And once again, we have all made it through another work week and are longing for the freedom and relaxation (I hope, anyway!) of the upcoming weekend. With that stated, I guess by now it will be evident what time it is at OneFilmFan…..Friday Spotlight. This week, I will give the actresses a break and cover one of the rising male stars of the new generation, one who has definitely had a rather fast elevation to that peak, particularly thanks to getting a major part in a certain re-boot of a very serious franchise. Therefore, I give you Chris Pine.
I actually discovered recently that I had first seen Pine in the 2006 film, “Smokin’ Aces“, and of course, nothing registered then as I and everyone else who saw the movie were paying attention to the OTHER people starring, lesser known (yeah, right! LOL) people like Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, et al. So let’s jump ahead to the first time I really REMEMBERED the actor, and that of course, was in director J.J. Abrams’ 2009 re-introduction of, and new entry INTO, the world known as “Star Trek“. For me, Pine absolutely surprised the Tribbles out of me (sorry, HAD to say it!)…NAILING the fun, charismatic role that is James Tiberius Kirk. Capturing all the cockiness/self-assuredness of the character, while still most certainly showing Kirk has a conscious, heart, loyalty, and an unwavering sense of what is needed when duty REALLY calls, Pine totally brought to mind a young William Shatner and stepped into those storied shoes with a confidence that has now defined this iconic role AGAIN, and for a new flood of fans. And he has already had the chance to re-visit the character again in 2013’s stunning “Star Trek: Into Darkness“, where he holds his own against another rising acting juggernaut, Benedict Cumberbatch. Between his Hollywood good looks, charisma, and yet down-to-earth real life attitudes, Pine makes the character believable, faults and all, and that, as you all know from reading my other Spotlights, is a quality I personally applaud among these new actors and actresses. Pine draws us in and makes us WANT to invest in this new creation of a classic persona.
The next time I saw Mr. Pine was in the Tony Scott-directed, true-story based 2010 film, “Unstoppable“, where he plays rookie train conductor Will who ends up in quite a mess when, due to an act of negligence in the train yard, one of his company’s massive locomotives decides to go…well…LOCO! Ending up teamed with a veteran engineer Frank (the always fantastic Denzel Washington), it becomes a race against time to prevent the train from derailing and causing some serious damage to a local town it is careening toward. Again, what made Pine stick out to me was the believability factor…HOW he brought out the nature of this newbie, this regular guy, this everyman, to the tracks that, when thrown into one whopper of a predicament, rises to the occasion and uses the skills he’s brought to the mix to assist in stopping a disaster. Next up was the 2012 Action/Comedy “This Means War!” in which he co-starred with Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon. Having the chance to bring back a little James Kirk attitude, cockiness, and bravado to the screen, Pine played FDR Foster, part of an elite (albeit very over-the-top, but in a FUN way) CIA operative duo who are at the peak of their success….and then, after goading one another on, manage to end up courting the same girl (played wonderfully by Witherspoon). The hijinks that ensue as the two vie for her affections, trying to one-up each other while also sabotaging each other’s dates with her, are just plain hilarious and bring such entertainment value to the film, where again, Pine excels. It’s that combo of humor, a subtle (or maybe NOT so subtle) goofiness, yet genuine heart that Pine gives to FDR as a person that honestly has you rooting for him to win the girl from the start. I found it totally entertaining as a film and a blast to watch Pine and Hardy play off each other, as Hardy is yet another young, yet proven, star in his own right.
From there, Pine went on to the aforementioned “Star Trek: Into Darkness” as well as the previously reviewed early 2014 release “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, where he ALSO shows that he can play an iconic character, yet bring it to new life and set it up to be brought to this current movie-going audience. Upcoming projects include the action/comedy “Stretch” with Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, and Patrick Wilson directed by Joe Carnahan, as well as the comedy “Horrible Bosses 2“, the fairy tale adaption of “Into The Woods“, the comedy “Mantivities“, and sci-fi film “Z For Zachariah“. I find myself glad that Pine has several comedies in particular lined up, since I feel this will be a niche for him beyond just establishing himself as only one of the new “action heroes” with “Star Trek” and “Jack Ryan”. All I ULTIMATELY know is, Chris Pine is definitely one to watch. As always, this is for YOUR consideration and comment. Thanks for reading!