Star Trek (2009)

"Excellent"

Star Trek (2009) Review


With one film, J.J. Abrams has made Star Trek younger, flashier, sexier, funnier, and less intelligent, but more exhilarating than it has been in decades. By altering the franchise's storied past, he ignites a fevered barn-burner that's geared toward today's action junkies but also sets the stage for what could be a long and prosperous future.

Abrams' stylized reboot isn't the finest film in the 10-picture series, which dates back to 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That distinction still belongs to the second Trek feature, The Wrath of Khan, though Abrams and co-screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman wisely allow that film to influence most of their creative decisions.

Like Ricardo Montalban's rage-fuelled Khan, Nero (Eric Bana) is a seemingly wronged alpha male seeking vengeance against a U.S.S. Enterprise crew member: Spock, not Kirk, sits in the crosshairs this time around. Time-traveling back to the moment of a pivotal attack on the U.S.S. Kelvin, Nero unknowingly interferes with the birth of James T. Kirk, thereby creating an alternate timeline and freeing Orci and Kurtzman from the hallowed Trek canon.

The bold move also allows Abrams and crew to re-cast Trek characters who have been ingrained in our pop-culture conscience. Because, as original Kirk William Shatner prophetically surmised in Khan, "Galloping around the galaxy is a game for the young."

Abrams' Star Trek splits its focus between the franchise's new Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto), explaining how these rebellious teenagers found their way to Starfleet Command and, in time, aboard the Enterprise as captain and first mate. But while nods to Trek history are plentiful -- we witness Kirk cheating his way through the legendary Kobayashi Maru simulation, his introduction to Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban, sufficiently surly), the recruitment of hapless engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg) -- Abrams' installment doesn't care to linger in the past. It rockets ever forward on its own original path, guided by spare-no-expense special effects, healthy character development, and welcome comic relief.

If anything, Star Trek moves too fast. It's evident from the opening scenes aboard the Kelvin that this isn't your father's Trek. Dialogue overlaps like an E.R. episode as Abrams whizzes his cameras as if they're attached to slingshots. The film's budget is evident in its high-tech scenery -- this is the best looking Star Trek film, by far -- and extreme-sports action sequences.

But Abrams' direction isn't always smooth -- a mid-air mission involving parachutes, a drill, ten-foot flames, and a well-calibrated teleportation boosts your heart rate, even if you're uncertain at times what exactly is going on. It's possible, even, that the sheer speed of Trek will alienate resolute Trekkies who preferred Shatner's dramatic pauses and the plausible scientific storytelling to the adolescent energies of Abrams' pedal-to-the-metal thriller.

No matter which generation of Trek you support -- and that includes you Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine addicts -- it's hard to knock the solid ensemble, which claims these established characters as their own as they fall into place for inevitable sequels. Pine leads with his ego but earns Kirk's heroic swagger. Urban and Anton Yelchin (as Russian whiz kid Pavel Chekov) are asked to lighten the mood with broad jokes. Quinto's Spock comes across as unsure, though it's a tough task since we're comparing him to original Vulcan Leonard Nimoy, who passes the torch in a nostalgic cameo.

The real star, of course, is the Star Trek franchise itself, and it hasn't risen so high or shone so brightly in years.

Does this flight have a meal service?



Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

In Theaters: Wednesday 15th May 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Bryan Burk, ,

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.