The Fraze’s Review : Star Trek

Read Clint’s Review of “Star Trek”

Read Drew’s Review of “Star Trek”

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I am not a Trekkie. I’m not even a Trekker. I could pull up a couple of Wikipedia entries and write enough here to make myself look like an expert on the subject, but I’m going to take the high road and announce upfront my completely illogical hate for Star Trek.

Doesn’t matter if we’re talking The Original Series or Next Generation or even, dare I say, 1982’s The Wrath of Khan. I hate it. You see, I’m a reactionary Star Wars fan. A lot of people think that, just because you happen to love Star Wars means you are a fan of all science fiction – including Trek. Well, that’s just absurd.

First thing’s first; Star Wars is not science fiction. It’s space fantasy. Secondly, Star Wars has always been fast-paced and injected with adventure, excitement and stimulating visuals. Compared to George Lucas’s space western, Star Trek comes off as an exercise in how to be insufferably dull and monotonous.

This being said, I was shocked into sublime ecstasy upon viewing J.J Abrams’ Star Trek. Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers), this new take on Star Trek is packed with imaginative plot and dazzling imagery. Everything is whizzing and whirling by so fast, it’s hard not to get swept up in all the excitement.

The film details the early days of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his fellow Starfleet enlistees before they unite aboard the USS Enterprise to combat Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan from the future who threatens the United Federation of Planets.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (as Mr. Spock) do exceptional jobs of distancing themselves from their predecessors’ performances while staying true to the characters. I got a real feel for what kind of man James T. Kirk was and didn’t see him as a mere caricature of William Shatner.
The supporting cast has great chemistry and every member of the Enterprise crew gets their moment to shine. Sulu has an impressive swordfight atop a cosmic drilling platform; Chekov races against time to beam crewmembers back onboard before their inescapable doom; Bones McCoy and Scotty keep us laughing while Uhura proves a Starfleet lady can be visually and intellectually stimulating.

And maybe that’s the best description I can give this film. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek has plenty of sugarcoated computer-generated spectacle to gaze upon while also offering up a story with plenty of tension, drama and character to pull you in deeper.

Abrams has admitted that, like me, he was never much of a Trekkie – but more of a Star Wars kid, and it shows. The film is littered with evidence of its influence. Aside from the obvious speed-up to space battles, and much-needed injection of humor and excitement, there’s even a monster sequence on an ice planet. This scene, which features a beasty that resembles the Cloverfield monster, combines the “bigger fish” scene from The Phantom Menace with the Wampa’s Ice Cave sequence from The Empire Strikes Back.

Ryan Church, Neville Page, and Star Trek veteran John Eaves primarily designed the film. This is worth noting because Church has worked on Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds as well as all three of George Lucas’s Star Wars Prequels. Combined with the phenomenal special effects wizardry of Industrial Light & Magic, Star Trek has succeeded in being a completely dazzling and engrossing good time.

It’s a good time, but it’s not perfect. The film’s tone can switch from tense, dramatic moments to silly humor in a split-second, and some of the sequences (like the encounter described above) seem unnecessary to the overall story but still serve as really kick-ass action pieces. To the delight of casual moviegoers (and probably the disgust of hardcore fans) this Trek is the idyllic summer blockbuster – it’s just pure entertainment with no apologies.

What can I say? I’ve been converted. I’m a Trekkie. Abrams and his company of geek cronies (I’m talking to you Damon Lindelof!) have forced my hand. As I write this review, I’m watching Star Trek: The Original Series on DVD. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. Scrape together some extra pennies and see Star Trek on the big screen opening weekend – it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.