From Days Of Long Ago...

Okay, before you go kill me with a phaser, I have a confession to make: my knowledge of Star Trek is about little to none at all. I wasn't even planning on watching it in the cinemas. Heck, I didn't even bother to watch all the online trailers. Perhaps, the reason behind it is my lack of interest for anything sci-fi. While I was curious about other life forms beyond our galaxy, I never fulfilled that wonder zealously. Which would probably lead you folks to ask me this question: why chose this rebooted version to be my baptism of fire?

Well, why not? I could cite many factors that piqued my interest. However, I'm zeroing in on no one else but J.J. Abrams.

I've been a fan of J.J. Abrams since Felicity. I make sure I give my due diligence by checking out his creations, small or big screen. The most recent of which is Fringe. While I admit to missing out on some of his works like Cloverfield, I felt the need to support him in his latest feature film endeavor like what I did for Mission: Impossible III, especially after reading the speculations and fears of hardcore fans on his vision. After seeing it twice on IMAX, first with the press and second with friends, I can say with great certainty that movie goers -- Star Trek fans or not -- will enjoy this delight of a film.

In true J.J. Abrams' fashion, the opening credits came several minutes after showing scenes that help build toward some crucial plot points in the movie (i.e. a Romulan spaceship appearing from a black hole, the birth of the future Captain James T. Kirk). Despite my limited knowledge of the Star Trek universe, I somehow knew by the scenes that this wasn't just a plain homage. It is indeed a reboot. And a gratifying one indeed. That particular brand of storytelling was apparent until the very end, all without disappointing the hardcore fans who happily cheered as much as I did. Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman, along with J.J., deserve several high fives for this. The script was fresh and fantastic, that even incorporating famous lines such as "I'm a doctor, not a physicist!" didn't feel contrived or self-serving.

Along with the story and direction, I am very pleased with the actors selected to bring the beloved characters to life. Despite the pressures imposed upon them, I felt that the actors translated that energy into riveting performances worthy of their own merits. Chris Pine as Kirk was engaging, cocky yet cool, and tough as nails without being burly. Zachary Quinto fits Spock to a tee, with his eerie but gripping portrayal and sharp delivery of those lengthy, jargon-ridden lines. I'm quite sure that he has definitely lived up to Mr. Nimoy's expectations. Zoe Saldana's Uhura was strong yet feminine, sexy and smart without being over the top. Karl Urban's somewhat harried McCoy is a treat to watch, as were John Cho's deadpan but wry Sulu and Anton Yelchin's enthusiastic Chekov. Bruce Greenwood's Captain Pike and Eric Bana's Nero were formidable, their screen presence commanding. Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime is enigmatic and unquestionable. However, the one actor that gets my two-thumbs up is Simon Pegg. I may be a bit biased here but casting him as Scotty is genius to the nth degree. That line -- "Can I get a towel?" -- never fails to crack me up. Aside from that, a major delight for me was recognizing some cast members as J.J. Abrams' regular crop of actors -- those who've appeared in at least one of his productions -- like Amanda Foreman, Rachel Nichols, Faran Tahir, Oz Perkins, to name a few. For a moment, I thought that I wouldn't feel Greg Grunberg's presence. While all I got is his voice, he could give John Forsythe a run for his money. And that made it all well in the Abramsverse.

While the story, the direction and the acting ensemble carry a good amount of weight to ensure a film's success, the undeniably talented and hardworking crew contributed a lot to making Star Trek into the multi-sensory experience that it is. Most notable for me is Michael Giacchino who set the tone of the movie with his powerful yet elegant score. Other production elements -- Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, Set Decoration, Special and Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Mixing -- made final product into a well-polished diamond, which I feel made it tricky for nitpickers to spot any goofs or continuity errors. I couldn't spot or find anything odd after seeing it twice on an 80-foot screen. Even if I plan to see it for a third time soon, I doubt I'd find something wrong about this movie.

By now, it'll be quite obvious to say that I was won over. However, does this mean I'll be a Trekkie? Perhaps but not immediately. Not anytime soon, to be honest, given the intimidating volume of material surrounding the Star Trek universe which is about four decades worth. Nonetheless, considering a $72.5M opening weekend and a sequel already in the works, I will definitely return to the cinemas a few years from now to satisfy that newfound franchise fan in me. Every Trekkie starts somewhere. Baby Vulcan steps are all I can muster. For now. =)

The verdict: Warp 4.5

Star Trek is now showing in Philippine cinemas. Special thanks to New Worlds Alliance and to Solar-UIP for the Press Screening invitation!


    I like the review you did. It is refreshing to read a review that didn't come from a trekkie. It gave you a chance to provide insights that would otherwise be absent to the usual reviewers. I think being a non-trekkie actually worked to your advantage. And being JJ Abrams' fan did too.

    two thumbs up on the review from a videophile like me.


    @Dementia On The Road:

    Thanks a lot! I'm glad you liked the review. XD


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