Star Trek Movie Reaches Batman Begins/Dark Knight-level Transcendence

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Yes that is a big statement. And yes, I stand by it.

I am not a Trekkie. (Or a Trekker. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe.)

I never watched the original series, though as a self-respecting nerd (wait, what?), I vaguely knew the characters and the archetypes. I've seen a little TNG, but not much and so this movie only piqued a vague interest.

That is, until opening weekend, when it opened with an insane 96% on Rotten Tomatoes--infact, I saw it at 94% for a while before it climbed *up* to 96%, with 228 reviews counted.

Then I became rabid. I had to see this movie. So, Sunday night, instead of going to see ASSSSCAT, we went to see Star Trek.

I just found out Amy Poehler was at ASSSSCAT (oh Twitter. -_-), but I can honestly say I'm totally okay that I missed Poehler and am so glad I didn't have to wait a couple more days to see Star Trek.

This Movie Is That Good.

As Twitter has wreaked havoc on my ability to blog and I had a million thoughts running through my head during the movie, I will now attempt to pin down some of them, in faux-tweet form... (spoilers abound after the jump)

(Disclaimer: I never post posts here that are this detailed. This depth of detail usually goes elsewhere, but I figured I'd put it out and see what happens. You have been warned.)

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  • I can't count the number of times I got chills watching the opening sequence with the first Romulan attack, Kirk's mother giving birth and his father's sacrifice. The focus wasn't on the captain's sacrifice or the attack, it was about Kirk's father being separated and leaving his family. For all that Star Trek's crew interacts with aliens, and for all that Sci-Fi creates fiction, what they really do best is bring into focus the actual human experience. That's how I knew this movie was going to be epic.
  • When the camera followed the one random crew member as she was sucked into space, and there was no sound, it was INTENSE. (In space, no one can hear you scream...)
  • According to the wiki, Star Trek had a budget of $140 million. I reiterate: Wolverine's budget was $150 million. WHERE did all of Wolverine's money go?! Because throughout the entire movie, Star Trek's SFX were Gorgeous. Exciting. Fantastic. Detailed. Sharp. Grand. Beautiful. Striking. Complicated.... Everything Wolverine's SFX were not.
  • I am entirely happy that I am not a Vulcan. Those torture pits classrooms were like a nightmare come true.
  • For a Vulcan, there was an insane amount of emotion coming out of Spock/Quinto. It was undeniably subtle (raised eyebrows, significant stares) and perhaps even too much for series purists, but I loved the way they developed his half-human side. With Quinto making so much out of so little, it lead me to compare him to Heath Ledger's sublime performance as the Joker. Even though Joker was played with complete exaggeration and Spock was so minimalistic, I still got the same feeling watching Spock as I did Joker. Quinto isn't quite as good as Ledger was (yet), but he was pretty damn good.
  • I'd also like to mention, I was not a fan of Quinto's prior to the show. I saw some significant promise in his acting during the Elle arc, but due to the current meltdown of the Heroes writing staff in regards to Sylar, I lost interest in Quinto.
  • I still dislike the Kirk-in-the-convertible moment as much now as I did when I first saw it in the trailer. Yes, it establishes Kirk's daredevil-no-fear-no-holds-barred personality, but it just felt and looked so out of place.
  • I didn't have an opinion about Chris Pine as an actor, and generally have negative opinions about "hotshot" characters, but I ended up liking Kirk as he grew into his role. His smile makes me smile. Shocking, really.
  • Karl Urban as Bones stole almost every scene he was in. There's just so much neuroses and intelligence packed into every moment he was on screen, it was fantastic.
  • TYLER PERRY as the Admiral? -_- Seriously?! I can't take Madea seriously as the Admiral!
  • While my first glimpse of the Enterprise didn't do for me what it did for Ruth (so excited she texted me about it), I will say it was well orchestrated.
  • J.J. needs to take it down a notch on the lens flares, though I might not have noticed it had it not been talked about so much...but because I was looking for them, yeah. There were a lot.
  • Despite the excess flares, I still loved the clean, bright, white look of the bridge. The bridges of all the other Star Trek ships were grey with industrial-strength carpeting, and I always hated that. In BSG, the bridge looked like one wrong move would send you through an open grate or impale you on a jagged piece of metal. As J.J. says in the previous link, it *is* refreshing to see that yes, the future CAN be bright and shiny.
  • When Sulu forgot to release the parking break, it was ostensibly to introduce him as a total n00b, but that two minute lapse became the entire reason why they survived in the first place, and then established Sulu's piloting ability as he steered them through a crazy debris field. Much of the movie was creatively dense like this, fine-tuned with no wasted time or space, and brisk pacing that never felt rushed.
  • Also, hilarious points for the captain making a "parking break" crack at Sulu, and yet having it ACTUALLY be a parking break issue in nerd-speak. GREAT.
  • Uhura's time to shine was pretty good. While not as flashy as everyone else's moments, it still managed to be critical and strong. Anyway, she got more screen time than the rest of the supporting cast as it is, and her relationship with Spock, did give her character a surprising amount of dimension when you contrast her rejection of Kirk to her love for Spock.
  • Oh Olsen. You drew the red shirt card. You poor, poor fool.
  • Ridiculous skydive is RIDICULOUS!
  • I will admit, the martial-arts nerd in me went absolutely insane when I saw Sulu's retractable sword. Want plz. John Cho was pretty freakin' awesome in this scene.

