Back in 1988 the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike. It was during this strike that executives at Paramount had time on their hands and started looking at some of their minor properties to see what was going on with them. The Star Trek franchise attracted some unwanted attention from the point of view of fans and writers alike. Star Trek was a going concern with The Next Generation going strong and the recent success of Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, Paramount had an interest in keeping an eye on its property. It was then that the “rules” came out which limited what could be done with the characters and time lines and how stories were to be resolved. Gone were the days of James Blish, Diane Duane, Kathleen Sky, Joe Haldeman, Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. A new Trek process emerged and did well for many, many years until recently.
That Scott Bakula’s portrayal of Jonathan Archer bordered on gifted and that the crew of Enterprise was equally well cast could not save the show which had a run of 98 episodes (still 26 more than the original series) the Trek universe had seemingly run out of gas. When the rumour first emerged that they were going to make a Star Trek prequel movie the response from fandom was mixed. Wasn’t that what Enterprise was? With what can only be seen as a victory for clever writers and well thought out storylines as well as very good research the new movie Star Trek manages to fit neatly into the myth arch of the Paramount series and at the same time launches itself into a direction that has no binding attachment to anything already existing in the Star Trek universe.
In one two hour movie writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have managed to quell all the fears of purists, please all generation of fans, win over new fans and create a launching point for a new series that owes nothing to the original. The biggest plus of the new movie are the well developed back stories for all the characters. The most detailed life stories are those of Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) naturally. Urhura (Zoe Saldana) we only meet after she is in Starfleet never touching on how she got there which is much the same treatment we got for Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) though Bones McCoy (Karl Urban) gives us a little more background as to who he is than the others do. Fans of the original series will appreciate the tips of the hat to the original series in some of the story elements featuring sword fighting, an Orion woman (not a slave girl) and some flashes of Shatneresque poses and expressions from Chris Pine.
Star Trek is a winner from start to finish. There are a some holes in the plot and some glitches in the logic of some of the “science” in this science fiction story but they are not significant enough to create any distractions for the viewer. This is probably just the first in a series of movies with the new cast and if this movie is anything to go by it will be a great, new final frontier.