Tag Archives: Anton Yelchin

Green Room (2016) Retrospective Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, drug use and offensive language
Cast:
Anton Yelchin as Pat
Alia Shawkat as Sam
Joe Cole as Reece
Callum Turner as Tiger
Imogen Poots as Amber
Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker
Macon Blair as Gabe
Director: Jeremy Saulnier

In the Pacific Northwest, teenager Pat (Anton Yelchin) takes part of punk rock band, The Ain’t Rights, at a night and drug club. Their tour to try and get famous fails badly with hatred. Unfortunately, for them, their tour eventually turns into something very nasty when they are witnesses at a crime scene. Since the notorious club owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Strwart), is now on the case of the incident, The Ain’t Rights start to work together to try and escape the club alive and make it back to Washington, D.C., before Darcy finds them.

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Green Room was often wildly praised upon it’s release, called one of the best films of 2016. If you looked at my prior review of Green Room though, you know that I thought it was decent but wasn’t quite loving it. After watching Jeremy Saulnier’s previous movies, Murder Party and Blue Ruin, I decided to give it another shot, as there are some things I quite liked about the movie despite my disappointment with it. Maybe there was something I missed on the first viewing or something, but I loved the movie the second time around. It’s such an effective and brutal thriller, which although is rather straightforward is given such a grim and standout style and infused with so much energy and tension that it really works.

As this is a retrospective review, there are going to be spoilers for Green Room, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out the movie first. Green Room isn’t a movie that requires multiple viewings to understand, it’s not Mulholland Drive or anything. At it’s core, it’s a straightforward thriller and what you see is what you get. However, watching the movie the second time around, I recognised a lot more about what was happening. For example, there’s a scene where one skinhead stabs another, and I only realised watching it a second time that it was to deal with the police when Yelchin’s character made a call about a stabbing. So I have a feeling that my rather mild reaction to the movie came from my mood at the time and so I didn’t get the full experience back then. Green Room is short at around 90 minutes, that already seems like the right length of the movie with the straightforward premise but they really utilise that time incredibly well. The film first quickly established the characters and their situation, not enough that you understand these characters know them that well, but we get to spend enough time with them that we get to know the general idea about what they’re all about. At the point around 17 minutes into the movie, the main characters discover the body, and from that point till the end of the film, Green Room maintains the tension very strongly. Until the third act, the movie is full of a bunch of failed attempts at getting out, with the tension piling on and the much more experienced people closing in. By the time it reaches the last 30 minutes, only 2 of them are left, and it was gratifying seeing the survivors finally adapting to their seemingly impossible situation, and turning the tables on the people after them. Jeremy Saulnier is familiar with having protagonists that aren’t really capable for their situation that they have to deal with. Murder Party has a mild mannered guy who willingly goes to a ‘murder party’ and gets caught by a bunch of deranged killers. Blue Ruin followed a main character who was trying to pull off a revenge despite having no experience at all at killing or violence. Green Room is following a punk band who is going up against highly trained skinheads after willingly performing in front of neo Nazis and coming across something they shouldn’t have seen. Unlike some horror movies, the mistakes that are made by the characters here feel genuine and realistic, not just forced and contrived ways for the protagonists to be held back. The decisions they make aren’t actually necessarily stupid, but really the best that they could come up with in their situation when they’re stressed out and can’t think rationally. Really the only downright stupid thing the characters do in the movie is outright perform “Nazi punks fuck off” in front of a bunch of Nazis (and performing at a Nazi bar in the first place was bad enough). There aren’t many problems with the movie that I can think of aside from the lack of depth from some characters. I guess the ending is a little abrupt, but that wasn’t a huge problem, it wasn’t like there was much else to show in the story. Macon Blair’s character is going to call the police, Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots’s characters made it out alive and the rest of the skinheads are dead. There wasn’t that much else to show.

