Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 19
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE: The newly launched starship “Enterprise” is shown in all of its glory. The famous starship is fortunate to have the heroic crew that is led by, among others, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pines), science officer Spock (Zachary Quinto), engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), navigator Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and helmsman Sulu (John Cho).

Star Trek: Flagging Science Fiction Series Resuscitated by Exciting Prequel

Kam Williams

Quite frankly, it felt like the end of the line for the Star Trek series in 2002 when Nemesis, the tenth film in the series, was so disappointing. After all, as any Trekkie would tell you, up until then the even-numbered releases were always superior to the odd-numbered movies.

So, it is easy to understand why loyal fans have been holding their breaths in anticipation of the release of the eleventh Star Trek film. Fortunately, this production resuscitates the series and it just might be the best one yet.

Brilliantly conceived by director J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible 3) as an origins prequel, the movie is a blend of the nostalgic old and the new. Baby Boomers will appreciate the intricate back story that introduces the central characters from the original television series, including Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and, of course, Captain James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine).

It is delightful to learn the origins of each of the crew member’s trademark tics, gestures, and idiosyncrasies, especially since so much tension is subsequently generated by the contrasting personas of the mercurial Kirk and the always logical Spock. However, the younger generation will undoubtedly find the scintillating action sequences riveting, most of which involve Kirk and his crew engaged in an epic intergalactic battle against the tattooed alien Romulans.

The story opens in the year 2387 which is when James’s father (Chris Hemsworth) dies a heroic death shortly before his son is born when the spaceship he is commanding is destroyed by Nero (Eric Bana), the leader of the Romulans. Twenty years later we learn that Kirk has grown up to become a rudderless rebel who is more interested in booze, women, and fast cars than in following in his father’s footsteps.

However, following a fight in a bar with some cadets who are enrolled at the nearby Starfleet Academy, he is challenged by one of his late father’s admirers, Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), to make something of his life. That is when Kirk’s metamorphosis starts. He decides to enroll in the Starfleet Academy and while he is there he meets and befriends Spock and the other classmates who, after graduation, become his crew on the maiden voyage of the Starship Enterprise.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action, violence, and brief sexuality. Running time: 126 minutes. Studio: Paramount Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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