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Movie Review: Every minute of new 'Star Trek' entertains

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It's been 43 years since the original series first aired and 30 years since "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" first brought the by-then legendary characters to the big screen.

I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool "Trekkie" - I liked the original series because I was 13 at the time and had grown up with the space program. But I've lost track of how many movies and TV series have spun off from Gene Roddenberry's original science-fiction-mixed- with-1960s-ethos brainchild. Reruns of that series are still shown today, and in the age of computer-generated effects and huge budgets, it can tend to look somewhat campy. But longtime fans don't mind.

Just as James Bond - who's been around on-screen even longer than "Star Trek" - has managed to stay a staple of the film industry, Paramount Pictures has decided to breathe some new life into its tried-and-true moneymaker.

The new film, simply entitled "Star Trek," is a slam-bang action film filled with dialogue and situations that have become trademarks of the franchise: "I'm a doctor not a physicist." "I can't do it, Captain, we just don't have the power." "Live long and prosper." Capt. Kirk's swagger is there, along with Spock's duel with his dual nature - half Vulcan, half human - Uhura constantly hailing all frequencies in her short skirt, and Chekov's thick Russian accent.

I thought the 1979 film wasted far too much time setting up characters that fans already knew by heart, but here, it's a different story. The new "Trek" is a prequel to the original TV series, and we see the U.S.S. Enterprise launch on its maiden voyage and the characters we know so well as youngsters fresh out of Starfleet Academy.

Young James Tiberius Kirk is the son of a legendary Starfleet captain. In the opening scene, we see Kirk Sr. sacrifice himself to save his crew of 800. And we witness the birth of his son in a shuttlecraft in the blackness of space.

Cut to James T.'s teenage years, and we find he's sort of a space-age James Dean, tearing around the countryside in a souped-up vintage muscle car living a wild life with his own set of rules. We also see young Spock (the two will meet later) struggling with his two sides.

Kirk's "father figure" is Capt. Christopher Pike, a man who knew his father. Fans who remember the pilot episode of the original series will also remember that Pike was the first captain of the Enterprise. Pike urges James to enroll in the Academy. He thinks the kid's got the right stuff and could use some discipline from the school.

It's at the Academy we're introduced to the rest of the main characters. All of the actors do credible jobs inhabiting their characters - not an easy task when dealing with cult heroes with generations of fanatical followers.

When an emergency arises, Kirk and friend Dr. "Bones" McCoy find their way on board the Enterprise's first voyage. The emergency is a doozy - and one that will have some scratching their heads, but forget about it. You'll go crazy examining all of the holes in time travel plots.

The crew succeeds in saving a planet under attack by a ship captained by a super-bad Romulan, but it sets up a whole subplot that might be fodder for one of the sequels that will obviously follow "Star Trek."

It's the first blockbuster of the summer season (which begins earlier every year) and director J.J. Abrams, along with screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, have fashioned a film that shouldn't drawn much criticism from die-hard fans and will likely win over a whole new generation. I liked every minute of the film - it's entertaining on so many levels.[[In-content Ad]]Jim Wunderle owns Wunderle Sound Services and is a Springfield freelance writer and musician. He can be reached at info@wunderlesound.com.

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