For those of you who don’t know, I’m pretty much a Star Trek nut. My dad was the one who got me into Star Trek when I was young, during the hey day of The Next Generation(TNG). For years TNG was Star Trek to me. I kind of watched Deep Space 9(DS9) but for many years didn’t. All I knew was that TNG was on every day on Channel 13(I think it was that channel) at 4:30 during the week, and I watched it *every* day. As I got older, I got more into DS9, and watched the entire last season as it came out, and later watched the entire series. I can claim to have seen every single episode of Star Trek at least once, including the Animated Series. I own The Original Series, TNG, and all 10 movies on DVD. I have ships, figures, toys, all in my place. I don’t really advertise this much, simply because while I’m a fan, not many people I know are, and it just isn’t that big a deal to me. I’m not a fanatical fan who dresses up, can speak Klingon, or anything like that. I am a fan of the franchise, and that’s it. For years, it wasn’t even “cool” to be a Star Trek fan. Friends would poke fun at me when they found out. People just didn’t think Star Trek was cool anymore. And to be fair, for a long time it wasn’t. We got Voyager, which I like to pretend didn’t happen, and Enterprise, which had a bad start but really hit it’s stride in it’s last season. The last two movies were also less than spectacular. After Enterprise was cancelled I thought that was it for Star Trek for a very long time.
Then, a couple of years ago, I began to hear rumors about a possible new Star Trek movie. As more details came out, I found that they wanted to do a movie about The Original Series crew, but when they were much younger than what we saw in the TV show from the 60’s. Now, I was afraid of this. The though of Kirk being played by someone other than William Shatner, or Spock being played by someone other than Leonard Nimoy really bothered me. They also wanted to go and basically try to fit within the established Star Trek “world.” People who are fans of Enterprise know that that didn’t always work out very well.
As time went on, it became clear that this was the movie we were going to get, and even a few months before release I was still worried. However, being a true fan of Star Trek, I got myself tickets to the Thursday night opening show of Star Trek, and took my dad, the person who got me into the franchise in the first place.
I can say today that I have never been more proud to be a Star Trek fan.
J.J. Abrams, known by most as the creator of Lost, pulled something off that I never thought possible. He created a movie that not only Star Trek fans can like, but one that people who have never seen Star Trek can also enjoy. You do not have to be a Star Trek fan at all to see this movie. You will not be at a disadvantage if you go into this movie never seeing 1 minute of previous Star Trek. However, the people like me, who have seen every minute, can also come out satisfied.
It is a fast paced, action packed, special effects filled movie. The new Enterprise, while I was skeptical the first time I saw it, has grown on me. It is a beautiful ship that clearly shows the lines of the ship that literally hung from strings in the 1960’s, yet looks amazing with 21st century CGI technology. But it remains true to what Star Trek has always been about, the characters. They successfully introduce, and develop, 7 main characters in the movie that doesn’t seem contrived or forced. Some get more screen time than others obviously, but each one has their place, and J.J. Abrams did not go out of his way to explain every little bit of how they ended up on the Enterprise. They are there, in some cases it is explained well, in others, they are just there. They don’t try to add what they shouldn’t, nor does something feel missing. The casting was amazing. I don’t think they miscast a single person there. Karl Urban does an amazing McCoy, sounding exactly like the late DeForest Kelly in certain scenes.
Are there problems with this movie? Absolutely. Without spoiling it, J.J. Abrams and his team are not afraid to change things in the Star Trek universe. They don’t turn it upside down, but they adapt the Star Trek universe to what they want, instead of trying to work around the mine field that is 43 years of Star Trek history. This is both a good, and a bad thing. No doubt it will upset some people. Personally, I am okay with this. To me, it shows that they just want to make a good movie, and I am satisfied with that. It is still Star Trek, and they way the potential changes are handled are handled well, if a bit contrived.
Arguably the weakest part of the movie is actually the Villain. Because the movie has to introduce, develop, and run with 7 main characters, the villain takes a bit of a back seat in the movie, which is too bad, because Eric Bana does a very good job with Nero in the limited screen time he gets. But really, this movie is not about good vs. bad. It is about the main characters. I’m sure that in the next movie, this will be taken care of and there will be a proper antagonist to really take the movie to the next level.
This movie is the Batman Begins of Star Trek. It goes back to it’s origins, but does not weigh itself down with 43 years of history. They clearly will follow much of what has been established, but the creators are clearly not afraid to change things if it works better for them, and that is okay to me. J.J. Abrams has made a fantastic movie, and you should go see it.