DM Haight

Star Trek fans, for years, have wanted to see the Enterprise return to the big screen in all the action and drama the original series and it’s offspring  have come to embody. But the general audiences associate the television series and the films with a hokiness, and definitely a fair bit camp. Then again, the general audience also takes into account the loyal following that Star Trek has amassed over the decades, and this, in itself, becomes something of a deterrent. We know these types of people, the nerdy ones, the ones who sniffle, wear pocket protectors, have a nasaly voice, bad haircuts. We associate them with Star Trek, and this comes at a severe cost to the franchise, who has an intense following, but one that can ostracize casual movie goers. But then there’s J.J. Abrams, who is officially the embodiment of the Sci-Fi genre’s new age messiah. He’s done incredible work with LostFringeMission: Impossible III, and eventually Super 8, which has made him a hot commodity in Hollywood, and more than worthy of helming the next installment of the mega franchise in Star Trek. The best thing about the director? He makes Star Trek look sexy.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek has added a new flair to the old franchise, and a much needed face lift has been given to the faces of old characters. We begin the new saga by watching as Kirk is on a ship. But it’s not Jim Kirk: it’s his father. George Kirk, played by Chris Hemsworth, is captain of a ship for a matter of minutes, but in those minutes, leading up to the destruction of the ship and it’s young captain, go down in the history of Star Fleet as minutes of intense bravery. George leaves a hero’s legacy behind for his newly born son. But that kid becomes a nuisance. We watch as he grows up, running cars off cliffs, getting into bar fights, hitting on women left and right. He’s smarter than anyone would expect, and he exploits that to the fullest. James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine, is the absolute epitome of rebellion against a system of rules and regulations. The only way they convince him to join Star Fleet is by telling him he could be an officer in four years; Kirk says he’ll do it in three with a serious air of defiance. That’s what this franchise needed so badly. Chris Pine is the perfect choice for Kirk because in this new day and age we don’t need to see an adventure with an overly cool character. We want the arrogant, the cocky, the brash, the comedic hero. Kirk, in Abrams’ Star Trek, is all these things and more. He’s the perfect opposite of Spock, played by Zackary Quinto, who’s so cold, so calculating that he makes the villains look cheery by comparison; at least for a while.

The rest of the cast, including Simon Pegg, Zoë Saldana, Leonard Nemoy, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, and John Cho perform exquisitely well, calling into question whether they were born for the roles or if Abrams is just that plain good at eliciting the perfect performances he gets from his actors. However, those actors would be set in the same campy space of the original if it were not for the re-imagined world of the Enterprise. The visuals are outstanding and the lens flare is not used subtly. The Romulan vessel is terrifying and jagged, just like the personalities steering it through the depths of space. The construction of cites, vehicles, towers, landscapes, monsters, everything is made for the universe it’s set in, and nothing feels out of place. Nero is a terrifying villain because Bana’s makeup is perfect for the character; while the alien at the bar is perfect because he can convey that exasperated expression and still look remarkably common place in the universe of the film. And what’s best is that it’s so good that it goes unnoticed. The best special effects are the ones we don’t see. Star Trek is laden with some amazing effects that go beyond the planets and solar systems, and when we you have a narrative that not only pays homage to the original source material, but plays within the bounds and space of the original, we can only sit back and enjoy as an entire dimension unfolds before us, unlike anything that has come along in a great while.

The scope and possibilities are endless in this new rendition. It’s a whole new cast with interactions with the older casts, which we can only imagine will lead to some incredibly interesting intersecting storylines and character arches that will help to make everything as unpredictable as this first narrative. Abrams has made Star Trek cool for not only old fans, but for the general audience. He’s managed to break down old walls and build up bridges that will only lead to more and more intricate storylines that will thrill not only the Trekies, but casual fans alike. And now we wait for the saga of the voyages of the star ship Enterprise to boldly take us where we have never been before.

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