Star Trek 2008
It’s difficult to really savor this film unless you were a true Trekkie before it was fashionable to be a Trekkie. Back in the mid-60s, this was a TV series that died a miserable death in prime time, much like “Kings” (NBC) is doing now. The network perceived that no one was watching it and it was summarily dumped. Shortly thereafter, a deluge of letters arrived from outraged viewers demanding it back. It was canceled after three seasons and then lived on in syndication for another 30 years, generating multiple spin-offs and massive numbers of rabid enthusiasts as it went. Star Trek conventions continue to be the standard for weirdness today. Best original episode BTW is “City on the edge of forever”, written by Harlan Ellison, winner of the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Should not be missed.
The film starts with the youthful versions of the original stars in random motion as they enter their careers. The fascination is appreciating the raw material for each as it’s wrought into the prophesy of their destiny. You see their destiny develop before your eyes, before they understand it. James T. Kirk is perfection as he massacres political correctness on his way into the Captain’s chair. The principal actors bear an uncanny resemblance to the originals in form and substance. The style of the film is visual and pyrotechnic. Director J.J. Abrams pushed the envelope with the visual effects and in the end delivered a Star Trek that is fresh and vibrant, while maintaining a commitment to character and story, The film is true to the ethos of the original but evolutionary. When the characters finally take their final form, they fall into places reserved for them, the essence of self fulfilling prophesies.
Former Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was invited back for a featured role but former Captain Kirk (William Shatner) was not. This seeming slight is borne out as the film progresses. There was a place in the story for Spock but it quickly becomes apparent that to put Shatner back into a cameo role would have been a distraction and would not have worked.
The film is not Academy Award material and there are a few weak points. But all things considered, it is a superb must-see for a new generation of fans.
I give it four and a half of five impertinent smirks.