My original review of the new Star Trek, director J. J. Abrams' seemingly ill-advised attempt to relaunch a franchise that has become an integral part of world culture, consisted of only two words. Those words were "hell" and "yeah." Some people might question the validity of a review that simply said, "hell yeah," but that was the first coherent thought running through my head after the initial punch-you-in-the-face-to get-your-adrenaline-pumping opening sequence of Star Trek. Hell yeah.
As more than a casual fan of Star Trek, I was one of those who regarded this new film with dreaded cynicism. As far as I was concerned, there was no reason for a franchise relaunch with all new actors playing characters I had come to know and love over the last four decades. And I was equally pissed off that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Captain Benjamin Sisko hadn't been tapped for his own feature film. Granted, I wasn't like some fans, who bitched, whined and moaned about how this new film would be terrible, filling the Internet with inane babble that spoke of social retardation. No, I just kept it all to myself, expecting the worst, and hoping for something better than the last three Star Wars movies.
Others have already posted their feelings about the new Star Trek, with more opinions to come over the days, weeks and years ahead. First will be the initial gut reactions people have, followed by the obligatory follow-up reconsiderations, where people either grudgingly admit the film isn't that bad, or that it is worse than they thought, and finally there will be the thoughts that come years from now, as more sequels follow, and this new film is judged as part of a much larger universe. And to be perfectly frank, other than my initial thought of "hell yeah," I didn't really want to write about this film. As a critic, sometimes you just want to enjoy a movie, without having to convey to others what works and what doesn't work. Star Trek was that type of film for me. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. And explaining why I liked it so much would be either preaching to a choir that does not need my voice, or arguing to those still enraged that William Shatner is not in this movie.
So, why am I writing this review? Well, for one thing, this isn't much of a review. I haven't gone into any sort of specifics about the plot, and I don't plan to in the words that follow. I also haven't gotten into what makes this movie great. Trust me when I say that the more I think about Star Trek, the more I like it, and I could easily write a 5000 word essay on what makes this movie "hell yeah" awesome. But that would just end up being another long-winded review, and there are enough of those out there. Let's just say that Star Trek manages to take the mythology of the original series, the animated show, and the films starring the original cast, and distill it into an entertaining movie that pays respect to everything that came before it, while at the same time having the assured audacity to be its own movie. Abrams film reinvents the adventures of the starship Enterprise and its intrepid crew in much the same way Casino Royal reinvented the adventures of James Bond.
Having grown up watching Star Trek, and having bitterly argued over how and why Star Trek is better than Star Wars, and having sat for countless hours and debated everything from who was the best Starfleet Captain, to which episodes of which series were the best, I can say that I had low expectations for this new movie. In fact, I was looking forward to writing a scathing reviewing of everything this movie did wrong. But as near as I can tell from my first initial viewing, it hasn't done anything wrong. Star Trek is an action packed film that delivers characters who are well developed into a setting that is both familiar and different from what fans have come to know and expect. It is a film that succeeds at being highly entertaining, delivering everything you could want or expect from a Star Trek movie, while at the same delivering surprises you would have never imagined. Hell yeah.
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]