Written by Reeling / Tito Genova Valiente / firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, 11 May 2009 19:19
THERE is a new film called Star Trek. Like the starship Enterprise, the film has gone boldly where no man—or no sci-fi film—has gone before. A narrative that is never short on charm and a heritage it is loyal to are just the elements that make this Star Trek as blazing and as awesome as the black holes it traverses without fear.
You need not be a Trekkie to go wild over a film that moves with a rhythm pushed by the wonder of the apocalypse. At the core of the adventure is always this knowledge that the seed of destruction has been planted somewhere already. The survivor in the grand space is he who is able to chart the route to the future and back again to the present.
You need modifiers? Try “stunning” and add “epic”. Try “breathtaking” and add “human”.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, the film has its origins in the cult TV series that introduced the notion that in the future, the fight for territorial domination will go beyond humanly political boundaries. “Earth-bound” takes on a new meaning in the series and, in this film, it is both tongue-in-cheek and touching.
The story begins with destruction. The conflicts happen out there in the new frontier, which is called space, but the passions and the color of conflicts are recognizably ours.
The problem usually of sequels and prequels is that one has to deal with a past, a present and a future. This is never the problem of Star Trek, which, it seems, early on decided to be faithful to its characters. In the screenplay ascribed presently to Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, one feels that there is the past of TV series. Gene Roddendery of the TV series is up there on the credits.
This fidelity to what fans and audience want to remember is one secret why when one meets a character in Star Trek, one encounters a biography. The comparison to Star Wars cannot be avoided. Where in Star Wars the story has developed strongly through the year and one is thus assured of continuity in film memory, Star Trek, for some odd reasons, has created this past the scent of which lingers. For a sci-fi that was more fiction than possible experimentation in the young ’60s, Star Trek was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Drama Series. That drama is not forgotten in the current version.
Drama and history, however manufactured and stealthily formed, are really what we are admiring about this film. The story of a father dying heroically and a son growing up into someone with the same spunk and might is what makes legend. The story of another son who saves his own planet and its civilization is the stuff legends are made of. Those tales and more, plus a ship ready and able to take on any parts of the universe, is great entertainment.
There are many highlights in this film. Show-stoppers, I call them. The first view of the Enterprise, lonely out in space, elicits a “Wow!”, which is the greatest understatement in the history of space exploration. Not since Stanley Kubrick floated a huge space ship to the tune of a waltz has there been an image of human presence and navigation as enthralling as this. But it is when planets explode and implode do we realize how tiny our imaginations are. Our attempt to explain black holes from our human understanding is both petty and poetic.
I do not look forward to sequels and prequels but with Star Trek, I suddenly have this desire to see them all again. It is not even a wish; it is a desire.
The reasons for this are many. One is the fast-paced action. I get this feeling that the film cannot slow down because there are many stories still to be told, more biographies to unfold. Then there are the actors. They are young and naïve. They privilege to bring us back to the beginning of the tale.
Writers talk about how convincing these actors are. Writers also shamelessly call them charming and attractive.
Chris Pine as James T. Kirk we meet before he is the rakish captain of the Enterprise. Here he is brash. The lack of experience makes him the least qualified of anyone with the ambition to guide the starship and fulfill its mission. Chris Pine, however, channels all the heroes of cinema: he has the grin of Harrison Ford in the early Indiana Jones and the attitude of Sean Connery as James Bond, all the time condensing the killer looks of Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Serving as foil to Pine’s Kirk is the Spock of Zachary Quinto. Let me correct that: the Leonard Nimoy of Zachary Quinto. The resemblance of Quinto, who portrays the role of the famous Vulcan, to the original Spock made immortal (by film standard) by Leonard Nimoy is so uncanny, it troubles us and touches us deeply.
We know the story of the Vulcans. They belong to a scientifically advanced race. From the Vulcans, the humans learned many technologies that helped the latter to overcome many threats to Earth. These qualities are what make the Vulcans such an awesome presence in the spaceship being manned by those whose skills involve cunning rather than science, testosterone rather than technology.
Vulcans and Earthlings are win-win individuals. We do not have to make a choice between them. This is the appeal of Star Trek: that out there are friends.
But there are also enemies: the Romulans. Headed by Nero, played by Eric Bana, his face disappearing behind the most articulated of body and face tattoos, the Romulans are no ordinary murderers. They, too, saw their planet disappear and they blame this to Vulcans.
There are more stories in Star Trek. The most fascinating is the one where the director makes possible the appearance of the two Spocks: one played by Quinto and the other by Leonard Nimoy, who gives us the grandest cameos of all time. The present and the future are introduced to us, Quinto arrogant to a point, Nimoy a lovely gravitas of an apparition. The portrayal is seamless from the young to the old, from the future to the present. This is magical cinema and truly fitting for this film that will never be a remake but a reintroduction.
I had the experience of watching Star Trek via IMAX in SM Mall of Asia, through the courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment, and feeling what it is to be beamed up and do a space jump. I look forward to my next adventure out there where no man has boldly gone.
IN PHOTO -- YOU need not be a Trekkie to go wild over the current reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Featuring a young cast headlined by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, the film moves with a rhythm pushed by the wonder of the apocalypse.