The cast of Green Room all did great jobs in their roles. You don’t learn a ton of things about the characters outside of a little bit about Pat (Anton Yelchin) and Amber (Imogen Poots). The two actors who shine the most in the movie are Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots. The late great Anton Yelchin gave one of his best performances as the band member who gets the most screentime (and really the only survivor of the band), with his character going through a lot (including his arm pretty much being cut to ribbons). Poots also gives one of her best performances as a skinhead who is stuck in the middle of the situation when her friend Emily is killed, which the band comes across. Throughout the film, Amber is shown to be very capable and dangerous, yet still quite vulnerable in her situation, a really great balance overall. The rest of the band characters played by Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Callum Turner did great as well, they don’t have much to work with, but they really sold the fear that the characters had. I remember being rather underwhelmed by Patrick Stewart’s villain after all the hype that was building up to him. He never had a big moment where he stood out or did anything really significant. However I think I was getting the wrong impression of what he was going to be in this movie. When you hear the idea of Patrick Stewart playing a Nazi skinhead gang leader, you’re immediately thinking about something completely ruthless, intimidating and scene stealing. However like the rest of the characters and the story, he and the rest of the villains all feel grounded. Stewart’s character is seemingly forced to deal with a situation, his actions aren’t driven by hate or pleasure but they’re rather calculated, he’s just calm throughout and really just blows his top a bit for like 5 seconds in like the first act briefly. He’s in command of the whole situation until the third act when he loses control and tries to do something to survive which results in his death. Another standout on the Nazi side of the characters is frequent Saulnier collaborator Macon Blair, he’s a skinhead whom at the end decides to surrender and helps the 2 remaining survivors.

It was great watching Jeremy Saulnier’s direction evolve watching his past 2 films. While Blue Ruin started him off with his distinct style and direction, with Green Room he perfected his style and direction. It’s going to be interesting to see how it changes in Hold the Dark. Like in Blue Ruin, the cinematography is stunning, but that has also improved, he’s filmed so many scenes incredibly well, especially the more thrilling scenes. The whole set design feels great, the movie just has this very grimy and unpleasant vibe which really benefited the movie immensely, since that’s really what it was going for. This film starts with tension in the first act and unlike Blue Ruin which has the tenseness defused in the second act, from the point that Pat finds the body, the atmosphere and tension is maintained throughout right till the end. Even when the film has a scene or two focussing on our protagonists having a quiet moment, or focussing on Patrick Stewart and the neo Nazis, none of the tension is deflated. All of Saulnier’s films has some brutal violence, (again, haven’t seen Hold the Dark yet) but so far this is the most violent of all his movies. The violence that is on screen is brutal and unflinching, likely to provoke a reaction from the audience. The first 30-40 minutes alone had Pat’s arm being cut up to an incredible amount, as well as a Nazi’s belly being sliced open by Amber. And that’s only counting the first 40 minutes of the movie. This is probably one of the most graphic depictions of violence I’ve seen in a movie, though it doesn’t feel overdone or anything like that, it feels appropriate for the tone of the movie.

Green Room I consider now to be a great thriller. Jeremy Saulnier’s previous movies were test runs, but with Green Room he got it all right, with some solid performances, a simple yet effective script, and Saulnier’s unflinching direction. Some of the characterisation could’ve been a little stronger and some depth could’ve been given to the characters, but on the whole, Green Room succeeds at being a brutal and effective thriller, and probably one of the standout films of 2016.

Thoroughbreds (2018) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Cast:
Anya Taylor-Joy as Lily Reynolds
Olivia Cooke as Amanda
Anton Yelchin as Tim
Paul Sparks as Mark
Francie Swift as Mrs. Reynolds
Director: Cory Finley

Childhood friends Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished upper-class teenager who has a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume. Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair eventually bond and hatch a plan to solve both of their problems.

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Thoroughbreds was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. There was quite a lot of buzz for it already but with Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin involved, I was especially hyped for it. Thoroughbreds had actually been out for quite a while in other countries but for some reason didn’t come to New Zealand cinemas. I finally found a way to watch it and having seen it, I can say that it lived up to the hype. Thoroughbreds is a unique and darkly comedic thriller that is really effective and deserves more love and attention.

The script by Cory Finley was originally written for the stage and you can definitely feel that, from the movie being very dialogue driven, to the staging of certain scenes, and it the fact that the movie has title cards separating the film into chapters. Admittedly the movie is a little slow at first but that’s really the only criticism I have. Thoroughbreds is a dialogue heavy movie and the dialogue itself is sharp, strong and really works. It is also a darkly comedic movie, so it’s entertaining despite it being about two girls plotting to murder one of their stepfathers. The script is very well written overall by Finley. Thoroughbreds is about an hour and 30 minutes long, which was a good length overall, aside from the early moments I was fully into the movie.

Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke were absolutely fantastic as the leads, they share perfect chemistry. You really buy them as estranged friends reconnecting, with both of them being similar but different to each other. Cooke’s character doesn’t feel anything and is borderline sociopathic and Taylor-Joy’s character is a narcissist who isn’t quite how she initially appears. It’s interesting watching these characters interact, as they reveal hidden layers of themselves and change over time. While Cooke initially is more the standout at the beginning, as the film progresses Anya really shines as we see more layers to her character and when she makes certain decisions. It’s the little the little subtleties that she shows that particularly makes the performance work so well. The supporting cast are quite good but the stand out is Anton Yelchin. This is sadly the last performance of his career, and honestly this might one of his best performances, he stole every scene he was in. Here he plays a low time drug dealer who Anya and Olivia’s characters blackmail, and Yelchin is very funny and he plays his role so well. He is very much a supporting actor, and you don’t see him a ton, but he was nonetheless great in all of his scenes. All 3 performances were excellent really.

Cory Finley did pretty well for a directorial debut. The cinematography is sharp and really is great. At times the way its staged does almost make it feel like a play, which makes sense considering how the script was already written. The soundtrack is full of beats and other weird noises which only builded up the tension and vibe of the whole movie. As the film continues on you can really feel the tension growing, which of course is helped by the script, dialogue and performances.

Thoroughbreds has a great script, fantastic performances from Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin and is a solid directorial debut by Cory Finley. I feel like this little unique movie will become more beloved as it gains more attention. At the moment I think it’s one of the best films of the year and I definitely think that it is worth checking out.

Green Room (2016) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, drug use and offensive language
Cast:
Anton Yelchin as Pat
Alia Shawkat as Sam
Joe Cole as Reece
Callum Turner as Tiger
Imogen Poots as Amber
Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker
Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Members (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat) of a punk rock band and a tough young woman (Imogen Poots) battle murderous white supremacists at a remote Oregon roadhouse.

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Green Room was a movie I heard a lot about, countless people were praising this movie. The premise had potential and it had a good cast with Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart. It’s the first film by Jeremy Saulnier that I’ve seen, and from what I’ve heard he is a great director. Having seen Green Room, I can say that because of its excellent direction, it is a pretty solid movie overall. However I think I might be missing out on something, as aside from that aspect, this movie wasn’t that great to me.

Green Room’s plot isn’t really anything special. A group of protagonists are stuck in a room with the antagonists trying to break into that room and kill them. It has a very simple plot but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With that said, I must’ve been missing something on this movie because not a lot of it really connected with me. I just really wasn’t that interested in the movie, plot or characters to be perfectly honest. The characters are fine and do their jobs but they aren’t that interesting or engaging. I only really started somewhat engaging with the movie when the characters are put in the Green Room situation, and even then I wasn’t always paying that much attention. Not to say that this movie is boring because it wasn’t (aside from a lot of the first act), but I only really payed attention whenever it was an ‘action’ sequence, and considering this is a thriller, I feel like I should be more engaged in the movie throughout, even when nothing is happening. The writing isn’t bad, it’s just okay, it’s the writing of a typical above average thriller.

The characters really weren’t really that great or interesting but the acting in this movie is generally good. The main cast weren’t all on the same level, the best of them were Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots, those two were really good in their roles. Patrick Stewart plays the lead of the neo-nazi gang. He is good in the movie but he didn’t really leave as much of an impression as I thought he should. Stewart acts his role very well but I feel like he should’ve been presented as being more threatening than he actually ended up being because aside from him being played by Patrick Stewart, ultimately I barely remember his character.

While the plot and story didn’t really interest me that much, I will praise the direction by Jeremy Saulnier, it really is the reason to see this movie. The cinematography is excellent, every scene is framed greatly, this movie just looks perfect. I’d even go so far as to say that his direction is flawless. This film also doesn’t hold back, when it’s violent, it is really violent, and the intense scenes are very tense. So I have to give Saulnier a lot of praise, because his direction is what makes the movie work.

