Thursday, May 7, 2009

Star Trek - The Future Begins Movie Analysis

[No movie spoilers; major LOST spoilers so you've been warned]

Being a huge fan of LOST, I was very much waiting in anticipation to see what J.J. Abrams (director, who I thought did an admirable job of directing Mission Impossible III) and Damon Lindelof (producer, who is also the creative force behind LOST), were going to do with the script written by
Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, who never wrote for LOST but wrote the screenplay to both Transformers movies. Were there going to be any flashbacks or flashforwards while the movie delved deeply into each character? Well, no ... but in a two hour time span, linear storytelling is just as effective as using flashbacks or flashforwards. Would there be good character development or something to do with time travel? Well, yes ... some really good character arcs and of course, time travel. It does all that and more. After seeing the movie, I can say that as a Star Trek fan, the movie rocks. As a LOST fan, you can feel a certain amount of influence the TV show had on the movie.

Back in a Flash
LOST is known of its use of flashbacks and flashforwards to give the viewer a back story to what is character is doing or thinking at any given moment in an episode. It really fleshes out the characters in seeing their journey from where they were to where they are to where they are going. In Star Trek, there are no flashbacks or flashforwards. But even in linear fashion, the Star Trek movie does a great job of elaborating Kirk's upbringing which leads him to the Enterprise. We also see Spock's upbringing as well and his inner conflict of being a child of two worlds. Setting up these earlier scenes allows the viewer to how these events in the past affect the character's decision in the present.

Time Travelling Tales
The most recent season of LOST focuses on time travel. We see our characters jumping forward and backwards in time, seeing things that are often referred to but never seen or circling back to events that we have seen before. Time travel is a plot device used in the new Star Trek movie and while I will not go into details about it, the mere thought of jumping through time and seeing things from a different perspective lends itself well in this movie.

Star Trek - The Humor Begins
One thing that you usually get in an episode is the sly sense of humor that is laced throughout an episode. We often see Hurley taking on the comic relief role with Sawyer there to come up with a unique name for someone (and usually a chuckle from the viewer). The amount of humor found in an often depressing episode of LOST balances out the ying-yang of comedy/tragedy in each episode. The same can be said of the new Star Trek movie: there are several well-timed moments of intended comedy that works well with the story line. The Scotty character comes in towards the latter half of the movie and his character injects a bit of off-the-wall humor that, like LOST, balances out the comedy with the dead serious storytelling.

But make no mistake: the new Star Trek movie is NOT an episode of LOST. The new movie takes everything that fans of LOST enjoy and infuse that sense of wonder, joy and pain we see in the LOST characters into the movie story line. The Star Trek characters that we knew from the Original Series, reborn into the truly Next Generation) drive the story forward, allowing us to see the brighter (and darker) sides of who they are and where they came from.
All of the supporting characters also hit their marks and even when they say their cliched lines (like By Grabthar's Hamme ... oh wait), it sounds almost as if you're hearing it for the first time. With this, along with splashy special effects, effective scoring from Michael Giacchino (who also does the music to LOST) and with lots of eye-popping action, you really can't go wrong with Star Trek.

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