The timeless appeal of ‘Star Trek’

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By Stephanie Holland

By Stephanie Holland

In pop culture there are very few franchises that spark the emotional response of “Star Trek.” Whether it’s devotion or revulsion, the response is always strong.

Director J.J. Abrams experienced this when he announced he was rebooting the franchise. Fans were outraged, even though “Trek” had lost some luster due to recent flops, the original series is still considered sacred ground to many die hard “trekkies.”

Well everyone can rest easy because not only has Abrams created a wonderful love letter for longtime fans, he has given the world a new “Star Trek” that has made it relevant again.

The film begins with James T. Kirk being born in the middle of a space battle where his father sacrifices himself to save the crew. This act of heroism has turned a grown up Kirk into the rebellious, rule breaker who will later become the heroic, risk-taking Kirk everyone is acquainted with.

The movie centers around crazed Romulan Nero’s (Eric Bana) quest for revenge for the future destruction of his planet Romulus. During his mission, Nero is sucked back through time creating an alternate timeline where he commits horrific atrocities that change the world of “Trek” as we know it.

Standing in his way are familiar heroes Spock, expertly played by “Heroes'” Zachary Quinto, and Kirk, portrayed by relative newcomer Chris Pine.

The relationship between Kirk and Spock can be viewed as two sides of the same coin, where if they learned to communicate with and understand one another, they will become the team they are destined to be.

On one side, Quinto brilliantly captures the controlled and logical Vulcan side of Spock, while never letting the audience forget about the volcanic human emotions that lay just beneath the surface.

Pine provides the flip side of that coin, portraying Kirk as a man whose emotions constantly get in the way of his potential and genius. He also does an excellent job of giving the audience the Captain Kirk playboy swagger without falling into the trap of doing a William Shatner impression.

While Kirk and Spock have always been the focus, one of the draws of “Star Trek” is the chemistry among the supporting cast.

With a lineup of some of Hollywood’s hottest young actors, the cast encompasses that chemistry perfectly.

Karl Urban is a delight as Dr. McCoy. He keeps “Bones” folksy charm and gruff exterior while providing insight into the long friendship between Kirk and McCoy.

Zoe Saldana packages brains and beauty to give the viewer a feistier Uhura, tailor made for the 23rd century. John Cho and Anton Yelchin are fantastic as Sulu and Chekov, often providing comic relief during tense moments.

Perhaps the most perfect casting is that of Simon Pegg as Scotty. Though he’s only on-screen for a short time, he makes the most of it, packing non-stop laughs into every scene he’s in.

As a treat to serious fans, Leonard Nimoy also appears as Spock. He is the film’s compass, he keeps it from straying too far off target and makes the time travel plot points seem perfectly logical.

Abrams doesn’t just rely on his outstanding cast to make the film great, he also packs it full of fantastic action and comedy that balances with the heart-breaking moments to create a full and complete movie that leaves the audience 100 percent satisfied. In fact, the film is so well balanced that “Trek” aficionados and new fans alike will be able to appreciate the masterpiece that Abrams has given them.

Nowadays it has become commonplace to update classics with no regard for the feelings of longtime fans. The new “Star Trek” is the rare update that not only respects its core audience, but offers them some new surprises that they didn’t even know they asked for.

It has been said that every generation is given the “Star Trek” they need at the time that they need it.

This “Star Trek” full of its themes of service, sacrifice and triumph over adversity will not only speak to this generation, but, to future generations who will find its themes timeless.

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