Simon Pegg’s Scotty says it best: “I like this ship!  It’s exciting!”  That’s because behind director J.J. Abrams, writers Roberto Orci and Alex
Kurtzman, and a massive budget, “Star Trek” goes places no Trek has gone before.  This is a 126-minute sci-fi extravaganza with
superlative visual effects, furious action sequences, and a great sense of humor.

Best of all, however, is that despite all this reboot alters and improves; it remains faithful to the spirit of the original.  “Star Trek” is a
character piece through and through, and these icons are given the best treatment that a fan could possibly imagine.

The early portions of the film focus on Kirk and Spock’s childhood, and work wonderfully to set up these characters.  Plus, there is just
something brilliant about cutting back and forth between the planet Vulcan (for the conflicted Spock) and some corn fields in Iowa (for the
rebellious Kirk).

Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock are brilliantly cast.  Both give fantastic performances that are familiar enough without ever
becoming impersonations of their predecessors.

Pine in particular gets to have a lot of fun with the cocky and brash Kirk.  He carries the film so well that one doesn’t have to use too much
imagination to see him as a very formidable star and leading man in the making.

The supporting cast is also excellent, with Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana, Bruce Greenwood, and the aforementioned Pegg each hitting all the
right notes.

It’s an absolute joy to see each member of the crew come together and interact.  Writers Orci and Kurtzman obviously love these
characters and have a lot of fun here.

With great action, visuals, acting and dialog, the only thing that truly holds “Star Trek” back is its plot.  The film is very much about its
characters, and therefore the story feels almost like the background here.

The villain (a fairly underwhelming Eric Bana) is a Romulan from the future.  He is out for revenge against the Federation.  This cleverly
allows the writers to basically disregard whatever they want because the movie exists in an alternate reality from the original series.  It also
gives them a way to bring back Leonard Nimoy as Spock…from the future.  Nimoy shows up in the middle of the film to deliver a lengthy
exposition on why and how all this is happening.  Luckily, he’s given some very nice moments later on to justify his presence as more than a
token cameo.

The plot certainly isn’t bad, but one can certainly imagine that now free from the ‘reboot’ status, the writers can truly move forward and
come up with a more developed thread for the sequel.

And despite this, the film is far too much fun for it to really hold it down.

The film also receives a wonderfully bombastic score from Michael Giacchino and truly phenomenal sound design to go along with the
excellent visuals.

Well, excellent with the exception of Abrams’ and cinematographer Daniel Mindel’s ridiculous overuse of lens flares throughout the entire
film.

Nevertheless, “Star Trek” is a triumph.  Like “Batman Begins” and “Casino Royale” before it, “Star Trek” manages to bring exciting new life
to a dormant franchise, while still honoring what made it truly great in the first place.  “Star Trek” has character, humor, intelligence and
thrills.  It’s a true joy to watch, and whether you are a Trekkie or not, it’s one hell of a great ride.

* * * 1/2
(out of four)
STAR TREK
Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Written by: Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy,
Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana

Cinematography by: Dan Mindel

Music by: Michael Giacchino

Released: May 8, 2009; 127 Minutes