‘Star Trek XI’ pleases new fans and Trekkies alike

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I can openly admit that before this movie I had never seen anything related to Star Trek before. None of the movies nor a single TV episode. So I went into this with a certain amount of trepidation.

Now that I have seen both the second movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek XI, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the modernized, humorous start to this story which has been going on for decades.

Star Trek XI is a prequel rather than a sequel to the last movie Star Trek: Nemesis. Directed by J.J Abrams (Lost, Fringe), there was humor, action and science fiction throughout, giving it a well-rounded feel that even I, a newcomer to the Star Trek phenomenon, could understand and enjoy.

Of course it helped that this movie marked the beginning of the story. A marketing work of genius on the part of the director and scriptwriters, it encourages new generations of movie-goers to be drawn into the Trekkie mindset without feeling left behind.

Starring Chris Pine (Just My Luck) as James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto (Heroes) as Spock, the new movie captures the essence of classic Trek while setting its own path into the stars. While there are certain deviations including Spock’s rather emotional character at times, no true Trekkie can be disappointed with the set up of Kirk and Spock’s famous fraternal rivalry.

Another visible variation within the movie was the costumes. Instead of the classic high-necked full body unitards for both men and women, the guys have progressed to fashionable v-neck shirts and black pants, while the women have moved onto even shorter, v-neck mini-dresses.

Also, rather than letting the camera work go back in time with the story, multiple angles are shown during high action scenes, and rapid changes in angle heightened the anxiousness felt during battles. Dramatic close-ups are also an essential part of the movie. The slow zoom-in on a character’s face at the pivotal moment of a scene is both theatrical and helpful as their facial expressions set the stage for the next line. The music, however, did not change as much, as composer Michael Giacchino (Alias, The Incredibles) sets the feeling behind every scene whether it is one of anticipation, dread, happiness or sadness. Luckily the soundtrack manages to avoid complete modernization as it steers clear of any pop influence or electronic beats.

Technology plays a major role in this film. Although it is meant to be the beginning, the movie’s star ship the Enterprise is more technologically advanced than in previous movies. These changes result in convincing technical moments that would otherwise have been noticeably fake, such as the classic “beaming up.”

Star Trek XI was worth every penny, and I would gladly spend $7 more to watch it again—this time in IMAX, for the added effect of Captain Kirk in 3-D.