Star Trek - DVD Review

'Abrams has ticked all the studio's boxes in adjusting and adhering to the Star Trek mythos in equal measure to ensure it appeals to old fans and The Next Generation (ahem) alike'

It feels like J.J. Abrams has been around for ages. He really hasn't. If you take IMDB at its word, his debut as a director was in 1999 on a series called Felicity which he co-created with collaborator Matt Reeves. If this was your first experience of Abrams then you obviously missed his outing as a composer on a 1982 film called Nightbeast (not what you think) and are probably all the better for that experience. Ignoring that little oddity and the slightly less odd but not particularly well rated Felicity, Abrams really shot to fame with both Alias and, more significantly, Lost. Perhaps it's because it feels like Lost has been around since 1975 that it seems like Abrams has been here a while and it's easy to forget that Star Trek is only his second outing as a feature film director.

And, as a second outing, this new re-boot of the ageing franchise is perfectly passable. It is perhaps a slight backwards step from Mission: Impossible III which marked Abrams out as a master of 'fun' but in general Abrams has ticked all the studio's boxes in adjusting and adhering to the Star Trek mythos in equal measure to ensure it appeals to old fans and The Next Generation (ahem) alike.

The leads of Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Chris Pine (Kirk) do fine jobs although it is interesting to note that the plot (Kirk must escape Spock's shadow before he can become captain of The Enterprise) is mirrored all the way through by the duos performances. Too often it felt like Pine was playing second billing to Quinto and, even in the final scenes, it still felt like he had the upper hand. I'm not sure why that is but I didn't really get the feeling come the credits that Pine had done enough to justify calling him the 'star' of the film.

Elsewhere there are other problems with other characters. I wasn't a fan of Zoe Saldana in Vantage Point (although to be fair, that film was woeful and her role small) and here she just isn't given anything to work with. Uhura is basically there to be fought over and there seemed to be a definitive pointlessness in making her Spock's love interest, again an area where Kirk never comes close to matching the pointy eared one. Simon Pegg's role amounts to a near cameo as a comedy sidekick and, whilst I laughed, I never actually saw him fitting in on a starship. The most wasted of the central characters is McCoy (Karl Urban) who is pitched far too close to the original Bones meaning Urban comes off as some sort of second rate impressionist which past outings prove he really isn't.

Despite these occasional miss-steps, the film is still fun in a none-threatening PG way and there are laughs and thrills to be had as the predictable narrative rattles along at warp speed (ooh, cliche ahoy Jim!). It's not a must see and it's not as good as all the fanboys want it to be (what the hell is it doing at number 134 on IMDB's top 250 by the way?) but it is solid entertainment that's child friendly, just in time for Christmas.


  1. Just watched this for the first time since seeing it at the cinema. It's amazing what the cinematic experience (even at a tiny, nowhere-near-state-of-the-art Apollo) can do for films like this. Back then, I would have confidently given this four stars. Watching again on my laptop a few years later, and the flaws - mostly the ones you identified above - are much more noticeable. Entertaining certainly with some solid performances and pleasing nods to the original series, but suffers too much from "origin story" syndrome and on a few occasions it believes it's far cleverer than it actually is. On a separate note, it's weird seeing Thor as Kirk's dad now that Hemsworth is a much bigger name than in 2009.

    1. It's probably gone up a little in my estimation since 2009 but I still don't think it and its sequel are any more than solid 3* action films. Entertaining, but loads of problems and Pegg's Scotty gets more annoying the more I see of him. By definition of its form, it can't capture the world-hopping structure that made the series great.