THIS IS A “RATED FOR REDUX” REVIEW; PART 4

Over the next couple of months, in addition to my regular reviews, I will be looking at movies that are going to be or already have been remade in the next/last few years. I’ll give you my opinion of the film as a whole, and then let you know whether or not it should/needed to be remade as well as my reasoning. If I have any information about the redux film I will also take that into account when determining a film’s “Reduxability”. If you have any suggestions or tips I would love to hear them.

Rated For Redux: Part 3 can be found here

Although both Star Wars and Star Trek have staged impressive battles onscreen, the off-screen battle between these two behemoth franchises (by both fans and production companies) for the crown of the sci-fi realm is no doubt greater . I consider myself slightly more of a fan of Star Trek than what has become of the Star Wars franchise , and when I heard about a reboot for the franchise I was more than excited. While they had tried to do some interesting things to keep Star Trek relevant in the last few years, the result had only been to further alienate people who weren’t already fans. I don’t think it helps that Star Trek (in general) gets unfairly pinned as basically the opposite of cool. In fact, I’ve heard many people claiming to not want to watch this movie simply because they can’t afford to be seen watching a “nerd” movie. What they are probably unaware of is that their own beloved TV shows (Heroes, Lost, Vampire Diaries) and favorite movie franchises (Harry Potter, Twilight, Batman) will be just as uncool and “nerdy” as Star Trek in 40 years or so. In fact, they will be lucky if these TV shows and movies have even a fraction of the legacy that Star Trek has bestowed upon all forms of entertainment; don’t forget Star Trek’s importance as one of the first prime time shows to have an interracial cast working together, not to mention the golden age of high production values it helped create for home viewers.

Taking all of this into account, it is fitting that the franchise gets a reboot instead of dying altogether. The goal was to avoid the 40+ year-old, over-bloated, Titanic-like mentality of the past films that were based on a list of things you can and cannot do. However, at the same time, the new film had to be respectful of the past and thus could not start from scratch. The job fell on director/producer J.J. Abrams, who has also made a name for himself injecting new spirit into old, dying things; including but not limited to the almost-dead-when-he-started-Alias original TV thriller, and the Mission: Impossible franchise. J.J. Abrams seems to know what it takes to entertain people on a level that is more than just fancy visual effects and explosions. It is this wit that helps Star Trek become one of the best remakes/reboots ever, helping to reach new viewers while remaining incredibly faithful to the old franchise. This means, that for once, the future of Star Trek looks much brighter than the future of Star Wars.

Synopsis: The movie explains the origins of James T. Kirk and his alien friend Spock on their way to becoming part of the crew of the star ship Enterprise. James T. Kirk is the son of George Kirk, who gave his life to save thousands aboard a doomed star ship before James ever gets the chance to know him. Spock, on the other hand, grows up in full knowledge of who both his parents are, as he is half human-half Vulcan, and thus considered not as superior as other full-Vulcans. As such, both take very different paths in life. Kirk, fed by his monstrous ego, spends his time chasing girls and enjoying life, where as Spock takes pride in accomplishment and duty. This difference in lifestyle creates quite a conflict between the two when a renegade Romulan threatens revenge on Spock and Earth for a seemingly unknown reason. Both Kirk and Spock must learn to put aside their differences and combine their strengths in order to save Earth.

Acting: Good (23/25)

  • Chris Pine as James T. Kirk: Great – Pine has all the attitude, the energy, and the looks to pull of Kirk. His comedic background makes the character even more human.
  •  Zachary Quinto as Spock: Great – Quinto has a commanding presence onscreen and is instantly likable in the role (you feel sorry for him too), just as Nemoy was as the original Spock. Quinto brings a youthful spirit to the character that was not there previously.
  •  Eric Bana as Nero: Good – While maybe not as memorable or sinister as past Trek baddies, he nevertheless gets the job done. The lack of screen time of his character may have something to do with him not being as memorable.
  • Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy: Great Urban shines as perhaps the most different actor from the original in the film. He captures perfectly the tongue-in-cheek demeanor of the doctor as well as his wit, while adding a little vulnerability.
  • Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhur: Good – The “relationship” she has with Spock in the movie seems forced and fake, but that is more a result of the writing. Otherwise very strong and commanding in a role that demands it.
  • Supporting Cast: Good – Overall everyone does their job well, although there are some questionable casting choices (why is Tyler Perry in this movie?) and not enough screen time for everyone to shine. Great cameo-esque performance by Leonard Nemoy.

