First Review! Spoiler Free.
"On that level, itís a story that will appeal not just to Trek fans, but universally to any fans of good storytelling, who can connect with individuals and the relationships that develop between them, with their character arcs of growth, failure and sacrifice, and their authentic human experiences even amidst the backdrop of exploding photon torpedoes.
Were there things I didnít think were perfect? Well, sure. I thought that Nero actually read a little flat on the pageóno pun intendedóbut, having seen even just brief clips of Eric Banaís performance from the TV spots and trailers, I realize now that he could see in the script what I didnít. Heís definitely taken the character and punched him through to the stratosphere.
I also thought there was one brief action set-piece that felt a bit too familiar to one from another film of the same genre (again, no spoilers, so I wonít say what); but when youíve seen as many SF films, episodes, comics, scripts and pitches as I have, sooner or later youíll find all sorts of moments that can start to seem familiar. Itís the only one I found in the script here, though, and if itís executed correctly on the screen, itís going to be a fantastic sequence.
So, all right, itís a great script. But Star Trek scripts need to be more than great stories; they need to be great Trek, and that means fidelity to all the precise continuity that goes along with it. Talk of reboots and reworkings and reimaginings makes fans afraid that theyíre about to rewatch Tim Burtonís Planet of the Apes. Weíve all seen Greedo shoot first, and in Hollywood the words ďtrust meĒ and ď**** offĒ often sound remarkably identical. When I moderated the Star Trek panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last year, the subject of the film naturally came up, and Wil Wheaton, sitting next to me, put it best: ďWe are all living in a Post-Phantom Menace World.Ē
I also have a number of good friends who have written Trek professionally for the screen, and as much as I fully respect them, thereís a sentiment among some that resists not just change, but any change. Those friends might very well disagree with me about this script, but itís likely that they would have been disappointed no matter what story was made. Hell, some Star Trek fans already have Internet firefights worthy of the Dominion War, and thatís just for stories that didnít restart the franchise. I couldnít produce stories that pleased every single one of those fans when I ran the Trek titles at IDW, and Orci/Kurtzman donít make the mistake of attempting to do that here.
But, just in case youíre concerned that this story marks its new continuity by pissing all over the old one, let me reassure you: That isnít what happens here. The script doesnít ignore 40+ years of continuity, it doesnít replace it and it doesnít even eulogize it. It constructs a deceptively elegant device to leave in place all that has gone before, while striking off in a bold new direction. Itís a fresh coat of paint on the ship that weíre all already familiar and comfortable with.
There is indeed a moment in the scriptóI wonít say what it is, even though itís already been leaked and widely discussed, since I promised no spoilersóthat indelibly marks this as a new continuity; itís sure to be controversial among the fans, but itís not a cheap stunt or way of dismissing the old stories. Itís the storyís way of cementing a new identity all its own.
Itís also entirely fair to say that Paramount has hoped to refit the franchise for a new generation, acutely aware of the gently aging demographic that has devoted itself up until now; and in that respect it definitely represents a more modern sensibility and departure from the back-to-basics, ďEnterprise gets involved in two warring factions on a planetĒ type of routine story that made Insurrection such an epic fail.
But while teens will most definitely love it, Iíll also say that my dad is 72 years old, wouldnít know a phaser from a fork in a toaster, and Iím going to make him see it on opening weekend. Itís a story that communicates everything weíve loved about Trek, to the masses who could never quite fathom why we loved it; it is, in almost every way, the Star Trek movie weíve been waiting for."