Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek-New Movie Review From James Myers, The Entertainment Critic

Movie Review:  Star Trek


The Entertainment Critic Movie Review

In Theatres Now Review

Opened May 8, 2009

By James Myers


Rating: 8 of 10


Director: J.J. Abrams

Writers (WGA): Roberto Orci (written by) &

Alex Kurtzman (written by)




Chris Pine         ...        James T. Kirk


Zachary Quinto ...        Spock


Leonard Nimoy            ...        Spock Prime


Eric Bana         ...        Nero


Bruce Greenwood        ...        Capt. Christopher Pike


Karl Urban       ...        Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy


Zoe Saldana     ...        Nyota Uhura


Simon Pegg      ...        Scotty


John Cho          ...        Hikaru Sulu

            Anton Yelchin   ...        Pavel Chekov


Ben Cross        ...        Sarek


Winona Ryder  ...        Amanda Grayson


Chris Hemsworth          ...        George Kirk


Jennifer Morrison          ...        Winona Kirk


Rachel Nichols ...        Gaila




            There is always a risk when you make a movie that is in effect a sequel to a legendary book, television series, and series of films that brings with it a unique subset of fans.  It’s even riskier when you take on a cult following of a series that refuses to go away and has achieved near biblical proportions.  The Hollywood solution to this problem goes back to Godfather II, where you show a prequel that fills in some holes, has younger stars and adds a 21st Century edginess to the legend.  After a reported $72.5 million dollar weekend for the legend, Star Trek has used this formula to perfection.  The film is expected gross in the $130 million plus neighborhood and that is a real good neighborhood to be in.  I loved this picture!  The young actors, the fresh plot, &  the special effects make this a true summer movie send off.


In the year 2387, a star near Romulus is on the verge of going supernova and threatens to destroy the planet and endanger the rest of the galaxy. The Vulcans, led by Ambassador Spock, build a ship to carry a supply of "red matter", which, once ignited, can create a singularity, drawing the supernova into a black hole. However, they are too late to save Romulus, and the supernova nearly wipes out the entire species. Captain Nero of the Romulan mining ship Narada, having watched his family and home world die, attempts to exact revenge on Spock, but both ships are caught in the event horizon of the black hole, traveling to the past and, through their actions, creating an "alternate, parallel" timeline from The Original Series.


The Narada arrives about 150 years before the incident, and lays siege to a nearby Federation starship, the USS Kelvin, firing its weapons and severely damaging the starship. Nero demands that her captain, Richard Robau, surrender, and learns that neither Spock nor the ship he was aboard has arrived yet. Nero kills Robau and orders the destruction of the ship. As the Kelvin is evacuated, acting Captain George Kirk is forced to stay behind to provide cover for the fleeing shuttlecraft, and dies shortly after his son, James Tiberius Kirk, is born. The Narada crew calculates that due to the event horizon, Spock will appear in about 20 years, and silently wait for him. When Ambassador Spock arrives, Nero captures his ship and the remaining supply of red matter, and banishes Spock to the planet Delta Vega near Vulcan, telling him to prepare to watch his home world die.


Without his father, Kirk becomes an intelligent but reckless and cynical young man. After getting into a bar fight with Starfleet cadets in Iowa, he is approached by Captain Christopher Pike. Pike sees a lot of potential in Kirk, and is dismayed that he is wasting his intelligence on his self-destructive behavior. He then challenges Kirk to outdo his father, who was captain for only 12 minutes but saved 800 lives. Kirk takes Pike up on the challenge, enlists in Starfleet and befriends Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy and Uhura. However, when Kirk alters the Kobayashi Maru test, he angers Commander Spock, who is still struggling with his human side's emotions. During the official hearing, after which Kirk is suspended, Starfleet receives a distress signal from Vulcan, and the fleet docked above Earth, is prepared to launch with the cadets helping to man the ships. Acting as his attending physician, Dr. McCoy manages to bring Kirk on board the USS Enterprise, while Uhura convinces Spock to transfer her assignment to the Enterprise as well, after being assigned to the USS Farragut.


The fleet warps to Vulcan, with the Enterprise trailing the other ships. Kirk connects information about the distress call from Vulcan with a Klingon signal Uhura had translated the day before regarding an attack on several Birds of Prey, and quickly warns Captain Pike that they are heading into a trap and will encounter the same ship that destroyed the Kelvin twenty five years earlier. Pike follows Kirk's advice in time, as the rest of the fleet has already been wiped out by the Narada.


