Christopher Pike: Your father was Captain of a starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother’s, and yours. I dare you to do better.
This movie is too much fun not to be on this list. Every time I watch it it’s just as much fun as the first time. Watching J.J. Abrams on the set of Star Trek, it’s easy to see why the movie is so infectiously entertaining; he’s clearly having a ball. And fortunately, he’s invited us along for the ride.
Before I continue, I must state for the record, I’m not actually a Trekkie. I’ve watched Star Trek movies before, and enjoyed them. I’ve even seen a few episodes of the original series and a few of The Next Generation as well. I am a geek, to be sure, but my Trek knowledge is cursory at best, nowhere near true Trekkie levels. Nonetheless, I am a fan of the source material.
That being said, I think Abrams & co. took everything that was great about the Star Trek universe and made it so much better. Granted, he did so under auspices that could incur the wrath of many a Trekkie, setting out to make the new Star Trek, “more like Star Wars.” A Ceti Alpha Five-worthy trespass to some, but in the end, I think he succeeded in giving us a wonderful new Star Trek that is filled with reverence for the source material without being beholden to it, a true reboot rather than a rehash. At the same time, Abrams avoids the pitfalls of the Star Wars prequels by using as many practical sets as possible, instead of relying almost entirely on green screen, making the new Trek much more tangible than the cartoonish Star Wars films of late.
Of course, it’s hard to have a great movie without a great cast. Heading up this cast is the ebullient Chris Pine as Kirk. He deftly channels that Kirk-ly swagger, which comes as no surprise after seeing his curiously charming punker-hit-man in Smokin’ Aces.
Zachary Quinto’s Spock is spot-on, as he exudes both the steely Vulcan reserve and the quiet human anguish. Eric Bana’s Ahab-like Captain Nero, hell-bent on revenge, is the perfect foil for the newly formed crew of the Enterprise, providing the fire with which to forge their bond. Karl Urban’s Bones and Simon Pegg’s Scotty are the two main contenders for “most likely to steal the movie,” but instead everything seems to balance nicely over all the characters.
My only real problem with this movie is the fact that Tyler Perry is in it, but that’s more of a personal problem. And he’s not actually bad in the movie, I just don’t like him and have no interest in his movies. Apart from that, it’s got great visuals, interesting characters, an engaging story, a great score, it’s got it all. Star Trek is the ideal big budget blockbuster. It’s fun, entertaining, a great ride all around. Just writing about it I want to watch it again right now.
[Photos & poster: “Star Trek” Copyright 2009 Paramount Pictures.]