No jokes. Seriously good.
So, I won’t labour the point. All you need to know is… it was worth the wait. The long wait. It was very much worth it.
At one point, half way through, I thought to myself: “Cripes, it’s actually even better than I hoped it could be.”
Well, the impact in the cinema is a mighty wallop.Most pleasingly, Mr Abrams makes a point of frequently teaching you his new language for Star Trek – that it is a new one. The way he’ll scrape a camera along a spaceship or zoom in on some battered shuttle skid or a let the kitchen spot lights all over the bridge of the Enterprise bleed atmospherically all over the lens – he’s saying very pointedly: “This is visceral, mate, innit?”
Lots of nice touches everywhere. Lots of details to bring it to life and to nod to classic Trek. Lots of entertaining amusing things and entertaining exploding things and a whole heck of a lot of trying to make it feel more like Star Wars. And no one lets down the cast. Even Scotty’s accent.
I cheered at Bones. He was the star of the characters for me. But Spock’s wig didn’t detract in the end and Kirk is completely likeable as a lead; not annoyingly pretty. Though he is.
Of course, the end is usually a let down from the beginning. It all got a little too neatly wrapped up and Getting The Gang Together – almost too hasty an edit, to ensure it was punchy. And they did a clever amount of stuff in two hours. But it really could have been an extra ten or even twenty minutes long and left a couple more thoughtful emotional transitions in it. In the cold light of day, forced to criticise it, I’d say that. Simply because it was so chuffing GOOD. It’s own bench mark was very high.
Of course, it’s still Star Trek. It’s brilliant fun. But does the Star Trek world still make sense now? Not 100% sure. ..But, like, who cares?
The way they literally ‘re-boot’ things is jolly clever for all the writers, but it might grate with fans once they calm down. But it makes sense.
And my final actual criticism – perhaps my only one – is the score. Very Saturday morning picture show. And as romantic as that description sounds, the music is simply unsubtle. Not nearly as subtle as the film. It lacks emotional nuance – and there are no beautiful set themes. It’s bordering on the poor, in the context of this outstanding film.
James Horner’s work for the second two Trek movies, back in the day, is the very best of cinematic space music – vast, but intimate. Poised. Downright moving in places, without being obvious or hokey.
I feel a heel saying it, but Michael Giacchino’s score is emotionally flat. Which is a great shame, as his work on Lost is classy stuff – stylistically distinctive and a perfect fit for the show. This did all the competent orchestral stuff but was wallpaper. Sorry, Mike – JJ might have over-directed you there.
The piece of music they used on the third outstanding trailer was less intricate than Horner’s work but as an emotional motif that simply built up, it was great – but it didn’t seem to appear in the film. It was very direct emotionally and would have been a good take-home musical connection.
But for example, when we saw the Enterprise for the first time, there was no romance, no mystery, no otherworldlyness, no… wonder. Just wallop. Just Ooh Isn’t It Dramatic This Big Spaceship stuff. Music I’ve forgotten.
So, a gripe. But only because the film sets such a high standard.
Can’t wait to go see it again, obviously.