It has been 40 plus years since the original Star Trek aired and some would say that the series has grown old maybe even stale. But the series has sparked so much imagination over the years that someone inevitably comes along and tries to perform CPR on it. Star Trek’s days of being socially conscientious are over, as well as its days of innovation. That being said I decided to go to see a movie it took me two weeks to get up the nerve after being utterly disappointed by Wolverine. So I decided to pull the usually empty lever of the Studio Film slot machine once again. The obvious choice would be for me to see Angels & Demons, but the buzz on Star Trek compelled me spend two hours with them.
I have to say that this so-called prequel is in a word “Brilliant”. Many reviewers throw around terms like “Superb”, “Excellent”, “Visually Stunning” much too loosely. However, for J.J. Abrams’ vision of Star Trek those terms actually do apply. Most people will think that this film is a testosterone filled heartless movies, but they couldn’t be more wrong. This film has something in it for everyone, and I mean everyone. Yes, there will be those who have issues with completely minor errors like, time travel, or the inherent danger of indiscriminate singularity creation, but I digress.
This film begins with James T. Kirk’s birth in deep space with his father sacrificing his own life so that his son and others could live. Kirk is later seen as a rebellious Iowan youth (think Rebel Without A Cause). Then we are treated to see how a young Half-Vulcan, Half-Human Spock’s is developing on the planet Vulcan. The young Spock is having trouble wrestling with those pesky emotions (Vulcan’s suppress them) while the other Vulcans believe that having a human mother is some type of handicap. Director J.J. Abrams plays Kirk’s father and Spock’s mother off of one another the entire movie and rightly so. Spock (Zachary Quinto) rebels at the high council when a crack is made about his mother and he decided to join the less prestigious Starfleet. Next we see an older Kirk (Chris Pine) as he continues to pursue women and a life built on destruction, but during a bar room brawl he catches the eye of Capt. Pike, who was an admirer of his father, who convinces him to join Starfleet. And from there we are introduced in order to the central characters of Star Trek: Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), Hikaru Sulu (John Choo), Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), Yuri Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Choosing lesser-known actors allows the director to focus less on glamor shots and more on the acting. It takes a lot of guts to pull off that kind of trade-off clearly this movie was made with purpose. The casting on this film is topnotch except for Spock’s Mother (Winona Ryder), but she only has five lines. But casting Eric Bana as (Nero the Romulan Commander) was genius.
The script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from plot to sub plot is impeccable. All of the cliches and themes are there, but they are beside the point because this script does more than offer a great tale… it offers insight and back story to the characters themselves. They took a risk switching out the well-known and traditional enemy the Klingons for the lesser known Romulans, but it was a magnificent choice that opened up many more possibilities for the future of the franchise. There are some surprises, an unusual love interest (and I don’t mean between Kirk and Spock), and a slightly more emotional Spock.
Quite simply J.J. Abrams has accomplished what George Lucas could not by trying to reignite the Star Wars series. Frankly this movie puts the last ten-years of retread, rehashed, comic-book, sci-fi movies to shame. How: Story Development, Character Development, New Worlds, Surprise Guest Stars, Amazing Effects, and a Love Story. This movie has it all, yet it moves along so well you’ll think that it was 3- hours long instead of a run time of 127 minutes. Interestingly enough if you are a Trek fan that watched the movie and really paid attention you will realize that this is not the Star Trek you grew up with. What the writers have slyly done is created an Alternative Universe Star Trek, which couldn’t be done if the canon was discarded or the script was sub par. If you didn’t notice that then you really need to see it again and this one of those rare movies that is worth seeing again. Superstar actors be damned this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be making! J.J. Abrams should get very serious consideration for an Oscar and credit the writers. Whatever the case, the history of Star Trek has been forever changed.