AWFJ Women On Film – “Star Trek” – Susan Granger reviews

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42 year-old director J.J. Abrams, creator of TV’s “Alias” and “Lost,” has done the impossible: not only resurrected Gene Roddenberry’s 43 year-old “Star Trek” franchise, a concept that was built on space-age idealism, but also re-imagined it for cynical 21st century moviegoers.

Utilizing an ingenious ‘alternate reality’ device and a bit of time-travel by Leonard Nimoy (the only original cast member to appear), it explores the backstory of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew. There’s reckless, self-assured James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine from “Princess Diary 2”), sneaking aboard the departing USS Enterprise starship on its maiden voyage with his wry buddy, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban from “The Bourne Supremacy”), after matching wits at Starfleet Academy with the half-Vulcan/half-human Spock (Zachary Quinto from “Heroes”). He’s has already caught the amorous eye of seductive Uhura (Zoe Saldana from “Drumline”), the alert communications officer who picks up and translates the distress call that summons them to their new adventure: trying to thwart the wrath of Nero (Eric Bana from “Troy” and “Munich”), the Romulan villain determine to wreak revenge for a horrific disaster that has yet to happen.

On the bridge is pilot Hikaru Sulu (John Cho from “American Pie”) with navigator Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin from “Alpha Dog” via Leningrad). And in the midst of battle, ingenious engineer Montgomery Scott (British comedian Simon Pegg from “Shaun of the Dead”) beams up, deciding, “I like this ship. It’s exciting!” He’s right.

Thanks to J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, there are a number of subtle references to “Trek” history, like the appearance of stoic Capt. Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and McCoy’s disclaimer, “I’m a doctor, not a physicist,” and sputtering to Spock, “Are you out of your Vulcan mind?” But if you’ve never traveled at warp speed before, it doesn’t matter because the heart and humor are there. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Star Trek” boldly blasts off with a terrific 10 and warps into a new galaxy of entertaining sci-fi adventure.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.