Star Trek Review

Film: Star Trek: The Future Begins
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Leonard Nimoy
Written by: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Directed by: JJ Abrams
Running time: 127 minutes
Certificate: 12a

Under attack from an unknown vessel of superior size and firepower, the USS Kelvin is destroyed. Although not before a young, George Kirk, valiantly gives his own life to save over 800 of his crew mates, defiantly piloting the critically damaged USS Kelvin on an intercept course with its attacker and thereby allowing time for escape pods to be launched.

One of the survivors, his wife is in labour with their son, one James T Kirk. It’s an affecting beginning and credit goes to the actors who with only a very short amount of screen time manage to make us care for them deeply.

Warp forward several years and we see the diametrically opposed forces that will ultimately work together to command the Federation’s Flagship, the USS Enterprise. Kirk (James Pine) – growing up in middle America, Iowa – the dare-devil kid, driving his step father’s car off a cliff, and later the twenty-something underachiever getting into insane bar room brawls – “It’s four against one,” says the leader of a mob of brutish Star Fleet recruits. “Then go get some more guys and it will be a fair fight,” retorts Kirk full of bravado and swagger. And Spock (Zachary Quinto) growing up on Vulcan – a child of two worlds (his father Vulcan, his mother human). Spock is logical and reserved on one hand, yet just as fiery and passionate as Kirk on the other.

We see Kirk beating the famous Kobayashi Maru test at Starfleet Academy and his subsequent suspension from duty for cheating before Starfleet gets word that something strange is happening on Vulcan. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy smuggles Kirk aboard the Enterprise and the fun really begins… these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise…

Star Trek is a real thrill ride – from seeing younger versions of Kirk, Spock and Bones, to spotting snippets of dialogue from the original series, to the special effects, that previous franchise Enterprise Captains, William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, could have only dreamt.

Pine is excellent as Kirk, making the role his own while also giving the occasional nod to Shatner. Quinto too, is the quintessence of Spock. Inch perfect, he’s done Leonard Nimoy proud. Karl Urban has less screen time, but it doesn’t stop him from shining as ‘Bones’ McCoy, he matches Pine and Quinto all the way. Anton Yelchin also steals a few scenes as the young technical whiz, Pavel Andreievich Chekov.

Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, having already penned the stunning live-action Transformer movies have now turned their hands to Star Trek. Despite the odd plot weakness here and there, and the continuation of Star Trek’s over-reliance upon, or perhaps never-to-be-sated proclivity for time travel storylines, they’ve done an outstanding job.

JJ Abrams may have made a huge error to have ever got involved with the Godzilla-sized mess that was Cloverfield after his earlier successes with TV series Alias and Lost but with Star Trek he has clearly re-found his form. Abrams’ direction is slick and his pacing is good. The length of the film is also just right –long enough to do justice to the story being told in terms of plot and character development.

An inspired reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Action, comedy and respectful of its predecessors – Star Trek: The Future Begins will excite existing fans as well as win new recruits.

Full ahead, warp factor 9, Mr. Sulu, for a sequel in 2011.

Author : Kevin Stanley