‘Star Trek’ revamps an old franchise for a new generation

Just like how Batman Begins and Casino Royale resuscitated the absurdly fading Batman and James Bond franchises, J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost and director of Mission Impossible III) bring life into a 43-year-old franchise that boldly went where no man has gone before with Star Trek.
The film begins with a spectacular twelve minute prologue where a spaceship, led by a vicious and vindictive Romulan known as Nero (Eric Bana) attacks the USS Kelvin, which was captained by George Kirk He sacrificed himself in order to save other ships that were evacuating from the USS Kelvin, including a pregnant Winona Kirk (Jennifer Morrison) who gave birth to George’s son, James Tiberius Kirk.
Several years later, Kirk (Chris Pine) grows into a young and rugged man from Iowa and is convinced by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to join the Starfleet Academy. Meanwhile, Spock (Zachery Quinto) faces discrimination for being half-human and half-Vulcan and struggles to suppress his human emotions. Kirk’s journey to the USS Enterprise leads to introduction to the Star Trek characters Kirk’s flirtatious attempt to hit on the sexy Uhura (Zoe Saldana) at an Iowa bar to a funny introduction to Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (Karl Urban). Among the introductions, Kirk finally meet Spock in hostile encounter via Kirk reprogramming the Kobayashi Test, a program that Spock had developed in order to challenge future up-and-coming Captains. Among all this, Nero reemerges from the past to wreak havoc upon the Federation and it will be up to Kirk and Spock to put all differences aside in order to save the galaxy.
The movie is truly amazing and one of the best movies of the year as it not only a science fiction effects-driven movie, but also a character-driven movie. It explores how the lives of Kirk and Spock have changed forever due to an incident that happens in the future. This event causes a small hole in the space-time continuum and Nero’s destructive mission to destroy the planets Vulcan and Earth. While this could be consider a character-driven science fiction movie, the movie also contains hilarious moments that include between McCoy gives Kirk an allergic reaction to an injection and a scene in which between Russian Starfleet cadet Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and the ship’s voice recognition computer.
Chris Pine plays a great young Kirk but making the character his own and not imitating William Shatner’s portrayal of James T. Kirk during the series’ television run. Pine plays Kirk more like an accidental hero mix of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Known for his role in the television series as Syler in Heroes, Zachery Quinto is really tremendous playing Spock as a confused young man who is not sure which world he belongs to more and becomes overcome with emotions when something tragic happens to him. Kirk and Spock could have fallen into the category as cheap imitations of the television series by unknown actors, but Pine and Quinto pull it off well. One great thing that Star Trek included was the blessing of one of the original members of the television series by coming back to a role he has not played since 1991, Leonard Nimoy as the older Spock. While this could have been a wasted cameo, Nimoy’s role in the movie as Spock is important because it is Spock’s action that causes a riff in the space-time continuum that puts the Star Trek universe on its head and resetting for what is to come in any upcoming sequel.
What Star Trek manages to do is to not isolate any moviegoers that will be new to the Star Trek universe and appease to the Trekkies at the same time. The movie also pays tribute to the original Star Trek television series and movies. Bruce Greenwood plays Captain Christopher Pike, who was the commanding officer of USS Enterprise in the unaired original series pilot episode. The actor who played Pike, Jeffery Hunter, was recast and replaced by William Shatner and a second pilot was aired with Shatner as James T. Kirk. Captain Pike is considered Captain Kirk’s predecessor in the mythology of Star Trek a plot line is played out in the film. The villain Nero places Ceti Eels inside his hostage’s ears to force him to tell the truth, which was the same thing the villain Khan did to Chekov in the 1982 movie, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Composer Michael Giacchino uses the original Star Trek theme by Alexander Courage near the end of the movie. Those are examples of several nods that are too many to list throughout the film and shows that the writers themselves (Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman) are Trekkies as well.
Star Trek is the first great summer movie of the year and on my list so far as one of the best movies this year with the perfect casting, several nods to the 43-year-old franchise and a couple humorous moments.
STAR TREK: 5 stars out of 5


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