Star Trek Review

Even with those thick, glossy atmosphere choices, the work of J.J. Abrams on Star Trek is far better than first expected. Having no love for the series that spawned it all certainly helps when engaging with what is, essentially, a remastering of the characters and varied stories at the heart of this installation. A reference here or there will go over the heads of newly approached novices to the Star Trek universe, but as long as the bulk of it is understandable, the threats obvious and the chemistry between the ensemble successful, then Star Trek will have no trouble appealing to a new generation. A desire to engage with that is quite difficult, but easily optimised by smart writing that rattles through the quick and successful portions of the Gene Roddenberry show.

Parallels of literal life and death are granted to the opening of Star Trek with Chris Hemsworth making a brief cameo to provide some emotional buoyancy. Musical cues and car chases chosen not because they give the story ground to work with but because Abrams thinks it might be a cool sight gag or give him something interesting to add to his portfolio. What Abrams does get right though is his characters. They may stutter in the early moments, but the introduction of fan favourites like Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) is well handled. Old hands are passing the torch, with Leonard Nimoy showing up to reprise an aged role as well as one extra to go alongside it. They are performances that get to grips with the good-natured ideas that fuel these characters and their relationships with one another, Abrams manages that surprisingly well.

Lens flares and glossy surroundings do little to perk up the rather bland surroundings, but even with that, Star Trek does look quite good at times. It relies heavily on the costumes that bulk it up. Brilliant as they are, they complement the action rather well. Distinguishable, bright colours explode on the screen as John Cho and Chris Pine crack heads on top of a sky drill. These are decent moments that can highlight the building blocks of a universe hoping for a follow-up adaptation, but not everything falls into place so smoothly. There is a real ease of access to Abrams’ work here that acknowledges the simplicity of it all, and that aides Star Trek on tremendously.

Star Trek and its grand cast make use of the strong set designs and the explosive science fiction that guides it so well, but never push for more than that. There are emotive bits and pieces with an incapable desire to showcase more than what they are worth. It is filled with flatlining jargon about shuttles and spacecraft, none of it making a lick of difference to the world around these characters and the failure to build it up as something impressive or engaging. The millions that already found their love for Star Trek will already be deep in the heart of darkness, freewheeling out of control as they take in the lens flares and emotive music that lets you know it’s time to be sad or distressed. It is simple, but not as bad as it could have been.

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