Wolverine has his origin story. Star Wars has their prequels. Now, Star Trek has an alternate timeline reboot. What? Don’t worry, I’ll try to explain it. This version of Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III) and written by the Transformers duo of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, is not your father’s Star Trek.
There is an alternate timeline involved because Nero, a Romulan, has traveled back in time to get revenge on the Federation and Spock for what happened to his planet, Romulus, during his time. Nero’s arrival changes events related to the original Star Trek series causing a different timeline to occur which results in the formation of an alternate universe. This allows for new stories with the same characters and concepts from the original, a reboot, to be used in future installments. Got it? I hope so. There is already an untitled sequel in the works planned for a 2011 release. Abrams will be one of the producers along with Orci and Kurtzman who’ll also be helping with the writing.
Alternate timelines are a concept that have been used in past Star Trek movies; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek: Generations (1994) and Star Trek: First Contact (1996). However, this is the first film where events that have been changed, stay changed. Trekkie purist are upset about the changes made to their beloved series. I’m not a Trekkie, but I am a purist. I was disappointed that an alternate timeline was used in this newest movie.
I was looking forward to a “pure” Star Trek prequel. I’d like to know the “true” beginnings of Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew as it relates to the original series. Not how they all got started in an alternate universe. That being said, I still found this version of Star Trek to be fun, exciting, and interesting.
James T. Kirk and Spock are quite similar in their youth. Both have a streak of rebellion in them. Kirk steals a car and drives it off a cliff while being chased by the police. Spock, showing emotion– a Vulcan no-no, beats up a fellow student after hearing insults about his mother. At first, Kirk and Spock butt-heads, but they eventually accept and respect each other.
The familiar names of the Enterprise are still present; Uhura (Zoe Saldana, Vantage Point), Doctor McCoy (Karl Urban, Pathfinder), Sulu (John Cho, Harold & Kumar), Chekov (Anton Yelchin, Along Came a Spider) and Scotty (Simon Pegg, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People). Winona Ryder even makes a cameo appearance as Spock’s mother. The great Leonard Nimoy is back to play Spock from the future.
J.J. Abrams directing is swift and nibble. The story is full of space battles, laser gun fights and hand-to-hand combat that will keep any Trekkie energized in their seats. Even though this is a reboot, there are still winks to the past like Kirk and the green skinned woman. Any Trekkie will know what I’m talking about. The familiar banter between Kirk and Scotty; “I need more power, Scotty! I’m given ya all she’s got Captain!” However, the romantic relationship between Spock and Uhura seemed unnecessary. Kirk’s rise from cadet to captain seemed faster than a speeding bullet. No Klingons! Bummer!
Chris Pine (Smokin’ Aces) shows he has the charisma to play the swashbuckling James T. Kirk. Zachary Quinto (TV’s Heroes), lacks the distinctive voice of Nimoy, but he’s still got what it takes to wear the pointy ears. As Nero, Eric Bana is satisfyingly intense.
While I still prefer lightsabers to laser guns, Star Trek has plenty of everything to keep a summer audience happy.