Saturday, November 28, 2009

Star Trek successfully fuses new with old (Review)

The new J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek is geared directly at guys like me. There was a time when I watched some of The Next Generation, but it was a mild interest that proved short lived. That, and a few Deep Space Nine episodes, is all I know of the Star Trek franchise that I’ve seen with my own eyes. When I hear the words Star Trek, I think about William Shatner’s stunted delivery despite the fact I probably have never actually seen him in the role of Captain Kirk.

So, Star Trek remains, for me, one of those pop culture acquaintances known primarily from second-hand sources, and apparently that’s whom Abrams was hoping to target with his new flick. He succeeds at reaching a new audience, though not on a large scale.

Sometimes it works — the younger Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is a nicely realized arrogant and cocky hero. Sometimes it doesn’t — the scene with Kirk’s ballooning hand is jarringly broad. More often than not, the movie does its job serviceably if not all that memorably.

In shifting the characters to a younger core age, Abrams allows for a clean entrance point for newcomers. He manages to also retain the franchise’s continuity by incorporating time travel, which surely satisfies the hardcore fan base. It’s a tough balancing act, but Abrams seems to have pulled it off. His Star Trek comes with a sense of history on top of being built with Star Wars-type action scenes and Indiana Jones-type fun for a mainstream audience.

Star Trek is a decent sci-fi action romp, and coming from a non-fan, I’d say that’s a job well done.