Star Trek (2009) Guest Reviews

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Spoiler alert. If you don't like spoilers, don't read below this sentence. Early 23rd century, USS Kelvin is attacked by a ship crewed by the Romulans from the late 24th century. Captain is killed, ship crippled, crew abandons ship, George Kirk, who was put into command by the Captain shortly before his death, pilots the ship on a suicide course into the Romulan ship to allow the shuttles a chance to escape. While on the shuttle, George Kirk's wife gives birth to James T. Kirk. As an adult, Captain Pike recruits Kirk to join Starfleet, while at the academy, the cadets (I assume the ones near graduation) are placed on active duty status, assigned ships, and ordered to Vulcan to help defend it against an attack. Vulcan is destroyed, among the dead is Spock's mother. Pike is taken hostage by the Romulans, Kirk and Spock don't get along, Spock ejects Kirk from the Enterprise onto another planet in the Vulcan star system where Kirk meets the Spock from the 24th century as well as Scotty. Spock assists with getting Kirk and Scotty onto the Enterprise and heads to Earth to take down Nero before he can destroy the planet. Upon saving the planet, destroying both ships from the future (including Spock's ship), and saving the life of Captain Pike, Kirk is given the (absurd) promotion from cadet to Captain and command of the Enterprise.

Commentary

Overall, I loved this movie. It's not a "Star Trek 2" or "First Contact" but it is worth checking out. You don't have to be a Trek fan to understand what's going on, but it was written for Trek fans to enjoy.

First, let me go into the bad: The before mentioned of Kirk's instant jump from Cadet to starship commander. Yeah Pike put him into command while the Enterprise basically had a boat load of children, but still, Kirk should have at most, gone up to Lt. The Enterprise model wasn't impressive to me. It was wrong. From having the front window on the bridge section being the view screen to engine exhaust ports on the rear of the nacelles, the entire model just felt wrong. Also the racist Vulcans. Vulcan society looks down upon Sarek for marrying a human and at Spock for being half human.

The good: The costumes were fantastic, and the sets from the Enterprise to Nero's ship were all great. Nice mix of push buttons and levers on the bridge as well as the highly industrial look of the engineering sections of the ships. The transporter isn't the super fast machine it was on Enterprise or Star Trek: The Next Generation movies. These transporters were what should have been on Enterprise, having to stand still, taking a long time to dematerialize and rematerialize. The shuttles had a good mix of old school Star Trek design, but updated to still keep the look from the old series, but not looking campy. There is no reset switch in this movie. When it's over with, Vulcan is still destroyed and the Vulcans are an endangered species, Spock doesn't go back home, and Kirk doesn't get to relive his childhood personally knowing his father.

This movie completely rewrites 'Star Trek', giving it new life by allowing a new TOS series (they already have the sets built) to take off if the Powers That Be so decide, and if they go that route, and seeing the changes that happened in this movie, I would like to see the changes with TNG and DS9 as well. I really wouldn't expect to see much change with a Voyager series based in this new time line.

This movie is also shows pain and death in a way that no other series dealt with. Most memorable death was early in the movie was a woman screaming and crying as she held on for dear life before getting sucked into the vacuum of space. Also the scene on Vulcan where the council was evacuating and one was squashed under a falling statue.

I was on the fence about the Enterprise's rapid firing phaser banks. There were more on this ship than on the model from TOS, and the original never fired as rapidly as this one did. But given the loss of the Kelvin, I guess Starfleet put more research into weaponry.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Jason Feagans)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Date 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I'll preface this review with saying that I've never been opposed to a complete reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Especially after the failure that Nemesis was, and the cancellation of ENT, only something radical could save Star Trek from itself. In fact, I had been pretty confused that they never fully admitted to calling it a reboot, as if just to appease fans. But now that I've seen it, I must say they did something very clever.

You see.. this is an alternate reality created by Nero and Spock-Prime. Now, the immediate question that matters for any alternate reality is "why should we even care about this, and not *our* Star Trek universe!?". I think they addressed this in two ways:

First of all, this movie is mostly about characters, and boy, does it have those. "Star Trek" is full of action, comedy and even a bit of romance, and the main characters are just really good. Chris Pine's Kirk may lack the philosophical angle that Kirk had in TOS, but he's definitely got the bravado, the stubbornness and the sense of humor of the original. Quinto's Spock has the advantage of looking uncannily like the original, and he seems a bit more 'bipolar' than the extraordinary Spock portrayed by Nimoy. It helps to show a progression in the character. Nimoy's Spock is more balanced than he's ever been before, comfortably talking about his friendship with Kirk-Prime, and yet clearly still the logical Spock we love. Finally, Karl Urban's McCoy is perhaps the best character in terms of similarity to the original. The first scene he has with Kirk immediately establishes him as the character we know and love, and it's good to have the friendship between Kirk and McCoy established very early on.

