Allow me to preface:
First: I am, and always have been, a hardcore original-series Trekkie. It was my first big fan thing, from the time I was wee — predating my obsession with Star Wars, and in many ways kinda responsible for that obsession, since Star Trek was what got me into science fiction in the first place. The Next Generation didn’t start airing until my freshman year of college. So for me, Trek = Original Series.
Second: I have been arguing, for quite a while now as each subsequent series was worse than the one before it, that Trek was in need of a reboot — that it should be about the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, boldly going, seeking out, etc. That it should feature the iconic characters, regardless of the actors playing them, and ignoring the 40+ years of continuity forcing the franchise up its own ass.
So you have to understand that I’m pretty much pre-disposed towards LOVING this movie. Feel free to take that as an asteroid-sized grain of salt when I tell you this:
Star Trek is Back.
The movie is great, and as it ended, I wanted MORE. Right the hell now, in fact. I wanted the movie to be an hour longer. I wanted an immediate announcement of a sequel. I wanted to read that Pocket Books has announced a line of new-continuity Star Trek tie-in novels. I wanted to get on Livejournal and announce that I want to run an RPG campaign in this setting (using Traveller, Starblazer Adventures, or Savage Worlds). I want to design ships, create characters, tell stories. TREK stories.
I haven’t felt so energized (excuse the pun) by Star Trek since the days of Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock. It felt like I was 15 again.
The casting is perfect. You know that feeling you get when the new guy playing the lead in Doctor Who first appears, and within seconds you’ve accepted him as The Doctor? It was like that — for every character.
The look of the film manages to walk the tightrope between genuinely, believably futuristic while simultaneously deliciously pulpy and retro. (There are some beauty shots of the Enterprise, by the way, which rival some of the best of the movie-era stuff. Absolute catnip for ship-lovers like me — probably one of a very few 10 year olds who weren’t bored silly by the endless slow pans in the first film in 1979….)
Abrams and Co. bend over backwards for the fans, throwing in Easter Eggs (even sound effects — the film opens with the “scanner-ping” noise from the original series), and, most brilliantly of all, rebooting a new continuity in such a way that it preserves the integrity of the original. He’s nicer than I would’ve been — I would’ve just said “Fuck it. DEAL.” However, by doing it his way, he can “wipe out” 40 years of convoluted backstory and have fans actually applaud him for doing it.
I still have issue with Ebert’s review. Is it an action film? Yes. Is it space opera? Unashamedly so. But he was lamenting the lack of depth, no exploration of themes, etc. Sorry, but no — maybe he got distracted by the spectacle, but I saw some very clear themes explored in the story (which, remaining spoiler-free, I won’t go into right now).
So yeah: Geeking out big time. “Rock out with my Spock out”, to use an expression coined by
‘Cuz that’s how I roll, yo.