Over the past few days, I’ve raved about what a terrific casting job J.J. Abrams’ did of his “Star Trek” reboot. The casting looked great on paper but proved even better in the film.
Here’s a guide to the cast of the new “Star Trek” movie, which seems poised to become a big blockbuster:
Chris Pine (Associated Press photos)
- Capt. James T. Kirk
Played by: Chris Pine
Originally played by: William Shatner
Pine’s previous roles: “Bottle Shock” and ”Smokin’ Aces.”
Why it works: Pine managed to convey the brash confidence and bold charisma – not to mention the skirt-chasing nature – of Capt. Kirk without becoming a William Shatner caricature.
- Science officer Spock
Played by: Zachary Quinto
Originally played by: Leonard Nimoy
Quinto’s previous roles: TV’s “Heroes” and “24.”
Why it works: Quinto does such a great job as Spock that when Nimoy shows up, the whole alternate reality premise doesn’t come completely unraveled. Quinto portrays a Spock that isn’t quite in control of his conflicted human-Vulcan nature without getting melodramatic.
- Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy
Played by: Karl Urban
Originally played by: DeForest Kelley (who died in 1999)
You know Urban from: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” “TLOTR: The Return of the King” and “The Chronicles of Riddick.”
Why it works: The New Zealand actor is a personal favorite of mine, so I’m glad to report that his performance is particularly great. Urban obviously studied up on Kelley’s portrayal of Dr. McCoy because he’s got the delivery, mannerisms and attitude nailed. He plays him as a caring curmudgeon without getting too old and stodgy. And as standard for “Star Trek” films, he gets many of the best lines.
- Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
Played by: Simon Pegg
Originally played by: James Doohan (who died in 2005)
You know Pegg from: “Shaun of the Dead,” “Run, Fat Boy, Run” and ”Hot Fuzz.”
Why it works: Pegg has excellent comedic timing, and Scotty was always the funniest guy on the show and in the movies. He also convincingly portrays Scotty as a quirky genius.
- Communications officer Uhura
Played by: Zoe Saldana
Originally played by: Nichelle Nichols
Saldana’s previous roles: TV’s “Six Degrees,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “Drumline.”
Why it works: Saldana gets more to do in one movie than Nichols did in the whole “Star Trek” series. She does a great job updating the part for the times, playing Uhura as strong, confident and capable, and making her sexy without being trampy.
- Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
Played by: John Cho
Originally played by: George Takei
Cho’s previous roles: “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and TV’s “Kitchen Confidential.”
Why it works: Cho is another personal fave, and he gets down Sulu’s quiet strength and kindness. He also plays up the awkwardness Sulu sometimes showed, which seems appropriate considering he’s young and green in the prequel. Even better, Cho kicks major tail in his big fight scene.
- Navigator Pavel Chekov
Played by: Anton Yelchin
Yelchin’s previous roles: Walter Koenig
You know Yelchin from: “Charlie Bartlett” and the upcoming film ”Terminator Salvation.”
Why it works: Yelchin perfectly captures Chekov’s youthful enthusiasm and budding brilliance. The Russian-born actor opted to keep the exaggerated accent for the sake of preserving Chekov’s signature “nuclear wessels” line. It’s a bit cheesy but he provides wonderful comic relief.
Now, let’s talk about the villian, shall we?
Eric Bana as Nero
- Romulan Nero
Played by: Eric Bana
Why it works: Romulans were among the classic villians in the original “Star Trek” series and movies, so it was great to see them back. “Trek” hasn’t fared as well when it tried to introduce new baddies in the films. Nero is basically a Romulan captain bent of revenge after the death of his true love. He’s a little sympathetic and a lot crazy. Shaved, tattooed and painted pale green, Bana really gets into the role without getting too over the top.