Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
At the movies now includes reviews of Warner Bros DVDs that are yet to be released.
Director J.J. Abrams, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 126 Minutes
In what has been billed as one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, audiences will be thrilled to see J.J. Abrams’ refreshing direction of Star Trek, one of the great franchises in movie and television history.
In his brilliant re-creation, Abrams has provided a fascinating chronicle of the early years of the two major characters, James Kirk and Spock.
The movie opens with an exhilarating battle scene between the Federation’s starship the USS Kelvin (featuring Kirk’s father) and a Romulan vessel under the command of Nero (Eric Banner, Romulus, My Father).
During the battle Kirk’s father is killed while his baby son is born on an escaping spacecraft.
At the same time, there is a brief introduction to Spock’s early childhood on the planet Vulcan, where he is tormented by his peers because his father Sarek (Ben Cross) married a human, Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder).
On reaching adulthood, Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) meets the vivacious Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) in a bar where Pike convinces Kirk to enlist in Starfleet Academy and follow in his father's footsteps.
Realising that he is half human and half Vulcan, Spock (Zachary Quinto from the TV series Heroes) also decides to join Starfleet Academy, where his initial encounter with Kirk is quite frosty.
It is not too long before Kirk, Spock, McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura, Sulu (John Cho), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) – the major crew members of the franchise – are all together on the USS Enterprise heading into space to stop Nero’s annihilation of Vulcan and Earth.
The opening sequence to Abrams’ Star Trek provides an insatiable taste of what is to come – action, drama, and solid performances – with the audience gradually introduced to each of the main characters.
But it is Simon Pegg as Scotty, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and Zoe Saldana as Uhura who provide stand-out performances among a group of talented actors.
Abrams has successfully relaunched Star Trek into the 21st century, with his cleverly crafted script and visual extravaganza.
The film moves along at an agreeable pace, never slow enough to be tedious, nor too frenetic, providing cutting edge special effects that complemented the storyline and characters and didn’t take over.
In a way to bridge the franchise from the original series to the new movie version, Abrams has included Leonard Nimoy's Spock to play a pivotal role in his movie – including the musical score from the original TV series at the closing credits.
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and feel good adventure movie that should appeal to a wide audience including die hard Trekkies and those new to the Star Trek franchise.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps