Star Trek XI: Fanboy Approved

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 8, 2009 in Star Trek |

Star Trek XI

Well after a long wait I made my pilgrimage to see Star Trek open today which was filled with the usual rituals of waiting on line and hanging out with old friends. Given how cynical I’ve become over the years at seeing the franchise abused it was quite rewarding to see what they did with this film. The first thing that I liked about this film is that they stayed true to the original series. Not to Next Generation, not to Deep Space Nine, not to Voyager — but to the original flavor, the real thing.

You see this is important to me because over the years Star Trek has been a bit less bold, with characters turning into long winded talking heads. The essence of Star Trek was that it was a western set in outer space, yet somehow the franchise became less about the action and more of a soap opera over the years. Yes at points here and there they’d get something right, but after a while it was as if they somehow painted themselves into a corner.

Star Trek XI

In fact while I’m not a fan of time travel plot devices (which are central to this film) I think in this case it was a great idea as it gave them a free hand to start with a fresh canvas to piant their tale. And what I liked about that is that by doing that they still pulled off making everything more true to Star Trek than if they had a million continuity experts nitpicking every detail. This also gives the fans a chance to let go and rediscover Star Trek.

While the actual plot of the film was weak I could even forgive that because they were using the story more a background to reintroduce the characters one-by-one which is no small task. Everyone has grown up with these characters and they’re a huge part of pop culture at this point, so I think they made a wide choice to focus on the characters over a specific story (besides you can always do that in the next film).

Star Trek XI

This brings me to the acting — at first my fear was that we’d get a Muppet Babies version of Star Trek, or a 90210 meets Starfleet Academy effect: But because the first half of the film has a parallel focus on Kirk and Spock they successfully avoided that trap by giving them a chip on their shoulders — which in turn serves as a great motivational device. And then by introducing each new character one at a time served the audience well. The actors did a great job of owning the roles of each character and making it their own. And the story did a good job of allowing each crew member to steal at least one scene, which was a nice touch.

Were there things I hated? Of course! But anything I hated was a small enough detail that it didn’t get in the way of enjoying the film itself. And while there were details I wasn’t crazy about (example: the design of the Enterprise) that was over come by just how much they got right. There was a great deal of high quality craftsmanship on this film which included some A+ work in sound design, editing, music, art direction, prop design, etc. In fact one of things like enjoyed the most was that the pacing was just right — there wasn’t a dead spot in the film that you gelt like they were killing time with.

When I was done watching the film I walked with the feeling that I had a good time, and was already looking ahead to the next film or TV series that they come up with. I think my only regret is given how important that Nimoy was in the film I still wish they gave something to Shatner, even if was just him doing a voice over, given how much this film is about Kirk that left me a bit cold. But all in all I’d say that this film is fanboy approved and a worthy reboot for a well loved show.


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