Star Trek is something that didn’t appear to need rebooting. The show debuted in 1966 and over the next 40 odd years, we’ve had 79 episodes of William Shatner, several TV spin-off series (The Next Generation and Voyager etc) and ten movies featuring a myriad of Starfleet employees. This franchise had ‘tired formula’ written all over it.
Enter Lost creator JJ Abrams, whose movie credits, Mission Impossible III and Cloverfield, have not matched his TV credentials, that is until now. What Abrams has done with Star Trek is not simply take old characters and give them a new sheen; he has reinvented the whole dynamic of the USS Enterprise, pretty much all for the good.
Chris Pine as Captain James Tiberius Kirk is more like Harrison Ford’s Han Solo than Shatner’s space commander. Hitherto, known mainly for appearing in dull romantic comedies with Anne Hathaway and Lindsay Lohan, Pine is a major revelation as the rebellious youth who struggles to live with the fact that his space-hopping father was killed by Romulan villain Nero (a tattooed Eric Bana) when saving the lives of his crew at the moment of Kirk’s birth.
His life as an outcast in Iowa is paralleled with the emotional struggles faced by human-Vulcan hybrid Spock. In this pointed-ear role, Heroes star Zachary Quinto is uncannily reminiscent of Leonard Nimoy, which makes sense when the latter turns up to turn this adrenaline packed adventure on its head, as Abrams manages a quirk in the space-time continuum to make this both sequel and prequel, while most importantly ensuring that Star Trek will be this summer’s The Dark Knight.
General release from Fri 8 May.