A second way in which the new setting is 'sold' to us, is via Spock-Prime. Not only did Nimoy give his blessing to the movie by appearing in it, his character actually is the element that ties this new Star Trek to the old one. Spock, now one of the leaders of the surviving Vulcans, seems to settle into this new Trek with full confidence. Spock is happy to be here, and so should we.

At the end of the movie, with the Enterprise flying away with Spock's "to boldy go" speech, the big question that arises is: What now for Star Trek? The characters are fine, but they definitely have to evolve as an ensemble. Sulu, Scotty and Chekov are mostly background characters in the movie, and the Spock/Kirk/McCoy trio didn't have that many scenes together. It will be interesting to see a more settled Captain Kirk, with McCoy and Spock as his 'alter-egos'.

In conclusion, this movie seems to hit the right notes, and is very enjoyable for Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike. I'm sure that it will fill online forums with discussion for years to come, but I think that even the most die-hard fan will find something to like in this movie. A 9 out of 10 (there's always something to improve), and definitely in the Top 3 with Wrath of Khan and First Contact.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Harry Doddema)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

In short: Did I like it? Oh, yes. Did I love it? Doubleplus yes.

Reboot? Well... it does not ignore the events of the 700+ episodes and 10 other movies. Instead, we get a time travel story which changes the *whole* timeline. Original Series continuity? Gone. The Next Generation? Gone. Deep Space 9? Gone. Voyager… gone too. I frown at the thought that the only thing that seems unaffected is Enterprise which never lived up to its premise till season 4. As an avid fan, effectively erasing that much continuity to evade the words “reboot” is, well, a tad bit too much. As much as I hate reboots, I wish it was one.

Nero was an ok villain. I would have definitely liked to see more of him onscreen. He got a Star-Trek style explanation of his motives (which is: he is not just an evil megalomaniac genocidal creep), but we never really got to know him better, he remains too much in the back. I little more interaction with him would have served the movie better, because apart from his back story which takes up about one minute in the movie, he is never really more than your generic genocidal maniac. He doesn’t seem to have any doubts about his goals, any reflection on himself. Pity.

The Vulcans are much, much more emotional than ever before, and this includes Spock (well, that’s one case I can understand) it just doesn’t really feel well with me, supposing we are talking about the same Vulcan from TOS.

The characters are all likeable (well, we know them already, don’t we?), the acting is generally solid, and the humor never fails short. The pacing is fast, but good, and you never start pinching in your seat. The effects are also very well done.

I still don’t like the all-too sterile Enterprise bridge, or neither the redesigned ship itself. She just doesn’t seem to have good proportions in my eyes. The one from the TOS movies looks better any day (or for that matter, the 1960’s one too…)

Verdict: 8/10

Rating: 8 (Mark Bakos)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233: While studying a spatial anomaly that looks like a storm in space the USS Kelvin is attacked by a 24th century Romulan ship commanded by Nero. During the attack first officer promoted to Captain George Kirk sacrifices his life while saving the life of his crew, wife, and new born son James Tiberius Kirk. Years later an angry young Jim Kirk is recruited by Christopher Pike to join Starfleet. During his third year in the academy and while beating the Kobayashi Maru test designed by Spock, the new recruits are assigned to their ships and sent to answer a distress signal from Vulcan which is under attack. The planet is destroyed by the Romulans while Captain Pike is taken hostage and the newly commissioned Enterprise is damaged, amongst the casualties is Spock's mother Amanda Grayson just a few survive. During its hasty retreat toward a rendezvous point with the fleet, acting captain Spock maroons Kirk on a planet of the Vulcan system where he is saved by Spock from the 24th century. The new pair go to the Federation outpost and meet Montgomery Scott. Kirk and Scott are beamed to the Enterprise by Spock where Kirk, after following advise from the old Vulcan, takes command of the Enterprise and sets a course to Earth. As the Enterprise approaches Earth, Spock and Kirk beam over to the Romulan Vessel where Spock takes his future self's ship in order to save the Earth while Kirk rescues Captain Pike. With both future vessels destroyed, James Kirk is promoted to Captain and given command of the Enterprise while the future Spock joins as part of the new Vulcan council and set to a new colony.

