Star Trek Review

(3.5 STARS)

I have no connection whatsoever to the “Star Trek” franchise. I haven’t seen any of the first ten films or the television show. I have some passing knowledge of the characters, but that’s about it. In fact, the only thing that really attracted me to this film was J.J. Abrams (I’m a die-hard Lostie). But it ended up being one of the most fun times I had in a theater this year. This film is a non-stop adventure. The plot is absurd, but I still found it entertaining as hell.

The film opens with a breathless prologue in which we are introduced to the evil Romulan Nero (Eric Bana), as well as Captain James T. Kirk, who is just being born. His father, while only being captain of the U.S.S. Kelvin for 14 minutes, manages to save 800 lives, including that of his wife and newborn son.

Years later on Earth, Kirk (Chris Pine) is a rebellious young man without any guidance. He gets in a fight with a group of Starfleet recruits, but their superior, Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) is impressed by the young man and knows the natural leadership capabilities that run in his blood. He convinces him to join Starfleet as well. There, he meets a cynical doctor, Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban); a beautiful linguist, Uhura (Zoe Saldana); and a brilliant and unemotional half-human half-Vulcan, Spock (Zachary Quinto), who finds Kirk to be brash and cocky. When Federation ships are in trouble, the entire fleet is called out for a rescue mission. En route, Kirk recognizes the situation to be eerily similar to the one which killed his father. The crew prepares for a trap, and they are right. But Nero, who set the trap, has his sights set on destroying Spock’s home planet, Vulcan, as revenge for the destruction of Nero’s planet, Romulus.

The plot then gets tricky, and I will leave it to you to discern. Time-travel is involved, as well as “red matter” (which creates black holes) and a giant earthquake-inducing drill. It kind of makes sense, but the more you think about it, the more holes you find. Still, for a movie like this, it’s not an unforgivable sin. The plot and action move very quickly, so you end up being swept up in it all.

The cast is full of young up-and-comers who all do a very good job. Chris Pine is surprisingly the standout. He’s great as Kirk, who’s incredibly reckless and overconfident but still quite likable. There’s also quite a bit of humor in “Star Trek,” most of which comes from Pine and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Saldana shows a great deal of spunk as Uhura. She’s not just the pretty face aboard the Enterprise. Quinto is also solid as Spock, but it’s not a part in which he is given the opportunity to emote very much. The rest of the Enterprise crew is also quite good, from the stoic Sulu (John Cho) to the hilarious but underused Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg). In fact, it’s hard to find a weak link in the entire cast.

The film was a box office sensation, and I think it will do well pretty well at the Oscars. It has an outside chance at Best Picture, but it should land a load of tech nods, including editing, sound mixing, sound editing, make-up, etc.

“Star Trek” was about as good a movie as it could have been and represents a great new start for the franchise. For those, like me, that know nothing about Star Trek, we now know the players. For long-time Trekkies, this represents a reimagining of the series, but it contains enough references to the past that they shouldn’t be discouraged or upset by this. Whichever camp you fall into, I think you will be pretty pleased with this adventure and will be, like me, looking forward to future adventures in which we will boldly go where no man has gone before.

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