Star Trek 2009 impressions

I was looking forward to watching the new Star Trek movie ever since rumors of a new movie (and a reboot) surfaced three years ago. I am not the in-the-details fan (though I like details), but enough of a fan to be worried about diverting from the established canon. I was following the news (via, from the official announcement by Paramount, to the introduction of the cast and creative team, to the release of the official trailer. I was glad when they casted Leonard Nimoy, and saddened that William Shatner was not in the movie.

So, seating at the third row from the back of San Miguel – Coca Cola iMax Theater at SM Mall of Asia last Monday with silent anticipation, I was wondering about what would I see. When I saw the stars of the Paramount logo, I sat back, relaxed and prepared myself for surprises.

They said that it is not your father’s Star Trek. And indeed it is not.

I was staring at the screen, my brain embroiled in conflicting thoughts. A part of me winced for every fabric of Star Trek becoming alien to me; a part was awed by the beauty of what I saw; a part was annoyed by what I thought was unnecessary lens flares; a part was laughing at the jokes; and a part was relieved that the movie was glorious.

Relief: that was the emotion that I had felt when the end credits began. The use of Alexander Courage’s Star Trek theme at the end credits, I think, is testament to the creative team’s effort to honor what has been done. Yet, the reboot was nicely done, and I am sure those new to the franchise would appreciate the movie without getting turned off by technobabble. Only the die-hard, strict-stickler-to-canon Trekkers would diss the movie. In the end, I thought that the movie should be judged by itself, without the baggage of canon. Besides, it was an exciting and exhilarating adventure.

But still, it would take time to get used to the changes. The Apple-store like bridge, for example. And the engineering section looked like it was in the building basement, not in a starship. Also, I found the uniforms in Starfleet Academy more cool than those worn in a starship. Some of the changes were radical, what we have now is a revolution, the Star Trek world topsy-turvy.

I find the antagonist to be weak. Eric Bana’s acting was so low-key, you would have thought he was not the villain. He should have brought more anger even if in a subdued way. The character was just not angry enough. The fact is that I find the villain’s motive to be kinda lame (and it was already done before – Khan Noonian Singh, is that you?).

Michael Giacchino’s score was glorious. I am not familiar with his music, and when he was announced as the one who’d score the movie, I was ambivalent. Sure, he did Ratatouille and some TV shows, but for me, an epic score is a John Williams, a Jerry Goldsmith, a Hans Zimmer. Well, I was proven wrong, and now I am looking for the OST. I was used to hearing a strain of Courage or Goldsmith’s theme at the start of a Star Trek movie, and when the new movie started, I was a bit disappointed and thought that it was really a hard reboot. The music at the end credits, like the movie itself assuaged this thought.

I find the reboot clever. Lest I spoil the movie for you, I think the idea for the plot was a win-win idea from JJ Abrams and the writers. If the story line bombed (but not that much), they could always explain it away and then make another one that is more in line with the canon.

To conclude, Star Trek is a thoroughly enjoyable film, which old fans and those new to the franchise can appreciate. Go see it. And if you can, watch it on iMax.