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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