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Review: Star Trek – The Next Previous Generation

May 14, 2009
star_trek_mirror_imagesThe folks over at show the old and new Star Trek crew.

By Chad Larson

I vividly remember going to see my first Trek movie in theaters – it was Star Trek: Generations and my grandfather took me. I was anxious to see more of the familiar cast of The Next Generation and of course to see old favorites like Kirk onscreen was great as well.

After that came First Contact which was probably the best of the TNG movies. Then there were two others that were largely forgettable, along with three new series, only one of which was actually good.

Star Trek was as good as dead, mired down with 40 years of it’s own history. And then one day, a new teaser trailer hit the waves. It showed technicians hard at work, building…something. Voiceovers abound such as JFK, talking about our early ventures in to space. And then we see the camera pan to what is being built. Big black letters on white hulls. NCC-1701. No D or E or Q. And we hear Leonard Nimoy’s gravelly voice… “Space, the final frontier.”

On that day, my pants literally exploded with joy over the possibility of a quality Trek relaunch. For months leading up to the film’s release I have walked a careful line between sponging up every tidbit of info about the movie and not spoiling myself.

On opening weekend, I saw it. The first scene sets the feel for the rest of the film: a giant ship appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and wrecks everything Starfleet has to throw at it. A child is born in the heat of the battle… James T. Kirk.

This very battle changes Trek history, and sets the stage for the franchise’s relaunch. I won’t give away too much more about the plot because I want you to go see it instead of me telling you about it. I will say that the relaunch is done in a way that will satisfy most Trek fans without making someone who’s new to the series too confused.

Star Trek is a beautiful movie – the special effects are top shelf and the set designs are fantastic, in a way that evokes Apple computers and a real feel of what technology might be like 300 years from now.

There are just enough throwaway references to past Trek to make fans giggle without touching too deeply on the old series, and the only part that I really didn’t care for was a rather long scene involving Bones zapping Kirk with various chemicals that give hilarious reactions although it is important to the plot.

All in all it is heartwarming to see a Trek movie #1 in the nation on opening weekend, and to see so many people who would not normally be in a Trek audience going to see it. The casting is perfect, and although the film does end in a way that would be open to a sequel, the movie can stand alone on its own should the studio decide not to do more. (Which is extremely unlikely given the strong opening weekend).

Go see Star Trek. I am not going to tell you again. Don’t think about it being nerdy or something your dad liked or that Captain Picard liked to play Sherlock Holmes. This is Casino Royale with warp drive and transporters. And I couldn’t ask for more.

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