To celebrate the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, the Flickering Myth writing team look back at the classic sci-fi franchise. Next up for Star Trek Month is Martin Deer looking back at J.J Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot…
When tasked with this assignment by the Flickering Myth overlords, I was asked to throw in some history of the Star Trek franchise to go along with my thoughts on J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot. As this was the first, and so far only Star Trek film I have seen to date, that might be a bit difficult. For the purposes of this piece however, it might be a blessing.
The trouble with reboots is that everyone has an opinion. And you’re not going to please everyone. If you make a creative decision to say “make The Joker paint his face white instead of being perma-white” someone somewhere is going to get their knickers in a twist. J.J. Abrams, however, very carefully manages to avoid this scenario by creating a whole new timeline, and thus, whole new back stories for certain characters. Not only does this avoid people crying foul – although there probably were a few – but also acknowledges the old whilst distancing itself squarely from it. “It’s Okay folks, we’re doing something completely different here.” And it works.
Star Trek 2009 is a tour de force of fun and heart. Chris Pine excels as James Kirk: he oozes charisma, and every relationship dynamic that he is given to play with, he knocks it out the park. The comedic back and forth that exists between him and Karl Urban’s Bones are a joy to behold. It’s effortless, and endlessly entertaining. The heart of the film is squarely on Kirk and Spock, and the initial antagonism between them, which ultimately leads to a mutual respect, is crafted together beautifully and sets the pair up for a lasting friendship with a solid foundation. The script is solid, and each of the main characters are given ample fleshing out; these are characters we come to care for, and it’s stellar work from Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Star Trek also has a pretty great and perhaps underrated villain in Eric Bana as Nero. He’s cold and believable as the vengeful Romulan.
Solid writing has the perfect companion in Abrams ‘direction, whose action scenes, despite ships and photon torpedoes flying in each direction, never feels confusing or hard to follow – it is always entertaining. ILM’s special effects are fantastic – over a 1,000 individual effects I believe – and it never feels like CGI, it all feels very real. Very impressive work. Michael Giaccino’s score is beautifully constructed amd is a true blockbuster score that has an ability to induce childlike excitement.
For someone taking their first Starfleet mission with Star Trek, it is a great introduction to the franchise. And with the splitting of timelines and the crossing over of characters from the originals, it just begs for viewers to go in search of the original films. As a film, it is one of the best sci-fis in recent memory, and builds hope for a film franchise which will explore the grandness of space, and boldly go where no one is currently going.
Star Trek Month continues tomorrow with Luke Owen looking at documentary Trekkies…