Movie Review: JJ Abrams’ Star Trek
I watched JJ Abrams’ Star Trek on my Birthday. I’d read some positive reviews – unprecedented given Treks usual reception – but I was still anxious. Resurrecting this mostly-dead franchise could have been no easy task. Failure would have been the final nail in the coffin – Star Trek rest in peace. But could it be reborn, be popular even, without sacrificing everything that made Star Trek special? The answer is “Yes.”
Now, this film is by no means perfect. Indeed I could nit-pick it to pieces, but if that ruined our enjoyment of Star Trek we’d have been on a bad trip since ‘The Cage.’ Continuity errors and implausible science almost make it feel more genuine!
In respect to all that has come before this Star Trek is not a clean reset; Leonard Nimoy’s Spock appears to pass the torch onto this new cast and crew. The plot incorporates Trek lore accurately and appropriately. I had the impression that the creators had not only watched every episode in existence, but read the books as well. I recognised elements from Diane Carey’s ‘Best Destiny’ – a novel about Kirk’s tearaway youth and his relationship with his father. On further investigation (namely Wikipedia) I discovered this, and others, had indeed been an influence. It’s rewarding to see all that wonderful material put to good use.
‘Yesterdays Enterprise’ stylē the plot involves changes in the timeline creating an alternate reality. (It was cool then; it’s cool now). This neatly explains why the characters are a little different from the originals and injects a sense of danger that would otherwise be lacking. We can’t sit comfortably, safe in the knowledge that Kirk dies on Veridian III and Scotty spends 75 years in a transporter. The future is uncertain. Some, like Tasha Yar, might get the chance to live again whilst others have their lives cut short…
Kirk regrets taunting Spock with “Your Mom!”
The interior design is probably the most jarring thing for Trekkies. Unlike the Enterprise exterior – which seems like a ‘best bits’ version – it borrows very little from its progenitors. It has a sleek, touch-screen, Macintosh feel to it that’s hard to relate to the 1966 design. It looks futuristic, but not distinctive. Personally I’m a bit bored of monochrome sci-fi look. I’d have loved to see some bold primaries in there.
The actors do a great job, especially the leads, and are believable younger versions (though Yelchin’s Chekov is too close to Wesley Crusher for comfort)! The youthful element sets a different tone than we are used too. This film is exciting and entertaining with more humour than there’s been in the last four Trek moves put together. It’s a clear, self-contained story for Trek virgins with plenty of background details and in-jokes that die-hard fans will appreciate. I really enjoyed watching it – it doesn’t suck.