Star Trek: The New Generation, a movie for all !
By: Randolph G. Johnson
Stardate 0510.9 MothersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Day as it is on the Planet earth, this Trekker went to see the new Star Trek movie with my friend, Kristen and her daughter, Amanda. All and all we loved it. As for myself I am a devout science fiction fan and having the experience of enjoying all that the ST franchise has produced unto, this movie successfully brought together all the elements which has made Star Trek a social entertainment icon.
When I was a kid the original series was in syndication on the local television stations, by 5 oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock in the afternoon I (or one of my friends whose house I happened to be at at the time) would commandeer the set (at the disgruntle of our siblings and parents) and faithfully absorb ourselves into the universe of Kirk, Spock, McCoy along with their subordinate counterparts, whatever premise they were written into to save themselves, the Enterprise or some alien other worldly place. Even though by todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s television standards ST themes are played campy to the extreme, the sheer interest of going someplace aboard a starship that would take you to galaxies far, far away had me locked in front of the tee vee every weekday afternoon. Captain Kirk played the ultimate alpha male (especially if some evil guy or tried to overthrow his authority take his crew or ship) who took on enemies and problems head on and this no self motivated heterosexual male could ignore! He always shot first and asked questions later either with an enemy or female conquest. Like a true space cowboy, his diplomacy always worked. And in real life it made William Shatner into icon himself culminating into Ã¢â‚¬Å“Denny Crain Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Priceline NegotiatorÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.but those are two other franchises!
Chris Pine does a great job at making the role his own. He carries the movie in his own unique way in this 2009 advent to the ST franchise. The young James Kirk (portrayed by Jimmy Bennett) is not unlike any boy in his situation, (in the original series you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the background of KirkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s youth) rebellious and delinquent! When Chris Pine appears, as Kirk in his twenties, he is just as careless and irresponsible even though his father was legend (of which that overshadows James own life) he is doing what most straight single guys do at his age. Get drunk, chase s and fight. It isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t until Captain Pike (played by solidly by actor Bruce Greenwood) reminds the young Kirk of his familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s devotion to Star Fleet and the Federation where he decides to join up.
If I may digress , during my twenties I would go out at night and raise hell then always make it home in time to see the late night reruns of ST: TOS (and then in the eighties came ST:TNG,the nineties, ST:DS9,ST: Voyager and ST: Enterprise, not forgetting the franchise movies either!). So I could definitely relate to Chris PinesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ portrayal of Kirk as a young man. During the run of ST: TNG, I enjoyed observing Cmdr. Will Riker, which in my opinion brought some of the Kirk mystique to that Enterprise crew. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get me wrong Captain Picard got his share of womanly associations in his command (most every Captain in Star Fleet does, even female Officers too! Eventually, everyone was getting some everywhere in the ST universe!) But he was in no way to confused as such a pursuer as Kirk!
Now we come to Mr. Spock who is portrayed with great individuality by Zachary Quinto. He is also the only character whose character is rejoined by an original cast member and I mean the one, the only, Leonard Nimoy. Because like in all ST franchises one of hazards of duty roleship is you may be exposed to time travel! And that is all I am going to say about that! Mr. Quinto plays the role with distinction. We know Spock and the duality which his character has always wrestled with. Which is another social statement made by RoddenberryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideals in ST. Spock is basically a biracial individual child who is trying to find in which world he belongs and this is a social issue which is an issue as old as humanity itself. Star Trek endeavors to state that all life has a universal importance. The needs of the one but not as self importance but as in giving of oneself with empathy and compassion to help one help themselves. Quinto has a sublime connection in recreating Spock, as Kirk said about Spock in ST 2, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In my travels, out of all the souls IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve encountered his was the mostÃ¢â‚¬Â¦human!Ã¢â‚¬Â Director J.J. Abrams letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s QuintoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Spock display that humanity and passion , along with its conflicts at itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s beginning to the audience no matter which level of Trek youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve enjoyed over the years.
My next fave character is Lt. Uhura. She is portrayed smartly by actress Zoe Saldana. One must remember that most of the actors in this flick were born after the original series was cancelled so their portrayals are quite intriguing and ZoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work is just so. In this film, one gets to learn who these endeared icons began their fictional life after thirty plus years of the entire franchise. Ms. Saldana brings UhuraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character into life with intelligence and intensity. Remembering Nichelle Nichols portrayal, in the series and movies is recreated by Zoe very precisely. Lt. Uhura is a bridge officer aboard the flagship of the Federation and everyone knows anyone with that grade of authority is in a position that takes guile and guts and Uhura had both. Of course she has great looks too!
Dr. Leonard Ã¢â‚¬Å“BonesÃ¢â‚¬Â McCoy is played by actor Karl Urban. Karl states the he actively pursued the role from director J.J. Abrams. Karl brings McCoyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character into life flawlessly. The best thing about all ST shows and movies is that they incorporate real social and personal issues into the characterizations. McCoyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s joins Star Fleet after getting divorced from his wife, (remember how in Stewart of Khan we learn Kirk has a son?!) McCoy clambers aboard the departing shuttle regarding his disapproval of space travel and how his ex wife took the Ã¢â‚¬Å“whole g-damn planet!Ã¢â‚¬Â in their divorce is why is joined the fleet service. As the movie unfolds, McCoy displays his trademark mannerisms, through Karl UrbanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s license, with fluidity and adhesion to the DeForest Kelley essence of the characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s portrayal.
Commander Montgomery Scott makes is played by actor Simon Pegg. He appears in the last quarter of the film but his presence accents the cast and the film itself. Here are other ST characters whose background that was well anticipated. Mr. Pegg portrays Mr. Scott with amiability and chemistry unto the role. He has transcended into the character which James Doohan played on ST: TOS. One relates intimately the feisty and dispatching demeanor of Scotty in Mr. PeggÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s portrayal.
Lt. Hikaru Sulu is played by actor John Cho whose best known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“HaroldÃ¢â‚¬Â in the film Ã¢â‚¬Å“Harold and KumarÃ¢â‚¬Â movies. John plays Sulu with ease and consideration of the character established by George Takei. Sulu is the helmsman aboard the Enterprise and his support in that role is solid. He flies the ship but he is also a fighter and he gets to display those skills when he joins Kirk in stopping an attack by the filmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s evil Romulan villain, Nero played by actor Eric Bana. During the film we see how Sulu becomes the pilot we come to relate to from ST: TOS and the franchise movies. Mr. Cho has reassessed the role and incorporated his own rooting into the character of Sulu.
Finally there is Ensign Pavel Chekov played by actor Anton Yelchin. Mr. Yelchin really became Chekov in this film as much as Walter Koenig was in the role. Although in ST: The Wrath of Khan, Ricardo MontalbanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character states the he Ã¢â‚¬Å“never forgets a faceÃ¢â‚¬Â , recalling the ST:TOS episode Ã¢â‚¬Å“Space SeedÃ¢â‚¬Â in where Khan first appeared aboard the Enterprise and meeting the shipÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s navigator but Chekov character had not been written into the show until after that particular episodic season. Of course, we still enjoy the portrayal by Mr. Yelchin and the essence of what Mr. Koenig created in the role and Mr. Abrams license established for this ST film. Mr. Yelchin creates a good combination of ChekovÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thick accent and comedic stature for the film, not unlike the colorful recreations by the entire cast.
All in all this Star Trek film is a vivid and intelligent production. The film moves smoothly in its premise and background stories of characters incorporating the power and interesting themes ,which has made ST films what is today, and all moviegoers of any age or level of Star Trek knowledge will enjoy. Peace and long life!