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Heroes of the Zeroes: Star Trek (2009)

by on October 5, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Star Trek”
Rated PG-13

Although given the Starship Enterprise’s keys, geek-culture maven J.J. Abrams warped the Federation vessel like he stole it in 2009’s “Star Trek” — a sleek, stylish reboot that achieved jailbreak momentum through deft pacing, dense plotting, passionate principles and perfect casting.

Resourcefully entwining the Enterprise crew’s origin story and first mission, screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci rebuffed the idea such plots couldn’t creatively find breathing room in the same script.

Going further, they severed canon-continuity ties, using an alternate-reality gambit that probably irked aging Trekkies as much as rap-music cues like “Sabotage.” But this “Trek,” like none since “First Contact,” boldly and passionately pushed the franchise where it hadn’t gone before.

James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) as Starfleet Academy buddies before battling a time-traveling Romulan (Eric Bana)? Too easy.

Instead, “Star Trek” takes unpredictably scenic routes to heroism through impossible decisions, challenging sacrifices, personal tragedies and snarling clashes of Spock’s Vulcan logic and Kirk’s human guts.

This focus on them doesn’t detract from the strong support of John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin, filling out the Enterprise crew. (Even as a purely functionary one-and-done villain, Bana gives it his spit-spewing all as well.)

Thrilling and aggressive without stooping to brutality or bombast, “Star Trek” found invigoration in fresh, exciting storytelling rather than musty, dues-paying nostalgia that led the series into a situation with worse odds for success than the Kobayashi Maru. This franchise is now set to stun for several sequels.