Luke McKinney has posted a complex but handy flow chart to let you identify which Star Trek movie is which.
(Click on the image above or here for a larger version)
Star Trek (Paramount): The rebooting of the Star Trek franchise takes place in the early years of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), during their training at Starfleet Academy and their first mission together. Directed by J. J. Abrams it is a smart and highly engaging sci-fi adventure which should please Trek fans and a wider audience. It looks set to dominate the global box office this week and Paramount can expect to crack markets that have traditionally been resistant to their most profitable franchise. An extensive publicity campaign, great reviews and good audience word of mouth should ensure a huge gross and the prospect of sequels. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / Cert 12A] (Previews 7 May)
Coraline (Universal): An animated stop-motion 3-D fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman‘s 2002 novella about a young girl (Dakota Fanning) who finds a portal to an alternate world, which is more sinister than it initially seems. Directed by Henry Selick, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas, it features the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and Keith David and is a compelling and imaginitavely realised tale. [Vue West End & Nationwide / Cert PG] (Previews 2 – 4 May)
Cheri (Warner Bros/Pathe): A romantic drama set in 1920s Paris, where the son of a courtesan (Rupert Friend) retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who educated him in the ways of love. Directed by Stephen Frears, it is adapted from an adaptation of the novel by French author Colette. [London & Key Cities / Cert 15]
IN SELECTED RELEASE
Blue Eyelids (Axiom Films): The debut feature from director Ernesto Contreras is the story of an introverted woman (Cecilia Suárez) who wins a holiday trip for two and – longing for company – invites a stranger (Enrique Arreola). [NFT, Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities]
Little Ashes (Kaleidoscope Ent): The young life and loves of artist Salvador Dalí, filmmaker Luis Buñuel and writer Federico García Lorca is explored is this film directed by Paul Morrison and starring Robert Pattinson, Javier Beltrán and Matthew McNulty. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus & Key Cities / Cert 15]
Momma’s Man (Diffusion Pictures): The story of a man who has avoided his wife and child at home and has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents’ loft, directed by Azazel Jacobs. [London & Key Cities]
O’Horten (Artificial Eye): A drama focused on a life-changing moment in 67-year-old train engineer Odd Horten’s existence: the evening of his retirement. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & selected Key Cities / Cert 12A]
Sounds Like Teen Spirit (Warner Music Ent.): Documentary about the junior version of the annual Eurovision song festival, directed by Jamie Jay Johnson. [Curzon Soho, Ritzy, Screen On The Green & Key Cities / Cert 12A]
I am not a huge Star Trek fan (and don’t really care if they are called Trekkies or Trekkers), but this rebooting of the series deserves a lot of credit by focusing on the characters, maintaining a brisk pace and being a lot of fun.
It explores the back stories of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) and their first proper mission mission aboard the USS Enterprise which sees them deal with a time travelling villain (Eric Bana) from the future.
There is also an appearance from Leonard Nimoy (the original Spock) but I won’t reveal the details of it as a large chunk of the plot hinges on it.
What is striking though, is the way it has been paced as there is little in the way of flabby exposition, which can bog down origin stories like this.
Not only does Abrams move things along at a refreshing clip, but he has also chosen wisely with his young cast.
Pine and Quinto rise very well to the daunting task of playing such iconic characters and the supporting cast (which includes Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as Bones, Simon Pegg as Scotty and Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov) are equally as good.
The set pieces are well executed and have the visual effects that you would expect for a summer blockbuster, but the real trick here is that time and attention has been spent on the main characters.
Although William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy have been ingrained on pop culture for decades, the leads here manage to breathe new life into these characters and shake off the cobwebs that had plagued the more recent movies.
This is a film that will appeal to long term fans but also a new audience who either weren’t keen on it before or even alive when the TV series and subsequent film franchise began.
Ironically, one of selling points of the film (the return of Nimoy) is perhaps the most unnecessary, as the new cast do a good enough job standing on their own two feet.
Having said that, the writers do find a clever way to work in the ‘old’ Spock and give themselves new possibilities in the future.
Perhaps the best compliment you could pay to JJ Abrams and his team though is that this is what the Star Wars prequels should have been – lean, imaginative and entertaining.