Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek (2009)

Title: Star Trek
Author: director J.J. Abrams
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ****
Official Rating PG-13
Age Group: 16+ (with the fast-forward button included)

Something happened a long time in the future. It appears a black hole was created. This black hole is to blame for the death of George Kirk, the father of James Kirk. Kirk (the one still alive) hasn't taken too well to the loss of a father figure. In fact, he never had one, and now he's running around with his head cut off with no direction. Until he joins star fleet. Then he gets to continue running around with his head cut off, but now he claims to have a direction.
Turns out he actually does. Romulans have come through the black hole to take revenge on Spock and Kirk is caught right in the middle of things (a result of running around with one's head cut off). What follows is a huge mess that Spock and Kirk get into. Somehow, the mess cumulates into one big problem: Nero is going to destroy pretty much everything he can (this includes planets).
Will Kirk and Spock be able to stop Nero before it's too late?

Word of Warning:
  • A woman falls into space and dies.
  • People die in explosions, shootings, space, and as a result of things falling on them.
  • Mrs. Kirk is in labor.
  • George Kirk sacrifices his life for his crew, wife, and child. The sacrifice isn't bad, but trying to watch it can be tough. The music, his facial expressions and tone of voice...everything adds up to being heartbreaking--and really well done.
  • A young boy steals his stepfather's car, speeds, and drives it over the edge of a cliff. He doesn't fall.
  • A boy is bullied and reacts by punching those who are bullying him.
  • People drink, and get drunk, but only in one scene.
  • Kirk is a ladies man of the highest degree. He flirts with a woman at a bar, uttering several inappropriate suggestions to her but nothing graphic, just suggestive. When he gets in a fight with some men, he is shoved backward against her and lands with his hands on her chest. He smirks, she glares at him and violently pushes him away.
  • Kirk does get what he deserves for his flirting. He is beaten up by four men who bloody his face and leave him gasping on a table and barely conscious.
  • He doesn't learn his lesson. We get a scene with Kirk and a green alien girl in her dorm room. Both are wearing underwear but both are on her bed. We get the hint that Kirk is not the only man she has done this with. The scene is cut short by her roommate arriving. Kirk dives under the bed and watches her roommate strip down to underwear before being discovered and kicked out into the hall barely dressed. He's not the least bit disturbed by all this. Hint: this is the scene to fast forward. To do this, it might be helpful to know the scene comes right after Kirk tells McCoy he's going to study, and ends right before the scene where Kirk is standing in front of a big assembly.
  • A woman suggests that farm boys "only have sex with animals." Kirk counters, "Well, not only."
  • Kirk cheats on a test and is more or less grounded until further notice. He justifies cheating because the test itself is a cheat and is not possible to pass anyway (missing the actual point of the test). We never get the impression that he regrets cheating.
  • People threaten to throw up twice.
  • Dr. McCoy injects Kirk with a vaccination in order to bring Kirk on a mission he is not supposed to be on. The injection is done on the side of the neck, and Kirk receives several more of these before he returns to a regular state of mind.
  • Kirk suffers from symptoms that make him look like he has a bad case of the flu. He then has an allergic reaction to something and his hands swell, later followed by his tongue. All is fixed by Dr. McCoy.
  • Kirk is disrespectful to command.
  • A man is tortured. One thing we do see is a slug being dropped into his mouth. It will latch onto his brainstem and force him to tell the truth. He does survive and makes it to the end of the movie.
  • Nero is out for revenge, no matter what it costs him.
  • An entire planet is destroyed. Spock's mother dies before his eyes.
  • A man is killed by a sort of beam that he falls into.
  • There is fighting that includes punching, guns, and choking.
  • Kirk purposefully gets Spock mad at him, resulting in Kirk getting beaten up (again) and choked until we're pretty sure he's not going to make it.
  • Kirk is cocky but not self-centered (at least, not entirely).
  • Spock and a woman share a few kisses, but none are problematic. In a sly move by the writers, Spock gets the girl in the end of the movie and Kirk (the ladies man) does not.
  • Other more minor problems.
My Thoughts:
It was a good movie. I thought. And then I tried to write the summary for this post, and I realized Stacy was right when she said not much had happened. What did happen? A few things blew up, Kirk got beat up a few times, and not much else.
So why was it so good? I admit that I am not usually a sci-fi fan, nor am I a Star Trek fan (Star Wars for me, always). So what was it about this movie that was so good?

