28 February, 2010

Side Step...Thoughts on the 2009 Star Trek movie

I know the movie has been in circulation for ages. But after much thought, and prodding Thursday night from my friend Luke, here goes.

I am a Star Trek purist, just to say it front and center. I grew up watching reruns of the original series and the animated cartoon. I never really could get into any of the other spinoffs.

Anyway...my thoughts on the characters and the movie itself are as follows:

James T. Kirk: I don't doubt that as a younger cadet and junior officer, Kirk was as big of a smartass punk as seen. One has to remember the episode of the original series 'Shore Leave' and his fight with an upper classman named Finnegan. Having read a fair amount of Trek novels, I can almost see that some elements of the character were pulled from a couple of the novels about his youth. Overall though, Kirk comes across as a panicky punk, with a lot of screaming like a five year old, heavy breathing, moaning and whimpering. There are flashes of the brilliance of Kirk though, such as his handling of telling Spock it will work, and the passing of the Kobiyoshi Maru test. Chris Pine had some big shoes to fill, and even though he comes across as a panicky punk, he does a fair job of it.

Spock: Overall the character was done well, and Zachary Quinto did a good job filling another big pair of shoes. Mostly calm and logical the whole way through it all, excepting Kirk pushing him. The biggest problem I have with the portrayal centers on the whole romance thing with Uhura. I just can not see Spock making out in the transporter room in front of people with time and the Earth on the line. Vulcans are known for their emotional control, and half human or not, there was no excuse for him making out like a teenager.

Leonard McCoy: McCoy was probably the best done character of the bunch. He was as sarcastic, gruff and loveable as he should be. His handling of getting Kirk aboard the Enterprise is a nod to the original series episode 'Amok Time'. Karl Urban does a good job delievering lines that DeForest Kelly would have, and with the right character touch.

Montgomery Scott: Was he in the movie? He was? Oh...it was that guy. Scotty was a pure disappointment. He does nothing at all to suggest he is a miracle worker, excepting managing to beam Kirk, Spock and Pike onto the Enterprise. Simon Pegg sounds forced in the little bit of work he is given.

Hikaru Sulu: I was disappointed at first with Sulu, but as the movie went on, he got better. I disliked the introduction of him that made him look like an idiot. Sulu was far from it. His show of fencing skills is a nod to 'The Naked Time'. John Cho did not do a bad job of giving us a Sulu who wasn't an idiot at the end of the day.

Pavel Chekov: At first I was not thrilled with this over the top, so young you wanted to scream, characterisation of Chekov. However, as the movi went on, you could see him turn into the Chekov of the original series a bit. Smarter than he looks, and with a science bent mind. Anton Yelchin does okay, just the accent got to be a little too much.

Nyota Uhura: I am sorry, but I don't remember uhura being a nasty, catty, all out bitch. Zoe Saldana is an attractive woman, but her portrayal of Uhura is just wrong. Completely wrong, as it is just plain arrogant bitch the whole way. And the romance with Spock angle is just terrible.

Spock Prime: It was indeed good to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock one more time. Despite his advanced age, Nimoy manages to turn in one last performance of the Spock we know. The only knock on it, as with a lot of modern movies (See Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is using him as the old man explaining the plot.

Nero: When I first heard Eric Bana was going to be the villain, I died laughing. None to impressed with his performance in The Hulk movie, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. I was actually surprised, as his performance turned into a quirky one befitting a deranged and grieving Romulan, Hell bent on changing history. The only real knock on it is his voice when he was trying to yell.

Christopher Pike: I don't have much to say about this character. Little is known for sure of Pike, based on the failed pilot 'The Cage'. Bruce Greenwood did a decent job of it though.

The Enterprise: I can see that Apple won the computer battle against IBM and Microsoft at some point in history. The Enterprise looked to be an IMac from Hell, painfully white that it was. Using a factory to depict the engineering section was terrible. The phaser sound effect sounded more like a noise that I make me screwing around than weapons fire. And a front wind shield? Who gets the fun job of cleaning that when it gets dirty, Janitor, Third Class? The exterior design was not altogether terrible as I thought it was going to be.

The Plot: The story of how an altered history brings together the crew of the Enterprise is okay. The blowing up of Vulcan was just plain idiotic, and basically done because Star Wars did it. The science behind how they did it comes from another science fiction novel by Greg Bear that the title of it escapes me. Oh, and the last time I checked, Iowa did not...and would not in 250 years time, resemble Arizona in any way shape or form.

In the course of writing this, I have come to learn that in about 2.5 years time we should see another Star Trek movie. Who knows how that will be.