“KHAAANNNN!!!!” Oops, wait… wrong movie.
The 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise is less of an origins story and more of a parallel world for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and writers Robert Orci & (Transformers, Mission Impossible: III), along with director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Fringe) pull it off masterfully. While the plot itself is less inspired than some of Gene Roddenberry’s tales from the original series, the cast is absolutely perfect, the dialogue witty and there were several poignant moments throughout the story. The hardest part however for Abrams and crew, was to create a film that entertains new comers to the Star Trek universe while satisfying the die hard Trekkies.
It’s safe to say they pulled it off.
The only part of the movie that was lacking in anyway was the plot point that sets the events in motion. At its core, Star Trek is about the malevolent Romulan Captain Nero, portrayed menacingly by Eric Bana (Munich, Troy), seeking revenge for the wrongdoings against his people and the young, inexperienced crew, namely Kirk and Spock, of the U.S.S. Enterprise trying to stop him. The story is a far cry from some of the original series’ episodes such as the momentous The City on the Edge of Forever or the politically motivated . However, it is a more than adequate premise to bring together the characters and set up the spectacular script.
First off, whoever was responsible for choosing the cast deserves an Oscar, now. The always hilarious Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) was exceptional as Scotty and stole every scene he was in, as did Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog, Terminator Salvation) as the heavily accented Russian Navigator, Pavel Chekov. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers &The Return of the King, Pathfinder) was also excellent as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in both the comedic and serious scenes and John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) was a capable successor to George Takei as the ship’s helmsman Hikaru Sulu. The ship’s main crew was filled out by the alluring communications officer Uhura played Zoe Saldana, (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl) who looked better in the mini skirt and boots than Nichelle Nichols ever did.
While the side characters worked wonderfully in the film, the fact remains that Star Trek is a franchise remembered for two of the most iconic characters in science fiction history: Mr. Spock and Captain James T. Kirk. For any actor, stepping into the role of ’s and Leonard Nimoy’s classic characters would be a daunting task, but both (Smokin’ Aces) and (Heroes) played their respective parts brilliantly. Pine was perfect as the arrogant yet calm, cool and collected Kirk, whether he was disobeying orders or finding victory in Spock’s no win Kobayashi Maru simulation while nonchalantly eating an apple. Even in the more serious moments of the film, Pine elevated his performance to fit the scenario.
Quinto was equally flawless as the half human half Vulcan, Spock. Attempting to participate in the Vulcan custom of suppressing and controlling emotions while triumphing logic, Spock’s battle with his inner demons lead to some of the most poignant moments in the film.
Although it isn’t necessary to be a fan of the series to enjoy the movie, Star Trek doesn’t forget to reward devoted Trekkies with elements from the original show and past films. The Kobayashi Maru simulation as well as many lines throughout the movie are taken from the original series and the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, while one scene brought back the infamous redshirt character. Still not completely faithful to the source material, the writers seemed to switch the attraction of Uhura from Kirk to Spock, an unusual decision as one of the more famous scenes in the original series was the first interracial kiss ever on television between Shatner and Nichols.
In the midst of creating, updating, and changing the mythos of Star Trek, one aspect stood out above all else and that was the return of Leonard Nimoy as Spock. For anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Star Trek, it was wonderful to see the man back in the role that made him famous and the character an icon. Being a major plot point, it’s especially nice in that his inclusion in the movie was more than a cameo or just an excuse to have Nimoy play Spock one last time, even though seeing his hand gesture and uttering “live long and prosper” would have been enough for many fans.
Star Trek is by no means a perfect film, but where it succeeds more than makes up for the minor misstep in plot development. J.J. Abrams has successfully created a Star Trek for everyone, longtime fans and newcomers alike. Though not the philosophical exploit many of the original episodes were, this fast paced action adventure sets the groundwork for an exciting reincarnation of the sci-fi classic.
To say otherwise would be, illogical.