Sunday, May 19, 2013

Misfits in Space

Three stars

One of the great things about the current reboot of "Star Trek" is you don't have to be a trekie to enjoy it. I went to see this film with my brother Greg and he is new to the wonderful universe of "Star Trek" and he really enjoyed it. Also, I loved seeing it in I-Max. and 3-d. It is really cool but it always highlights something wonderful about "Star Trek" as well. There's a lot of talk, and not everything is sock-them, in your face space mayhem. "Star Trek" is never entirely a thrill ride. It has intelligent talk about space, life and emotions between the original odd couple of pop culture, Spock and Kirk.  Of course, it's always fun to see the Starship Enterprise coming right at ya. 

There's a reason we love "Star Trek" so much. It's basically misfits in space, and that's been the reoccurring theme throughout the entire series. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirt (Chris Pine) are the original odd couple. Kirt saves Spock's life, but breaks a bunch of rules of the federation. Spock rats him out in the report about their mission to Starfleet Academy , because its protocol. Kirt is pissed, but it ends up Spock and Kirt have a lot to teach each other, and that's what we see in this version of the new film in the "Star Trek" franchise "Star Trek: Into Darkness". Spock teaches Kirt to do the right thing, by the rules, while Kirt teaches Spock to sometimes bend the rules to get the job done.

Meanwhile, Spock in this version is still in a relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana). They been fighting recently,  and even Kirt askes her whats that even like? It's like fighting with Sheldon Cooper. J.J. Abrams does a very good job in this film of doing a balancing act. He is balancing the original Star Trek feel, of a lot of talk but also infusing it with some more fight scenes and action. To keep this franchise alive, I think that's exactly what it needs. It can be odd at times to watch this younger cast play the original Star Trek characters, because one of the charms of "Star Trek" throughout the years is that they never went for young and sexy. It was always people you would trust to guide the ship like Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in "The Next Generation".

However, I really am unashamed to admit I really like this new version of "Star Trek". I think the scripts strike the right balance between the old and the new. The franchise wasn't going to live on if it didn't have some updates done. In this one, though, the Enterprise crew is facing a old enemy in Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch, sounding a bit like Snape from the "Harry Potter" films.) He talks slow, and the screenplay at times, can feel a little patched together. One moment the USS Enterprise is working together with Khan, the next minute they are against him. There's a lot of characters who come through the film that we aren't sure are good or bad. However, it all pulls together at the end. That's one of the reasons we love "Star Trek". When the crew is going to be killed, no one leaves. They are a family, and they know that.

There's the other cast too. Simon Pegg provides some comic relief as Scotty and John Cho is good as Sulu. The cast has very good chemistry. I don't think this was as good as the first "Star Trek" but it is a very good summer flick that I think both Trekies and their kids can both get something out of. It feels like both a pop corn thriller and a Star Trek film. The special effects are good, and the Enterprise ship looks great.

Finally, this brings up a interesting point. Later that night, I watched the finale to "The Office" and season finale to "The Big Bang Theory". The secret to things like this (and lets throw in "Harry Potter" too) is that we love the characters. People love to follow misfit people in extraordinary situations. People come for the stories and space, but stay for the characters they love.