Upfront, a disclaimer: I am not a “Trekie.”
I have never sported fake Spock ears, nor have I ever spoken a syllable of Klingon. Heck, I can’t even contort my fingers into the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign.
Guess what? It didn’t matter for me and it won’t matter for you when it comes to seeing director J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK.
When I first heard that a new “Trek” film was in the works and it was going to get the BATMAN BEGINS/CASINO ROYALE treatment, I did think “What the heck? How are you going to reboot a 40+ year old franchise without alienating a bunch of people?”
Like I said, I’m not a “Trekie,” so it didn’t bother me in the least that the slate was going to be wiped away clean. But there are fans who DO care tremendously, wear fake Spock ears, and carry on conversations in Klingon. I certainly can respect that since there’s a certain fictional comic book character that I care immensely about myself.
No need to worry, STAR TREK not only reboots the film franchise, but it also saves and pays homage to the original series. Trust me, fans of the "Star Trek" will be thrilled to see Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu together for the first time, all the while not negating 4+ decades of history. This film is so good, that it will bring in the average moviegoers and probably create a whole new generation of “Trekies.”
This is an origin story, so expect to see a whole lot of “setting up the franchise,” if you will. I know this will sound strange, but it both is and isn’t a prequel. “What the hell?” you’re probably thinking. Trust me, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when you see the film. Anyway…
We witness the birth, if you will, of both James T. Kirk (literally) and Mr. Spock -- played marvelously by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectively. Kirk’s the rebellious, hard-drinking, womanizing Iowa farm boy (I like him already!) who is wasting both his talent and legacy. Spock is a Vulcan (Half!) -- a logic-based civilization that has no time for emotion. After the obligatory Kirk/Spock setup, the story quickly moves to their time at the Starfleet Academy before they are ordered to go on a rescue mission to Spock’s home planet of Vulcan.
Do they clash? Oh yes. Do they eventually become the closest of friends? You bet -- this is STAR TREK!
I can’t say enough about the quality script produced by screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtz. This creative team deserves tons of props for being able to both reboot the entire franchise, yet preserve and connect to the legacy of Shatner, Nimoy, and the rest. To make time travel and alternate realities seem “realistic” takes talent and imagination -- and these guys certainly have tons of both.
Left to right: Chekov (Anton Yelchin), James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Uhura (Zoë Saldana) in STAR TREK.
(Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.)
In a nutshell, the main plot revolves around the first mission of the Enterprise. It’s captain -- Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) -- ends up being taken prisoner by a Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana). This Nero character has it in for all planets that are part of the Federation. Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew must then find a way to save not only their leader, but the planet Earth itself.
Enough of Kirk and Spock, what about the rest of the new cast?
Karl Urban as Dr. “Bones” McCoy (we find out how he got that nickname), John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Anton Yelchin as Chekov prove to be nice casting choices and all have their time in the sun. Simon Pegg as Scotty shows up about halfway into the film, but sure as heck makes the most of his time onscreen.
Eric Bana is “OK” as the film’s villain, the Romulan Nero. In fact, the one and only qualm I have with the film is that I could never really muster up a good case of hate for him.
It’s no secret that Leonard Nimoy has more than a cameo as Mr. Spock. I’ll admit that I was a tad concerned how they could do a reboot, all the while not erasing any of the previous TREK history. But they do it and do it well.
Strangely, the She-Hulk is in this film and has the hots for Kirk. She looks damn good, but I didn’t know that She-Hulk existed in the “Trek Universe.” Huh…you learn something everyday I guess.
All kidding aside, STAR TREK is action-packed, funny (but never cheesy), exhilarating, and chock-full of great special effects. I had a hell of a time watching it and can’t wait to see what’s next for the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew...
And I bet you will too.