Was it the acting? The drama and excitement? The music? It certainly was not the annoying lack of sound in space (scientifically correct, yes, but incredibly distracting and not even consistent). I honestly have no idea what it was. I just know I really enjoyed watching it the first time. The second time it felt too long and I started to see there was nearly nothing to it. The third time? Well, I have yet to actually watch it a third time.
Still, aside from the scene with the green alien girl (which can easily be avoided), it was a relatively acceptable movie for the right ages.
What happened? Why did I like it? I'm not sure an answer exists for those two questions. All I know is, I fully intend to watch more Star Trek--and
will remain a loyal Star Wars fan.


Lurai said...

Very glad that you enjoyed the movie, at least a little bit. :)

I'm a quasi-veteran Star Trek fan, so of course I have to comment. I've been waiting for this post, after all! :D

First off, very good review. There were a lot of bad parts in the movie and it's is definitely meant for an audience that can handle it. Speaking of the audience, I know the director J.J. Abrams tried to make this movie to appeal not only to old fans but also to people who have never seen Star Trek before. And it is in an alternate universe, so a LOT of things differ from the original series and movies.

Commenting on your observation of the inconsistent silent space scenes, I know Abrams was interested in those as well and while he knew he couldn't have space be silent all the time, he wanted to incorporate it into the movie at some points. So that's why it's inconsistent.

And yes, Kirk does run around with his head cut off. And it's pretty funny. :)

And finally, any Star Wars fans will be interested to know Abrams always puts R2D2 in each and every movie he makes. So the little guy's hidden in both of his Star Trek movies as well. Somewhere.

And that's enough from me. Just had to comment. :)

grandma jane said...

Understanding this movie's intent was to reboot the franchise and make new fans of a younger generation, I loved seeing the characters go back to their roots to show us how they grew into the core alliance that we Trekkies have enjoyed.

But, while Star Wars in general is about the ultimate battle of good and evil, Star Trek focuses on human adventures, going 'where no man has gone before' in a way that parallels contemporary life.
Star Trek is definitely sci-fi (predictive and descriptive) while many would consider Star Wars fantasy, or I suppose you'd say science fantasy.

What might help put this movie into a bit of a timeline perspective is to compare with Star Wars Phantom Menace, where we go back in time to meet Anakin Skywalker etc. Here we go back to meet young Kirk and his companions.

As an older Trekker, I considered this movie a really good romp though the galaxy.

Stacy C said...

Perhaps it's because I'm not a die-hard sci-fi fan (and I know I'll be torn to shreds for saying this), but other than the fact that I found the time-space-continuum plot interesting, I didn't completely like this movie. I can see the appeal that it might have for other people, but I guess I'm just not a Trekkie (sorry Lurai and Grandma Jane.)
I'm not a Star Wars fan either (sorry Maria). I guess I'm irredeemable. :D

Maria Gianna said...

Hello all,
I confess that I actually did like the movie, quite a bit (but with no knowledge of why).

I have not seen much Star Trek before (4 episodes, at most), and I think J. J. Abrams did a good job of pulling in new viewers.

Ahhh, but Kirk is just, you know, a great character. Not good, not bad, just interesting. So when he runs around with his head cut off, I found it entertaining.

Concerning the silent space scenes, I guess that makes sense. Personally, I would have been able to handle it better if he had been consistent (either with sound, or without). It would have made more sense to me and probably would not have caught my attention as much.

R2D2? Now I'm off to find out where he was :)

Grandma Jane,
I agree that the approach to the story is very different between Star Wars and Star Trek. Personally, I prefer the story Star Wars tells, but I really did enjoy Star Trek as well.
Interesting, about the timeline. That does help me to understand it better.

Stacy C,
I suspect that, deep down, you simply need to be shown which story is better. ;)
Or, you can simply go on as preferring neither. Which is fine too :)

Lurai said...

Grandma Jane,
I had no idea you were a are AWESOME.
And your comparison with Star Trek and Star Wars was really great! I've never thought of it that way before. :)

Stacy C,
I do not blame you at all for not loving the movie. I have a love-hate relationship with it myself. So much of it is just...not how it should be. :( Maybe if you saw some old-school Star Trek, you'd like it better. Just a thought, and after all you can like it or not, that's your thing :D

Oh yes, Kirk with his head off is rather entertaining. And yeah, I liked the few silent space scenes because I never thought of it that way before, but it isn't very consistent. Glad you liked the R2D2 thing. :) That's about my extent of knowledge concerning Star Wars (sorry!). :D