Viewed – 15 November 2009 DVD
So how do you go about re-inventing a franchise that had not only grown stale years ago, but was always something of a geek fanboy guilty pleasure? Well firstly step forward hotshot TV producer and director J.J. Abrams, fresh off immeasurable respect from Lost and the third (and in my opinion, best) movie in the Mission Impossible franchise. Now add to the mix a hot new cast of young, up and coming stars such as Zachary Quinto, John Cho and Simon Pegg, amongst others, and everything is in place for a great movie.
This is more of a prequel to the Trek movies & cult TV show than a direct sequel, and what with the baton having past to the Next Generation crew long ago, it was a great idea to revisit the old characters, back when they were fresh out of the academy and wet behind the ears, compared to the confident, assured presences of Shatner, Nimoy and co. A young Kirk, as played by Chris Pine is a cock-sure, arrogant kid with little aspiration to be captain of a starship, until an old friend of his father’s persuades him to join Star Fleet. At this time we also meet Spock (Quinto) who when his home world of Vulcan is attacked, turns to Star Fleet to train and work on a star ship so to have a chance for revenge when the time comes. In between, the two iconic characters meet up with other crew members any Trekkie will remember (with a newly sexed up Uhura), and before long, at least for me, it began to feel like the Trek of old.
The new cast, especially Pine do bring a breath of fresh air to the well-worn characters and offer new insights into their personality without feeling too removed from what went before. Zachary Quinto, most famous as boo-hiss villain Sylar in Heroes is excellent and captures much of what Leonard Nimoy brought to Spock for decades. Saying that, Nimoy also crops up in an extended cameo as old Spock (something to do with time travel), and really chews the scenery. Casting-wise the only real let down is Eric Bana, unrecognisable as Romulon nutjob Niro, and delivers nothing but a one-note vengeful bad guy that has nothing on, for instance, Ricardo Montalban’s Khan in Star Trek 2. And the less said about Chekov, the better.
Thankfully though the effects work, set design, action and score are all first class, with Abrams’ direction adding plenty of style, wit and dare I say it, panache to the movie that delivers a great pop-corn experience and an assured starting point for future movies.
Verdict: 4 /5