The second coolest thing about Star Trek XI – apart from watching Sylar become Spock – is watching trekkies come out in broad daylight. Finally, for the first time in a long time, they can crawl out of their rocks without being thrown in the dumpster, enduring painful wedgies or getting their lunch money taken by bullies. This one takes home the bacon and then some.
The film tells the story of Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock’s epically tumultuous and organic past. We also get to see their complex relationship and all major players of the USS Enterprise. What’s remarkable here is that it made perfect sense on how all big wigs such as Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov, manned the star ship. They are explained away as we get a quarter of a lifetime of history to jumpstart the machine.
On the side, we have Captain Nero (played by the bada** Eric Bana) whose sole purpose is to destroy the Federated Planets after a deal was mistakenly broken. He is such a brute in a cool way. Spock and Kirk clash principals and strategies to get him and prevent total annihilation much to my pleasure – it should not entertain me if someone is beaten into a pulp but Chris Pine a.k.a. Kirk is just too good at it.
With a gargantuan undertaking, naturally the powers that be decided to up the ante by hiring J.J. Abrams; mainly to revive the long underrated franchise. The truth of the matter is, with the initial exploits Star Trek has taken, it needed someone that respects and understands the pulse. He has to aim without harming the essence of the armada but still brave enough to put his stamp on the product. He must acknowledge that if he fails – and heaven knows everyone including me was waiting for that to happen – he will end up suffering the wrath of the geeks. But Paramount Pictures and Bad Robot Productions took time to think things over. And man they did use their time well.
Star Trek is a perfectly adequate sci-fi movie: explosions, chases, gunfights, sword fights, blood feuds … and have I mentioned technologies far into the future and spaceships that can travel the speed of light? There’s even a little humour in it (who’da thunk eh). For a moment, while watching the ambitious Vulcan Drilling scene, I contemplated that the artistry and musical scoring exceeded my expectations. If anything, it is far removed from its cornball predecessor that drove me to pass judgement without batting an eyelash.
Often, when television shows that have showcased a talent for character, story, suspense and geeky content, Hollywood coaxes it to become the next big thing. The downside is, it devours the director and substance. That’s pretty much not the case with J.J. Abrams who seems to have been one of the fans who followed the TV show from its inception. He did manage to achieve grace and still made a movie that’s full of heart. The set pieces, especially toward the end, are amusing and awe inspiring. It will come as well staged (if you don’t mind that every time someone so much as breaks into a run, it turns into CGI), plus it conjured content and depth. There is a state of super ambivalence between expensive action sequences and core content but Star Trek did not suffer that mistake.
Star Trek climaxes in a pileup of explosions, stunts, violent ship on ship fights, and hints, especially if you stay until the end, at sequels and spin-offs — each fancy sequence simultaneously exhibiting both power and precision. The effect-laden showdowns feel more dutiful and daring, and the rare moments of fun are parceled out generously. Note that I know nothing about Star Trek (non-trekky, sorry folks) but because it’s organized in a way that need no background, I was able to jump right in.
You’d think the shrink-wrapped back story won’t be enough to introduce the epic story of the Enterprise. Trust me, this one is worth the reimaging and worth watching more than once.