Rarely has any filmmaker placed his head on the chopping block quite like this. More than just a multi-million-dollar Hollywood franchise, Star Trek is renowned for its fanatical followers, who don't take kindly to outsiders messing with the formula. The task of rejuvenating the series and re-casting its central characters was never going to be easy for JJ Abrams - so it is all the more remarkable that Star Trek's triumphs are boundless. The film begins with scenes of James Kirk's (Chris Pine) birth during a battle that claims his father's life. We then witness the rebellious hero's misspent youth and his struggle to understand himself - mirrored thousands of light years away in a young half-Vulcan-half-human Spock (Zachary Quinto) who is similarly conflicted. Fast-forward a few years and the pair find themselves at Starfleet Academy, now at loggerheads over a supposed no-win simulation that Kirk has somehow managed to beat. Then a crisis arises on Vulcan and the two are thrust further into each other's paths, particularly when it appears that the electrical storm threatening Spock's home resembles the one that claimed Kirk's father's life. Somehow the rebooted Star Trek manages to get it right at every turn - it is expertly cast, written and acted. Its set pieces are stunning and beautiful, but the film never loses sight of the relationships at its heart. Most importantly, it breathes new life into the franchise without losing sight of what Star Trek was all about.
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