Growing up in the shadow of his heroic late-father, rebellious James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) has always had a problem with authority. Meanwhile, across the galaxy on the planet Vulcan, a young half-human, half-Vulcan called Spock shocks his peers by deciding to attend Earth's Starfleet academy. When a bar fight brings Kirk to the attention of Starfleet's Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), the officer shames the bloody-nosed young man into signing up by reminding him of his father's bravery. Embarking on the rigorous training programme that will allow him to join the intergalactic peacekeeping force, Kirk meets fellow recruits, such as the pessimistic Dr Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (Karl Urban), naive young Russian Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and, of course, the impassive Spock. As the hot-headed human and emotionless alien clash, news reaches Earth of a catastrophe that will change all their lives, and the Starfleet rookies are mobilised for a mission into deep space aboard newly constructed vessel, the Starship Enterprise. Learning that vengeful Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana) is planning to unleash a devastating attack on Earth, the novice Enterprise team are plunged into extreme danger, the increasingly fraught situation proving to be a catalyst for the formation of the greatest crew in Starfleet's history.
Bringing the exhilarating space exploration element of Star Trek to the fore, and sidelining the more nerdy aspects, J.J. Abrams has done a remarkable job of reenvisioning Gene Roddenberry's original creation. Fast, funny, exciting and, believe it or not, sexy, the Lost creator's take on the virgin flight of the Starship Enterprise is pure entertainment from start to finish.
Opening with a breathtaking scene that sends shivers up the spine, this is a far more human adventure that brings to mind the camaraderie of the original Star Wars films than the talky, jargon-heavy melodramatics that the various incarnations of Trek became mired in over the years. Along with Abrams' confident, zingy direction, it's the ingeniously assembled cast that makes Star Trek so watchable. Playing the colourful characters rather than just mimicking actors who made them so wellknown, the cast inject energy, warmth and wit into the Enterprise's crew, with Urban's moody medic and Pine's unflappable daredevil being particularly memorable.
While Trekkies (or is that Trekkers?) may baulk at some of the changes Abrams has made, an appearance by original Spock Leonard Nimoy neatly ties this new adventure into the established universe, making this a bold new voyage that should satisfy fans, newcomers and even those who previously had no time for Trek.