Director J.J. Abrams reinvents “Star Trek” in his new film that’s a reboot of the classic sci-fi series. For hardcore Trekkies, it doesn’t negate what’s gone before, but for the newbies – which make up most of the potential viewing audience – this “Star Trek” is brand new.
When a time-traveler seeking revenge causes the death of George Kirk, James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) grows up a fatherless rebel in Iowa.
Meanwhile, on the logic-driven planet of Vulcan, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is a teased, ostracized, half-human, half-Vulcan.
After being challenged by Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), Kirk ends up in Starfleet, where his roguish ways put him in conflict with the by-the-book Spock. But when the galaxy’s in danger – by a foe that seems very familiar to Kirk – it will take the two working together to end to the threat.
Pine is a great Kirk, especially considering the shadow of William Shatner. Pine suggests cockiness and confidence without ever resorting to imitation. Quinto does well as Spock, but he doesn’t own his role as easily as Pine. Perhaps that’s because fans are reminded of “classic” Spock by Leonard Nimoy, appearing as an older Spock. He is perfectly at ease in the role, as he should be.
The familiar characters from the 1960s have been recast for this modern take. Karl Urban is spot-on perfect as “Bones” McCoy, a crotchety medic who becomes fast friends with Kirk. Zoe Saldana is a competent and in-your-face Uhura, who’s hiding a surprising relationship. John Cho takes the role of Sulu, bringing humor and toughness to the helmsman. Anton Yelchin plays the brainy youngster Chekov. And Simon Pegg is hilarious as the brilliant but overlooked Scotty.
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman bring in classic “Trek” lines and references in a way that won’t confuse new fans, but will be appreciated by those that recognize them.
Eric Bana’s Nero is a man who wants revenge for what happened to his planet and is willing to cross time to do it. This savage villain is not one of “Trek’s” best, but he fills the role for now.
“Star Trek” as message movie gets lost a bit, this time out – perhaps it’s about finding your friends, or your place. But there seems to be less in the way of metaphor than previous “Trek” outings.
That said, giving “Trek” a clean relaunch that prepares the property to find a new group of fans is success in itself.
– Matt Price
PG-13 — 2:06 — 3 ½ stars
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg.
(Sci-fi action and violence and brief sexual content)