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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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STAR TREK (2009)

SYNOPSIS:
The young crew onboard for the maiden voyage of the most advanced starship ever created, the U.S.S. Enterprise, must find a way to stop the evil Nero (Eric Bana), whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. But the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals born worlds apart. One, James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine), a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy, a natural-born leader in search of a cause. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), grows up on the planet Vulcan, an outcast due to his half-human background, which makes him susceptible to the volatile emotions that Vulcans have long lived without, and yet an ingenious, determined student, who will become the first of his kind accepted into the Starfleet Academy. The crew is led by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Joining him are the ship's Medical Officer Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban); the man who will become the ship's Chief Engineer, Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg); Communications Officer Uhura (ZoŽ Saldana); experienced Helmsman Sulu (John Cho); and the 17-year-old whiz kid Chekov (Anton Yelchin). All will face a harrowing first test.

Review by Louise Keller:
Get ready for blast off: the world is on a collision course to Star Trek mania. Chances are that even the logic-driven Spock would agree. After all, it is not only loyal Trekkers who will flock to this thrilling, massive scale sci-fi adventure with explosive visual effects, humour, a touch of romance and the compelling back story of how the complex relationship between James T. Kirk, the handsome hellraiser from Iowa and Spock, the emotion-challenged half-Vulcan with pointy ears, bowl haircut and trademark angled eyebrows began. Of course there's a universal plot that pits good against evil, but it is the unique and unlikely friendship between the two men that is at the film's heart.

J.J. Abrams has made a fabulous film that excels in all its elements. While it feels fresh in every way (an achievement in itself, for this 11th Star Trek film), great care has been taken to be respectful of the franchise and the characters created by Gene Roddenberry in the 60s, when they became cult favourites. Technically, everything stacks up. The sound and the sound mix is superb and rivals the extraordinary visuals for attention. Script - tick. Casting - tick. Direction - tick. Special effects - tick. It's an extraordinary achievement and great entertainment for all as we partake in an edge-of-seat thrill-ride.

Chris Pine is ideal as Kirk, the rebel with a cause whose fearless instinct is to leap without looking, while theatre / TV actor Zachary Quinto is a knockout as the scene-stealing Spock ('Fear is necessary for command'), who discovers that love is sometimes a better reason than logic. (Zoe Saldana is appealing as his love interest.) In a journey into the future, when Quinto's Spock comes face to face with himself in the guise of 78 year old Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock), the audience at the world premiere at Sydney's Opera House burst into spontaneous applause. Amazingly, the two actors actually look alike. Eric Bana, almost unrecognisable as the evil Romulan Nero, complete with bald head, deformed ears and face covered with intricate markings and prosthetics, makes a splendid villain: larger than life and easy to loathe.

There are many memorable moments, all enhanced by Michael Giacchino's dramatic and diverse music score. We are there for the Enterprise's maiden voyage and when Kirk sits in the Captain's chair for the first time. There's the always funny Simon Pegg who brings great comic relief as the go-getter engineer Scotty, Karl Urban's medico Bones who drags Kirk onboard the Enterprise under false pretences and Anton Yelchin's young Russian officer Chekov is a breath of fresh air. There's an impressive sequence on the ice planet Delta Vega, and we must not forget the trans-world beaming ('Beam me up Scotty') to which we all aspire. The design is sleek with a great contrast between the vast Audi-inspired Romulan ship and the stylish Enterprise. As we drift among the myriad of stars, the galaxy entices and the appeal has never been so great 'to boldly go where no one has gone before'.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A stupendous production, Star Trek goes where no movie sequel or prequel has gone before in bringing intelligence and invention to a peak in cinematic storytelling. Starting with the well constructed and clearly delineated screenplay, director J. J. Abrams and his team manage to capture the essence of what is familiar at the same time refreshing it. The familiar in every sense, from the production design, which echoes with the original but has not a whiff of staleness about it, to the spot perfect casting, which reminds us but does not ape the well known and loved original cast.

After Chopper, Eric Bana has done no better work than here as Nero, the bad-ass of the story. With the help of prosthetic make up, Bana is brilliantly, beefily, dangerously heavy. Chris Pine is excellent as the volatile Jim Kirk, but it's Zachary Quinto as the young Spock who is perhaps the most remarkable. But everyone is splendid: I specially like Anton Yelchin as Chekov the young Russian whiz-kid, and Simon Pegg who brings his great and useful comedic talents to the role of the emerging Scotty.

Leonard Nimoy (whose appearance was greeted by spontaneous applause at the world premiere at Sydney's Opera House [April 7, 2009]) plays a not inconsequential support role as the older Spock, time travelling ... and he carries the authority and grace that age and experience provide.

Bruce Greenwood and Karl Urban also make the most of their relatively short screen time, and lovely ZoŽ Saldana is excellent as Uhura, who has eyes for Spock's ears. The production is spectacular as you would expect, camera and digital crafts coming seamlessly together. Michael Giacchino's majestic, powerful score lifts the film into the stratosphere with complex orchestral colours and the sound design is in the award winning class. Our seats rumbled ...

The overall effect is sensational and the film is fully satisfying as major entertainment.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

AUDIO REVIEW (1 minute)
By Louise Keller

WORLD PREMIERE
Sydney Opera House:
Tuesday April 7, 2009






STAR TREK (2009) (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder, Jennifer Mollison, Eric Bana, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana and Leonard Nimoy

PRODUCER: J. J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof,

DIRECTOR: J. J. Abrams

SCRIPT: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (original TV series by Gene Roddenberry)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Mindel

EDITOR: Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey

MUSIC: Michael Giacchino

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Scott Chambliss

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 7, 2009







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