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Star Trek

Three and a half stars
Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Peter Travers Jun 21, 2009

Summer officially hits warp speed with Star Trek, a burst of pure filmmaking exhilaration that manages to pay homage to the classic 1960s TV series and still boldly go where no man, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy included, has gone before. I couldn’t be more surprised. After six TV series and 10 movies (1982’s The Wrath of Khan being the only standout), the franchise has been milked so hard, it’s a wonder the udders haven’t dried up and disintegrated. So how does this newbie break the jinx? By plugging in livewire JJ Abrams, a director of style and substance (M:i:III, Lost), who fuels this origin story with killer action, bracing wit and a sense of true discovery.

All the actors come up aces. Chris Pine radiates star quality as Kirk, the bad boy who morphs into captain material without curbing his swagger or his yen for zaftig green babes from Orion (take that, 007!). And major props to Zachary Quinto as Spock for never letting the pointy ears act for him. His sharp, intuitive performance as the logic-led Vulcan fighting the emotions instilled by his human mother (Winona Ryder, my God!) gives the film a soul. The scene-stealer award is a tie between Simon Pegg, flat-out hilarious as the engineer Scotty, and Eric Bana, who makes Nero, the Romulan villain, one hell of a twisted dudester. As for the appearance of original Spock Nimoy ”“ just sit back and behold.

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Abrams has banished irony and easy cynicism from his Star Trek universe. And I will banish spoilers from this review. The script is by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (they did Transformers, which this jury will disregard),
and damned if I know what they’re talking about. It might as well be Duplicity in Space when they drag in time travel. Know what? Don’t care. Star Trek creates an alternate universe you want to get lost in. What more can you ask of a summer movie?

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