Star Trek (2009)

An ageing Star Trek franchise can live long and prosper on the back of this latest offering

 

Boldly going where the Starship Enterprise has literally gone before, JJ Abrams sci-fi triumph acts as a prequel to previous films in the series, chronicling the turbulent journey of a group of young and promising students into the nations favourite Starfleet.

Beginning with the story of George T Kirk’s heroic captainship of the enterprise during a threat from an enemy spacecraft, we are introduced to a moving and inspirational back story that would spawn the beginning of two important events: the start of a decade long vendetta between the Vulcans and the Romulans, and the birth of Jim Kirk, later a cocky, young maverick played by pretty boy Chris Pine.  The story joins our much loved miscreant in the days of his early childhood rebellions. Fittingly, an equally intense backstory belongs to a young Spock, torn between his human emotion and his Vulcan stoicism. Inevitably the two meet in a training facility for Starfleet crewmen, and it is fair to say they do not get off on the right mildly deformed foot.  Various other infamous characters are introduced as the team must work together to prevent impending devastation from the enemy fleet, headed by an almost unrecognisable Eric Bana, who illustrates his skill as a character actor as the villain of the piece, Nero.

Whilst fans and trekkies alike will be delighted with the subtle nods to Star Trek history, much remains to be said for a weak and confusing storyline, leading up to a rather cheesy ending with a superfluous romance that appears to have been chucked into the mix in a desperate attempt to give the story some depth. With energy firmly focused on likeable characters and witty dialogue whilst neglecting the need for a three dimensional plotline, (and a rather questionably appearance from Winona Ryder as 32 year old Zachary Quinto’s elderly mother), the film seemed to echo the pattern of Starship Troopers rather than the Starship enterprise.

It must be noted that Abrams has made an admirable attempt that has struck gold with the majority of its audience redeeming the franchise from its less popular past endeavours and probably re-vivified the chain, paving the way for a string of other nostalgic productions in the future. However, the film falls into the category of light entertainment for myself personally, in all my non trekkie capacity. If you seek an elaborate extended example of a star trek series episode rather than a complex, well rounded original feature, then Star Trek won’t disappoint.

 Bottom line: I’m not jumping up the walls about it. Something was unfortunately missing. To the film’s credit, I was fairly reluctant to leave my seat, even when the inevitability of nature called for me to do so. I attribute this to the indisputably stunning special effects and ingenious performances from a group of talented actors so resembling people they were portraying that it was eerie. Even the guy who peed on Stiffler in American Pie was able to give a credible and memorable performance as Hiraku Sulu whilst a refreshing appearance from a heavily Scottish Simon Pegg provided a much needed lift to a somewhat confusing film.

 

If I have been a little harsh about the movies downfalls, I must say they are almost completely forgiven when considered next to its triumphs. It is almost as if you want to forgive the screenwriters when they repeatedly display a penchant for the co-incidental, due to the myriad successes that this sweet and sour concoction had to offer. The highlight of the entire viewing experience has to be the poetically potholed relationship between Kirk and Spock. Pine and Quinto go beyond the call of duty in a swashbuckling exchange of thrilling one liners laced with utter hatred for one another that develop humorously and believably into a quietly respectful partnership. Undoubtedly a visual spectacle, the film delivers sky-high budget sets and props teamed with an engaging and impressive score,that is presented to the viewer on a platter as a cinematographic treat for both the eyes and ears.

 It is safe to say the next generation of convention-goers is being formed. You only have to ask a member of the public what they thought of the film and the reception is overwhelmingly admirable. The person I saw the film with had no qualms with the fact that she was paying to see it for the second time, which demonstrates its longevity and popularity amongst a highly complimentary audience.

Abrams thrill ride has been championed as the start of a new beginning for the Star Trek franchise, blowing previous failed attempts out of the water. (Star Trek Nemesis, anyone?) J.J Abrams has succeeded in producing a science fiction marvel that throws you into the action from the opening scene.

So, if you can excuse a slightly holy plotline and some random production choices, Star Trek delivers exactly what it says on the tin. More often praised than critiqued, Abrams blockbuster paves the way for a line of new Star Trek tales, hopefully, with a little more complexity. As the tagline promises: The future begins.   

 

 

1 thought on “Star Trek (2009)”

  1. Growing up watching episodes of “The Next Generation” didn’t help me in anyway understand what the beginning was like. For all I knew, Picard was the only captain of the only Enterprise ship. After seeing this movie I went back and researched everthing. I found out that this movie takes various references from the entire “Original Series” and while it tosses all the 60’s campiness, it keeps all the mystery and edge that it had. I applaud this movie for going with the “What If?” scenario. As following the original timeline would be like spinning a single episode into a long two hour waste. Pine was right to drop Shatners’ mannerisms while portraying Kirk but at the same time keep his attitude, and Quinto did a damn good job of portraying Spock. I thought the storyline was solid and the visuals were spectacular. I saw the movie three times and saw the Special Edition DVD at least five times. By the way, Sorry if I said anything to hurt your review. I just thought I’d leave my two cents.

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