Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek

This was the most exciting and intriguing Star Trek movie ever made. Ofcourse I have not seen them all and probably never will. It was a stimulating sensation. It was just non stop action. And that is one of the few issues I had with the movie. Some of the dialogue could have been spread out a little more. Thankfully I have seen it twice now.

Chris Pine who is basically a no name performed gallantly as James T. Kirk. He is cocky and undaunted. For instance, in a high risk mission later on in the film, is he screaming with joy as a comrade dies when his parachute does not open? I think the sound editor made mistake in that fast moving scene.

Kirk is living a sloppy life though and he is probably on the way to an early death if he is not talked some sense into by Bruce Greenwood who plays Capt. Christopher Pike. Greenwood has been in many movies and has played the villian before in the not so good Double Jeopardy. Greenwood was in the spectacular movies Deja Vu and I, Robot. Kirk is funny and has many snippy one liners. It seemed he took some from Wolverine who I wished had more crusty and sarcastic comments in his movie. The unrealistic aspect here is that Pike would not be an active recruiter while an actual Captain. Now, giving a young punk like Kirk a man to man discussion, which for Kirk's sake was long over due-because he did not have a father, that is fine. But being there the following morning ensuring Kirk rides off to boot camp, not likely. In addition, Pike shutting down a restaurant by telling everyone to leave, callous for sure. Normally, he would have just asked or demanded Kirk walk outside with him to discuss his options.

Eric Bana is the villian in this captivating film. He plays a peculiar Romulan named Nero who is bent on turning Federation planets into black holes. I am not sure if his name is supposed to have some Roman symbolic link. Nero is mixed up but when this movie had the chance to explain what was actually happening they failed. The time to do this was when Nero was interogating Pike. The only thing Nero said was his vessel was a mining vessel and he was doing God's work when his planet was destroyed by Vulcans. This never occured. His planet was devastated by a supernova that Spock was too late to stop. Spock was going to squash this supernova with some super powerful red liquid which artificially creates a black hole. Spock ended the supernova using this red liquid but this was after Romulus was destroyed. It was not the Vulcans fault nor Spocks. Nero has this twisted.

Vulcan is utterly destroyed by Nero has a result. The elder Spock played by Leonard Nimoy is marooned on an icy planet within site of his home planet's Rumulan caused implosion. This is where the movie has some flaws. They explained things too quickly and did not have another character repeat them like other movies do. Seeing this movie twice is probably necessary to gather all the complex situations which are tossed at us. I had too. Zachary Quinto plays the younger Spock and he is in the entire length of the film.

Nero and his Romulus crew are flying a massive vessel which is intimidating to say the least. There are pointy extensions that extend outward like a jelly fish's tentacles. Nero is able to time travel but he does not know what year it is. Pike says he is full of it at the end but did a poor job of trying to change Nero's mind. Pike just quit as I explained before before he had a nasty large Centurian bug weave itself into his brain or spinal chord. It must have worked since Nero was able to place his vessel about 100 miles off the surface of the pacific coast line. How this bug was removed is beyond me but he was shown in a wheel chair at the end. This is fully conceivable.

The movie begins with Kirk's father being killed by Nero and a earth's Federation war ship being blown away by a barrage of weapons fired by the futuristic Romulus vessel. Nero also requests a visit by the captain and he quickly kills him in a psychotic act of rage. Now, this is another mistep by the writers. This Captain would have had a death pill in his mouth or on his person. All astronauts are given one when entering outer space. Even Jodie Foster's character in Contact was given one before being dropped in that wicked spinning circular geomatric machine. Anyone transporting to an enemy vessel, unarmed, holding critical knowledge in his or her brain, would have the capability to end his or her life in a short manner. Kirk's father is killed crashing his vessel into the hulking Romulus space ship while 800 humanoids escape. Including his pregnant wife who gives birth to Kirk. Why his pregnant wife is on a war or exploring space ship is illogical and contrary to rationality.

Kirk grows up without a father and acts like it. He crashes a 1960's car off a cliff while an outstanding and appropriate song by Beasty Boys is blasting-Sabotage. I loved that. Kirk is undisciplined and rebellious. The military cleans him up. As it does so many folks in the present day.

Pike persaudes Kirk to join Starfleet because his aptitude scores are impressive. Kirk agrees and completes the normal 4 year training program in 3 years. The movie did not want to show any of this training which is disappointing. I was hoping for some more information on the Enterprise class ships and why they are shaped that way and more about their capabilities. They missed an outstanding opportunity here. Also, some fighting classes or physics courses could be shown in about a minute. Oh well, Kirk seems to conquer anything that is tossed at him but is accused of manipulating the final which is a war fighting stimulation that Spock designed. This pits Spock and Kirk against each other. I was not too impressed with Kirk's bridge team, they seem to act child like in this scene. Kirk's cocky attitude only upset higher ranking officers, including Pike.

