The new Star Trek movie has done that rarest of things with prequels/reboots, and has brought much-loved characters and situations into a new generation while holding onto what made the original so special in the first place. This is an incredible achievement. After the Star Trek movie franchise fizzled out with Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis, it looked as though after several decades of adventures, the Enterprise had finally run out of steam (or indeed Dilithium). Then came the news that a new start would be made. Fans had their reservations, but now we know that those worries were unfounded.
JJ Abranms has brought Star Trek back to the masses, and the end product has surpassed all of our wildest expectations. This isn't a cynical cash-in of a reboot- this is a genuine attempt to reintroduce the Star Trek universe to a modern audience who had previously had no interest in it, while also giving long term fans something to be thrilled with. The reviews are almost unanimous in their high praise of the film and its exemplary cast, which is a wonderful thing to behold as a Star Trek fan and also a fan of film in general.
At last we have a Star Trek movie that fans and newcomers alike can enjoy and enthuse about, plus we finally have a film that it is possible to take seriously as a movie instead of an extended TV episode. This hasn't been the case since the eighth film, Star Trek: First Contact, which has often been held in the same regard as the classic Wrath of Khan.
This is what the Star Wars prequels should have been like. As much as I love Star Wars and as much as I enjoyed the prequels (Hey, even The Phantom Menace had some great scenes in it), I have to compare the two and admit that Star Trek is the clear winner.
The Star wars prequels were too much of a mish-mash, with too many plot holes and too many lackluster explanations for things that had become science fiction legends. Couple this with uneven direction (Attack of the Clones is the weakest in that sense) and a cast that didn't gel as much as they could have (green screens and digital characters can rob a set of atmosphere), and you have films lacking in the substance that made the originals so great.
Star Trek has clearly been made with respect for the source material on the part of every person involved with the project. The crew have done an incredible job, the cast are brilliant (the casting director deserves some serious accolades) and above all the story is compelling and well told.
With enough excitement to keep the action addicts happy and enough of the original Star trek mythos left intact while looking to the future of the franchise, it really is the film that the Star wars prequels should have been. They were fun misfires, where this is a serious science fiction film that is fun, moving and above all, happy to go where no-one has gone before.