Sunday, May 10

Movie review: "Star Trek"

The reboot of "Star Trek" tries to blend the origins format of "Batman Begins" with an action-minded storyline that recalls "The Wrath of Khan." It largely succeeds.

Director J.J. Abrams has brought in part of his "Lost" team to resurrect the franchise, which was all but dead after too many TV spinoffs and humdrum movies. Abrams also enlists an array of no-name actors to play James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and other beloved characters from the original TV series.

Most of these actors are ideal for their roles. Zachary Quinto as the conflicted Spock is especially well cast, as is the comely Zoe Saldana as Uhura. On the other hand, Karl Urban plays Dr. McCoy as a shrill caricature that would be more suitable for an "SNL" sketch.

The "Star Trek" story concerns a renegade Romulan named Nero who's driven by a need for vengeance. Unlike the villain in "Khan," Nero has it out for Spock, not Kirk. And if a few million people and entire planets die along the way, so it goes.

Nero's rampage is the catalyst through which the young Kirk and Spock convene on the USS Enterprise. Their respective back stories are compelling, so much so that the audience may find themselves wanting a bit more of how these people came to be who they are.

As he has with "Lost," Abrams plays with the boundaries of time itself in "Star Trek." This conceit allows Abrams and his team to rewrite the lore of the original series. The surprising results (a shipboard romance comes to mind) will irritate some fans. But this is exactly what "Star Trek" needs to do to matter again.

Yes, Abrams recognizes "Trek" history by including Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, in a prominet role. Yet Nimoy remains the lone link between this film and the 1960s series and the movies it spawned. "Star Trek" is therefore a true reboot, and it will be interesting to see where Abrams take the series where no "Trek" has gone before.


UPDATE: Nimoy talks about the new movie and more in this interview.

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