The fun frontier

Chris Kallio

‘Star Trek’ still fun, strong

“Batman” (on screen at least) has been in existence for 20 years. “Star Wars” has lasted for more than 30 years. Only the James Bond series is older than “Star Trek.” But while Batman and Bond have little difficulty finding relevance in today’s world, how can “Star Trek,” a franchise that has nearly crippled several times, keep going as well? Director J.J. Abrams and crew prove how in “Star Trek,” which will be hitting theaters tomorrow.

Real quick:

STAR TREK

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto,

Simon Pegg, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy

Directed by

J.J. Abrams

Distributed by

Paramount Pictures

Rated PG-13

Runtime 126 mins.

Stater rating (out of five): ★★★☆☆

Abrams was reunited with his “Mission: Impossible III” writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, as well as his collaborator from “Lost,” producer Damon Lindelof. Abrams and his crew pay homage to the mythology of “Star Trek.”

The film begins as a group of Romulans travel from the future to destroy planets for revenge, just as the young crew from the original series is beginning its journey. After an exciting prologue, the story centers on a young Iowan named James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and a young Vulcan named Spock (Zachary Quinto).

What is particularly interesting about this film is the concentration on Kirk and Spock, inarguably the two most iconic characters of the franchise yet ones who never met the proper exploration of their ethos on screen. While Kirk had always been portrayed as arrogant, the story didn’t dwell on it. The idea of Spock being a character of conflict was, to my knowledge, largely ignored.

Kirk is certainly a child, the complete opposite of Spock, and Pine exceeds at demonstrating that. Pine is as funny as William Shatner, and Quinto is as stoic as Leonard Nimoy; they both do an effective job at not only matching the chemistry of the original two but also at providing a new angle to the famous friendship.

And while most of the other cast members do not succeed in mimicking the charisma and chemistry of the original cast, they still suffice. It is a unique cast that includes Karl Urban as Bones, Simon Pegg as Scotty and John Cho as Sulu. Eric Bana, in one of his most interesting roles yet, is quite enjoyable as the volatile and revenge-seeking Romulan leader Nero, but I wish he would have provided more than a few angry stares, villainous smirks and wooden lines.

There is a cameo by Winona Ryder, and of course, the big one, Leonard Nimoy, reprising his role as (the elder) Spock in several scenes. One can sense the magnitude of having Nimoy there, as if he is an ambassador to link the franchise of old with a newer, younger audience.

“Star Trek” may not be as unforgettable as other Trek films, but it is certainly fun. There are enough inside jokes to make the average Trekkie salivate, and the audience member, Trekkie or not, will enjoy the film.

Contact all correspondent Chris Kallio at [email protected]