It was advertised as being “not your father’s ‘Star Trek,'” and well they are right. I’ve seen my fair share of the original series, a good bit of “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise,” in addition to all the prior 10 films….
I tell you in all confidence and comfort that this movie trounces all of them for good reason too.
The movie serves an origin tale to the original series that starred William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. The opening sequence is a quick, heavily dramatic, violent and bittersweet chain of events that propel the rest of the movie and serve as our first introduction to James T. Kirk. The story follows Kirk through his troubling antics as a child and later hijinxs as Starfleet’s rebellious leader. The big threat is a renegade Romulan (like Vulcans, but not) named Nero who well has a huge scary ship and uses it to decimate planets, and Earth is on his hit list. But there’s a hitch….. He’s from the future!
Director J.J. Abrams knows how to shake up an established saga or genre (Mission: Impossible III or producing Cloverfield) and time travel is something he knows a bit about (“Lost” anyone?) The plot point surrounding Nero alone will explain what many already know… the time line is altered. Is that to say all the adventures we grew up on never happened? Not at all, they’re all on DVD, plus the film acknowledges that the timeline we know of DID happen. A new book with the same characters is about to written, however. So this DOES mean that we’ll see our beloved Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Scotty, McCoy, Uhura, and Chekov in brand new adventures, and if its anything like this film….. we will be “going where no one has gone before.”
“Star Trek” treks into new territory of balls-to-the-wall epic action that is flashy, loud, violent, scary, visually encompassing, emotional, louder, explosive, a universe of fun, exciting, dangerous………Thanks Mr. Abrams for giving “Star Trek” the kick in the pants.
This movie tells the stories of the star ship Enterprise on a scale and with the energy you expect and likely always imagined you would see. The Enterprise looks great, and actually better than any of the previous incarnations, except for the Enterprise-E from the Next Generation film saga. I can just say things are more realized and fleshed out as a ship and also showing where things possibly come from. The movie isn’t bogged by overly technical jargon, but it doesn’t need to be so. Fantastic special effects aside, this new saga would be nothing without the pitch perfect cast.
Chris Pine is James Kirk. He doesn’t look like Shatner, nor acts like Shatner, but he damned sure has the essence of Kirk down to a T, especially to portray the legend-in-the-making around his 20s. Zachary Quinto is Spock…. a dead ringer in the looks too and in his mind and mannerisms. He even adds new layers of Spock’s character that I don’t think were explored completely in the original series, like a romance with Uhura (new thing by the way). Speaking of Uhura, she was hot as Nichelle Nichols in the series and looked great in the movies and well now she’s Zoe Saldana… great following up, I must say and she’s definitely one of the tougher characters in the saga and gets her moments here and there.
Pretty much everyone is properly cast and each character gets a moment to shine: McCoy’s paranoia and neurosis, Sulu gets a high action part and Chekov still pronounces his Vs with Ws. One of the best things about this film, that I also said for “Watchmen,” is its accesibility. You do not need to be a fan to enjoy this film. It’s a fresh take and even I, a guy who knows a bit about this stuff was surprised. But every sunshine has shade somewhere right?
The villain, Nero, doesn’t do terribly much and his reasons for destroying planets is a somewhat understandable one, yet in the story its one of those conflicting plots. I look at it as one of those, you can see where he’s coming from and there is no innocence to pass around. Plus, it all has to do with the time travel aspect of the story, which by default is confusing and will bring up nitpickers who will have something to say. Otherwise, Nero isn’t the best bad guy out there, but not the worst. For those wondering, Leonard Nimoy’s reprisal as a certain Vulcan is a welcome and necessary addition to this film. There. I said it and will stick by it.
Henceforth, “Star Trek” is the space adventure that we can enjoy and the one we’ve been waiting for in this generation, and we finally get the voyages of the Enterprise presented in the way that “Star Trek” needed and deserved, which is to say is long over-due. May this new saga “Live long and prosper.”
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