As part of an increasing policy of no longer previewing movies in Buffalo, there was not going to be a screening of Star Trek, producer-director J. J. Abrams’ re-imagining of the original 1960s TV series. One was arranged at the absolute last minute thanks to the efforts of Jeff Simon at the Buffalo News (I’ll leave it to him to decide if he wants to tell you how he did it.) I have half an hour to get a review in, just about enough time to transcribe my notes:
This year’s second “reboot” of a franchise considered exhausted. Will it scale the heights of the remade Friday the 13th?…The real question: Is this a movie for trekkies or for trekkers? (If you don’t know the difference, be sure to enjoy one of the fine foreign or indie films opening this weekend.)…I know the TV-watching world loves J. J. Abrams, but having never seen any of his shows I still remember him as Jeffrey Abrams, writer of such godawful movies as Forever Young, Regarding Henry, Taking Care of Business, and Gone Fishin’…A cast of relatively new young faces, fresh meat for the tabloids of the world, who will spend the next decade hounding them mercilessly and splattering their peccadillos into every supermarket line in America (even if they have to make them up). I almost feel sorry for them…I’m not sure how far into the future this is set, but it’s not so far that we’ve given up such bad habits as gas-powered engines and drinking Budweiser…I will accept that Vulcans, as a specific race, have a more or less standard physiology and even physiognomy. But why do they all have to have Moe Howard haircuts?…The chink in Spock’s intellectual armor—don’t be talkin’ ’bout his mama!…Eric Bana plays the villain, Romulan Captain Nero. I guess the writers thought “Captain Hitler” would be too obvious…The guy from Harold and Kumar, the one who didn’t quit show business to work for the Obama administration, as Sulu. Wonder if he’s gay?…Chekov is so adorable his action figure will have to be a plushie…Of course, for Chekov’s character to have the same place in the 2009 version of the crew’s racial/ethnic/rainbow mix, he should be played by an Iranian…The young Kirk seems to have been written with Top Gun-era Tom Cruise in mind…Here’s one of those physics-defying movie clichés I really hate: Guy falls from a great height. Seconds later another guy jumps after him and, despite no additional thrust other than gravity, catches him. Puhlease!…Kirk gets exiled to the Barren Planet of the Scary-Ass Monsters, just to give the character guys in the CGI department something to do…As always, this enormous spaceship seems to entirely under the control of a half-dozen major crew and a handful of disposable extras…“Coming back in time, changing history? That’s cheating!”—boy, I’ll bet the screenwriters peed themselves laughing when they wrote that line of dialogue…As Scotty, famous trekkie Simon Pegg may be ad-libbing when, boarding the Enterprise for the first time, he burbles “I love this ship!”…Feminists will not be happy that Uhura, the token female of the original cast, has been overtly sexualized. Definitely weird seeing her making out with [REDACTED]…Aside from the occasional discomforts of seeing young film actors trying to imitate the hamming (however endearing) of TV veterans, I found it unpretentious and moderately entertaining. Please bear in mind that these are the opinions of someone who thought that the best Star Trek movie was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. (Well, after Wrath of Khan, of course). Caveat emptor.
Watch the trailer for Star Trek
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