Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Star Trek

I went to see this last night with a couple of friends from work. Neither of them were familiar with any of the various TV incarnations - beyond the pop culture knowledge of the basics. I on the other hand went along having seen just about every incarnation of the show and almost every single episode (except for a number of the animated ones) and having read any number of the books. Unlike some of the fans I thought the reboot idea was a great one, but I'd been looking forward to the film with a large degree of trepidation.

Fortunately, plot coincidences aside, I loved it. So too did my two friends. t wasn't a perfect movie, but with the amount of stuff that they did get right, I was more than happy with it. For the sheer enjoyment factor it might even be my favourite of the films, but I'll leave that call for later once I've got a bit of perspective on the matter. It's certainly a much better film than the last two, holds up well with Khan and First Contact (my previous two favourites) and managed to push even more geek buttons than seeing Star Trek the Motion Picture for the first time did.

On the plotting side I still maintain that the alternate timeline angle is inspired. While the writers could have gone with a straight reboot, I think this very neatly avoids the trap of having to fit in with the expectations of the story conforming to Trek continuity, while at the same time conforming to Trek continuity - brilliant! A couple of franchise-induced shocks really kicked that one home - and it did create a sense that when it comes to the inevitable next movie, anything could happen.

And the other thing they got absolutely right - using Alexander Courage's original theme at the end - the films have previously just used the opening fanfare - the full orchestra version of the 60s theme was long overdue.

I like where they've gone with this - and perhaps more importantly I like where they're going. And my two non-fan friends agree - which is a healthy sign for the once beleaguered franchise.


Uncommon Jen said...

I agree, plotting was an issue. But I also agree that I was so happy with the things they got right that I am willing to ignore the plot holes. I also agree that the alternate timeline is brilliant. This allows them to have their cake (making call backs to the original) and eat it too (without slavish devotion to canon).

It's also worth mentioning the excellent casting. They managed to pay homage to the original cast without mocking them.

Iain Gibson said...

Casting - absolutely. Particularly Karl Urban - I thought he was spot on in channeling DeForest Kelley without it reverting to a caricature. Chris Pine surprised me by being a lot better than his previous credits list would imply - Sylar made a pretty good Spock - and Bruce Greenwood makes a much better Pike than Jeffery Hunter did.

Not convinced by Simon Pegg's Scotty though.