The Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
This brief review is spoiler free.
I can safely say that JJ stepping down from the hands on approach was the best decision made, he's a Star Wars kind of guy and we needed a movie that appeases both the Trekkies and the casual movie goers and Simon Pegg delivered that in spades here.
For the first time since 2009, I'm able to accept the Kelvin Timeline - yes it's different and weird and unique, but Simon makes it wonderful and exactly like the original series (although you have to allow for fifty years worth of changes, like female characters that actually take charge and get the job done, and no more techno colour wonderscapes or redresses of standing sets to save money.)
I had publicly said I didn't like the blowing up of the Enterprise again, but this time it didn't seem like a plot device it was actually a means to do away with what had been before and start fresh. Will there be more movies?
After sitting through an almost cringe worthy opening scene involving a trinket that a small reptilian species finds offensive instead of the gift it was intended to be... we listen to Kirk's Captain Log and I get the sense that this 'Kelvin Timeline' has changed... for the better. Not only has our crew spent the better part of three years out in deep space exploring those strange new worlds, but it's now time for R&R at the new starbase. It's such an original series episode opening.
The Starbase is an enormous monstrosity that takes many design cues from it's filming location (of Dubai) and throws in some Star Trek elements to glitz it up. The reported beat up of the 'Sulu' is gay storyline starts and wraps here - as Hikaru greets his daughter and partner (husband?) with a hug reminiscent of a weary sailor returning to port. Meanwhile Uhura and Spock break up in a very calm manner before our science officer is approached by two Vulcans who make it seem like they're the people you try and avoid at the train station who want to talk about God.
Spock learns of the passing of Ambassador Spock in a very quiet and sombre scene, eloquently painted by director Justin Lin with an empty wide shot. Elsewhere, I'm reminded of the Wrath from Stargate: Atlantis with all of those smaller ships flying around annihilating the ship and the movie Generations flashes before my eyes as the ship crashes on the planet. It was nice to see the aliens in this movie struggle with English - getting the syntax wrong here and there while Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah with a certain amount of angry teenager-ism battling those that killed her family and struggling to accept help from our heroes. And Idris Elba as Krall just seemed angry at the world - his origin story was another excellent nod to that series as I mention below.
Without spoiling every plot detail, the ship the crew escape the planet in pays a nice homage to the other series in the franchise that so often gets over looked and some costumes are inspired by that era. Of course the Enterprise saves the day, but it was really nice to not have everything blow up this time around in the JJ-- err Kelvin timeline.
THE FINAL WORD
Karl Urban injects the same dose of humour as DeForest did all those years ago, and you could really see the same Spock-McCoy relationship develop more fully in this installment. This Kirk, who didn't join Starfleet for the same reasons as Shatner's edition, learnt to accept his place in the fleet and everyone was happier for the experience. All round, I feel that Simon and Justin have righted the listing ship and set sail for new adventures in the Kelvin timeline.
And by the way, it was absolutely fantastic to see our two leading female characters - in Uhura and Jaylah - actually be characters in their own right, kicking butt and absolutely owning their environment and destiny. Finally, a movie where the heroine doesn't need a man to save her ... AND sexual attraction wasn't the motivation for the male characters to help them out. Hooray! Progression.
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Lead Cast: Chris Pine Zachary Quinto