Commentary

The story in itself is one that can be enjoyed by Trek fans and non-Trek fans alike. While still avoiding the whole reboot of the universe it has to be taken into account that yes all that was written and established during the original series and movies will never happen or at least be changed in someway will leave the door wide open to new stories or takes on known Trek Lore. The cast does a good job in performing especially Carl Urban who managed to get the pacing and timing perfect of the late DeForest Kelley to a point that if he could have gotten a bit of a southern twang you wouldn't be able to differentiate them. The visual effects prove yet another master piece on behalf of ILM giving the whole unity to the Starfleet vessels. And the tiny nods to the already stipulated and now gone canon proves that at least some of the research was done on part of the writers, although the fact that Uhura is ordering a Cardassian drink on a time when no first contact has been made, and Scotty has a Tribble for pet. The sets on the other hand would have to be the worst in the history of Star Trek including the cardboard and paper-mâché sets of the Original Series with all due respect to the new production designer but the highly industrial look of both the Kelvin's hangar bay and the Enterprise's engineering section that do look more like a factory than a modern day sailing ship's engine room, without mentioning that the viewscreen, is an actual window now as if the whole solid wall of the bridge of the Enterprise-E in Nemesis wasn't fragile enough and how is it possible that there is a large corridor behind the bridge when it is supposed to be on the top of the module. The exhaust pipe lights of the warp engines another thing that just would've wish they could leave either the engines of the movie models or the tv show ones. The low reverb and roar of the engines of old being replaced by an annoying turbine sound for them was yet one of the things that I keep telling to myself what the hell are you guys thinking.

Rating: 6 (Luis R. Camarillo)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I saw the new Star Trek today here in Australia where it's released a bit ahead of the US. I must say I'm somehow sceptical, making me thinking this movie only deserves 5/10 (though actually this is a bit too simple to be evaluated in such a way).

Overall, I think the film is enjoyable and a good moment. Any fan or casual viewer will appreciate the vision Abrams has given us of the 23rd century. The computer generated effects feels very good and there are a lot of details to catch. There’s a lot of action, the rhythm and editing are relatively well done, though it’s getting too fast sometimes. But it also convey some emotions, I was especially moved during the introduction when Kirk’s father struggle to save as many as possible of his crew, sacrificing himself in the process.

The actors play well. I haven’t seen much of TOS but I did see the TOS-based movies and I think they get the characters relatively well despite the obvious changes brought into the timeline by the film’s events. I found the new McCoy and Scotty quite funny – the former giving the famous "I’m a doctor, not a ..." and the latter bashing this poor little alien – but I was surprised by the relationship between Uhura and Spock. This was interesting, and serves making Spock more human and Uhura friendlier I think, since she appears really as someone very arrogant at some times. I just think that Chekov’s accent is exaggerated. How could StarFleet, even when it has no available ship with active crew in the vicinity (how surprising...) accept that such a man having difficulties to be understood even by the sophisticated Enterprise’s computer be drafted for immediate service? Sure, he appears to be some sort of little genius but is that enough ? How about English lessons (and the translator ?).

There’s a lot of humour there and references to the "real world" or other movies. The Nokia phone and tune in the teenager Kirk’s car was priceless...

Also, Nero’s ship’s inside (and Kirk & Nero’s actions there) looked really as homage to Star War Episode I.

Now if you move to details or the general alterations to the timeline, it gets darker. Science and "Trek-science" are both portrayed with some huge approximations. A single "supernova" threatening the whole galaxy? It does not look like a lethal Gamma ray burst, rather like every single star would be suddenly exploding. There are strange black hole things going on. How could Nero’s ship be taken into the black hole without being destroyed in the 24th century and then, latter in the film, first stand with a formed black hole just in the middle of its superstructures and then, a few minutes after, be sucked into it? And anyway, a black hole would certainly not behave like that.

The orbital jump is a good scene but has some physical or logical faults. How the guys slowed down to enter the atmosphere at a reasonable speed? Because when they were in this shuttle they were in orbit... As soon as they went outside, they just fell to the planet... Now, okay, I could forgive that and say there was some unshown deceleration time.

The classical problem of sound in space is actually better served than elsewhere. At some points, at least 2 times I can remember properly but there might be more, the viewer moves from a sound-rich environment inside a ship to the silence of space (when one crewman is ejected outside of the Kelvin and when Kirk et al. space dive. But numerous other times you have the ships doing their usual noises...

In terms of "inside universe" technologies the transporters get the most bizarre. Scotty goes as to claim that he can teleport living beings between different systems, light-years across. And we are shown that the Enterprise hiding in Titan’s upper atmosphere (that is a bit too sharp in terms of when you are in/out of the clouds) can teleport people in Earth’s orbit.

I think the engineering room was okay though it looks too "obsolete" at some points. No warp core (seems like we got five instead...) ? Why no large computer access point like on the bridge ? They’d make sense in engineering too. And they should at least have hidden the very 19th century pipes’ wheels... Also it’s a bit difficult to understand the new warp drive mechanism. Plus as usual the speed and relative time is fuzzy at best. It looks like they take 5 minutes to go from Earth to Vulcan yet we hear Scotty saying that boosting the ship to Warp 4 would be something difficult... There seems to be exhausts involved in the process at the end of the nacelles too.

