A Sci-Fi nerd for as long as I can remember, "Star Trek" has to be my first love and Spock my first crush. Cold, emotionally unavailable intellectuals ... ah, that's what I'm doing wrong. Anyway, enough about me, let's Trek talk.
I admit I was skeptical about the new movie, and purists will still take issue with some of the creative liberties of the story lines. Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, this adaptation of way-too-little-of Starfleet history does nonetheless manage to remain essentially true to Gene Roddenberry's original characters, believe it or not. Just keep thinking alternate-universe time lines.
Directed by J.J. Abrams ("Lost"), the new "Star Trek" brings together old crewmembers Spock (Zachary Quinto of "Heroes" fame), Dr. "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Sulu (John Cho) in a whole new old adventure. Also, Eric Bana co-stars as the villain Nero and Leonard Nimoy himself appears as an older version of Spock (that will be explained when you see it). Confused yet?
Suffice to say, there is some rewritten history, but not enough to really mess with the essence of the classic Enterprise gang we have come to know and love. We get to see Kirk, Spock and crew back when they first enroll in the Academy and then go on their first mission. It's nice to speculate on how they all met and what their first impressions of each other were. Urban's McCoy is especially good, as he channels DeForest Kelley to a T.
Again, some of the back story is a tad different, due to messing with time travel, but you will recognize everyone. Simon Pegg is an excellent Scottish Engineer and Quinto is a perfect Spock. By the time Chris Pine dons the yellow shirt of command, he is a young Shatner incarnate. Yelchin's Chekov is a little overdone (but so was Walter Koenig). Zoe Saldana is fine as Uhura and John Cho handles Sulu alright, for what little screen time he has. There's even a brief and unrecognizable appearance from Winona Ryder as Spock's Mother. And Michael Giacchino's original score contributes to the excitement and hipness that is the new Abrams film and is overall a fun ride.
I don't know whether or not the new "Star Trek" will stand the test of time as it is someone's personal version of a beloved franchise. And while it is action-packed and so very cool, it doesn't cover the core attraction - mainly the ideal universe the original creators envisioned. "Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five year mission - To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no (one) has gone before."
And let's not forget the Prime Directive, an important Starfleet law of noninterference with other civilizations, much like the creed our contemporary wildlife photographers and filmmakers adhere to. I loved "Star Trek" for the comradery and the messages of morality in the story lines. And for the idealism of building an organization that brought together different races (and species) in one common mission. "Star Trek" inspired us to invent cell phones and to have interracial crew members and even female captains. This vision of our future helped NASA work on our present.
And is there another 1960's forward-thinking television show that spawned so many equally idealistic spin-offs? "Next Generation", "Deep Space Nine", "Voyager", "Enterprise" - each of these shows tried something different, while keeping to the main point - promoting peace and unity whenever and wherever possible in this vast universe of ours. If there is a sequel (and based on audience response, I don't see why there would not be), I'd like to see the characters go a little deeper into that part of our space which inspires us to improve on our own humanity.
J.J. Abrams may not be the biggest ST fan, but surely he can understand the appeal. "Live Long and Prosper".
More Star Trek: http://www.katewestreviews.com/2001/12/star-trekvoyager.html
Action Chick Flick Link: http://actionflickchick.com/superaction/star-trek-2009 Old Star Trek (start collecting now): Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1 [Blu-ray]