One of my Must-Watch summer movies of this year was Star Trek. Ever since I first heard about this “reboot” I’ve been curious to see what it would turn out to be. With J.J. Abrams and friends at the helm, I was bit dubious at first; I’m not a huge fan of Abrams, even though he’s behind some of my favourite shows. I always see him as a hyper-active kid with ADHD, jumping from one project to the other, without caring how to wrap up those projects neatly (see: Alias, Lost). With Star Trek, however, I realized that (unlike with his TV shows) that wouldn’t be too much of a problem: a Star Trek movie would be a self-contained entity and even if there were unanswered questions and cliffhangers, it could never be as “unsolvable” as Lost, right?
Star Trek is set before the original series, featuring the beginnings of Kirk, Spock, & co at the Star Fleet academy. We get to see how and why Kirk joins the academy, and how he ends up on the Enterprise. Likewise we get an interesting glimpse of Spock’s childhood and family.
Abrams delivers a great summer movie, that not only pleases fans and newcomers, but reboots the entire franchise, taking it into a fresh and exciting direction. Some might say the differences between a “remake” and a “reboot” are non-existent, but in this case I truly believe this movie is more than just a “remake”. This Star Trek manages to introduce us to the same characters we’ve seen before in a different new way, yet still stays true to the original portrayals, story lines and cannon. And, to be frank, it’s pretty amazing that they were able to pull that off.
Besides that this Star Trek is the first Trek that’s a “real” movie, delivering an actual cinematic experience. This Star Trek looks and feels like it’s worth seeing in the cinema; it’s visually stunning and it’s got that epic Star Wars-like movie feeling that all the previous Treks were missing. This isn’t just a B-movie-slightly-overbudget-extra-long-tv-episode; this is an actual Movie.
All the actors are great in their roles, some of them freakishly channeling their predecessors. Chris Pine as Kirk captures that same arrogance and charisma that Shatner had, without it going too over the top. He’s got that Han Solo/Indiana Jones vibe going on; on the one side you kind of want to slap him, on the other you can’t help but like him. Zachary Quinto was born to play Spock; he had the toughest shoes to fill (mainly cause those shoes were still half full), but he pulls it off flawlessly. His Spock is cool and logical, trying to keep his human emotions in check, but there are a couple of great moments where we get to see what’s brewing underneath. Karl Urban as Bones gets some difficult lines to deliver, which could have easily gone very cheesy, but he delivers them with pitch perfection. All the other characters have their shining moments, but I still wish we got to see more of them (especially Sulu and Chekov don’t get enough screen time).
The plot has a couple too many coincidences for me to be completely satisfied by it (I won’t spoil anything here, but if you’ve seen it, just think about the ice planet scenes). It could all be explained away with “fate”, but that feels a bit too lazy for my tastes. For the rest, it felt very much like a first episode, introducing all the characters and setting up the unvierse. Overall though I did enjoy the story, and I can’t wait for the next ‘chapter’.
As I said before, the look and feel of Star Trek is beautiful. The costumes and set pieces are all reminiscent to the older designs, yet slightly slicker and more practical. I loved the CGI worlds of Earth and Vulcan; the architecture was just amazing. Before the screening I had seen a couple of reviews complaining about the amount of lens flares, but these didn’t really annoy me.
Star Trek is (as I said at the start of this review) one of the MUST-SEE movies of this summer. I got to see it at the Imax, and if you get the chance to see it there, do it. The mega screen is completely worth the little extra you pay for a ticket. Also: whether you’re a die hard fan or someone who’s never seen Star Trek ever in your life, you’re sure to enjoy it (newcomers might not get all the little in-jokes, but those aren’t necessary to make sense of everything). Seeing this Star Trek has gotten me completely primed and in the mood for more. In other words: I can’t wait for a sequel!