Star Trek is one of those phenomenons that is either insanely popular to the point of hysteria in one subset of the population, or a concept that is utterly alien and unknown in the rest. A bit like the Jonas Brothers. I straddle the gap between fan and non-fan, having been exposed to the various series and films throughout my childhood and enjoying it to a point, but not so far as to dress up and attend a themed event. Well, only the once...
This is a genius pairing of a franchise featuring a plethora of fascinating characters and decade-deep ideas, with a director who’s been behind some mega popular high scale TV shows (Alias, Lost) and the best of the Mission Impossible films (number 3). J J Abrams blasts the Trek into the realms of the popular, making a show that many shy away from or turn their noses up at into something any uninitiated Trekster can actually enjoy. Bursting with big-ass fights between ships in space and peppered with some basic hand-to-hand combat in unusual settings, Abrams packs in the action and doesn’t bore.
Though he’s marked himself as more of a Wars fan in the Star categories, Abrams still manages to litter the film with reference after reference to the good ol’ Trek, adding an extra layer for fans to giggle at without diluting the enjoyment for everyone else. The cast are mostly superb, playing the young versions of the original Enterprise crew without relying too much on straight parody or spoof. Zachary Quinto’s Spock is spot-on, and Karl Urban’s Bones hilarious, with the random choice of Simon Pegg to play Scotty working out as a nice comedy touch. Perhaps the hardest part was Kirk, being under Shatner’s formidable shadow, and though Chris Pine keeps away from any attempt to copy the Shat and try a new rebellious side to the young James T, his character seems to be more annoying than believably captain-like.
With a suitably extravagant baddy (Eric Bana as a Romulan) and some neat plays with time travel, Star Trek is big, brash, fun and thrilling. Sucking new fans into the somewhat marvellous world of the Trek, and pressing the right buttons to please the most die-hard fan, Abrams has struck gold with this one and earns himself a CF3. Kick starting the summer blockbuster season with a bang, let’s see if the others can match this one.