19 May 2009

Star Trek

I've never seen a single episode of Star Trek. None of 'em. I've seen bits and pieces of some of the movies, but I honestly don't remember much of them. So I arguably have no idea what I'm talking about. But I enjoyed the hell out of the new Star Trek movie. 

Or, well, most of it. It took me awhile to warm up to it. About 45 minutes, I'd say. The beginning was slow and cheesy and kind of boring. It was a lot of background anecdotal, rather cliche type stuff about characters I'd heard of, sure, but didn't particularly care about. But as I got drawn into the plot, all that background started to come together, and suddenly I found myself in the midst of a group of characters I'd gotten to know and care about. It was actually kind of brilliant, because not only did I want to see what happened next in the movie - I totally want to start watching the series. 

So the time traveling plot is tenuous, of course, and doesn't entirely check out (really, what time traveling plot does), but whatever, it's entertaining and suspenseful and has lots of 'splosions. The dialogue and relationships between characters are a little cheesy, but it's exactly the kind of cheesiness that I like in an adventure movie. I do action-corny. I don't do romance corny. On a side note, I wonder if people generally are willing to put up with or even enjoy either one or the other but not both. Anyhow. Some of the corniness comes from the nostalgia factor. This is actually kind of interesting, because it has the potential to work both ways - for people who know and love the series, they get to hear the lines they know and love and have an "Awwww" moment. For people like me who have never seen it, but have inevitably heard those lines a billion times, they suddenly have a context and character for these random quotes in their head. Neato!

I feel like prequels are generally stupid origin stories, or character filler - how this person got to be so dark and mysterious (ie, the site of original trauma, a la Batman Begins or Casino Royale - BAAAARF). And this one certainly has its share of that (the first 45 minutes), but a. it then moves right into regular old action plot, and b. manages to use some of that earlier material as background for the action plot, making it seem less useless. 

Also, to people who complain that Captain Kirk isn't badass enough because he's getting beat up all the time - yes. Yes precisely. I like that in an action hero. It's funny. It adds some suspense. It makes him more sympathetic. And badass. 

The overall tone was fantastically well balanced between silly and cute and tough. Homeboy who played Harold in the Harold and Kumar movies was great, as was the guy with curly blond hair and an outrageous Russian accent - geek as hero. Fabulous. It may not live up to the original series, but it seems to me that it's at very least an appropriate homage, and will probably do a lot to reinvigorate interest in the old series. It certainly did for me. I wonder if it'll hold up to scrutiny.

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