Star to Watch
By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent
If you haven't seen "Star Trek," J.J. Abrams's action-packed reboot of Gene Roddenberry's classic franchise, not only are you missing out on what may just be the movie of the summer, but you're also a stranger to one of 2009's most inspired performances thus far. Zachary Quinto, a 31-year-old TV star who was practically unknown a few years ago, was chosen for the role of the virtuous Vulcan Spock because he bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Leonard Nimoy. But watching him in action, all strong focus and and calculated control, the fortunate likeness almost immediately takes the back burner. What roars to the forefront is an immensely entertaining and intelligent star turn, one that all but confirms a long and bright future for this dynamic and dedicated actor.
Before he was donning prosthetic pointy ears and northward-darting fake eyebrows, Quinto was already winning fans as the villainous Sylar on NBC's hit drama "Heroes." The role earned him critical acclaim (and a TV Land award that he shared with his fellow cast members), but perhaps the greatest benefit Quinto's "Heroes" work reaped was a "Star Trek" casting call, wherein Abrams says that the dark-haired, dark-eyed performer simply "was" the iconic character.
Such a claim certainly registers on the screen. Quinto delivers Spock's famously intricate, geek-scientific discourse with thrilling articulation, taking ownership of every word gifted to him by savvy screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The other actors in the film -- Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and, rather surprisingly, "Lord of the Rings" star Karl Urban -- also aim high and score big with their performances, but Quinto is a show-stealer. He puts his own permanent stamp on Spock and makes you yearn for his return every time he leaves a scene. You can't take your eyes off this guy, and since work this good is bound to steadily increase his visibility, soon, you truly won't be able to.