Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Movies #24 - Star Trek
I got an invitation for the Bulgarian (pre)premiere of the new Star Trek and I saw it on April 27. MY feelings are mixed. I didn't expect a masterpiece, and I wasn't all hyped and stuff, but still I was expecting something a bit better. It is an OK movie, but I feel that Star Trek and its fans deserve more.
The movie starts with a kick. Some huge and really advanced Romulan ship ncounters a federation ship. The Romilan captain Nero is searching for Spock, but nobody has ever heard of him, and the Romulans lose their temper right away and kill the captain. The new captain is Kirk Sr. who takes control over the Federation vehicle and sacrificing both the ship and his life rams himself into the Romulans, saving the lives of thousands of people, including his wife and newborn son - James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk the father flying towards his certain but
heroic death while listening to his wife giving birth to his son, now this was some epic drama.
We see James T. Kirk racing down a country road in a stolen retro car, listening to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" while being chased by some flying traffic cop, which was a cool scene, though completely irrelevant for the story.
We see young Spock teased and picked on in Vulcan school (I didn't know the vulcans have bullies at school as well) and having troubles because of having a human mother.
Then as expected Kirk has grown into a rebellious teen/young adult, and he is trying to use his charm on Uhura at a bar, in the process finds himself in a fight with four Federation cadets, and after being badly beaten is recruited by his father's old friend Captain Christopher Pike.
Little by little we see all the rest of the familiar crew - Dr. McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty and so on, and I admit that it's really fun to see them while they take their first steps towards the final frontier.
And from this point on the movie is quite predictable, there are no serious plot twists (but there are a number of plot holes). It took them some time to (re)introduce the characters and the whole thing feels like a pilot for new TV series (but really expencive though).
Comes out that the Romulans are some pissed off miners from the future who are after Spock who didn't save their planet from annihilation. After seeing the end of their world they came back in time to get their hands on Spock, planning to destroy Vulcan and make him watch. Spock on the other hand came back in time hoping to make things right somehow. But the Romulans came like 25 years before Spock and when hey didn't find him it all ended with the death of Kirk's father.
Now the Romulans are here again, 25 years later, back in tie with a vengeance, creating a black whole that engulfs Vulcan among with Syler's... pardon me, Spock's mother. Captain Christopher Pike is captured, they want him to give them some security codes so they can do to Earth the same they did to Vulcan, and it is up to Spock and Kirk to stop them. I mean... it is up to Spock, Kirk and Spock to stop them.
The old Spock from the future is here now, helping Kirk to become a captain of the Enterprise, telling Scotty the beaming formula he is supposed to discover himself some years later, and telling the young Spock that he is actually Spock too...
And guess what? All this creates an alternative universe. That's the excuse they came up with for the reboot.
All in all, it is a good way to waste two hours, but it is nothing memorable. The main flaw is the unnecessary use of shaky camera and unstable frames. I know they use it all the time nowadays and we see it in like every action movie, but still it is not an excuse. I guess this is the way they want to create pace and make it more dynamic, but actually when you walk out of the cinema I wouldn't be surprised if you have a headache. The constant twitches are really annoying, and they were used even in simple dialog scenes. I really can't understand why they shake the camera so much and in some scenes it just made absolutely no sense. I mean, come on, you spent millions of dollars on sets and CGI, give me some static shot, stand still for a while and let us enjoy the view! Otherwise we have to wait for the DVD and push the Pause button, hoping that the creature or the spaceship will be on focus and we will be able to see some more details.
Speaking of CGI for millions of dollars... Man, they created black wholes engulfing planets and giant alien monsters chasing Kirk through a snowy wasteland, but they didn't add steam coming out of their mouths. When it's cold and you breathe there is usually steam coming out of your mouth I wonder why there wasn't any while Kirk and Spock were in an ice cave... It's not the only movie where they make this mistake, but it's really annoying when you notice it and makes the whole snowy set look fake.
Another thing I didn't like is that they reinvented the warp and the beam special effects and I like the classic version better and I think the old thing was working perfectly fine. I can't understand what's the point, it's like changing the lightsaber sound effect in Star Wars!
But let's point out some good things as well - fan service! The short skirt uniforms, Uhura is hot (Spock, you lucky bastard!), and there is a green-skinned Orion slave girl! Well, it's not like a blue Twilek babe, but after all it's only Star Trek ;)
The best is that Leonard Nimoy is Spock again and the ending of the movie pays homage to the original series and they finally play a motif from the Star Trek theme. I have absolutely no idea why they didn't use it throughout the whole movie, the old Star Trek soundtracks have brilliant themes and I think they should have used them more if you ask me.
I give it 6.5/10. It's your average sci-fi summer movie with a so-so directing, too simple story and nothing really remarkable as special effects. It doesn't meet my expectations, even if they weren't super-high. I'm curious what will be the global reception of the movie after the world release and if the Trekkies will enjoy it more than I did or just the opposite.