Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review: 'Star Trek' (B)

By Chase Kahn

It's true what they say about Abrams' reboot of the classic 60's Gene Roddenbury sci-fi series, which has held up as a major property of geek culture even through its tumultuous television and theatrical run over the last twenty some-odd years. It's fast, sexy, young, appealing and glossy -- a new series for a new generation.

Essentially, the biggest beef I have with it is its incessant and uncontrolable bounty of winks and nods to the original series and everything inbetween to the point where it harldy registers as its own entity. It's part homage, part parody and part badass. Not all of it works, but more often than not it's engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.

Chris Pine and Zach Quinto should both be household names and big budget stars within 5 years -- they have major appeal and I'm honestly shocked that this is Quinto's first feature film since playing Sylar on "Heroes" back in 2006, which I believe is the only reason anybody watches that show anymore. Plus I can see both of them headlining an EW article in two weeks titled, "The Hunks of Star Trek".

Abrams, who obvioiusly is a major player on TV with the cult smash "Lost" and the very underrated sci-fi series "Fringe", knows exactly what he's doing from the first frame here. This new Star Trek is going to glisten, amuse and move at warp speed. Every scene aboard the Enterprise is so vibrantly lit it's blinding, with firecracker lens flares that are either horribly amateurish or cutting-edge cool -- I haven't decided yet.

One thing he's sure about is that this new youthful barrage of characters is going to have fun. I told someone that I saw it with opening night that tonally, it was not what I was expecting at all. This Star Trek is flooded with jokes and one-liners, most rather obviously directed at encouraging the audience to join in. I think a little more danger and a little less sitcom could have been practiced, but it's not like "Star Trek" has traditionally been a straight-laced saga -- at least it doesn't go the route of unintentionally funny like George Lucas' own attempted 21st century reboot.

In the end, it's pretty impossible for someone like myself -- who is just a marginal Trek fan but a bigger science fiction nerd -- to not enjoy the proceedings. Even though Leonard Nimoy is overexposed and this new version seems geared at the CW demo at times -- you have to respect a product that is required to meet the approval of such a vast and ecclectic variety of viewers. In that regard, it's a rousing success -- assuring that a sequel is inevitable.

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