What makes a successful blockbuster? The current trend of series re-boots has been emulated by many, after the initial success of franchises like Superman, Batman, James Bond amongst others. This approach is also adopted by Star Trek, which also has a large following, with a fan base that spans at least 3 decades, which rivals the James Bond one in size.
So how do you keep the old faithful happy and attract new fans? Well first make sure the old names are there; Spock (in which Leonard Nimoy actually plays an older Spock), Kirk, Sulu, Scotty are all here. The Enterprise looks identical, and the cockpit is similar. Then add some cute new faces who have become hot young stars that have begun attract their own fans in other productions. Throw in some kick ass action scenes with enough but not too much CGI, and mix… then sit back and wait for the billions that adoring fans will bring. And indeed, this is one spectacular show on many fronts.
But we all know that some who have the same mix have fallen flat on their faces. So what makes this show such a success? First, spend enough time and effort to source a solid villain, who is menacing, mean and looks like he means business. Eric Bana was a great choice, who is almost unrecognizable as the Romulan baddie that seeks vengeance through a path of destruction and mayhem. A strong villain makes the heroes look better when they defeat him. And a tag team of heroes with their own hang ups and woes adds dimension to their characters.
James Siberius Kirk is a rowdy young upstart here, albeit one a with astounding military savviness, and Spock has emotions, gasp! Throw in an obligatory babe and some funny scenes which lighten the mood between the action. And yes, this is still an action movie, which help this show differentiate itself from the older slower ones, and that helps attract a whole new fanbase with less cerebral stuff. The CGI combines well with excellent sound effects to elevate this movie to the reference level for the whole HT experience. When the explosions come, it is breath-taking and although older fans will recognize the space craft and the whole scene, new CGI effects have taken the franchise to a whole new level.
The story has a nice time space thread which allows the franchise to be cleverly re-booted into a new story line, but yet allows the introduction of all the main protagonists and showcase the main members of the team as they get introduced into the movie as the story unfolds.
The pace of the action is well done, and with some comic relief by Simon Pegg as Scotty, the movie moves along quite evenly and John Cho makes for a good Sulu as well.
There is genuine chemistry and sparks fly as the whole cast gel well to make a sterling new entry into the Star Trek adventure. May this cast live long and prosper!