"The future begins."
For you Lost fans out there, J.J. Abrams is starting to take his influence outside of television and impressing us with his elaborate plot themes and clever story-telling in a storied franchise that to this point had gotten quite stale. Abrams' reinvention of the Star Trek franchise is both bold and compelling. I finally got the chance to see this movie over weeks of procrastination, but low and behold, it was a great investment of time and money.
The only true disappointment related to this film is the fact that it was originally promised for a Christmas 2008 release. In retrospect, a release date during the holidays of 2008 would have had more of an impact in terms of ticket sales and merchandising, not to mention not having to compete with the abundance of summer blockbusters that captivate the younger viewers. Having to make fans wait an extra five months or so is acceptable as the movie was done extremely well in my opinion.
However, Star Trek will always have a loyal audience and this movie does not disappoint. Abrams teams up with Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman to derive a wonderfully written script and plot. For those of the fans of the original series and relevant movies of the 80's and early 90's, nothing is lost in the flare for the dramatic combined with strong character development and relationships amongst the key players - mainly Spock and Kirk.
The great benefit of this film is Abrams' comic book way of solving timeline issues and predictability - allowing newer audiences to enjoy the movie and upcoming sequels, but also taking into account a progression that many die-hard Star Trek fans were hoping for... a reinvention of the whole scheme.
Not only does Abrams mix in a great deal of special effects, wonderful set designs, and creative action sequences, but similar to his success with Lost, the casting in this movie is superb. Having to re-cast the original cast of actors from the series must have been quite difficult, but Abrams accomplished this feat with a wide array of unknowns.
Chris Pine as Kirk was a gamble, but similar to the one accomplished in the 60's with William Shatner. Zachary Quinto of Heroes television fame is an awesome Spock and actually outshines Pine in terms of full character development. Not surprisingly, Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock as well (I won't tell you how), which pays homage to the older fans of the genre. Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, and Karl Urban round out the original cast and there is Canadian content in there - with Bruce Greenwood donning the Captain Christopher Pike character.
Overall, the movie does the original series and subsequent movies justice. No one can say that this film usurps Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan as the best of the original films, however, many can believe that this might be the first of many spectacular films produced by Abrams within this franchise. I've seen all 11 Star Trek films now and in retrospect, I would have to rank this one pretty high.
In terms of the films - here is where it stands already... maybe after a few more viewings, it might go up in rank:
1. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
2. Star Trek: First Contact
3. Star Trek (2009)
For a first attempt - it already broke through my top 3... not a bad start.