Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek Review (No Spoilers): A Worthy Addition With More Character Backdrop



A well-crafted and worthy addition (I just saw it yesterday as well…my wife and I were able to sneak off for a 10:15 AM matinee, since my parents are in town for Mother’s Day, and they watched the kids).

It was definitely less cerebral and philosophical than Treks past, and I must admit that I prefer the less frenetic old-style starship combat (one review put it best…in the old Trek like Wrath of Khan, battles had the flavor of submarine combat (if you don’t believe me, compare Wrath of Khan to the Hunt for Red October), in this Trek, starship battles were more like fighter plane dogfights.

Nonetheless, I felt the real strength of the reboot, which I didn’t appreciate until after leaving the theater and upon further reflection, was the way in which it provided much more human dimension to the characters’ background and motivation.

Kirk has more reason for being a cocky rebel, having lost his father. Spock is a less controlled and far more tragic figure, with a real sense of menace (perhaps helped by the casting of Zachary Quinto, who makes a hell of a scary villain in Heroes).

This also holds true of the supporting players: Uhura is an ambitious academic star, assertive and confident. Sulu is the new guy, still trying to prove himself (for which John Cho’s nervous and exasperated style is perfect). Even Chekhov finally gets some background (boy genius) and purpose, rather than just asking, “Shields, Keptin?” and screaming when the inevitable injury occurs.

Only Bones and Scotty are left largely untouched…but in many ways the characters were so perfect to begin with that we forgive this oversight.

As a result, the creators have given themselves a much wider range of character dynamics to explore, which was not possible given the weight of the previous canon. I eagerly await their next move.

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