Script/Plot: Good (24/25)

  • Dialogue: Great – All the emotion, humor, and wit comes out through what the characters say to each other. It is also written well not to alienate people who may be newcomers to the franchise and not familiar with the direct way the characters often talked to each other in the original show.
  • Script: Good – A few hiccups like as I mentioned above (Uhura/Spock emotion scenes and lack of screen time for some characters) are easily overlooked by the clever way in which the script makes this movie work. Not giving anything away, the script is an excellent compromise between what old and new fans want to see. Its most brilliant aspect, however, is the way that it essentially reboots the franchise without casting aside the other films and TV shows and everything that those medium worked to create
  • Plot: Good – Action packed and well paced and exciting all the way through for everyone. It also plays homage to the other films and the TV series in ways that will keep true fans of the original(s) entertained.
  • Themes/Messages: Great – Everything this movie has to say is relevant and important without trampling on the feet of the old Star Trek creed.

Direction: Good (22/25)

  • Professionalism:  Good – The production of the movie is very impressive; every aspect is filmed brilliantly and both the colors and sounds are consistent throughout with the mood. Abrams really understands how to make an entertaining and thought-provoking movie that is as emotional as it is enticing to look at. My fear is that it will look over-produced as it ages.
  • Flow: Great – Again, the movie never lags and is very clear even if it centers around time-travel. I enjoyed the way the camera moved in many of the visual effects-heavy shots, this made you feel like you were part of the action.
  • Editing: Great – The action is easy to follow and enjoyable to watch.

Special Effects: Good (22/25)

  • Special Effects: Great – The visuals of this film stand out. Everything is sleek, shiny, and new. It helps enhance the idea that this is a new beginning. Very impressive.
  • Music: Okay – The music was the only thing that I didn’t like in this movie, and kept the movie from earning an A+ from me. The Star Trek franchise has always been known (and is easily recognizable) by its music, which has been innovative, timeless and dramatic. The music in this film was boring, forgettable, and not recognizable  as belonging to a Star Trek film at all. Most disappointing.
  • X-Factor: Great – This film single-handily made Star Trek cool again, and perhaps will be the torch bearer to continue carrying on the series’ legendary impact into the future.

The Verdict: (91/100) = A-

  • What’s Good? A charismatic cast and brilliant story help to breathe life into a dead franchise. The movie looks very good and is very entertaining. It is hard to find something that everybody won’t like.
  • What’s Bad? The music is mostly forgettable, and there are a few (small) writing issues.
  •  Summary: The poster child for a reboot gone right.

Is It a Worthy Remake?  Well, its not quite a remake. The original Star Trek: The Motion Picture took place after the events occurred in the TV show (and almost 2 decades after the series first premiered), where as this movie takes place before the TV show would have began. The movie, to stop beating around the bush, is very worthy as a part of the Star Trek franchise and hopefully will continue the series into the future (a sequel is already planned for 2011). 

What Went Right? The actors fill in nicely to remain faithful with the originals while adding a little bit of their own individuality (+10%). The story line is crafted well such that both long time fans and people new to the Star Trek universe can understand and enjoy the movie (+10%). The special effects are also a big step up from the somewhat campy nature of previous Star Trek films and TV shows (+10%). Also, with JJ Abrams at the helm, there was veteran leadership and everything came together nicely (+10%)

What Could Have Gone Wrong? Of course, replacing the original actors could have been disastrous (-20%) and the writers walked a fine line between disappointing die hard fans and alienating new ones (-10%). Its also difficult to write a story that Star Trek hasn’t already done in some way or another before (-10%)

Reduxability? 100% = Everyone working on this film did a great job. The series is successfully relevant again, and that was the primary aim of the film in the first place. 

My previous review: Rated: The Proposal (2009)