Review by Paul Stathakis | May 19, 2009

‘Abrams takes charge of the franchise to boldly go where no other director has gone before’

It’s extremely original. I’m not referring to the plot or the direction or the wondrous special-effects or the cast.  I’m referring to the notion of reinvention or re-mythologizing of a classic series sacred to so many. It’s a bold move. Things happen in this “Star Trek” prequel that are new and surprising. You can’t study for this “Star Trek” and know what to expect. You must forget what you think you know about the Starfleet crew because this adaptation brings about many changes and twists.

“Star Trek”, aside from having a humorous side to it, brings viewers back to the time of the original science-fiction series (although the sets look quite different from those of the 60s). The deck of the Enterprise has been revamped but feels just as neat. Space combat has never looked this good on the big screen before. The opening catapults viewers in the middle of a spectacular galactic battle that feels very real. In the opening minutes, we learn about George Kirk, the father of James T. Kirk.  Kirk Sr., we learn, was captain of the Enterprise for a mere twelve minutes and yet he was still able to save the lives of 800 crew members before sacrificing his own.

Skip to the future. James has grown up (and he inherited his father’s looks) but is somewhat of a rebel – walking into a bar and starting a fight seems so natural to him. But there are some at Starfleet who feel that he was destined for greater things. One believes that  James (Chris Pine) could someday in the near future make for an admirable captain like his father…of the USS Enterprise. Put to the challenge, James accepts to enlist in Starfleet and vows to ace all tests in less time than it took his father.

Of course, there is Spock (Zachary Quinto). Would this be a successful movie without Spock? I don’t think Trekkies would accept it. Spock plays a Spock that is somewhat familiar but, like all the wonderful actors in this film, Quinto makes Spock his own character without ever really trying to mimic Leonard Nimoy. The same could be said about Kirk and Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) though this McCoy still finds the need to remind Jim and others that’s he’s a doctor, not a physicist or a bricklayer or a mechanic, etc.

I cannot give away too many details.  Those who haven’t seen the film deserve to see it and draw their own opinion.  I suspect fans will be divided. There are those who would argue that certain things can’t be tampered with, especially a mythology that creator Gene Roddenberry devoted a great deal of his life to. However exciting Abrams’ revision, some may be dissatisfied by changes that involve the characters and events that not only affect them but those closest to them as well. There is also the  incorporation of a love story between two crew members aboard the USS Enterprise and, suffice it to say, this time it doesn’t involve Kirk.

J.J. Abrams is a respected Hollywood figure. In an article for Time Magazine, Tom Cruise said: “It’s hard to convey with brevity the extraordinary experience of knowing and working with J.J. Abrams.”  It’s always easy to admire a director who works hard. Abrams here takes a concept and executes it with thought and a lot of care. He enjoys making movies and there’s not a second in this film that suggests otherwise.  He’s so involved in the filmmaking process and getting it right that he makes room for a legend in a film dominated by youngsters. How much classier can you get than that?

 

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