Thursday, 01 October 2020
Star Trek
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 14:40

startrekposterWhat could have been an intergalactic flop has instead turned out to be one of the best action movies of the year and a successful return to form for an aging, yet somehow ageless, franchise. Director J.J. Abrams’ new take on Star Trek brings the original crew warp-speed into the modern day with a makeover that breathes new life into the bones of classic characters.

This isn’t exactly a new concept, given the fact that Star Trek: The Motion Picture resurrected the 1960’s TV show into a motion-picture franchise and reenergized it enough to spawn a multitude of TV spinoffs. But the challenge here was bringing back original characters and making them just as sexy and satisfying to both die-hard Trekies and fifteen year olds who think William Shatner is just the old guy who tells you fiber is your friend. It succeeds admirably.

The film begins with the birth of James T. Kirk whose father sacrifices himself to save the lives of everyone aboard his ship, including his wife and newborn son. Flash forward to Iowa where we see a very young Kirk already rebelling against authority, stealing cars and blasting loud music. It’s good to know that circa Stardate 2240 people will still be blasting The Beastie Boys! Flash forward again and we see a still rebellious Kirk (Chris Pine), old enough to enroll in Starfleet Academy and follow in his father’s footsteps. Captain Christopher Pike sees greatness in him and believes Kirk could be captain of his own vessel within eight-years. Kirk isn’t one to walk away from a challenge.

startrekpic1Meanwhile on planet Vulcan we are introduced to a young Spock, whose mixed lineage causes him to be the brunt of bullying as a child. His father is a Vulcan ambassador to Earth whose marriage to a human woman seemed “logical”. The outcome of this union is Spock (Zachary Quinto), who cannot control his emotions to the degree his society dictates. Of course when Kirk and Spock meet, it isn’t surprising that the two hate each other immediately. But they are forced to work together on the USS Enterprise, along with other familiar characters such as Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Bones (Karl Urban) and Scotty (the hilarious Simon Pegg). All of them are perfectly cast and fresh, while simultaneously paying tribute to the original actors who brought these characters to life.

startrekpic2All the performances are really strong but the key players are the two leads. Chris Pine fleshes out Kirk while still providing some Shatner-like pomp and strut. Zachary Quinto is a real find, remarkably well cast and bearing a striking resemblance to Leonard Nemoy himself.
The story about the Romulin’s taking vengeance does fall into the Star Trek habit of “explaining everything” with the use of time-travel. To me, time-travel has always been a convenient and lazy plot-devise, but in the case of the Star Trek universe I guess it just feels like home. It also makes it much easier to continue this franchise without having to worry about every detail matching up.

Star Trek exceeded my expectations, providing two solid hours of entertainment and action. It reintroduces the Star Trek universe while not taking itself too seriously.