Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Star Trek - Movie Review

STAR TREK (***1/2) - Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Winona Ryder, Eric Bana, Ben Cross, Chris Hemsworth, Tyler Perry and Leonard Nimoy.
Directed by J.J. Abrams.

The even numbered Star Trek movies tend to be the better ones, but when Star Trek 9 and 10 disappointed, and Enterprise got cancelled, the franchise seemed about dead. Enter J.J. Abrams, stage left.

This reboot, featuring a young Kirk and Spock, is about as good as anyone can hope. Chris Pine, who's been in some forgettable movies (Blind Dating, Just My Luck) and had one funky turn in Smokin' Aces, has the right amount of fortitude and swagger as James Tiberius Kirk, rebellious punk who is talked into joining Starfleet. There he butts heads with a Vulcan brainiac named Spock, befriends a gruff doctor named Bones, hits on a linguist named Uhura, etc.

The general plot, upon reflection, doesn't really matter that much, which is one reason why I can comfortably say this is NOT the best Star Trek movie ever (Khan and Voyage Home are better; this is about on par with Undiscovered Country or Final Conflict). It's about the revisitation of the characters, and how Abrams has set it up to let this crew boldly go whereever they feel like.

Karl Urban, who was one of the weaker actors in Lord of the Rings and who's had a string of crummy movies (Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, Pathfinder), is great as Dr. McCoy. It strikes me as a performance where he studied DeForest Kelley for a while, and then he made the role his own. Simon Pegg brings exactly the amount of humor I would hope for in Scotty. Zoe Saldana brings much needed futuristic feminism to Uhura. Each cast member gets their moment.

(It also a space-time continuum subplot that may reveal where Season 6 of Lost is going.)

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