While San Francisco looked awesome (as well as the Vulcan city, the stalactite-like buildings are nice), it had the problem of looking too like Coruscant. Maybe it was intentional but I have always pictured Star Trek’s Earth not to be a planet housing metropolis with building rising several kilometres in altitude!

To conclude on that part, sometime it’s a bit gross how the characters progress. Kirk moves from cadet to captain in a couple of what seems to be days.

Now on to the major problem for me: the timeline alteration. The crew discuss that onscreen and appears to become aware of that really fast. The way they use the word "alternate universe" is a bit strange character-wise because it looks like they admit they are themselves the alternates while I guess anyone would assume from its conscious perception that his/her reality it the non-alternate, main one. I guess this is a way the writers have found to try to calm down people that will start to complain about all the changes here. To be frank, I could have accommodated the changes brought by the first set of Nero’s action, i.e. the impact on Kirk’s early life. But when it comes to destroying Vulcan, nope, that’s too much. Bernd said at some point the following: "Many fans, including Orci himself, are apparently under the impression that the alterations of the timeline in the new 'Abramsverse' are small enough that they could only invalidate some events of TOS but would ultimately not affect the 24th century as depicted in TNG/DS9/VOY." Well, Orci and these fans’ vision cannot be more untrue. Destroying Vulcan – as well as large numbers of vessels both in Federal and Klingon fleets – simply cannot be correct by some "the universe is setting itself right" mantra (which, objectively, does not make a lot of sense to me). You remove Vulcan, you invalidate all the episodes and movies that have revolved around it or included it, close and far from the film’s date. When Orci tries to explain that the older continuity still exist somewhere in the multiverse, he seems to imply that the film could still lead to the following Trek without any much problem. That does not work (Bernd’s explanations for that are quite good) and I think they should have from the beginning told us this was going to be a full-fledged reboot. Including elements to make the movie a Star Trek movie, even when they are faithfully followed, but destroying the timeline we know by removing such an iconic planet as Vulcan doest no make a prequel, it makes a reboot. A "mild" one so to say, but still one. That’s my main disappointment from this new Star Trek. It is not the original Star Trek, but a new one. I saw in a review that this move allowed for the future Trek to be free of the "we all know how the characters ended" that plagued it (according to the reviewer) but that only makes sense if one assumes that the whole new Trek is going to be prequel. Moving to the future (post Nemesis) would have been quite a potent idea, even keeping the possibility to bring back into the film Nimoy!

I’m sure however that the film will have a success and lead to some sequels and perhaps a new television serial. But to me, and I guess a lot of people, this Trek will never be "the" Star Trek we know. It will be Abrams’ Trek.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (Sébastien Demmel)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Well, I just saw the new movie the other night and although I was skeptical from the day I first heard about the general storyline and stayed skeptical with every new information that became available, I must say - damned, what a great movie, what great actors, what thrilling action and what new views of familiar things!

Even the new Enterprise looked good, but I think that can be mainly attributed to the fact that the one side view that has been available now for some time could only be seen for a few seconds on screen. All the other views just showed parts of the ship. From a prop fan / phaser fan point of view, there is not to much to be seen, no close-ups I remember or anything. But I went out of the theater and for the first time in years had the urge to see that movie again soon. That has not happened in a long time.

I am trying not to give too much away, but I am pleased with the way they explained the difference to the Star Trek we all knew up until this movie. The look of things is familiar, yet advanced (although even TOS can look good on screen today, it has been proven often in the last years), the aliens do look like more than just a few forehead appliances, the men are bold and the women good looking.

If there are things that did not quite work out for me yesterday evening, then it would be these things.

Two are purely from a visual point of view.

  1. The engine room set just plainly looks like a cheaply redressed factory or power plant. With all those steel beams and pipes it just does not fit with the rest of the interior design, namely the bridge and the corridors. Sorry guys, that set I just did not buy. And it did not even convey that sense that this ship is really big. Sorry, no way! On the other hand, I did buy the look of the shuttles. Just take a look at contemporary trucks with their dirty and used surfaces, purely designed to fulfill a task, not to look like a slick sports car without any use. Definitely one skepticism deleted or explained away.
  2. Although a minor thing, but using a 20th century forklift so far in the future just does not work either (hangar set at Star Fleet Headquarters). It just plainly looked cheap the +5 seconds it was visible (carrying something that looked like a Euro palette)
  3. That Nokia product placement in the Corvette scene.
  4. I would have loved to find out how they got the Enterprise into space.

