Normally, the biggest hits of the summer arrive closer to late June or even July, when all the kids are out of school and nerdy fandads and fanmoms can take the family to the theater as many times as possible. Last year, that rule was trumped by a little film called Iron Man, which surpassed most movie and comic fans’ wildest dreams when it came to the gold and red hero.
This year, so far, that award easily goes to J.J. Abrams for his ability to take a once dead franchise and completely revitalize it for both a brand new audience, while not alienating the legions of pointy-eared fanboys. Star Trek is easily this year’s Iron Man in more than just being a pleasant surprise, but also tone. There is conflict in the film. But overall, there is a positive tone that runs through the entire film that made us believe that this crew could overcome any conflict or foe, no matter how much of a no-win scenario it may seem to be.
The thing that makes this film so unique and impressive is how it reboots the franchise while adhering to the continuity of the original Star Trek series and films. The best part? This is explained in two scenes but done in such a “Trek” way that it doesn’t lose the audience and we’re ready to move on to the next exciting scene. The writing team of Orci and Kurtzman, who wrote both Transformers films, were able to utilize things like alternate universes in a franchise where things like that are under intense scrutiny by fans and still pull it off.
The cast is by far the thing that will drive the non-trekkies into the theaters. An overall good looking cast headed up by relative no-name Chris Pine as Kirk, and Heroes baddie Zachary Quinto as Spock. Both played the “new spin on old roles” on the nose, while looking good doing it. The supporting cast makes every scene that Kirk and Spock aren’t in good as well. This is especially true of Karl Urban playing Leonard McCoy, who I feel stole the show. Even Eric Bana, who isn’t in many fan’s good graces after his performance in HULK, managed to pull out the stops as the antagonist Captain Nero. Some surprises throughout the film are great as well, which I won’t ruin for you, but stick around during the credits to see who you may have missed.
Now that the gushing is out of the way, there were only two things that I feel could have been improved or done without in the film. The first is the use of Beastie Boys’ song “Sabotage” near the beginning of the film. I get that they are shooting for a younger audience, using such an easy track as “Sabotage” during a car chase scene only cheapens it. This is why the Enterprise never went into warp with Europe playing in the background. Paramount threw enough money into the film, it would have been easy enough to have an unknown band write an original song.
Second was the lens flares in the film. In an interview with Abrams, the director stated that the idea was to give the film a unique look, which is fine. But even he admits that a dozen lens flares every time there is a scene on the bridge is a bit much, and I agree. Each scene does come out looking stunning, but it also becomes distracting when your trying to follow the dialogue and somebody off-camera keeps flashing a mag-lite in your eyes. Those being the only issues I had with the film isn’t bad in the grand scheme.
Overall, this is an incredibly fun film, fan of Star Trek or not. If you aren’t a fan, you won’t be bored or bogged down with talk of time travel or worm holes and those two hours will fly by. For the Trekkies (I’ll admit, I’m one too) you will get the same feeling of excitement and wonder that you did when you saw you favorite Star Trek film for the first time. If this movie does anything, it will bring fans and non-fans together to gush about a Star Trek movie for the first time in decades, if not ever.