This summer is almost scarily jam-packed with whale sized blockbusters. With the shiny new Terminator, the "darker" Transformers sequel, and... these things normally come in threes... the new Harry Potter? Close enough. Action and adventure. My point is, there are a lot of action movies hoping to win big, most of which I don't care to remember, and to kick them all off we get Star Trek. The Hollywood gods have been good to us.
Star Trek was never my thing, but I'm aware of the basics. I know who Captain Kirk is. I know who most of his crew is, and what they do. I know that if you're on a mission, and you're in a red suit, you are definitely about to die. I know the campy lines everyone else knows. I know how to do the Vulcan hand thing, and what a mind meld is. I know most of this thanks to being nerd enough to listen to all the Futurama commentaries, spoken by true fans of Star Trek, and how. Lucky for me the new Star Trek movie references each one of these, and just that, stripping away everything a die-hard fan of the series is sure to miss, and miss violently. Like the guy sitting behind me. That guy was a prick during the end credits.
In short, Star Trek kicked ass. Everything looked amazing. Visually I couldn't keep my geek off of it. That is what science fiction should look like. Space looks imposing. Terrifying. Impressive as all get out. J. J. Abrams likes to keep his camera constantly moving, and camera flaring abounds, which gives the film both a sense of realism, and a sense of awesome. He also made space pans. Space pans! Panning in space. And space zooms. Space zooms! Sometimes hilarious, sometimes epic. The pure, undeniable style Star Trek carries is worth seeing the movie for.
The guy in the red suit dies!
But that's not all the movie is worth seeing for. Probably the fact that the action is earnestly pulse-raising is why it's worth seeing. Three guys shooting out of a space ship towards a drill shooting a giant firebolt into a planet? Awesome. Hand to hand combat on top of a fire drill? Awesome. Kamikaze-ing into a giant pointy space ship? The action was awesome. It wasn't all explosions and gun fire. It had heart. It had an intensity lacking in every other movie like this. By all rational logic Star Trek should have been massively flawed. But it wasn't. I'm so stoked about that.
The casting in this movie is top notch. I keep talking about it. Ask anyone. When I think back on this, they could have cast any recognizable face. Zac Efron could have been in this movie. He could have been Kirk. Think of a Star Trek with Zac Efron playing Captain Kirk. It's not implausible, and that's a terrible revelation. But it doesn't have that. It has Syler from Heroes (Zachary Quinto), it has the kid from Alpha Dog (Anton Yelchin), it has Harold from Harold and Kumars (John Cho), and it has Simon Pegg. Simon Pegg! And they all give really convincing performances. And funny performances. This movie is brimming with comedy. It borders on cheesy maybe twice, but every other laugh is won admirably. Oh, and the Kirk (Chris Pine), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and Bones (Karl Urban), and the villain (Eric Bana), and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) are all pretty good, too. In fact Pine plays one of my favorite smart-ass characters of recent times. He made a real good smart-ass. Plus Leonard Nimoy makes an overlong cameo as Future Spock and even Winona Ryder is in this.
J. J. Abrams is a director I trust. Cloverfield was a successfully entertaining American monster movie, and I still have a soft, gooey center in my like-to-watch lobe for Lost. He's solidified himself as someone I care to see more from. So much room to make this terrible, and it wasn't. Bravo. And the writers? Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman? They've hit action movie gold. They wrote both Transformers. Do you know how much those are making? And now this movie? These jerks wrote The Legend of Zorro and now they're pulling off this shit? Kudos and a bravo, men. You've all earned it.
Anton Yelchin is a babe.
- Eric T. Voigt, Finally I Can Sleep