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Star Trek Premiere UK – Film Review

by Dave Elliott

After all yesterday’s excitement,  it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of it… What’s the film like?

WARNING – This review may contain SPOILERS.

It’s Star Trek Jim, But Not As We Know It

When I heard about this movie, my first thoughts, like a lot of Trek fans, were “They’re going to do what?!”… However, JJ Abrams is a clever man, and made a very clever decision. How do you reboot a franchise which has such a rich and documented history in the movies, tv shows and books without trampling over all the existing material?… You use your story to change the history.

USS Kelvin

USS Kelvin

The action starts aboard the USS Kelvin, under the command of Captain Richard Robau, with First Officer George Kirk. The Kelvin is attacked by our resident Romulan bad guy Nero (Eric Bana), who appears to be searching for an ‘Ambassador Spock’. A firefight ensues, and George heroically fends off Nero giving the crew chance to escape in shuttle crafts. A crew that includes his wife, and new born son James Tiberius Kirk.

Jump forward a few years and we see various glimpses of Kirk and Spock’s early lives, including the bar fight which results in Kirk enlisting in Starfleet, and him cheating his way through the kobayashi maru test. This culminates in us seeing Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Chekhov, and later Scotty, on board the Enterprise.

Although all the key players are there, due to Nero’s interference altering the timeline, what we’re seeing is a changed reality to standard Star Trek canon. What JJ and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have done is shifted the action to a new timeline leaving all the original Star Trek canon intact, whilst giving themselves a fairly blank sheet of paper to work with.

Crew of the Enterprise

Crew of the Enterprise

The cast work extremely well together. You get the feel of them being a young crew, but they still have the essence of the original characters. Chris Pine works brilliantly, keeping Kirk’s swagger and bravado without falling into the trap of impersonating Shatner, while Zachary Quinto is the pure embodiment of a younger, arrogant Spock. John Cho (Sulu), Zoë Saldana (Uhura), and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) all come over well in their respective roles, as does Simon Pegg providing comic relief as Scotty. Also a special mention has to go to Karl Urban‘s portrayal of the dry, cynical Lenard ‘Bones’ McCoy which was absolutely superb, and it was a great shame he wasn’t used more. I think it’s a testament to the cast that I didn’t find myself comparing them to their original counterparts, and really felt this was the crew of the Enterprise.

Enterprise Bridge

Enterprise Bridge

The Enterprise itself has been given a whole new interior decor, but the pure white look i think works well with the traditional primary colours of the uniforms.  The exterior has been tweaked, but is still very much the ship we know and love. The bridge is still recognisable as the Enterprise bridge with the iconic captain’s chair in the centre. We do actually get to see the first moment take the captains seat… only to be orders out of it seconds later by his commanding officer. ;)

The music was fine and worked well as an accompaniment, although not particularly memorable until the iconic Star Trek theme over the end credits.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fine line they are having to walk with this film, between alienating old fans and bringing in new ones, but i think they manage to pull it off in spectacular style.

Unlike Original, or even Next Gen Trek, the action moves along at a break neck speed, and the changes JJ has made has given the Star Trek franchise a reboot it severely needed. It pays homage to the original source material, without mocking it, and the appearance of Leonard Nimoy as old Spock helps cement the film as being a ‘passing of the baton’ to a new generation.

Yes, there are elements that didn’t work. There’s a scene in the engine room involving water pipes which came across as slightly too slapstick and jarred a bit for me. However overall I really loved the film. There are rumours that the cast have been signed up for 2 more films, and I would love to see more adventures aboard this starship Enterprise, exploring strange new worlds, boldly going where no one has gone before.

GT Rating: 9/10

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