One of the most interesting aspects of the marketing campaign for the latest Star Trek film is this strange push to alienate long-time fans of the series. Maybe it has something to do with the new cast, fancy special effects and edgy director, but there is some perception out there that this is the mainstream departure that the franchise has always shied away from, its Casino Royale. I’m happy to report that this new movie is the same ol’ Trek we’ve come to love, just with a new coat of paint.
Stepping into some pretty big shoes is Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, who in this film goes from troubled rebel without a cause to starfleet captain. Along the way are his loyal friends Spock, played by Zachary Quinto (from Heroes) and Bones (Karl Urban from Lord of the Rings). The face the time-traveling villain Nemo (Eric Bana) who is on a mission to destroy the Federation.
What I like about the new cast is that they distill these characters down to their most basic elements, then allow the actors to give a different take on them. Pine’s Kirk doesn’t have the same swagger as Shatner’s, Quinto’s Spock has a lot more trouble with his emotions. Ultimately this makes them a very enjoyable group to watch, and much more satisfying than a bunch of immitators.
The story itself is great from the get-go. From the exciting, heartbreaking prologue, to the starfleet academy, the movie is a lot of fun. Sadly, it kind of loses itself when Leonard Nimoy shows up and introduces a ton of exposition. As my dad points out, this comes from the problem that time travel is a real difficult plot device, and it is just not very satisfying to watch.
However, the special effects are great, the performances are strong, the action exciting. The franchise is back. I can’t wait to watch these guys on their next adventure.