Monday, February 01, 2010

Star Trek (2009)

Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Photography: Daniel Mindel
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Winona Ryder

J.J. Abrams, as I was mentioning to my brother Joel in a dream the other night, has done something that I and any other reasonable person would have snorted at as impossible: taken the old characters and premise of "Star Trek" TOS ("the original series") and twisted them back into vitality. "Reboot" seems to be what they call such Hollywood projects nowadays. I and any other reasonable person had long since entirely given up on TOS, if not the frakkin' franchise itself, to which I (if not any other reasonable person) clung tenaciously, all the way through "Voyager." (They did lose me with "Enterprise," I think, although I still plan to give it a more systematic opportunity one of these days.) At any rate, I and any other reasonable person should probably have realized that Abrams was the right person for this job, given his competent-plus work on the first few seasons of "Alias" and more importantly all of his work on "Lost." So, in short, here it is all back again as fresh and invigorated as ever: Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Chekhov, Sulu, Uhuru, and the big Enterprise boat itself. Amazing, on those terms alone. The strategy is bold as the original mission itself: an incidental accident of time travel in the first 10 minutes effectively wipes away all of the baggage of TOS except for Leonard Nimoy (a fanboy will be happy to explain the details, whether or not he approves of the move), which leaves the rest of the movie free to rock and roll the chemistry of the new cast. And that is exactly what is done here. The action, refreshingly light on CGI gimcrackery, is fast-paced and energetic and engaging every minute of the way. I don't know what if anything Abrams can do next with the franchise, but then again, I've been saying that for years now about "Lost" and he hasn't disappointed me yet (as close as he has come). For this Star Trek, no colon after the title is required. It's the real deal. I even have to think Gene Roddenberry himself is grinning ear to ear somewhere at this turn of events.

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