Reboots are always a tricky thing. This is especially true for anything Sci-Fi and just gets magnified even more when you even think of touching Star Trek. You have to be very careful because the typical fans are going to jump all over anything that they don’t like. And they’re often like a dog with a bone. They just won’t let it go. So JJ Abrams had his work cut out for him. I’m not a huge Star Trek or Sci-Fi fan but I have seen enough to recognize any problems and can appreciate issue people would have taken with this reboot. For my money, Abrams hit a home run.
The biggest thing he had to consider was how to redo the franchise, make changes and not piss everyone off with the slightest changes. The answer: time travel. Have characters go back in time and create an alternate Star trek reality where the basics are there but some things can change. The changes can be major or minor. It’s all up to Abrams’ imagination. The trick with doing this is to acknowledge that the original Star Trek timeline remains intact; just not in this thread. The brilliance of how they did this was that they did not leave it up to the viewer to make that connection. Sometimes, viewers have to be hit over the head to make them realize things like this. With Leonard Nimoy and some decent expository scenes, the viewer is told outright that this is a different Star Trek history and does not try to change or ignore the original events. They keep enough of the stuff people will recognize (green women in bed with Kirk, the Kobayashi Maru, guys in red who are obviously going to die, etc.) to keep it grounded but then aren’t afraid to take it and make it their own. Ultimately, anyone who picks it apart based on this is just looking for reasons to not like it as a reboot and will likely never be convinced.
Without strong cinematic production quality, it may have been more difficult to bring people on board with the changes. So making it solid as a movie on its own was important too. As a purely entertaining film, Star Trek delivers. The effects and action scenes are as good as you can get, the acting is strong all the way through and the writing is just campy enough to keep you in a Star Trek story. But it isn’t so campy that you roll your eyes and want it to end. The two actors I have to single out here are Chris Pine and Eric Bana. While the rest of the cast was very good and believable, these two were above the others in making you believe the characters. Bana took a character that had some questionable motivation to get him to the level of revenge that he did and made you believe you were watching someone who quickly descended into almost detached madness. Pine had some big shoes to fill. Not with acting quality but with mannerisms and attitude in the character. Pine is not a great actor but he does cocky quite well. At times it seemed like he was playing the character as if it was a DNA cross between William Shatner and Christian Slater but I think that’s just his voice and I can live with that.
So, I’ve established that it’s a good movie all around. But what really makes it great is that I’ve seen it three times. Each time I watch it, I think “I’d like to see that again.” It’s got great re-watchability and that’s always the hallmark of a good film. See it.