Archive for the ‘Chris Pine’ Category

Week Late Review: Star Trek

May 17, 2009


A while ago, I wrote the “This Week In Blockbusters” for Star Trek and indicated my excitement, despite knowing hardly anything about the basic series. Four exams and two beaches later, I finally got to watch it, and it matched and exceed my expectations. Star Trek is one of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen. When the biggest problem I have with it is the way Zachary Quinto stands as Spock (I tried to find a picture. It seems like his chest is stuck out and his arms are bent and pulled back), I know I have a great movie.

Star Trek opens strongly, with an intense action sequence as a gigantic Romulan ship attacks the U.S.S. Kelvin in deep space. Once the captain boards the ship, per their leader Nero’s (Eric Bana) request, he puts a young man named George Kirk in charge. Once all hell breaks loose, Kirk, as the new captain, orders the people on the Kelvin to be evacuated, including his very pregnant wife (played by the lovely Jennifer Morrison) who has just gone into labor. Once Kirk is the last one left, he realizes that he must remain on the ship to divert the Romulans long enough for the evacuees to survive. In his final minutes, as he shoots down missiles pursuing the small escape crafts, he talks to his wife one last time and helps name his son, James.

I did not expect to get chills watching Star Trek. I certainly did not expect the opening scene to pack such an emotional punch. I thought we’d have a space battle, sure, but not a story of such sacrifice and emotional weight. It’s a mythic origin, very much akin to the beginnings of various heroes throughout time (including, I have to say it because I noticed so many similarities, Superman). As I watched this scene, with its pristine special effects and its heroic message, I knew it was going to be great.

We then see the origins of a young Spock, trained in the methods of logical thinking and emotion suppression on the planet Vulcan. This might be more difficult for him than for his peers, since Spock is only half Vulcan; his mother is human (played surprisingly well by Winona Ryder). He is ridiculed by those his age and the leaders constantly underestimate his talents. He is told, “Control your emotions, so that they don’t control you,” and he learns to suppress his humanity, though it sometimes eeks out. When offered the opportunity to attend a school for higher learning “Despite his disadvantage” (aka his human mother), he refuses. He is the first person/Vulcan/living being to ever decline admission.

It’s these two early events that indicated I would love this movie. I knew it would have brains, and I knew it would have great action and special effects, but it also has heart, and I was not expecting that.

As the plot develops, we find out (what most people already know) that Nero has come from the future from the original ‘Trekverse,’ thus creating a tangent and alternate universe (the movie goes into perhaps too-much detail, making it abundantly clear that in this Trekverse, ANYTHING can happen). We also learn why he blows up Federation ships, and why he creates black holes at the core of planets. It works for the story, but the character is very one-dimensional. He’s out for vengeance, and is an evil Romulan. Got it? Good. It’s simple, but Bana plays it capably, since all he has to do is sneer and be evil, and cringe every time he hears the name “Spock.”

And about Spock. Even I got chills seeing Leonard Nimoy reprise his role (that being, future Spock, or as he’s listed “Spock Prime”). It’s great seeing him interact with young Kirk as if they’re old friends (I suppose they are, for one of them), and then later with New Spock. It works well, and serves as a nice tie-in.

Chris Pine plays James Tiberius Kirk very well. I don’t know much about Shatner’s Kirk (except, of course, for…his… stunted… speech), so I can’t compare, but this Kirk is strong, confident, often humorous, but also rebellious and risk taking (something his father was as well, and a quality he is told will work for his benefit). It’s great to see his transformation from a drunkard in a bar to the leader of the newest ship in the fleet (despite it’s slight contrivance). Overall he was very entertaining to watch, and I hope this helps push his career forward, as I’m sure it will.

The movie also made me wish I knew more about Star Trek lore, which I didn’t really think I’d care about. But even I picked up on some of the throwbacks. There’s a, “Damn it man, I’m a doctor not a physicist,” and a “I’m givin’ her all she’s got.” I did some research after seeing it, there are other little fun factoids for Trekkie fans. For instance, there’s a scene where three people sky dive and they’re each wearing different colored shirts. Those familiar with the show will realize one of them isn’t going to survive very long, based solely on his attire.

The movie is also surprisingly funny. There’s a lengthy sequence where Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) continuously injects Kirk with various medicines and antidotes in order to get him onto the Enterprise, all the while Kirk is trying to get to the deck to warn Captain Pike of an impending ambush. Okay, so writing it doesn’t sound that humorous, but it’s worth a few laughs, another thing I didn’t expect from Star Trek.

As I said, this movie exceeded my high expectations, something few movies do. It deserves all the praise it’s getting, especially for making a Star Trek movie that is entertaining and accessible to the general public whether they be Trekkies or those that are dragged there by their boyfriends and think that they hate sci-fi movies. It’s sci-fi at its best, reminiscent of the old Star Wars and a reminder of what the new Star Wars (particular I and II) could have been. J.J. Abrams has directed a fantastic space epic and once again shows his clout in movie-making. Sure the time travel story is a little contrived, and Winona Ryder plays an old lady, but they make it work for a thoroughly entertaining summer blockbuster, and somehow make Star Trek cool.