The Enterprise maneuvers through the debris, sustaining only minor damage to the hull. The Narada is also drilling into the core of Vulcan, and the drilling machine is blocking all external communications and transporters. Nero hails the Enterprise, and encounters Spock, who this Spock hasn't met before, to which Nero replies that they will. He orders Captain Pike to surrender himself and Pike does, leaving Spock in command and Kirk as first officer, baffling both men in the process. However, Pike uses the maneuver to arrange for Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olsen to perform an orbital skydive onto the drilling platform and destroy it. Though Olsen, carrying the explosive charges, is vaporized in the attempt, Kirk and Sulu are able to stop the drill, but not before it drills to the planet's core. Nero launches a sample of the red matter into the core of Vulcan, causing the planet to start imploding into the black hole. Spock is able to rescue most of the Elders, including his father Sarek, but his mother Amanda Grayson is lost in the beam out as nearly six billion of other Vulcans perish on the surface.


After Vulcan's destruction, Spock estimates only ten thousand Vulcans are left and that they are now an "endangered species." Uhura, who is involved in a romantic relationship with Spock, attempts to help him cope with the loss. The Narada leaves on a course set for Earth, using Pike's Starfleet command codes, which he was forced to divulge through infection with a mind-controlling parasite, to bypass Earth's security forces.


Kirk attempts to convince Spock to travel to Earth to stop Nero from doing the same he did to Vulcan, but Spock instead banishes him to the frozen planet Delta Vega and orders the ship to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet. On Delta Vega, Kirk encounters the elderly Ambassador Spock from 2387, who relays the future events through a mind meld and insists that Kirk must become captain of the Enterprise. The two travel to a nearby Starfleet outpost where they meet the talented Montgomery Scott. Spock helps Scott refine his equations for "transwarp transportation" to allow Kirk and Scott to beam aboard the Enterprise while she is still at warp. After they are beamed aboard, Scotty is trapped in the Enterprise's water tanks. Only when Chekov detects the emergency valve being opened does Spock know that something has been beamed aboard. Questioned as to how they beamed aboard the Enterprise while it was traveling at warp, Kirk and Scotty refuse to answer. Kirk manages to anger Commander Spock, forcing him to give up command due to being emotionally compromised, and Kirk takes the Captain's chair. Spock, Scott, and math-whiz Pavel Chekov devise a plan to bring the Enterprise to Titan and take advantage of Saturn's magnetosphere to disguise their presence from the Narada, allowing them to beam Kirk and Spock aboard unnoticed.


While Kirk comes face to face with Nero, Spock retakes the future Ambassador Spock's ship, and uses it to destroy the drill and lure the Narada away from Earth. With the Narada safely far from Earth, Spock pilots the ship on a collision course with the Narada. Kirk, Pike, and Spock are beamed safely away before the ships collide, creating a black hole in which the Narada is caught. Kirk offers to help rescue Nero, but the Romulan refuses. As the Enterprise finishes off the Narada, she is able to free herself from the black hole's gravity well due to Scott's plan to ignite the ship's warp drive reactor cores in the black hole both to seal it off and to gain speed from the resulting explosion.


Kirk is promoted to captain of the Enterprise, relieving the newly promoted Admiral Pike, who is shown in a wheelchair. While searching for his father, Spock encounters his older self in the Starfleet hangar; Spock Prime is departing to help found a new colony for the remaining Vulcans in order to rebuild their society. Spock informs his older self of his intention to leave Starfleet to help in the rebuilding, Ambassador Spock tells his younger self that he and Kirk need each other and that he should remain in Starfleet. Taking his twin's advice, Spock does so, becoming first officer under Kirk's command.


As the Enterprise warps away, Leonard Nimoy recites a version of the "Where no man has gone before" monologue.


I think the thing that makes this film is the new, young talent.  Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, as a cocky, but smart tough misfit that matures before our eyes during the film is about as interesting a characterization as you can get.  He choose not to mimic William Shatner, but he does remind me a little bit of Harrison Ford’s early Indiana Jones character.  Pine holds our interest; Zachary Quinto as Spock is revolutionary.  A young Spock that grieves his mother, looses his temper, and has a hot girlfriend?  Just try to take your eyes off of him when he is on the screen.  His presence is stunning in this film.  Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy is a bitching cynic; Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura is perfect in her role and Eric Bana as Captain Nero is an obsessed, scary villain.  One thing about these ‘comic book-television series’ films is that if the bad guy is weak or uninteresting, the film fails.  Bana is a strong villain that makes you believe he’d wait 25 years to get even.  The characters make this film worth the price of admission. Welcome to the film summer of 2009.  Star Trek may be just the beginning. 



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