Cinematically speaking, director Tony Scott just doesn't know when to shut up. In this fact-based action drama, he has got an inherently propulsive premise to work with. So what do Scott and screenwriter Mark Bomback do with that story? They throw some utterly pointless background domestic drama at our main characters, played by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Grade: C-.
With this prequel, director J.J. Abrams aims to give us the legendary back-story of one of Starfleet's great leaders, James Tiberius Kirk. Of course, the truly great leaders achieve that status thanks to the support of top-notch subordinates. Where would Kirk be without Spock, Chekov, Sulu, Uhura, Scotty and Doc "Bones" McCoy? This film races right to the heart of that question, defining each and every one of these loveable characters in deft strokes. Grade A.