Star Trek

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Review

Genre:  Science fiction

Director:  J.J. Abrams

Running Time:  127 mins

Released:  08 May 2009

Plot:  James T. Kirk and Spock face off against a sinister Romulan from the future who threatens the United Federation of Planets.

“Captain, I detect massive amounts of WIN in this sector”.  I consider myself to be a casual Trek fan, I’ve only watched a few of the previous films and I used to watch the shows on and off.  I’m more of a Star Wars fan, but given what George Lucas is doing to the franchise, the new Star Trek film was a breath of fresh air.

Well the 2009 version of Star Trek is a reboot of the popular franchise/cult phenomenon and is set in an alternative time-line/reality and breathes some much-needed new life into the sci-fi classic, sci-fi, a genre that was been dominated by George Lucas for some time now so it’s nice to see that his nemesis, Star Trek, is back in the picture with a fresh new cast and big budget special effects that could easily rival Star Wars.

The overall plot isn’t that cerebral and plays out as a revenge film with Nero (the Romulan antagonist) seeking vengeance for the destruction of his home-world.  Throughout the film I was trying to figure out who played Nero as there was something familiar about his facial mannerisms.  Needless to say I was quite surprised to learn that Eric Banner was under all those prosthetics and make up, the fact that I didn’t know meant that they did a really good job and Banner makes a superb villain, filled with vengeance and hate.

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Chris Pine plays the intrepid James Tiberius Kirk, I don’t really know the actor that much but I thought he made a brilliant Kirk, bringing something new to the table but I just have to say, man does he get the shit kicked out of him throughout the film, if he’s not being attacked by comrades, he’s being injected with viruses or getting into brawls with pretty much everyone.

Zachary Quinto made a brilliant Spock I must say.  Playing the conflicted Vulcan who must find a balance between his human and Vulcan heritage since he’s supposed to suppress all emotion.  Which is kind of funny since whenever he loses it I see a bit of that Sylar rage surfacing, that and the fact that Nyota Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana) is his love interest.

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Throughout the movie there are little references or lines taken from the previous films/series which I thought was pretty cool.  The addition of the Vulcan nerve pinch was a nice touch too.  The visuals are pretty mind-blowing, they really spared no expensive.  The ships, locales and insane space battles are all wonderfully polished, I can see the budget was put to good use here.  The other thing that I thought was nice is that the film is quite humorous at times, specially with the inclusion of Simon Pegg as Scotty.

Like all things in life, the film is not perfect and if I were to really pick holes into it there are a few minor things that bugged me.  Firstly, the overuse of sun flare.  At times it fills the entire screen obscuring the action all together and while I realize they’re in space and the sun is almost always present, they felt the need to use solar flares inside the ship too.  Secondly, the music was a little uninspiring at times, but then again I was comparing it to Star Wars, a film franchise that has a brilliant score.  Lastly, the shameless Nokia product placement early in the film, was that really necessary, I mean the film had a budget of 150 million USD.  I guess Nokia approached them and said: “Hey, we’ll give you cash if you advertise our product in your movie”.  There could be a sort of duality to seeing Nokia, as it could insinuate that they are going to be around for a long, long time or that it’s the phone of the future and to their credit, Nokia do make great phones but seeing that little piece of reality creep into the film sort of ruins the effect of the science fiction world in that scene.

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In conclusion, Star Trek is a damn good film, sure to please both casual and die-hard Trek fans.  It’s a stand alone film (so it doesn’t leave you hanging like Star Wars) and to me it acts as a launchpad for more Star Trek films to come and if J.J. Abrams puts the same amount of effort into the sequels as he did with this film, he could turn out to release an epic series of science fiction films.

Score 5/5

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