The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

“Star Trek”

Bunny and I went to see “Star Trek,” the “reboot” of the Star Trek universe with the characters from The Original Series but played by younger actors.

Overall, it was a wonderful movie that (I feel), successfully cast aside the existing continuity of the Start Trek universe so we can bring back the characters we all love. It was spooky to watch Karl Urban's Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy that was so close to DeForest Kelly's portrayal that it felt like I was watching DeForest Kelly's McCoy. Nice job there.

Zachary Quinto as Spock was also well done, but it wasn't quite the same take as Leonard Nimoy's Spock (although, never having seen “Heros,” I can't say one way or the other how much of Quinto's Spock is like his “Heros” character Sylar, which is one complaint I've seen of his performance). I also liked how the different circumstances that brought Spock and Kirk together are leading to a different dynamic between them than in The Original Series. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

I think they did a great job of hiring Simon Pegg as Scotty—it was like watching a younger James Doohan do a more comedic take on Scotty. I could, however, do without his smaller sidekick.

Chris Pine as James Tiberius Kirk was good, but different from William Shatner. Sure, he's a womanizer, brash, head strong and always willing to cheat death, but he's not quite as hammy as Shatner; Pine is a bit more … restrained. And less … awkward … pauses than … Shatner.

I'm really happy to see Lt. Uhura not only get a first name (it's Nyota) but also see her character being expanded. Zoë Saldaña does a good job with the role, but if you are expecting someone who looks similar to Nichelle Nichols, don't.

And then there's Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin who's only passing resemblance to Walter Koenig is a thick Russian accent. It was such a departure from the original character that I'm still pondering if I like this incarnation of Chekov. It's different. It's more Wesley Crusher, but not as annoying.

Now, overall, I loved the film (so did Bunny), but I do have a few gripes about the film.

The first one, the frenetic cinematography—the rapid cutting during action sequences that 1) makes it hard to follow exactly what is going on, and 2)is all too common in today's films. I'd be surprised if there was any shot longer than two seconds in any of the action sequences. Then again, I may not be “hip” to modern action film asthetics, but it still bugged me.

My second gripe (warning—very small spoiler): Kirk is wandering alone on a frozen planet when out of nowhere one creature is running towards him. As Kirk is running away, that chase is interrupted by yet a larger creature that start chasing him until he safely gets away in a cave. This bugged me as this whole sequence just seems gratuitous—like the screen writers said, “You know, it's been ten minutes since the last action sequence, we need a large spider!” It doesn't propel the plot, doesn't advance characterization, it does nothing but waste about two minutes of screen time and could have easily been cut without affecting the film one bit. We know Kirk won't get killed. It's just fake peril (and from what I'm reading, it appears that the script was affected by the Writers' Strike from a few years ago, so it may not have been tightened up properly, so this might explain this rather bad scene).

My third gripe (warning—very small spoiler): Kirk and Scotty beam aboard the Enterprise (and I must say, I love that new beaming effect) but due to a miscalculation, Scotty ends up in a very large water pipe and is being sucked towards certain doom, but of course, Kirk is able to save Scotty. Again, it's a scene that doesn't serve any purpose other than to mark a ten minute segment (whoever wrote that scene should die, in my opinion).

And that's it. The other flaws in the film (and there are some) do serve to propel the plot along (however clumsy, and basically, you'll know them when you see them) so I have less problems with them. And I do think the film is worth seeing overall.

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