Sunday, May 12, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Star Trek (2009) ***½

PG-13, 127 min.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Gene Roddenberry (tv series)
Starring: Chris Klein, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison, Deep Roy, Faran Tahir, Clifton Collins Jr.

Every time I watch the 2009 reboot of the “Star Trek” film series I get one step closer to giving up the four stars for it. I originally withheld that last half a star because the plot lacks the humanitarian lesson that traditionally accompanied most “Star Trek” stories from the television show. I still have yet to find some sort of traditional science fiction style societal or morality commentary in the film, but the intricate plot developments get richer with every viewing.

To call the plot of the film confusing, might be an understatement; however, I did not feel confused upon my initial viewing of the film in theaters. That may be because I was pretty knowledgeable of the film series that preceded this reboot, of which this new version is not entirely ignorant. In fact, it’s quite brilliant in how it uses what came before in such a way that it creates an entirely new beginning for the series. To go into how this movie does this would require a dissertation of some length. Let’s just say that for those who are already “Star Trek” fans, this movie is rich with both mythology and brand new developments that stay true to the characters already established by the many previous incarnations of “Star Trek”.

Now, I realize as someone coming new to the proceedings, much of this film’s plot is as clear as mud. I had initially felt that its use of what came before was hidden enough to make it work for someone new, but I think what makes it work for someone new is all the action found in the film and the rich relationship explored between these new versions of Kirk and Spock. My wife and two boys watched it with me this time, all basically seeing it for the first time. The oldest boy had seen it a few years ago, but was too young to really understand what was going on. He had trouble following a few things this time, but that was simply because he was mixing up a good deal of his knowledge of the series prior to this movie. My wife enjoyed it much more than she had expected, having been a lifelong dismisser of “Star Trek” as a serious storytelling vehicle. She told me not to tell anyone that she enjoyed it, but there it is.

Both oldest son and wife asked many questions about the relationships of the primary crew members of the Starship Enterprise. The youngest son just played along when things were blowing up real good. But, for the first time there was genuine interest in the “Star Trek” universe by wife and youngest son. My older boy has already enjoyed the ten previous films, but never really got into the either the original series or “The Next Generation” series that spun off in the late eighties. Anyway, the great news is that I have a close group with which I can now share the ongoing adventures of the Enterprise. If this reboot is any indication, they will be interesting and action packed if not message oriented.

My review of the new “Star Trek Into Darkness” will post on Saturday.

Read my 2009 review of “Star Trek” here.

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