I’m not a Trekkie. Sure, I had my phase where I rented all the movies (on VHS) from the now defunct Versatile Video. I liked them well enough (well, the second one anyway) and I liked when the now defunct SciTrek museum hosted an exhibit and we spent the night there in elementary school, but I never really got super into it. That’s because JJ Abrams and company weren’t involved then.
Star Trek on the whole has some excellent thematic stuff going for it, but it always rang a little hollow for me. It was built like a TV show confined to a set. Because it was. It had its moments, but I wasn’t really willing to discover them. I was more of a Star Wars guy, but I wasn’t one of those either. In all honesty, I’m not big on sci-fi. Too many trappings often prevent solid storytelling and then I check out. I like isolated projects, but as a genre it’s not my thing.
Trevor Roth who runs Roddenberry Productions was nice enough to invite me to a screening of the new movie last night on the Paramount lot. I had high hopes, as the trailer is amazing and early buzz was stellar. It met or exceeded all of them. It’s a re-invention (not a re-imagining) of the mythos, and I can’t imagine that anyone between the ages of 6 and 30 won’t become instant, life-long fans. It’s that good. Action I expected to be on point, but I was a little bit worried about the script. I shouldn’t have been. Kurtzman and Orci did their thing with style. It’s everything I want in a movie as a casual fan at best of the original IP. If you’re a fan, it’s got all the fan service nods you need to keep you from even bothering to say, “That’s not how it was in the original.” Everyone really did their thing across the board. It’s not perfect, but it delivers everything you’re likely to want and more.
The casting is damn near perfect. One or two slightly iffy but not bad supporting characters (and when I mean support, I mean sub-5 minutes of screen time), and the rest is awesome. Chris Pine is the next Harrison Ford. He’s totally charismatic, and amazing in the role. Even with the monkey that is Shatner on his back, he moves effortlessly through the film in stride. Really happy JJ decided to go with an ‘unknown,’ as I’m a big fan of guys without baggage inhabiting a role. Everyone else is good, but it’s his show. Quinto does his best to steal some of the limelight, and he’s damn good, but everyone plays second fiddle to James T. Kirk. Which is exactly how some wannabe ‘blockbuster’ directors will be feeling about JJ Abrams in no time at all.