Movie Review: ‘Star Trek’

Star Trek Review

Chris Pine, Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto in ‘Star Trek’ (Photo © Paramount Pictures)
This Star Trek did what Batman Begins managed to do for me back in 2005. Prior to that origin story, I had no clue as to what the fuss was all about. Why were people still interested in a guy who dressed up like a bat and fought clowns to keep Gotham safe from crime? I didn’t get it, and Batman didn’t appeal to me in the least. But Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale taught me everything I, as a non-comic book person, needed to know about the Caped Crusader and made a Batman fan out of me.

The same now goes for this Star Trek. I remember watching exactly one Star Trek movie prior to this – the one with the whale – but nothing about any of the other films interested me in the slightest bit. I did catch reruns of the original series as a kid every now and then, but never considered myself a Star Trek ‘fan’ of any sort. But now, thanks to screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, director JJ Abrams, and an incredibly talented cast of actors, I really understand and appreciate what it is about Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew that gets people all worked up.

Star Trek takes audiences on the adventure of a lifetime, and I’d gladly sit through this revamped, reinvigorated, re-energized origin tale over and over again – something I don’t say about even the very best summer blockbusters. Being a Trekkie seems sort of cool after watching 2009’s version of Star Trek, something I would never in my wildest dreams have anticipated ever thinking prior to this Star Trek film.

The Story:

Kurtzman and Orci serve up an origin story crammed with details yet fast-paced and flowing. The story they’ve fashioned takes place in an alternate universe and so not every bit of Star Trek mythology plays out as anticipated; there are twists and turns here that Trekkies and Trekkers won’t expect (including a surprisingly touching love story). It’s a smart – and brave – move on Kurtzman and Orci’s part as they’ve managed to tell a story that doesn’t put off newbies or Star Trek veterans by placing it in this other reality.

Every main character from the Star Trek franchise is given his or – in the case of the lone female, Uhura (Zoe Saldana) – her time to shine as they’re introduced and given their assignments onboard the USS Enterprise as it leaves on its maiden voyage. We learn Kirk’s a rebel who signs up for Starfleet after being goaded into it by Captain Pike. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is an instructor at Starfleet only because he opted not to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers. Bones (Karl Urban), a doctor who doesn’t like to fly, immediately finds a kindred spirit in Kirk (Chris Pine), and the two quickly develop a close friendship that actually is the catalyst to Kirk serving aboard the USS Enterprise. Scotty (Simon Pegg) doesn’t enter the picture until later on, but when it’s his time to join the USS Enterprise crew he does so with a bang. And in this reality, Uhura is an intelligent and feisty woman who doesn’t take any crap from anyone, including Kirk.

This new group, fresh out of the Starfleet Academy, is immediately thrust into the heat of battle when Nero (Eric Bana) – a visitor from the future – seeks revenge for a horrific act that hasn’t yet occurred. Kirk, proving he’s born to be the man in charge, takes the lead after Captain Pike is kidnapped, butting heads with Spock (his nemesis from the academy) as the crew of the USS Enterprises has the fate of Earth resting in their hands. Fortunately, in a splendid twist that makes total sense, another visitor from the future is willing to share information crucial to their success.

The Cast:

Chris Pine – brilliant. Zachary Quinto – brilliant. Eric Bana – brilliant. You get the picture? JJ Abrams did a simply amazing job of matching actors to roles, and not once does any performance feel like – and here’s where it could have gone desperately, disastrously wrong – a copycat of the original. These are fresh, original takes on the characters yet at the same time, you know exactly who these people are. How did they pull that off? It’s an unbelievable accomplishment I can’t even begin to describe. Adjectives fail me.

The Bottom Line:

This bold adventure is sure to win over a whole new generation of fans. There’s something for everyone in this Star Trek. I know I was totally enthralled and completely entertained throughout the film. The special effects were first-rate, the cinematography was stunning, the production design was unparalleled, and under Abrams’ direction every aspect of this Star Trek felt vibrant and fresh and engaging. And on that subject, Star Trek deserves to be seen in all its big screen glory so don’t wait for the DVD/Blu-ray release.

Star Trek is the perfect summer movie. There’s not a thing about this film I’d change, a scene I’d cut, or dialogue I’d in any way alter. It’s got the action, the heart, the thrills, and the humor needed to provide the perfect escape experience audiences are looking for now more than ever.

Star Trek is an incredibly impressive, exceptionally entertaining film. And best of all, it doesn’t matter if you know absolutely nothing about the series or films. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s a Star Trek movie and don’t dismiss it because you’re afraid you’ll be lost and confused by the plot. No prior knowledge is needed to become immersed in this high-flying, sci-fi extravaganza.

This origin story works on so many different levels, I can’t wait to see what Abrams and crew have up their sleeves for the next Star Trek adventure.


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