Thursday, November 19, 2009

Star Trek

J.J. Abrams, 2008 (8.3*)
a.k.a. Star Trek Zero, Star Trek XI
This was certainly a pleasant surprise for me. In a nutshell, 'this rocks'!
This exciting 'prequel' came as a big surprise, and it has to be what creator Gene Roddenberry intended all along but was always missing: exciting action, believable heroic characters, and despicable villains, in this case a planet-destroying Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana). The cast looks amazingly like young versions of the original tv actors, especially Zachary Quint as Spock, while Chris Pine is adequate as Kirk, and John Cho makes Sulu a real character for once. The others are all better than the original actors as well, but the real attraction is the special effects, finally worthy of a major SF film for the first time in the Trek series.

Since childhood, I've been a fan of good science fiction and fantasy literature, but it took a long time (Kubrick's 2001 in 1968) for films to catch up with the writers to create anything worth seeing. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with the original Star Trek tv show, feeling like it was even worse than the intended "western in space". The Star Trek films fared little better, with only The Wrath of Khan being re-watchable for me, as I much preferred the technical class of Spielberg's SF films (Close Encounters, E.T., later Minority Report), or Lucas' simplistic battle in space Star Wars series just because they were so well done, even if poorly written.

TV producer-director J.J. Abrams was talked into directing this by Steven Spielberg, who advised him on the action sequences. Original fans won't be disappointed, nor those who hated the originals, like myself. This is more action, less amateurish moralizing, like it was intended to be. Having now breathed new life into a tired and cliched series, I'm sure many sequels will follow with this cast.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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