Run Time: 2 hrs 6 mins
Plot Synopsis: The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James T. Kirk, is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before!
Space… The final frontier. One where many boldly went where many others had gone before. The Star Trek franchise, once a gigantic juggernaut, able to generate massive amounts of cash purely based on name recognition. Legions of fans were so committed to the franchise that they would dress as Trek characters, and throw meets, festivals and parties to celebrate the franchise they hold so dear. Sadly to say, over the years the quality of Trek tales began to plummet, and the franchise was soon on it’s deathbed. The last film of the franchise that was once a guaranteed money maker, Star Trek: Nemesis, grossed a paltry $43 million domestically, and with international numbers it just barely succeeded in recouping the studio’s loss from production budget of $60 million. Trek, it seemed, had lost it’s mojo. Personally, as a fan bordering on the edge of being a Trekker, I thought the franchise simply over saturated itself. So many different series, films and novels that it became near impossible to continually produce original stories without stepping all over canon. Despite all this, the trekkers remain loyal to the early years, the times when Trek was good. Obviously, if a studio were able to recapture some of the magic from those times, they’d have a major money maker. Fans would flock to theaters in droves to check out the return of Star Trek! With that in mind, Paramount called on JJ Abrams to inject new life into the dying franchise. His offering to us all, Star Trek, is his attempt to reboot the series by showing the “humble origins” of the Enterprise and it’s crew from the original series Trek era. The obvious question is: “Will Abrams Trek relaunch the Enterprise, or just aim it at the ground, leading to the series’ crash, burn and inevitable death?” Short answer? While Star Trek was an honest attempt to pay homage to the original while still being accessible enough to draw in new fans, it simply failed in recapturing what truly made the original series special; the biting social commentary and addressing the issues of this nation. It was fun, and there was enough on screen magic to surely start a new franchise, but it just was not enough for this Trek fan.
When JJ Abrams was tapped to relaunch Trek, he was open and honest about his lack of knowledge of the franchise. I respect that. His first idea, the only thing that really stood out to him as a way to draw in solid numbers, was to do an “origin story.” Again, commendable. Then I started hearing and seeing things that did not sit well with me. Now, let me reiterate that I am not a Trekker, just a big fan. So the overwhelming majority of my complaints had nothing to do with canon, nor were they based on my fandom. My list of pre-viewing complaints consisted of my problems with casting and their choices for design of the interior of the Enterprise. I thought that most of the actors cast looked way too young, and I found it hard to believe that they were not still in Starfleet. Though I will say that I absolutely loved the casting of Karl Urban as Bones. He seemed to be channeling DeForest Kelley. I was also interested in the casting of Simon Pegg as Scotty. I know that he didn’t exactly fit the look of the character, but I was more than willing to overlook this because I am such a big fan of his. I really wanted to see what he could do with the role. My other complaint, and this was major, was the design of the bridge. Not. A. Fan. At. ALL!!! I couldn’t stand, and still can’t stand, the Apple store looking design. I understand “modernizing” it and giving it a distinct look and feel that differs from the bridge in TOS, but come on! Give the equipment a modern look, change the color schemes if you want, and I’d be fine with all of that. I’m not opposed to change, I just don’t like what it was changed into. Now, as more and more footage of the film came out, I became more and more interested in the film. By the time it was released, I was excited. I went into the theater expecting to have fun, say wow, and leave thoroughly impressed. I can honestly say that when I was done with the Trek experience, I satisfied two of the three expectations.
Star Trekwas a very fun movie. It was thrilling, exciting, action packed, and did a fine job of establishing the relationships between crew members that I saw in TOS. The actors, while still looking too young, did an amazing job of channeling the characters that their characters were based on. Pine as Kirk was exactly as I would’ve wanted him to be. He was charismatic, bold, brash, reckless, and at times quite funny. Quinto stood out to me as the strongest of the main cast. His performance made me really feel like his character would eventually grow to be the Spock that I knew and loved from TOS. Also, Urban was just as I expected him to be. He was DeForest Kelley back as Bones as far as I’m concerned. The other actors did a fine job, with the exception of Cho, though nothing about their characters stood out to me as either overly bad or overly good. The film had plenty of flashy F/X, explosions, and other visual candy. It simply put was a good movie.
My time in the theater seemed to pass way too quickly. It felt like I had just sat down and BAM! Movie over. Isn’t that a pretty damn good mark of a good film? I was enthralled. I won’t go into the plot of the film, as this review is spoiler free, but I will say that it was not at all confusing, boring, or generic. The writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, crafted a fine story loaded with “easter eggs” for all you hardcore Trekkers. It was quite clear that they had an affinity for the franchise, and they wanted to make something that fans could be proud of. However, the one key ingredient that made TOS so special, was missing. I always found TOS fascinating because of the social commentary and addressing the problems facing the nation at the time it was made. Granted, I was not alive during those times, but anyone who took a history class in High School could tell you what it was like. TOS addressed things like inter-racial relations, sex, and the cold war. Whilst doing all of that, it managed to stay light and fun. The show never took itself too seriously despite the sometimes serious themes it addressed. Simply put, as anyone can see now when watching a TOS rerun, the show was a great escape from all the stresses of the time. I wouldn’t expect Abrams’ new Trek to explore those same issues, but it should at least start to dive into that arena to give the films in this inevitable new franchise the feel of TOS. In an interview with EW magazine, star Chris Pine stated that he thought the film could start addressing social issues later. At least the actors involved know that they should, so we do have hope that the next film will incorporate some of that. These are tough times as well, and people could use some inspiring ideas and a fun way to escape.
It was blatantly obvious that the studio is planning more Trek films, as the actors are all signed on for two more films and the studio has already announced it’s working on a new script. So we can assume that this film is just the first in a new line of Trek-related products? Yes. The film was fun and did quite well at the box office in it’s opening weekend. It didn’t make Wolverine money, but it surely made enough so far to warrant a sequel, and for fans to anticipate the return of Star Trek. People will love this movie. It is both full of stuff for fans and features plenty for those completely unfamiliar with the Trek universe. It could serve as not only the relaunch of Trek but the return of sci-fi prominence. My one line summation of this film would be that “Trek is a film that is accessible to anyone, and it will be fun and exciting for everyone.” Go check out Star Trek. You won’t regret it. While I have my problems with Star Trek, I am okay with all of that. I look forward to seeing more of these films in the future. For the sake of Trek, let’s cross our fingers and hope that money grubbers don’t over-saturate the market again and kill Star Trek for the second time.