I adored the original Star Trek. I mean adored it in all its cheesy glory. I fell in love with Leonard Nimoy’s cynically lifted eyebrows, DeForest Kelly’s wonderful neurotic over-acting, Nichelle Nichols impossibly long false eyelashes and, of course, the Shatman wearing the hardest working corset in show business under his mustard-coloured Captain’s jersey[i]. Salt and pepper shaker phasers are irresistible to me and incredibly romantic[ii].
I may be atypical. My fond memories of the original were one barrier to me enjoying (indeed, seeing) the new one. I mean, I hate Next Generation. I hate Voyager. I can tolerate Deep Space Nine with the aid of choclit. A lot of choclit. In addition to this, I don’t think JJ Abrams is a genius. Lost leaves me cold and Fringe made me want to chew my own arm off just so there would be a reason for the pain I was experiencing. What About Brian means I will be obliged to kick him in the shins should I ever meet him, no matter how nice a person he may well be.
Then again, I am one of the 6 people on the planet who actually loves Enterprise. Admittedly, I may well come under the banner of ‘a bit weird’.
Last week, while waiting for Wolverine to start (aka Hugh Jackman and His Singlet), the preview for Star Trek came on. It didn’t make me vomit or want to throw things at the screen, and I thought ‘This could be positive’.
So, I went to see the new movie having no expectations.
Much to my surprise, I loved it. Big love. Not in the sense of “I want to set up house with three spouses” kind of Big Love … although with three husbands I guess your chances of getting someone to put the garbage out would be increased … hmmm … but I digress.
It was big love in the sense that the script was very clever. The dialogue was great; it was funny and intelligent. I didn’t get even one of those moments that I got right at the end of Wolverine when I wanted to tie the writers to a stake and burn them for treating the audience as though they were eejits who needed everything explained to them (“You are hearing my thoughts inside your mind …”).
World’s shortest plot summary: a Romulan attack has created an alternate reality. Kirk isn’t the Captain of the Enterprise. He and Spock aren’t friends. Scotty isn’t in the engine room. Nothing is as it should be. Except for Bones – he’s precisely the way he should be.
Visually the film was stunning. Sure, there were a lot of things getting ‘splodey with it, but that’s pretty much par for the course with sci-fi movies. And it looked fantastic.
The casting was, in general, superb. When you’re dealing with canon any actors coming in the wake of the original risk censure as being either caricatures or pale imitations of those who came before. I loved the fact the young Kirk had pratfall moments; that Spock was the cool guy. Karl Urban quite ingeniously didn’t really play McCoy, but he did (as my clever friend Kate observed) play DeForest Kelly playing McCoy. Ben Cross as Spock’s dad looked as though he’d been waiting to strap on pointy ears for the longest time – who woulda thunk it? From Chariots of Fire to First Knight to Star Trek and pointy ears (and let’s not forget Dark Shadows).
Simon Pegg as Scotty rocked. Nothing more need be said.
Chris Pine as Kirk had just right mix of arrogance and courage. And the guy can take a pratfall. I kind of missed a cameo by William Shatner, but I also understood that he’s now very much imprinted on the consciousness as Denny Crane. Seeing him in this movie would have given the wrong vibe and brought on the kind of cheese that plagued Starship Troopers (hey, any movie that dresses Doogie Howser in a Gestapo overcoat probably has a bigger things to worry about than its cheese factor).
Eric Bana as the leader of the tattooed intergalactic skinheads was … well, you know, I’m not sure. Eric normally doesn’t let me down as an actor but I felt a bit blah about him in this. Maybe he needed more Chopper Reed in his Nero? Still, he has excellent facial symmetry.
Zachary Quinto was pitch perfect as Spock. The eyebrow twitching and the shift in his expression in those moments when he let his emotions take over were wonderfully subtle. The ears have been passed to a worthy recipient. Oh yes, and he’s hot.[iii]
And the last word must be reserved for Leonard Nimoy, the Nerd’s Nerd’s Nerd. He steals scenes; he is a gracious and poised and measured actor; the man has style. It’s hard to believe the ears aren’t real.
Go. See. Enjoy. Live long and … well, you know.
[i] Mustard? Seriously, what were they thinking?!
[ii] But please, do not send me any – ultimately, I prefer flowers.
[iii] No comments are required about Vulcans and an attraction to emotionally-unavailable men, thank you very much.