Star Trek

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 8:00 am

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content
Profanity: Brief strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Scenes in bar, drinking
Violence/ Scariness: A lot of sci-fi and action violence,
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: May 8, 2009
Date Released to DVD: May 13, 2013 ASIN: B001TH16DI

Get ready for this week’s “Star Trek” release with another look at this splendid reboot of the 40-plus year old “Star Trek” series. By boldly going where many, many have gone before, J.J. Abrams of television’s “Lost” and “Alias” has managed to make a thoroughly entertaining film that respects the fans but stands on its own.

Those who will nod knowingly (or shiver with excitement) at the appearance of Captain Pike or the reference to dilitheum crystals and those who remember that Sulu can fence will be reassured that any anomalies or inconsistencies with canon are cleverly explained away and by the appearance of one key member of the original cast. Those who are new to the franchise will be reassured that the story is self-contained. They may wonder why people applaud and laugh at a few in-jokes or the inevitable origins moments of first encounters between characters whose future interactions and relationships are as well known as their own (possibly better), but there is so much happening on screen they will not have time to wonder what they are missing. Indeed, there is so much that I have seen it twice already and look forward to seeing it again. I loved it so much I wanted to Vulcan mind meld with it.

Some things will always be true. The crewman you’ve never seen before who transports to a remote location with two of the lead character is not going to last long. In the future, women will all wear very short skirts and be extremely beautiful. All planets are congenial for human life, with just the right atmosphere and gravity. Fights usually occur on catwalks and other locations with precipitous drops. Kirk has to be hanging from a ledge at least three times and have an encounter with an exotic but very beautiful lady. And everybody speaks English, except when Uhura has to show off her translation skills.

Fans are in for some surprises, especially with one romantic relationship. But Abrams is very consistent with the original show’s tone and humanistic themes. Bad guy Nero (Eric Bana) would be right at home with Khan. The characters and the actors who portray them find the right balance, portraying rather than imitating. I say this with the most tender regard for the television series — every one of these performances is better than the original, especially Zachary Quinto as the half- human, half-Vulcan Spock, Chris Pine as Kirk, Karl Urban as the perpetually choleric McCoy, Simon Pegg as a cheerful Scotty, and Zoe Saldana as Uhura. And of course even the series’ biggest enthusiasts would not claim that the special effects were its strong point. This movie’s are stunning. The story wobbles a bit, especially when one decision with potentially catastrophic consequences is explained away as a life lesson for two of the characters. But it is funny, smart, exciting, purely entertaining and enormously satisfying, and sure to be one of the year’s most enduring popcorn pleasures. The cast has signed on for two sequels and all I can say is, live long and prosper and they can beam me up any time.

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Based on a television show DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Science-Fiction Series/Sequel

‘Star Trek’ — Biggest Movie of 2009?

Posted on October 16, 2008 at 8:15 am

star trek ew.JPGEntertainment Weekly has the latest on what could be next summer’s biggest box office smash, the rebooted “Star Trek” from J.J. Abrams (creator of Alias and Lost).
After 10 often dismal movies, Star Trek had turned into a pop culture punchline. Even people who’d built their entire careers around Trek could see the writing on the wall. “Star Trek,” says Leonard Nimoy, “had run its course.” But director J.J. Abrams believes he can make the franchise cool again….
Abrams says he was also drawn to the project because he believed in–and wanted to evangelize–Trek’s unabashed ideal­ism. “I think a movie that shows people of various races working together and surviving hundreds of years from now is not a bad message to put out right now,” says Abrams. That ethos may seem cornball to an America darkened by a decade’s worth of catastrophe, but after an election season that has seen both presidential nomi­nees run on “hope” and “change,” Star Trek just may find itself on the leading wave of a zeitgeist shift–away from bleak, brood­ing blockbusters and toward the light. “In a world where a movie as incredibly produced as The Dark Knight is raking in gazillions of dollars, Star Trek stands in stark contrast,” Abrams says. “It was important to me that optimism be cool again.”
That sounds like something to please the fanboys and bring in a whole new audience. I can’t wait!

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips

J.J. Abrams: “Sometimes Mystery is More Important than Knowledge”

Posted on January 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm

At Ted Talks, J.J. Abrams spoke about his lifelong love of mystery because of its “infinite possibility and a sense of potential” and how that passion influences his creation of stories like Lost and the upcoming movie “Cloverfield.”

And here is the first trailer for “Cloverfield, ” a sublime example of a Mystery Box:

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