Of all the movies coming out this summer, “Star Trek”, directed by J.J. Abrams, is the one that really had me excited. Now, I’m not a full-blown Trekkie by any means, but I am a fan of, well, some of the series, and certainly most of the movies. I make note of that because, if I were a Trekkie, I might have some significant problems with this film. As it is, I actually really enjoyed it a lot.
This is both a kind of origin story of the original Star Trek crew, and yet also a reboot for the whole original Star Trek Universe. (SORT OF SPOILER) It tells us how James T. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, and the rest of the crew members met and how they all came to be on the Enterprise, but not just that, no sir. It uses a time-travel scenario (not new territory for Abrams, if you watch “Lost”, and certainly not new to the Start Trek movies by a long shot), to alter the history of the Star Trek Universe.
A really pissed off Romulan, an adequate, if not two-dimensional, Eric Bana, has come from the future to seek revenge on Spock and Earth. Stopping him, of course, falls to Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise. How many times have they saved the Earth now? Let’s just say, “lots of times”, and leave it at that.
Messing with the whole Trek Universe is a little disconcerting to me, probably unforgivable to many Trek fans. But it’s also one thing that I think this franchise needed: a good rattling. Things were getting a little stale; let’s face it, the only really good Star Trek movie since the messy “Generations” was “First Contact”. It’s been a while. And this film is a great way to revitalize it.
This movie looks GREAT. The effects are top notch, and the cast is about as perfect as can get. Every actor portrays their respective character, dare I say, brilliantly. I think they make the movie as good as it is. Chris Pine makes for a great new Kirk, and I was most worried about him. Zachary Quinto (Sylar from “Heroes”) is excellent, Simon Pegg as a very funny Mr. Scott, and huge props go to Karl Urban as Dr. “Bones” McCoy. I really thought he in particular nailed it. They all really paid attention to detail about these original characters and they and the script played into that beautifully.
There is also a great deal of nostalgic humor and lots of action. So much so that you really don’t even care that much about the eventual muddying of the time-travel stuff in the film. And that element is both a little tiresome and yet quite a common thread in a number of the Trek films. It’s good and bad, so it cancels itself out, right? Whatever, let’s just hope they don’t use time travel again for a really LONG time.
It’s also good to see Leonard Nimoy in a larger than expected part as the future Spock. I am, however, continually disappointed in the absence of William Shatner in these films. I’m not entirely clear on the nonsense between Shatner and Abrams, but someone give them both a smack upside the head for me.
One thing I can tell you for sure is that this is certainly a fresh, bold new Star Trek. Despite a few little things that sat a little uneasy with me, this is a great movie and I really had fun. I’d chalk it up as a success. This is a new Enterprise crew with whom I want to explore the Universe. So, strap yourself in and, engage.
Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer.