Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To Boldly Go...


I can't admit to being a huge Trek fan but I was still really looking forward to seeing J.J. Abram's rebooted Star Trek movie and got my wish last night thanks to a preview screening. A girl at work saw it TWO WEEKS ago in London and had to sign all sorts of documents saying she wouldn't talk about it. So she promptly came to work on Monday and raved about how good it was.

My original companion turned up her nose at the idea of a Star Trek night so I brought my dad instead; he, like all the other middle-aged men in the audience, was giddy with excitement. And the film delivered. Chris Pine is the young, cool Kirk that Shatner never was, happily engaging in bar fights and hitting on every woman in sight. Zachary Quinto shakes off his Heroes mantle playing the detached young Spock. The cold Vulcan and the hotheaded Kirk both join Starfleet and seem on a collision course as Kirk smirks his way through his training and Spock sticks rigidly to a logical path.

Meanwhile, however, a group of renegade Romulans headed by Nero (an unrecognisable Eric Bana) are stirring things up by attacking the Vulcans' home planet. When Starfleet sends ships crewed mainly by cadets to investigate, Kirk sneaks aboard one called the Enterprise....

It will come as no surprise that in the next hour he meets all of the iconic crew one by one, or that the kids are soon left in sole control of the vessel. What is surprising is how fresh Abrams manages to make everything feel. When Kirk makes an unsuccessful attempt to pick Uhura up in a bar, spars with Spock or does a maiden warp jump with Scotty, you forget that you've seen all this many times before. It helps that he's put together an enthusiastic young cast who seem determined for you to have as much fun as they're (clearly) having.

Minor quibbles: Bana isn't a particularly memorable baddie and some of the science jargon is puzzling. But these do not distract from what is a stone-cold classic summer blockbuster. Transformers 2 is going to have to be pretty good to beat this...

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