The following review contains spoilers.
Writers: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Director: J. J. Abrams
At long last, Hollywood has two words they can throw around: “Successful Reboot”. “Star Trek” creates a brand new world for Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike, and succeeds by serving as a reboot that’s not really a reboot. Confusing? Bear with us.
(Now, before we get into it, I was always a closet Trekkie of sorts. I remember my dad watching the classic series and TNG, and I had a lot (a LOT) of Star Trek toys as a kid, but I’ve never been an incredibly obsessed fan. I have enoyed the series and its spin-offs, so bear that in mind while we’re talking about this.)
The plot works because of the time travel aspect. When Romulus is threatened by a supernova, Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) promises to save Romulus by generating a black hole, but is too late. Nero (played by a shockingly good Eric Bana), the last surviving Romulan, is furious and tries to kill Spock, but both are accidentally sucked into the black hole, traveling back in to time. Since Nero goes back first, he arrives first where he engages and destroys the USS Kelvin, manned by the newly promoted Capt. George Kirk.
In Nero’s presence, the timeline is altered ever so subtly. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), born on the day of his father’s death, is now seeking a normal life. The story starts with the two as children and shows both Kirk and Spock’s respective childhood, leading to their first adventure on the Enterprise. There’s a number of changes, all instigated by the arrival of Nero in the past, and by the subsequent arrival of Ambassador Spock 25 years afterwards.
Is it weird? Oddly enough, no. Anyone who watched the original series knows that time travel played a large part, with Kirk and his compatriots frequently being thrown back in time and accidentally changing history, being forced to find a way to return it to normal. So when a time travel plot is responsible for the reboot of the franchise, it definitely makes sense.
So far as the casting goes, its simply phenomenal. Hope you paid attention to Smokin’ Aces when it came out; the head Tremor Brother is about to be a huge, huge star. Chris Pine’s Kirk evokes Shatner while still being unique and brilliant. Zachary Quinto as the younger Spock shows just how wasted he is on Heroes. Karl Urban is either a genius or a madman, but he is a dead ringer for Deforest Kelly’s McCoy. The rest of the cast may not have such strong similarities, but they evoke the classic memories of the cast members they’ve becoming. Its a beautiful ensemble piece that begs for sequels and additional stories.
The cinematography of the film is another high point. The Enterprise is beautifully rendered, and the ship to ship battles the best we’ve seen in the franchise to date. The updated equipment and Enterprise hearkens back to classic Trek, but manages to bring it into the 21st century successfully.
Are there going to be issue for hardcore Trekkies? By far. Spock and Uhura as a couple is weird, definitely. And while the movie has its root in logic and the cerebral knowledge of the franchise, its by far an action movie, but it all works flawlessly together. Its a beautiful update that contains the spirit and essence of the original series. The film works, and that’s all that matters. Its an exciting, enjoyable ride that I can’t gush about enough.
Final Grade: A. Pay attention Hollywood: this is how you do a reboot.