Review: Star Trek
Plot: In this reboot of the STAR TREK franchise, weíre reintroduced to the U.S.S Enterprise, and itís crew, including all the old favorites- Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, & Scotty.
Review: Throughout most of my teenage years, I was a pretty hardcore STAR TREK fan. I grew up digesting reruns of the original series, and I watched my VHS copies of THE WRATH OF KHAN, & THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK so many times that I wore out the tapes. Truthfully, my obsession with the franchise was pretty much limited to the original cast, but I was a casual fan of THE NEXT GENERATION. That said, their films just got worse and worse as the series went on, and the less said about DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER & ENTERPRISE- the better.
Around the time I went into my last year of high school, I began to lose interest in the franchise. In the ten years since, besides occasionally popping KHAN in the DVD player, Iíve pretty much led a TREK-less life. When it was announced that J.J Abrams would be re-booting the franchise, I was intrigued, but not all that excited, as I had more or less given up on the franchise.
Shame on me!
With this film, Abrams has done the impossible- heís made STAR TREK cool. From the slam-bang, much buzzed about opening sequence featuring the destruction of the U.S.S Kelvin, to our introduction to a young James T. Kirk, with The Beastie Boysí ďSabotageĒ playing on the soundtrack- it was obvious that this would be a TREK film unlike any of the others. Thank God.
This is a STAR TREK film for everyone, not just rabid, hardcore fans (although I suspect theyíll like it too). Like CASINO ROYALE & BATMAN BEGINS, it takes a franchise that had grown stagnant, and breathes new life into it. After his underrated MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE:3, and now this, thereís little doubt in my mind that Abrams is one of the most exciting, popcorn movie directors of our generation. What makes TREK different from a film like WOLVERINE is that itís FUN, and doesnít take itself too seriously. While occasionally thought provoking, the original series was never too dark, and Abrams wisely doesnít try to make TREK into something itís not. Heís also got an incredible eye for big screen spectacle, with the film containing some of the best visual effects Iíve ever seen (amazing that this cost about the same as WOLVERINE, as this makes that film look like a straight to DVD hack job). This film really is in the great tradition of classic popcorn films like JAWS, STAR WARS, & RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink in order to show moviegoers a good time.
I also think, for the most part, that the film was brilliantly cast. Chris Pine makes a terrific Kirk, and wisely does not try to imitate Shatner, a choice made easier by a clever McGuffin introduced by Abrams, that allows his take on the character to be radically different. Karl Urban, as McCoy (always my favorite character), takes a different, but no less successful approach, doing a pitch perfect Deforest Kelly impersonation. Of the three, Zachary Quinto probably has the toughest role, as not only is he playing the most iconic character in the franchise, but the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, is actually in the film with a surprisingly sizable supporting role (he introduction literally brought down the house). Quinto nevertheless is terrific, although I wasnít 100% sold on his romance with Uhura, which seemed a little tacked on- although ZoŽ Saldana is perfect in the role.
I also liked John Cho, as a surprisingly bad ass Sulu, and the big action scene where he takes on a couple of Romulans alongside Kirk, might be the most exciting scene in the film. As expected, Simon Pegg makes a great Scotty, with audience members cheering every time he popped up on screen. The only actor that grated on my nerves was Anton Yelchin as Chekov, whoís a wittle thick with the Wussian accent. He really needs to take it down a few notches for the next film (God willing).
As the villain Nero, Eric Bana is probably the best villain since Khan (not much competition there- TREK isnít really known for its iconic villains). My only issue with Nero is that he doesnít get a heck of a lot of screen time to establish his character, but then again, heís not really the focus of the film. Any other scenes with him might have seemed superfluous, as the film runs a pitch perfect 126 minutes.
One thing I have to mention is the incredible score by Michael Giacchino, which compares favorably to the other great TREK scores by Jerry Goldsmith, and James Horner. Itís especially nice to hear a blockbuster score that doesnít sound like a Hans Zimmer rip-off.
Suffice to say, I had an absolute blast with STAR TREK, and I canít wait to see it again. My only issue with the film is that itís almost too good, as all the other summer films are bound to pale in comparison. This deserves to be a mega-blockbuster, and for the first time in years, Iím eagerly awaiting another STAR TREK film.