Star Trek

Directed By: J. J. Abrams

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, and Bruce Greenwood

I've never been a Trekkie, but it’s impossible to avoid Star Trek.  With all the shows and the movies over the years, Star Trek has been done to death.  I've seen enough of Captan Kirk and Spock for a lifetime, or at least I thought so.  When J. J. Abrams announced that he would be tackling a new installment in the franchise, saying that I was unenthused would have been an understatement.  When I saw Abrams's final product, I instantly became a fan of this new modern Star Trek series.  That being said, I still wouldn't call myself a Trekkie.

The stardate is 2233.  The Federation has deployed the USS Kelvin to investigate a lightning storm.  Out of nowhere, the Romulan vessel Narada emerges from the storm and launches a full scale assault on the USS KelvinNarada first officer Ayel (Clifton Collins, Jr.) invites the USS Kelvin's Captain Robau (Faran Tahir) aboard their vessel to discuss the terms of a cease fire.  Instead of discussing these terms, Commander Nero (Eric Bana) is only interested in discussing an ambassador named Spock with whom Robau is not familiar.  When they realize the captain is of no value, the Romulans kill him and continue their assault.  The USS Kelvin's first officer George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) evacuates the ship and crashes it into the Narada.  His pregnant wife Winona (Jennifer Morrison) gives birth to their son James Tiberius Kirk while George sacrifices himself for his family and fellow crew.

Years later, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is a boy who has grown up in Iowa and often lived on the wrong side of the law.  A genius-level repeat offender, he's wasted his potential and sullied his family's name.  After hitting on Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and getting into a brawl with some of her friends at a bar, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood).  Familiar with George Kirk's courageous acts aboard the USS Kelvin, Pike invites Kirk to join the Academy to become an officer in Starfleet.  Meanwhile, Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto) has shown great promise in his studies and has been invited to join the Vulcan Science Academy.  Because The Vulcans view Spock's half-Vulcan, half-human heritage as a weakness, Spock instead opts to join Starfleet.

Several years later, Kirk is studying at the Academy and is having trouble passing the Kobayashi Maru simulation assessment.  Having failed it twice, he opts to take it a third time.  This time, he somehow passes the test, and Commander Spock, who programmed the exam, accuses him of cheating.  Kirk is brought in front of the school board for an academic hearing.  In the midst of a heated conversation between Kirk and his accuser Spock, Starfleet receives a distress signal from Vulcan.  Starfleet is immediately deployed to assist the ailing planet, but Kirk is being held from active duty given the accusation.  With the help of his friend Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), he boards the USS Enterprise before it departs for Vulcan.  It just so happens to be the ship on which Spock is serving as first officer.

With Star Trek, director J. J. Abrams boldly goes where no one has gone before.  With a different time continuum and the alternate reality, Abrams hits the reset button on the Star Trek franchise and reinvents it for the masses.  Star Trek is no longer just for Trekkies.  It's a thrilling, action-packed blockbuster for everyone.  With dazzling visuals, Abrams brings the futuristic Star Trek universe to life in a way that had never been done before.  He's assembled the perfect cast to portray these iconic characters.  Ultimately, Abrams gives us something fresh and new while honoring the traditions of old. 

From start to finish, Abrams loads this Star Trek with plenty of thrills.  From the incredible, moving opening sequence with the USS Kelvin to the final battle raging above Earth, there is not a dull moment in this movie.  Abrams has a way of building tension throughout each major arc within the film that keeps us on the edge of our seats.  He's very skilled at creating chaos on a grand scale and then using it to raise the stakes and deliver plenty of thrills.  It's most evident in the space warfare of the film where Abrams shines brightest because Star Trek is a modern space opera of sorts.

Abrams really has an eye for sci-fi.  With all the technical bells and whistles at his disposal, he dazzles us with stunning visuals that bring gorgeous futuristic worlds to life in a way we never could have imagined.  When looking at Vulcan or Earth, the special effects are absolutely breathtaking.  The same can be said for the USS Enterprise or any of the other vessels captured on the big screen.  In all the science fiction films I've watched over the years, I've never seen anything quite like it.  Abrams takes full advantage of the era of technological progress in which we live and outdoes anything we've ever seen in a sci-fi film before this (Avatar had not happened yet folks).

Abrams has assembled a great cast to portray these beloved characters. Delivering plenty of laughs and plenty of heart throughout the movie, the charismatic Chris Pine is perfect as the wild and loose Captain Kirk.  Zachary Quinto is equally impressive as the reserved Spock.  With his cold and calculating portrayal of the character, it's easy to see why his character can't put aside logic and do what feels right.  As Nyota Uhura, Zoe Saldana brings the right dose of warmth and sass to the film.  Karl Urban and Simon Pegg bring plenty of comic relief as Leonard McCoy and Scotty.  Best of all, Eric Bana delivers a deliciously evil and vengeful villain in Romulan commander Nero.  This cast is firing on all cylinders throughout the film and hits all the right notes.

The best part about this new Star Trek is that Abrams is able to deliver something new while honoring the legacy of shows and films that paved the way for a film like this. The time continuum storyline facilitates a great deal of this.  It allows Abrams to hit the reset button without really doing so.  It allows him to say that everything that has happened before in the franchise did indeed happen and to reintroduce us to a very familiar face with Leonard Nimoy reprising his role as Spock Prime.  At the same time, however, it allows Abrams to say that we're starting afresh.  Beyond all of this, he frequently incorporates signature catchphrases from the older Star Trek shows and movies.  He even uses the classic theme music toward the end of the film.  All the Trekkies out there have to respect the way that Abrams has chosen to honor what they love.

Offering a rich story, plenty of thrills, and a new Enterprise crew for our generation, Star Trek is a great addition to the sci-fi cannon.  Dazzling us with grand new worlds and impressive performances, Abrams and his cast have certainly struck cinematic gold with this flick.  It's a Star Trek film for the modern moviegoer.  While it may be a self-serving interest, I hope this series lives long and prospers.  Abrams can do a whole lot with this franchise, and I'm definitely curious to see where he goes.  Star Trek gets a strong 0.03% rating.  Have a wine cooler with this one.  This is what blockbusters are all about.