Monday, May 18, 2009

Movie Review: Star Trek (Old dog, new "Trek")

An old dog with new “Treks”

I am embarrassed to say that I came in late in the game. Despite being a solid Trekkie for the better half of my thinking life, I only saw “Star Trek” last night. A full week and a half after it opened.

I bow my head in Trekkie shame…

Now on to this review!

The initial differences and inconsistencies I noticed:

1. Chris Pine is too pretty to be Kirk. Please don’t get me wrong. The boy did a fine, fine job in “Trek,” but I can’t latch on to the idea that he’ll grow up into the rugged-looking toughie that William Shatner depicts. And I keep seeing his mug on the poster of the teen rom-com “Blind Date.”

2. Ok, so John Cho is now officially cooler than his stoner Harold persona. But guys, Sulu is JAPANESE, NOT KOREAN. Love the collapsible katana and all. But man, white guys think they’ve seen one Asian they’ve seen it all. One look at John Cho’s kimchi-eating mug already tells you he only gets his hentai off pirated DVD shops. It is absa-tively racist for Hollywood to just lump up Asian guys and think they can interchange one with another. Racist, man…
Besides, the character’s name is HIKARU Sulu… not KIM or PARK or JONG… but all that aside, Cho finally makes it cool to be Korean.

"...Do I feel that many things were out of canon? Maybe. But I went there to see a movie, not to see the panting revival of an old religion..."

3. Karl Urban’s Dr. McCoy is probably the only movie doctor I’ve seen in recent memory that did not do anything remotely medical apart from drugging Pine’s Kirk and looking constipated for most of the movie. And as in Trek of yore, why the devil is the doctor on the bridge and not in sickbay? Ah yes, “Trek” canon… fine.
Having said all that, I love how he was introduced in the movie.

4. Pavel Chekov has been transformed from a kid who looks like a rejected member of the Monkees, into a pasty-white holocaust victim who looks like he was conceived in a vodka-fueled Russian sex orgy. And I’d like to think that in the 23rd century, a Russian accent doesn’t have to be THAT thick. I mean, he went through Starfleet Academy, right? And most people in there, with the exception of Jean-Luc Picard and a few Vulcans, talk like rednecks. The exaggerated Russian accent was RACIST, man… just plain RACIST.

5. The bridge is too… white. I know we now live in an age when computer-related things don’t all have to be colored gray or metallic, but the whole bridge looks like it hired Macintosh’s industrial designers to conceptualize a department store’s make-up section and called it a bridge.

"...I suspect that ...J.J.Abrams fears the powers of William Shatner..."

6. Zachary Quinto’s (a.k.a. Sylar's) voice is too high-pitched. I’m used to Leonard Nimoy’s baritone. But hey, better the high-pitched voice than a forced guttural growl that’s trying too hard to not sound like a yelp (calling Christian Bale…).

7. I like how Montgomery Scott was reimagined. Although I would have preferred somebody who looks just a wee bit like Jimmy Doohan.
Okay, the last two gripes were lame. I can’t complain about Zoe Saldaña’s Uhura because I honestly think she played it flawlessly. Although I wouldn’t have minded another babe or two thrown into the cast, canon or no canon.

I’ll save my biggest gripe for later…

But for the record: I LOVED THE MOVIE. It not only successfully revives and revitalizes the “Trek” franchise, but it recreates it just enough to still be “Trek,” while being a refreshing new movie altogether that will effectively bring in new fans. Please note that I said “fans,” not “Trekkies.” There will never be “Trekkies” the way there used to be. Firstly, if my hunch serves right, this new “Trek” will be a box office smash. Ergo, it will be such a universally accepted movie, that liking it will no longer require the fervent (and sometimes blind) loyalty attributed to Trekkies of old. Why seek out a fellow Trekkie to chat with, when “Trek” is destined to become water cooler fodder for the next few weeks?

Do I feel that many things were out of canon? Maybe.

But I went there to see a movie, not to see the panting revival of an old religion that follows an antiquated dog-eared bible for sci-fi culture that was written in the 60’s when a 3-speed hair-dryer was a state-of-the-art piece of technology, computers gave data on miles of worth of paper tape with undecipherable holes in them, and a mobile phone was the size of a couple of suitcases.

This is a movie written for 2009, guys. This is Star Trek for the new millenium. And from the looks of it, these voyages of the starship enterprise will find a lot of people watching. All Trekkies, old and new, or simply just people who want to sit down and catch a damn good movie.


I almost believed it when they said that throwing Bill Shatner in the flick would be like shoe-horning a twisted old foot into a brand new shoe. But they managed to put Spock in there and it wasn’t bad at all.

I suspect that the real reason is that J.J.Abrams fears the powers of William Shatner.

As a bona-fide Shatnerite (yes, there is such a word. At least, there is NOW), he deserved to be there in some measure. Even in a creative flashback at the very least.

But they fear Shat. That is an undeniable truth.

Fellow Trekkies, what do we want to see in the revitalized Trek franchise? Repeat after me: “LIVE LONG AND SHATNER!”


'catch you later...


Faith said...

Okay, here's the issue that I have with your Cho rant - and I've got quite a bit of Japanese blood in me so it's not like my opinion is being swayed by racism here, so let's just nip that in the bud right from the off.

If someone, say, Hugh Jackman can play a Canadian and nobody says anything about it, why is this such an issue? Granted Cho doesn't even kind of look Japanese, and yes the original character turned out to be Japanese (because Dakai was Japanese, not neccesarily Sulu) but according to Cho it was George Dakai that gave him the go ahead. He said that Dakai told him that Sulu was meant to represent all of Asian aboard the Enterprise, and that "Sulu" was named after (correct me if I'm getting this wrong) the Sulu Sea(Sea?) that touches many Asian countries. I don't know if that was the real Sulu backstory, but according to Cho and apparently George Dakai it is.

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I think people are making way too big a deal out of this. It's fine to enterchange white people and indiginous people (Native Americans, for example) but not when you're Asian and definitely not if you're Black. See, that is racism right there and it's really messed up. Is Hollywood racist? Er, duh, of course it still is, and yeah something should be done about it, but pick your battles, you know? Don't look for battles where there aren't any.

About Kirk - I have to agree. I thought Pine did a great job (actually Urban and Nimoy made the film for me, but back to Pine) but he's no Shatner. Shat is the man.

Jasper Greek Lao Golangco said...

greetings, Faith... thanks for dropping by...
not actually picking a fight per se... but i suppose i found it interesting to compare what Cho brought to the table with what Takei has established.
but hey, you're right... hollywood is racist... and shat is still the man.