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· 126 minutes
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
· Chris Pine
· Zachary Quinto
· John Cho
· Simon Pegg
· Zoe Saldana
· Eric Bana
· Karl Urban
These days, when a franchise has run out of all possible steam, and a studio still wishes to make money off the property, it's as simple as a reboot movie. It's been successful in the past with the Batman and James Bond franchises, but is it possible to do the same to Star Trek without alienating (no pun intended) the fanbase that has carried through the past 40+ years. Director J.J.Abrams (tv's Lost, Mission Impossible III) has been given the challenge, to reboot a movie not only for the Trekkies (as Star Trek fans call themselves) but for the mainstream movie goer.
In the latest Star Trek film, Eric Bana (Hulk, Troy) plays Nero a villain from Star Trek's future (or present as far as the original continuity is concerned). Bent on revenge against Spock (Leonard Nimoy) he travels back in time before the Star Trek that we're all familiar with came to be. He changes this timeline signficantly from the start, attacking a Starfleet ship that has George Kirk ( Chris Hemsworth) and a pregnant Amanda Kirk (Jennifer Morrison-tv's House). He succeeds in destroying the ship, but not before Amanda gets to an escape shuttle and gives birth to the future Captain James T. Kirk.
We then flash forward a few years later, where a rebellious young Kirk(Jimmy Bennet-Evan Almighty) goes for a joyride in an unnamed relatives antique car, listening to the Beastie Boys' song Sabotage for some reason. Also we see young Spock ( Jacob Kogan) is trying to adjust to his half human/half Vulcan existence. So we get a feel and understanding early on who these two characters are and what their mindset is like.
Going forward yet again, Jim Kirk (now played by Chris Pine-Smoking Aces, Just My Luck) is doing what he does best, hitting on girls in bars, and getting into fights when he encounters future crewmates Uhura (Zoe Saldana-Vantage Point) and Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood-I Robot), who offers him a chance to live up to his destiny and join the Starfleet Academy.
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers), have done seemingly the impossible. They've made Star Trek fun again. Director J.J. Abrams deeerves a lot of the credit, but the script is the backbone for the entire movie. My only real complaint with the script, and that of the film itself, is that with so many characters being re introduced here, only Kirk and Spock get any actual backstory and character development. The rest of the characters are mostly just there, including the antagonist Nero. Now, Nero had a great backstory written for him in the comic book miniseries Star Trek: Countdown, but I shouldn't have to read outside material to care about a central character such as the villain.
But the cast manages to move past that, and the baggage that comes with playing characters associated with one group of actors for the past 40 years. Chris Pine especially shines in his peformance as James Tiberius Kirk, capturing more the spirit of Shatner's original performance, and (thankfully) not the mannerisms in which he played it. Zachary Quinto (tv's Heroes) also manages to capture Spock down to a 'T'. Long associated with the role he plays on Heroes as supervillain serial killer Sylar, only once during the entire movie was I waiting for him to telekenitically slice someone's head open. And that's a very good thing.
The supporting cast, while underwriten, is also top notch. Karl Urban (Lord Of The Rings) I felt was an odd choice to play Dr. Leonard McCoy, but he again captures the spirit of the original character just perfectly, and his 'Dammit Jim' lines felt real, and not just nods to the fans. Zoe Saldana creates a new twist on Uhura with a relationship with Spock, and it works here. Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz) shows up halfway through the movie playing Scotty, and he as always delivers the comic relief like fried gold.
Michael Giachhino's (The Incredibles) score also shines here, creating a new theme for the Star Trek universe, and a score almost as good as Jerry Goldsmith's for the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And his version of the classic Alexander Courage theme at the end sent goosbumps up my arms. Great stuff.
As you can tell from the review thus far, I'm a Trek fan, but I've always gravitated more towards Star Wars over the years as it was the more fun of the two. Now Star Wars has a run for it's money with this new Trek. It's the most fun I've had with a movie this year. This picture moves away from the stuffyness of past Treks and brings back the fun, and wonder that the original series managed to capture. Right down to Kirk making out with scantily clad green women.
From the first sequence, which admittedly got even myself a little teary eyed with the birth of Kirk/death of his father, to the closing momements as the newfound crew and ship prepare to boldly go where no one as gone before, this movie had me on the edge of my seat. If we're using a concert metaphor here, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the opening band to Star Trek's feature attraction into ringing in the summer season.
They manage to take the Trek we thought we knew, and put it on it's ear, but everything you love about classic Trek is there. Don't just write this movie off because of the young, attractive cast or the fact that the Enterprise bridge looks like an Apple store. It's not the perfect film that one critic called this movie, but it is a damn good movie nonetheless though.
I cannot reccomend this movie enough, to anybody. If you're anywhere from 9-90 years old, you'll find something you enjoy about this movie. I'm looking forward to the next adventure already, but in the meantime I'll see this one a few more times in the theaters. If you're looking for the most fun you can have with a sci fi movie this summer, than go check out Star Trek.