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Star Trek
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Leonard Nimoy, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison, Tyler Perry, Faran Tahir, Winona Ryder and Majel Roddenberry as the voice of the Enterprise computer
Director: J. J. Abrams
Scriptwriters: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci based on “Star Trek” created by Gene Roddenberry
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Daniel Mindell
Rating: PG 13 for violence and sexual scenes
Running Length: 126 minutes
I will never look at the state of Iowa the same. Instead of driving across it and seeing nothing but corn fields and horizon, I’m going to see the enormous outline of a shipbuilding yard with the word “Enterprise” somewhere in the haze. Yes, Iowa has a new franchise and so do Star Trek fans. Director J. J. Abrams has pulled together a group of young actors---and one senior actor---for the next step in the “Star Trek” realm. We have an introduction to James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), and a bit of history for the rest of the Star Fleet cadets who will be end up being his crew. Each hero needs a villain and we meet a menacing, soft-spoken Captain Nero (Eric Bana), who helms a space ship that looks like it came from the Watchmen set, spikes and all. 
The film begins with Captain George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) meeting the villain, Nero, who is a rebel Romulan. Nero’s ship is monstrous in size with Kirk’s ship like a flea next to it. Kirk sacrifices himself and the ship to save his crew and passengers that include his wife (Jennifer Morrison) about to give birth to their son. This is  my only bone of contention to have James T. Kirk being born in the throes of battle. That scene was a script unto itself.
Fast forward to Kirk’s teen years where he takes his uncle’s prize car out for a thrill ride and you can guess the results. Fast forward more and Kirk is persuaded to enter Starfleet Academy by Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Here, the story shifts to the early life of Spock and the teasing he encounters from being half human. You won’t recognize his mother, Amanda Grayson, it’s Winona Ryder. Fast forward, and soon Spock is at Starfleet, too, and dislikes Kirk for his brash behavior. Each thinks the other is arrogant, but the one thing they both admire---one from afar and one close-up---is Uhura (Zoe Saldana), also a cadet and specializing in languages. Here is a new twist and a likable one, too. 
Gradually, the other members of Kirk’s future crew are introduced from the sword-fighting Sulu (John Cho) to “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) to the 17-year-old Russian cadet Chekov (Anton Yelchin who almost steals his scenes) and finally, the engineer, Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), the humorous one of the group. Now, all the players are on board and the adventure begins. Nero is still out there as a planet-killing villain, the senior Mr. Spock meets Kirk on a snow-covered planet (shades of the television show when Spock was really stranded there), Captain Pike goes missing and the Enterprise is a chariot ready to prowl the heavens. NC-1701 at your service, everyone.
Chris Pine is a good choice for James T. Kirk. How daring of him to take the role and fear the wrath of devoted fans. Somehow, I don’t think they will be disappointed and the soundtrack will stand by itself, too. There are enough narrow escapes for Kirk to parallel the television series and the rest of the crew come up with answers to questions at a regular rate, so that they form a formidable team. That is what makes this film---team work between writers, directors and stars (not to mention editing, music and special effects, of course.) Here is a “Star Trek” to whet your appetite for more. The Vulcan Learning Pods, where students have individual places to learn and learn again is a novel idea. On deck with a streamlined captain’s chair, and just try to keep Kirk out of it. 
The one thing I appreciated in this Star Trek film is that you can understand everyone. Elocution is apparent even with the joke about Chekov’s Russian accent and the computer not being able to understand him. You can, and that is the main point. James T. Kirk may have swollen lips from another beating, but he gets those words across, and by the way, Chris Pine gets pummeled regularly here, and still shows comedic timing in his scenes with the wry Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy. “Bones” smuggling Kirk onboard a ship is masterful as is Spock going back to his planet when a cataclysmic event is occurring. We don't have to be beamed aboard the Enterprise, we are already there.
Copyright 2009 Marie Asner

Let me start by saying that I am the farthest thing from a Trekkie. I could not tell you the difference between a Vulcan a Klingon or a Romulan. I know my Wookies and my Jedi’s but clueless on this side of the galaxy. So going into the new Star Trek epic I was standing on the hopes of director J.J. Abrams above anything else. If anyone could make Kirk and crew cool in my eyes it would be him. William Shatner had always been to me like the Roger Moore of the spy films. Sort of greasy and pompous and not someone I could like. Growing up I could not change the channel fast enough when I heard that annoying Star Trek opening theme. My reason for saying all of this is to let you know that my review is simply from a film standpoint and not as a Star Trek groupie. Is that clear? OK. Then just let me say this film was freaking amazing!
This edition chronicles the life of Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) from when he was simply a farm boy from Iowa and his journey to the helm of the Starship Enterprise. And not simply Kirk but also the entire crew is introduced as we watch the events that led them to becoming the most famous team in Sci-Fi TV history. Spock (Zachary Quinto) as the young genius Vulcan struggling with his human emotion. Plus Uhura, Sulu, and 'Bones' McCoy as academy cadets all trying to find their place in the final frontier. It is funny that even though I never watched the show, these names where still familiar to me. Granted not with the same impact as the lifelong fans but still enough that it was entertaining to be introduced. This crew of cadets led by Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) go out on what they think is a routine saving mission but find themselves head to head with a ticked off Romulan. As they put their training into action they establish the roles we find them in for future generations. 
This film does everything correct for the genre. I seriously can find no flaw with it. From the casting to the pacing to the humor to the out of this world look and effects. It is exactly what a summer blockbuster and a Sci-Fi adventure should be. It meant very little that I was not a series fan. From the opening scene I was locked in and hooked. They waste little time setting up the story and the two hours fly by. Pine plays a perfect bad boy Kirk. He has enough of the attitude to offset the seriousness of Spock. That dynamic made for solid characters and lots of fun animosity. I found myself with a whole new respect for James T. The action is spot on and gone is the normal cheesy space elements that often plague a film like this. In its place is fast, in your face action that catapults you into a riveting ride. There is a lot of humor in this as well. Not slapstick by any means but well developed humanistic humor that makes the characters live and breath with personality.
Star Trek is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content. It is totally safe for those 10 and up and a great ride for all generations. Hearing the cheers and applause through out the film from the diehard Trek fans I can assume that this pays homage respectfully. As each character makes their appearance it was to whoops and yells from the audience. Part of me wishes I had know a little more about the main players as many times I felt left out of some of the excitement. But that did not hinder me from loving every minute. I very rarely give out perfect scores for films unless they meet the entire criteria for the genre and what the audience goes in to see. Star Trek does just that. Therefore I unashamedly give it 5 out of 5 of those things that beam people up. Whatever they are. This is a fantastic way to get into the summer film mindset. As a Sci-Fi action film it boldly goes where most films only attempt. So may the force be with you! Or Na-nu Na-nu! or Live Long and Prosper. Whatever, just go see it. You will not regret it.
Matt Mungle ( (5/05/09)
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Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.



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