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Star Trek (2009)

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and a whole lot of other talented people.

Rated: 12A. There isn't much tension and there are only a few 'scary' bits, so children who are a little younger could probably cope. Everything moves so fast, though, they'll spend the whole time asking you what's going on.

Story: Someone remembers that, once upon a time, Star Trek was fresh and exciting. They try to recapture that by going back to the original crew and adding lots of special effects, action, humour, slick editing and energy.

Everyone else remembers the Star Wars prequels and the new Indiana Jones and feels slightly nervous...

Comments: I used to enjoy Star Trek. I remember avidly watching re-runs of the original series as a kid and then again as a teenager. Some of the films were great. The announcement of The Next Generation was big news.

When TNG arrived, however, it all felt rather bland. I never liked any of the characters much and the Enterprise always looked as if it had been recently hoovered. The spin-offs weren't anywhere near as interesting as Babylon 5 and the movies became less essential with every passing Roman numeral. The franchise slowly sank to a point where I didn't care anymore.

The announcement of a new film set in the early days of Kirk and Spock only managed to raise a small sigh of despair. There were so many ways the project could go wrong, it wasn't even worth thinking about...

Bearing all this in mind, quite how the movie turned out to be so unbelievably fantastic is something of a mystery. I suspect Voodoo.

From the opening moments, everything thunders along with pace and spectacle. Somehow the movie manages to trade on every fond memory of the Kirk era while wiping away recollections of countless tiresome TNG 'human interest' episodes. It's a cracking sci-fi adventure full of recognisable characters that are at once comfortably familiar and pleasantly unpredictable.

The casting is a work of genius. All the main characters are portrayed in a manner that's true to the original but the prequel setting means their roles and relationships aren't fully formed, allowing plenty of room for development. Zachary Quinto is superb as Spock and Chris Pine captures the cavalier attitude of Kirk in the days before he needed a corset.

There are plenty of references to the original TV series but a deep knowledge of Trek lore isn't required to appreciate them (although anyone who has never heard of Captain Kirk before might struggle to keep up in places). The only real issue with the film is the slightly ropey plot which almost falls apart two-thirds of the way through thanks to ten minutes which combine stupendous coincidence, dodgy physics and the magical use of a transporter, stretching plausibility further than even the lightning pace can entirely paper over.

Then again, maybe that's just another homage to the source material...

If you've ever enjoyed Star Trek, go and see this.

Conclusion: I didn't actually applaud when the film ended but if someone else had started, I'd have totally joined in...

Explosions: Lots.
Nostalgia: Plenty.
Memorable moments and lines: Loads.
Dubious Scottish accents: None. (Surprisingly.)
People who won't like this movie: Big fans of Patrick Stewart, dubious beards, Holodecks and freshly vacuumed carpet.

Rating: 5/5.


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