Pros: great cast, lots of great action, fun and exciting, Abrams unique flavor,
Cons: some distracting camera techniques
The new Star Trek film has definitely gone where no film in the franchise has gone before, and presented a great way to not only get more people interested in the genre, but in the storylines of the Starship Enterprise. With the last few films taking stories from Star Trek: The Next Generation, it has almost seemed like the franchise was out of ideas for the big screen, but brining in J.J. Abrams, this is a franchise that has been reborn. Abrams made a name for himself in television with Alias and Lost, but moving over to film, and taking on Mission: Impossible 3 and Cloverfield, he has shown that he is a game-changer in the industry. It's now safe to add Star Trek to his list of successes.
One of the main things that J.J. Abrams knew when he walked into the world of Star Trek was that he needed to achieve two things with a new film. He not only needed to make a film that would keep fans of the franchise happy, but it needed to bring in a younger audience that wasn't really interested in anything to do with Star Trek. He did it just perfectly, coming up with the idea of re-starting the franchise and going into the past of the characters, and bringing in a young (and hot) cast that people would really like to see on the big screen. The final task was to write a script that would draw the interest of audiences, and present it with enough excitement that people would be enthralled with the trailers.
Going into Star Trek, I had a lot of preconceived notions about what the latest chapter might reveal, and having been a fan of the Star Trek franchise for quite a while now, I needed the film to keep my attention, but not alienate the previous films. I have enjoyed all of the movies, and though some are definitely better than others, I still had fun watching them, and wanted the newest movie to stand up to the story, the action, and the intrigue that all of the other stories had encompassed. In that regard, Star Trek was a huge success, presenting a story that was just original enough in the Star Trek Universe to seem brand new, and it was presented in a way that did honor to a lot that I wanted to see with the origins to these characters.
The plot of the film is pretty simple to break down, in that this is the story of how the crew of the Starship Enterprise came together. The film is set in the distant future, as star travel is becoming the next great adventure to mankind, and meeting new species has become an accepted result of just that. Unfortunately not all of the new species are interested in getting along with Earth, and there are some that are just out there to control everything. You could say that the film has three main characters, consisting of Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto (from Heroes) as Spock, and Eric Bana as the evil Nero. Kirk is a kid from the farmlands not really looking to take that next step, but convinced to do so with some unlikely advice. Spock is a child of two worlds that is torn between them, and looks to Star Fleet in order to find his own place in the world. Soon they will become partners of a new Starship that is destined for some great things.
To nit-pick just a little bit about the movie, there were too many moments where the camera work got a little frustrating due to bright lights and methods used to make it appear as though it was live at all times. That's not too say that it didn't work at times, but it was sometimes too bright for too long in the middle of important scenes. The secondary issue would be that the main villain just wasn't scary enough, and made me year for the days of Christopher Plummer.
Where the film does compensate though, is by presenting a lot of humor that works well with this great young cast. They aren't all well known yet, with the exception of Quinto who is on Heroes right now, and that may be what works so well to convey an original story. There are some familiar themes that life long Trek fans may recognize, but it is blended well enough with a new breed of stories that it doesn't take anything away from the story. This new Star Trek is a recommended action film for the summer, which offers a good script for a wide range of audiences. It doesn’t bog itself down too much with Star Trek lore, so those who are intrigued but don’t know that back-story yet won’t get lost. It gets 4 out of 5 stars from me, and it should end up doing quite well in the 2009 summer box office.