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    Shiny!

  • I thought Chekov's accent was a little too contrived/comic-relief-oriented in the middle of such fantastic renditions of the other characters, but his time to shine was quite adorable. It was a great setup to have the original person manning the pad unable to get a lock and Chekov suddenly realizing he could do it. Great tension and showed off how good he is. Maybe math is useful. >.> To someone else.
  • Nero was unrecognizable as Eric Bana. Which is a good thing? Either way, not enough screen time, though rationally they gave enough backstory. His character was the one I felt least intrigued by, despite his psychosis and vendetta.
  • When Kirk is walking around Hoth the ice-planet and the first monster is running at him from far off, I love the use of the quick-zoom into the monster's face. Totally made me jump.

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  • Leonard Nimoy as Spock. I never watched the Original Series, and even I felt how momentous that moment was.
  • Spock-Prime wielding one small torch and fending off The Huge Monster was one of those, "Really?" moments, though I'm sure you could explain it with: the monster had no eyes and uses thermal/infrared sense to find prey on a planet that's entirely ice-covered and white and therefore a torch would be blindingly painful--wait, why am I getting into this? Moving on.
  • Simon Pegg! I love Simon Pegg! Unfortunately, he gets one or two featured scenes, and the rest of the movie has him shouting out Scotty's catchphrases at the end. Fan-pleasing, but Pegg is capable of so much more!
  • One of the best parts about this movie and the characters is that you could really see and understand how and why the individuals organically become a strong unit throughout the movie. Obviously there were still conveniences (Sulu's predecessor got sick. Oops. Scotty just happened to be on the ice world. Neat.), but I'm choosing to overlook it in favor of how well the cast worked together. When the crew managed to maneuver themselves in place to attack Nero's ship via amazing skill and cooperation, it just felt like there was a click, and everything was as it should be.
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  • Red Matter. Mueller Device. If I ever see a floating red ball ANYWHERE in the world, I will run screaming for the hills. THANKS J. J. Abrams for single-handedly pioneering new paranoias and phobias. (At right, Giant Mueller Device hovering over a city and smaller Mueller prototype, from Alias.)
  • When the Romulan drill began descending on Earth, I freaked out because it was going after THE BAY AREA. Noooo!!!
  • Also note, Star Fleet Academy is located in San Francisco... apparently on Alcatraz or Treasure Island, according to the angle we saw it at. Judging by how close the shot was to Fort Point and the Golden Gate, I'm saying Alcatraz. So I just looked it up on the Wiki, and apparently it's located on the Presidio. Makes sense too, but I thought it pushed out too far into the water to be on the shore. (I guess I'll just have to see the movie again.) Either way, Nor Cal, represent! ;D
  • Seeing Kirk seeing Spock/Uhura together was one of those warm and fuzzy moments. (Ha, is that sick?) While this thread wasn't fully developed/explained at all, I still felt it was reasonable perhaps *because* it wasn't explained. Or maybe I just liked seeing Kirk being beat by Spock.
  • Honestly, the final battles were good, and they were fantastic eyecandy as everyone got their time to shine again and show the full crew they would be. It was basically dessert, giving everyone what they wanted to see. Not particularly thought-provoking or dense, but it was perfectly action packed and tied everything up quite nicely.
  • I did scream "Black hole means Run Away!" in my head four times though.
  • But in the end, when Spock Prime repeats the Star Trek Schpiel, I felt like it was the perfect ending. SEQUEL!

THIS is how you do Alternate Universe. Many things are changed, but the story doesn't just retcon events willy-nilly (*cough*Heroes*cough*). The explanation is "logical" and the alternate timeline's content is still strongly tied to canon. Hopefully Terminator Salvation can capture a FRACTION of Star Trek's alternate-universe-story success.

Whew. Now it's time to go watch the movie again...

-Manda

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5 Comments

Hahaha, great review :)

Seeing Kirk seeing Spock/Uhura together was one of those warm and fuzzy moments.

I was laughing my ass off the whole time at the sheer awkwardness of it all! You can tell Kirk/Scotty were in shock and were unsure of what to do/say. It didn't help that the making out lasted probably a second too long. HAHA.

I LOVE AWKWARDNESS.

AWESOME review of a tremendously entertaining and deeply satisfying movie. I was primed to be profoundly let down, as ST was part and parcel of my growing up years.

Shouldn't you be writing movie reviews for some outfit like The Daily Beast or something? ;p

It *was* awesomely awkward!! And you're totally right about it lasting a seeecond too long. Spock's reaction to Kirk's questions were hilarious as well. XD

Oh man, Lloyd, if you've got Tina Brown's number, I would reeally appreciate the help ;D

Zachary Quinto FTW!

Watching this movie makes me wish I knew a little more backstory about Star Trek... but not enough that I actually go research all of it, cause I'm sure there's a lot. :P

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