That was awesome. And not quite what I expected, which was even more awesome.
See, I expected a straight-up prequel: the story of how all the old familiar characters met, their first adventure together, that sort of thing. But without going into spoilery details, the story we got is not the one that will lead to the events of the original series. I kept waiting for the reset button to be pressed, for the writers to pull a time-travel eraser whatsit out of their asses and make everyone live logically every after, but they never did.
And that was a brilliant move. The problem with prequels is that you know how the story’s going to end. But here? This story is something totally new. If there are any sequels to this, writers will be free to go wherever the hell they want. Will there be any? I have no idea. The word “reboot” has been bandied about on the intenetz, though I’m not sure how I feel about that. Part of me still feels the franchise has exhausted itself. But damned if this movie didn’t make me fall in love with Trek again, if only for one night.
Judged as a standalone movie, Star Trek delivered on all counts: stunning visuals and FX (thank gawd they didn’t try to duplicate 1960’s future tech!), great action, and very nice character development. The focus was on Kirk and Spock, but everybody else got a chance to shine: Sulu the swordsman and rookie pilot, Chekov the enthusiastic math geek, Uhura the laser-sharp linguist, Scotty the genius tinkerer, McCoy the no-nonsense doctor—in an eerily dead-on performance by Karl Urban, last seen by me riding on the plains of Rohan with flowing blond locks. DeForest Kelley should have lived to see this.
It wasn’t perfect—there were a few silly plot holes, and some of the interpersonal drama came out of nowhere—but it came pretty damn close. This is Trek for the 21st century, fresh and fun, both shinier and grittier, mindful of its heritage but not bound by it, boldly going where no Trek has gone before.