Star Trek (2009) movie review
It felt good to be on the USS Enterprise again, even if it was just for a few hours. The names of Captain Jim Kirk, Spock, Scottie, Sulu and Bones were music to the ears. Every moment of the movie was a thrill for a Star Trek fan like me. Grew up in the seventies and eighties on a diet of Star Trek (the television series with William Shatner playing Jim Kirk) and Star Wars and well, there is nothing that can replace the kind of thrill experienced in exploring ” the final frontier…the voyages of the starship Enterprise…[and] to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no man has gone before…” alongwith the characters who are etched in my heart forever.
But now there is a brand new cast and we catch these characters at a younger period in their lives:
The movie takes us into a timeline before the time when the Star Trek serial of the sixties started. The backstory of the characters is developed in detail, and it’s quite fascinating to see how Kirk and young Spock meet and what makes Spock the way he is, torn between two worlds. The backstory has been changed to fit in with the plot of this new movie, and it’s interesting to see the way the director (J. J. Abrams) and writers (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.) weave the time travel into the storyline. It was the only way they could achieve some flexibility with the story. The alternate reality created (because of interference from the future) seems believable. There is a touch of sadness to the story, because this reality is the less pleasant one, at least for Jim Kirk. But well, alls well that ends well!
An older Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy, who plays Spock in the original series) is also present in the movie and he is one of those who travels back in time to a time where the story is playing out. Jim T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine) is the hero ofcourse and Spock (Zachary Quintoas) is the sidekick along with Bones (Karl Urban) and Sulu (John Cho). The Romulan Nero (Eric Bana) is the villain. Chris Pine acts out the role of Jim Kirk with aplomb, but there is no comparison to William Shatner. The dashing Shatner with the twinkle in his eyes is associated with Jim Kirk in my head although Chris Pine is a good substitute. He has his charm, a kind of boyish intensity and exuberance…but then Pine is playing a young Jim Kirk fresh out of the Star Fleet academy so it’s alright! It was disappointing to see how the character of Uhura (Zoe Saldana) was thought out. True, she didn’t have much of a role in the original series but in this one they did give her a significant presence. Unfortunately she was there only for her sex appeal.
Star Trek has everything one can want in an action film: great adventure, fabulous special effects, a touch of romance and comedy, and plenty of drama. The movie moves at a fast clip, racing through time and space at almost warp speed.
Could someone who is not a fan of Star Trek, or not used to SF movies, enjoy this movie? Well, like all cult movies, familiarity with the characters adds greatly to the movie experience. The plot is a little complicated because of the time travel and alternate reality angle and therefore it can get confusing for a newbie. And then there was this ten year old behind us in the cinema hall who refused to believe that Spock with his pointed years was not the villain!
Anyone who wants to know more about Star Trek can check out the wiki and also this article which talks about how hard the writers tried to get William Shatner to play the role of the older Jim Kirk (from the future) in the movie but finally abandoned the idea as it made the story seem too contrived.
Photo credits: the first photograph is from cfhf.net, the second from blackberrypaper.com and the third from LA Times.
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