Trek. One More Time

Trek. Just one more time. 🙂

I went to see Star Trek Friday night and, as I mentioned in my comment in my post prior to this one, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, they’ve taken some liberties (with the original timeline)and, most significantly, with the interactions between two characters in particular, but I did not have a problem with that.

Although I do not want to date myself, I am a Trekkie (yes, that’s Trekkie, not Trekker :D) from waaaaaay back. And I was more than a bit skeptical about this re-visioning, not only of Trek but of the original cast.

But what director J.J. Abrams and the scriptwriters, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, did was look at the source material, capture the essence of what made Kirk, Spock, et al, who they were, translate into a 21st century sensibility and let it ride.

Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock did not try to duplicate what William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, respectively, did with those characters, but I think they did a fantastic job capturing the essence of Kirk and Spock.

Honestly, I didn’t have a problem with any of this new cast’s portrayals of the original characters. The young actor playing Chekov, Anton Yelchin, is really cute with his decidedly Russian accent. John Cho as Sulu gets to show off some derring-do and has a really funny moment. Zoe Saldana is beautiful and intelligent as Uhuru and holds her own against Pine’s bar-prowling Kirk, Simon Pegg is great as Scotty and Karl Urban (whom I have to admit I had the hardest time accepting as McCoy, C’mon, Eomer of The Lord of the Rings as Bones!) pulls off a funny yet surprisingly accurate portrayal of our good doctor.

Bruce Greenwood is one of those actors I can seriously listen to read the phone book. He plays Captain Pike, the man who was captain of the Enterprise before Kirk. I’ve yet to see Greenwood mishandle any role he’s given and he doesn’t disappoint with this one. Winona Ryder and Ben Cross play Spock’s parents, Sarek and Miranda, and they do what they have to do with their roles.

And, yes, Leonard Nimoy is in it and, I have to say, there’s a scene between him and Pike as the young Kirk that put a lump in this die-hard Trekkie’s throat. *gulp*

The movie looks great special-effects wise and, coming in at 2 hours and six minutes, and after having to sit, since Lord of the Rings, through a number of bloated movies that ran for more than two hours, it was quite refreshing to watch a movie that wasn’t bloated in the least.

Like its cast, Star Trek is lean and energetic.

And hot! Oh, yes, this is the hottest, sexiest Star Trek crew in quite some time. The hotness quotient is off the scale on this one! I can not but imagine that those who write slash fiction (fan fiction that details the emotional and sexual relationship between male characters in a movie, television series or book) are already burning up their laptops imagining heated scenarios between Pine as Kirk and Quinto as Spock.

I’m sure some of you don’t approve of either fan fiction or slash fiction but it’s out there and it ain’t going anywhere, that’s for sure. It was the original Star Trek series, interestingly enough, that launched slash fiction. The word “slash” coming from the slash mark in K/S, which designated a piece of fan fiction as one that dealt with the emotional and physical relationship between Kirk and Spock.

Actually, if you want to read up on this, I recommend Camille Bacon-Smith’s Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth It’s a study of the world-wide community of fans of Trek but can also be read as an examination of any fandom, whether it revolves around Star Wars, the Twilight Series or Harry Potter.

Another one to check out is Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins, which is quite excellent. It goes into more detail about fan and slash fiction.

(Please, just bear with me when I get like this. I have a life-long fascination with narrative and storytelling in all its incarnations, and can’t help but get a little carried away when it comes to the topic.)

Anywho, I’m sure there are some Trek purists who are already heating up the Star Trek forums nit-picking this and that and moaning and groaning about some such other. Since I don’t plan to hang out at those forums, I’ll just leave them to their sport.

But, in light of that, just a caveat. If you do see the movie, trust me, don’t think too hard about the plot. It might give you a headache.

Which reminds me to say something about Eric Bana, as Nero, the Romulan villain of our story. I’m a fan of Bana and I think he’s a great actor. So I don’t blame him if his character is probably the weakest one in the movie. It’s not his fault.

Lately, IMHO, there has been a marked lack of truly great movie villains. Heath Ledger’s Joker is probably one of the more memorable ones of the last decade. I have my theories about this which, as I love to say, I hope to address in a future post. 🙂

So yeah, don’t think too hard about the plot. Just look at as a storytelling device whose sole purpose is to bring together our intrepid crew and load yourself up with a big bucket of hot, artery-clogging buttered popcorn, the candy and soft-drink of your choice, take the kiddies, take Grandma, take your significant other, (there’s something for everyone in this movie!) and, as the young, hot and sexy Jim Kirk says to the delightfully-irascible-but-you-know-he’s-never-going-to-leave-Kirk’s side, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, buckle up and enjoy the ride. 😀

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11 Responses to Trek. One More Time

  1. Digital Dame says:

    Excellent review! Just from the promo stills I was quite astonished to see the resemblance Karl Urban has to Deforest Kelley. It’s a little eerie. 🙂

    I know I ranted about fan fic over that rip-off of Jane Austen, but that was because he mostly used her book, and added stupidity. I saw somewhere that it’s 80% her words…So he’s making money essentially by plagiarizing. That’s what bugs me. He didn’t just use the characters in a new story. Fan fic or slash fic can be fun, but that stuff’s not going to get published or take money from the original author (or it shouldn’t, anyway).

