I have to make yet another painful confession. I'm a Trekkie. Every instinct I have screams at me to deny it, but I simply can't. As a teenager, I had one wall of my bedroom covered in pictures of George Michael, and another in pictures of Spock. One can draw obvious conclusions from this, among them that I had a perverse taste for men who were really never going to be interested in sleeping with me.
The guy you were crushing on at twelve is always going to have a special place in your heart. (My daughter fancies Spike. Yes that does freak the hell out of me.) Spock was perfect: handsome, intelligent, tight-trousered and completely emotionally unavailable. Star Trek was my first obsession, long before the Whedonverse or Battlestar Galactica made my conversation unbearable.
That didn't mean I wasn't aware of its flaws. All Trekkies are, that's part of why they love it. One of the first presents my partner gave me was The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers. I watched The Next Generation through my fingers until it Grew the Beard, which Voyager and Enterprise never did and Deep Space Nine did but didn't need to. Still, if Enterprise and Nemesis were anything to go by, it was probably time to stop flogging the rotting zombie horse before any more bits fell off.
And then they made another movie, and I was terrified. For a start, you know what J.J. Abrams has made that I enjoyed? Nothing. Second chilling detail: this would be Star Trek XI. Eleven. Eleven is an odd number. Still, my belief was that the NextGen movies had removed the Curse of Star Trek by all sucking, even the evens. By the time they announced Simon Pegg's stunt-casting as Scotty, I knew I was going, but I was still expecting to be kind of annoyed.
I loved it.
Abrams appears to have learned a couple of things from Joss Whedon. One: lens flare is great, leave it in. Hell, light scenes for it deliberately. All flare, all the time. Two: big flappy coats are sexy. Still hasn't taken the Master Class, though, because he still appears to believe you create dramatic tension by tying a camera to a bungy cord and swinging it round and round your head, then editing every third frame out of the result. The opening sequence in particular is the cinematic equivalent of tossing a frozen turkey into a wood-chipper.
And yes, there were moments when my internal voice went "Wait a minute, that doesn’t make any sense… ah screw it". Worse were the moments like this:
Trek-Brain: Hey, Delta Vega doesn't have a Starbase. It just has an automated lithium cracking station, that's why they tried to maroon Gary Mitchell there in Where No Man Has Gone Before.
Rest of Emma's Brain: Shut up, god, you're embarrassing us.
Two words: alternate universe. Abrams' predecessors should have been so lucky.
I guess what I was expecting was a big dumb action movie in space, pretending not to really be Star Trek. Instead, I got a whole bunch of in-jokes. The woman two rows behind us was also a Trekkie. I could tell, because we fell over laughing in the same spots. When Pike first sits in the Captain's Chair, he gets a strip of Kirk Light across his face. Zachary Quinto does Spock's raising one eyebrow thing. Karl Urban gets to say 'I'm a doctor, not a…' and Simon Pegg does the whole Miracle Worker thing. A guy dressed in red dies really, really stupidly. Russians still apparently can't pronounce their vs, even Russians called Pavel Andreivich Chekov. My favourite line was a completely dead-pan 'out of the chair'. Leonard Nimoy name-checks one of his own books. There's a freaking Green Orion not-slave Girl.
And oh my god, Zachary Quinto. He is Spock. There's some fair-haired guy mugging around and crotch-displaying too, I think, somewhere in my peripheral vision. In this sense, Star Trek perfectly recreated my experience of the original series. Also, sorry, but I still can't see any sexual tension there. No doubt the internet will prove me wrong.
What they do with Uhura is incredibly cool, but a bit spoilery for me to talk about. She is, however, even more obviously the crew's murlfriend in this incarnation – mothering and snogging and ordering about her pack of lads.
And boy, is this massively set up for a sequel.
I had expected to review this after everyone else had seen it. Instead, what I've discovered is that most of my Trek-friends are still battling their trepidation. So take it from me, someone who burst into tears when they blew up the Enterprise in Search for Spock, it's okay. You can go. This isn't five. It won't break your heart.
Unless I'm a lying devious bitch who made all this up.