With the new Star Trek movie just round the corner and having already booked tickets for a Sunday show, I felt obliged to finally watch the 2009 version of JJ Abrams interpretation of the long running and popular Star Trek universe. I was mighty pleased by Abrams work in Mission impossible 3. While many considered it as a stark departure from the MI franchise, I felt for the first time an MI movie felt real and worked on emotional levels. The masterstroke of making the extremely talented Philip Seymour Hoffman play the almost inhuman baddie may not have worked with the MI purists but I loved every bit of it. He followed it up with the Star Trek which I must confess I hadn’t seen till today and after sitting through it in this rather wet and somewhat chilly evening, I cant imagine why. I might not have seen it for it not been for the sequel which is about to hit the theaters tomorrow and now I feel that would have been very very wrong.
Star Trek traces the genesis of James Tiberius Kirk(Chris Pine) and Spock(Zachary Quinto). Kirk’s father remains the captain of the USS Kelvin for 15 minutes as it is attacked by a Romulan ship and its vengenceful captain Nero(Eric Bana). He is able to save 800 lives in the face of certain death. These lives include that of Kirk and his mother. Many years later, Kirk is called upon by a captain Pike(Bruce Greenwood) to enlist for the star-fleet. Kirk reluctantly agrees and within the next three years finds himself battling the dame Romulan ship that wrecked havoc in his life. Spock, on the other goes through a considerable amount of wear and tear emotionally. He rejects admission into the Vulcan Science academy and enlists for the Star-fleet where he meets Kirk and the two start hostilities almost immediately. The Romulan Nero has a personal vendetta against Spock and has been time traveling to give Spock what he believes he meted out to the Romulan planet. What happens when these three forces of nature comes up against each other forms the story of Star Trek.
Now, with the sequel ready to hit the theaters and another installment due in 2015, its only safe to say that Abrams envisioned this as the first of the three films and spends a considerable amount of time in character and plot development. The genesis of Spock and Kirk are traced well enough. The film also shows us the beginning of their unlikely friendship and how it all came about. What Abrams does best is to make Star Trek work as a standalone film. I had never seen another star trek film before and I for not even a moment, felt confused or overwhelmed. Instead my marvels and sense of awe at some of the visual splendors was painted further by the lucid and easy to fathom narrative. The story is effective and would easily extract emotional responses which was a prime necessity to make the sparkling visuals work.
That brings us to the action. Oh! the action looks so so good. There is a tendency among the movie based on space odysseys to end up with action which look less than real even with the best of graphics. That could primarily be because of the content and treatment but that is certainly not the case her. The sequences on board the Romulan, the destruction of the Vulcan planet, the Fight atop the Romulan drill are just some of the immaculately filmed set pieces which are alone worth the price of admission. What works best for the action sequences are the physicality of the actors involved. The actors seem to be in the thick of things and are actually able to emote even under fire which goes on a long way to make the sequences work to their advantage.
The performances are top notch. Pine and Quinto share the bulk of the screen space between them and they don’t let us down. Quinto’s interpretation of the character of Spock is spot on with the right mix of emotions and expression keeping him on the razor sharp line between a Vulcan and a human. Pine is let loose like a cannon not caring for a thing in the world until he finds his destiny and craving. However my favorite performer would still be Eric Bana. He
looks menacing as the Nero and his tight jawed dialog delivery with a highly changed get up just add to the mannerism reminiscent of a evil adversary. He literally brings in the gusto to the movie. Without his antagonist, the film would be much lesser. The film is complete with a meeting between the old and the young Spock at the end.
Boasting of a pulsating background score, wonderful visuals and more than Ok acting, Star Trek impressed me to a great extent. It really doesn’t leave much to be desired. it is everything that we can ask from a summer Blockbuster. Now that I have seen it, the stakes are much more higher going into the sequel. I just hope it surpasses my expectations and makes me crave for more.