The summer movie season started out with a crawl last week thanks to the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine (read my thoughts on that here), and here we are again with another origin story, but this week's new release picks up the summer slack that Wolverine began with its unflinching mediocrity. Courtesy of J.J. Abrams comes Star Trek, a summer movie event that bridges the gap between die hard fans and casual movie goers, creating a thrilling action movie guaranteed to please even the non-trekkies, excuse me, trekkers out there.
Using the characters from the original series, Star Trek traces the paths of James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto), as they attempt to stop the evil Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana), from destroying Earth.
The only problem with the film, and it's a minor one at that, is that the non-initiated likely won't care about the epic Romulan/Starfleet conflict depicted onscreen. While the story certainly isn't bad, many will shrug it off as uninteresting sci-fi nonsense that many similar movies have. Thus, if you aren't a "Star Trek" fan, there will be moments you will have to fight your way through. At times, I could sense the film wandering away from me because of my non-fan status, but it always found its way back, never reaching far enough to lose my attention.
What we want to see here is action, and action we will get, some of the most intense and thrilling we've seen all year. Star Trek is impressively heart stopping with scenes guaranteed to raise your blood pressure, including a battle atop a giant drill high in the sky, which culminates in a plummet to the ground that had me on the edge of my seat.
Still, this is a character driven movie, due in large part to the terrific performances by everyone in the cast. Eric Bana is deliciously evil as Nero the Romulan and Chris Pine took the Kirk character and put his own spin on him rather than merely mimic William Shatner, which worked wonders. He was charming, seductive, funny, and seemed perfectly able to handle the situations he was faced with. But Zachary Quinto steals the show as Spock, a Vulcan whose species carry no emotions. While he claims to feel nothing (despite his half Vulcan, half human blood), there are brief moments where you can sense the sadness and despair coming through his character due to almost inconspicuous facial expressions Quinto so subtly sneaks in. It was quite impressive, indeed.
All the same, credit must be given to the filmmakers for not allowing their movie to be ruined by forced quotes and cameos. In such a legendary franchise loved by millions, it would be easy to include actors from the original series and famous lines spoken by them, but Star Trek intelligently avoids this pratfall and only includes them when relevant to the situation. The movie has some great one liners that carry a sense of humor, including some classic lines like, "I'm giving her all she's got cap'n," and they don't feel forced, but rather fit into the flow of the dialogue. Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock in the original series even pops up, but his character plays a major role in the story that makes sense in the franchise canon. Never do you feel like your suspension of disbelief is being compromised for fan courtesy.
Star Trek is a great movie, strangely beautiful, yet delivering pulse pounding excitement that never goes over the top and sets the bar for the summer action pictures yet to come. The stunning sets and exquisite outer space shots only add to the awe you are guaranteed to experience. Star Trek is a damn near perfect summer blockbuster. It isn't merely fanboy service. It's something much more and is the first must see movie of the year.
Star Trek receives 5/5