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‘Star Trek’ (2009) Film Review: Warpspeed wow!

Something old reboots as a glorious new.

Reinventing a classic sci-fi series is prone to becoming victimized by the blackhole of franchise re-openings, but what this new “Star Trek” presents is a flaring shine of a supernova from start to end. The plot may be preposterous, but the way the film is constructed provides a genuinely rollicking adventure – a fine escapist entertainment that has just validated the tagline, “Live long and prosper.”

From the first stunning visuals of a pre-Enterprise time to the final iconic sweeping space shots, the film easily grabs the audience by mixing warp-speed action and tongue-in-cheek humor. It’s a witty, light-on-its-feet prequel with unbridled enthusiasm.

“Star Trek” maintains a nostalgia play that manages to have enough reverence to its source material. At the same time, it carefully adapts to the needs of a 21st Century version of such a classic. It invigorates without destroying the original. It’s like warping to the contemporary while still respecting the past. As a brave new universe for director J.J. Abrams and his crew to explore, this film passes its obstacles with dazzling, time-warping colors in its clever, campy, and endearing form of sci-fi entertainment.

This franchise reboot may have some significant flaws and missteps, but on its own merits, its creative precision in telling its story still makes itself a skillfully constructed studio picture. It’s not the type to engage viewers as intellectually or emotionally as the best prior movies and TV episodes of the franchise, but Abrams breathes enough energy to make this hugely satisfying in its own right. Youthful, fast-paced, jaunty, and savvy, the swift storytelling keeps up with the needed momentum and celebrates the sheer joy of having its classic characters back on the big screen. Abrams’ approach for this latest revamping validates a playful and unpredictable mix of special effects, an involving story, a good script, and fine ensemble acting. For the rightful fun it needs, he truly goes full speed ahead.

Fueled by adventurous spirits, scriptwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman maintain a kind of “final frontier nostalgia” for Trekkies and newcomers alike. The pacing races well. Abrams moves the plot at breathtaking speed; yet, he is still able to provide time to feature heroic acts from all the original show’s key players and make the characterizations blend well with the story. It boldly opens a new chapter in the series while giving it a fresh shot of life during the process.

The whole thing feels fully realized. The narrative effectively conceives Kirk and Spock as two rebels looking for a cause. With the occasional philosophical undermining to discuss love, friendship, duty, family, and pride, this picture essentially turns out to be a fiery dynamo.

“Star Trek” could please a wide cross-section of viewers. It is smart enough to be accessible to everyone while retaining enough respect for the franchise’s legacy. It’s a pretty good example of pop culture demands crafted by good hands, proving that commercial cinema can effectively deliver a sledgehammer punch of quality entertainment. Perhaps, this can be a new populist benchmark on how to rebrand and relaunch a classic, or any franchise for that matter.

Another strength of this “Star Trek” reboot is its cast. The performances are superb and bristling with energy from start to end. Chris Pine as James Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock make the journey worth taking; while the appearances of Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime and Eric Bana as Nero take the tale even farther. The rest of the supporting cast are equally strong: Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy; Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura; Bruce Greenwood as Capt. Christopher Pike; John Cho as Hikaru Sulu; Ben Cross as Sarek; Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson; Simon Pegg as Scotty; Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov; Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk; Jennifer Morrison as Winona Kirk; and Jimmy Bennett as the young James Kirk.

With snappy direction, strong cast, great effects, strong story, epic action, good comedic touches, and clear respect for its source material, this “Star Trek” is a truly bold, entertaining reboot. It beams bright enough as a supernova.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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