From a story line point of view (BEWARE - SPOILER AHEAD!) I really had a problem how Scotty suddenly became Chief Engineer. McCoy's succession in the chain of command had been stated in on-screen dialogue, but I never heard why Scotty became chief engineer and how he suddenly gained all knowledge to even eject the warp core(s) successfully. Hey - even Geordi couldn't get it to work on numerous occasions.

Of course the movie had quite some scene and dialogues that we saw and heard before and that they surely included to calm us longtime fans - but hey, it worked, I had a good time finding them. Being it the Vulcan school type of thing, that reminded me of the test scene in "Star Trek IV", the Kobayashi Maru test and the apple, that was clearly a tip to the hat for that "Star Trek II" scene in the Genesis cave. And I am sure that I remember even more great scenes as soon as I send this review.

So let me close with the recommendation that you should really see this movie, for me, it worked as advertised - entertaining for the regular moviegoer, fun and action packed yet full of big and small references to what we have come to admire in the past +40 years. I am really looking forward to the next time I will see this movie and hopefully some more with those actors.

Rating: 10 (Thorsten Wieking)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I'm a Vulcan fan. I'm such a Vulcan fan that I went to the premiere of the J.J. Abrams's Star Trek film in my TOS minidress and woochie space ears. And overall, as a Vulcan fan and a Trek fan, I wasn't disappointed.

The new reboot was largely an energetic, action-packed film that had plenty in it to satisfy the casual or serious fan. In fact, of the people I saw the movie with, it was those who hadn't watched much Star Trek at all who seemed the most confused by the time-travel-based plot. They also seemed to miss many of the character and episode references that really made this movie terrific. Despite the creative team's best efforts, I really think this was a movie for the fans.

Their attention to detail was particularly evident in the casting. Nearly every casting choice was spot-on. The core trio of Spock, Kirk, and Bones, especially, were well-cast, though Simon Pegg also deserves a nod as Scotty.

But, like I said, I'm a Vulcan fan. And, man, did Zachary Quinto fill some very tall boots terrifically well. His portrayal of Spock felt very close to the best Spock TOS episodes -- "Amok Time", "This Side of Paradise" -- episodes where his emotions often bubbled over. It's a large part of what makes Spock compelling as a character, of course, and Quinto does a good job of tapping into this.

Other details about Vulcan are also quite nice and seemed to have stuck closely to the continuity established in the novels. I've already read about objections to the barely-concealed prejudice that Spock faces, but it felt true-to-novel-canon, at least. The details seemed particularly redolent of my favorite Vulcan novel, Sarek.

It might seem strange that someone that's interested at all in canon be all right with the premise of the film. However, logically, this can only stand beside our established continuity, rather than replace it; older Spock's intact memories are a nod to this, and of course, if this didn't create a whole new timeline it would create a tremendous time paradox. I'm fairly certain that by naming Nimoy's character "Spock Prime" in the credits, the writers were showing their awareness of this. I'm fairly certain that Star Trek Prime, so to speak, still exists -- only without Spock. What a shame, though it's better than wiping out the timeline completely.

There are some silly bits to the film, sure, like Kirk's quick advance to captain. But the only bit I'm still unsure about is the new relationship between Spock and Uhura. While I really enjoyed the fleshing out of her character (again, in keeping with the novels' continuity, she becomes a linguistic genius and even gets a first name), and while I think a relationship between the two of them isn't too far a stretch, I think that if Spock here is anything like Spock Prime, it won't end happily. And I'd hate to see Uhura finally get fleshed out only to become someone's girlfriend.

But that might just be the fangirl in me talking, wanting new, young, sexy Spock all for myself.

Rating: 8 (Phoebe)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 5-7-09: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

OK, I literally just sat down from watching the movie. In my opinion as a film, it rates a solid 10. Plenty of emotion, loads of action, some interesting technobabble, etc. As a Star Trek movie, I say 8.

Given that this film is a "parallel" timestream I can forgo most of the continuity breaks with two major exceptions.

  1. The Enterprise
    From the saucer back/down to the main deflector I can let it slide but after that.... It reminds me of the inflatable Enterprise from TAS and the Ramada Hotel chain. The nacelles are grotesque to be blunt and the engineering hull makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I stopped at BK on the way home and I have to say I think they kid's meal toy of the Enterprise is about as accurate a model as the CGI one from the film.
  2. Spock & Uhura
    Need I say more? Although I could potentially forgive (this being an alternate timestream and all) I really wished they had waited until the last third of the film to bring it up. The way it was done made it appear that this relationship has been going on for some time. It was very un-Spock like, especially considering that I really enjoyed the performance of the character.

The casting choices were all very good, Kirk and Chekov being the weakest in my mind with Scotty coming in third. I also thought that Karl Urban would have made an excellent Gary Mitchell if that character would have come up.

