You know what the Star Trek franchise needed? A good kick in the pants. You know what JJ Abrams gave it? Yeah, a good kick in the pants. If you haven’t seen Abram’s re-imagined take on the original Star Trek series yet, go get in line right now. It’s OK. I’ll still be here when you get back.
I was initially a little worried when I heard that a new Star Trek movie was in the works, and it was going to focus on the early years of the original cast of characters. Gene Roddenberry had a very clear vision of who the characters in his Trek universe were, and it would be oh-so-easy for Abrams to throw that all away. But he didn’t. Instead, he embraced what made each character unique and used that to breathe new life into Gene’s dream.
Just like the best of the original series episodes, the new Star Trek movie uses the characters to build the story. Kirk, Spock and McCoy all play off each other as they learn and grow. Uhura gets to be the strong woman that 1960’s TV didn’t let her be. Mr. Scott works miracles of technology, and Sulu and Chekov get to be more than space chauffeurs.
The movie gives us a fresh look at the characters we’ve known for years, but keeps them familiar, too. That’s important since there are plenty of long-time Trek fans that wouldn’t be happy if the U.S.S. Enterprise crew came across like caricatures of the original cast.
The story draws you in right away and keeps a firm grip on you all the way up until the end credits roll. The musical score plays wonderfully off of the scenes without detracting from the story, and the special effects (aside from an occasional lens flare effect that I found distracting) are wonderful eye candy without being gaudy. The story works well, too, for long time Trek fans and new comers alike.
I could’ve walked away from this movie feeling cheated, like Abrams gave us a commercialized bit of nostalgia, but he didn’t. What he did give us was a fresh new take on a pillar in the Sci-Fi world — a take that’s welcome and will give us great stories for years to come.
And just in case I wasn’t clear: If you haven’t seen Star Trek yet, go get in line right now. It’s OK. I’ll still be here when you get back.