Thursday, May 07, 2009

Out of this World

The Times gives a five star review. I'm tempted to concur. Only the slightly rushed ending made me wonder...

It's great to see something iconic be iconic. Nothing can replace what is past, but what is new has no worries about looking over its shoulder - it is itself, and gloriously so. Chris Pine, my main worry - is fantastic as Kirk, and only once does any kind of Shatner reference (right at the end). Cesc Fabregas is a very emotional and conflicted Spock, but then the very early original series episodes have him far more emotional too. Leonard Nimoy looks 159, but brings a nice turning point and a real surprise on his appearance. The rest of the cast is great (Chekov - comedy accent of the year; Simon Pegg - underused but first rate) and the pacing and the adventure and the sheer fun of it all -

Yep. Not a Slumdog, you understand, and maybe a half point under, but I really am tempted to give it the full five.

And I'm going back tonight with Andy Sowerby to see it again.


You know, it was as much fun second time around. There's a nice bit of video on the Telegraph site where JJ Abrams says it should be fun & you want to get straight back in line when you've seen it. Job done. There are moments of real beauty (in the opening sequence, the USS Kelvin silently firing its guns into space) though several of the space shots are breathtaking. Pine's final rendition of the word "Bones" was gloriously (and because it was at the end, forgiveably)Shatner-esque. The joke of Kirk not getting the girl, and being a bit girlish in his fights was splendid. But then it's just the beginning...

At over two hours, it felt about 90 minutes long. We've all sat through films that have seemed the other way around. And yes, I expect, though not today, I'll do it again. Unashamedly I am a Star Trek fan. But when a movie is this good, it just goes to show what the Star Wars prequels were not.

PS For a review in Klingon, click here.


Ricky Carvel said...

Awesome. I was going to go and see it anyway. But now I really WANT to go and see it. There had been a nagging doubt...

Chad Brooks said...

It was good. I talked the wife into seeing it with me, but she fell asleep. I really liked how the were respectful of the franchise, but kept it open enough for newcomers to enjoy it.

Marcus G said...

She fell asleep? During which part? In the cinema I was in I think that would have been pretty impossible most of the time due to volume levels alone...

(Though clearly child-like excitement & too much sugar intake also may have had something to do with it.)

Chad Brooks - welcome to the Song. Good to see another Asbury name on the site.

Ricky Carvel said...

Seen it now.

And it is awesome.

Probably won't knock Kahn off the pedestal of 'Best Trek', but comes a close second.

Nice blend of reboot, homage and all out action-fest. Although the Uhura love-interest storyline seems a bit out of character.

The only niggle is how Scotty can come out of nowhere and suddenly be chief engineer. Surely there already was a chief engineer? Bones becoming doctor was explained, Scotty becoming chief engineer wasn't. But obviously, that's just nit-picking.

Impressive. I'm looking forward to the sequel already.

Marcus G said...

You know, to be frank, I've read some rubbish about the Khan movie. It's terrible. Really.

Just to make sure, as it isn't in my library, I went out & bought it (cheap) on DVD today & watched it. It looks, feels & sounds like a 1980s TV movie. An extended episode with bad outfits, 2-dimensional characters, scarce action and little plot. I know it has a sacred place in Trek-lore, but honestly - it's a cheap movie, and doesn't compare with what JJA has just put on our screens.

Oh, Spock dies. It was a big deal at the time. I remember it well. But was that the reason why this was supposedly such a good film?

I also watched one of the really early (season one) episodes - and you know, it has better writing, better acting, better characters, and only just less action. Sure it looks like the 1960s - but in fashion stakes, that's an improvement on the 1980s!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Marcus. I just saw Star Trek, enjoyed it immensely, and posted my comments. Then I recalled that you had reviewed it, though at the time I didn't read you because I didn't want to be spoiled. So I came back to look just now, and not only did I find that one of my sentences almost matches one of yours, but that I've got one eerily similar to one of Ricky's comments, as well!

Maybe people love ST II so much because it saved the Trek film series, which most regard as having begun inauspiciously (though I, contrary woman that I am, remember liking ST: TMP...).

Marcus G said...

I'm watching Series 1; it's so much better than the original cast films. And frankly than the copy-cat series that followed it.

But this film is the first film that works as a film. Why? Because it's just a film. Not a film of a TV series anymore. Not TV actors being film actors, or TV writers doing a double-episode script and hoping we don't notice. It's a film - and yes, JJ has worked a lot on TV, but he is a film man too, and has assembled a classy cast to deliver a classy product.

It's not saved a film franchise. It's made it. And broken the link from the TV series: what comes next is its own master. Good.

I believe a book is a book, not a movie waiting to happen. A TV show is a TV show. A film is a film. If there are cross-overs then they MUST work primarily within the new genre, not as homage to the one they have left.

And yes, I saw ST again. And enjoyed it again, even though I know the script pretty well now. Watching it alongside the Original Series stuff, it has more similarities than I first thought in characterisation (though Chekov of course isn't in series 1, and everyone bar Kirk & Spock are bit part players) with the exception of Scotty...

Uhura was always quite remarkable, you know, and clearly had a 'thing' for Spock. Scotty doesn't seem to be a comedy character.

I am amused Camillofan by your dislike of finger-tip hanging from cliff faces. Yep, that happens a lot! And in Series 1 the big speed is -

Ahead Warp factor 1.

1? Can't these ships go above 30mph?

Anonymous said...

-- Was McCoy a minor character in the first season (as we would call "Series 1" here)? It has been a while since I've seen any early Trek. (Incidentally, Bones may be my favorite TOS crew member, and I thought the new guy was great in the role. Hmmm... come to think of it, I liked the doctor best on DS9 and Voyager, too. A pattern?)

-- Fingertip-hanging is all well and good in its place, but too much fingertip-hanging is like too many repetitions of the word "Tiberius" in a short span of time: distracting. :-)

-- I thought the new ST was terrific, and I suspect I'll pay to see it again, but I'm not 100% sure I agree that it's a film that works as a "pure" film apart from the franchise (and, alas, neither of us can test his hypothesis on that score, as we both knew the franchise going in). I mean, most of the major payoffs come from comparing and contrasting things to canon, and there were plot points you could never feel deep suspense over (viz., any that put core cast members in peril) because you always knew who had to live (alternate universe or not).

And IMO, it is only love of the franchise (which, luckily, I have in abundance) that enables one to accept that Starfleet would have handed over the Enterprise, just like that, to Kirk and the kiddies, even after all their heroics.

-- Question: what did you think of the music?

Marcus G said...

1. As I watch (and I think I'm at episode 24 with 8 to go...) Bones is becoming established, in a way that makes you go "Why is the doctor always on the bridge?" But it wasn't so early on.

2. We just had warp factor 8! (But it almost broke the ship - the engines couldn't take anymore, and it resulted in them having to do a sling-shot around the sun in order to reverse a time warp: sounds like a plot they should save & use in a movie...)

3. My point was not that the film works seperately to the franchise (I said it "made" the franchise - it rather completed it!) but that it works seperately to any of the TV versions of said franchise. It's not a TV show writ large. Yes, we know teh characters from somewhere else, but this is a different envisioning of them, and a different realising too. I don't think ONLY love of the franchise allows for the hiccups in the plot - it's a movie; a sci-fi movie at that; a sci-fi blockbuster at that! We expect heroes to be heroes and to save the day. Saving the world on day one means they have to save the universe on day two, doesn't it?