Movie Reviews – Star Trek

Star TrekJJ Abrams (Lost) breathes new life into the Star Trek franchise with this movie, blending action, suspense and character conflict with a number of time honoured (pardon the pun) Trekkie conventions to satisfy old and new fans alike.

The film chronicles the start of the career of James Tiberius Kirk, along with the now famous crew who boldly went where no-one had gone before in the 1960’s TV cult classic. Chris Pine borrows enough of Shatner’s speech patterns to make the character seem familiar, but makes the role of the legendary Captain his own with a display that balances the characters determination and precociousness with energy and passion.

Early incarnations of the other old favourites are all here too; Uhura gets an increase in screen time, a young Chekov is still struggling with his ‘V’s” and “W’s”, and the role of Scotty is reprised by British Actor Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Run Fatboy Run), who brings his well established comedy chops into a role that always featured a generous slab of comic relief.

The character of Spock probably undergoes the biggest change from the version we saw on the TV series, as Zachary Quinto (Heroes) gives us a performance that is filled with anger and conflict. His character’s life-long quest to view all aspects of his life through the prism of logic is still in its infancy at this stage, and we see occasions when his much vaunted sense of control slips. The result is a Spock who has not yet mastered his emotions, and is plagued by doubt and poor decision making.

The story moves along at a fairly decent pace, although, it seemed to sag in the middle and in my opinion, became needlessly bogged down with the good ol’ time travel bullshit. This is just one guy talking, but time travel is a concept this franchise should have jettisoned when it had the chance. It may get the brains of the worlds leading physicists ticking over, but to me, it just seems like weak story-telling.

Case in point; at one stage in the movie there is an engineering problem that needs to be solved in order for Kirk to re-unite with the Enterprise. Thanks to the miracle of time travel, that problem is easily got around because at some point in the future, one of the characters creates an algorithm which solves it. Now, I don’t know anything about temporal paradoxes and as far as I’m concerned the only way to travel through time is in a Delorean, but I do know what a cop out is, and that sort of convenient problem solving does little to illustrate the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the characters.

That aside, this film starts with a bang and keeps on delivering. There’s some hits, and some misses, but it features plenty of action, some excellent performances and boasts a budget as big as a small country’s total GDP. Whilst they pay their respects to the old timers with a tip of the hat to the previous movies and one welcome cameo from a Star Trek legend, this film is really all about the future. In creating a fresh, exciting look for the franchise, has Abrams achieved for Star Trek what Nolan did with Batman?

Time will tell, but for now, he is off to a cracking good start.

Rating: 7.5/10

Random Quote: Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives, including yours. I dare you to do better.

Random actor you’ll recognize from somewhere else; John Cho, who plays Harold in the Harold & Kumar movies, turns up as a young Mr Sulu in this one. Somewhere, George Takei is smiling.

Previous Movie Review – The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

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3 Responses to “Movie Reviews – Star Trek”

  1. The Podium – Top Three Star Trek Films « Ozfilmguy’s Blog Says:

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