Star Trek Review
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When rumors began to spread about a new-and-improved, J. J. Abrams-directed Star Trek, I was almost ashamed to admit that I’d never actually seen an entire Star Trek movie. You see, I’ve never been a huge sci-fi fan, and Star Trek always seemed a bit extreme. I guess the obsessive fans, with their costumes and conventions, scared me away. Still, as I started seeing the trailers for the latest Star Trek installment, I couldn’t wait to see it. In fact, I was tempted to fill my DVR with as many Star Trek movies as I could find, to prepare for the release. Instead, I decided to do the exact opposite: to [boldly] go into the new movie as a Star Trek newbie. But now, having seen it, I’m ready (and eager) to sit through my first Star Trek movie marathon.

  
 
Abrams’s Star Trek (the 11th in the franchise) explores the origins of the crew of the Starship Enterprise, developing the characters without getting too bogged down in Star Trek history. In the beginning, viewers meet a cocky, hot-rodding Jim Kirk and a bullied, conflicted Spock—younger versions of the well-known characters. Eventually, both Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk (Chris Pine) wind up at the Starfleet Academy, where they don’t exactly get off on the right foot.

When Spock’s home planet, Vulcan, is threatened by a ship of Romulans, the cadets are called into action. Despite being temporarily suspended, Kirk manages to stow away on the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise, with help from his friend, Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban). And when Romulan commander Nero (Eric Bana) demands a meeting with Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), Spock and Kirk are left to fight over the ship’s course of action.

If you’re new to the Star Trek franchise (like me), this new installment is the perfect introduction—because it starts from the very beginning. You won’t have to worry about jumping into the middle of the story and spending a couple of hours lost in a haze of science, trivia, and inside jokes. Sure, there are still plenty of historical details (and even a few inside jokes) to keep faithful fans on their toes, but that won’t detract from the newcomer’s (or the casual viewer’s) enjoyment. Instead, you’ll get to know the characters and their personalities; you’ll get to know why they are the way they are. And that’s pretty rare for science-fiction. Often, sci-fi films will skim over the character (and plot) development, jumping straight to the action and effects, but that’s not the case here. So if development matters to you, you’ll definitely appreciate Star Trek’s carefully constructed (and user-friendly) script.

That’s not to say, though, that the action and effects take a back seat to the character development. Not at all. In fact, the story unfolds in a whirlwind of breath-taking effects and heart-stopping action. It’s engrossing and thrilling and absolutely spectacular. In other words, it’s everything a summer blockbuster should be.

Though I can’t really say how Star Trek compares to its predecessors—nor can I say how the new actors fit their roles—I can say that I enjoyed just about every minute of it. While the story is a bit complex at times, it’s probably nothing that a second viewing won’t clear up—and you can be sure that I’ll be going back for seconds.

If you’ve shied away from Star Trek in the past, now’s the time to see what you’ve been missing. Abrams’s Star Trek is an exhilarating adventure, filled with fascinating characters, moving storylines, and plenty of edge-of-your-seat action—and it offers fans a fresh new look at beloved characters. This new installment is sure to kick-start a great new phase for the franchise—and if the follow-up (which is already in the works for a 2011 release) is as good as this one, this bold new stage in the Star Trek is sure to live long and prosper.

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