Green Room is okay, but it’s the fantastic direction that moves this movie from being okay to being decent. I didn’t love this movie like other people did, writing-wise this movie just didn’t connect with me that much, or interest me for that matter. Maybe a rewatch might change things but from the first watch, it was decent, that’s it. While Green Room wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, I think it’s worth a watch if you’re interested. The direction, as I said, was truly excellent, so if there’s anything that Green Room has done it has shown off Jeremy Saulnier’s talents, and it has interested me enough to check out his other movies.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Review

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Star Trek Beyond

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Idris Elba as Krall
Director: Justin Lin

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

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I really liked the more recent Star Trek films but I had some doubts about Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin was known for the Fast and Furious movies which were enjoyable but not really what you would expect to direct a Star Trek movie. Also the first trailer really didn’t impress me. However, I can say now after seeing it, Star Trek Beyond was a ton of fun. The acting and story were just as good, and the action was quite entertaining. Definitely check it out when you get a chance.

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

This film is quite different from the previous 2 films, at least in terms of their setting. This time they are stranded on a planet. The beginning of the film is a little slow, not bad but could’ve been paced better. After that though, the film is better paced. This movie really does get better and better as it goes along. You might think that as this is done by the person who did the Fast and Furious movies, that there wouldn’t be any character development or anything. Not true though. The characters are just as well written as in the previous movies, and they really do have great moments of interactions, all of them are done excellently.

Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

The previous cast returns once again, they play off each other so well, especially Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban. The previous movie had a lot of Kirk interacting with Spock, here though it’s Spock and Bones, and they are absolutely fantastic. I really liked Sofia Boutella in this movie, she is great in the action scenes and definitely a memorable part of the movie. Idris Elba plays the villain in this movie. At first Krall wasn’t that interesting. He wasn’t bad, he worked for the film and Idris Elba is by no means wasted in this role. However he gets a lot better as you find out why he was doing what he was doing in the final act. I wished that he was given development much earlier in the movie however. Overall, he was on the same level as Nero in Star Trek 09, fine villain, nothing that spectacular, especially where you compare him to Khan in Into Darkness. However Krall is still a solid villain.

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The style definitely feels different from Abrams’s Star Trek and it definitely feels it. It works well but I will admit that personally, it felt like it was missing Abrams’s flare and style, which is sorely missed. The action is good but occasionally especially in the fight scenes, a lot of close up shaky cam is used. The CGI for the most part works, though there was a few parts where it looked a little off, that’s mostly in one scene involving one city, the rest of it looked great. The soundtrack is once again done by Michael Giacchino, and it’s also well suited for the movie and works quite well.

Star Trek: Sin Límites

If you liked the previous Star Trek films, you’ll probably like this film as well. Star Trek Beyond has great performances from its talented cast, the action is enjoyable, and the story was written quite well. I personally like the other Star Trek movies more, probably for the most part due to Abrams’s direction but I think that this is still quite a good movie, and definitely worth checking out some time.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) Review

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Alice Eve as Lieutenant Dr. Carol Marcus
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Peter Weller as Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Christopher Pike
Director: J.J. Abrams

The crew of the Starship Enterprise returns home after an act of terrorism within its own organization destroys most of Starfleet and what it represents, leaving Earth in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) leads his people (Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana) on a mission to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction (Benedict Cumberbatch), thereby propelling all of them into an epic game of life and death.

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JJ Abrams’s Star Trek was loved upon its 2009 release by regular audience members and Star Trek fans alike. Yet for some reason some people really didn’t like its 2013 sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness. I personally liked it slightly more than the previous movie, in regards to its villain and some of the action. But for the most part it is pretty similar to the original movie, same great actors and characters, similar action, it’s overall a pretty good sequel to the original film.

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Now unlike a lot of Star Trek movies where it goes to many different planets and sites “Going where no man has gone before”, it doesn’t happen that much here, aside from a couple of brief scenes, it mostly takes place upon ships, which I guess doesn’t make it that much of a Star Trek movie. The plot (or dark tone for that matter) isn’t something that you’d expect from a Star Trek movie. However I’m still fine with this, then again I’m not that huge of a Star Trek fan. It does have plenty of callbacks to previous Star Trek films, especially Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, almost to the point of parody but I still liked them, even for as cheesy or ridiculous they may seem looking back. After seeing this movie a few times, I did notice that there were some plot holes and conveniences in the story, but nothing major to take away from the overall experience.

