Director J.J .Abrams's latest project is terrific. Abrams is the television genius that created one of my favorite series of all time: "Alias" (2001-2006). This new "Star Trek" space-opera/space-western is really a fun flick that goes back before 1966 when Gene Roddenberry first told the story of the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
There is so much information already available about the Star Trek franchise that includes six television series and 11 feature films (and computer and video games), that I will just comment on this current film.
Here are the notes I tapped out on my iPhone during the screening (so far other movie-goers have not complained about the phone light the way they do about these nice pens that illuminate a traditional note pad and three seats around in every direction):
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- This is a vast playground that transcends time for the characters (the filmmakers, the audience)
- It may be sci-fi but it is also "psy-fi". It's about character, how everything in life stems from learning empathy, discovering self and one's identity, emotional intelligence, and the integrated personality, love and self-sacrifice for others, family, ethnic diversity, community
- But let's not take this too far; Kirk (a wonderful pre-William Shatner Chris Pine) offers the psychologically damaged Romulan Captain Nemo (a scary Eric Bana; "Munich") a compassionate solution to their stalemate during the final battle; Spock (the most excellent Zachary Quinto from "Heroes") thinks it is a mistake. Nemo refuses to negotiate, as Kirk figured he would, and blows him away. Was Kirk's compassion authentic? Ambiguous; probably not.
- They talk a lot about food but never eat anything
- More about the characters than plot; they are familiar and well cast
- Faith and reason, emotions and rationality: who is a human person? The perennial science fiction question
- What a wonderful universe Abrams has created: diverse and integrated
- Sharp, smart writing; witty
- Chris Pine is an actor to watch; he seems to be more than a pretty face;
- Zachary Quinto was a perfect young Spock and it was great seeing Leonard Nimoy as "Spock Prime" hundred or so years in the future
- Very much a guy's universe though Zoe Saldana as Uhura very good
- Liked Winona Rider as Amanda Grayson, Kirk's mother
- Could win as Oscar nods for script and F/X; music (by Michael Giacchino, "Ratatouille") not so much; great ensemble cast
Star Trek: to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. But I see more sequels flickering across the galaxy of my mind. As a friend of mine said, " 'Star Trek' is a treat."