One of the amazing truths of life is how much family marks us. Our interactions within family provide motivation for what we become. Sometimes that becoming is positive and affirming of life. Sometimes that becoming is negative and leads to hurt and anguish.
“Star Trek” is a movie about the marking of family. It is the telling of how James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) come to be friends and what the forces were behind that friendship. It comes as no great surprise it would be family.
The movie opens with the birth of James Kirk. His father (Chris Hemsworth) is in command of a starship for a very brief time; minutes exactly. The starship is under attack from an unknown ship created by a then unknown race. His wife (Jennifer Morrison) and hundreds of others are sent off ship to save them. Kirk’s father gives his life to save the others. While this evacuation takes place, Kirk is born.
Twenty-five years later, Kirk is a brash, cocky, young womanizer caught up in a bar fight. Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) encounters him and tells him his father was a great man. He challenges Kirk to enlist in Starfleet. Kirk does and this places in motion the process that will become the collection of characters that will inhabit the Starship Enterprise.
While this is taking place, on Vulcan, Spock is excelling at all disciplines of academia. Peers also are taunting him because his father (Ben Cross) dared marry an earth woman (Winona Ryder). Spock is caught in the duality of his birth, the emotional human and the logical Vulcan. The need to be more like the logical father begins to be the drive in him. He is offered an opportunity to study at the Vulcan Science Academy, but chooses to go to Starfleet Academy.
We learn that the ship that attacked Kirk’s father’s ship is a Romulan mining ship. Nero (Eric Bana) is its captain and he is in the midst of a blood feud with an older Spock. It seems the older Spock had something to do with the destruction of Romulus and the death of Nero’s wife and unborn child. Nero has traveled back in time through a wormhole in space and wants to avenge an act that has not happened. Such is the universe of “Star Trek.” Time is nothing more than a continuously bending and alternating stream that anyone can appear from and send the story in a different direction.
This is the universe of “Star Trek.” It is not science or really science fiction. “Star Trek,” in this incarnation, is a universe where science is merely another storytelling device. This version of “Star Trek” finds itself morphing into more “Star Wars” than what was the original series. What we see is more soap opera than sci-fi epic.
J.J. Abrams directs this version of “Star Trek” holding tightly to the main premise created by Gene Roddenberry. That premise is the power and dignity of humanity. Even in a universe with alien races, this universe is very human. What drives this story is the human aspect of honoring those who gave us life and those who continue in life with us.
This story includes all the things that those who loved “Star Trek” want. There is the jumping around the universe. We find out little reminders of the original series. Then there is the lynch pin of it all: the friendship that exists between Kirk and Spock. It is that friendship, spawned from family of origin to create family that becomes the catalyst for those stories. Add to that the different personalities of the crew, who help bring the story together and you have a great movie.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content.
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Chris Pine: James T. Kirk; Zachary Quinto: Spock; Eric Bana: Nero; Bruce Greenwood: Capt. Christopher Pike; Karl Urban: Leonard “Bones” McCoy; Zoe Saldana: Uhura; John Cho: Sulu; Simon Pegg: Montgomery “Scotty” Scott; Anton Yelchin: Chekov; Ben Cross: Sarek; Winona Ryder: Amanda Grayson; Chris Hemsworth: George Kirk; Jennifer Morrison: Winona Kirk.
The movie’s official Web site is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.