Oh yes, time to take off my X-Men reviewing hat and put on my Star Trek one. Word of warning, I’ll try and avoid spoilers where I can, but sometimes it can be difficult. So, if a moment gets spoiled, please- no more flaming bricks through my window. I cannae take it any more… (I apologise profusely for that lame jokette)
Before we start, I’m not a Trekker by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve briefly flirted with Star Trek in all its incarnations throughout my years, but never actually become a fan of it. I am however, an all-purpose nerd so I actually know my Klingon from my Kobyashi Maru.
A young James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) runs wild after his father heroically dies on the Starship Kelvin. Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto) is an outsider because of his human mother. Both end up at Starfleet Academy and blah de blah de blah. Truth is, I don’t want to spoil it for you. The plot is fantastic for one reason. We are made aware that what we are seeing is not part of the regular Star Trek canon. We are seeing something different. The Kirk we’re seeing may or may not grow up to be The Shat’s Kirk in the same way that Spock probably won’t end up being Nimoy’s pointy-eared logic spewer. Is this making any sense? No? Well, see the film and it will. I just wish Mr. Lucas had thought about doing the Star Wars prequels this way, the franchise killing, white bearded fuck.
Put simply-this is how you do a reboot. You keep all the established stuff established and you take the characters in new directions. I thought Chris Pine was great as Kirk, adding just enough swagger and arrogance to the character to not upset even the most hardcore of Trekkies. The stand-out for me was Quinto’s Spock, who is pitch-perfect. I thought the two had good chemistry between them which bodes well for future films (which there will be considering Star Trek has made enough money to buy the country of Japan.) Eric Bana was also brilliant as Romulan baddie Nero, who isn’t just a bastard for the hell of it, he’s a bastard for a reason. The one thing I loved about all the actors is that they played these well known and well-loved characters with the right degree of impersonation. For example, no-one can deny that when Pine’s Kirk sits down in the captain’s chair that he is influenced by Shatner’s cocky take on Kirk.
Back to the Kobyashi Maru. Many ordinary people will know that Kirk was the only person in the history of Starfleet to pass the devious and supposedly impossible test. In this film we see how he does it- he reboots it and basically cheats. This seems like a deliberate reflection of what director J.J. Abrams feels like he’s doing, but it works in the same way the film does.
When most people say “family friendly” I think of stupid, bright cartoon characters singing about how it’s okay to be you and how everyone is special in their own way. However, Star Trek is none of that and is still suitable for a family trip to the ol’ picture house (and I do recommend you see it in the cinema). It’s accessible and fun, which is infinitely more than can be said for the more recent cinematic Trek outings. I can guarantee that you will grin wider and wider as each famous character turns up (especially Simon Pegg’s Scotty), it’s like a school reunion you actually want to go to.
My main problem with Star Trek would probably be some peoples’ idea of a strength. It seemed like every single Star Trek cliché was put into this film. We have everything from Scotty whinging about the engines to Bones’ oft quoted line “I’m a doctor, not a…”. Whilst I understand why they’re in the film (great liberties are taken with characters and indeed, planets) I don’t think they needed so many. They kept taking me out of the film, although I don’t think the twatracket behind me who laughed at every single little reference helped. I liked the subtle nods though including the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance of a Tribble and of course, a Red Shirt death. Oh, and the (Invisotexted) romance between Uhura and Spock comes out of nowhere. It just seemed a bit tacked-on to me.
Star Trek is a lot of fun. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m tempted to call it my film of the year, even though we’re less than halfway through 2009- it’s that good. Just go and see it, sit down in those comfy cinema seats and set your faces for stunned. (I’m so, so sorry)
(P.S. Shout-out to Lily, the future Mrs.Chekov)