Sunday, May 10, 2009
The New Star Trek
What do you do when you run out of Star Trek ideas for a new series or another movie? You take the cast back to the beginning of their careers, change history, and start all over again. But this time, with new variables.
Over the weekend, I had the privilege of seeing the new Star Trek movie, with a young, new cast (well, for the most part--there might be one original in attendance) that retreads the early years of the famous crew, beginning with tumultuous moment of James T. Kirk's birth. We're soon back on board our old friend, the familiar, yet freshly-minted Enterprise NCC-1701. But something has gone seriously awry that has changed history, so nothing you know from the original series may be the same. Some of the past is rehashed but the outcome may be completely skewed. Fasten your crash harnesses, it's going to be a bumpy ride...and with some pretty awe-inspiring visuals along the way.
Would I recommend this movie? If you're a Star Trek fan(atic) like I am, yes, by all means. If you never much cared for the TV series or the spin off movies, then don't waste your time. You'll miss too many of the punch lines and be lost in the virtual nebula of cult culture. Disclaimer: That is, unless your kids drag you along, and then you may suddenly develop a severe case of Star Trek-itis in your later years. (Don't laugh, it's happened before.)
But for those who loved the series, I think you'll find the "everything's the same, but everything's different" feel to this movie a real delight. A couple of the actors got the original characters' traits down spot on. I especially loved Bones (and you even get clued in how he picked up his nick) and Spock's reconfiguration was also impressive. Sulu was very close; Uhura I found refreshing though the long hair and the bouncier, less serene performance kept her from totally capturing Nichelle Nichol's iconic communications officer. Those who looked least like their former selves were Scotty and Chekov, but from their accents the characters were immediately identifiable.
Without giving away any spoilers, let me tell you there are some huge changes in this particular Star Trek parallel universe that will forever impact the characters going forward. I hope this revamped generation (not next generation ;) ) of Star Trek voyagers will soon venture off on more cosmic adventures.
Admiral James T. Kirk once said, in another place and time and movie, "Galloping around the universe is a game for the young."
Welcome back to a brave, new reality, Captain Kirk.