May 13th: Reboot and prosper


104. Star Trek (JJ Abrams, 2009)

Where to start, how do you review a film that has already been bombarded from all angles by those most acidic of reviewers on the internet – the fanboys, or in this case ‘Trekkies’? Well I’ll start by making it a little more personal. Star Trek films were the preserve of a special spot in my house as a youngster – the Sunday afternoon film. A spot they shared with the Richard Lester Musketeer films and The Pink Panther series. Films that were shared experiences with my father and brother. The acid test of any new Star Trek film is whether or not it would fit seamlessly into that niche. This film achieves that brief all too easily. It is so assured in everything that it does and the performances are almost all spot-on, the sad exception being Simon Pegg’s out of place Scotty. It moves at a rapid pace for a Trek film, it has a memorable villain in Eric Bana’s Nero and perhaps most importantly it allows a new audience to connect with these old characters without condescending or confusing them. And that has to be the overarching success of the film, the money is rolling in and it is because they have found the right balance to appeal to a new generation of viewers. I said in my Mission Impossible III review that JJ Abrams has the current aesthetic nailed down and this continues to be true; where Michael Bay makes my eyes hurt, Abrams manages to ‘do’ frenetic without ever going overboard. This is an impressive and assured start and the money being made suggests that the U.S.S. Enterprise has got a pretty big journey ahead of it.

May 10th: The spy who waterboarded me.


101. Mission Impossible III (JJ Abrams 2008)

The Cruiser’s action juggernaut picks up its third director capable of spectacular visual arrangements. This time though, things are getting nasty. In the post-Bourne world where Abu Ghraib is still fresh in peoples minds and films like Taken are smashing up the box office then you need to get a little bit dirty. This time the ‘fatality free’ Ethan Hawke is gone, this time they’ve messed with his wife and he wants some serious revenge. Torture and international arms deals come in to play (recalling both Taken and Lord of War) and the Cruiser is ready to play hardball. Although the whole thing is pretty forgettable stuff, whilst it is on screen the action sequences in particular are energetic and intelligent. There’s a clarity to the choreography and it doesn’t get bogged down in exposition at any point.