We don't go to see movies in the theater much anymore. There's a huge list of reasons, from the $8 matinee tickets, to the $20 popcorn bucket. Plus, with the Blu-ray player and the 55" HDTV, the six-month wait for the video is easy to justify. But sometimes, you've just got to see an event movie at the cinema, right?
I've been excited to see Star Trek, the re-boot of the venerable science fiction franchise, since I heard they were making it. They'd been talking about doing a Starfleet Academy movie forever, and this one comes pretty close to that idea. Instead, they elected to give us some backstory on the original series characters, along with a time-warp idea that links the existing Star Trek universe with a new one.
First off, let me say that the movie was a heck of a lot of fun. The Other Half even enjoyed it, and he isn't a fan of any version of Trek (except for The Next Generation). The casting was impressive, with Chris Pine completely believable as a young Capt. James T. Kirk. One can only assume that some space disease will cause Kirk to develop his. . .halting. . .speech patterns. . .at a. . .later date. Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes) was just about perfect as the young Mr. Spock, though it takes a while to forget that it is Sylar!
Simon Pegg as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott is a case of good actor, not his role. He's fine (and I'm a fan), but he absolutely does not bring to mind James Doohan. The actors playing Lt. Uhura, Mr. Sulu (John Cho of Harold and Kumar) and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy do a good job too, though are not perfect matches like Kirk and Spock.
The story is spectacular, and the movie never bores you or takes you out of your suspension of disbelief. Even the creation of a new Star Trek universe doesn't bug, at least while you're watching the film. But afterward, if you're a Trek fan like me, it will start to bother you a bit.
Star Trek has always had a (mostly) consistent mythology. Each series and film (and comic book, and novel) is interconnected, part of a larger grand epic. A story event from Deep Space Nine might resonate later in Voyager. Legions of fanboys have made near careers out of keeping the timelines straight. And now, all of the different versions are effectively wiped out, as if they never happened. Except, ironically, the least fan-favorite of all, Star Trek: Enterprise, which took place before the events of the new movie.
I'm not sure how I feel about it, though I should by now be used to it. After all, DC Comics (and presumably Marvel) has ret-conned its entire history many times. The Terminator movies and TV Show have cancelled each other out a couple of times. And movie franchises like Friday the 13th and James Bond have never kept anything resembling a coherant continuity. Somehow, I've still found a way to enjoy them. And it doesn't hurt that the new Star Trek is a fantastic, popcorn munching good time.
My review: Highly Recommended