It's a reboot, with some continuity changes; but the actors get things right.
This Star-Trek film both follows the 60’s series and departs from it. It tells the tale of how Kirk came to be Captain of the USS Enterprise and the original crew’s maiden voyage. It’s the same old Star Trek played through a modern lens. The ship is of the exact original design, and great detail is given to the interior sets, the computer layouts and the general technology, although at the same time there is a fresh look- rather than looking faux future with dated parts, it looks shiny and new. The crew is also re-cast, with younger members coming in to play these celebrated roles. Chris Pine’s Kirk is full of wry humor of the kind found in action heroes like Han Solo, and his brashness also plays true to the original Kirk. His foil is Spock, played here by Zachary Quinto in an adequate homage to the original character. He gives the impression that the character still has a lot of room to develop into the Vulcan adult shown in the original series. Karl Urban makes an excellent Dr. “Bones”, and he steals just about every scene he’s in. The rest of the actors are great for their roles, bringing something new and refreshing to each character while remaining more or less true to the core. The result is a bridge dynamic that is at once both fresh and reminiscent of the original.
The special effects are spectacular. Nothing in this film is ‘ho-hum’; everything pops with action…even the relatively static scenes seem more vital thanks to the camera work. Action of this caliber was something this series has desperately needed, at least in the manner of ship-to-ship warfare, which was a somewhat uncommon occurrence in the television series (in the ones I’ve seen at least). Kirk is still a badass fist fighter, of course, and gets some good scenes in on foot. This film is actually a pretty good condensation of how the action goes down in the original series, with the strange green women, the photon torpedoes, the fisticuffs and the phasers. It’s all there. The movie isn’t all about the action, of course, and the story is very nicely written, with some nice conflict between Kirk and Spock and how their duality of natures comes to the forefront during this mission which will try them both. It’s deep on several emotional levels, which also recalls well the Trek series that came before.
One final note: This film is intended as a reboot leading into a parallel timeline, which means that some facts of continuity that should be there have been glossed over in this film. As a non-Trekkie, it didn’t matter to me, although I’m sure some of you die-hards out there will notice it. They explain the reason for these changes in the film’s Wikipedia page, but as that write-up contains film spoilers, I’m not going to link it here. Suffice it to say that integrating total continuity would have caused production to get out of hand.
Overall, this is a great film. I don’t think I’ve ever been this impressed with Star Trek, and I’m wondering if this will lead to a series revival of some kind; which may be what it was intended for if you think about it.Hard Stats:
Producer: Paramount Pictures
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriters: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Chris Pine - James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto - Spock
Leonard Nimoy - Older Spock
Karl Urban - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Zoe Saldana - Nyota Uhura
John Cho - Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin - Pavel Chekov
Simon Pegg - Scotty
Eric Bana - Nero