(out of 5)
It should come as no surprise that the latest in the Star Trek series would aim at the youth market. Hollywood loves teenagers’ disposable income, so wunderkind J.J. Abrams, the man who brought Alias and Lost to television and let Tom Cruise still think he was a cocky twenty year-old by focusing on his confused expressions and tight t-shirts in Mission: Impossible 3, takes the assignment of bringing the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to the big screen and succumbs to the inevitable. Surprisingly, it actually works: rather than a science-fiction Muppet Babies, this foray into the origins of the original Enterprise crew is an action-packed, character-driven thrillfest that will please age-old fans and win new ones. It gives us (wisely brief) glimpses of Kirk and Spock’s childhoods before moving up to Starfleet Academy, where Spock has graduated with honours and Kirk (Chris Pine) makes the girls magna cum loudly. Kirk is trying to cozy up to sexy Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and, in doing so, ends up on a starship that begs him to become a part of its crew. The loopy plotline gets even more fun from there as Abrams has done a terrific job of paying homage to everything you loved about the original series, both kitschy and cool, incorporated it, and then completely rewritten the franchise’s history and started anew. It’s done with a cool and collaborative, not cocky air, and while as science-fiction films go it does not reinvent the wheel (as its marketing campaign may suggest), it does rank up there with the wonderfully entertaining qualities of Parts II, III and IV. Zachary Quinto is a standout as the young Spock, while Simon Pegg is wonderfully jovial as Scotty, and the Legend Of Nimoy makes a very welcome cameo appearance.
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Cinematography by Daniel Mindel
Produced by J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Music by Michael Giacchino
Production Design by Scott Chambliss
Costume Design by Michael Kaplan