Sunday, December 6, 2009
Firstly, my Trek credentials.
Essentially, I have none.
Sure, like any sci-fi geek in the ‘80’s, I thought The Wrath of Khan kicked a$$, but I never even watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and, in the wake of Khan, I found The Search for Spock disappointing.*
That was the last Trek movie I watched.
Till J.J. Abrams crewed up a new Enterprise with a terrific ensemble and delivered the best popcorn SF movie of the past summer, giving us a film light years ahead of those other 2009 Hollywood SF titles, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Terminator Salvation.
It’s a head-scratching wonder, actually, that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are not only responsible for the script for Star Trek, but they can also be partially to blame for Revenge of the Fallen (along with Ehren Kruger).
And yes, I’m aware that the script for the Transformers sequel was simply one of the casualties of the writers’ strike, but really… that was an unholy mess…
Orci and Kurtzman’s work on Star Trek, however, not only gives us the emotional beats necessary for the audience to empathize with its characters, it also produces a narrative that is actually a satisfying adventure all its own, allowing it to rise above its prime intention: to act as prologue (and potential franchise re-starter), setting up characters and relationships and putting all the pieces into their proper places in the context of the Star Trek mythos.
In other words, getting that familiar crew gathered on board the Enterprise.
This is, after all, a reboot, and that term, used in conjunction with a property laden with stalwart devotees (as Star Trek is), can be potential dynamite.
But Orci and Kurtzman manage to weave a story that keeps faith with the original Trek canon, and still allows this new incarnation the freedom to, rather literally, enjoy the possibilities of going where Shatner and Nimoy never did before.
And their script is helped tremendously by a cast that knows how to make the most of limited screen time (limited screen time being the bane of ensembles, particularly for those who aren’t the more prominent faces of the cast).
Everyone, from Just My Luck’s Chris Pine and Heroes’ Zachary Quinto, on through to Terminator Salvation’s Anton Yelchin and Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg (who’s last to the Enterprise party), are up to the task of embodying this new crew, informing these decades’ old characters with 21st century life.
These characters are fun, and certainly they’re people I wouldn’t mind crewing up with again for future adventures.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a devoted Trek fan, or completely ignorant of the mythos.
I don’t think either will stand in the way of the good SF time that is Abrams’ Star Trek.
* I also never got into any of Trek’s television incarnations.
Parting shot: Given my status as longtime Felicity fan, I love the fact that Amanda Foreman is here, however briefly, and that Greg Grunberg is at least heard, if not seen.
I would have loved to have seen the Scotts (Speedman and Foley) and of course, Keri Russell here. Or maybe some Amy Smart.
Alas, not to be.
But there’s always the sequel…
(It does my heart good to know though, that even in the bright Federation future, Slusho is still an on-going concern. Hurrah!)
(Star Trek OS’s courtesy of scifi.com; images courtesy of aintitcool.com, ew.com, hollywoodreporter.com, & latimes.com.)