Review: Star Trek XI
In his 2009 film, JJ Abrams boldly goes where many directors have goes before: the prequel. With sword fights, orbital skydiving, and epic space battles, Star Trek XI is full of action, but lacks the spirit that Gene Roddenberry imbued in his original series. In fact, with all CGI aliens and Scott’s ‘pet’ Yoda look-a-like, you might think that Abrams would rather have been directing Star Wars . The director himself admitted that he ‘was not a Star Trek fan’, so it is clear the only thing he was interested in was how much profit the film made at the Box Office (£47.94 million in the first weekend).
Just like the infamous Khan (Ricardo Montalban) from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan , Star Trek XI’ s villain, Nero - who looks more like a 25th century tattooed chav than a militaristic Romulan - is also out for revenge. Despite seeing his home world torn apart by a black hole, Nero (Eric Bana) blames the destruction of Romulus on the legendary Vulcan, Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who was unable to save the planet in time. He travels back in time, not to save Romulus, but to destroy Vulcan, Spock’s home world, instead. (If you ask me, he needs to take some lessons in logic from his Vulcan cousins). Nero’s journey to the past alters the future and creates an alternate timeline – which conveniently allows Abrams to ignore any of the franchise’s previous cannon – that threatens the entire Federation. The galaxy’s survival now rests solely on the starship Enterprise and its crew of hormonal cadets.
By sneakily setting the film in an alternate timeline, Abrams was able to re-imagine the the very notion of what Star Trek is about, but still keep the original legacy intact. No longer just for science geeks, Abrams has opened Star Trek up to a whole new generation of fans, with first-rate visual effects, and a heartthrob cast to attract any girl who has ever dreamt of sexy teenage vampires.
At first there was outrage at the prospect of a James T. Kirk without William Shatner, but Chris Pine flourished in the role of the flirtatious, yet honourable rule breaker. Zachery Quinto also nailed young Spock’s ‘fascinating’ mannerisms to a tee, from hand gestures to a raised eyebrow.
For old time fans, the lack of a Trek ‘ethos’ is disappointing; the film relies too heavily on explosions, lens flares, and fast paced action, leaving the plot sadly lacking. After Kirk is blasted into exile on the ice wasteland of Delta Vega, he meets a future Spock, who performs a mind meld. In an unsatisfactory montage, Nimoy gives a voice-over, revealing Kirk’s destiny to Captain the USS Enterprise, and how Nero’s yearning for revenge has screwed everything up. Skimpy exposition makes for a confusing plot, and a story without heart. By making it accessible to a wide audience, Abrams gave Star Trek a new lease of life, but by turning it into a mindless action film, it has lost all the soul that Gene Roddenberry so lovingly created for it almost forty-five years ago.
- JJ Abrams: 'I never got Star Trek' | Film | The Guardian
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