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The cast from the previous film returns and once again were great here, particularly Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, who really own their roles. Both of these actors share great chemistry and you can easily see their friendship. All the other returning cast members did a great job as well, which consists of Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg and many others. I also really liked Benedict Cumberbatch as the main villain. Eric Bana did a fine job in the previous movie as a villain but he was sort of restricted and just wasn’t as memorable. Cumberbatch has much more to work with however and was a lot more memorable, every time he’s on screen he conveys such a presence. It helps that his character was presented as being such an unstoppable force, and really had a lot more focus on him.

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JJ Abrams always makes a great looking movie and Star Trek: Into Darkness is no exception. The visuals and effects are on point and are truly done great, it’s so easy to get pulled into this movie. Yes, there is plenty of lens flares once again but I didn’t really mind them, that’s part of Abrams’s style. The action was once again great and even better than the previous film. The music by Michael Giacchino was once again really good and it helped elevate the scenes. On the technical side at least, Star Trek: Into Darkness is directed perfectly.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness is in my opinion another great addition to the Star Trek series. It has the action, performances and story that the previous movie had. It may have a couple of plot holes and conveniences in the script at times but it’s not enough to lessen the enjoyment that I had watching this movie. With Star Trek Beyond, it’s hard to see how Justin Lin can make it as good as or better than Abrams’s two Star Trek movies but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Star Trek (2009)

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Star Trek

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Spock
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Karl Urban as Bones
John Cho as Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Chekov
Bruce Greenwood as Pike
Eric Bana as Nero
Director: J.J. Abrams

On the day of James Kirk’s birth, his father dies on his ship in a last stand against a mysterious alien time-travelling vessel. Twenty-five years later, Kirk (Chris Pine) has grown into a young troublemaker. Challenged by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to realize his potential in Starfleet, he comes to annoy instructors like young Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto). Suddenly, there is an emergency at Vulcan and the newly commissioned USS Enterprise is crewed with promising cadets like Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Hikaru Sulu (John Cho), Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and even Kirk himself, thanks to Leonard McCoy’s (Karl Urban) medical trickery. Together, this crew will have an adventure in the final frontier where the old legend is altered forever as a new version of it begins.

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Making reboots and remakes are often quite risky, they may be great or they may fail in incredible degrees; to sum up whether it succeeded or not, I’ll say that whenever I think of good reboots I think of Batman Begins and Star Trek. With an engrossing world, great performances and entertaining action scenes, it is one of my favourite Sci-Fi action movies.

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Star Trek is always entertaining from the opening credits to end credits. I’ll be honest, before watching this movie I never watched any form of Star Trek media, this was my first Star Trek movie; a good thing about this movie is that you don’t have to be a fan of Star Trek to enjoy it; you can quickly pick up what the world is like and doesn’t rely on prior knowledge to understand what’s going on. The dialogue between the characters is written incredibly well and is well suited to the characters that the actors played.

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The actors do a really good and respectable job portraying these famous and beloved characters. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are particularly great in their roles. After seeing Chris Pine play Kirk, I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role; he was like a good new generation version of William Shatner. Zachary Quinto was as great as Spock in all of his scenes and I could really buy him as being a half human and half Vulcan. I also particularly like the contrast between the Kirk and Spock and these two actors did great jobs at showing their differing personalites. Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg and Bruce Greenwood were also really good in their roles. Eric Bana played the villain and I thought did a pretty good job, he wasn’t anything special but I thought that he managed it quite well. There is also an appearance from a (Original) Star Trek cast member that I won’t spoil, should you be one of the few who hasn’t watched this movie yet. The actors are all very aware of the characters that they are playing and they delivered the well written dialogue well.

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I loved the special effects in this movie; everything is on such a large scale. One thing that is often talked about with this movie is the lens flares; Abrams often uses it in his movies but I felt like it worked for Star Trek. The action scenes are filmed spectacularly, particularly when it involved the Enterprise. The soundtrack by Michael Giacchino also added a lot to the movie.

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Star Trek is a great movie for fans of Star Trek and people new to that universe. J.J. Abrams did a great job with this movie as well as its sequel (Star Trek Into Darkness) and hopefully more sequels. These two movies give me great hope for Star Wars Episode 7 to be a great movie. Check out Star Trek when you can if you haven’t seen it already, it is a fun and exciting experience.