Page last updated at 08:51 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 09:51 UK

Star Trek's stellar return

by Kev Geoghegan
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho and Zoe Saldana in Star Trek
The film shows the young crew on the verge of graduation from the Starfleet Academy

Hollywood loves remakes or re-versions or reboots or, God forbid, re-imaginings. Whatever you want to call this new trend, a slate of them are in the pipeline including Footloose, Robocop and Total Recall.

But if anyone could have a decent crack at resurrecting Star Trek - one of television and cinema's longest running franchises - it could be worse than self-confessed fan, Lost creator JJ Abrams.

But does he manage it?

Well, the answer is a pretty simple one. Yes. Star Trek is a decent film that does exactly what it says on the tin. It's big, flashy and action packed with impressive special effects. Kids will enjoy it and the snappy dialogue provides enough laughs for mum and dad.

Buddy movie

The James Tiberius Kirk that the audience is introduced to, long before he's been given the captaincy of the fabled USS Enterprise, spends his evenings drinking and brawling in bars.

A chance meeting with an officer sends him on his way to Starfleet Academy.

On the other side of the galaxy, a young Spock is taunted by his Vulcan classmates for his half-human blood. He turns down an offer of a life spent in science and research to become a cadet himself.

And so, Star Trek becomes a kind of buddy movie as it deals with Kirk and Spock's fledgling relationship.

The relative newcomer Chris Pine is well cast as the young Kirk. He's good looking and carries just the right amount of arrogance and humour to make him a sympathetic lead.

Zacharo Quinto in Star Trek
Zachary Quinto, who plays Mr Spock, has a few disagreements with Kirk

Heroes villain Zachary Quinto is the young Spock. Physically, he's just about as close to Leonard Nimoy as you could want. He spends much of the film torn between his bubbling human emotions and his logical Vulcan side.

Of course, we already know that he and Kirk are destined to become best mates but watching their bumpy course to friendship is entertaining.

As for the story, there is also the small matter of a renegade Romulan general called Nero, hell-bent on destroying every planet in the federation, starting with Earth.

It's up to Kirk and Spock and their hastily assembled crew to try and stop the crazed Nero, played by a menacing Eric Bana, and save billions of lives.

Young cast

As familiar as most of us have become with the characters, it's good fun to watch the young cast coming together.

Star Trek comes to London

Harold and Kumar star John Cho plays the young Mr Sulu, and he manages to show off his impressive sword-fighting skills, even if his first attempt to fly the Enterprise is a humorous failure. The intergalactic equivalent of stalling the car.

Anton Yelchin, from the US drama Huff, takes on the role of Pavel Chekov. Interestingly, the young actor - who was raised in the US but born in St Petersburg to Russian parents - managed to raise some giggles with his thick Russian accent.

New Zealand actor Karl Urban doesn't have much to do with the ship's bad tempered medic Dr "Bones" McCoy but shares some funny scenes with Kirk. Likewise, the role of Uhura is a little underwritten.

And Simon Pegg's role of the ship's engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott is proof enough that the British actor's star is on the rise in the US.

His Scottish accent occasionally veers uncomfortably towards Brigadoon but he's always funny and likeable enough to be forgiven a few stumbles.

William Shatner, DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy in the original series
Leonard Nimoy (right) makes a cameo appearance as the older Mr Spock

Support to the young cast is provided by Bruce Greenwood, Ben Cross, and a hopelessly miscast Winona Ryder.

And for the original Trekkies out there, Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance as an ageing Spock - and plays a fairly pivotal role in the film.

There are even a few space monsters thrown in for good measure. And it all sets itself up nicely for the, already planned, sequel.

With largely positive reviews so far, the new remade, reversioned, rebooted Star Trek will boldly go for at least a couple more adventures.

Star Trek opens across the UK on 8 May.



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