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).
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.