I’ve assembled my four favorite passages from Anthony Lane‘s 5.18 New Yorker review. He follows Variety‘s Todd McCarthy and myself by taking note of James Tiberius Kirk’s mood hair (i.e., veering from dirty blond to blondish red). It’s not a pan, and I wouldn’t agree if it were. But it’s great succulent stuff — the best Lane reviews always are.
Excerpt #1: “This new Star Trek is nonsense, no question (‘Prepare the red matter!’), but at least it’s not boggy nonsense, the way most of the other movies were, and it powers along, unheeding of its own absurdity, with a drive and a confidence that the producers of the original TV series might have smiled upon.”
Excerpt #2: Kirk “is played here by Chris Pine, who struggles with a screenplay, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, that could have been downloaded from a software program entitled ‘Make Your Own Annoying Rebel.’ I thoroughly approved of his bedding an extraterrestrial female with green skin, eco-sex being all the rage two centuries from now, but that is the only downtime afforded by the recklessly rolling plot, although Jim still manages to defy the continuity team and switch hair color from dirty blond to redhead and back again. Don’t worry, he’s still a natural dickhead underneath.”
Excerpt #3: JJ Abrams’s “fondness for the retro is crucial to his non-stop knowingness, with its hints of both hipster and nerd. He gorges on cinema as if it were one of those all-you-can-eat buffets, piling his plate with succulent effects, whether they go together or not. Hence the red ravening beast that pops up on a random planet, clearly left over from the props cupboard of Cloverfield; the man-to-Romulan fistfight borrowed from M:i:3; and, I regret to say, a dose of parallel universe.”
Excerpt #4: “This theme of alternative reality is clumsily worked, and not a patch on its tighter, more alluring, and thus much scarier treatment in Coraline. Its effect here is to saddle us with two Mr. Spocks, one from the vulnerable present and one from the comforting future, and its main purpose, I suspect, is to drag in Leonard Nimoy, who these days makes Bela Lugosi look like Zac Efron, and thus insure that all the Star Trek scholars in the audience will have to hurry home and change their underwear.”