Here's a challenge: How do you implant a potentially lethal alien
organism into a body that desperately needs the help but might die if
things don't go just right? No, it's not the plot of an old "Star Trek"
, it's the back story of the new "Star Trek" motion picture.
It's no secret that director J.J. Abrams and his writers of choice,
Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, were brought in by Paramount to
reformulate the venerable space opera franchise that was viewed as requiring
a jolt of energy. What was not often focused on was that the
differences between what they wanted to do and what had gone before
made this a perilous endeavor.
After "Star Trek" finally gets everyone on the Enterprise, it tries to make up for so much down time. Though it has to go through the pro forma introductions of all those more or less beloved characters -- something which hampered the first "X-Men" movie as well -- "Trek" then goes into high gear, throwing all kinds of action and incidents at us until undernourished threatens to become overstuffed.
What saves the film, finally, is Abrams' playful instinct for popular entertainment, the same instinct that turns unexpected performers like Winona Ryder (as Spock's mother) and Tyler Perry (as super-serious Starfleet Adm. Richard Barnett) into supporting players in his epic. Any director who can find room for them and the Vulcan salute in the same motion picture is operating under a pretty big tent, which is just what summer blockbusters
need if they are to live long and prosper.