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Posted on 7/25/10 10:46 PM
This was a film that I believe could have easily failed. Science fiction is one of those genres that are so bound to style and texture to create something unique that the "movie" idea can get lost. Unlike Star Wars that had the consistent hold of George Lucas, Star Trek had other hands in the kitchen. I think for the better. This particular film directed by Nicholas Meyer really benefited from the outside hand coming into the the process. Meyer wasn't super familiar with Star Trek but he was a very old soul so to speak when it came to making movies. And I believe it shows.
This film isn't as typical science fiction. It relies way more on human elements than it does science fiction ones. This movie you could set in many genres and time periods and it would have been just as powerful. Revenge translates well. This movie is no exception. There are a few very large human themes wrapped up here. Revenge, aging, loss and lost time, similar to aging but I think slightly different. It is what makes this movie so enjoyable for me.
Writing - What can I say, writing here was superb. I am not sure how many rewrites this script went through but If I had to guess not nearly as many as films nowadays. There was some spontaneity to it. The attachment between the characters was fit in perfectly. It had a very natural human flow to it all that was really easy to get attached to as a viewer. Given the well established history of the characters it was essential in this movie that the writing capture years of pre-written material. It was also essential to capture even more years of fan's imaginations. They were very delicate and deliberate with the handling of Spocks death as well.
Acting - I miss when men and women starred in movies. These weren't just good actors, they were seasoned. That helps a ton. The core three shipmen Kirk, Spock and Bones have been together so long you would think that it should be easy by now to pull it off. I would think too but there was something different here. It almost seemed that there was a little rust in the motion picture ( and I mean a little ) and that the rust was all worked off for this film. Shattner does what I think is his best or second best acting ever. He embodied the slow, aging, mistake making hero. Once sharp and great but now well off his mark, and knows it. I can't think of any performance of that character that I liked the best ( By that character I mean the old and slow not Kirk specifically ) Ricardo Montalban. Wow... I can't say enough about this man. The best actor in the movie. Seasoned on so many fronts. We benefit from his long career in this film. If you are even remotely familiar with his work you can see him pull together so many aspects of works he has done in this. The director Mr. Meyer helped in this a great deal. We will get to that later. I am a bit of a fan boy so I could go one for pages about the acting here.... I'll concise it up. Kirk and Khan are the show here. They are the two characters you watch. They are the ones that propel and hold the movie together, that is up until the end where Spock and Kirk steal the show. Nimoy, and Shatner's interaction at the end of the movie are one of the most powerful in film ( i think so at least ) and for anyone who loves scenes that portray loss should not miss this one.
Directing - Nicholas Meyer is for sure less of a science fiction man and more of a studied writer/director man. It shows very much here. He directs with a very universal brush. That is exactly what this movie needed. Gene's idealistic view of the future being challenged by a man who wanted proof of what Gene thought the future was. In reality what Meyer was trying to direct was admittedly a Horatio Hornblower movie. He also had a hand in writing the film. Nicholas Meyer's name gets lost a lot. You don't hear "character director" much any more which is a shame. You can attribute a lot of the acting performances in this movie to Mr. Meyer. He is an excellent director of characters. He had a good read on every actor in this movie. He made sure he proded Shattner to redo scenes until Shattner became bored, and more himself, dull and lost. That worked much to the movies benefit. He even does "direct" Ricardo ( I don't think I'd have the stones ) He really tried to push Montaban to tone it down, use his face more and his voice less. This movie has a very "toned down" feel to just about most of it as far as voice and projection goes, which makes the few moments of loud sis boom bah moments even more sis boom bah-ish. All that you can attribute to Mr. Meyers directing.
Effects - Can't talk about sci fi without mentioning the effects. Don't forget back in the day the director took the script and the story boards and put the movie together deciding how much time each of these effect shots were going to be without knowing what they were going to look like. He would have to trust in the effect men to make it according to his and the writers vision. This was done with many great techniques. CGI was just starting out here and it was used very tastfully. This is my absolute favorite for special effect space battles. TOP notch in it's time.
I give this movie a 10 out of 10. One of the few perfect films. And yes I know that it's my opinion and some of you don't consider this a perfect film but thats why I am the one who wrote this review. there isn't one way in which I find this movie lacking. The tension is written into all the right places. The effects don't go ape crap, the directing stays deliberate and focused. The actors really nail everything. I also have a thing for revenge in movies. I feel it is the most powerful emotion to wield in film.
This is the first movie review I have ever written. It is a little scatter shot. I do not read a lot of reviews I just watch a lot of movies and read a lot of interviews. Any feedback on the structure of my review is much welcome. I feel I had much more to say but I do not have the wisdom to condense and fit it all properly.