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"Star Trek"

Directed by J.J. Abrams.
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Eric Bana.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  5/9/09


While the new "Star Trek" doesn't take over the top spot on my "Star Trek" movie list, the franchise reboot does hold its own thanks to the beautifully-generalist entertainment that our man J.J. Abrams provides.

Using a cast of relatively small-time actors, "Star Trek" takes us to a time in the future when James T. Kirk (played here by Chris Pine) and his band of fresh-outta-Starfleet Academy friends try and take down a rogue Romulan commander (Eric Bana).  So, we get to meet not only young Kirk, but also young Spock (Zachary Quinto), young Uhura (Zoe Saldana), young Bones (Karl Urban), young Sulu (John Cho), young Chekhov (Anton Yelchin) and young Scotty (Simon Pegg).  Even though the brand-new USS Enterprise is manned by literally hundreds of other crew members, it's up to our young officers to take down the Romulans any way they can.

Now, when the new "Star Trek" film is about the crew members, or giving us pure "Star Trek" stuff--you know, ships using warp speed, setting phasers to stun, popping off "Star Trek" signature lines from Spock or Bones, etc.--it is a very good film.  Even for the uninitiated, my sense was that this new film would be a good re-introduction of all the cheesy elements that made the original "Star Trek" TV show fun for me.  Even though I would have liked a film that introduced other characters just to add some variety to the mix of the core seven or eight stars, as is, the film deftly mixes a few laughs, a few action sequences, and a general sense of velocity into its two-hour running time.  The special effects are pretty good, there are no slow sections, it's a violent film in the signature PG-13 way.  Abrams clearly has the talent to do this; with "M:I-III" and the "Alias" series, this is a road he has traveled before.

My major problem with the new "Star Trek" film?  That's easy--the film's plot, especially from the halfway point to the finish line.  This gives nothing away--we get a glimpse of old Spock thanks to a development that deals with time travel, complete deniability, and Leonard Nimoy.  To be honest, I could think of ten things right now that could have worked for the plot of this film before a ridiculous time travel element mixed with a longer-than-necessary Nimoy cameo.  Does this kill the film?  No.  Does it keep the film from being nearly perfect?  You bet.  This was good stuff otherwise (even IF I have a beef with a spaceship hundreds of years from now employing a drill bit made of fire to drill a hole into another planet...but, I digress) and the film is slightly complicated by this development.  I don't know if 10-, 12-, 15-year-old kids follow this as well as the writers would have hoped, if they even care.

I saw this on the night before opening day, and our crowd brought good energy to the showing...I think they left happy.  Trekkies in general should like this film, as it reached enough into the past to keep everyone satisfied while getting us all prepped for a sequel, surely already in the works.  "Star Trek" doesn't beat out the second and fourth movies for me in the original 10-film run, but it slaps the hell out of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" films, which generally all sucked.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 05/09/09