What does it take to attract a non-Star Trek fan to watch a Star Trek movie? This must have been the foremost question on director J.J Abram’s mind as he crafted the eleventh installment of the biggest sci-fi franchise in modern cinematic history. He need not have thought very hard, because he’s no Trekker himself. Hitting the nail on the head by introducing a lot more action and a whole less talking, he gives the beloved series a makeover deserving of an entire generation of new fans while rekindling the craze among its legion of followers.
The plot is somewhat simplistic — all the better for newbies to catch on. It charts the start of James T. Kirk’s journey from a free-spirited bar-brawler to captain of the U.S.S Enterprise, and also delves into why Spock has always been just Mr. Spock, despite his unsurpassable intellect and wisdom. Both leaders in their own way, they must find a way to work together aboard the Enterprise to quell the vengeful threats of the Romulan villain, Nero. In between, there are some bits about parallel universes and time-travelling which we admittedly don’t really get, though.
Helming the lead is a fresh-faced Chris Pine, who easily channels that rebellious-yet-prodigious streak a la Harry Potter into his Captain Kirk role. A supporting cast of Karl Urban, Zoe Saldaña, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin and John Cho do a good job of reliving the key characters, aided by some slinkier, souped-up uniforms. But while Spock is likewise nicely reintroduced by Zachary Quinto, we still have trouble getting Sylar, his psychotic super-villain character in the TV series Heroes out of our minds every time he comes onscreen. Watch out also for a still cute-looking Winona Ryder making an appearance.
In the midst of inter-galactic shootouts and multiple Armageddons, humor abounds in the form of running gags and wisecracks. Also, there’s never a still moment — even if you walk into the show without knowing what the term ‘Vulcan’ means, you will be kept on the edge of your seat. The visual effects are stupendous, as befitting a movie set in an era of hoverbikes and warp propulsions. Who would thought Star Trek could be so much fun?