Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) is a rebel without a cause, until he’s pulled out of a bar fight by Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Pike studied the career of Kirk’s father, who gave his life to save those of his wife, his newborn son and his crew, and Pike believes Starfleet needs Jim Kirk as much as Jim needs something bigger in his life.
Although Kirk joins Starfleet, he’s a cocky and impulsive cadet who gets caught hacking a test computer. The only thing that saves him from official reprimand is a distress call from one of the Federation’s key worlds. Suddenly Kirk finds himself aboard Starfleet’s newest vessel, the U.S.S. Enterprise, at odds with its first officer, Spock (Zachary Quinto), the Vulcan who created the test Kirk cheated at, and heading toward the same danger that killed Kirk’s father when Kirk was born…
The past decade has seen several beloved tales gussied up for the Prequel or Reboot treatment with mixed results, and with five TV series (three of which made seven seasons) and ten movies already in the can, Star Trek has one of the biggest bodies of fans of any fiction in the world behind it, fervently hoping They Don’t Screw It Up. That’s a lot of expectation and momentum. Still, word that there was going to be another Star Trek film after the dull Generations, disappointing Insurrection and mediocre Nemesis was surprising, even more so that it would go all the way back to the Gathering of The Original Crew. That J.J. Abrams of Alias, Lost, Heroes and Cloverfield fame was attached to the project made it more intriguing, although I wasn’t a fan of those works.
Let me just say this: Whoever at Paramount decided to let Abrams and his team off the leash and do as they wished with Star Trek deserves a raise. And a hug. Or both. The first ten minutes of the film are utterly heartwrenching – no, not because they’re bad, they’re not; heartwrenching in the “reach for the tissues” sense – but after that, it moves like a well-oiled rollercoaster on a precision-engineered track between character levity, fight scenes, drama and pathos with incredible, push-the-wow-button special effects thrown in. There’s not one actor who seems shortchanged in any way, and as much as I’d like to pat them on the back for Hitting The Star Trek Notes, I don’t want to give the impression that they ever had to force themselves to play their versions of the characters like Shatner et al. The script by Alex Kutzman and Roberto Orci (who, with Mission: Impossible III and Transformers under their belts, could probably write a book on Making Good Films Out Of Beloved But Slightly Shaky Properties) is fantastic; it gave the actors plenty to work with and went in some very unexpected directions. You certainly do not need to be a Trekkie, or even acquainted with the franchise to enjoy this film, but if you are, it somehow manages to feel like the Trek you know and love and at the same time wondrously new.
Now if you know me you know how much I hate people who won’t shut up during a movie. Well, if there weren’t so much other good stuff coming up in the next few weeks alone, I’d see it again just so I could sit through a screening and appreciate it without exclaiming with joy every few minutes! Even my step-granddaughter made mention of how noisy I was during it! It’s so good that I can’t even classify it as a guilty pleasure. It’s just that much honest fun. See Star Trek on the Big Screen. Now.