Friday, May 08, 2009

B.W. At The Movies: Star Trek

Oh, and another thing: In the dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there's a scene at the climax where a group of about three or four dozen mutants is confronted by one big bad guy. Our hero says, "You get the others to safety, I'll handle this." I turned to Sweetie and asked, "Why don't they all just gang up on the lone bad guy and whup his butt?" I had already decided it was a lame movie by that point, but that moment tipped it over into the "crummy and disappointing" category.

I mention this because I have no doubt there are plot holes in Star Trek, but when the movie is so darn fun, who notices stuff like that? Let's throw every sports cliché at this thing: Director J.J. Abrams hits a home run, throws a touchdown, drops nothing but net from downtown, and scooooorrrrrrrrrrrrres!!!!

We spent about 30 seconds looking at Zachary Quinto and saying, "Man, it's hard to forget he's Sylar (in Heroes)," but then Sylar disappeared and Quinto became Spock for the 21st century. Lest we forget, here comes the Spock of the 20th century to deliver crucial plot points. The new James Tiberius Kirk, Chris Pine, is a swaggering punk who could have used a strong father figure to shape him up a bit (Sweetie spotted Cameron from House as Kirk's mom before I did!) but figures himself out as the show races along, and Karl Urban, the new McCoy, is a cantankerous but caring fussbudget. What else could he be? This is classic Trek, and then it's not — basically a perfect combination of acknowledging what came before and setting off in a bold new direction. There are plenty of echoes from the original series and the first six Trek movies, but plenty of touches that scream "This is not a retread, this is a reinvention."

Since Raiders of the Lost Ark set the bar for adventure thrillers in 1982, no other film has been quite as fun, quite as thrilling, and quite as character-driven while providing quite the ride. Until now.

By what no doubt is not a coincidence, Sci-Fi was showing the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation when we got home Thursday night. It was an interesting comparison. "All Good Things" is full of technobabble, its pacing is clunky, and after a seven-year voyage with characters who came to be beloved, it kind of limped home. Maybe that's the difference between episode 1 and episode 176, but let me tell you, the Abrams version is a full-blown sprint.

Sweetie, who is not a lifelong Trekkie, asked as the credits rolled if they'd ever consider bringing this new crew back as a television show. James T. Kirk and company as weekly fare? It's a great idea again. It won't happen — but that's how great this film is: You want to see more. As soon as possible.

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Blogger Wally Conger said...

Whew. Deb and I are seeing the movie -- for the first time -- in 45 minutes.

A coupla friends who saw it on Friday were already in line on Saturday morning to see it again. My 59-year-old Trekkie, Comic-Con galavanting cohort Steve WEPT during this movie.

I'm NOT and NEVER HAVE BEEN a Trekkie. But I'm looking forward to this!

3:25 PM  

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