Star Trek (2009)

Rating: B+

Dir: J.J.Abrams
Star: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood

Yes, as a convincing reboot of the franchise, this will do very nicely, doing an excellent job of respecting the original characters, while giving the new actors a chance to bring something fresh to the younger versions [with somewhat varying success, it must be said]. The bulk of the film takes place just as the batch of cadets are about to graduate from Starfleet Academy – a distress signal from Vulcan means they are pressed into action on the Enterprise under Captain Pike (Greenwood). However, when he is taken hostage by renegade Romulan Nero (Bana), a man bent on revenge for perceived crimes not yet committed, it’s Spock (Quinto), not Kirk (Pine) who takes over.

That clash of personalities which leads to Kirk being tossed off the ship and onto a near-deserted planet. However, what he find there sheds new light on Nero’s plans, and gives Kirk additional incentive to get back on to the Enterprise. The key thing here is that this works as a straight science-fiction film: even if you didn’t have any knowledge of the Trek universe at all [almost impossible, I imagine], this would still be thoroughly enjoyable, and is certainly a film whose sweeping spacescapes are cinematic enough to make this worth the trek to the theatre: the budget is up on the screen, certainly. There are enough nods to the original to make for a seamless transition, yet the new cast go at it with gusto, not least Simon Pegg as Scotty.

There is a touching and well-worked supporting performance from one of the original cast [look, I’m trying to avoid spoilers, even though odds are you know who it is already], and the script does a great job of capturing the same blend of drama, humour, humanity and general optimism that characterized the best of the previous versions. If perhaps a little too derivative of Khan, overall, it’s more successful than the initial reboots of Bond or Batman: I’m already looking forward to the next one.