Monday, 20 April 2009

Star Trek: Movie Review

Star Trek: Movie Review

Cast: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy

Director: JJ Abrams

Rating: 9/10

"Set phasers on fun"
JJ Abrams has done it! The man who confused the world with Lost and destroyed New York with Cloverfield has managed the impossible - he has made a Star Trek movie which will satisfy the fans, as well as bring a whole new generation of Trekkies to the franchise.
Quite simply he has made a bloody brilliant movie! Going back to the original characters of Kirk, Spock and Bones and introducing them as they meet for the first time at Starfleet was a huge gamble.
Would fans accept seeing different actors playing the iconic roles? Was there any life in a franchise which had wilted on TV and film? Would a new generation of cinema goers know or care about the history of the Trek universe?
Well fans and non-fans can rest assured that thanks to a tight script from Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Mission Impossible 3, Transformers), top notch special effects and a cast that are clearly relishing their roles, Star Trek brings fun to the big screen - a welcome relief from the moody fantasy movies like The Dark Knight and Watchmen.
Abrams is quoted as saying he looked at the second movie in the series The Wrath of Khan for inspiration and it is clear he has taken basic elements from that movie.
Often regarded as the best of the previous 10 Trek outings, it featured a wronged protagonist (a fantastic Ricardo Montalban) out for revenge against the Federation. Much like the 1982 movie, the main bad guy in the 2009 version is not some general overlord out for world domination but rather a man who has lost everything but his sense of betrayal.
Eric Bana shines as Nero, a Romulan who has justifiably got the hump after watching his home world obliterated. With his own planet destroying device on board his mining vessel, Nero is out for some serious ass-kicking.
Bana is not the only one having fun with his character, the same can be said for the rest of the cast.

The big revelation is Chris Pine as the young Kirk. There is not a lot in his CV to suggest he would be suitable to fill William Shatner's boots from the original series. A starring role opposite Lindsay Lohan in Just My Luck and a small role in the indie hit Smokin' Aces are about as good as it gets.
But he blitzes the screen as the cocky, arrogant Kirk who never backs down from a fight. He doesn't play the future captain with the same mannerisms as Shatner, however it is fun to watch him throw in the odd Shatner-isms every now and them.
The original series relied heavily on the friendship between Kirk and Spock and thankfully Pine and Zachery Quinto handle the relationship on the big screen well - starting out as enemies before warming to each other's idiosyncrasies. Quinto (Sylar in TV's Heroes) nails the characteristics of Spock, an outsider on his home planet of Vulcan due to his mixed heritage.
Kudos to our own Karl Urban too for stepping into the shoes of DeForest Kelley to play the grumpy doctor Bones and he even gets to say one of his famous lines "I'm a doctor Jim... not a physicist".
John Cho as Sulu and Zoe Saldana as Uhura also shine, the latter even getting an unexpected romantic plot line, and Simon Pegg almost steals the show late on as engineer Scotty.
The gap between the original series and the latest update is bridged by the introduction of the "old Spock" Leonard Nimoy - who steps easily back into the role which made his name. Nimoy brings gravitas and in essence hands the reigns onto the new actors to continue the adventures of the Enterprise.
The movie is not without its faults - the device for Kirk to meet the old Spock stretches credibility to the limit and Anton Yelchin's Chekov starts off as amusing before quickly turning annoying, but these do not detract from the overall movie.

This is a big, fun film, obviously made with a lot of love which will see the Enterprise boldly going for more years to come.

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