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 Star Trek 11
 Critic's Rating
 Date Posted
   9th May, 2009
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Cast: Chris Pine, Jennifer Morrison, Simon Pegg
Director: J.J. Abrams

This isn't your father's Star Trek. It's probably not even yours. This is Star Trek for those who grew up on TV junk like Smallville and Dawson's Creek, but is helmed by J.J. Abrams, a director who knows more than a little about television (Lost, Alias) and how to transport stories from the small screen to the silver screen ala his stint with the very watchable and successful Mission Impossible 3 from a few years ago.

Star Trek is undoubtedly, unashamedly, yet another success, from start to finish. It works feverishly at extending the lore of the original show and establishing a myth of its own. Like Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars films, a young, cocky, inexperienced Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) finds himself lost on a planet midway through the story, where sage like advice from an elder (future) Spock (the inimitable Leonard Nimoy) aids him. For those who have ever followed the show (whether the original or the brilliant TNG), the fact that time travel features prominently in the storyline should not be a surprise. That it doesn't make complete sense (the old space time continuum problem again) is forgivable because the film is so earnest in its ability to provide quality, white-knuckle entertainment.

If anything, I was surprised by the amount of frenetic action sequences in the film (including an unnecessary and out of place laser gun battle); the USS Enterprise after all has always been a ship voyaging on peace missions, not the Millennium Falcon, but I welcomed this change for it brought more excitement, more energy to what had become a very stale franchise. Dare I say it Abrams insertion of cool, hipster elements (Beastie Boys feature on the soundtrack, making the setting feel a little too contemporary) from his work on T.V. shows is likely to carve inroads for Non-Trekkies. The film doesn't improve on the greatness of the show as much as it does on the lackluster movies (except for a couple of them) that were true, perhaps too true, to their television roots feeling more like TV films rather than outer-space cinema spectacles that they were expected to be.

If as a Trekkie, you find yourself asking whether this reboot tampers with established norms from the original series, know that the script makes an interesting case for this to possibly prevent nitpicking. The opening, where Kirk is born aboard the USS Kelvin amidst mayhem during a fiery encounter with a rogue Romulan vessel, creates an alternative reality, the significance of which is not clear till much later on. This allows for a "retcon" of Star Trek history, a concept familiar to and acceptable in comics and graphic novels. And what of the various other characters? From memory and pop culture references, they seem suitably adept, especially the young Spock (Zachary Quinto) who not only makes the role given to him fascinating, principled and outworldly, but is even able to hold his own with the original in one particular scene. His conflict with the all too human Kirk provides the emotional resonance of the story, the quality by which those familiar with the setup will find much to appreciate and those unfamiliar may relate to. Overall, the film is a winner, a great summer family entertainer. The series has now been given the burst of life it required. In the right hands, Star Trek may indeed live long and prosper. - Faizan Rashid

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