As you probably know, this film is the big-screen ‘reboot’ of the long-running series (though it’s possible to interpret it as an altered history thing, given the time-travel elements). It’s been getting very positive reviews, and there are all manner of background stories etc to be found elsewhere, so I won’t get into that sort of stuff here, I’ll just try to stick to giving you a mini-review.
Put simply, it’s a lot of fun, and I recommend it highly. I have mixed feelings about the Trek franchise, liking some bits, being left cold by others, and often being frightened by the passion of its fans, but this film has a decent story, solid acting, impressive special effects, and a good balance of action scenes and character interaction. I reckon you could see it with someone who’d never seen an episode or film or even heard the names of the characters before, and they’d still have fun.
For my money, the most impressive thing the film does – and I wouldn’t like to guess whether this was a conscious move away from the recent, less-successful films, but it would make sense if it was – is to invest enough time and effort into making the viewer give a damn about what’s happening, as opposed to leaning on the fact that these are well-known characters and therefore you’re supposed to have some pre-existing affection for them. As a result, when characters are in peril, it’s dramatic within the context of the film, and not because you’re expected to care because, hey, these are iconiccharacters.
So, a definite thumbs-up from me, and I’ve often been lukewarm about Trek.
You’ll no doubt have noticed that the picture accompanying this review isn’t of the film poster or the cast or whatever, but I wanted to draw a smidgin of attention to the fact that the current US Edition of Wired magazine is guest-edited by JJ Abrams, the director of the film. As well as having a number of interesting articles about mysteries and magic and the like, there’s a comic strip that leads into the film, drawn by well-respected comic artist Paul Pope, and written by the film’s screenwriters, which is worth a look as it provides a nice little bit of background. As I say, this is the USA edition (though the UK edition’s worth checking out as well), is labelled as such with a shiny gold sticker, and can be found on the shelves of slightly-larger newsagents.