Director: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg
Run Time: 132 Minutes
The Star Trek franchise had already hit the small screen by the time I was born. Through reruns I grew to love the original series. The movies spawned from Roddenberry’s creation were hit and miss with the entertainment factor, but the Starship Enterprise was entrenched in pop culture.
In 2009, director J.J. Abrams took over the franchise and his vision solidified my emotional connection to the characters. He didn’t try to replace the actors and move ahead; he ingeniously gave those iconic figures a new future and renewed my love for them. My anticipation for the sequel was palpable.
The funny thing about anticipation is it’s often accompanied with trepidation. One questions, “What if I hate it?” and, “What if it didn’t measure up to the first?” The only thing to do, watch the film. I’m glad I did.
The cinematography caught my attention straight away. The opening scene with the contrast of red and white is visually stimulating and, as the red suggests, filled with a frenetic energy. The action draws viewers in and shakes them about – kind of like dice in a Yahtzee cup – you aren’t sure where you’ll land once the cup is tipped over. The whole film is a visual masterwork, but who should be credited, Abrams or cinematographer Dan Mindel?
The story is good, and the plot well paced, which leaves no time to get bored. When writing for characters that have graced screens large and small for nearly 50 years, there’s a danger of them becoming unremarkable. That’s not the case here. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bones and the others are getting to know one another, building relationships (for a second time). Some could call the element of discovery on an emotional level fascinating.
The acting is superb, and the crew of the Enterprise plays off each other in such a way to make them real. I’ve seen friends converse, debate and bond just as these characters do.
The only character to fall flat for me was Admiral Marcus played by Peter Weller. I knew right away he would be a bad guy, to what extent I wasn’t sure. Villainous characters have defined Weller’s recent career.
What I love about the revamped Star Trek franchise is the fact that Nemeses from the original films (and series) can now be revisited. Some will be directly borrowed from the past and others will deviate. The possibilities are endless. In this particular film we encounter Khan, an iconic villain originally played by Ricardo Montalban. Benedict Cumberbatch does an impressive job of making the role his own.
There are two things I want to mention, just for trivia sake. First, Noel Clarke has a small part in this film. In fact, his contribution is pivotal. For those of you who are familiar with Doctor Who, you’ll recognize Clarke as Mickey Smith from the 2006 season. When he appeared on screen, I immediately said, “That’s Mickey!”
Second, among the cast of characters is a Tribble. Fans of the original series will remember them as troublesome. This particular Tribble plays a vital role as well and I found its inclusion delightful.
Overall, I recommend this movie to fans of the franchise and those who like science fiction. If you’re new to the world of Star Trek, I suggest you rent Abrams first offering before delving into this one.
Reviewer's Rating: 4