Star Trek Rebooted

Thursday, 07 May 2009 05:05

There are going to be some ‘Strict Orthodox Trekkers’ who are going to be mightily upset about JJ Abrams’ reinterpretation of the Star Trek franchise.  You know the ones – ladies now in their 60s and 70s who believe the format finished in 1969, and everything else that has come afterwards has been a travesty and a knock-off.

For the rest of us, there’s a realisation that there are whole sections of society that Star Trek has passed by.  They’re either too young to have been able to connect with the original version of the show, or decided that any series that generated such a loyal and devoted following was something they had to put a good deal of distance away from. The conundrum, therefore, for anyone wanting to update the original template of the Trek universe, is to try and please the majority of both the original fan base and convert the unconvinced to the ranks of its fandom.  The Abrams reinvention succeeds for both camps.

Star Trek at the IMAXThe BFI was gracious enough to allow Cineology access to the press screening of the IMAX presentation of the new movie.  After all, if you are going to evaluate whether this is a success or a stinker, best to do so on a screen more than 20 metres high (or five double-decker buses, for those who measure things in such ways), and stretching more than 26 metres wide – the largest cinema screen in the UK.  All backed up by a 12,000-Watt digital surround-sound system and what is claimed to be the most sophisticated motion picture projector in the world.

It was a full house on Tuesday evening – more press barons had come along than for what had been the previous premiere this year – “Watchmen” – which could only fill up about three quarters of the 485 seat auditorium.  Needless to say, expectations were already high. 

Indeed, Trek had by that point already sold 18,500 advance tickets (Adults £13.50, Concessions £9.75, Children 14 and under £8.75), so is already on its way to be a smash hit, but we press people were reminded that the film will only be at the Imax for a limited time, so book early!  Indeed, demand is so high that early morning screenings have already been pencilled in (see http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/star_trek_dmr_12a_tbc for details).  Indeed, Trek has to be moved on to make space for the upcoming Transformers and Harry Potter movies, due later in the year.

So, should you go and see it?  My view, whatever your knowledge of the Trek universe is an unqualified YES.  The scriptwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, have found an ingenious way of throwing out any and all existing Star Trek continuity so that we, in effect, have a new universe to be guided through, but with everything around us so incredibly familiar.  To say more would be a spoiler, but I think all but the most die-hard of fans will see this as a terrific way of retooling the franchise without stamping on everything that has gone before.

Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and most especially Karl Urban as McCoy are fascinating as the trio at the centre of the premise.  The characters of Sulu, Uhura, and Chekhov are given stuff to do and made to be much more than what they were in their original interpretations.  The only character poorly served is Simon Pegg’s Scotty, whose accent is more Midge Ure than James Doohan, and simply isn’t given that much to do.

The plot also brings us a believable reason for having Leonard Nimoy’s original Spock appear in the story, and Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike ensures that Trek’s original pilot episode is considered in this new series of adventures.

There are so many punch-the-air moments throughout the film that fans will have a silly smile on their faces dozens of times through the film’s 127 minute duration.  For those who know nothing about what came before, these little nods to the original series will not leave them wondering what’s going on, or that they’ve somehow missed out – it’s very cleverly executed.

All in all, the film of the year, and definitely one that will endure repeat viewings.  Get your boarding pass immediately!

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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