On to the villain. He seems pretty smart for some lowly miner (no offense to any miners out there), but then again he seemed at once both cunning and idiotic, rather reminiscent of the villain from the Thunderbirds reboot a few years ago.

You'll notice that almost every Star Trek cliché phrase is used in this movie, albeit appropriately. Also I thought the scene where Chekov tries to "log in" to make the announcement quite obviously manufactured just for laughs; I don't remember Walter Koenig having that much trouble ever... and since when do you need to give a password to use the intercom?

I'll need to watch the film again but I thought that at the climax the warp core was supposed to be ejected... but it looked to me like they tossed the antimatter storage pods out the back...

I'm glossing over a ton of details but it's late, I'm tired and I'll leave the professional dissertations to Mr. Schneider's capable hands.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Raven)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I have a flight to catch in the morning and gotta make this quick. I really liked this movie. I thought it was a step in the right direction. However, with me it is easier to talk about the things I didn't like. Namely, they essentially kill of the Romulans and the Vulcans! I personally would like to know that in the future Romulus and the new Vulcan colony thrive. But that's just a personal thing.

I think there is a common opinion that the engine room sucks. It DOES look like a factory. It doesn't look like it belongs with the rest of the ship. Space Mutiny anyone??? That should be number one on the list of changes.

Well that's really all, I'm fine with timeline changes, its just a shock, which I think its supposed to be.

Rating: - (Jonathan Hunter)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

*****SPOILERS*****

This is Star Trek. True, the Enterprise doesn't look exactly the same. True, they either changed the warp factor or moved Vulcan closer to Earth... seeing as how the fleet got from Earth to Vulcan in three minutes. True, they kill Spock's mother. Oh yeah, they destroy Vulcan too. BUT, none of this takes away from the fact that this feels like a Star Trek movie. Time Travel and alternate realities aren't new to the Star Trek mythos -- Star Trek practically created them. But this film takes and interesting spin on the idea, and a conversation that takes place on the bridge between our beloved characters explores this idea. Once it is established that this is an alternate reality...there is NO reason why the Enterprise must look the same, etc. True, I felt like weeping like a 5 yr old when Vulcan imploded... I mean, that's the Holy Grail of Trek. But I think that was the point. The audience needed to sympathize with Spock and the surviving Vulcans.

On to the characters, they are all perfect. Chris Pine IS James T. Kirk (even without the Shatnerisms ;) ). Zachary Quinto IS Spock, even though he is a much more troubled Spock, you still feel this is the green blooded, pointy eared Vulcan you've come to love. I cannot say enough about Karl Urban's portrayal of Bones, so I'll leave that to you. Let's just say that DeForest Kelly would be proud. Zoe Saldana portrays Uhura very nicely, and actually gives this character a new face, almost a complete face lift. Her acting is superb, and you just feel like she belongs where she is. Everyone else on the crew...are their characters. You never for one second feel like they are impersonating or mocking. They respect them, and bring their own take to the classic series. Christopher Pike was an excellent addition to the film, and I am very pleased with his character. (Note: hint to TOS, he may be more like the original by the end than in the beginning, but I'll leave that for you) Now, onto Nero. I love the villain of the story, and this is NO exception. You really feel for this guy. I even feel more for him than I did Kahn. Eric Bana did his best work here, no question.

The special effects are superb, I'm not gonna begin to describe them because I can't do them justice. The music is probably the best out of any Trek film or show, although I was honestly bummed that they didn't incorporate the original score until the end. But, that's just my opinion.

Go see this movie. Whether you are a die hard Trekker or Trekkie, or just casually enjoy watching the series, you won't be disappointed. Go in with an open mind, and you will find that this is Star Trek...

Oh, Nimoy's performance as well was great, and his "Space, the Final Frontier" speech at the end couldn't have felt better. Talk about giving you chills up and down your spine. But take the advice of someone who loves to pick apart movies...go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Norm Ressler)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

"Star Trek XI" is the worst of the Star Trek movie entries. It shoves "Star Trek V" to next to the worse Star Trek Movie slot.

Abrams ignores 43 years of Star Trek history in order to bring in new "fans". In order to have the creative freedom he desires he gets Paramount to agree to a revisionism of the series.

The Movie is very bad. There is no plot, no script, no story. It goes too fast. (One wonders if this is done so people will not have time to focus or think on the bad movie they are seeing.) Also the photography is very poor. You can barely see the film.

However the worst thing about the movie is that they destroy Vulcan. They ignore canon. This movie is not Star Trek. It is Abramsprise.

0 stars out of 10

BOMB

Rating: 0 (Magnum Serpentine)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.4 (new stardate system): Goes Boldly

Commentary

On May 7, 2009, I watched STAR TREK (dubbed "Star Trek 2.0″ in some fan circles), and I thought I’d share my spoiler-free thoughts.

