'Star Trek's long-awaited, big budget revival has marked a new departure for the franchise, as 'Lost' creator JJ Abrams takes the helm in an effort to make the subject matter more accessible to non-Trekkies the galaxy over, exploring new territory in the process. So in the vein of boldly going... we decided to put this theory to the test. Could the movie hold up as a stand-alone offering and would someone with very little knowledge of the genre be encouraged to delve further into deep space as a result? The results were surprising.
The movie picks up right back at the birth of James T Kirk (Pine), as his father George (Hemsworth) makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. Rolling on several years and Jim has become a handsome player with too much attitude and not enough discipline. But the Starship Enterprise's Captain Pike (Greenwood) reckons that he can sort out that character flaw if given enough time with the young troublemaker, encouraging him to join his ranks. There his outspoken views cause him to have an immediate clash with the withdrawn and slightly misfit Spock (Quinto), cast out by his Vulcan peers because of his human heritage. And Spock isn't the only one who butts heads with the young Kirk. The ship's beautiful leading lady Uhura (Saldana) also seems to be taking issue with his fast-talking approach to life. Lucky, then, that Kirk finds a friend in Dr Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (Urban), his salvation when his tongue runs away with him and lands him in hot water.
So far so good in terms of a dysfunctional family unit to board the Enterprise. But every strong unit needs opposition in order to prove its worth and this one has it, in force, in Nero (Bana) and his Romulan troops, hell-bent on revenge for crimes against their race way back when. It's going to take a master-plan and a lot of trickery to weave out of this tight spot and everyone seems to have a different opinion on how best to proceed. What ensues is highly entertaining - 'fancy' combat, massive doses of sneaky comedy and of course that beaming magic, thanks to Scotty (Pegg).
Director JJ Abrams has managed to combine great action sequences with real on-screen chemistry among the leads. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto really spark off each other, making the most of their respective attributes of sheer rashness versus precise, balanced decision-making. They both bring an impressive energy to their roles, pushing the pace of the movie along and heightening the sense of drama and spectacle. On the peripheries, the leading pack have great support from 'Star Trek' legend Leonard Nimoy and the younger fleet of Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban.
In so many respects, the man with the midas touch, Abrams, has delivered something really worthy here. The movie is sheer entertainment start to finish. It has the potential to convert even the staunchest of opposition and achieves its goal of breathing fresh life into an old, even if massively successful, franchise. You're left wanting more. (There may even be a rush at the barbers' for a Spock!).