Movie Review

Star Trek

The future begins.
Star Trek Movie Poster

US Release Date: 05-07-2009

Directed by: J.J. Abrams


  • Chris Pine
  • James T. Kirk
  • Zachary Quinto
  • Spock
  • Leonard Nimoy
  • Spock Prime
  • Eric Bana
  • Nero
  • Bruce Greenwood
  • Capt. Christopher Pike
  • Karl Urban
  • Dr. Leonard McCoy
  • Zoe Saldana
  • Nyota Uhura
  • Simon Pegg
  • Scotty
  • John Cho
  • Hikaru Sulu
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Pavel Chekov
  • Ben Cross
  • Sarek
  • Pasha D. Lychnikoff
  • Romulan Commander
  • Chris Hemsworth
  • George Kirk
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: May 13th, 2009
Chekov, Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Sulu and Uhura.

Chekov, Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Sulu and Uhura.

No other show or movie has been so milked as the cow known as Gene Roddenbarry’s Star Trek. Through numerous television shows and movies, the world of Star Fleet and Klingons has been visited more often than any other setting put on film. It could be argued that the many television shows and movies wore out their welcome once the original cast of characters were no longer around. So valuable was the appeal of those original characters that they almost all made at least one appearance in a later series or movie.

With this reboot of Star Trek, all of the original crew members are back and hamming it up to a grateful audience that missed them. It starts at the moment of Kirk’s birth, “Tiberius? 'you kidding me? No, that's the worst. Lets name him after your dad. Let's call him Jim.” It shows how he gets into Star Fleet Academy and meets each of the other characters. Dr McCoy, “Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.” Mr Scott, “I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!”

Spock is likewise shown from a child to adult. His signature line, “Live long and prosper” takes on a very sarcastic tone when he is insulted by a counsel of Vulcans. Uhura’s role is greatly increased. “I'm impressed. For a moment there, I thought you were just a dumb hick who only has sex with farm animals.” Her job now also includes being an interpreter. It makes sense as all Uhura was in the original series was a interplanetary phone operator. “Please wait Mr Kahn while I connect you to the captain.”

My favorite interpretation is that of Pavel Chekov. Yelchin plays him as a hyperactive 17 year old, whose accent is cause for great laughs. Yelchin may very well be the breakout star of the year as he also plays Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation.

The movies succeeds in that it maintains all of the characters personalities. It has always been the interaction of the crew that made the show work so well. The problem some Trekkies may have is that, although Abrams is mostly true to the characters, he does take some liberties. I will not spoil them for you, but you will know them when you see them. Another problem is the huge coincidence on the snow planet.

The thing the original series did that no other movie or show was able to accomplish so well was that it lived up to the motto: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.” I recall watching the original series in rerun and enjoyed how they almost always came across something new. The Star Trek world is so well tread that enemies and characters keep making repeat appearances. It makes for a world of depth but it has lost that sense of discovery that the first series had.

Much has been made of Nimoy appearing in this movie. I wish he had not. I like Nimoy, but he only serves to remind us of him and the other actors. Even worse, his role in this movie changes the history of the Star Trek universe. Abrams does an amazing job of reinventing the series but he does so at the expense of altering some of what we have all come to know of it. I am looking forward to the sequel and hope it gets back to it's original mission of discovering new planets and aliens. In those situations, Abrams can take all the license he wants.

Reviewed on: May 27th, 2009
Sorry Chris, but you are no William Shatner.

Sorry Chris, but you are no William Shatner.

I stopped reading comic books in part because it seemed that every few years they would reinvent the storylines and origin of the characters. DC comics ended up inventing the multiverse to contain all the different versions of the superheroes, in part to explain why their heroes could live for 50 years without aging a day. Sometimes the stories were interesting, but I always felt like I was wasting an emotional investment in a character when before long his entire story might change. That's exactly the way I feel about this version of Star Trek. It's a good movie with a interesting storyline, but what about the past 40 years I've invested in the Star Trek universe? The history that I've known over that time is dismissed and gone now?

If you're a self-confessed Trekkie as I am you can't help but compare this cast to the original cast. I was surprised how easily I accepted Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban seems to channel Deforest Kelly at times. Simon Pegg is funny as Scotty but doesn't really remind me of the real Scotty at all. Zoe Saldana I'm willing to admit is actually an improvement over Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, but that's more to do with the writing than with Nichelle's acting. In the original series Uhura really was just a glorified telephone operator as you say Eric. It took me a very long time while watching to accept Pine as Kirk. Even near the end when I'd begun to accept that he was Kirk, I couldn't help but think that he's really just Kirk-lite. He's the diet Coke of Captain Kirks.

I agree with you completely Eric about the coincidence on the snow planet. In fact it makes no sense that Spock even sends Kirk there at all. Why didn't he just lock him up in the brig? Why send him to an ice planet? And the creature that Kirk runs into on that planet seems totally tacked on just to have another action sequence.

The plot itself including Eric Bana's Romulan villain almost feels extraneous to the real story which is just to show how the crew gets together aboard the Enterprise. Did it really have to be an end of the world story? And is it just me or do I detect some Doctor Who influences on how they shaped Spock here? His home planet is destroyed as Gallifrey was in the new Doctor Who and like the new Doctor, Spock seems a lot more open to female companionship this time around.

Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety or maybe I'm taking this movie too seriously. I just wish that if they wanted to make a new Star Trek, they would have set it in the Star Trek universe but with new characters. This may be a Star Trek movie, and it might even be a good movie, but it's not my Star Trek movie. Like Shatner, there's no place in this new Star Trek universe for me. I can enjoy it and probably its sequels on a shallow basis, but I'll never have the same emotional connection to them that I have to the original series.

Reviewed on: September 24th, 2011
Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek.

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek.

Clearly this movie was designed to appeal to the casual Star Trek fan like myself. As a kid I loved the original series but I haven’t followed the franchise through the years. I watched the show just enough to recognize all the familiar faces but many of the discrepancies that Scott or Eric would notice went right over my head.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Star Trek. In fact I thought it was a brilliant reboot. They found a way to tell the origins of the iconic crew of the Starship Enterprise without having to worry about all those niggling details. The fact that Spock, along with Nero and his crew, traveled back in time disrupting the time/space continuum allows for a freedom that the script would not otherwise have had.

Frankly I found this story more interesting than if Kirk’s father had remained alive. Kirk would not have gone through his troubled, rebellious period and he and Spock would have been friends from the beginning. How boring is that? Eric, I figured you would approve of how they showed Kirk growing up wild without a father’s influence.

I was caught up in the story from the beginning. As a kid I always wondered about the backgrounds of the different characters. I enjoyed seeing Kirk’s life on Earth and watching him as he meets each of his future crewmembers. I had no problem seeing Chris Pine as a young James T. Kirk. He looked right at home in that Captain’s chair.

The action scenes are handled well without being too over-the-top. The humor and character development are likewise well done. The scene where Bones sneaks Kirk aboard the ship is a good example of this and one of my favorite moments. I was intrigued by the budding romance between Spock and Uhura. It was fascinating seeing the teleportation technology in its infancy.

I even disagree about Leonard Nimoy. Having one familiar face from the original show passes the torch with a slightly sentimental touch. He is the perfect choice to play the wise old man role and I liked the fact that it is Nimoy that gets to recite the show’s classic opening line that Eric quoted. With as many different incarnations as the Star Trek universe has been through I don’t see what the problem is with this one.

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