Score: 8.7/10

UPDATE: Sequel Rumors: Slashfilm has posted an article discussing the guaranteed sequel. Abrams says both William Shatner and Kahn are candidates for characters, though it’s pure speculation at this point.

Friday Estimates: Star Trek Captures $24 Million On Friday For $31 Million Overall!

May 9, 2009

Wow, this news just came in! UPDATE: Saturday Estimates HERE

Alright, so the very early estimate for Star Trek is that it earned a great $24 million on Friday. Adding that to the estimated $7 million that the intergalactic flick found on Thursday night, Star Trek has an early total of $31 million. Here’s the trajectory I’m seeing for this weekend:

Thursday: $7 million
Friday: $24 million
Saturday: $23 million
Sunday: $16 million
TOTAL: $70 million

This exceeds my $67 million prediction, and Paramount has got to be excited by this result. This is, without a doubt, the hugest opening any Star Trek film has ever had. The advertising campaign has paid off, and new audiences were clearly engaged by the reboot. From here, amazing reviews and word-of-mouth will carry Star Trek to success, and this is a major victory for everyone involved!

UPDATE: As expected, Wolverine plummeted in its second weekend, and it’s $8.5 million Friday represents a 76% drop from last Friday. It should stabilize a bit over Saturday and Sunday, but still fall about 65-70%, so a $28 million weekend seems likely. The only other debut, Next Day Air, couldn’t get off the runway, with a very poor first day of $1.4 million. Give the urban comedy $4 million overall. Here are the Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for May 8, 2009
1. Star Trek – $24 million
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $8.5 million
3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past – $3.1 million
4. Obsessed – $2 million
5. Next Day Air – $1.4 million
6. 17 Again – $1.3 million
7. The Soloist – $980,000 million
8. Fighting – $686,000
9. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $675,000
10. Earth – $670,000
11. Hannah Montana The Movie – $575,000
12. State Of Play – $516,000

Let’s here some reactions in the comments! And if you want more up-to-the-minute box office updates and my other film musings, follow me on Twitter!

Weekend Preview: Star Trek Will Definitely Take Off, But Will It Be At Warp-Speed?

May 8, 2009

Trekkies, the time for redemption has finally come. Gone are the days when people have no conception of who Captain Kirk or Uhura are. No longer will people scoff at you when you criticize the atrocity of a show that was Star Trek: Enterprise. No longer will you be the only ones at the office that understand the time-space bending properties of black holes. No longer will you be the only ones in the town with Vulcan haircuts. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t true, but you get my point: Star Trek is cool again! Paramount has worked its tail off over the last few months to wash away the negative, nerdy, frankly lame connotations that the Star Trek franchise has developed over the last few year, and if there’s a film that’s going to succeed in doing so, it is this one. J.J. Abrams’ reimagined Star Trek is so beautifully produced and so lovingly handled. You can tell that everyone involved was really trying to make the best movie they could, and I think that decision will pay off big time. I saw it tonight, and it’s just awesome- the review will come soon. Paramount’s clearly confident about Star Trek, as they’ve advertised the heck out of it and already have a sequel greenlit, and its headed for the easy weekend win.

Comparing Star Trek to X-Men Origins: Wolverine is tricky. To be clear, I do not think that Star Trek is going to open as big as Wolverine did last weekend. Audiences are sure to be skeptical of the outer space franchise after 2002’s disastrous entry Star Trek: Nemesis (which earned a very sad $43 million) and the failed 2003 TV series, and many recession-affected adults are going to hold out to see this one is worth the $10 ticket. The debut of Star Trek actually reminds me a lot of 2005’s Batman Begins. After 1997’s embarrassingly bad Batman And Robin, audiences approached the reboot of the superhero franchise cautiously. Begins started with a humble $48 million during opening weekend on its way to $205 million overall. Star Trek, between its built-in audience and Paramount’s advertising, should be able to top Batman Begins‘ opening weekend, but it won’t hit Wolverine‘s level. That’s not to say that it won’t outgross the quickly falling Wolverine, because (mark my words) it will. Star Trek‘s word-of-mouth is going to be great, and the stellar reviews will convince adults to see the film. Star Trek is beaming into a very wide 3,849 theaters, and including the Thursday night showings, I’m predicting a $67 million weekend and a possible $230 million total, and even though it’s probably way too early to be wondering how big the sequel’s opening will be, I’m a box office analyst, and that’s just what I do! I’m already seeing numbers closer to $100 million…

You’ll have to excuse my extremely biased predictions for Star Trek. I’m still glowing after having watched the movie a few hours ago, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t affect my judgment. I really do believe $230 million is possible, though! But getting back to reality, there’s only one other new release this weekend: Summit Entertainment’s Next Day Air. The poorly reviewed urban drug comedy is clearly targeting an African American audience, a group all too often underestimated by analysts. Next Day Air is only flying into 1,138 theaters, but I’m predicting a pretty solid cume of $7 million.

