You know the story, A long time a go in a galaxy far, far away… Waitaminute, wrong franchise. Let’s try ‘Space… the final frontier’. Yes, that’s more like it. So in the absence of trying to come up with something fresh and new, which are words in the Hollywood Studio System that might as well be called the F-word and the N-word, one had better try to get as much entertainment value out of whatever weekly remake, retread, sequel or prequel that is being funneled our way. This brings us to wonderboy J.J. Abrams and his Star Trek reboot, and I’ll have you know that as an admirer of Abrams directorial work and as a reasonable fan of the Star Trek Universe I expected nothing less than grand, spectacular, pop-corn munching entertainment greatness from this movie. With these expectations based on the trailer alone. No, the movie isn’t Fresh or New, but if you can find a better way to spend 126 minutes of your life stuck in a chair watching moving images then let me know what that is because this one here even surpassed the lofty expectations I had set for it.
Our film starts with a starship exploring some strange new worlds when it stumbles upon the biggest meanest ship anybody in this time period has ever seen, and this ship has some bad intentions. The captain of this ship, a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana), is searching for Spock and if the captain of this Federation ship knew what we know he would’ve made up something because ‘I don’t know who that is’ totally didn’t work for Nero. So the Romulan proceeds to destroy this ship and if it weren’t for the valiant sacrifice of young ensign George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) all would’ve perished, including his pregnant wife.
Now let’s fast forward in time a bit where that fetus has grown to become the loose cannon calling himself James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine). The only reason Kirk is even in the academy in the first place is because Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) twisted his arm seeing something special in the young man, and while the
young cadet has exceeded expectations, his different style has still managed to upset a few people along way including young commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) who is not the least bit amused by Kirk’s apparent lack of self control.
Then the trouble starts. The Romulan Nero has returned and whatever problem the dude has with Spock he’s taking it out on his Vulcan home world. Truth is Nero has a problem with the universe as a whole and he and his big ship plan on destroying as much of the universe as they possibly can. The good thing for the universe is that the Federation has just christened its flagship, the Constitution Class NCC-1701 Enterprise, though it has lost its captain. So the situation is that there is an angry Romulan on his way to destroy the Planet Earth in a futuristic war vessel with the only thing standing in his way being a brand new suddenly obsolete space ship run by a loose cannon of a first officer, the acting Vulcan captain who despises him, the Vulcan’s crazy hot girlfriend and communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana)… I kind you not, and one bitter, sardonic medical officer nicknamed Bones (Karl Urban). Good luck with that ladies and gentlemen.
Let me get a quick complaint out of the way in that I saw this movie at an IMAX theater and this being the third movie I’ve seen on IMAX I really would’ve rather seen it on a regular screen. IMAX is just big, and that’s all. Unless a project is specifically made for IMAX I just don’t see the benefit.
But back to this reboot of ‘Star Trek’, and there’s really not a lot to say other than you’re going to be hard pressed to find a more entertaining movie in the year 2009 than this one. It’s an action movie at its core and not a lot of film directors shoot action better than J.J. Abrams can and this one doesn’t disappoint on any level. The special effects are flawless with Ice planet monster chases, dudes doing the luge in space, sword fights, phaser battles and spectacular spaceship battles all set in a universe that is huge and sprawling. The young cast did a fine job resetting their characters back to zero which includes Anton Yelchin as Checov, John Cho representing Sulu and Simon Pegg doing his funny Simon Pegg thing as Scotty. But Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy? Believe me when I tell you that my man was straight killing it as Dr. McCoy. Right now I got Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto on the line and they want the movie back that Karl Urban just stole from them. The advantage that Urban had over most of the cast is that Deforest Kelly was already like a hundred years old when the original show was on so Urban’s McCoy was already the man he was going to be when he joined Starfleet. This being the case he just took Deforest Kelly’s McCoy, ran with that and made the character his own.
This narrative was also very good as there is nothing worse than having a movie like this turn into some kind of glorified TV show episode, but the stakes were high and the tension was higher. Combine these positives with some cleverly placed dialog bits here and there and the judicious use of a little humor, it all made for some very solid dramatic turns.
I suppose I should dig up some flaws on the movie so this doesn’t come off like some kind of Star Trek stroke fest, so I will say that it’s not the most complex movie around since there isn’t a helluva lot going on beneath what you’re looking at onscreen. I guess the women’s skirts were modeled after the mini’s that the ladies sported on the original show and probably isn’t the most appropriate attire for the workplace. I guess. Let’s see… Leonard Nimoy is in the movie as Ancient Spock and he pretty much violated every freaking rule that we have been told has to be observed should you go back in time. I mean he was telling folks what they are going to do and what they are going to be, introducing all kinds of tech that hasn’t been invented yet… If my man had lotto numbers I betcha he would’ve played them too. But it’s not like time travel is a real thing so I guess you can do what you want with the concept.
Anyway, great freaking movie. Abrams and crew have made some rather significant changes to the ‘Star Trek’ timeline which will unshackle them from any preconceived events that the old-time crew might have experienced, thus this new crew will have a totally new set of adventures to live out for the next decade or so. I for one will be looking forward to the sequel of this prequel.