May 21, 2013
Written by Jonathan Schumann
Thursday, 14 May 2009 10:33
For several years, Jonathan Schumann contributed film reviews as part of the “Take Two” father-and-sons movie reviewer team. This week, his father Mark, the “Reel Dad,” steps aside to bring Jonathan back to the column for a guest appearance.
I’ll start with an embarrassing confession. When I was a kid, I was a trekkie.
I had the action figures. I snuck into the TV room late at night to watch re-runs of the original show. I even had my grandmother sew me an officer’s uniform for my costume one Halloween. I patrolled the neighborhood in Dallas that night in full anticipation of a Klingon attack.
Few pop culture narratives have achieved such a cult status. It’s the exploration of unusual worlds, the bold vision of the future, and the constant peril that befalls our heroes that has kept scores of fans rabid for every iteration of the popular series.
It’s no surprise, then, in Hollywood’s era of the reboot, that audiences would be given a slick, youthful reinvention of the classic tale. This, after all, the same town that will show us remakes of Friday the 13th, The Taking of Pelham 123, and Sherlock Holmes in this year alone. There’s even talk of a new Footloose for 2010. Lucky for us, director JJ Abrams, the man who has millions of TV viewers in awe and constant head-scratching with his hit series Lost, manages to pay due homage to the original show while creating one of the most thrilling adventure films I’ve seen in years.
Abrams’ interpretation is an origin story. We first see James Kirk and Spock as two very different children — Kirk as a mischievous rebel and Spock as a brilliant, if tortured young mind. Abrams sidesteps the narrative issues that normally plague exposition-heavy background stories and quickly flashes forward to the two men as students at the Star Fleet Academy and eventually onboard the fabled Starship Enterprise. Along the way we meet the new versions of other members of the original show including Uhura (a knockout Zoe Saldana), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Abrams wisely doesn’t spend too long on the introductions, and the Enterprise is soon locked into heated combat with a rogue Romulan vessel. The action scenes are visually stunning and incredibly well-paced.
Abrams and his actors should be credited for delivering finely etched characterizations while hoping from one elaborate action set piece to the next. As Kirk and Spock, respectively, newcomer Chris Pine and Heroes’ Zachary Quinto ooze matinee idol charisma. The other members of the Enterprise crew do justice to their predecessors, most notably the hilarious Simon Pegg as Scotty.
Much like last summer’s The Dark Knight, Star Trek proves that Hollywood is still capable of raising the bar for summer action epics. And seeing as though Abrams ends this chapter ripe for a more, I fully expect him to somehow top this adventure.
Looking for something to rent? Here is a suggestion inspired by Star Trek:
Minority Report. Though much darker than Star Trek, this science fiction thriller captured the heft and thrill of some of our classic adventure tales. With Steven Spielberg at the helm, this should come as no surprise. Tom Cruise is at his least irritating as an innocent man trying to prove his innocence, while Samantha Morton is stunning (as usual) as the only woman who can help him.
Star Trek: 4-1/2 Popcorn Buckets
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