Massawyrm feels the need to invent new levels of hyperbole when gushing over STAR TREK in a spoiler free manner!
Published at: April 7, 2009, 6:22 a.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Ho. Ly. Shit. No one was ready for what just happened to us. No one. While some may have guessed and many of us sure had hoped, Paramount’s bait and switch of STAR TREK for WRATH OF KHAN was a stunner. I mean, that was a bold fucking move. You don’t replace WRATH OF KHAN. You just don’t. Not unless the movie you’re replacing it with is pretty god damned strong. And guess what? It is. Holy Christ Crispies in a bucket of milk, was this movie fucking awesome. What’s that thing called…you know, the stuff that’s like awesome sauce only better? Oh yeah, Win. That’s it. Win. STAR TREK is made of that. From beginning to end.
I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t entirely enthused about the reboot. Not that I had a real problem with it, but the Paramount of the past has had a piss-poor history with the franchise. And while I like Abrams a lot, the idea of a “younger, hipper” cast was something of a turn off. The first-adventures-of is usually the kiss of death for a franchise – not a way to truly resurrect it. But here it is, back from the grave of some terrible movies preceded by a couple lifeless and mediocre ones. And the way they bring it back is a stroke of genius.
If you haven’t been spoiled yet, then congrats. I won’t break your streak. All I will say is that the film manages to reboot everything while entirely remaining within the continuity of the original series – and by doing so, actually allows them to move freely within the confines of their new “universe.” The explanation makes more sense than it ever feels like a cop-out, and it caused a number of us old school fans to re-examine the original series through this new perspective. A truly clever concept that, unlike many have postulated, doesn’t actually reference CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER at all.
Now before I go any further, I need to make a public, formal apology to Karl Urban. More than any other aspect of this movie, I trash talked him getting the role of Leonard “Bones” McCoy. A lot. And I’ve been pretty harsh to him in the past. After PATHFINDER and DOOM, I’m pretty sure I threw around the phrase “This Generation’s Marc Singer” more than a few times. And I was wrong. Very wrong. Abrams saw potential in him and got a performance that was so close to the original series that at times he almost out-DeForest-Kelley’s DeForest Kelley. He’s brilliant - absolutely wonderful as the gruff country doctor turned interstellar surgeon.
And he’s not alone. There are so many pitch perfect performances in this that embody the soul of the characters and TREK itself that it is astounding. Quinto IS Spock. He just is. Simon Pegg manages to capture all the fun of Scotty and distills it in his own, hilarious way. And Chris Pine just captures all the swagger, ego and machismo of James T. Kirk. Not the older, aging, soulful Kirk. The 1960’s tight shirt Kirk who never hesitated and was always a step ahead of everyone else. He never apes Shatner. He just personifies everything that was great about that hard living, hard loving, tough as nails captain.
And above all, that’s what sells this film. The painstaking love the film has for the series and its characters. While it can be viewed and enjoyed by the uninitiated in the ways of classic trek, the film borrows famous lines of dialog, hints about encounters and vintage jokes from all over the place to fully place this in the STAR TREK universe. Fans will detect very definite notes of WRATH OF KHAN and YOYAGE HOME, without it ever deliberately ripping off either. Already I’m noticing a lot of folks referencing KHAN as the inspiration as there is a revenge plot layered within it. Yet this never attempts to be truly like KHAN. It wants to be something else. KHAN was about the final days of the starship enterprise (despite its subsequent 4 adventures) – it was about coming to grips with death. This is about coming to grips with life – about seizing your destiny and living up to your potential. It is very much about the crew we all know and love learning to believe in themselves for the first time with the confidence that would get them through another 80-some odd adventures.
The film is tight, explosive and fun, a stark contrast to the previous series. Put together with modern sensibilities, the film doesn’t leave a lot of breathing room for characters to stand around laying out exposition. The pace is fast and frenetic, with the crew always playing catch up to what is going on around them. The action is far crazier than you’ve ever seen in a TREK film or episode, replete with car chases, sky diving, truly evasive maneuvers, starship battles that are a hell of a lot more than two ships staring one another down and pressing buttons, rough and tumble fistfights and shoot outs – all the while maintaining that classic TREK feel, even when doing something you’ve never seen in TREK. Everything just feels right. Organic. Authentic. That’s the word. Authentic. This never feels like a copy. It’s the real deal.
And there’s a good chance it is going to blow your fucking doors off. I cannot express how happy I am with this film. Every moment worked for me – it felt like there wasn’t so much as a hair out of place. I LOVED it. My non Trek-loving wife LOVED it. And the energy in the room was incredible. When I walked out, I was saying it was as good as WRATH OF KHAN. Now that I’ve had some time to settle and reflect, I’m not going to quite make that claim. It’s not as great as KHAN. But it is a short hairs breath away from being that good. It is certainly better than any other TREK movie to date that doesn’t have the word WRATH in the title. Solid, fun and a pure joy to watch, this is the summer blockbuster to beat. A few more films like this and we’ll have a summer like last year.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.