I’ve had my chance to hoot and holler all over the place about the latest entry in the Star Trek franchise from director J.J. Abrams. But as you might expect, I’m not quite done yet. For those who haven’t heard yet, I absolutely loved Trek on a multitude of levels. Director J.J. Abrams and crew have crafted a film that is both reverent and fresh, one that should not only play well with Trekkers, but also with mainstream audiences. It has led many of us here at Reject HQ to believe that it could be one of the runaway hits of the summer. Which leads me back to a little gushing — some unapologetic love for my now second favorite — second only to The Hurt Locker — movie of 2009. That said, I would like to present one more chunk of love, from a non-Trekker to the world, in my list of the 8 Things About the New Star Trek Movie That Will Blow You Away…
8. Zachary Quinto, That Pointy Eared Bastard
When this film was announced at Comic-Con two years ago, it was also announced that Zachary Quinto (Heroes) would be playing Spock. Not long after that the rest of the cast came together, including some very odd choices. But all along, I was sold on Zach as Spock. He had the look, had the acting chops and even though there were many out there who were waiting for a Spock/Sylar hybrid, I was contending that he alone would stand tall in this film. And he does. He stands right alongside the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, and delivers a dynamic performance, bringing new life and new depth to a classic favorite.
7. Kirk and Spock: Best Friends Forever
One of the big question marks heading into this film was Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. Would he fit well in the shoes of Shatner? Even more importantly, would he and Quinto capture that famous chemistry between Kirk and Spock, the friendship to end all friendships. In a word, yes. Not only does Pine deliver his own version of the sarcastic, irreverent and tough Kirk, he also works well in balance with the stoic, emotionless Spock played by Quinto. This is important to fans and can be considered as yet another big win for the film.
6. Commitment to Character, Story and Reverence
If there is one complaint I’ve heard about the writing of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers), it is that their scripts lack depth and are more committed to big bangs than big arcs. And for the most part, these inferences have been true up until this and the TV show Fringe. Here they show some real chops by delivering a Star Trek film that captures the essence of these characters. They are different versions of Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones, but they are fresh and reverent new versions. And their origin as a team is woven together with a surprisingly smart story — I can’t think of a better way to bring this new old crew together.
5. The Enterprise: She’s a Big, Beautiful Girl, Isn’t She?
Inside and out, the new USS Enterprise is a wonder. She’s built like a brick shithouse in space. One thing that the original series was always limited by was showing off the grand scale of such a ship. There’s nothing wrong with that, as the Trek of old was technologically limited. Not the case here. In Abrams’ vision, the Enterprise is a massive, complex vessel that carries a huge crew through space. Where you really feel it is in the Enterprise’s first shot in the film as it sits ready to rock in space and in shots of the engine room — a vast room with endless pipelines carrying what can only be assumed are unfathomable amounts of cable, or whatever they use in the future. The point is that the Enterprise is bigger (inside and out) than it has ever been before.
4. Classic Moments: Red Shirts and Rich Quotes
Without revealing too much — as I would urge you to experience it for yourself — I will say that there are plenty of great little treats in the film for Star Trek fans new and old. There is an unfortunate situation for a red shirt that doesn’t disappoint, as well as a classic Scotty moment that will have fans cheering. In fact, if cheers from Trek-fans are any indicator, this film is full of nostalgic moments. That, and might I mention a guy who says “Dammit I’m a doctor, not a physicist”…
3. Karl Urban: The New ‘Bones’ McCoy
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring performance in this Trek is Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. One of the long-time great characters, Bones was made famous by Deforest Kelley, who would certainly have been very proud of Urban’s performance. He delivers Bones as the compassionate, irascible old doctor that fans grew to love. He even employed a dialect coach to get the accent down — and get it down he did. Need some advance evidence, check out the Meet Dr. McCoy clip that we posted a while back.
2. The Perfection of Sound
If there is one thing I was expecting from the third trailer that was released for Star Trek, it was a big sweeping score. And Michael Giacchino’s score is big and beautiful — it has a booming, thunderous quality to it that elevates the intensity of the film. But even more impressive is the sound design, which was a collaborative effort between Supervising Sound Editor Mark Stoeckinger, Sound Designer Harry Cohen and Sound Designer Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Wall-E). The first moment that we see the Enterprise go into warp is a truly astounding experience, a resounding boom that may just knock you out of your seat. As well, there is an attention to detail in the sound design — a great array of bleeps and boops — that give the Enterprise life. As the characters live out the story, we always feel as if the old girl is right there with them, living, breathing and lumbering along through space.
1. Big, Sexy Space Battles
The one thing that I liked most about Star Trek was the way they handled the big space battles, of which there are many. And it isn’t just because there was a ton of “awe, cool” CG-filled moments with explosions galore. What Abrams and Co. got right was the scale of the battles and the lumbering nature of the crafts involved. It is important to remember that these are gigantic ships — as I mentioned above when talking about the Enterprise. And gigantic spacecrafts don’t zig-zag around the galaxy swiftly, running circles around each other in the heat of battle. These scenes felt massive, like their participant ships, and even moreso, the action overall was more like a chess match than a boxing match, something that may delight die hard fans.
Star Trek is in theaters on May 8, 2009.