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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:

Star Trek (2009)
Dan Cann

Just in time for the summer season of blockbusters comes a ‘reboot’ (that word again) of ‘Star Trek.’ The television show and the cinematic entries looked out for the count a few years ago. Stories had become tired and the films had become dull, dull, dull. So this was a big gamble for the studio and lukewarm reception for the franchise would almost certainly spell the end.
They need not have worried it took $76 Million in the USA on the opening weekend.

I have always classed myself as a casual fan; I am not a ‘Trekkie’ or a ‘Trekker.’ I do not have a box set of every show ever made and I have not seen all of the films. That said I do have a fondness for the phenomenon thanks to television re-runs of the old show when I was growing up so I am aware of the original characters and setting.

What director J.J Abrams, cast and crew have managed here is to instil new life into old ideas. This film is set ten years before Kirk, Spock, McCoy et all began their ‘five year mission to boldly go…’ We find them attending Starfleet Academy and getting to know each other. This is a great idea, as this will satisfy the curiosity of the old fans whilst introducing a new audience to the idea and concept. So far, so good.

I held my breath waiting for lots of exposition and a plodding story but was pleasantly surprised when the film unrolling before me became a fast-paced, action-packed, adrenalin rush with familiar characters introduced but in a much more exciting universe. Hang on, this is a ‘Star Trek’ film I thought, its actually gripping and moving quickly I thought. Great!
That is the films saving grace, together with wit and humour, this entry does not allow a pause to think or explain. It rockets by at a self-assured pace and packs an emotional punch too. I was so relieved to see it unfold like this. All of the performances are first-rate and worthy of their original incarnations. There is perhaps a little too much reverence to the old characters at times, but that is a very minor quibble.

In Chris Pine we have a rebellious, arrogant, headstrong James T Kirk, for my money spot on! He is ably backed up by Zachary Quinto as a younger and thus more emotional Spock together with Karl Urban as grumpy Doctor Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. The other actors like Simon Pegg as Scotty and Zoe Saldana as Uhura have all managed to capture the essence of the original crew but made them refreshing and new and therefore more dynamic.

I won’t go into plot except to say that Earth is in danger (No surprise there). Eric Bana plays Nero, a Romulan hell-bent on causing chaos and thirsty for revenge. He is a worthy adversary despite talking in an unlikely North American accent! This has to be seen on the big screen, the money is all up there, the special effects are amazing and for once ‘Star Trek’ is genuinely exciting and the thrill ride it always promised to be but never quite managed to deliver before.
This film shows that the franchise is in safe hands and will ‘Live long and prosper!’
© Dan Cann May 12 2009

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