Friday, May 08, 2009
AN ADVENTUROUS ENTERPRISE--- REBOOTING 'STAR TREK'
Perhaps most bloggers are far too young to remember the dawn of a TV series created by Gene Roddenberry in 1966. Happily, I am not too young. Although there were other heady dramas that had a good run in that era (e.g. 'The Fugitive'), few were longer on plot, ideas, and characterization than the original Star Trek, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, amongst others. More recently there have been various attempts to recreate the magic on the original show on TV, and by way of the movies, but frankly most of the movies were not that memorable and most of the TV shows were sadly completely forgettable. Could anyone and anything reboot the Starship Enterprise in an enterprising way? As it turns out, the answer is yes, J.J. Abrams, now famous as the director of another blockbuster TV series--- 'Lost'.
It is hard of course to do an hommage without it feeling like a rehash, and even harder to do a respectful reboot while still offering a fresh take on things. And yet it has happened, and full marks to Abrams and company for pulling off a near miracle. We have readily recognizable characters from the original show, who are not merely imitating the original characters but in fact developing those characters in fresh and interesting ways. Though you may not recognize any of the fresh faces, save of course Leonard Nimoy playing the older Spock, it matters not. The story and the characters carry the movie. Here too is a movie that is not so dependent on the technology that it requires a special effect a minute to keep the audience enthralled, although there are some special special effects. No is the characters and the dialogue and story line that have the zip in this movie, and they are able to play with the full emotional palette ranging from anger to arrogance to love to hate to humor and much more. This is a movie I would gladly watch many more times and grow weary of it. Indeed, with a PG 13 rating it is basically family friendly (except perhaps one scene)and in fact leaves you wanting more--- the two hours fairly zip by in this movie.
No its not the Klingons who are the bad guys in this reboot, its a rogue Romulan named Nero, which oddly is said to be Spock's first name as well (but then Kirk's middle name also comes from the Roman emperors-- Tiberius) Nero is ticked because he had to watch while his own planet was destroyed, an event for which he blames Spock, wrongly. And so he is bent on revenge, which leaves him bent out of shape, perpetually. The story develops largely as prequel telling us how this crew ended up on the Enterprise 'boldly going where no one has gone before'.
What does Abrams bring to this movie. Well, it definitely has a LOST feel not least because it involves time travel and at least one character meeting himself coming and going, so to speak. Furthermore the future keeps impinging on the past, and can be fixed by going to the past. And then there are the unexpected twists, like Spock as a lover of Uhuru. Who knew? He definitely knows how to get the most out of an ensemble cast. If you were a lover of some of the lesser characters like Chekov and Scotty, you will not be disappointed with their portrayal. In short, this movie has something for both old and new Star Trek fans. May this reboot "live long and prosper."