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06 December, 2009



Year of Release—Film: 2009

Year of Release—DVD: 2009

DVD Label: Paramount Home Video

If you’ve already read my article above [“‘… To Boldly Go Where Some Have Gone Before …’: Rebooting the Trek, Forty-five Years Later”], then it will come as no surprise to you that this release of STAR TREK will be getting the Unimonster’s highest recommendation. Though I initially had doubts about J. J. Abrams’ ability to recreate the Original Series, those doubts disappeared quickly as I watched the film unfold on the big screen earlier this year, and I eagerly awaited this DVD release.

Since I’ve already discussed the film’s cast in detail above, as well as Abrams’ directing, I’ll confine this review to the film itself. The task of reinventing the Trek universe is not small, and is fraught with potential dangers. Few groups are as unforgiving as Trekkers when it comes to messing with what we perceive as canon, and recasting the most iconic characters in Science-Fiction carried the possibility of a complete disaster with it. In my opinion, the problem of changing the history of Trek was handled as deftly as possible by Abrams, along with screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

The film open as the U.S.S Kelvin is encountering an unusual phenomenon, a “… lightning storm in space.” From a vortex in the center of the storm an immense ship emerges, firing on the Kelvin. The commander of the alien vessel, a Romulan named Nero (played to perfection by Eric Bana), demands that the Captain of the Kelvin shuttle over to his ship—or he will destroy the Federation starship. The Captain agrees, leaving his First Officer, Lt. George Kirk, in command. The Captain, of course, is murdered within moments of his arrival on board the Narada, Nero’s ship. Kirk manages to get his crew off the Kelvin before its destruction, including his pregnant wife. As he aims the Kelvin’s burning hulk on a collision course with the Narada, his wife delivers their son aboard a medical shuttle. Just before his father’s death, they name the infant after his grandfathers—James Tiberius Kirk.

Unbeknownst to anyone, that encounter had repercussions that would alter the course of history. In time, Jim Kirk—young, rebellious, undisciplined—is convinced to join Starfleet. The viewer is introduced to the future members of the crew as he is, and as Nero returns to the scene, we see them come together, and we’re witness to the Trek’s new beginning.

Visually, this film plays out unlike any other Trek movie in the series’ history. Whatever one’s opinion of Abrams as a director may be, there is no denying the fact that he has a style that’s uniquely his own. He and Dan Mindel, the director of photography, combine to give the film an almost cinema verité feel, a reality and immediacy that brings the viewer into the movie. The result of excellent story, strong direction, generally good performances from the cast, and spectacular visuals is a movie that, quite simply, the best of the year.

There are numerous special collectors’ editions of the DVD release out there, and all have features that will make the dedicated Trekker drool with ill-concealed lust. But they all have one thing in common—the best Trek movie since 1982’s THE WRATH OF KHAN. No matter which set you choose, even if it’s just the basic single-disc DVD, you won’t lose out. Take the Unimonster’s word on that.

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