There are 2 short reviews possible for Star Trek: “Star Trek is a great movie if,” and “Star Trek is a great movie but.”
Star Trek is a great movie if you like the franchise but aren’t unduly attached to it. All your favorite characters are there, and they are all played quite aptly- every member of this film’s cast truly conveys the feel of a younger version of their character on the classic series. They do hip, youthful, rebellious stuff, but at the core, these are the same people. The ships, setting, and trappings are all familiar too- but taken in some decidedly new directions. This film tries and succeeds to breathe new life (and new civilizations) into a fiction world left untouched for over a decade- the original series Star Trek universe, where it’s okay to go phasering around space and you don’t need to spend 20 minutes talking about stuff. This movie gets to the action and plenty of it, but does not lose sight of the characters and emotions that separate Star Trek films and shows from generic space opera.
Star Trek is a great movie, but it has some failings. The camera can’t sit still for two seconds, continuity is noticibly shabby, and the plot has some holes if you look really hard. It is not perfect cinema, and some hardcore fans will lament the veneer of new and hip wrapped aggressively around their film. It is a rewarding movie, with conflicts and resolutions and character building, and it is both technically and artistically leagues beyond J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield. It is a movie that is awesome enough to get noticed, but with room for improvement in the sequels. It is an exciting film, due in part to how it establishes early on that its canon is not a perfect mirror of classic Star Trek: you genuinely won’t know where the movie will go.
Star Trek is a great movie. It has some level of appeal on almost every front. It suffers because almost everyone has some preconception of how Star Trek should look and sound, who it is for, what it means. This is a hard movie to review objectively, and could be tricky to follow without a knowledge of the franchise. Even without an existing love for Star Trek, however, you might find something in this film lacking from modern Hollywood: a robust and well-developed science fiction world with giant ships, governments, planets, and a sense of adventuresome fun. The Star Trek universe feels more real and well thought out than most, and the payoff is a film that invites the viewer to imagine “What’s next?”
And yes, there’s an Orion Animal Woman in it. And a Tribble.
8/10 (take a point off if Uhura having a thing for Spock instead of Scotty bothers you, you sad nerds)