The glaring difference between this and 1979s Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the advancement in effects and the injection of high octane pace, both of which have become almost expected by the modern cinema going audience.
J.J. Abrams manages to keep true to the past whilst expanding and developing the future, but he is intuitive enough to round off the sharp corners. Abrams goes back further than the series, or the previous films, and delves into the characters by revealing new and surprising depths. We get to see the destruction of the USS Kelvin at the hands of a grim looking Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana). The alien has been traveling back through time to find Ambassador Spock to exact his revenge for the Vulcan's destruction of his home planet. As the Kelvin goes down so does Kirk-senior. His wife manages to escape on a shuttle and gives birth to their son, James Tiberius Kirk. You can't go back much further than that with the character, can you?
As for Spock, we get to see him as a child, bullied and persecuted for having a human mother. We then also meet the emerging logic absorbed version, and the older clapped out one with a really bad wardrobe. Blimey, it's a Spock fest! All that's missing is the young McCoy (Karl Urban) being breast fed and Scotty (Simon Pegg) learning the highland fling.
The story is all thrown in at light speed and accelerates along until Kirk (Chris Pine) joins the academy and beats the Kobayashi Maru - a giant video game that produces a no win scenario for potential Star Fleet high fliers. Of course by beating it Kirk falls foul of the establishment and annoys the hell out of Mr Feisty Pants (Spock). Luckily enough, before he faces a stiff reprimand a serious development arises, and with McCoy's assistance Kirk boards the Enterprise annoying the hell out of .... guess who?
That's the sub plot. Underneath Star Trek is a tale of two men that hate each other, go on to grudgingly like and respect each other and eventually stop just short of loving each other.
The action comes thick and fast. The Enterprise is under threat from the time hopping Romulan, and the Planet Vulcan is subjected to a device that will turn it into dust, but Spock still finds the odd nano second to spoon around with Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) volunteers to go to the Romulan ship to surrender, whilst Kirk and Sulu (Jon Cho) try to disarm the device with a bit of sword wielding Jackie Chan-ness. Vulcan becomes a Black hole and sadly Spock loses his Mother (Winona Ryder - best known for her alleged shop lifting prowess), just as they were about to beam her to safety. Kirk then gets jettisoned onto an icy planet, is chased by a large leggy lobster spider thing and discovers Spock the elder, passing time sharpening his ears in a cave, probably. That's the clumsy bit for me, it appeases us older fans but confuses and bemuses the younger ones who don't know him from Adam. Unlike his ears, the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy is really quite pointless!
His main function in the most logical way, is to provide Scotty with a missing equation for teleporting from a moving object. New-Spock (Zachary Quinto) sneaks a snog in a lift with Uhura while Pike is having bugs dropped down his open mouth to provide the Romulan with codes for Earth's defence system. All that remains is to thwart the attack on Earth, rescue Pike, snog Uhura and get Spock to fly a machine that he will pilot in the future to destroy the rampaging Romulan vessel - piece of cake!
Pine and Quinto manage to comfortable fill the legendary roles of Kirk and Spock. Eric Bana, as Nero, lacks the menace of Benedict Cumberbatch in the sequel but does just enough to raise the temperature when required. Then there's Zoe Saldana as Uhuru. Sleek, sexy, sassy and bang on the money. So much so she even turned a Vulcan into a lust crazy spaceman, which must deserve some sort of accolade. I also have to pay credit to the performance by Karl Urban as Bones. He delivers key lines such as "Damn it man, I'm a Doctor, not a Physicist" with the exact preciseness of his predecessor DeForest Kelley (the real McCoy, if you please), so much so it's hard to believe he's not actually a younger version.
Star Trek benefits from not being a predominantly studio based production. 40% of the movie is filmed on location, giving it a realness and authenticity. Stepping off the bridge on to Terra Firma is a master stroke of film making, it becomes more expansive and less claustrophobic.
So we've got a first rate cast, a huge budget, world class director and a strong script (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman) that blends spectacular action, effects and excitement with delightful comic moments - in which Pegg excels - all making this reboot a snappy, adrenaline fueled ride, which works fantastically well.
Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter