Title: Star Trek 2009
HTS Overall Score:100
J.J. Abrams took some liberties and even broke a few Trek 'rules', but it all works. There are some really good nods to the original series and even the actors that played the roles before this new cast stepped in to fill some pretty big shoes. The problem with a franchise reboot or prequel is that we already know the outcome. All the characters survive. They have to, because we know about their other adventures. Abrams put a bit of a twist on things though. Although he deftly crafted a story that assembled the Enterprise crew together, it wasn't how they 'originally' met, and that's why this works.
I've seen Star Trek twice at the theater, and three times at home now, including up on the 10' screen at home. The first time I went with my brother, the second time my wife actually wanted to see it so I took her. She is a 'mild' Trek fan at best, and basically tolerates it because she knows I like it. It didn't take long before she dropped the take it or leave it attitude and really got into this movie.
What really impressed me was I was actually trying to figure out how Abrams was going to 'fix' certain things that start off oh so wrong. During my first viewing my fear was that he wasn't going to and that this new Trek would end up a sell out and Star Trek in name only. Trust me, even the most hard core fan will accept this entry, but more important is that it is simply a great sci-fi/action flick too.
There are even some touches of politics in the story, as well as prejudices- surprisingly from the Vulcan Academy itself! Also look for the infamous 'Red Shirt' scene.
If there is one thing to complain about, in my opinion it would be the engineering spaces. Granted I am very familiar with the engine rooms on real naval warships, and they can be a maze of pipes and valves and in general a very low tech looking environment. Thing is though, we're talking about the 23rd Century and I like the old Trek engineering levels better. These look like they ran out of set budget so they filmed in a manufacturing plant somewhere.
Abrams is also known for his fast pace and faster cuts too. Even though we do get to see the Enterprise bridge in quite a few scenes, I honestly couldn't describe the layout to anyone and it was quite different than in any other Trek show or movie.
The cast was well thought out and Trek has the unique ability of capturing lightning in a bottle more often than any other franchise out there. Many, including Roddenberry doubted if they could get the same chemistry between the main characters in Star Trek The Next Generation as they had in the original series. The franchise did have some major misfires with some of its other spin off series, but... Roddenberry always said the true star of the show was the Enterprise itself and the crew was secondary.
All the banter we have come to love is there, and we even get some back story on some characters too. Karl Urban absolutely nails McCoy. He looks like DeForest Kelly, and even sounds like him. Pine's Kirk though isn't quite the same but all the elements are there- He's confident and even arrogant, he has an eye for the pretty ladies... but most important is his drive and tenacity to win at all costs. Kirk coyly said in Wrath of Khan that he doesn't believe in a no win scenario... Pine's Kirk proves it and then some.
Simon Pegg as Scotty- I never remembered James Doohan as the 'plucky comedic relief' in the original series, but Pegg pulls it off. He's witty, funny, and charming all at the same time.
Quinto's Spock is almost uncanny. Certain shots he is a dead ringer for Nimoy in the original series. Quinto does a fantastic job of bringing the complex turmoil buried deep within Spock. Nimoy does reprise his role in an extended 'cameo' but his part was mainly an homage to the original show and it very easily could have been omitted.
Nero is played by Eric Bana and he has less screen time than he deserves. Bana chewed scenery every bit as well as Ricardo Montalban did as Khan, he just didn't get as much screen time to truly make him an interesting foe.
One thing that was really odd about these 'villains' was the way they introduce themselves. After an unprovoked barrage of missiles, they open hailing frequencies and say 'Hello'. It just sounded really strange hearing a Romulin say hello that casually, especially considering the situation. I'd love to hear Abrams reason, I'm sure he had one.
Captain Pike was played by Bruce Greenwood. This was another bullseye. Greenwood made Pike a natural leader and added tons of respectability to the cast. Greenwood may not be known by many though. Most people will probably be sitting there thinking 'Who is he? I know I saw him somewhere!' He's been doing TV for ages, but most probably recognize him as the President in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Sarek, Spock's father was a bit of a surprise to me. Sarek is played by Ben Cross who usually plays the bad guy or heavy. I remember him the best as Prince Malagant in the Richard Gere/Sean Connery version of King Arthur's tale in First Knight. Cross impressed me very much because he went from being so evil in that flick to stoic and dignified as Sarek
All in all it was an excellent cast they assembled. Even John Cho, better known to many as Harold from the Harold and Kumar flicks, slipped comfortably into his new role as Sulu.
It goes without saying that the special effects were top notch. Many of the other Trek outings, especially the Next Generation movies skimped on new FX and even recycled FX scenes from the TV series... and it showed. Abrams didn't cut any corners and it's obvious he was given a huge budget to work with. My guess is now that Star Wars is officially done, Paramount finally woke up and realized they had something that could appeal to more than just the hard core fans, but they'd have to pony up some money to do it right and grab the attention of non-Trek fanboys.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26033[/img]Star Trek 2009 more than lives up to the transfer quality of the other newly released in Bluray Trek movies. Every visual is stunning. The blacks remain black and the colors are bright and vivid. It is worth adding to anyone's collection.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26041[/img]This was a tough one at first to really rate. Not because the sound quality was bad, rather the exact opposite. They accomplished exactly what a movie is supposed to do, pull you in and if just for a brief moment... let you forget about reality and become fully immersed in the movie world playing out before you.
The audio is every bit as good as the picture quality, which as I mentioned tends to make you forget you're watching a movie, or in my case, trying to do a review! The dialog is firmly rooted to the center channel and there is excellent front channel separation. The bass and surround are there when needed but never overpower or distract from the overall experience, which is exactly what it is supposed to do- enhance the experience and not dominate it.
Abrams has a very nice set of special features included. It's just the right amount, and more important, they are fun to watch! Even someone that's not a die hard Trek fan will enjoy the special features.
One thing about them is they actually gave me a new sense of acceptance for the movie. Abrams didn't just jump into a franchise and change things just for the sake of changing them. The 'time line' alteration was necessary to justify the retelling of the crew. Otherwise this would be a one shot movie that showed how the crew got together, but from there we all know what happens from the original series. Now there is a twist on everything... things are the same, but different. We can feel comfortable with familiar things but at the same time we don't know exactly how things are going to play out in this new alternate time line.
That really does sound like a lot to swallow, but the special features sold me. Why? Well after seeing all of the original cast members that are still alive visiting the set and meeting their new counter parts, you get the feeling of the torch being passed. Everyone was smiling and it just felt right. The old cast seemed to fully accept the new members and even gave them insight into the characters.
Nimoy looked at Quinto and coyly smiled and said "You have no idea what you just got yourself into!"
Leonard Nimoy was also very important to this movie getting made. It wasn't his role in the movie, it was his approval. Abrams knew Spock was such an integral part of the plot that if Nimoy rejected the idea of reprising his role the movie was sunk. That was a very heavy fear too because Nimoy is 79 and not only retired, but stated he's done with Trek. He read the script and loved it.
The features also talk about the ship design, aliens (and yes, the green Orion girl!) and there is lots and lots of talk about the one thing that I absolutely did not like about the movie... engineering. They show the Budweiser factory and it does look pretty cool, but just not Star Trek cool. Abrams really missed the boat with this one. Hopefully he will fix this in the next movie, but... he also has to be careful not to change things too radically. Fans really do like continuity, or at least a plausible explanation why something changed.
It's non stop action and adrenaline. I give it :5stars: across the board!
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French, Spanish
Blu-ray Release Date: November 17th, 2009
Buy Star Trek 2009 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy IT!