I’ve been hesitant to write a review for the movie because it was just an absolutely amazing experience. I saw the film on the night of its release in IMAX and in the week since seeing it for the first time, saw it two additional times. And to be honest, I might go back and see it again, at least one more time. It was just brilliant. Star Trek is officially revived.
J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the film, has made it quite clear that he was not a Star Trek fan, but wisely decided to surround himself with people who were. Additionally in developing the characters of the Original cast characters, Abrams conducted interviews with the surviving cast members to get their insights into their portrayals of the characters so that it could help guide how the new cast members would fill those roles. Tapping Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, two long time fans, to write the screenplay, the script brilliantly is laced with loving references to the Original Series as well as previous films that provide the ultimate homage to all that has come before. It also is a welcome tribute to the long time fans because it’s like an acknowledgment that the script is in the hands of people who want to do justice to the legacy of Star Trek without trampling over it.
The casting of younger versions of the original cast were spot on. You could really feel that each of the actors were being true to the characters without trying to portray the original cast. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto truly embodied Kirk and Spock. Karl Urban played Leonard McCoy to perfection. Zöe Saldana captures Uhura in a vibrant way, and John Cho gives a heroic spin to Sulu. And as a true departure from the original cast, Anton Yelchin is an authentic Russian as Chekov and Simon Pegg, while not a Scotsman, hails from the UK, both giving an extra sense of authenticity to their performances. Best hidden accents are Karl Urban who hides his native New Zealand accent behind a Southern accent for McCoy and Australian Eric Bana who’s Romulan named Nero has a very American English sounding accent in the movie.
WARNING: SPOILERS CONTAINED BELOW
The movie jumps right into action from the moment the production logos finish. Gone are the days of extended opening credit sequences with sweeping overtures to open Star Trek films. Before the opening titles, the great opening sequence showing the birth of James T. Kirk in a combat battle with the U.S.S. Kelvin takes shape before first credit even hits the screen.
Covering the childhoods of both Kirk and Spock before the two ultimately meet over the intimately familiar Kobayashi Maru scene which was referenced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The little touches of the film that truly paid off for me, were things like Kirk chewing on an apple during the Kobayashi Maru test, Kirk fooling around with a green skinned girl (officially an Orion, but never explained in the film), a “Red Shirt” dying on an away mission, the Ceti Eels from Star Trek II, the tribble (present in the scene where we meet Scotty). Additionally, there was a reference to a favorite scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when Leonard Nimoy’s Spock gives Scotty a formula he would eventually create anyway to allow Kirk and Scotty to beam onto the Enterprise while it is traveling at warp speed. Also to hear Scotty utter, “I’m giving her all she’s got” is priceless.
While the plot about which planet in the film gets destroyed (sorry, not giving that one away) was quite a surprise. It’ll be interesting to see how the future films in this new rebooted Star Trek with it’s alternate timeline takes shape. In any case, while traditionally it’s the even numbered Trek films that tend to be the best, this new reboot as the 11th Star Trek film is the first odd numbered film to truly break the cycle and is clearly one of the best films in the series. I just want to see the movie again, and even though I’ve seen the movie three times (the most times I’ve ever seen any Trek film on the big screen) I just can’t wait to see it again. And of course, I’m ever so anxious for the Blu-Ray that will be hitting the stores later this year.
If you haven’t seen it, go see Star Trek, you will not be disappointed. And be sure to go see it in a Digital format. The last viewing I did was on traditional 35mm film, and it was grainy and had imperfections that just aren’t present in the digital IMAX and digital presentations of the movie. You’re getting a great movie experience and going digital makes sure it’s to perfection.