This one was a bit of a surprise. I used to be a huge Star Trek fan when I was young, but in a weird way – we didn’t have TV in Ethiopia, so my exposure to the show (the original show, of course) was via books. I read all the episodes (including the animated series and the “fotonovels”) and loved them rabidly. It was only much later that I actually saw the things (and yes, still liked them). By the time TNG rolled around I had partially lost interest, being much more interested in (at that time) new stuff like Babylon 5 and such. I did watch some TNG, though, and found it “ok”. Deep Space 9 was actually more interesting to me generally, though the episode quality was very uneven. Then we got Voyager, which was utter, unfiltered crap. I actually found the dreary Enterprise follow-up to be more watchable than Voyager, which is saying a lot.
Then there were the Star Trek movies. The first one was slow…. but I did like it, in many ways. I’ve only seen some of the later ones and found them to be a very mixed bag, and the things just seemed a bit tired, somehow. Later, when the ill-fitting Enterprise finally dropped off the air, I concluded that Star Trek is done for. I still had fond memories of the original series, but…
Then there’s this new film, a “reboot” of the story by J.J. Abrams of Alias and Lost fame. I wasn’t sure what to think, but I wasn’t expecting anything very good – despite the good reviews the movie had been getting, I generally view most “reboots” with suspicion. Sure, sometimes rarely they succeed wonderfully (Battlestar Galactica, anyone?), but more often than not they are utter flops, with the director totally missing the point of what made the original so good and just cramming in tons of explosions and cgi effects.
Well, Abrams “gets it”. Throwing “canon” (and sometimes “logic”) to the wind, he has built a re-imagining of the original series that actually rocks. Both Janka and I loved it, much to our surprise. Sure, it could be subtitled “juvenile delinquents in space” and there are plot holes you could drive starbases through… but that doesn’t matter, since the “feel” is right. The new actors mostly get the characters spot-on (with appropriate modernization thrown in); Zachary Quinto is great as Spock and Karl Urban is brilliant as Dr. McCoy. The action is fast-paced, but somehow there’s a ton of character development here, too. The balance is pretty good. Most importantly, it felt like Star Trek to me. I know many “old fans” are saying just the opposite, but…. screw you. I loved it.
The plot is pretty clever, but does require you to suspend disbelief and logic at times. It also reboots the setting in a way I hadn’t been expecting, and in a good way which lets this movie (and potential follow-ups) be much more than just retellings of the old story.
Now, ordinarily huge plot and logic holes would annoy me, but here they just don’t. Maybe it’s just the fact that Abrams clearly loves the setting and the characters, and gets the feel of things so very spot-on in so many places… I’m willing to forgive a movie a lot of things if it has its heart in the right place. And this one does.
Didn’t see this one coming.