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For the last seven years fans have been wondering how we’d recover from the disappointment that was Star Trek: Nemesis, the film that broke the even/odd scheme we’d come to rely on. For everything that J.J. Abrams has done right in Hollywood, had he done enough to take over one of the oldest and most beloved franchises in the industry? Could the writers, actors, director, and studio withstand the undying fanatical cries from the devoted fanbase? Could Star Trek actually become relevant again after a prematurely canceled prequel series and two straight disappointing Next Generation-headlining films? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, a resounding “Yes” as the forty-plus year old franchise is reborn and revitalized under the direction of a capable director, excellent casting, and an excellent story.

All the gushing aside, Star Trek isn’t a perfect film, but its many hits almost completely negate its misses. For every gaping plot hole we get a shout out to the original series or a great line of dialog. For every canon-bucking event, we get pitch-perfect casting and an excellent rapport between characters we’ve known and loved.

The most daunting aspect of the new film would be how to fill the shoe’s of some of sci-fi’s most iconic characters including, but not limited to, Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, Scotty, etc. The entire cast is fleshed out well with even smaller supporting rolls like Chekov (Anton Yelchin) getting enough meat and potatoes for the audience to fully understand the character. Enough can’t be said for Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, he isn’t trying to fully emulate the late DeForest Kelly, but his perfect delivery of classic lines, demeanor, hatred for the “green-blooded hobgoblin” all sink in so well with the audience.

A lot has been said about Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk, Quinto’s performance as the emotionally troubled, younger Spock works so well in the middle-stages of the film as a dramatic event really tests the half human/half Vulcan. Pine’s performance as the womanizing, eff-authority Kirk is just what you would imagine. We already know Kirk has a history of disregarding orders from a superior (as seen in Star Trek III), and it becomes fully realized how very good he is when we finally see his solution to the Kobayashi Maru test.

The rest of the cast is filled out nicely with Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, and the stunning Zoe Saldana as Uhura. A welcome addition to the cast is Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike who’s character is fleshed out nicely compared to what we knew of him from the original, unaired Pilot, and subsequent TOS episode “The Menagerie”.

The aforementioned script issues and underwhelming menace don’t detract too much from the overall picture, however keen observers will blow open the fallacies and breakdown of basic logical thinking, but, honestly, you’re having too much fun to care. Even after repeated viewings you’re more than willing to let a few things slide as you gear up for the next set-piece, the next joke, the next overwhelmingly cool CGI shot that modernizes and energizes the film.

The thing about Star Trek is its exciting, from the moment it begins with Nero’s (Eric Bana) attack on the USS Kelvin, to the closing scene of the Enterprise warping away, its never tedius, the two hour runtime flows along, never ebbing, always keeping your eyes glued to the lens-flared screen and still provoking you like no Star Trek film has since The Undiscovered Country, or possibly First Contact.

It seems almost generic these days to call Star Trek a hip reboot of a successful franchise, and if there’s a less cliché term, please use it, but Abrams Star Trek adventure is just that, an adventure, a continuing voyage of the wagon train to the stars where heroes do exist, enemies lurk, and the faithful crew of the Federation flagship keeps us protected, even 40 years later.

Cloverfield is not what you expect, well, not what you fully expect after seeing the trailers, reading the hype, and see the polarized opinions of the film pop up in the mainstream media. Yes, this is a monster movie, told from the perspective of a constantly whittled down number of party-goers who film their escape from Manhattan after an uninvited guest appears and crashes the festivities. The movie is so much more though, it’s filled to the brim with excitement, in a barrage of non-stop-thrills, seemingly coming one after another for 80 minutes.


Its like the ultimate monster movie told from the ultimate perspective, one of the fearful inhabitants of the city being rampaged, this movie just wouldn’t work any other way. If told from a third-party perspective it would just be another King Kong or Godzilla or similar monster movie with the audience clamoring for scientific explanation, resolution, logic, study, and the ultimate happy ending, you get none of these with Cloverfield, instead you’re treated to a unique film, told from an unique perspective that shines as one of the finest cinema experiences you’ve had in the young year, and possible in the last couple.

From the sheer ecstatic atmosphere seeing Transformers for the first time last July, Cloverfield presents a similar experience with a packed theater, an audience who was truly thrilled, surprised, and enveloped into the film. You don’t see this more than a few times a year in the jaded world of cinema we live in today, and when a film can embark so many different emotions from the audience, you have a true work of, dare I say it, art.


The film, again, is told from the perspective of a group of twentysomethings at a going away party for one of their friends. As the party winds down a series of earthquakes shake the city, and after a curious few journey outside do they see the beginnings of the longest night of their lives as the trailer’s money shot comes into focus and the head of the Statue of Liberty lands, conveniently, at their feet. As a member of the audience you become one of these party people, just struggling to survive as the populous borough is terrorized by this creature.

First time director Matt Reeves means business too, a sort of Joss Whedon type of business where main characters are as disposable as pieces of notepaper and it becomes nearly impossible to determine who will make it to the end of the film, if anyone. This is where a lot of the movie’s sheer thrill comes into play, each one of our main protagonists is beaten, battered, and bleeding as we approach the film’s main climax, and after a truly rocking scene at a military hospital, it becomes apparent that no one is safe.


There’s so much to like about Cloverfield it seems also pointless to find fault with the film, but the camera angle, as immersive as it is, is bound to turn off a lot of viewers because many will perceive it as a gimmick, and others will see this just as a Blair Witch meets Godzilla rip-off, too naïve to realize its so much more.

Those seeking the Hollywood ending or atypical plot devices explaining everything that’s going on will be simply disappointed. The film is about six hours of these people’s lives, that’s it, hardly ever do we get any additional information, and when you do, its in passing from military members who are simply trying to fend off the creature and get out of the city themselves. There’s a certain suspension of disbelief you need to maintain throughout the entire film, but if you do, the rewards billowing from the experience will leave you talking about the movie for days, weeks, even months until its pending DVD release.