[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00450AG9G][/pullquote] Star Trek is as recognisable an entertainment brand as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Twilight. It has fans with a passion to match anything that the other brands have to offer too. Starting as a television show in 1966 it charts the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise and has three series, two spin-off series’ and ten films to date. In 2009, after an extended absence from television or film, the franchise was rebooted under the watchful eye of JJ Abrams, famous for his work on TV shows Lost and Alias, as well as films Cloverfield and Mission Impossible 3.
Set in the near future, the spaceship USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan ship, commanded by Nemo (Eric Bana), travelling back from the future. George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) is able to save the lives of a lot of crew members by sacrificing himself, including his new born son. James Kirk (Chris Pine), having made bad decisions, decides to try and turn his life around by joining Starfleet under the mentorship of Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood). After graduation, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew engage Nemo but not before he can attack Spock’s home planet of Vulcan.
Clearly an origin story, Star Trek takes everything that fans know of the universe as brings it up to date. The cast, including Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) and Bones (Karl Urban) are all here and each of them represent the same sort of characters that they were when the series launched in the late 1960s. There are some mild changes to characters mannerisms and histories and Abrams has clearly taken steps to create an alternative timeline for them so that any further adventures will be free of the huge amount of back-story associated with the series. It’s a neat idea that gives creative freedom, while simultaneously allowing him to draw influence from the Star Trek canon.
Despite the recognisable characters and excellent supporting cast, the strength of the film relies heavily on Kirk and Spock and their dynamic. Fortunately for Abrams, in Pine and Quinto he has found two actors who not only bring gravitas, emotion and believability, but they also have some fun in the role, most notably Pine, whose wise-cracking throughout shows that he really is channelling his inner William Shatner. He even sits like him in the captains’ chair.
The film is littered with Abrams trademark lens-flair technique and absolutely everything seems sparkling and new, which creates a fantastic environment for the iconic characters to interact with. The Enterprise herself is treated to a long panoramic shot that really pulls on the nostalgia for the original series. Combine this with great performances an action-adventure script full of thrills and laughs and a killer score and Star Trek was one of the best films of the year.