Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek

I saw the preview for Star Trek while waiting for a Clive Owen movie to start, The International. The International was a pile of steaming dog turd, but the preview for Star Trek hinted at something far more exciting and watchable. I never mentioned my suspicions to anyone, for fear of being poked with a stick while onlookers mumbled the dirty "Trekkie" word in my direction. I let the thoughts of interest slide, and ignored any urges to investigate further.

Then, I saw that the movie was out in South Africa. I could go watch it. I told my girlfriend, and told her sister, and said "let's go see what's showing", knowing fully well that I would use my manly beard to influence their decision, and that we would go watch Star Trek. I watched it. My suspicions were confirmed in 126 minutes of sheer awesomeness - Star Trek is the greatest movie of all time, ever. There, I said it. I'm not ashamed.

You disagree? Have you watched it? If yes, and you still disagree, then shut up and go read someone else's blog (right after clicking a money making advert link, that is). If not, then reserve judgement until you have seen it, and until it has blown your mind hole. If you are one of those "Trekkies" and your complaints are about the inaccuracies surrounding the film, then I give you two statements:
  1. It is the year 2009. Things change (and get better). Deal with it.
  2. Shut up and go read a fellow Trekkie's blog.
For the rest of you, who are going to continue reading this post, I give you my mind-hole-blown thoughts on the movie, and why it has me reeling in childish giddy-excitement every time I think of it.

Firstly, I'll start by saying that the recent launch and success of the STS-125 Shuttle Atlantis repair mission played a huge part in my interest in the film - not in my interest to actually go and watch the film, but in the reignition of my interest in space in general. Twitter played a large role in that too, so you could say that twitter made me love Star Trek - a terrible crime if there ever was one! But back to point - the updates from Mike Massimino and NASA got my interest back and I did plenty of reading up on space, and planets, and the shuttle and Hubble and theory around faster-than-light-travel and all things included therein.

My next point regarding the movie is a standard thought I've had for the last few films I've watched (particularly new Hollywood movies) - the movies assume I am stupid and need absolutely everything explained to me, for fear I won't grasp the mind-numbing plot and won't spend my well earned cash on the brand. Well, Star Trek does a good job of avoiding the mistake of filling in every possible detail of certain themes - it skips large chunks of our protagonist's life without missing anything; we are well aware of what makes up his character by the time the story begins in earnest.

Our main protagonist was well cast (James T. Kirk, for those of you who have been living in a cave for the last 40 years), I felt - the girls will certainly love him, and he has that Hollywood "cowboy" manner that is common in movies like Top Gun; an easily likeable, but also troubled, character. The rest of the cast is also well done, easily recognisable for the fans, and fresh and updated so that the popular youth who have never watched Star Trek will be interested. Spock is a fantastic portrayal as well, so hats off to the casting crew for picking him.

The storyline itself is pretty cool, it's not dull and is not too obvious, and it gets away from any need to stick to Star Trek guidelines by throwing in some time travel and alternate universe theories - always a good bet. There are the typical cliches that one needs in order to keep with the Star Trek franchise, and I'm happy to say they're well done and not boring or unrealistic. The amount of times the young Jim Kirk gets the crap beaten out of him combined with the number of times he finds himself clinging to a cliff or ledge by his fingertips is a typical Hollywood move, but it makes for an entertaining, action packed watch in any case.

The visuals are awesome, and the sound is great too - in a surround sound cinema the loud sounds of space travel and fist fights set the mood for a great watch - I found myself on the edge of my seat, jaw hanging, utterly absorbed in the action for large parts of the film. The awe of space and space travel, new planets and things like Space Tethers and free-fall space diving made for a totally believable, absorbing, action packed, nail biting movie. There have been few movies that have kept me so engrossed that I barely touch my popcorn-smartie mix, and Star Trek was one of them.

It may not have the level of character development and thought provoking plot twists that critics need, but any seven year old boy watching this will be running around on flying motorbikes, dodging the event horizon of black holes made by red matter, and greeting their friends with the "live long and prosper" sign for much time to come. I felt like a seven year old kid watching Star Trek, and I insist that you won't find a more entertaining movie anywhere for a long time.

Watch this movie - resistance is futile.

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