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Star Trek Review

Star Trek: Move Over Kirk, Spock Is Hot

To be honest, I'm not a huge Star Trek fan. Obviously as a member of the human race who was raised in the United States, I've been exposed to the original television show and many of its different iterations. I've even seen some of the movies including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (responsible for my lifelong fear of earwigs) and the movie I commonly refer to as "the one with the whales," aka Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

So, getting me to be excited for anything Star Trek related is a bit of an uphill battle. Given that, it's a pretty amazing thing director J.J. Abrams and his team have accomplished with this reboot. The movie successfully turns back the clock on a franchise four decades old and brings it back to life with an adrenaline shock to the system that will leave you breathless. And in pure Abrams fashion, the story and characterization do not suffer. The result is popcorn cinema at its best. Despite not being a Trekkie (or Trekker, or whatever you call megafans these days), I can't stop thinking about this movie. To see why,

.

The question I had going into this movie was: How does one reimagine Star Trek for today's audience without completely alienating hardcore fans? The answer, it turns out, was to simply start over. In a clever twist, the opening sequence sets into motion events that alter the space/time continuum. Yes — and this will come as no surprise to Lost fans — Abrams uses time travel that bends around certain facts. Rather than disregard Trek lore, the filmmakers simply figured out an acceptable way to start fresh with the characters.

Because of these time-bending events, James T. Kirk, the future captain of the USS Enterprise, grows up fatherless in Iowa. He's brilliant but extremely self-destructive. Meanwhile, on Vulcan, a young Spock is teased and discriminated against for having a human mother (Winona Ryder). We know the two young men are destined to meet but when they finally do it's different than what you might imagine. When Kirk (played by Chris Pine with a wink and nod to the original performance) meets Spock (Zachary Quinto) at the Starfleet Academy they do not get along. Kirk is all swagger and machismo. Spock is, of course, logical but Quinto plays him with a smug know-it-all edge that hints at the human emotions beneath the surface.

However, when the movie's villain Nero (Eric Bana) declares war on Vulcan and then Earth, it's all-hands-on-deck time and the two must work together. A bunch of green, yet familiar, cadets — Dr. "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and eventually Scotty (Simon Pegg) — suddenly find themselves in charge of a brand-new ship. There are moments when seeing these good-looking youngsters in such a well-known uniform feels a little bit like the Trek version of Muppet Babies. But that feeling is fleeting and for the most part the performances are heartfelt and quite funny.

In the midst of chaos and war, Kirk and Spock become friends — but not before Spock violently pins Kirk's cocky butt to the floor. In Abrams's universe, Spock aims for logic but often succumbs to his emotions, messy though they may be. Pine charges through the film with all the charisma needed in a golden-haired leading man, but in a lot of ways this is Quinto's movie and he actually turns Spock into something of a sex symbol. Some fans might find these changes to the characters' personalities sacrilegious, but I just appreciate the fact that their friendship provides the movie with an emotional center.

In the end, the experience is completely satisfying. There are in-jokes galore that even a Trek philistine like myself found thrilling and there are action sequences that had me on the edge of my seat. It's thoughtful, it looks great, and it's completely absorbing. In terms of epic action-adventures, it doesn't get much better than this.

Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures


Join The Conversation
starofsorrow starofsorrow 8 years
I was extremely excited to see Star Trek in Open Caption format! (Being deaf, I have to catch the movies at the right times...). I gotta agree with Buzz....the movie is great. I loved almost everything about it other than that certain lovestory. That one got a "bwuh?!" reaction from me in the movie, but beyond that, everything was fantastic.
joanne_lummy joanne_lummy 8 years
fantastic film, not at all into Star Trek but loved everything else JJ has done so thought id give it a whirl. Recommended it to everyday at work the day after!
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
Loved it- agree that all of the pieces really worked well together!
rivrchild rivrchild 8 years
I completely agree with everything Buzz said in this review. It is truly amazing what they did with this movie, considering that so many people who barely acquainted with the franchise were still able to follow along and fall in love with the story. Smart blonde, I love your Quinto/Spock: Rickman/Snape analogy. Perfect! I was most impressed with Pine as Kirk though. Now, as a non-Trek fan and being only semi-acquainted with the previous players, I don't have much to compare him to. But as a performance on its own, I thought he did excellent. He's got a great sense of comic timing, his facial expressions are amazing. Actually, the whole cast had great timing together as a whole. So seldom do all the pieces seem to fit so well as they did in this movie. I am definitely seeing it again.
smart-blonde smart-blonde 8 years
Great review! I've never seen the original series, though I am a huge fan of TNG, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. The idea of a ctrl-alt-del on the series was a genius one, I think, because fans of TOS could still get the jokes and references and new fans, or neverfans, could enjoy the story on its own. Zach Quinto is doing for Spock what Alan Rickman did for Snape, is my opinion.
jessesgirl jessesgirl 8 years
i'm not a trekky, but i loved the movie! it was really great w/ great visual effects. pine and quinto are great together!
geo637 geo637 8 years
I really enjoyed it, although I am a big fan of JJ Abrams. Alias was one of my Favorites. I just really appreciated that I didn't have to be a star trek fanboy/girl to understand it & also the pace. The pace was fantastic. It was over before I had a chance to even think about where I was. Good times.
kafarine-tin-tin kafarine-tin-tin 8 years
I'm kinda a half Trekkie - I was bought up in a house full of Trekkies but I never really got too into it, but I do love it. I loved this movie! I appreciate that it was good for the hardcore fans, while at the same time making it good for the other movie goers too. Chris Pine was awesome and was so perfectly cocky, and Zachary Quinto was good too. I liked all the old Star Trek cliches that they included like "I'm givin her all she's got Captain!". My brother, a HUGE Trekkie, loved it too, except maybe a certain lovestory (I won't spoil). The two rando best things about seeing this movie the day it came out in NZ though were the American's who flew all the way over here to see it first because of the time difference (with Comm Badges and all) and hearing the Trekkies debating it in the mall afterwards (But he was only in Warp 4 and he couldn't have done that!) :D
nancita nancita 8 years
I didn't think anyone could make me interested in seeing this movie, but you have succeeded!
supertramp supertramp 8 years
i loved it. only problem was that it wasn't long enough.
eowynnie eowynnie 8 years
I'm definitely a hardcore Trekkie, especially of TOS, although I am a Trek convention virgin. That being said, this flick was good. It was entertaining, even if I was a little "huh?" at some of the time bending facts. Dr. McCoy basically encapsulated my thoughts with "I'm a doctor, not a physicist!" There are plenty of gems in this movie for die hard fans to enjoy, without being too alienating to those unfamiliar with the series. That being said, I didn't really buy Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, but that may be because this was Kirk in his hormonal, madhouse, rebellious years rather than his charismatic leader-type years. And I always had a thing for Spock in Nimoy form. So bravo, Quinto, now I have a thing for Spock in Quinto form as well. Karl Urban way exceeded my expectations in his portrayal of Dr. McCoy as well, who is one of my favorite characters in TOS.
ceej ceej 8 years
After the disappointment that was Wolverine I was so thrilled that Star Trek worked so well. It is a hell of a ride, a great story and deserves to make a lot of money. And yeah the love story between Uhura and Spock is brilliant.
CheleBelle CheleBelle 8 years
Am not a Trekkie-have only watched one original Star Trek from start to finish. This flick made a beliver out of me--and the barely contained passion between Uhura and Spock is hot. This is almost a perfect action film.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 8 years
Spock is not hot and neither is this movie; I hated it.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Great review, Buzz. I'm so not a trekkie, but now I want to see this one.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I really want to see this. I have watched since I was 3! I am excited to see the new live that Abrams brings to the franchise and his slightly different take on the characters.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Looking for some Vulcan loving,lol.
Courtney82 Courtney82 8 years
i had never even seen star trek and got to go to a preopening of this and went cause it was free. well i loved it, and i dont like sci-fi stuff. I would highly recommend this and would say its one of the best movies I have seen in a while.
shiningeyes shiningeyes 8 years
I really enjoyed The Next Gen series, but the original was a bit cheesy for me. I think I would better fit Kate Mulgrew's description of a "Trekkie". I can't say I'm a huge JJ Abrams fan, but I kinda like what Hollywood is doing lately by putting an original and slightly more "emotional" spin on these major franchises like Star Trek, 007, Batman.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
From Wikipedia: Some Star Trek enthusiasts prefer the term "Trekkie", while some others self-identify as "Trekker". Self-identification as a "Trekkie" became even less popular after a famous national television parody in 1986 (see Parodies below); several self-described "Trekkers" were quoted as saying they "had a life" (contrasting themselves from "Trekkies"). In the 1991 TV show Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Special, Leonard Nimoy attempts to settle the issue by stating that the term 'Trekker' is the correct one. In the documentary Trekkies, Kate Mulgrew stated that Trekkers are the ones "walking with us" while the Trekkies are the ones content to simply sit and watch Star Trek. The issue is also shown in the film Trekkies 2, in which a Star Trek fan recounts a supposed incident during a Star Trek convention where Gene Roddenberry used the term "trekkies" to describe fans of the show, only to be corrected by a fan that stood up and yelled "Trekkers!" Gene Roddenberry allegedly responded with "No, it's 'Trekkies.' I should know — I invented the thing."
queenegg queenegg 8 years
The movie is great! The first movie I remember seeing is Wrath of Khan, so I was born into Trekkerness. (Also, a Trekkie is a 1st Generation or Original Series Star Trek Fan. A Trekker is a second generation: TNG or Next Generation and beyond, fan. At least that's what I've always been told.)
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
Yayy, I gotta watch this movie now. I almost give up on the Star Trek movie franchise, but thanks to your good review, this one is a no-miss. Now, if I can just convince my hub who's not a big sci-fi fan to watch this... :p
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