Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Trek

Year: 2009
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg

"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyagers of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before..."

I would hear these words being spoken by Patrick Stewart every time I tuned in to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation on TV. Although Capt Jean-Luc Picard and his crew were a hit on TV, most people know Star Trek as the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and Spock, played by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

Star Trek has been a cult favourite for years. Gene Roddenberry's creation perfectly marries social and political issues with sci-fi and adventure. But after 10 films and numerous TV series, the franchise was slowly dying. It was in need of a shot in the arm, and along comes Alias creator J.J. Abrams to revitalise it for the new generation. And this is Star Trek at its best.

Abrams' reboot begins with the USS Kelvin encountering a Romulan vessel in space. The Romulan captain, Nero wastes no time in destroying the Starfleet ship, but not before acting captain George Kirk holds the Romulans at bay long enough to save his crew, which includes his wife and their newborn son, James.

James Kirk grows up to be a rebellious young man who can't stay out of trouble. This is in contrast to another young man, Spock who is half Vulcan and half human. Spock can't seem to find the right balance between his logical Vulcan side and his emotional human side. Soon, these two men end up joining Starfleet and wind up on the USS Enterprise. When an attack by the same Romulan vessel is made on Vulcan, the Enterprise crew have to work together to stop the Romulans.

However, this is easier said than done, as the crew is mostly inexperienced, and with their captain captured by the enemy, Kirk and Spock have to put aside their differences and work together before the Romulans destroy Earth.

I must say that Abrams has done a splendid job here. In order to pull more viewers who aren't familiar with Star Trek, Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman update their film with more action sequences and less technical babble. They throw in an attractive young cast who aren't A-listers, but are able to play their roles well. Insert many comedic moments, put in some drama and voila, a masterpiece of a film. You can say that this Star Trek looks more like Star Wars, except the dialogue isn't cheesy and there are no lightsabers.

Chris Pine, whom most people would recognize starring in Just My Luck opposite Lindsay Lohan, succeeds in giving James Kirk the right amount of heroism, stubbornness and devil may care attitude, the same way Han Solo is painted in Star Wars. Heroes' Zachary Quinto balances off Pine's performance by portraying Spock as a calm and brilliant officer, who struggles to keep his emotions in check. The rest of the cast who play key crew members of the Enterprise crew lend very credible support, especially Karl Urban, who steals the show as the sarcastically funny Dr Bones McCoy. Eric Bana also gives a memorable performance as the menacing Nero. Look out for Leonard Nimoy in a guest appearance as future Spock.

This is truly a great reboot to a franchise in need of a return to greatness. Star Trek is never boring, well almost. I thought that tender scene between Spock and communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana) was unnecessary. But otherwise, this is one heck of an adventure. Go see it. (4/5)


Anonymous said...
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trowa said...

my fave film of '09.


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