I got a chance to see Star Trek this weekend, and really enjoyed it. I went in a little concerned that the film would insert a Mountain Dew commercial into the more stately Space Opera that is Star Trek. Turns out they sort of did, but it worked. Just to warn you, there might be some mild spoilers after the break…I kept hearing that the new movie was going to be edgy and the characters would be updated. This concerned me, as the characters are what drove the original series (still the best iteration of Star Trek). Making them "extreme" would have been the wrong path. Instead, the film acknowledges the relationships we have with these beloved characters, often winks at them and plays with our expectations just enough to make things interesting.
There are many nods to the past, the reason for the nickname Bones for instance, and several knowing in jokes. One of my favorites is the importance put on Uhura's first name. This is a rib on the fact that she never even had a first name in the show. The actors all have a good time, and do nice things with their characters. Karl Urban in particular is great as McCoy. He somehow manages to be a curmudgeon even as a young person. It's funny to think that he has been both Eomer in Lord of the Rings and now Dr. McCoy.
The movie is not perfect. The weakest part is the plot and the villain. With the exception of Khan, being the villain in a Star Trek movie is a pretty paltry role. This time it's a Romulan miner who somehow converts his mining ship into a planet destroying weapon. The ship is also nonOSHA designed as a series of platforms ready made for a climactic battle. There is a feeble attempt made to give the bad guy a reason for his pain, but it is dropped almost instantly. The movie is really not about the battle against Nero, it's about becoming reacquainted with old friends.
Admittedly, I am the target market for this film. I have loved Star Trek since I was young. I still remember waiting in line for Star Trek II on the first day as a kid, and the applause that followed during the opening credits. Even with that, this film exceeded my expectations. It made me want a sequel before it was done. Don't get hung up on what the film is not. Enjoy it for what it is.
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