Space, the final frontier, it has been a long time since we have been able to enjoy a fresh take on Star Trek. The new Star Trek re-imagining did a lot right that hasn’t been seen in the last decade or two for the series. For far too long the series has been struggling with the same story lines, bad directing and writing, and the same stale producers unwilling to take risks. Enter J.J. Abrams who decided to take on the original series and redo it. It is a ballsy move at best considering the status of the original series, but overall I must say he did a great job.
One of the first things you notice about the movie, or at least I did, was that it had humor. I think this was one thing that was really making Star Trek fall apart from the inside out was the lack of humor. But this movie has it in spades, there were plenty of times that I was laughing pretty hard and that is completely unexpected for the series as a whole and much needed. I have largely felt that a big reason that Serenity/Firefly was so good is because in addition to being good sci fi, it had heart and humor. Well this Star Trek went in and added both into the frey. The heart came from more story than Star Trek tends to have as well. Kirk’s father killed in his youth, Spock struggling with his humanity in a Vulcan world and then the loss of his mother, Uhura’s love for Spock (that I didn’t see coming at all!)… there was depth here that never existed before. And it was great.
Visually, the movie lived up to sci-fi movies. It was striking to say it simply. The animations were great and the action was well packed just as you’d expect from the original series. Again, action has been something lacking from the more recent Treks, even the movies, but it was here and it was here in a big way. They did some amazing action sequences in the movie and the sky diving from space that they showed in the commercials was just the beginning. The fight scenes between the Romulan ship and the various Federation ships were pretty enspiring as well.
Casting was amazing. We all knew that Zachary Quinto was a perfect Spock, and that held true, I was pleased that he pulled off the very un-Skylar like role very well. The rest of the casting was great too. Everyone seemed very much like the original cast and they were all as good of actors if not better. In particular, major props need to be given to Simon Pegg for his role as Scotty and Chris Pine as Kirk. I never thought that Chris Pine looked very much the part, but wow was he an amazing rendition of the role. I can definitely see why he got the part despite him being the only one that didn’t entirely look the part.
My one complaint about the movie was really the main plot line. I am not spoiling much by saying that it involved time travel and launching the warp core. Blech. To me, these were some of the many things that bogged down Star Trek in recent years. It seems like all the Trek writers can seem to think about anymore is either a borg storyline, a Q story line, or a time travel story line, there is no other story in Star Trek it seems and when in doubt launch the warp core to save the day. This story was no different.
The one bright side of the story was that unlike other similar time travel Trek stories, they did not rescind the changes at the end. The time travel disrupted the time line in a big way and set up the series to be allowed to take whatever direction they want without having to worry about the cannon of the original Trek. This was a completely brilliant move on the side of Abrams. There has already been a lot of talk about this movie being extended into a series. I’m not entirely sure how that will work. For one I’m not sure if a series could duplicate the action and for two I don’t know if they could get the entire cast to make the move into television, outside of Quinto obviously. In particular, Simon Pegg who has a decent movie career already.