Thursday, June 04, 2009

Star Trek 2009 - remake/remodel

righty-ho, for those of you who are interested in this film but have somehow managed to avoid every single trailer, article, review and comment on it, here's your *** SPOILER WARNING ***. it's a bit of a pointless one as there's nothing that the makers haven't put in the public domain mentioned here, but there you go.

Star Trek 2009 is a remake that isn't a remake, a reboot that isn't a reboot, a sequel that really isn't a sequel and a rejuvenation of the series of films that might possibly not have required it. does that make sense? good for you, buy yourself a coconut. the major problem this film has, perhaps the only real problem, is that it doesn't know what it's supposed to be. it nonetheless manages to be entertaining, but perhaps not for the reasons that the makers wanted it to be.

as a plot premise goes, we are introduced to a young James Tiberius Kirk who, in a strange act of defiance, signs up for intergalactic concern Star Fleet to apparently spite an older starship captain. he manages to end up on the Starship Enterprise, but not as captain. he also meets Mr Spock, but the two are anything but friends and confidant. why this shift in the often told story of them? enter "Spock Prime", the, if you will future-present day Spock, to explain some sort of parallel universe / time travel incident. "Spock Prime", indeed played by Leonard Nimoy, needs to resolve the problem that caused this, and indeed ensure that the Kirk-Spock relationship goes as he lived it.

that bit might have cleared up my elaborate definition of the film, and help you see the problem here. it's an interesting twist on "getting away" with restarting the series, but i am not that sure that altering the characteristics of the central characters which Star Trek fans have come to know and love over the last 40-odd years is, in retrospect, all that good an idea.

the "reconstructed" or parallel characters are curious, and watching them takes up more of your thinking time than concentrating on the plot. Chris Pine as James T. Kirk is a good enough place to start. he doesn't do a William Shatner impersonation, which is very wise. he, however, doesn't play Kirk as we have known him; making him a rather different character to the one we all know, and indeed making him a character that it's difficult to have much sympathy or interest in. Uhura is some sort of "sex object with brains", Dr Bones McCoy is spot on, and Simon Pegg plays Scotty with a great deal of love and affection for the character that everyone has a soft spot for.

which brings us to someone called Zachary Quinto as Mr Spock. at first, he is brilliant, and plays the quasi-Vulcan to perfection. he's by far the most interesting character, and the one you want to follow the story of. until they go and bring the original Spock back into it. it's at this point that you go "oh", and just want more of the original Mr Spock, not this new version. rather fascinating that they undermine the best character they have by bringing in the original, superior version of him, but there you go.

the preoccupation you end up having with this business of redefining and remoulding the traditional characters means you more or less remain oblivious to the plot (which they explain and resolve in a handful of minutes of the film anyway), to the extent that you barely even notice that the "main baddie" is played by Eric Bana. where the hell did it go wrong for him? he was exceptional in Chopper and Troy, but as bland and anonymous here as he was in the rather dismal Hulk film. he really should be more careful with his part selection.

as confusing as my analysis of the plot this might be, but nonetheless i would suggest that this new Star Trek film is indeed worth seeing. when not confusing you with altering established knowledge and ideas of certain characters, it does get on with being a standard Star Trek film, and indeed is one of the more entertaining ones made. the space battles are all you would expect, Captain Kirk's daring rescues and tally-ho sense of adventure is one of the few things which remain in place, and the dream of one day being able to reach the stars is shared and cherished just as much as ever. oh and, most importantly, Leonard Nimoy's brief bits in the film make the whole thing very worthwhile.

with some luck the clearly talented ensemble cast here will make at least one more and in it be given a degree of freedom to play the parts properly. whether they will ever endear themselves to the audiences in the same way that the original cast or the cast of the magnificent Star Trek : The Next Generation did is debatable for now.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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