By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 21, 2009 at 8:51AM
Early word on the J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's reinvention of Star Trek--beyond the early peak Paramount gave Fantastic Fest earlier this month and the footage screened for journos last November--has been strong. One exhib emailed me after an exhibitor's screening:
Fast, funny and very entertaining. One doesn't need to know too much about the original but it will help make things even more fun. I was never a fan and saw very few of the shows. But we all know who Spock and Kirk and the others were, so seeing their 17-22 year-old selves is very interesting and the way Nimoy is integrated works nicely.
Much is set in San Francisco of the future with the GG Bridge in the background and what might be an impossible angle showing the Transamerica pyramid being overshadowed by future skyscrapers. And most of the effects were done at ILM.
Now the London reviews are in (see below). UPDATE: Here's Todd McCarthy's Variety review:
Blasting onto the screen at warp speed and remaining there for two hours, the new and improved "Star Trek" will transport fans to sci-fi nirvana. Faithful enough to the spirit and key particulars of Gene Roddenberry's original conception to keep its torchbearers happy but, more crucially, exciting on its own terms in a way that makes familiarity with the franchise irrelevant, J.J. Abrams' smart and breathless space adventure feels like a summer blockbuster that just couldn't stay in the box another month. Paramount won't need any economic stimulus package with all the money it'll rake in with this one globally, and a follow-up won't arrive soon enough.
Here's The Times of London:
Star Trek, released in Britain on May 8 and given its premiere last night, is perfectly pitched to satisfy Trekker nerds and a more general action-flick audience. Abrams, who directed Mission Impossible III, brings his blockbuster flair to bear on a story that starts with a massacre and rarely draws breath for the next two hours as it unravels a deadly battle between the Federation and a rogue Romulan from the future who is bent on destroying Earth
And The London Daily Mail goes all out:
The result is not only by far the best of the 11 Star Trek movies, it must rank as the outstanding prequel of all time.
For those too young to remember the original TV series and its spin-off movies, or (like me) unconvinced that they were in all respects works of untrammelled genius, the movie ticks all the boxes as regards big set pieces.
We see space battles, planets sucked into black holes, chases, space aliens. Stupendous special effects and a magnificent score by Michael Giacchino make it a treat for the eyes and ears.
The picture moves at a terrific pace, and is a satisfying tale of good versus evil, with Eric Bana a highly hissable villain.
Slashfilm's Brendon Connelly shares some spoilers:
The big device that drives this Star Trek forwards is a time travel loop. The backstory would begin in what we are apparently to accept as standard, canonical Trek continuity. From there, the vengeful Romulan Nero passes through a black hole and arrives in this new movie‚Äôs universe - or, as we are specifically told, into the past of the same universe. And it is at this moment that, as Doc Brown would have it, time skews off at a tangent. A new timeline is formed, and this timeline is the one on which this particular movie, and the inevitable sequels, will be hung.
HitFix's Gregory Ellwood tells Star Trek fans to stop worrying about the boxoffice.