Cast: John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood,
Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Winona Ryder, Zoe
Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy
RunTime: 2 hrs 6 mins
Released By: UIP
Official Website: http://www.startrekmovie.com/
Opening Day: 7 May 2009
From director J.J. Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Lost" and "Alias") and screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers," "MI: III") comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, "Star Trek," featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.
As far as franchise goes, it's time for the popular sci-fi franchise Star Trek to get a reboot in the movie series. Although this franchise has a huge fan base, multiple TV series and movies installments, it also made it rather difficult for the non-fans to be interested or access this franchise. The problem lies with the fact that there are plenty of histories in this franchise to contend with and casual viewers might be worried that there are a lot to know before one could enjoy what's going on the big screen.
Enter J.J Abrams, the guy who created the popular TV series Lost and did well in the movie industry with Mission Impossible 3 and Cloverfield. Although the director claimed that he is just a casual fan, he is armed with two writers who are big fans and together, they attempted to bring forth a new movie that could please both the hardcore old fans and draw new fans into the cinema.
Their choice in rebooting this franchise would be a retcon. For folks who do not know what's a retcon (retroactive continuity), it's a trick that often used in comics world and retcon basically changes various established (either major or minor) events and facts that happened to various characters by using ideas such as reality shift, alternate planet and even magic. Usually it serves as a mean to bring consistency back to the story telling while lessening the story baggage and in this case, the retcon also helps to bridge what happened in the past (in both Tv series and Movies) with this new start.
Starting with the cameo appearance of Leonard Nimoy (the previous Mr Spock), which was more symbolic than a mere token appearance. In ways, it felt like his presence was to hand over the torch to the next generation of cast who are performing as the original crewmembers of Star Trek. Although this reboot sort of clear the state clean, it still in it's own ways recognize and a homage to what had happened before in the TV and Movie series.
And even for a newbie like me, watching Leonard Nimoy's meaningful special appearance with his trademark line and his trademark hand sign gave me a lot of elated and unexplainable goose bumps.
While the old guard brought back certain nostalgic elements into this movie, the new guards brought forth certain elements to be excited about this new movie and potentially a new franchise. Particularly the two lead roles with Chris Pine as Captain James Kirk and Zachary Ouinto as Mr Spock.
In Chris Pine's hands, James Kirk came across as a bash and reckless type of guys who thinks beyond the box. His roguish charms were similar to the likes of Indiana Jones (which Chris Pine had said to be channeling) and his unorthodox yet cool leadership was apparent and believable.
On the other hand, Zachary Ouinto (the infamous Sylar from the popular Tv series Heroes) made the "nerdish" image of bowl cut and pointy ears fashionable again. His rendition of Mr Spocks helps new viewers to explore what is the Vulcan alien race like and what makes the otherwise logical, emotionally detached Vulcan flip. Zachary Ouinto also managed to deliver an emotional anguish performance underneath the disconnected exterior with just a slight tinge of Sylar's type of sinister feel to it. He also made emotionless logical reasoning look much more impressive than emotional outbursts that are flooding in most Hollywood movies nowadays.
When these two characters come together, there were plenty of sparks flying around in the Starfleet Enterprise. It's almost hard to imagine that this duo would eventual become partners in leading the Starfleet Enterprise missions but as they say in Chinese idiom; from an exchange of blows, friendship grows (no discord, no concord). It was wildly entertaining to witness their initial conflicts and the vast contrast between these two characters that they had to bridge.
Besides having a great introduction and focus on these two lead characters, the supporting characters played by various young actors were quite endearing in their own rights. Although they had limited screentime, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin did well to bring a degree of distinction and likeability to the crew of the Enterprise. Personally I wished that there would be more focus on John Cho's Sulu and Simon Pegg's "Scotty" but I guess we will have to wait till the next sequel for that.
However Star Trek is not without it's own flaws. While there are great introduction to characters and a good story to retcon the pervious installments with this reboot, the show felt like it's missing a climatic cinematic finale. Perhaps its due to the TV roots or the Star Trek intellectual mould, the ending to this tale felt like it lack a certain theatrical grandness to it.
That's the one of the few minor flaws in an otherwise great movie to jump-start the well-loved sci-fi franchise. As far as reboot movies go, Star Trek is joining the rank of Batman Begins and Casino Royale. As a newbie to Star Trek, this movie gave a lot of reasons to love the various lead and supporting characters in the Star Trek universe. There were also breath talking action sequences that keep the action junkies interested and an interesting retcon story to intrigue. It also presented a tinge of nostalgic elements that even newcomers like me would easily detect. In shorts, it was a blast to start 2009 summer blockbusters and in a corny way, enables the old franchise to live long and prosper once again.
Review by Richard Lim Jr
(Boldly breaking new frontiers for the Star Trek franchise with this reboot/retcon installment.)