Pretty darn good, worth seeing it in the theater, and in 3D if you can pony up.
I’ve read a few reviews on this movie already, and in full disclosure, I’ll attempt to keep my opinions my own and not steal from others, but as we all know, we are social beings that pull ideas consciously, or unconsciously from the world and culture around us.
That being said, I DID like this movie. As a Trek fan (mostly Next Gen era, but I did watch the original when I was a wee whipper snapper), I did like the Trek ideas and nostalgic tech stuff continue from the previous movie. Ideas like “the Prime Directive”, and tech like the old communicator noise from the original Star Trek (the sound is so old school, but it was nice to hear it in the very modern movie).
I heard an interview with J.J. Abrams on NPR talking about how, although he tends to stay away from gimmicks like 3D to sell movies because he values the story more than new technology (ironic?...), he did see how 3D could be used well in an action movie like Star Trek and enjoyed working with some 3D artists to play with some new ideas and techniques that haven’t been tried before. And, although I couldn’t tell which things hadn’t been tried before, I did appreciate the quality of the 3D effects (the spear coming at you in the opening scene was quite fun, I’m pretty sure I got impaled by it).
But 3D aside, we still have to have a good story, characters, and script, etc... and in that regard, it still holds up. The characters from the first Star Trek (reboot) all come back and it’s still fun to see these younger actors play characters we all know from the original series. My favorite has to be Karl Urban playing Bones. You may remember him from Lord of Rings as one of the Riders of Rohan, but my favorite role he has played is in the more recent Dredd movie. In Dredd, Urban never takes off his helmet and plays the role extremely subdued, showing as little emotion as possible. This is in stark contrast to his Bones character, who is irritable and never misses a chance to complain.
Another favorite of mine is Scottie, played by Simon Pegg. If you don’t know Pegg, he and his pals wrote and created the show Spaces, and the movies Sean of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Paul. Simon Pegg is essentially the uber fan, the fan of all that is movies and film, and gets to be IN them. Scottie has always been a caricature in the original, and it makes perfect sense that Pegg, mostly a comedy actor, plays his character non-serious but can get down to business if he needs to.
The story itself is hard to critique because J.J. Abrams built in a big reveal/twist that I can’t get into without spoiling it. However, let me talk about everything up to that point.
The first half of the movie is built around the question whether or not Kirk is ready for the captains chair. The complaint is that although things mostly go right for him when he makes decisions, no one has died yet, so he assumes no rules applies to him. But them a terrorist attacks and he’s really the only one who knows how to respond to it. This, to me, definitely shows initiative, but being able to respond to intense and unforeseen events well doesn’t necessarily make you a good employee. If someone can’t follow orders or rules, or the “Prime Directive”, then they’re not a good employee.
On to the villain. Again, plot twist that I will not spoil. However, in the same interview with J.J. Abrams on NPR, he says the most interesting and scariest villain is one that is sympathetic, and does the wrong thing for the right reasons, or the right thing for the wrong reasons. And he’s absolutely right...but I didn’t get that with who we dealt with in this film, I’ll let you decide when you see it (which you should).
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain (you might know him from the British series “Sherlock” and Sherlock Holmes, you can find it on Netflix), he was perfect as a villain extremely powerful and someone not to be trifled with, but I didn’t get the idea that he was all that sympathetic, he was just evil...which is good in my opinion.
If you’re a fan of the first movie, a fan of Star Trek in general, I think you should go see it in the theater, it’ll be there for a while. 3D optional, but man, it was good.
Take a look at my friend Travis' blog and read what he thought.
Here’s what Movie Bob thought:
And here's what Movie Bob says about J.J. Abrams as a director...and I tend to agree.
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