The most impressive aspect of Star Trek is how the writers managed to make a prequel interesting and entertaining.
Prequels are often devoid of suspense because you know that if the characters appear in movies that occur later chronologically, nothing bad can really happen to them. This doesn’t make for a very exciting film, no matter how action packed it may be (see: Wolverine).
Star Trek, however, solves that problem quite nicely by being very up front about it: This movie represents the beginning of an alternate reality. This means anybody is liable to die and the movie doesn’t have to hold true to already established canon. While this might bother some die-hard Trekkies, I’m here to tell you that it makes for a great experience.
Besides offering the obvious upgrade in special effects from previous Star Trek movies, this film reacquaints the audience with their old friends from the original series (Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest). All the actors do an excellent job evoking ghostly memories of the actors that played the roles before them, capturing the mannerisms that make the character familiar while adding a fresh new twist.
Chris Pine plays the character of James T. Kirk, a refreshing change from William Shatner playing William Shatner (although enjoyable, one can have too much William Shatner). Zoe Saldana makes Uhura into more than someone who repeats what the computer has to say. It borders on blasphemy to say this as a “Star Trek” fan, but Simon Pegg’s rendition of Scotty is a vast improvement over the already skilled portrayal by James Doohan.
Star Trek succeeds in making a movie appealing both to longtime fans of the series as well as lay-audiences. The pacing is very well managed throughout the film, with each plot point being relatively well addressed and each character getting just the right amount of face time.
Any UC Davis student that enjoys action or movies (or mixing the two!) will enjoy Star Trek. It’s fun for most families as well, with a PG-13 rating for sci-fi violence and brief sexual content.
RICHARD PROCTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.