    Anyway, I ran across this blog on the dashboard and thought it gave a really interesting review of a different aspect of the movie: the cinematography.

    What Photographers Can Learn from the New Star Trek

    I’m sure most of these effects will simply be over my head as I watch, but subliminally will add to the feel of the movie even if I can’t articulate it. I like the fact that Mindel seems to understand now NOT to make it simply look like a tv episode. How did you feel about that?

  2. jennareynolds says:

    Thanks for the link, Digital Dame! I love it when people from different artistic disciplines reach across to find inspiration in other media.

    I’ll actually have to see the movie again (which I plan to do) before I can answer your question. I went Friday night after a full day of work and, although I enjoyed the movie a lot, I was also pretty wiped.

    But, I do agree with him regarding the lighting of the Enterprise crew and the crew of the Romulan vessel.

    What was great about Urban’s performance was his voice too. No one, of course, could ever sound like Deforest Kelley but Deforest Kelley (May he rest in peace) but Urban does a good job with McCoy’s intonations and that slight Georgia twang of his.

    As for fanfic, yes, definitely, people should not be making money off of it (and I doubt any of them are unless money is changing hands privately). What I find fascinating about it, however, is this need for people to continue to tell stories about characters they’ve come to love.

    That was what fueled Star Trek fan fiction back in the late 60s and early 70s. The show was prematurely canceled, supposedly never to be seen again, but the fans just wouldn’t let it go. So they wrote their own adventures about the crew and that universe and, viola, here we are forty years after Star Trek was canceled with the 11th movie in the franchise, five television shows (I’m including the short-lived animated TV show) and a plethora of books based on a show that, initially, ran only for three seasons.

    It’s an amazing feat of storytelling magic(and of a corporation’s desire for profit, too, of course). 🙂

  3. Digital Dame says:

    I was glad to see that they tried to get actors who would echo the looks of the original crew, unlike a certain other series which-shall-not-be-named. No switcheroos on gender (like making Spock a woman…). I’m still torn about seeing it in the theater and braving the bad behavior of other movie-goers, or waiting for it to come out on DVD.

    I totally understand people wanting to write fan fiction. I can’t count the number of times I was watching an episode, and my mind wandered off on a tangent about “what if they did X…” and then I’d lose track of what was happening in the show 😉 I never wrote any of it down, but I understand how people don’t want to see the end of characters and stories that they’ve come to know and love.

  4. Amy says:

    Had to skip the post. I haven’t seen it, must see it. I’m a Trekker I think… the kind that doesn’t make up Klingon words or dress up. Though I would love to go to a convention. 😀

  5. jennareynolds says:

    Digital Dame: I was actually surprised at how quiet the audience was at the showing I went to. I’m attesting that to the fact that people were really into the movie. No talking, no checking cell-phones for messages, as I’ve experienced at other movies. I would say, if you can, go see it at the theater. It’s one of those movies that must be seen on the big screen. My daughter (who hasn’t seen it yet) and I are planning to see it on the Imax. 🙂

    Amy: Totally understand about not reading the post. I had something spoiled for me when I read a review the other day before I saw the movie. I tried not to reveal anything of the plot in my post because I hate when that happens too.

    I used the word “Trekkie” more as a joke as I just think it’s funny people trying to differentiate between Trekkie or Trekker. Star Trek fan, that’s what I am. :). I’ve never worn a costume (though if I were years younger and pounds slimmer) would have loved to have dressed like Uhuru with the black go-go boots and the short red uniform. :D.

    But I have been to conventions. Matter of fact, back in 1991 I went to a convention in Los Angeles which featured the entire original cast, including Gene Roddenberry. That was actually his last public appearance because he died later that year.

    It was such a thrill to see everyone from the original cast up on stage all at the same time.

  6. Great review, Jenna.

    I can’t wait to see it. We plan to go some time this week.

    Possible Spoiler Warning:

    Since this is a parallal universe, of course events are a little different, as well as the characters. So I don’t understand why the purists are upset. Abrahms came up with the perfect solution. It’s not a retcon. Everything that we saw on the original series happened. But now we can see more stories with our lovable characters in this new world.

  7. jennareynolds says:

    Thanks, Gypsy Scarlett!

    I totally agree with you about the possibilities of this narrative device that Abrahms and the screenwriters employed.

    I can’t wait to see it again! 😀

  8. gutterballgt says:

    Loved. It.

    I mean, seriously. Is there anything else to say? Action, excitement, explosions, romance, adventure, phasers, bar fights, mutiny, Scotty…is there anything else in life worth having?

    *happy sigh*

  9. jennareynolds says:

    *Happy sigh* here too. It had it all, didn’t it? 😀

  10. Jenna,

    I saw it Friday. *Loved it*. I was so engrossed in it that I didn’t once even think about my WIP! And that’s always on my mind. 🙂

  11. jennareynolds says:

    Cool! 🙂

    I am so wanting to see that movie again! And I haven’t wanted to see a movie again so badly, while it was still at the theater, since the Lord of the Rings movies! 😀

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