The follow up to J.J.Abrams’ bold forage into the Star Trek universe continues where the first film (‘Star Trek’ 09) left off, with the crew of the Enterprise a couple of years farther down their alternative timeline to the original series, and The Federation trying to come to terms with the rather brutal and abrupt events of the last film. It bears a lot in common with its successful predecessor, and it fulfils its mission statement perfectly: remaining true to the essence of Gene Roddenberry’s creation (replete with the music from the sixties playing at the end, mention of Tribbles, Mudd, and Christine Chapel – a.k.a. Nurse Chapel, one of the most commonly recurring secondary members of the original crew) whilst still standing on its own two feet as something creative in its own right and encapsulating the blockbuster outlook the new films have been conceived with.
It’s immensely entertaining, looks fantastic, and is filled with the prerequisite spirit of camaraderie that all great adventure films have in common. Indeed, it is certainly one film to see on the big-screen, and the bigger the better (some scenes were shot on IMAX), and there are relatively few sci-fi films nowadays that display the ‘final frontier’ of space in such an awe inspiring cinematic way, in fact I’d like to see more time spent on this in the third instalment which must surely follow on from the immediate success of this one, and there are a lot of appreciable nice touches, like the flair added to the warp trail effect from the Enterprise. Michael Giacchino returns once more for the score, his music fitting perfectly into the list of memorable and atmospheric Star Trek themes, as does Leonard Nimoy for another brief cameo, his character surely busily preparing New Vulcan and her allies for the arrival of a certain none too friendly cybernetic race in circa one hundred years or so….
The story is captivating, but is also one given to debate afterwards as to whether or not several plot elements hold up under scrutiny. This is exactly the same as ‘Star Trek’ which seen bad guy Nero witness his home planet being destroyed and then going back in time, which would have allowed him to forewarn said planet and possibly prevent its annihilation, or at least evacuate everyone, but instead he decided to go on a mass genocidal killing spree with his advanced ship, for no logical purpose other than to create drama on a suitable scale. The story here riffs very heavily off several elements from its canon of Star Trek source material, and also fits in a sizeable nod to The Godfather part III in the process.
It would perhaps be wise to have Abram’s flair for action and entertainment combined with a bit more of the Star Trek ethos in the next one, but there is no doubt he has injected new life back into the wonderful characters that helped create one of the most enduring legacies in the history of the big and small screen, and the future for this incarnation is wide open, in fact it was a stroke of unfettering genius to break the timeline and take us back to where it all began. Performances are good all round, including from new cast members Alice Eve, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller (most famous previously for playing Robocop), Simon Pegg has also largely improved his Scottish accent. If you enjoy this, most certainly watch the second of the original series of films, which was arguably the best of the bunch.