When Paramount announced that J.J. Abrams and Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman would tackle Star Trek, few fans doubted that the creator of Lost would deliver, but even the most optimistic fan could be forgiven for not expecting it to be this good! We'll get straight to the point: this is the best Enterprise adventure since Wrath Of Khan - and plenty would argue that it's even better. So, what's so good about the latest adventure? Let us boldly tell you...
Influenced by Spock's appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generations: Season 5's "Unification" and Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1's "Balance Of Terror", where Kirk becomes the first human to encounter a Romulan, Abrams' movie is deeply rooted in the lore of the series, but some bold decisions reinvigorate the franchise. A sort of re-boot, re-imagining and prequel all in one, this origins story toys with the space-time continuum, effectively creating a parallel universe in which the characters can exist as new versions of their former incarnations, freeing the story from the constraints of past movies and TV shows.
Depicting the characters in their formative years, the cast of relative newcomers are a resounding success. Playing Kirk like a cross between William Shatner's original, Tom Cruise's Maverick and Harrison Ford's Han Solo, Chris Pine (Smokin' Aces) is charming and hilarious, but he's always building to become the iconic hero. Heroes star Zachary Quinto successfully channels Leonard Nimoy (who also appears) as Spock, exploring the character's dual heritage. Meanwhile, Zoe Saldana captures the strength and sexuality of Nichelle Nichols' original Uhura, easily capable of holding her own against the egos onboard the Enterprise. Her romantic leanings might surprise a few old Trek fans, too. Elsewhere Karl Urban brilliantly plays "Bones", Simon Pegg amuses as Scottie, Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation) adds humour as Chekov, John Cho appears as Sulu; and that's not forgetting Eric Bana (Black Hawk Down) as Romulan baddie Nero.
The actors are fantastic, but it's Abrams' handling of the spectacle that made this movie the highest grossing Star Trek. Never before have we seen such intense action and such gripping set pieces; the opening is one of the most immediate, impacting scenes in a blockbuster for many years. Overall, fans will love the references and creative decisions, whilst newcomers will enjoy the intense, action-packed spectacle and accessibility of a world that might have previously seemed inaccessible, such is the depth and scale of the Star Trek legacy. Did we mention two sequels are on the way? Wish we could warp speed!