Stars: **** out of Four
Summary: The filmmakers took the spirit of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, with its high flying adventure and gripping emotion, and deftly fused it with the ‘Trek’ mythology and philosophy. The resulting film is as epic as the franchise itself.
Review: One of the longest running sci-fi properties, ‘Star Trek’ was created by Gene Roddenberry with the intention of telling exciting, adventuresome stories with moral parables embedded in them. It took off against all odds, and eventually produced 6 television series and 10 movies. And the unthinkable happened… it lost steam, and fans dropped off, dissatisfied. After the last feature film, it was very evident the franchise needed new blood and a new face. Paramount eventually hired innovator J.J. Abrams, mostly known for his creation of television series such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Alias’, to reboot it. Not a ‘Trek’ fan himself, Abrams sought the help of known fans in the development process, eventually warming to it and embracing it utterly. They took the spirit of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, with its high flying adventure and gripping emotion, and deftly fused it with the ‘Trek’ mythology and philosophy.
The resulting film is as epic as the franchise itself.
A brave new cast, a brave new crew, and a brave new tone dominate it. It’s unlike any other summer movie, except ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Yes, it’s on that level. The action is spectacular, going where no sci-fi movie has gone before, with unbelievably well-rendered special effects. It’s photo-real. The story is strong, not the best in ‘Trek’ history, but still very cathartic. There are minor plot holes, due to the extremely complex time travel narrative, but no more than other similar films.
The new cast all fit their roles pitch-perfectly. Chris Pine embodies James T. Kirk without being an imitation of William Shatner, and Zachary Quinto does the same for his turn as Spock. The new Dr. McCoy, though, is in my opinion the best; Karl Urban, best known for his action roles, plays him with the utmost respect for the character but with the most similarity to the previous actor, DeForest Kelley. Leonard Nimoy returns as the future Spock, and he connects new ‘Trek’ to old ‘Trek, letting us all know that this is still the franchise we know and love. The villain, Nero (played by Eric Bana), from the future, feels underdeveloped, but is still threatening and badass enough.
A very memorable, stirring, intense, optimistic, and bold feature, that’s easily the most cinematic of all the ‘Star Trek’ films, and can stand toe-to-toe with even the classic ‘Wrath of Khan’.