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‘Star Trek’ set to stun

They’ve split infinitives to boldly go where no man has gone before. They’ve battled aliens more plasticky than Michael Jackson. They’ve single-handedly kept the polyester industry in business. They’ve pranced about on worlds of paper mache and polystyrene. They’ve even saved the bloody whales.

But never before have the crew of USS Enterprise punched as hard, kicked as fast, warped as far, and blown up as much as they do now.

And they owe it all, not to some Vulcan mind meld or Romulan remedy, but to a nerdy bespectacled human. Director JJ Abrams (of ‘Lost’, ‘Alias’ and ‘Cloverfield’ fame) has given the film franchise long due to kick the bucket, a real kick in the ass.

He’s ruthlessly vaporised the series’ Zimmer frame and pensioner’s card to create easily the most breathless, visceral, heart-in-your-mouth ‘Star Trek’ film ever.

That’s not just due to the eye-boggling visuals or hold-on-tight action sequences – like ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Superman Returns’, this new adventure is an origin story very well (and lovingly) told.

It doesn’t assume you’re a geek who still lives with his parents and is fluent in Klingon – all you need to know: Spock has pointy ears and Kirk is a captain.

With a concision George Lucas lacked in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, Abrams traces their disparate lives from childhood (Kirk is reckless, Spock is brainy) to young Starfleet recruits.

They’re thrown headlong into a wild (and suitably ludicrous) ride involving black holes, the singularity, time travel, a very cranky Eric Bana – and, to break up the sci-fi/mumbo-jumbo dialogue, some seriously relentless action.

But the man who helped Tom Cruise appear almost human in ‘Mission Impossible 3’ doesn’t let the gut-busting visuals get in the way of his characters – much.

The seemingly omnipresent streaks of light on Enterprise don’t shine quite as bright as Kirk (a gung-ho Chris Pine) and Spock (the suitably intense ‘Heroes’ villain Zachary Quinto).

Familiar names like Sulu (Harold from ‘Harold and Kumar’) and Scotty (a sadly underused Simon Pegg) appear along the way, but none quite elicit the same feeling of childish glee as the two leads uttering time-tested phrases like “go forth and prosper” and “set phasers to stun”.

Stun? More like stunning.

  • This article originally appeared on iafrica.com.

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