Monday, January 27, 2014

Star Trek (2009) [PG-13] *****

In this prequel we meet all of the original characters of the TV series and films in their formative, fuzzy-cheeked years. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. Leonard Bones McCoy (Karl Urban), Montgomery Scotty Scott (Simon Pegg), Hiraku Sulu (John Cho), Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are all present, in body if not in spirit.

There's a genocidal, planet-destroying Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana), there's time-traveling and black holes. Spock comes face-to-face with Spock Prime, an older version of himself played by Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the original Spock. Kirk and Spock fight, Uhura falls in love with Spock, Bones hates outer space, and Scotty saves the day... again.

The production values, sets and special effects are all reasonably good, as one would expect. Sadly, however, the pedestrian, rather derivative screenplay by Roberto Orsi and Alex Kurtzman (who co-wrote Transformers, Mission: Impossible III and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) fails to deliver. The uninspired direction by J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III) leads us to conclude that the writers and director believe that action and special effects can replace drama depth and character development. As a result, the actors have no clue about their roles; either they misinterpret the character, as Winona Ryder does when she plays Spock's mother and flirts with her son, or they simply phone in their performances. The chemistry between the crew members that was so good in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is missing; the multi-generational dynamics of Star Trek: Generations are sadly absent, and the passion, conviction and purpose of Star Trek: Insurrection is lacking. Trekkies and viewers who are entertained by the Michael Bay style of filmmaking (Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) will fully appreciate Star Trek. Viewers who demand some subtlety and finesse in movie-making will not be impressed. 

Labels: action, adventure, sci-fi   
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 83/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=82, viewers=82)    

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