Published May 07, 2009Admittedly, I am a Star Trek fan, so it was with a heady mixture of excitement and trepidation that I awaited the arrival of this "reboot" of the series. Me and about a billion other fans, I guess. I'm delighted to report that Star Trek is a triumph on all counts, but particularly succeeds for two key reasons: the casting and the clever way J.J. Abrams and his writing team dealt with the fact that the story they're retelling has 40 years of very elaborate and intricate history behind it.
From the relative unknowns (Zoe Saldana and Chris Pine as Uhura and Kirk, respectively) to the familiar faces (Karl Urban as Leonard "Bones" McCoy and Simon Pegg as Scotty), every actor in Star Trek absolutely nails their character. It's difficult to bring something new to a persona that your audience has known and loved for decades but there's just enough reverence and homage paid to the original cast without tipping the balance into caricature or outright mimicry. Zachary Quinto (of Heroes and 24) captures Spock's inner struggle with subtlety and class, and Anton Yelchin is adorable as the extremely young Chekov. Harold and Kumar's John Cho is understated but very funny as Sulu.
The challenge of trying to reinvent a story that's already overly familiar to virtually 100-percent of your audience threatened to curse Star Trek with a very heavy burden. The continuity alone would have been a nightmare to adhere to without drastic measures being taken. Fortunately, Star Trek manages to cleverly wipe the story slate completely clean in a way that's logical and respectful to the original. Drastic measures indeed, but somehow it works and it opens the door to a potentially endless new series of films that, as the characters age (again), doesn't have to adhere to the original series' timeline.
The story and plot of Star Trek are secondary to the fact that a beloved and iconic series has just been successfully reinvented. We get to meet the Enterprise's crew in their Starfleet days and see them take their maiden voyage - a rescue mission to save Vulcan from an evil Romulan captain.
Eric Bana's Captain Nero (and his terrifying ship) are fun villains, and for non-fans this is still an entirely enjoyable, action-packed sci-fi film with special effects and fight sequences that will rival any of the summer blockbusters.
For the hardcore fans it's a reboot so successful it almost makes you weep into your popcorn. I might even go so far as to call it the only truly successful reboot to date. (Paramount)