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Review: 'Star Trek' Is A Blockbuster That Deserves The Hype

Dee Doyle Dee Doyle
May 1st, 2009 2:24pm EDT
Star Trek XIWhen the new "Star Trek" was announced, directed by J.J. Abrams and starring a hot young cast, it was playfully referred to as "Star Trek 90210" and many fans were skeptical of its worth. Reboots of popular series are often very disappointing, and it was especially dangerous with such a diehard fanbase ready to tear apart each and every detail. The Original Series started the Trek world, and it was known to be hilarious, cheesy, and the best sci-fi they had at the time. The Next Generation was sleek and more serious, but personally I always preferred the original cast; especially their movies. The emotional resonance was always there with the friendship of the characters and the hardships they went through together, but there was plenty of humor and puns to go around. I went in expecting very little of this movie, and came out with one thing clearly in mind: I have to see that again!

"Star Trek" went above and beyond my expectations of it, and may be the first big blockbuster of the year that really deserves its hype. This introduces the cast of the original series in a different way, starting from the day that James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) was born and how he got involved with Starfleet. It also introduces Spock (Zachary Quinto) and his struggle as a child to choose which race (human or vulcan) he belonged to. This is not the calm and cold Spock that we watched develop into an emotional being; instead he starts out having trouble containing his emotions and struggling with love and fury. The rest of the cast are here, and brilliantly portrayed by each young actor: the acerbic and dry Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban), the fiercely beautiuful Uhura (Zoe Saldana), the funny and trustworthy Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (Simon Pegg), the intelligent swashbuckler HIkaru Sulu (John Cho), and the charming and youthful Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin). There are also great roles played by Eric Bana (the villain Nero), Winona Ryder, Ben Cross, and yes, Leonard Nimoy himself!

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A Starfleet ship is suddenly attacked after a strange lightning storm by a Romulan ship. The Captain upon it, Nero, demands to know where Spock is but no one on board knows who that is. When the Starfleet Captain agrees to go over to negotiate, he puts George Kirk in command. Everything goes sour, but in order to keep safe the fleeing ship members (including his wife and newborn son), George goes down with the ship. Years later, James is a rebellious and charismatic youth who agrees to join Starfleet at the encouragement of Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). It is there he becomes best friends with Doctor McCoy and bumps heads with the cold and intelligent Spock. When Vulcan is suddenly attacked, Starfleet flies to its defense, with Kirk sneaking on board since he was currently suspended. Then Kirk realizes that the lightning storm is the same as the one on his birthday, and he manages to warn them in time. This leads into a vicious battle between the new Enterprise, its crew, and the vengeful Romulan crew led by Nero.

The film fully embraces its history, giving loving respect and reverence to the material, but this is not the Star Trek you remember nor does it have to be. Not to spoil anything, but they are not the same crew, and this gives the writers license to give each character a little more freedom than they ordinarily would've had. The movie is also very funny, giving plenty of winks to the fans in the audience but genuinely sarcastic, snarky, and even a little slapstick at times. The CGI and space battles are done in a sleek manner, with the action not taking away from the story or going too far, but rather being supplementary. The only criticism is that the villains feel a little two dimensional, much like in previous Trek films, but compared to the positives of this movie, it is a very small thing. There were times the plot felt a bit convoluted, and the sudden trip to Star Wars' Hoth (seriously, it is just like it) was somewhat trite, but then Nimoy and Pegg made it all better.

The young cast are funny, fit their roles, and are a pleasure to watch. Where has Chris Pine been hiding? With his bright blue eyes and smirk, he is the foolhardy best of Kirk and Shatner would be proud to share the name with him. Quinto is equally impressive in the big shoes he has to fill, but having Nimoy on set probably helped. "Star Trek" is a great addition to the series, and it will delight both fans and newcomers alike. The few negatives of the film are so quickly overshadowed by its greatness that you come out smiling no matter what. It's fun, entertaining, beautifully shot, and well acted; what more could you ask for? J.J. Abrams and the entire crew deserve the success that will be coming to them from this box office hit, and I doubt that the crowds will die down in the second week. This could very well be the first grand slam of the year ... and it should be!

Dee Doyle
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle

Starpulse contributing writer


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