To quote Kirk from Star Trek: Generations, "It was...fun!" This film felt more genuinely fun than any of the previous films. The purpose of this movie was to introduce Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the gang to a new audience, and the characters all come across as likable and charismatic. None of these characters is a point-for-point copy of its 1.0 counterpart, and as much as I like our TOS heroes from Trek 1.0, I’m glad that the 2.0 characters are free to evolve as they will without being constrained by 40-plus years of continuity. Having said that, there are moments when McCoy 2.0 is uncannily similar to McCoy 1.0.

The visual effects are impressive -- especially the first few shots of the USS Kelvin. The planet Vulcan has a cool new look -- the jagged landscape resembles the Vasquez Rocks on steroids. I like the new transporter effect, although it reminds me somewhat of an effect from The Green Mile.

This is an all-new Trek universe, but there are several tips of the hat to Trek 1.0. For example there is a reference to a character from the prequel TV series Enterprise. The original series sound effects can be heard from time to time. Majel Barrett gives her final performance as a ship’s computer voice. It’s somewhat ironic that the only two TOS regulars who have parts in this film are also the only two TOS regulars who had parts alongside Jeffrey Hunter in "The Cage."

Some fans won’t like the changes -- some of which are very notable -- in this new timeline. None of them bothered me, but I’ve wanted a "reboot" of the Trek world for years.

Leonard Nimoy portrays an older Spock. I won’t describe his back story, since that would spoil the plot somewhat, but I will say that there is a scene between Nimoy’s Spock and Kirk 2.0 which is at times touching to this old-school fan.

The story is okay. It doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, but the same can be said for the stories of all previous Trek films. The story also isn’t "hard sci-fi" by any means. There are also no long stretches of characters sitting in a briefing room and spewing nonsensical technobabble at one another. There is some nonsensical technobabble, but it’s brief, and it’s delivered with some levity.

I’d watch the film again in the theater, and I’d watch a sequel. On a scale of one to ten, I give the new STAR TREK film a solid 7 or 8.

Rating: 8 (Greg Tyler, Trekplace.com)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

[WARNING: This review contains some minor spoilers]

The controversy surrounding this motion picture has been unprecedented in the franchise history. Fans will argue for years on where this film is placed in the canonical universe of Star Trek. First off, I’m a purest at heart and my greatest fear for this movie was that it would trample all over the universe and characters I’d come to care about. Yet, I wanted to give it a fair chance and try to take an objective approach in analyzing the story depicted. After all, it’s been quite some time since Trek has hit the big screen and even longer since a trek film did well. So, in order to do this we must look at the movie from two different contexts: how does the movie stand on its own and how does it fit within the franchise.

The film itself was almost a masterpiece. First off the acting was superb. Chris pine nailed the character of Kirk without imitating Shatner. The whole time I was watching his performance I was thinking this is Kirk and not some caricature of Shatner’s performance in the role. Furthermore, it wasn’t Chris Pine playing Han Solo/Indiana Jones playing Kirk. Zach Quinto’s portrayal of Spock was almost as compelling, though I think Quinto will be one of those actors who always plays himself and then the role (like George Clooney for example). I was hoping for a little more range out of him. During the "angry Spock" scene where he and Kirk fight; his performance reflected way too much Sylar and I kept waiting to see the top of Kirk’s head to fall off while he absorbed Kirk’s supernatural ability to seduce any women of any race with just the raise of an eyebrow. Urban’s portrayal of McCoy was spot on and the most believable of all the roles. Unfortunately, he wasn’t give near as much screen time as I’d have liked. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura was very compelling. John Cho’s Sulu was adequate, but very stiff. Anton Yelchin’s Chekov is decent as well (although Yelchin overplayed the Russian accent a little too much for my taste). On the downside I had trouble getting used to Simon Pegg as Scotty. He doesn’t look a thing like James Doohan. I also didn’t buy his origin story. Though, he does provide some genuinely funny comic relief in the film. Bruce greenwood’s Pike was very well played as well. Lastly, Nimoy's portrayal of Spock Prime was nothing short of sensational and his role was far from a cameo. It was integral to the plot and the movie simply could not have been done without him. It was such a joy to see him in the role one last time and he truly gave it his all. The last outstanding "character" was the USS Enterprise herself. When I first saw the design I was extremely skeptical, but I have admit that that the new Enterprise has grown on me considerably--especially having now seen it on the big screen and in the context of the film. While the bridge certainly looks like an Ipod store the overall design was still reminiscent of the original. The only part I had trouble with was the engine room. It looked like they rented a waste reclamation plant then threw up some flat screens with Enterprise Okudagrams. Sure they were trying to give a sense of mass and space to engine room, but I just didn’t like it. This is the only part of the ship that seemed "alien" to me and was in no way even slightly reminiscent of any Starfleet engine room we’ve seen before. There was no sign of a warp core, matter/anti-matter injectors etc. And since when do starships have multiple warp cores? That being said I still like the overall design and to see the ship in action added a context to the design that just can’t be gleaned from the production photos.

