Reel Shorts | Star Trek

8 05 2009

Forty-three years after Gene Roddenberry introduced audiences to the final frontier, director J.J. Abrams’ gives fans a thrilling love letter with his prequel, “Star Trek.” The film is a heart-stopping, adrenline-fueled, action packed summer juggernaut that is a fitting companion to the landmark series.

The story centers on evil Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana) who opens the film by attacking the U.S.S. Kelvin and it’s crew while searching for the person he holds responsible for the destruction of his planet. With a perfect blend of action over a haunting score, acting Captain George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) heroically gives his life to save 800 crew-members – including his newborn son, James.

On the other side of the galaxy in Vulcan, another young boy is struggling with his own family lineage. The product of a human mother (Winona Ryder) and Vulcan father, Spock (Zachary Quinto) constantly fights to keep his emotions in check while searching for his ultimate path. Very logical but emotionally torn, Spock must make a choice of which side of his culture he will embrace.

While Spock has his own struggles to overcome, the cocky Kirk (Chris Pine) is rebelling against everything and everybody. Whether totalling his father’s antique whip to taking a savage barfight beating, Kirk is in so much pain from his father’s death that he seems to almost be inviting his own demise. But he is thrown a lifeline by an admirer of his father, Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and challenged to join the Starfleet Academy, where he first comes in contact with his lifelong fellow colleagues and crew-mates.

Featuring eye-popping action and dazzling special effects, at it’s core “Star Trek” is a film about relationships, primarily the one between Kirk and Spock. After Kirk mysteriously aces Spock’s training exercise, the astonished Vulcan accuses him of cheating and the two young officers are immediately suspicious of each other. But while they work through their issues, the evil Nero continues to lurk throughout the galaxy seeking retribution against the Federation. A bevy of Starships, including the freshly-minted U.S.S. Enterprise, are summoned to a pending battle giving the ship and crew a chance to REALLY get a chance to know one another.

Fans of the original series and film franchises will delight in reacquainting themselves with familiar characters such as Uhuru (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), Checkov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg). Even one of the original cast members shows up with his appearance expertly weaved into the rich story narrative. While spending brief moments showing us the early years of both Spock and Kirk, Abrams gives the audience just enough of the information they need to know to understand their motives and his direction crackles with energy and intensity.

Over the past several years, studios have discovered the best way to re-introduce familiar franchises to a new generation of audiences is to create credible back stories to give characters more depth and texture. Abrams along with screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzmann have an amazing grasp of Rodenberry’s source material and the trio have created a perfect companion film for the series.

Another plus is that the technology has finally caught up with the story to create some truly special F/X moments. Abrams and his team understand that no matter what, it is about the Enterprise – and the ship DELIVERS. Whether experiencing the awe of “warp drive,” the ship’s incredible maneuverability or crew member’s “space jumping,” Abrams has created the year’s first “event film.”

While there are small areas that can be nitpicked or over-analyzed, there is no denying that Abrams’ love for the project shows up on nearly every frame of the film. Rivaling such successful reboots such as “Batman Begins,” “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man,” “Star Trek” is one more example that if you have a brand that people love, a visionary at the helm who really cares about the source material and an airtight script that you can create REAL summer magic. Abrams’ tale is not only a glorious fun and fitting tribute to Rodenberry’s vision but will take the franchise warp speed into the future and beyond.

Live long and prosper – indeed!

Grade: A




2 responses

8 05 2009
Lady Di

I’m giving it a C.

10 05 2009
B. A.

I liked the movie the action and story was great however, my brother who is a real trekkie, did not really like the way they took the story to far off emotionally. He picked up on things like…. well I dont want t ruin it for others but the emotions that were displayed he feels would have never been displayed that way based on previous versions.

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