| Note: Two Movie Reviews submitted below for "Star Trek" by Keith Cohen and Jolene Mendez.
3 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"
Successful television producer, writer and director J.J. Abrams ("Alias" and "Lost") and his Bad Robot company have revitalized a dominant franchise with roots that date back to the 1966 television series created by Gene Rodenberry.
Abrams, along with screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the duo behind "Transformers," "Mission: Impossible III" and "The Legend of Zorro"), sets a new course with this reboot designed for the 21st century. This prequel has an unmistakable gravitational pull that will bring together the faithful fans from the past and a whole new generation of adventure-seeking space travelers with boundless imaginations.
A cast of young, relatively unknown actors takes on legendary roles aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, the most advanced starship ever created.
The ability to take liberties and rewrite history comes from a revenge motive of a villain from the future who is able to go back in time through a black hole.
The movie opens with a chaotic situation that leads to the birth of James T. Kirk. His pregnant mother is evacuated to a shuttle craft by her husband, George, who is briefly in command of a Federation space ship. A bizarre Romulan mining ship emerges from an electrical storm and attacks the U.S.S. Kelvin. This whole setup is a sleight of hand designed to disorient the audience with more tricks up the sleeves of the filmmakers to follow.
The movie then takes us to Iowa and Vulcan to observe Kirk and Spock in their youth. Kirk is portrayed as a hell-raising juvenile delinquent and a playboy brawler guided by his natural instincts. His headstrong spontaneity is fortunately channeled in the right direction when an officer who served with his father recruits him. Spock is a genius whose logical decision-making is not clouded by emotions. He is the subject of taunts and insults because his father married an Earthling while serving as an ambassador.
The paths of Kirk (Chris Pine from "Just My Luck" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement") and Spock (Zachary Quinto from "Heroes") cross when they both end up at Starfleet Academy.
Before becoming life-long friends, Kirk and Spock are initially portrayed as rivals with a bitter animosity toward one another after Kirk cheats death in a simulation exercise devised by Spock.
We are also introduced to beautiful linguist Uhura (Zoe Saldana from "Vantage Point," "Guess Who" and "Drumline") and medical doctor Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban from "Comanche Moon" and "The Lord of the Rings").
The movie progresses three years later to the maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise. A distress call from Vulcan sends Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood from "Thirteen Days" and "Double Jeopardy") and his crew of recently graduated cadets into orbit. Their adversary is the ferocious, tattooed Romulan miner Nero (Eric Bana from "The Other Boleyn Girl," "Munich" and "Troy").
An act of mutiny on the bridge by Kirk forces Spock to banish him from the ship. Kirk ends up marooned on an icy planet, where he learns that the deranged Nero blames the Federation for the destruction 129 years in the future of his home planet.
This 11th and most expensive film in the franchise has a magnetism that pulls you into its orbit. There is a palpable feeling of nostalgia and jaw-dropping awe that envelops the audience. The fast-paced, non-stop action and CGI special effects bear a close resemblance to the "Star Wars" series.
This highly entertaining movie excels in developing the main characters and getting the familiar members of the crew together. The only Achilles heel is that it tries to juggle too many balls in the air at the same time. This leaves the explanation of the time travel from the future to the past and the whole revenge motive a bit confusing, sketchy and messy.
The actors perform admirably while being subjected to comparisons with the original cast from the television series. All the familiar lingo, mythology and folklore will trigger fond memories among devoted Trekkies.
The cinematography, production design and costumes score high marks. Composer Michael Giacchino elevates the tension and suspense with a compelling original musical score. The familiar theme song by Alexander Courage plays over the end credits after Nimoy narrates the famous opening monologue about space being the final frontier.
This high-spirited and energetic science-fiction adventure plants the seed for future installments. The unpredictability of this alternate reality gives future screenwriters a free hand to go where no one has gone before.
The IMAX version is available exclusively in Johnson County at AMC Studio 30.
4 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Jolene Mendez
"Star Trek” follows the early days of James T Kirk (Chris Pine). A rebel who lost his father at birth and seems determined to ruin his own life. After a chance encounter with Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), he realizes his life is going nowhere. The Captain challenges Kirk to try to live to the standards his father did, who sacrificed himself to save thousands of lives. Apparently this challenge works and Kirk joins a group of fellow Starfleet cadets. Kirk obviously is a force to be reckoned with and when his antics in training are questioned he faces a suspension.
The greatest adventure of all time begins and Kirk being suspended or not, will be joining the other cadets on a young crew’s maiden voyage aboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. A journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. The revenge from the evil being is from the Romulans, who seek vengeance from Spock (Zachary Quinto), one of the most promising members of the crew and a torn individual. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals Kirk, a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy, and Spock, who was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before!
“Star Trek” offered incredible dialogue, action, thrills and enjoyable tales anyone could enjoy. I was very concerned at first that viewing this film I would be lost, but was pleasantly surprised as it was easy to follow and I was not confused by any part of it. Chris Pine portrayed James Kirk flawlessly and offered a certain charm on-screen. Zachary Quinto had a spectacular performance as the detached Spock. J.J. Abrams proves his masterpiece can translate into great work on the big screen. “Star Trek” was a fun filled adventure that all viewers will enjoy. Trekkies will be pleased with this film, and non-Trekkies will find it just as enjoyable.