Sunday, June 07, 2009

Star Trek

Most people are children at heart. Kids often ask their parents to tell the same story again and again and they love it when the parent embellishes the story with new details, new subplots, prequels and so on. Hollywood is like that master story teller and tells us the same story in many different ways. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, James Bond has been rebooted so why not Star Trek? The reboot of Star Trek is a delight for fans of first generation and hopefully should be fascinating for newcomers. This movie steers clear of all the mistakes that the first ever Star Trek movie did (no content but too much hype) and gets to the action straight away. One can almost compare this to the 'Wrath of Khan'.

There has been considerable effort to reference many of past Star Trek dialogs and character profiles. Spock also quotes Sherlock Holmes again "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” When the movie begins the first sound you hear are those small tweet sounds from the original Star Trek. That in itself gave me goose pimples. And then the references continue almost every other scene. When Shatner played Kirk, he had several episodes where he'd cheat death and always go for the win-win option. This trait has been referenced here. The Kobayashi Maru test is shown in the movie the way Kirk described it happen in "Wrath of Khan" (while eating an apple). Dr. McCoy's famous line "I am doctor not an X" (where X != Doctor) already has a count of like 4 or 5. Captain Christopher Pike is here and has a plot that neatly fits in with his eventual fate that will (has already) happen(ed). Leonard Nimoy makes his customary appearance. Several (really really lot of) inside jokes exist which is bound to keep a Star Trek fan completely interested.

The plot in itself is interesting as most time travel conundrums tend to be. And needless to say this movie does leave a few gaping logical holes that is congenital with time travel stories logic. It also also leaves some open ended questions and a revolting romance between Spock and Lt Uhura that should really be quickly terminated. The plot: Nero, played by Eric Bana, a Romulan is back in time to avenge Spock's error of not saving Romulus from a supernova. His time travel alters the life course of Kirk's father, James Kirk himself, the younger spock, spock's mom (my dream woman Wynona Ryder plays Spock's mom) and the rest of the cast. The resulting time conundrums and complexities are very entertaining.

This movie certainly has a creative (a master stroke really) way of restarting a series with the time-travel/time-altered history of the all the main characters and re-introduces familiar characters who now face a different future. It also does the James Bond reboot thing of doing the customary title introduction "space the final frontier.." in the end (and Spock curiously says "where no one has gone before" instead of "no man" just to be politically correct). Rodenberry's Star Trek wasn't simply about finding new life or new civilizations. It was about finding the true human nature when in strange worlds and civilizations. This movie focuses on character descriptions of the crew a little too much for comfort. Star Trek ain't about that. Its about complex stories and plot situations that essentially tests the human nature of the crew and the captain. In this movie the plot is just an excuse to reaquaint with long lost TV friends, which is good but it better stop with this movie. Hopefully J.J. Abrams will remember this theme as it starts a new series of movies.

Highly recommend this movie.

p.s: I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I failed to catch it before it left the theaters but a midnight IMAX show saved me from missing this.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

which anti-depressant ru taking?

Anonymous said...

JJA is a genius, is he not? If you liked the movie, you absolutely must watch LOST. All episodes from season 1 onwards are at abc.com for free (and in HD). That show also has time travel conundrums.

I havent seen the star trek movie yet, but as a LOST nut, I find it interesting that someone traveling back in time actually changed the course of people's lives. One of the big puzzles still unsolved in LOST is, whether the "WHH" paradigm is sacrosanct or not.

WHH i.e. "what happened, happened", is what a physicist in the show tells everyone else when they go back in time. That no matter what they do, they can not change the past and create an alternative present or future. In other words, even if you went back in time to the 20s, you can not kill Hitler, because whatever happened in the 20s happened, and you were already there and were unable to kill Hitler until he died in his bunker when the allies entered Berlin.

Then the guy changes his mind and says, no, we can actually change the course of things, and we should try to do it. The 5th season ended at a tantalizing point when they all did something major on the island (wont spoil it for you) and we will find out only next season whether that had always happened or if it changed timelines.

JJA abandoning the WHH in star trek makes me wonder if he will do the same in LOST too. Interesting.

But seriously, do watch LOST.

Hawkeye said...

yes, he did not answer or fully resolve the WHH thing. I was hoping that in the end, events would become "unerased" the way "back to future" did it. But it just ended :-)

In general i thought JJA limited his potential by focussing a tad bit more on masala than plot.