Star Trek

Title: Star Trek
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Eric Bana
Director: J. J. Abrams

This is a film I intended to review a long time ago, way back when i first saw it at the cinemas but decided it needed to be watched again, just to make sure it really was that awesome and not just a pleasant surprise. For with reboots always comes more than a little dread at soiling the memory of great films, and the casual star trek fan in me acknowledges just how painful this could have been. The star trek legacy - whether you're a fan or not - is one unparalleled today; it's futuristic sci-fi still limited in what can be done and still bound by conventional physics, and still a dream of scientists worldwide trying to make it a reality. Its lore, history, politics and overarching mythos so in depth it makes lord of the rings look shallow. And through it all lies a human core, taking the action and excitement of exploring the unknown, showing the promise of a future free from racism - an unheard of idea in the 60s, having Russians, Americans and Japanese fighting side by side - and philosophising on what it truly means to be human. To reboot all this is more than just taking a new look on a dude who makes spiderwebs or a monster in an arctic base, it's entering a rich and detailed world and re-imagining all that. It's no wonder so many die hard fans were weeping when it was announced.

But as i mentioned, I am something of a casual fan. I admit i've seen almost all the films, know the enterprise's license plate, probably watched every episode of the original series and a healthy portion of 'The Next Generation,' but I came late to the scene, my young attention span brought up on the later series involving too much talking in DS9 and an annoying woman in Voyager. Along the way something got lost; the exploration of alien anatomy and captains getting their hands dirty in battle, the puns in the face of danger and headstrong attitude that screams 'fuck it, lets ignore starfleet command and go poke it with a stick.' The element that formed its core and what made it fun steadily became more serious as time went on, and it seems I wasn't the only one thinking this as Abrams' reboot has tackled precisely that.

It takes things right back to the beginning, before Kirk even became the captain - in many ways this is the story of him becoming the captain - kicking off his troubled childhood, his father dying in battle, and life in the academy, but really things get going when we get to the Enterprise. Kirk butting heads with Spock aboard the starship whilst doing battle with a deadly foe; Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan filled with anger has arrived from the future in a ship with advanced technology to capture Spock and destroy the Federation.

But this is also an origins story, showing Kirk back when he was reckless and violent, filled with wit and with no regard for rules. Chris Pine, the unknown actor playing the role, plays it like a sci-fi 'Indiana Jones,' constantly cracking jokes until its time to be serious, encapsulating the original William Shatner character perfectly. Zachary Quinto, the actor playing Spock, was no slouch either, immediately putting behind any thought that you're actually watching 'Sylar' from 'Heroes' and gets into the mindset of Spock so well you forget he could be anyone else, battling between his Human and Vulcan sides in a way that contrasts the older Leonard Nimoy version and showing how he changes with time, gently philosophising on the value of his human traits. The rest of the classic cast are introduced too; Uhura gets the sex jokes, we mock Chekov's accent, Sulu makes a memorable entrance and Scotty (Simon Pegg) gets to say all his classic lines. They're all there and everything is spot on.

I was half expecting this to flop - though it would be impressive if it was as bad as the last two. I was expecting it to once again involve Borg, because we all know how fun emotionless cyborgs spouting a single phrase can be. I was expecting Kirk to be acted poorly by this newcomer and to completely ignore the recklessness of the original character. I could go on but suffice to say I was wrong on every count. It even manages to fit in with all the current mythology (well, cheating a little) to keep die hards happy. This film is so good it makes me want to go back and watch the series again; so good Leanord Nimoy (Spock) who previously said would never do Star Trek again changed his mind when he saw how awesome the script was. This film doesn't need you to already be familiar with all the lore and history, it literally does start over and will introduce it all to you. Filled with all the action and comic moments that made the classics fun, paying homage to them and yet remaining feeling completely fresh, this is a lesson in how reboots should be done and is probably one of the best action films to come out in the past decade. Who said you couldn't teach an old dog some new tricks?


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