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Movie Review: New generation takes the helm in 'Star Trek' reboot

May 14th, 2009 12:00 am by Lane Blevins

Growing up, I was never a huge “Star Trek” fan. My friends and I had the same philosophy — that you could like “Star Wars” OR “Star Trek,” but NEVER both.


While in college, however, I realized that my love for science fiction outweighed choosing sides, and I began to watch several of the “Star Trek” films. So for the sake of perspective, this is my experience with “Star Trek” — I am a casual fan who has seen only the movies.


Watching the films, I came to understand what it was that I liked about “Star Trek.” For me, “Trek” is all about rich landscapes of well-developed alien cultures, epic space battles in the style of naval warfare and the relationship between a captain who leads with his heart (Kirk) and a commander who leads with his head (Spock).


J.J. Abrams’ reboot of this classic franchise has all of these qualities in spades. And because of that, I loved his movie.


The film grabs you right from opening frame. It begins on the ship of James Kirk’s father. Suddenly, out of a black hole an immense and very dangerous looking Romulan ship appears with immediate hostility.


Kirk’s father is forced to evacuate his crew. He gets his wife (who is in labor with James) to an escape vessel while he stays behind in order to collide with the Romulan invader and give his people a chance to escape.


We find out that the Romulans are from the future and under the command of a rogue captain named Nero. They are scouring the universe for the young Spock, whom Nero claims is responsible for the destruction of the Romulan race. After his people were destroyed, Nero got hold of “red matter” and began using it to time travel aimlessly through the universe in search of revenge, starting an alternate reality that rewrites “Star Trek” lore and essentially wipes the slate clean for brand new adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise.


This might ruffle the feathers of old school trekkies; however, I think it is necessary in order to allow future generations to find their way into the series. Especially since it is rapidly aging AND no one has seen a “Trek” film on the big screen in seven years.


Indeed, I was quite surprised by how empty our theater was at the 11 p.m. showing of “Trek.” With all the clout this film was carrying, I imagined I would see audiences lined around the block. But as I started to think about it, I realized that you can never underestimate that 12- to 18-year-old school crowd. The trouble is, none of them have even heard of “Star Trek.” However, THIS is most definitely the movie that can regenerate the fan base.


Of interest in this newer, sleeker “Trek” are the incredible performances by a spot-on cast. I had absolutely no idea who Chris Pine was before hearing about the casting of this film, but after seeing his portrayal of James T. Kirk (complete with the cowboy swagger of Shatner himself), I am curious to see what happens with him.


Zachary Quito’s Spock was pitch-perfect. He played the part worthy of the attention Spock receives in this film (just as much, if not more so, than Kirk). I also loved Simon Pegg, as Scotty, who brings to this story a light and timely comic relief.


But perhaps my favorite part of “Star Trek” was how it postulated a story of the U.S.S. enterprise crew coming together for the first time through chance and dire circumstance. Seeing the crew as a rag-tag band of star fleeters thrown together in the heat of combat made for a fantastic time.


“Star Trek” was an absolute blast. It is a J.J. Abrams production, which to me means stellar casting, fantastic scoring by Michael Giacchino, attention to detail and top-of-the-line effects. Don’t miss this movie!


Lane Blevins is an aspiring filmmaker.


3½ stars (out of 4)


STARRING: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg


DIRECTED BY: J.J. Abrams


RATED: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content


RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, 6 minutes





 

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