Friday, May 08, 2009


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."


Jc_Freak: said...

Well, I am a fan of the Original, but I am also a bigger fan of TNG and Voyager, both series that I think did an excellent job and carrying on the feel of the original. I've found that fans of the original have a more pessimistic view of latter series than is due.

Now to the new movie. I'm looking forward to it, but what has me worried right now is how little attention McCoy is getting. It seems they are far more focused on Uhura, while McCoy was the true third leg to Kirk and Spock (and my favorite of the original). I'll be really annoyed if they don't treat him right.

Ben Witherington said...

Actually McCoy has far more of a part than Uhuru or Scotty.

Tony Hunt said...

It was a surprisingly good movie. My folks watched the original as I grew up, so I'm familiar. Nonetheless DS9 is my favorite and TNG my close second.

Alex Tang said...

It is definitely a good movie and Abrams deserves a good pad on his back for the reboot. Over the past 45 years the Star Trek universe has became incredibly detailed and it is difficult to get a good slant for story telling. Abrams solves the problem by creating a new timeline, thereby introducing a new reality.

I wonder whether we are doing the same thing in our deconstruction and reconstruction of the Bible.

Live long and prosper

J. K. Jones said...


Peace and long life.


Thanks for the review. I'm looking forward to the movie.


Oscar T. G. said...

I call this one "Star Trek, 90219" with fresh young faces that the third generation since the franchises inception can enjoy.

I'm 50 something and I LOVED it!

Bren said...

Saw if Friday night with my teenagers, adult son and daughter-in-law. Everyone liked it a lot, especially my teenagers, so it passed the generational test. The first time in a long time I haven't felt cheated out of my ticket price. Glad to see new young faces and fresh talent carrying on the great tradition. Loved the portrayals of all the characters, especially young Spock and Ahura! Just plain fun! Hubby and I are Trekkies and have covered Enterprise and are now doing Voyager on Netflix. So relaxing after a stressful day in the classroom!

baptistmonk said...

Did anyone notice the best line in a movie in many a year? If I remember, James Tiberius says to Captain Pike, "Yes, I know that . . . I read your dissertation!" I am completing my last seminar in PhD land and about to embark on dissertation. I wept as I heard Kirk speak those wonderful words.