In short: “I can’t think of a more entertaining science-fiction film this decade.”
A preface: If you’d told me two years ago, when I first heard about this remake, that I’d get to talk to JJ Abrams on the phone the day it was released, I’d have laughed at you. Or maybe spit at you, for insulting my intelligence.
I am a pseudo-trekkie. Not particularly well-versed in Roddenberry‘s mythology, but I have seen every single previous Trek movie at least nine times each. Well, except for The Undiscovered Country. So I at least had a working knowledge of the original Trek characters, and that definitely added a layer of enjoyment that general audiences won’t benefit from. That being said, the three people I watched this flick with, Trek-virgins all, enjoyed it immensely.
As you’ve probably heard, Abrams’ Star Trek isn’t just a prequel or a remake, it’s a completely fresh take on the original concept: a diverse cast of characters zipping through the universe and battling some civilizations, while rescuing others. After five television series and ten feature films, the Star Trek franchise was virtually dead. The last series (Enterprise), and the last movie (Star Trek: Nemesis), were utter failures, both critically, financially, and emotionally with the franchise fanbase.
But JJ and Company (Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof, particularly), have taken the soul of the original show and turned it into a thrilling, fast-paced, action-packed romp that rips through time, space, and your eyeballs. Right now, I can’t think of a more entertaining science fiction film this decade. Here’s why this Trek rocks, in bullet-form.
- The retro-futuristic design is slick, with lots of bright colors and Apple-inspired technology that reinforces the storyline’s determined optimism.
- Pine is a perfect Kirk. Quinto, despite my fierce reservations (I hate Heroes, and Sylar) is a near-perfect Spock. The chemistry between these two men carries the entire film.
- Karl Urban‘s take on Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy is an absolute riot, along with Simon Pegg‘s priceless Scotty.
- Yelchin‘s Chekov and Saldana‘s Uhura are both adorable, though in very different ways. If you know what I mean.
- Michael Giacchino absolutely knocks the music out of the park, particularly his main Enterprise/Federation themes and the Vulcan music.
- Leonard Nimoy‘s return is breathtaking.
- Abrams‘ direction is downright gleeful. The tracking shots, the steadicam shakes, the lens flares, the razor-sharp editing…it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Is there anything wrong with the movie? A few things did irk me.
- Did we really need the Tyler Perry cameo?
- Kurtzman and Orci, despite their immense talent, display a five-year-old’s understanding of black holes.
- The dialogue gets silly in places. Things like “I should have killed you when I had the chance!”
- Giacchino’s Romulan theme is dreadfully simplistic. Three or four plodding notes on a tuba, and we hear it over and over and over again. Though the rest of the score rocks!
- While Eric Bana does a great job with the role he’s given, the evil Captain Nero was a one-dimensional, stock villain with fudged motivations.
I know, I know, everyone’s a critic. But these miniscule balks aside, I absolutely adored every moment of this delightful film. Enough to make the trek (ha!) to Chicago’s busiest theatre twice in two days!
I can’t wait for the sequel.