Film Friday: ‘Star Trek’ & ‘Adoration’

by W. Andrew Powell

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in Star Trek

Opening this weekend in theatres, J.J. Abrams directs the Star Trek reboot, starring a young cast of go-getters as sci-fi’s most well-known crew. Also debuting, Atom Egoyan‘s Adoration stars Devon Bostick as a confused orphan looking for answers about his parent’s lives.

Star Trek
Look it up in the dictionary, and one word sums up the entire Star Trek experience in a nut shell. “Trek: To make a slow or arduous journey.”

Few franchises have put fans through so much, with as many mixed returns, as Star Trek. And yet, the films and countless TV series have made words like phasers, warp speed, and tribbles, colloquial expressions heard throughout the galaxy. Forgiving even half of the terrible films put out in the name of Trek, it’s still easy to spot the franchise’s golden ideals, and clever concepts, which actually explains why we reboot wasn’t such a bad idea in the first place.

Director J.J. Abrams, who worked his magic with Mission Impossible 3, reinvigorates the Star Trek universe with a fresh faced young cast, headed by Chris Pine as the one and only James T. Kirk. Boldly going with him is Heroes star Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura, and John Cho as Hikaru Sulu, to name a few.

Bumping the action up to a whole new level, the new film shows the origins of the first Enterprise crew while a Romulan captain by the name of Nero, played by Eric Bana, plots the destruction of Earth and Starfleet.

What may surprise some people is the rivalry that is given new life in this reboot, which has Spock and Kirk at each others throats. of course, considering how different these characters are, that makes a lot of sense. Kirk is the freewheeling adventurer, while Spock is an emotionally reserved, logical scientist.

As fans no doubt know, it is this rivalry that will lead to a great friendship, this time it comes together as they work to save the day from this Romulan threat.

What I found amusing about the film was the way it has been promoted. The studio has focused all the attention on the cast and the visuals, rather than the story, probably in the hope that would-be fans won’t be turned off by the inherent geekiness of the storyline. The only problem I had was that this made the trailers disappointing, at least to me, as I just wanted to see what the story was going to be about. As it stands, the trailers make the film look like fluffy special effects, and pretty faces.

Critics have come out well in favour of the new franchise title though, and are giving it glowing reviews.

“I can name exactly three and a half things Star Trek gets wrong,” James Rocchi wrote for MSN Movies, “and I can name about a thousand that Abrams and his cast and crew get absolutely, pitch-perfect, elegantly right.”

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was one of only a few critics who pointed out some of the big flaws in rebooting the franchise.

“The Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action,” he wrote.

Atom Egoyan’s latest film is a convoluted tale of a teenager trying to discover the truth about his parent’s deaths.
Devon Bostick is Simon, a sad-looking young man who fabricates a complicated back story for his parents with the help of his teacher Sabine, played by Arsinée Khanjian. Scott Speedman plays Simon’s uncle Tom, who has been raising Simon since that fateful day.

While I’m not usually a fan of Egoyan’s films, and I do have a lot of issues with Adoration, I was still impressed by the film. It recycles a lot of Egoyan’s work in other films, and I’m incredibly tired of his wife Khanjian starring in all of his films, but Bostick and Speedman are quite good, as is Rachel Blanchard, who plays Simon’s mother.

The biggest problem is wading through the contrived events in Simon’s life, and dealing with the sometimes jarring editing, which sucks some of the emotion from this otherwise taunt drama.

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