By Sandra Kraisirideja
Everything old is new again. At least that’s how “Star Trek” feels under the helm of J.J. Abrams and writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Abrams made it known from the beginning that he was not familiar with the many iterations of Star Trek from TV and the big screen. This ended up being a benefit, not a handicap because it turned out the writers, Orci and Kurtzman, were huge fans. It’s the blending of their script with Abrams’ vision that makes “Star Trek” such a wonderfully entertaining movie.
Star Trek fans will be delighted by the special effects, the set design and the gloriously sweeping vistas of the U.S.S. Enterprise the first time its seen on screen. There’s a sense the franchise is finally getting the Cadillac treatment.
Studios who are interested in re-booting their old franchises should take note. There is nothing wrong with hiring a director outside of the genre, but the screenwriters should be steeped in the culture and history of the franchise to balance out the new vision the director may have.
For the franchise’s rebirth, the script by Orci and Kurtzman explores the early days of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew, before they were on the ship and the situations that led them to Starfleet. At the heart of the movie is the friendship between Kirk and Spock, which was not always as strong as it became in later year. The villain this go around is a Romulan captain played by Eric Bana. This being an Abrams’ project there is an element of time travel that plays into the storyline, but I’m not going to get into that here.
The heart of the characters and universe that Gene Roddenberry created with the original TV series could be felt all throughout Abrams’ “Star Trek,” but the visual style, editing, pacing, music and special effects were 21st century all the way.
In addition to creating a more modern visual style for “Star Trek” Abrams also chose a terrific cast to fill the shoes of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).
The “Star Trek” cast blends together perfectly and their harmony comes across on screen. Everyone looks like they had a blast making this picture and were thrilled to be a part of it. They don’t miss a beat and Abrams’ chose the absolute best actors for the roles. Some have physical resemblances, such as Quinto, while others (Urban and Pegg) deliver characterizations that are reminiscent of the previous actors without devolving into parodies.
With a franchise it’s better to cast roles based on talent and it doesn’t hurt if the actors are relatively unknown. This gives the audience a chance to know them without any expectations of how their performance is going to be. It’s likely Paramount will make more “Star Trek” movies and with any luck Abrams’, the writers and the original cast will return for more.