For late comers the series begins here...
As the story unfolds we are introduced to characters we thought we knew, for the 1st time, as they are introduced to each other, and yet they retain much about them that is cherished, and familiar.
As the story unfolds we encounter characters, and situations, that are homages to the trek Tv shows of the past: Spocks parents, Captain Pike, and Orion Woman, the Kobayashi Maru, a reminder of a beloved patron of the bar on DS9, Jimmy Doohan's son in the Engine Room, and probably more I couldn't spot, or just didn't notice, in all the excitement (Anyone actually spot the Tribble they say was in the film?)
Forget everyhting you thought your knew about the characters, main ones, or minor as, right off the bat, the rules have been changed, and not everything will come to pass as we remember it because our beloved characters will not entirely become their once, and future, selves (Yes, yes, I know, Janice Rand was absent, and Nurse Christine Chapel is only referenced by someone calling out for her in the midst of events in Sick Bay, but while I'd like to see a new Rand, maybe a new Chapel might not be such a good idea under the new romantice circumstances, if ya get my drift, hee, hee!).
We are thrown straight into the crucible right off the bat, no loving ship caress by camera, no camping trip, or wedding ceremony among friends, but mystery, menace, bloodshed, sacrifice, and birth...
in other words, the stuff from which legends are made.
We are introduced to a Classic Series Star Trek crew, and ship, familiar, yet different, if only because the colorful uniforms are made of a better quality material, and the ship has only 1 nacel.
In a series of defining backround set pieces we are introduced to Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Pike, Bones, and Spocks parents.
It's good to see that Iowa still has wide-open spaces centuries from now, hee, hee!
The bar scenes are iconic in not just how they help define the personality of the rebelious young kirk, but for its tribute to the character of Morn, from DS9.
I hadn't stop smiling since the 1st Kirk moment of the film, but this sequence made me laugh in joyful recognition. ;-D
While the Uhura we meet here begins the fleshing out, and redefining, of her character, it is in Pike where we truly begin to grasp the change that is to come.
No wheelchair, no longtime captaincy of the Enterprise, or longtime relationship with Spock, this is a bold new take on a character we knew little about before.
Meanwhile, on Vulcan, we witness every average American school kids worst nightmare of a classroom environment, and a young Spock trying to come to grips with his dual DNA.
The questions he asks, the attitudes of his peers, and elders, his relationship with his parents, and the choice he makes, are a fine introduction to his character.
A lot has been debated, in some quarters, about the ship under construction that Kirk sees when he makes his decision to enlist...
I believe that it is not the Enterprise, but just a foreshadowing of what could be in this young mans future.
The McCoy intro was the 2nd time I laughed in joyful recognition, it was so dead on perfect. ;-D
The San Francisco, and Star Fleet Academy we glimpse are familiar, yet different from what little we saw before, and in these scenes Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and McCoy are fleshed out in various degrees of detail as we are introduced to Kirk the, um, cocky lothario, Kirk the rebel who doesn't believe in No Win Scenarios, a growing Kirk/McCoy friendship, and a Spock who, while no longer a decade or more older than Kirk, is still olders, out of the Academy, and now higher ranking than Kirk.
When Kiril told Pike he intended to to get thru the Academy in 3 years. I don't think the events that soon ensue were what he had in mind by way of accomplishing this feat but, be that as it may, off we go into the wild blue, um, I mean into the deep, dark, vastness of Federation Space, to save Vulcans ass...
Well, at least that was the plan, anyway! ;-D
As the Enterprise prepares for action we witness a surprising relationship begin to reveal itself, and the 1st of a series of comic set pieces, from 1 that gets Kirk aboard ship, and to the bridge, to ones that serve to nicely introduce us to Chekov, and Sulu, in familiar ways that make us laugh in recognition.
There are 3 nice touches to Chekov that deserve mention:
He's younger than the original, and this youthfulness is a nice homage to a certain teen whiz from Next Generation, and the actor who plays him is actually Russian, a point that makes his take on the outragous Ruskie Accent even more enjoyable.
What follows next are a breathtaking series of action set pieces as, the Enterprise crew, armed with the knowledge Kirk, and Uhura provide, find themselves surrounded by one Huge-assed ship, with a crew of seriously pissed off Romulans, who are out to make Vulcan go BOOM!
Photon Torpedoes go off, ultimatums are tossed out, decisions are made, a certain romantic relationship is further clarified, to the surprised chagrin of a certain Iowa farm boy, and a Red Shirt is chosen to, um, join Kirk and Sulu on a secret mission...lucky bastard, um, hee, hee! ;-D
You know, of course, that it was right, and proper, the Red Shirt carried the explosives, right? ;-D
How else were we going to be treated to a Star Wars Tribute of a battle, complete with fist fights, and a, um, light saber duel, on a platform miles above a planet?
I don't know about you, but I was on the edge of my seat, from landing to beam up, even though I knew Kirk, and Sulu would succeed.
But, of course, it is never that simple.
If it was the movie would have been over.
As our boys are kicking butt Pike is of involuntary assistance to nero thanks to a critter fans will remember from Wrath of Khan.
Nero is finding that it's extremely easy to encounter all the Spocks he could ever want, and punish them, to boot.
In the first case, as we learn later, revenge truly IS a dish served cold, and in the 2nd, we will quickly discover that revenge can also be a blast.
Vulcan, the planet, is doomed, but Vulcan, the culture, is not, as Spock, and his Father suffer a loss even greater than the loss of their Homeworld, and a recently promoted Kirk pisses off Spock just enough to get himself kicked off the ship, as Acting Capt. Spock makes a choice.
What happens next is one, well, OK, 2 of those deliciously happy coincidences that make magic so, well, magic. ;-D
What exactly are the freakin' odds, pray tell, of kirk being left on the exact same planet as the Spock that Nero marrooned, and that the both of them would discover that Scotty was holding down the fort, more or less, at the nearby Federation Outpost?
I know, I know, both Spocks could tell me, right down to the last decimal point. ;-D
Christ, I hate math! ;-D
With the, um, assistance of a couple of over eager planetary natives Kirk finds his way to a startling encounter with the Leonard Nimoy Spock, and some revelations about just what the hell is going on.
Of course, meeting up with Scotty fortuitously provides a way off the planet, a way to install him as an engineer on the Enterprise, and some nice comedy.
Back on the Enterprise Kirk pisses off Spock so much he relinquishes his command, Kirk hops into the center seat, and the crew gallops off to take on Nero, rescue Pike, and save the galaxy, in some smashing battle set pieces.
Along the way Kirk, and Spock learn to work together, and we end up sort of respecting Nero for his ultimate choice, after he, and his crew, get their asses kicked.
Back on Earth, the United Federation of Planets safe, and sound, the 2 Spocks wiggle their fingers at each other, and tie up some loose ends, the cheater is forgiven, and rewarded for all his subsequent heroism, as a wheelchair bound Pike watches approvingly, with the captaincy of the Enterprise, Spock becomes his First Officer, and they all settle in to boldly go where no-one has gone before.
As the familiar voice over, and musical themes take us through the closing credits this fans emotions can finally be restrained no longer, and the tears come, unashamed, and he can barely speak to the man named Mike, whome he sat next to, about the film.
All I could say was...beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! ;-D
To be continued, with my thoughts on the cast, and technical aspects...