2016) – Director: Justin Lin. Writers: Simon Pegg, Doug Jung,
Roberto Orci, Patrick McKay & John D. Payne. Based on the
television series by Gene Roddenberry. Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary
Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yeltsin,
Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslima, Lydia Wilson, Deep Roy,
Melissa Roxburgh, Anita Brown, & Doug Jung. Color and 3D, Rated
PG-13, 122 minutes.
I have a confession
to make: I’m a “Trekkie.” I have a complete set of action
figures, starships for my Christmas tree and a Next
Generation captain’s shirt. Though I don’t attend
conventions, I followed the original Star Trek series, Next
Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine and
will probably follow the upcoming Star Trek Discovery next
year. And yes, I’ve seen all 12 previous movies, with this 13th
installment having both things to applaud and to wonder about.
We begin in the
third year of the “five-year mission” and while relations between
members of the crew are becoming strained, they’re heading for some
“R and R” on an amazing artificial world dubbed “Yorktown,”
described by Scotty (Pegg) as “a snow-globe with a city in it.”
That’s putting it mildly. Yorktown is a gargantuan structure where
skyscrapers sprout up, down and sideways, depending on which walkway
one is using. Mass transit flashes by on a single rail and all “cars”
fly (Jetsons, anyone?). A gate opens and the Enterprise flies
straight into a tube leading to an internal docking point.
Tiberius Kirk (Pine) is being offered a Vice-Admiralty and Commander
Spock (Quinto) is considering leaving the Enterprise for New Vulcan
to continue the work of his father. Meanwhile, the crew gets relief
from interstellar travel to meet and greet friends and family.
A distress call is
received from a planet in an “Unstable Nebula” and the Enterprise
is assigned to investigate. Forgive me, but I have always believed
that nebulae were clouds of gas and dust illuminated by ionization,
sometimes the result of a supernova, and where stars are born. All
are expanding and none are truly what would be called stable. This
one is more crammed with craggy rocks than the asteroid field in Star
Wars V–The Empire Strikes Back, and looks
more like an exploded planet than a star. But … this is science
Once past the
nebula, the Enterprise is attacked by a huge swarm of jagged, pointy
ships that easily punch holes in its bulkhead and discharge hordes of
reptilian fighters. (Where are the Enterprise’s shields?) They’re
looking for an ancient artifact called the Abronath that Kirk tried
to offer to another alien race that looks like lions but are the size
of pugs as a peace offering. This artifact is wanted by the fearsome
Krall (Elba) to complete (what else?) the ultimate weapon to wipe out
humanity. (Gee, that’s original.) It remains hidden until a traitor
is unmasked, the alien Kalara (Lydia Wilson), who reveals the hiding
place in the tentacles forming her headdress. The swarm of pointy
ships slice and dice the Enterprise like an inter-galactic blender,
the crew is taken hostage, the officers use escape pods and the ship
crash lands on the planet Altamid.
Lieutenant Uhura (Saldana), and Chekov (Yelchin) are captured, but
Sulu and Chekov later escape. Spock is impaled by debris when the
escape pod carrying him and Doctor “Bones” McCoy (Urban) crashes.
Thank goodness he had the doctor with him. Scotty lands near the edge
of a cliff and meets Jaylah (Boutella), a skunk-striped alien who is
also stranded. She leads him to her home, the old, warp-4 starship
Franklin, formerly commanded by Balthazar Edison.
The dilemmas facing
the heroes when they reunite on the Franklin are how to rescue Uhura,
restart a grounded starship, and stop Krall and his minions from
Though it sounds
exciting, for Trekkies, there’s a lot of “been there and done
that.” The cinematography is darker than a Thomas Cole painting
(sometimes it’s difficult to see what’s happening), and the
science credibility goes in and out of the fantastic. For everyone
else, it’s a fast-moving picture with lots of action, relieved only
in spurts by character development. Again, for Trekkies, it was good
to see Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu and Chekov growing into the
characters we know and love from the original TV series, right down
to Doctor McCoy’s line, “In a pig’s eye!” Only Zoe Saldana
has not grasped the majesty of being Uhura. I found it rather
hilarious that the song “Sabotage,” performed by the Beastie
Boys, is used to disorient the enemy fleet and more than a
little strange that Spock receives his own death notice as Ambassador
But it was good
that, in this 50th Anniversary year, the film was dedicated to the
late Leonard Nimoy and simply, “For Anton,” the late Anton
Yeltsin. Rating: 3½ out of 5 Martini glasses. Did you know? Pine's grandmother as Anne Gwynne, Universal actress and World War II pin-up.
Surya, which means
“sun” in Hindi, is doing well in its new locale. Its previous
site at 302 Bleeker St. closed in 2012 as a result of rent increases
and damages from Superstorm Sandy.
Inside, all is
golden, with tasteful, minimal ornamentation – framed photographs
of the past, mirrors and statutes of Ganesha and elephants.
A young lady greeted
me at the door and led me to a table where Shradha, my server,
presented me with the menu and took my cocktail order. I chose the
“Summer Delight Cocktail,” made with cucumber-flavored vodka,
mango juice and cloves. Not too strong, it was an appropriately named
Indian” is how Surya describes their menu, from a time when
England, Portugal, Spain and The Netherlands influenced Indian
cuisine with their own.
A young man brought
out the papadum (a bread like a giant potato chip) with mint and
tamarind chutney. Sometimes mint chutney can be spicy, but not this
time, and tamarind is always sweet. I chose as my wine a 2014 Clos Du
Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape, a wine I haven’t had in a long
time and one that goes with Indian food.
My first course was
the smoked tomato soup – smoked ripe tomatoes and cinnamon sticks
garnished with sour cream and cilantro. It was delightful, as I could
taste the smokiness of a wood fire.
Next to arrive were
two of Surya’s baby lamb chops, wrapped in aluminum foil for easy
handling, nicely charred in the tandoor oven, and tender, marinated
in yoghurt and served with a warm special house sauce and side salad
of shredded cabbage and arugula.
My main dish was one
I’ve never seen before on an Indian menu: Halibut Moli, sautéed
halibut in a ginger and coconut sauce., served with Basmati rice. It
was amazing, the sauce went well with both the fish and the rice, as
I spooned out some of the rice to my plate and spoon cut the fish
onto the rice. Then I added some of the sauce onto the rice and added
a slice of the Onion and Black Pepper Kulcha (a flat bread made in
the tandoor). Everything was deliciously balanced in flavor, nothing
was particularly spicy and I would recommend this dish to anyone
prejudiced against Indian cuisine.
The dessert menu
featured several of the desserts I know and love but one stood out.
While I’ve had pistachio, chocolate, and plain Kulfi, I never
tasted Malai Kulfi. I enjoyed this true departure from the original
recipe with chocolate, raspberry and strawberry sauces artfully
painted on the serving dish. I followed this with Masala Chai (hot
spiced tea) and since they did not have evaporated milk I drank it
Surya proved to be
an intriguing choice, and though I like my Indian food to be more
traditionally Indian, this colonial style is sure to please even the
most spice-o-phobic New Yorkers.