Star Trek. A Review. (Beware Of Spoilers)

Well first of all I have to admit to originally being a heavy critic when I heard that they were making a Star Trek prequel movie. The franchise was already in its death throes and I really thought this was going to be the straw that broke the camels back. I mean, here was JJ Abrams who readily admitted that he wasn’t a big fan of Star Trek and he was going to “re-imagine” the longest running sci-fi franchise in the world. The alarm bells started ringing, I didn’t want this to
happen. “Let me remember Kirk as The Shat played him” I cried. “Don’tmess with the timeline” I moaned. I really was against this from the time the rumours started about prequels long ago. But I should have had a little more faith in JJ Abrams, after all, I do enjoy most of his other work.
So I went into the cinema with my pre-booked tickets in hand, a little nervous but very excited indeed. I had booked the first showing of the day to go with my buddy Andy who is also a little bit of a Star Trek fan (when I rented a room at his house we would sit back with a few beers and smokes and watch TNG all night)

The movie starts off at a very fast pace and is the best opening of any of the previous Trek movies (although Nemesis still ranks up there). Straight away I was gripped. I was transfixed as I sat looking at this new version of Star Trek. “Shiny” I thought. The Abrams influence was obvious very early on, I have to admit to nearly choking up at the first scene. It reminded me of the more poignant moments from “Lost”, it was tough but I held it together. That first scene
featured George Kirk, Jims Dad, saving eight hundred people from certain death by launching a kamikazee attack on a gigantic enemy. Truly emotional stuff. And this is all before the titles roll. The legend “Star Trek” comes on screen, the chills run down my back and the hairs on my body stand on end…..I was sold.

I’m not going to go through the whole movie scene by scene but I will tell you my thoughts in general. I thought the new actors were all brilliant, ¬†every one of them nailed their characters perfectly with special mention to Karl Urban who plays Dr McCoy “Leonard H”.

Chris Pine as Kirk? Well this was one of my biggest doubts before I saw the movie. Before this film, only one actor had ever played “Captain James Tiberius Kirk” and I was one of those naysayers who wanted history to remain that way. Unlike the characters of Doctor Who or James Bond or many other fictional heroes, the role of Captain Kirk belonged to one person, it seemed such a pity to change that. However, Chris Pine put my mind at ease within a few minutes of appearing on the screen. When he sat on the Captains chair spread-eagled like that he looked perfect.

Zachary Quinto was always going to be perfect as Spock, the guy was born to play him. The similarities are spooky. Quinto brought an emotional side to Spock that I can’t ever remember seeing before and this divergence from what I have known to be Spock all these years was actually very welcome (he is half human after all).

Uhura- Oh Man, Uhura is just so gorgeous and I believe Miss Saldana has a lot to offer the role in the future. I found the relationship between herself and Spock quite interesting (again I don’t remember seeing this in any of the original series, I may be wrong though). Sulu was a lot of fun and his fight scenes were well choreographed, I hope to see much more of him in the future. As for Scotty and Chekhov, I need to see more of them in action, in particular Anton Yelchin who needs to tone down the Russian accent and Simon Pegg who needs to develop his Scottish accent.

The story was satisfactory. Time travel is always a tricky subject to deal with but the whole issue in this movie was that the time-line we all knew and loved has changed forever. Abrams has shown his genius by wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. No longer can we expect our heroes to win through every time and survive the movie, if JJ can destroy both Vulcan and Romulus, then surely he can kill off a main character.

The action scenes were incredible, the whole film (over two hours) was very fast paced and the CGI was well executed. The Enterprise was beautiful and I particularly liked the nacelles, i loved the new “chunky” look to them. This was another concern I had before seeing it but all was fine. I noticed a small homage to “The Motion Picture”, when Kirk sees NCC 1701 for the first time in space dock although they didn’t linger for ten bloody minutes.

I also think they were successful in the whole look of the movie. It was always going to be tough to make it look good for us die-hard Trekkies. Back in the sixties it was all about primary colours and little flicky switches. How would they manage to make it look modern yet lead us to believe that these events occurred before “Nemesis?” This I thought, would be the highest hurdle, but yet again Abrahms has delivered the goods.

In fact this film was so well made that I only had two VERY small criticisms and they were two scenes that they really could have done without. When Kirk was stranded on the ice moon. Then this monster comes out from nowhere and it just threw me. Totally out of place and unnecessary in my opinion. And when Scotty was sucked through the pipes, again this was silly and not funny although the initial beaming into the wrong place was pretty good actually. But to be fair, along with Chekhovs anoying accent, these were the only minus points and to be honest, after the second viewing Chekhovs accent bothered me less.

So to sum up.This film is bloody fantastic. It should appeal to both die-hard Trekkies and newcomers alike. Go on, all those people who have hammered Star Trek in the past should really go and see this. Even the lovely lady Sarah (my gorgeous missus) has expressed a very small interest in seeing it ( I wonder If Chris Pine has anything to do with this). JJ Abrams has made Star Trek cool and he has breathed life back into a previously dying franchise. I believe for the next ten years, these fine new actors are going to be very busy reprising their new roles and will become household names just like their predecessors.

Mr Abrams, I thank you for giving us this gift and I humbly apologise for ever doubting your genius.

And Mr Lucas?? This is how a prequel movie should be made.

Edited 10th May for spelling of Abrams and Karl