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Star Trek (2009)

If there was ever any material that deserved a modern reboot, it's Star Trek. It's universe, it's characters, it's stories and it's cinematic potential almost scream "cinematic update". And yet, it's taken me a very long time to see Abrams' 2009 entry in the long-running series of tv series and films. It's story is pretty simple: Kirk, Spock and the gang must save the universe from a guy wanting revenge, all while trying to find the elements that will soon make them into a great team.

First off, I can only describe myself as an amateur Trekkie. I'm slowly delving into The Original Series and The Next Generation, and I've now seen all of the movies (excluding Into Darkness), all of which I've liked to certain degrees (all of the original even-numbered ones are fantastic and First Contact is now one of my all-time favourite films). Maybe some day I will be able to consider myself one of the million "pure Trekkies", but for now I'll settle with what I got.

I read an interview recently where J.J Abrams described himself as a
person who considers himself neutral towards Star Trek. This shows in his 2009 effort. He doesn't seem interested in creating a good Star Trek, he is more interested in creating a crowd-pleasing sci-fi actioner that will appeal to the masses and make Star Trek cool. I have no problem with that, except this should be a Star Trek film first, not an action film with the Star Trek title. It's missing some of the spirit present in the original films, that aimed to tell good stories, not to make things look cool.

In fact, the entire film is pretty standard, special effects laden sci-fi stuff and has nothing that sets it apart from any other similar films from the time. However, this is redeemed when you notice the ambition in Abrams' work here. He really is trying to make a good film, just not a good Star Trek film. He creates a lot of wonderful spectacle, with spacefights and explosions galore. It's actually quite entertaining a lot of the time and Abrams does a fine job with the action and adventure areas of the film.

What I really, REALLY liked about the film was the cast. Chris Pine is excellent. He isn't really Kirk as much as he is a cocky action hero, but he does a solid job with what he has. Zachary Quinto is a fantastic Spock, really selling his performance. He gets the meatiest material, as Spock is the most developed character of the film, and Quinto shines in the moments where Spock's conflicted, misunderstood emotions are on display. The rest of the cast (Eric Bana is good, but one-dimensional, though) are phenomenal, but its Karl Urban who deserves special mention as Bones. His scenes were always the best and his impersonation of DeForrest Kelley is perfect.

Overall, though, I'm not really feeling much love for the film itself. It's very entertaining and succeeds at being sci-fi blockbuster material, but fails at really being a true Star Trek film. This feels nothing like the adventures of the original crew, or Picard and co. either.

Entertaining, but ultimately underwhelming.