This movie had some funny characters. The engineer's little alien friend was cute. Similiar to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. But this movie was better than any Stars Wars flick. The dialogue in Star Wars was often dry and unnapealing. I can not believe that so many bought those DVD's. There are so many better movies now that have been made since then. They occupied a few years but those times are over with. Just like past Star Trek films, they seem crippled and counterfeit compared to this newest Star Trek creation.

Another revelation of this movie is who played Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy. Karl Urban who clearly lost weight to play this part to appear weaker and less imposing. He was a cold blooded assassin in The Bourne Supremacy and a total wrecking crew in Pathfinder. His performance was superlative and it was completely different than any of us have seen thus far. Similiar to Bana in this film who played a frightening villian, both added value to this film. They also explained why McCoy is nicknamed Bones.

Romulans are seemingly much stronger than humans and have the jumping and agility to that of the another Hollywood alien called Predator. I wanted to see Spock square off with Nero at the end. I was disappointed with that. Spock destroys Kirk in a fight on the bridge. Basically, humans do not have the strength of our alien counterparts. I think not having Nero fight Spock at the end who Nero was calling out the entire movie and killed his mother and planet, left a void in the culmination of this film.

The plot is strong though. The creativity is just fascinating. The Romulans have a massive hanging drill that extends down to the surface of a planet which cuts a hole deep into the interior. Then they drop the red liquid, just a drop, into the core, and within minutes the planet crumbles into a singularity. They did not explain too well or at all where this red liquid came from or who invented it.

Spock senior shows Simon Pegg who plays Scotty how to transport a biological entity to a space ship while traveling at warp speed. Apparently Scotty's algorithm does not include the concept that space is moving. I think this is sort of cheating though, Scotty can not say he discovered this concept himself. How Spock the elder knows Kirk is going to land on this ice planet or where is beyond me. Why Kirk just walks away from jettisoned space pod is beyond me as well. But I guess he did not have a choice since remaining in the pod is just a slow death. This planet is unlivable and he was not dressed that warmly. Ofcourse the advanced fibers on his clothing could be impenetrable. Still his face was exposed. He is not given weapon or some food? So basically he is sentenced to death for insubordination. Odd. This ice planet had some massive and nasty creatures roaming around.

In this icy cave when Kirk and the elder Spock have a mind meld, this is when Spock discusses he may represent an alternate future. I am not sure what this means? Time travel regarding different futures is discussed by Spock and Kirk on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. Spock seems to take the upper hand in this conversation with the skinny girl helping him. She is exceptional at linguistics though. In fact, her translation of a Klingon message is what enables Kirk to make the decision in the beginning that they are flying into a trap. This is right in the beginning. I am not sure if Nero was from 25 years in the future or 100 years. His advanced weaponry seemed more than 25 years removed. Yes, his vessel was a mining one but they must have armed it with state of the art weaponry since he is just chewing up klingon, vulcan, and human war ships. Kirk is happy that his father is alive to see him graduate from the Starfleet academy. Ofcourse if the young Kirk had his father in his life, graduation would be not that surprising. From any college. He would not have been crashing cars off cliff ledges neither racing from the police.

Zoe Saldana plays Nyota Uhura who secretly in love with Spock despite Kirk showing interest. She is too skinny and for her to be the pretty face in the film, I am unimpressed. Where is January Jones or Alisha Cuthbert when you need them?

The funniest scene is when Kirk asks his Asian space shipmate what type of hand to hand combat training he has had and replies, "fencing." I thought Pike was going to take him with him when Nero requests for him to come aboard his ship. Since Kirk and Spock warned Pike it is foolish to travel to an enemy ship who has already shown they are prone to violence. Kirk says the time for diplomacy has passed.

The movie has wonderful music and a blessed plot. The action was riveting and plentiful. Some of the storyline could have been explained a little more though. The special affects were magnificent. The hulking Romulus vessel being sucked into a black hole at the end was awesome. This black hole was created by Spock purposely crashing his smaller sprinter space ship into the much larger Romulus ship.

Because of the intensity of the music, I believe Wolverine is a little better than this movie. Both earned four stars to me, but I have to go with Wolverine because I actually understood what the characters were saying for the most part. I am not sure why Star Trek rushed the dialogue like that. It is not unique in this regard. Yes, we like action but we are not going to fall asleep if someone is not punched or blown up after 30 seconds. Kind of insulting really.

I allocate this movie four stars.****

No comments: