“As Captain of this ship, I order you to remove your dress…slowly.”
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Karl Urban
Directed by J.J. Abrams
They said it couldn’t be done—breathing new life into the venerable sci-fi warhorse known as Star Trek, that is. After killing off Spock and killing off Kirk and partying with whales and meeting God and giving Sulu his own ship and letting Christian Slater and Kirstie Alley and Kim Cattrall and Murdock from “The A-Team” join the Federation, the franchise had been utterly exhausted. What could Star Trek possibly bring us now to top any or all of that?
How about a big, fat, Louie Anderson-sized pile of sex? That’s just what “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams serves up in his subtlety-free Star Trek prequel—homeboy gives the crew of the USS Enterprise a hot beef injection, transforming them from aging space adventurers into chiseled, bad-ass hunks. The 2009 Kirk and Spock still engage in philosophical and tactical debates, but they also brawl like shoot wrestlers and get fine-ass chicks like nobody’s business. Sulu’s a damn action hero in this one, laying the smack down on Romulans like his name was Jack Burton! Not your father’s Star Trek indeed.
The story? Rebel without a cause James T. Kirk (Chris Pine, who makes Shatner his bitch with this performance) is a shiftless Iowa barfly until a Starfleet Captain gets up in his Kool-Aid and challenges him to join the Federation. Kirk says, “Sure, what the hell?” There he encounters and gets to know ornery doctor Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban, whose lips are fascinating), simmering cauldron of hotness Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and conflicted Vulcan half-breed Spock (Zachary Quinto). This rag tag team of cadets is forced to come together and overcome intergalactic adversity when Romulan asshole Nero (an awesome Eric Bana) unknowingly travels through time and starts stirring up some serious shit near Spock’s home planet.
It would have been easy to let this Star Trek fall into hammy, overwrought autopilot, but it stays on course, remaining taught and exciting the whole way through. The actors all do a great job making you believe in and root for their famous characters without leaning too hard on the caricatures global audiences of Trek have come to expect. The movie is paced excellently, too, not blowing its entire load too soon (they wait until the movie’s practically over before introducing one of the Enterprise’s most beloved crew members; by the time he popped up, I had almost forgotten he existed).
If there’s anything to complain about in Star Trek, it’s either A) the distracting luminescence of Leonard Nimoy’s dentures (yes, Spock Prime is ALL up in this shit), B) the generic look of the computer generated snow beasts that attack Kirk while he’s on the surface of this one planet, or C) this little cutesy alien humanoid on that snow planet who serves no real purpose outside being vaguely adorable and providing some weak comic relief. Hollywood has apparently learned nothing from Jar Jar Binks.
If I wanted to be real nit-picky, I could be all, “Psssh, the guy playing Chekov looked like an extra from K-19: The Widowmaker,” but I honestly don’t care what Chekov looks like so long as he’s Russian and not really respected (check both boxes in this instance). Oh, and there’s this one part with a modern rock song early on that will probably kill the raging semis of a few of you Tribble-fuckers out there, but if you think about the artist in question and some of their lyrics / videos over the years, you’ll get why they were included in Star Trek Reboot 2009: Let’s Make America Hard Again.
Nothin’ else to say except prepare for Warp Five levels of awesome, set phasers for rawk, and beam yourself to the nearest multiplex immediately! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN (has nothing to do with this movie)!!!!!!!!!!!!
FINAL SCORE: Four Giant Earpieces Jutting Out Of Uhura’s Head (out of four).