and “Row, Row Your Boat”? All of it, round-filed straight into the nearest handy singularity on general principles. And even after that, it was a pretty bumpy, uneven, decaying-orbit movie-ride, right into the 'Next-best Generation,' too. Oh well.
Thank the Great Bird of the Galaxy, J.J. Abrams' new Trek makes up for all of that, in a single fell swoop of 126 minutes (and it feels like less). Via a single plot-point of this origin-story rework, the film manages to give a completely fresh take on the Star Trek universe. All of these main characters, particularly Kirk, Spock and McCoy, are certifiably iconic by this point, leaving the incoming actors with some mighty big Starfleet boots to fill—and to a man/woman, they do a stellar job.
Chris Pine (who played the easy-going, long-haired, surfer-dude son to Bill Pullman in Bottle Shock) slips effortlessly into the role of Kirk like it was a custom-tailored, comfortable tunic; better still, since this is partly the story (or rather, one possible story) of how the Enterprise crew comes together, we get to see Kirk in his pre-Academy days—all cocky flash, goofy girl-chasing charm, and defiant, square-peg idealism (coupled with just enough occasional humanizing, rebel-without-a-clue flashes of inexperience and immaturity. Chris Pine's James Kirk is a hero we can rely on, look up to, sympathize with, drink with—and go back-to-back in a bar-fight with, if it comes to that.
As Spock, Zachary Quinto not only looks eerily like a younger, buffer Leonard Nimoy, but makes the stoic Vulcan character totally buy-able and relate-able to a sophisticated and perhaps cynical audience. Just because you're supposed to be largely free of distracting, irrational emotions, it doesn't mean you can't display a certain, steady stream of deadpan, coldly-logical wise-assedness in response to the human buffoonery going on around you. Even more to the point, there's a big, ballsy plot-bombshell dropped halfway into the film that requires him to show—or in this case, appear not to show—some serious, heavy-duty emotional turmoil. It's a tough dramatic line to walk, and Quinto sticks all of his pointy-eared landings (And oh hell yes—Nimoy is in there, too. Our entire theater-balcony actually broke into applause the first time he showed up.).
Karl Urban and Simon Pegg, as “Bones” McCoy and “Scotty” Montgomery Scott, bring a lot of comic relief, and seem to be in some kind of undeclared competition to steal the show and/or get off the funny lines. Sulu was always rather the quiet one on the original TV series (except for that one out-of-character, take-after-the-captain-with-a-sword flipout), and John “Harold” Cho does an admirable job with a comparatively-lean role here (although he does have some badass hand-to-hand combat moments; hopefully, he'll be given a little more to do in the next Star Trek movie...on which Paramount had goddamn well better already be working). Zoe Saldana, meanwhile, pulls off a dead-on (and incredibly hot) Uhura, and Anton Yelchin's baby-faced Chekov—well, hell, there just isn't a false acting note in this whole film (although Eric Bana keeps his bad-guy Romulan surprisingly reined-in....for, you know, an obsessed psychopath walking in Khan's considerable antagonistic shadow)