JJ Abrams is a genius.
A bit of a maverick… but yeah… genius. The creator of path breaking TV shows such as Lost, Alias and the new show, Fringe has made a name for himself as someone who pushes the envelope of what can be shown on screen. He saved the Mission Impossible series from becoming a regular action staple, by infusing an edgy, personal feel to M.I.-III. – and that was the only movie he had directed before he was chosen to helm Star Trek.
I guess one has to be a bit crazy in the head to take up something as revered as Star Trek. I vividly remember huddling with wide-eyed-wonder and cup-of-bournvita in front of the telly, trying to wrap my limited imagination around the “very very big spaceship” on the screen and the stupendous adventures of its crew. For those 45 min + nirma advertisements, Doordarshan redeemed itself a thousand times over in this child’s eyes. And I am sure a million others. Atleast, in me, it managed to kick start a fascination for technology and adventure, which I carry to this day.
Then it would come as no surprise that I was literally bristling with excitement when I heard that the Starship Enterprise would fly across for the first time, across the big screen. (OK – that’s not true, there have been movies before. But this would be the first big studio production.) A feeling greatly amplified when I realized that Dee knew what a Vulcan salute was. (What are the odds… I found a girl who likes Star Trek. I shall definitely live long and prosper.) So at warp speed, I booked two tickets to a preview show for a full day before it hit theaters officially.
The movie starts with Captain Kirk Sr. giving up his life to save the lives of his crew, while his pregnant wife heaved and pushed baby James out in a space-dingy. Baby James grows up a rebel, but with the reflexes and risk-taking attitude of his father. After a typical bar brawl where he beats some and gets beaten some… he is inducted into the Starfleet. Where he meets a precocious Vulcan prodigy, Spock. The rest I will not divulge, considering there might still be earthlings out there who haven’t boarded the USS Enterprise.
So how was the movie? As expected the movie was as awesome as it would feel when Scotty would be beaming you into the depths of the Laurentian system – while moving at warp speed. (I can only guess, but what’s a man if he can’t dream…) There is non stop action and adventure, and black holes never looked so gorgeous before.
This isn’t a homage to a definitive and path-breaking TV series. This isn’t an attempt to pander to the whims and emotions of the gargantuan following that Star Trek has all over the world. It is to tell the rest of the world, the story of men and women who were dedicated to their job, were quick on their feet and loved kicking bad-alien-butt. But, most of all, the latest Silver Screen rendition of Star Trek introduces the formation of a friendship between two of the most unforgettable characters in history of television – James Tiberius Kirk and Spock. Much like Christopher Nolan revived the Batman franchisee with “Batman Begins” – JJ Abrams has successfully relaunched Star Trek. And with what style and panache! The cast is terrific with Zachary Quinto of “24” fame literally transforming his face and manners to match that of brilliant young Spock and Chris Pine infusing a sense of latent greatness mixed with irresponsible genius, into a character who would become the greatest Starship commander of all time – James Kirk.
What about the die hard Trekkers? Wouldn’t they be alienated (pun intended)? Possibly – there have been angry retorts by Trekkers who believe Abrams has destroyed Star Trek… by making it “accessible”. This just shows that Abrams succeeded in what he set out to do – tell a great story without getting stuck in history. Sure enough, when just before the end of the movie, the hulking USS Enterprise filled up the screen and the deep voiceover rang “Space. The final frontier….” – the hair stood up at the back of my neck and my skin resembled that of a monitor lizard. Bumpy.
Fan or not… watch this movie. Definitely the best movie that has been released in 2009. Now setting phasers to sequel….