Review: J.J. Abrams' Star Trek - Epic Sci-Fi at its Finest
by Alex Billington
April 24, 2009
I never thought this day would come. I'm a born-again Trekkie, through and through. Last night I finally got to see J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, and to put it simply, it blew me away. Although I had set some incredibly high expectations - being a long-standing sci-fi addict and a hardcore fan of at least "The Next Generation" as well as J.J. Abrams - it was everything I had hoped for and more. I know I say that quite a bit on here and I do get caught up in the hype, but this time I will insist that it kicks ass and it won't soon be forgotten (like Star Trek: Nemesis was). No, this is a Star Trek that has rejuvenated the franchise in a truly epic way.
It might have helped get me in the mood that I was surrounded by hardcore Trekkies who were quizing each other with trivia right up until the lights went down. In all honesty, that only made me feel more a part of the universe that J.J. Abrams' re-introduces us to in 126 minutes. While a total of 79 episodes of "The Original Series" have established one of the most detailed and distinct sci-fi universes ever imagined, it only took Abrams one movie to successfully re-inject all of those characters we love and everything that made that series so classic and entertaining into an exciting and refreshing restart of a beloved franchise.
At its foundation, Star Trek would not have been as exceptional as it was without a great script, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci deserve an immense amount of praise for their work. Not only did they put together a fantastic story worthy of Gene Roddenberry's blessing, but it's packed full of all the great Trek nuggets that geeks like myself want, and need, to see in a great Star Trek movie. And best of all, their characters are absolutely flawless, and provided the perfect infrastructure for the actors build upon.
Speaking of the actors, Chris Pine pulls off the impossible, and not only stands up against more experienced actors like Bruce Greenwood and Eric Bana, but stands out as one of the best damn leads I've seen in a sci-fi movie in a while. In addition to Pine, it's really the entire cast that shines, from Zachary Quinto as Spock, to Karl Urban as Bones, to John Cho as Sulu, to Zoe Saldana as Uhura, to even Eric Bana as Nero. I wouldn't even say there was anyone that underperformed, because at the most important moments, every last actor shined their brightest. Although I will say the best performance of all - Leonard Nimoy.
What I just loved about this Star Trek movie was, simply, seeing all of the introductions to all of the characters. Yes, we get to see Kirk cheat on the Kobayashi Maru test; yes, we get to see how Bones gets his nickname; yes, we get to see how Uhura becomes the Communications Officer because she's so talented; yes, we get to see how Scotty ends up aboard the Enterprise; yes, we get to see how and why Spock decides to join the Federation. Every time one of the classic characters would get their introduction, or say any of the lines that they're so well known for, the audience would cheer, and I would get chills down my spine.
It wasn't just that, though. Having someone as extraordinarily talent as J.J. Abrams pull together all the great performances, the vibrant cinematography, the unbelievably epic action sequences in space, inside, and on the ground, the wonderful score from Michael Giacchino, and everything else, is what made it so phenomenal overall. Abrams has reminded me why I love movies so damn much and why I love science fiction so damn much. Only the very best filmmakers can do that, and J.J. Abrams is certainly one of them. And without a doubt, his version of Star Trek is one movie that I instantly fell in love with at first sight.
Lastly, I need to say that I think Abrams has spoiled us, because I'm just dying to see this series continue on exactly as it now exists with the crew we now know and love. But I don't want to have to wait two years for every new 126-minute "episode." I was so incredibly excited by the ending (and during the final scene), that I didn't want to leave the theater, I wanted to just sit there, watching it over and over again until the next movie was ready to debut. Luckily, I'm probably I'm not the only one who is going to feel this way.
Alex's Rating: 9 out of 10