Commercials have been advertising the latest Trek movie as, “not your father’s Star Trek.” I hate that tagline. They might as well throw in some squealing guitar riffs playing over girls taking their shirts off. Well, some of the commercials have that, too. All of that aside, this definitely isn’t your father’s Star Trek, or is it? The answer is no, it’s not. Although there’s a good chance he’s gonna dig it.
I’ve been a Star Trek fan for years. I stuck with it through the soaring highs of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and the excruciating lows of Voyager and Enterprise. I clapped wildly when I went to see First Contact, and hung my head in shame after seeing Insurrection. It was sad, but the franchise had been in decline in recent years. Star Trek 9 and 10 were lackluster at best, and although it was getting better toward the end, Enterprise was canceled after its fourth season. So when Paramount announced that JJ Abrams would be bringing the next Trek to the big screen, essentially rebooting the franchise, and that they were going to be giving him millions and millions of dollars to do it, the first thing that came to mind was, “What took you so long?”
And it begins. Star Trek fans are some of the whiniest, bitchiest, hard to please people on the planet, and once it was announced that Abrams would be going back to the days of Kirk and Spock, and recasting all of those iconic characters, message board were aflame with speculation that Abrams, a self-proclaimed non-fan, would do nothing but ruin the franchise. Abrams chose to go back to the very beginning, even before the original series, and make this new Star Trek an origin story. It follows Kirk and Spock, and tells how they both came to join Starfleet and be stationed on the Enterprise. In the film, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise go up against Nero, a time traveling Romulan who has a grudge against the Federation for reasons we won’t spoil here.
How was it? Totally awesome! People talk about updating the look of the original series while still keeping the feeling, but Abrams was actually able to pull it off. The sets are new and slick, yet still have that retro 60s feel to them. The film’s special effects are top notch. And Michael Giacchino composed a beautiful soundtrack. The casting was inspired. Especially in the case of Zachary Quinto, who seems like he born to play Spock. Chris Pine was able to bring in Kirk’s brash hotheadedness, and Zoe Saldana really breathes life into Uhura, who in the original series I always felt was there just so there would be a woman in the main cast.
My problems with the film were very few. Scribes Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman did a wonderful job with the script. After Transformers and Eagle Eye, it was better than anything I thought they could do. Still, they threw in the obligatory jokes and sight gags. Some of which worked, while others didn’t. For me, it was all a little hit or miss. I don’t mind comedy in my Trek, but there’s a cutoff point. Also, I had to wonder whether or not the filmmakers trusted the audience to understand the film’s plot. Some of the expository scenes were almost painful to watch. I also had a few problems with Karl Urban’s Doctor McCoy and Anton Yelchin’s Chekov, who at times seemed they were playing caricatures of their characters more than anything else.
Abrams promised he would deliver a movie that would respect all that came before it, while at the same time making it accessible to new fans. And you know what? That’s exactly what he did. Was it 100% perfect? No. But I think he did a hell of a better job than most thought he’d be able to do. Movies come in threes these days, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing about Star Trek XII before long. And rightfully so. This was a good movie. For me – and fans will know what I’m talking about – it was a complete gamechanger. What the filmmakers decided to do with the story really turned Trek into something I wasn’t expecting, but am incredibly excited to see play out over the next few years. I have to give this one an A+. Get out and see it now so that you’re not the only loser who doesn’t know what all your friends are talking about!