I’m not a die-hard Trekkie, I’m what you’d call a ‘social’ Trekkie, meaning I love the original (and next generation) TV series, and I love the movies. I’ve never seen an episode of Deep Space Nine or the other series that followed, so I have no opinion on them, although I’m sure they’re great. Movie-wise, my favorites are Wrath Of Khan, The Search For Spock, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country, Generations and First Contact, the others I could do without. So I was glad that there was a break after the last film, Nemesis, came out. Not only myself, but many of us needed a break to realize what was it about the series that we loved in the first place. Enter JJ Abrams, the visionary producer of the TV show Lost, who has come to remind us why this show was as good as it was.
The story is simple, it deals with a young James T. Kirk and a young Spock, and how the two would come to be part of the commanding of the starship Enterprise, and met their classic crew, all while trying to battle the evil Romulan Nero and his planet-destroying machine. JJ Abrams geniusly decided to re-adapt the classic Trek storyline, making it more action-filled and modern, but without losing the celebral angle that the series is known for. There are many elements of classic Star Trek, from the recognizable alien species to the ships, the classic music (and famous intro line), the Kobyashi Maru, green-skinned babes, and even the time-travel angle featured in most of the Star Trek mythology, it all pays respect to the classics. We even get to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock again! At the same time, the influence of the Star Wars trilogy and today’s modern science fiction films are felt as well, with it’s fast pace, rapid-fire space action sequences and we even have a planet-destroying weapon, similar to Star Wars.
The acting is mostly excellent. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto stand out as Captain Kirk and Spock, both being able to channel the classic performances by Shatner and Nimoy while bringing their own personal touch. I was particularly impressed by Quinto, who was able to balance the human/Vulcan fights with emotions pretty damn well. I was almost scared of him when he got mad! Giving their characters more dimension were Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Simon Pegg as Scotty, they both take what were basically supporting characters and flesh them out, making them more memorable. John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Chekov) and Ben Cross (Sarek) are also great. The only problem I had, and it wasn’t a big one, was with Karl Urban, who played Bones so similarly to the way DeForest Kelly played him that it was almost a bad impersonation. Eric Bana as Nero was also a disappointment. He had the elements to become a great, classic villain like Khan or the Klingons, but his lack of personality and character made him very forgettable. I also thought it was kind of weird to see Spock and Uhura in a romantic relationship. But other than that, this is a great film in the Star Trek universe, the best since First Contact, and I hope JJ will make more as good as this in the future.