On Monday, X-Men Origins: Wolverine earned $5.4 million. On Tuesday, it fell 15% to $4.6 million. On Wednesday it fell another 13% to $4 million. What do these statistics tell us? That Wolverine is fading fast. The superhero flick that kicked off the summer is looking more and more like a flash-in-the-pan success than an actual financial win for Fox. With lackluster word-of-mouth, the fanboy effect, and the direct competition of Star Trek, I think Wolverine will fall by a big 68% to $27.2 million in its second weekend. That would put the actionfest around $130 million for ten days, but it’s got no shot at breaking $200 million anymore.

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, last weekend’s romantic comedy counter programming, should enjoy a solid hold this weekend. The Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner film was never going to be huge, but I don’t think Warner Brothers expected it to. A 40% drop would give Ghosts a $9.2 million weekend and $29 million overall. Here are my predictions for the Top 12:

Predicted Top 12 for May 8-10, 2009
1. Star Trek – $67 million
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $27.2 million
3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past – $9.2 million
4. Next Day Air – $7 million
5. Obsessed – $6 million
6. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $4.1 million
7. 17 Again – $3.9 million
8. The Soloist – $3.6 million
9. Hannah Montana The Movie – $2.8 million
10. Earth – $2.5 million
11. State Of Play – $1.9 million
12. Fighting – $1.8 million

How much do you think Star Trek will earn this weekend? Let me hear your predictions in the comments! (For real people, commenting is so easy! If you just click here, you’ll instantly be ready to type in your answer!)

This Week in Blockbusters: Star Trek

May 4, 2009

I always love Summer. Less work, less stress, less responsibility, more movies. It’s the only time of the year I can keep up with new movies and catch up on the ones I missed. Studios love it too, releasing big movie after big movie that bring audiences to the theaters in droves. Many of the movies are mindless entertainment (not a bad thing, they’re often a lot of fun), but every few weeks one of the big ones will deliver intelligence as well as entertainment, and it’s always fun to be surprised.

Though this summer is laden with the sequels, remakes, and re-adaptions, that permeate movies today, there is a surprising amount of original material to look forward to as well. So each week I will write up the big release coming that week and give a little synopsis and my expectations of what it could be. There will be some sequels (Harry Potter, Angels and Demons), some sequels with robots (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Salvation), as well as some brand new originals (Funny People, Up). Most of these, I imagine, will make a lot of money in the recession-proof industry. Some will be good, some will disappoint, but I’ll be happy, because hey, it’s summer.

This week, Star Trek hits theaters nationwide, and geeks everywhere are camping out with Vulcan Ears and Romulan face paint. Now I am a geek, but I am not a Trekkie. I know very little about the Star Trek series, except that William Shatner played Captain Kirk and the ship is called the Enterprise. Having said that, I love good science fiction. I grew up on Star Wars, but for some reason missed the Star Trek bus. I think, perhaps, I was a generation late (even for The Next Generation).

This movie, however, looks like a great way to get into it. It’s a reboot that is faithful to the original. It was created for die-hard fans and casual viewers alike, which I think is important for movies such as this. This allows for it to please everybody, rather than being too unfaithful for the fans or too knee-deep in Klingon terminology for those just finding their inner Trek fan. It looks like an awesome, epic sci-fi tale with action, special effects, and solid characters to boot. Early reviews are great (currently 17 for 17 on Rotten Tomatoes), and I can’t imagine every person who has seen it is a devout follower.

It seems like a truly solid origin story. I trust J.J. Abrams to deliver, seeing as how he produces one of the most interesting and engaging shows on television, which I purposely don’t watch to avoid addiction. Apparently, they’re doing something interesting here: they’re tying it into the ‘old’ universe. I don’t understand it fully, but I know there is time travel involved. Apparently, a villain from current Star Trek continuity (Eric Bana) travels in time to kill a young pre-captain James Kirk (Chris Pine). Much like Back to the Future, this alters time irrevocably and sets the characters on a different course than the one we (by we I mean those that have actually followed the thirty plus years of continuity) have already seen. It’s actually a neat way to handle the reboot, which is always a delicate situation. How do you restart something so beloved without nullifying what has already happened? Do you just make it so it never existed? This strikes a nice balance: both stories are true in different timelines, one feeds right off the other. Fans understand its significance, and newcomers can start from a seemed beginning.

In another awesome way to tie this film into the old series, Trekkie fans are bound to be excited that Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock. In this movie, he’s ‘Old Spock’ come from the future to help ‘New Spock,’ played by Heroes villain Zachary Quinto. Apparently, Spock and Kirk (known to be best friends) don’t get along so well when they first meet. Something tells me this will change as they go through the hardships of space battles together. (it’ll be like a buddy cop movie, with lasers). Even a non-trekkie like myself has heard William Shatner’s broken-hearted “Kaaaaaaahhnnn!” scream as he held his dying friend.

This could be a strong way to start off the Summer blockbuster season, following Wolverine’s wake. Star Trek is getting away with saying it will be released this Friday, May 8th, but it actually comes out Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in many theaters nationwide. Apparently, they thought the Trekkie crowd was too old for a midnight showing. How this counts as a Friday release is beyond me, apparently they can claim it’s Friday in Britain.

Excitement buzz: 8/10.