Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Movie Review: "Star Trek" (2009)

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Movie"Star Trek"
Director: J.J. Abrams
Year: 2009
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes

A Romulan ship led by Nero (Eric Bana) travels back in time to exact revenge after their home planet is destroyed. Nero plans to use stolen Red Matter that can create artificial black holes to destroy the home planet of the man he blames for the destruction of Romulus, Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Now, a rebellious Starfleet cadet named James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the younger Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), along with the rest of the crew of the newly commissioned USS Enterprise, must find a way to defeat Nero and his advanced technology.

"Star Trek" is a franchise that has been around for decades. It has spawned numerous television shows, various movies, and an entire subculture and fandom. BigJ has always enjoyed "Star Trek," and though I never really watched it heavily, I do remember how, when I was younger, I would stop on the channel where it would play after school from time to time. Director J.J. Abrams was given the very difficult task of rebooting this popular franchise, while simultaneously making it more palatable for a wider and more modern audience without alienating those who were already fans. We think he does a wonderful job for the most part, especially knowing it's impossible to please everybody, especially hardcore fans. Abrams manages to introduce a new young cast playing these iconic roles, while tying in the old movies and series by having Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as a time-traveling Ambassador Spock. This time-travel story line allows Abrams and co. to create an alternate past with an entirely new timeline, which is explained to the audience through a little exposition, something he has relied on many times in his other works.

This film stars an ensemble cast including Chris Pine as James T. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban and Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, John Cho as Sulu, the late, great Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and the very funny Simon Pegg as Scotty. The cast of this movie does a truly excellent job bringing these iconic characters to life for a new age of fans and does a great justice to these classic roles. Eric Bana is extremely effective as the villainous Nero, who is seeking revenge after his home planet of Romulus gets destroyed. When Nero travels back in time, his simple mining vessel becomes quite the formidable battleship, facing what is outdated technology to him.

This "Star Trek" reboot is never short on exciting, fast-paced action, which could be a bit much for Trekkie purists who are used to seeing a more dramatic, less action-driven approach from the multiple TV series. For us, even BigJ, who is a fan of the original series, we thoroughly enjoy this approach. We also get a lot of back story on how all these characters wound up together on the USS Enterprise, which we like because it shows their humble beginnings and allows us to get to know them as characters moving forward. This in turn allows us to get invested in their plight as a team. Finally, the special effects are astonishing and aid in creating fantastic space battles and environments. On a similar but unrelated note, these effects combine beautifully with the makeup work, which brings hosts of different alien species to life in cool, different ways.

This first installment in J.J. Abrams' resurrection of the great "Star Trek" series serves as a wonderful jumping off point that is a truly fun time to watch. It has a little bit of everything: suspense, action, some terrific humor, old origins, new beginnings, a fantastic cast, and most importantly, a fresh perspective on this classic science fiction mainstay.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Gallows"

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