The first ten minutes of the new film from J.J. Abrams should reassure not only Trekkies that their beloved series is in safe hands but also Star Wars fans, who can rest easy that the Force will return in good shape under his direction.
The film starts at a frenetic pace and involves Kirk (Chris Pine) at his most impetuous best, making the wrong decisions for all the right reasons. The opening sequence should leave the audience with a big smile on their face. Funny, epic and displaying absolutely state of the art effects.
Following the initial escapade, we find Kirk firmly placed in the Federation ‘naughty corner’. With his captaincy questioned by those above him, this threatens to split the crew asunder. The previous cast all return to active duty, Scotty (Pegg), Sulu (Cho), Bones (Urban), Chekov (Yelchin) and space couple Spock (Zinto) and Uhura (Zaldana).
The Enterprise this time eventually gets to hunt, join and fight against an old or due to the positioning of this film, new deadly foe in the shape of Khan (Cumberbatch). Kirk also unknowingly enlists a new shapely crew member, scientist Carol Marcus (Eve).
As with most Trek films the story is less important than the characters, effects and relationships. This is no exception, however the story is strong enough and wraps neatly in similar fashion to the earlier TV series. Call this the ‘Simpsons’ effect, lots happens but audiences know everything will turn out ok, because that’s what they expect.
All actors are clearly relishing re-imagining these roles for a modern audience, helped by a director with a definite vision. This allows snippets that only Trekkie’s will appreciate but most importantly Abrams makes the film wholly accessible to a wider audience, which is no mean feat.
Managing to incorporate Tribbles seamlessly into the story, almost smacks of a bet waiting to be won, one that Abrams has clearly pulled off. Although, if this story is prior to the five year mission of discovery where exactly did they come from?
There are many touches that show the care and effort put into getting the tone just right. The film is dark enough, with a superb enemy played by Cumberbatch, who employs all of his slightly off kilter mannerisms to great effect, yet the humour is welcome without lightening the tension. The ‘domestic’ on the shuttle shows just how confident the whole team are in their grasp of the Trek universe.
Effects are universally excellent, production values sky high, the studio clearly anticipating these sets will get used again, which is all but a given. Abrams manages to bring an epic feel to the film, managing to provide substance to the scenes and characters, whereas others might rely too much on CG action.
Criticisms, like many recent films no matter that we have spaceships, torpedoes, phasers and planet savings devices, why do all denouements have be completed with man to man fisticuffs, usually in improbable places?
If you are looking for depth, then consider a theme of not retaliating against those who choose to hurt you, without first realising the implications. Perhaps invoking the Nietzsche phrase ‘He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster’. You can draw parallels with certain recent foreign policy decisions, should you choose.
A true Star Trek film that arguably is up there with the best. A superb evenings entertainment for both Trekkies, anyone who likes Sci-Fi or in fact anyone that enjoys a well made film with lots of action.
Excellent, go watch it.