Just to be clear, I am not a big Star Trek fan. The last time I saw an episode was more than a year ago, and that was only because my parents thought that watching the Deep Space Nine spinoff together would become a family tradition or something. (Judging by the fact that we never bothered watching any more of the show together again, I guess they were wrong.)
To be honest, the only reason I bothered to watch this movie was because it was my dad’s Friday Movie Night pick, so maybe I’m not able to give as informed of an opinion about it as I would be if I was more into the series. Indeed, it seems to be the most controversial among diehard Trek nerds, who furiously typed in Internet comment sections everywhere (particularly this one) how “disturbing” it was that director J.J. Abrams was only a casual fan, even going so far asto accuse him of turning the series into a Star Warsclone. Ironically enough, one of the main things I was planning to say here was how much Abrams cared about Trek since he took the time to develop its heroes, but looking back at it now, I’m actually more inclined to agree with them.
True to its title, Star Trek is an adaptation—or rather, an origin story—of the original series of the same name, not any of the subsequent Next Enterprises or Voyagers. We follow the main characters of that series, Spock and Kirk, through their respective childhoods before they finally meet on the Enterprise (the ship used in the original series, for those non-Trekkies among you), initially clash (Spock randomly dumping Kirk on a frozen planet where he nearly gets killed by grotesque, giant monsters not once, but twice,is just laughable), and finally bond.
If all of this sounds very formulaic and unsurprising, that’s because it kind of is. There isn’t really much plot to speak of beyond what I just said above, and the villain is nothing more than a one-dimensional stereotype that shows up and acts threatening when the script requires him to. In fact, Kirk and Spock are the only two characters that are given any real development at all; most everybody else is either a prop or a plot device.
Even so, I hesitate to give the film a negative rating just because of how much fun it is to watch. The action is really fast-paced and enjoyable, while the cinematography and special effects are just as aesthetically pleasing as you would expect them to be for $150 million. A shame, then, that from a plot or character standpoint, I see no reason to ever see it again.