Okay, two reviews here.  First, one without spoilers.

The Star Trek movie is a great ride.  J.J. Abrams has a great cast and knows how to pace things.  The new Kirk is surprisingly solid and the new McCoy, dead on.  Spok is good too, but he does get overshadowed by another actor a little.  He’ll probably be better in the next movie.  Simon Peg as Scottie, c’mon.  Awesome.  Harold from Harold and Kumar as Sulu was cool and the new Checkov was okay.  Uhura is different, but hot and pretty cool.

Eric Bana plays the bad guy.  He’s a good actor and emotes well.  The revenge plot starts to wear thin only when you think about it too much.  The movie litterally won’t give you time to ponder anything and just moves on.  But what’s JJ Abrams is missing is the bigger story.  Star Trek is always about a bigger story than just aliens and robots.  The bigger story is about friendship, sacrifice, honor, saving the Earth, etc.  Usually it paralleled something that was happening now like the Cold War, climate change, etc.

JJ totally misses the boat on this, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie.  It’s a great ride.  He even comes up with a clever ploy that respectfully acknowledges the past movies and TV shows, while establishing the new cast.  I think the next movie will really tell if the franchise will continue it’s amazing run.

Great Summer fun despite, as two of my friends put it in separate conversations, a lack of soul.  I give it a 7 out of10 keggers.

Now the spoiler review, probably for those of you that already seen it.

To bridge the gap between the new and old Star Trek, the villain is a time traveler.  Eric Bana is Nero, a Rhomulan mining ship captain from 129 years in the future.  About two thirds into the movie, Leonard Nimoy Spock shows up.  He explains that he was trying to save Rhomulus in the future from a supernova using red matter, a substance that can create black holes when mixed with a nuclear reaction.  Spock arrives too late and Rhomulus is destroyed.  Nero and Spock’s ship are suck through a black hole and into the past.  Here, Nero destroys the ship that Kirk’s father was on and baby Kirk barely escapes with mom.  The great part about all this is, Nero changes the past permanently and alters future historical events.  Old Spock realizes this and tells Kirk it is his destiny to be Captain of the Enterprise.  There’s a sense that it might not happen.

But here’s where it doesn’t quite work.  First, every scene is hurry up, hurry up with Abrams.  Kirk gets thrown off the Enterprise by young Spock and ends up on a frozen planet with monsters.  He’s nearly eaten, but saved at the last minute by old Spock.  In another scene, Kirk and Scottie beam into the Enterprise at warp and Scottie ends up in the “coolant tubes” and nearly drowns.  Since when did the Enterprise need giant tubes of water to run?  Seems like a bit just to throw in there to keep you not thinking about what just happened.

Plus, Eric Bana goes back in time, kills Kirk’s father, but his real target is Spock and Vulcan.  Well, if that’s the case, why even destroy Kirk’s ship?  Well, he’s decided to destroy the Federation and make Old Spock watch, but he has to 25 years for him to arrive in the past.  So this guy and his entire crew just sit in space for 25 years until Spock shows up?  Maybe you can have one guy that crazy, but a whole crew?  They’re pretty loyal.  Plus his ship has this bizarre giant planet drill, which get sabotaged by Kirk and Sulu in one scene, only to get reused in a later scene quickly after.

One of the reasons, I think, the movie is missing a little heart is because Nimoy’s presence makes the whole plot kind of incestuous.  It’s still relying on the past show for the plot.  In one scene, Sulu says he has combat training which turns out to be fencing classes.  The Sulu from the TV show thought he was a fencing guy in an episode where he went nuts on the ship.  Plus, in the movie, it gets ridiculous when five minutes after making the joke about fencing, Sulu whips out a sword to fight a guy.  Why didn’t he just bring a gun?

Overall, it’s still a good movie.  But without that bigger story, it’s not great.  A tasty bowl of empty calories, but you’ll really enjoy it while you’re eating it.