A film like this is only as good as its villain and I have to agree that Nero is the best we’ve seen since Kahn. My only disappointment is that the movie didn’t flesh out his motivation as well as I’d like. But if you read the movie prequel/TNG sequel graphic novel Countdown; you’ll get a much better picture of who Nero is and his motivation for revenge.

The story was absolutely compelling and the pacing never let up. The climax packed a wallop. Most of all it struck the perfect balance between action and character. Undoubtedly, the film’s greatest strength lies in its character development and interactions. The classic troika of Kirk, Spock and McCoy is still there, yet there were very few Kirk/Spock/McCoy moments. I was very impressed with how involved Uhura was in the story.

Now to the questions of canon. I won’t list all the canon violations I spotted. Everything from ship and station design to uniforms was changed. And since when did Vulcan have a blue sky? 90% of these canon violations are explained by direct dialogue in the movie as being the result of Nero’s time travel. This includes everything from the ship, equipment and uniforms differences to other instances such as Kirk’s meeting w/ Pike, face to face w/ Romulans, etc. And unlike most other time travel stories in Star Trek, there is no magic reset at the end of the story, so we are left with the damage Nero caused to the timeline.

Do I buy their explanation? I will grant that it’s reasonably plausible (for science fiction), but the film creates quite a dilemma for hard core fans. Ultimately the film creates and alternate timeline that invalidates several TOS episodes such as "Balance of Terror", "Obsession" and aspects of "The Menagerie", "The Cage" and "A Piece of the Action" not to mention every single TOS, TNG, DS9 or VOY episode that features the planet Vulcan. There are surely more. And the question is already begged whether the characters from TNG, DS9 and VOY will even exist in the new timeline. Ultimately these questions are never answered in the film. Though some of this may be inferred if we take into account the events of the graphic novel Countdown as canon. Countdown was intended as a prequel to the film. Though no other graphic novel or comic has ever been treated as canon before that I’m aware of. What the events of this film does do is wipe the slate clean for future installments, so in that respect it is clearly a reboot, yet all along the way JJ Abrams pays homage to the all trek before with everything from sounds effects to Tribbles and much of Spock Prime’s dialogue.

Conclusion: In spite of all this the film in my opinion is the best Trek since "The Wrath of Khan" or "First Contact". What JJ Abrams has done is literally the impossible: not only to make Trek relevant again, but also appeal to both fans on newcomers alike. And he absolutely succeeds. The story was compelling, the screenplay topnotch, the acting superb (mostly), and the special effect astounding. Most importantly it clearly follows in the spirit of what Gene Roddenberry envisioned for these characters and this universe. Is the film flawless? Absolutely not. Are all canon violations explained away? Most, but not all. (Keep in mind every series and movie--especially ENT and ST:N--had serious canon issues as well.) The bottom line: ultimately and most importantly this movie is still Star Trek. If you are even a casual fan of Star Trek, I recommend and encourage you to see this movie at least once.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (J. Stewart)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

This movie is excellent, no matter how you look at it. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s action-packed. Does it force you to think about issues in a different light, as "true science fiction" is supposed to? No, but I don’t think it needed to do that at this point. That’s what the inevitable sequels are for.

Overall, its an origin story. But unlike most movies focusing on the origin of characters you know, besides the fact that these characters are different versions of the ones you may know, I believe the movie stands on its own without considering anything that came before it or what might come after it. It’s fun and unpredictable, with an amazing cast and special effects. The whole thing (sound design, production design, costume design, characterization, plot) keeps enough of what made The Original Series and its characters great while changing things enough to keep even the most die hard Trekkie interested in what’s going to happen. It also managed to give every crew member (especially the usually underused Chekov and Uhura) an opportunity to contribute more than in any Star Trek (movie or episode) before, which is an impressive feat.

Honestly, the stuff that I explained in my PREVIEW was the only part that really bothered me. After seeing the movie, I can see that they could have marketed and sold this movie as a reboot of the franchise (like Casino Royale) and the general audience would be fine with it. Adding the elements from the "Prime" reality and having to explain what happened in the future (and having to explain that its not the future of what we’re watching now) slowed the film down a bit toward the middle, but it does tie into the plot directly and allow 40 years of Trek history not to be erased. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the concept, I just think it could have been handled a bit differently.

Some people may complain about the coincidences that led to everyone being at the right place at the right time. I’d admit that some of it was a stretch, but unlike most origin stories, we didn’t have to spend the whole movie maneuvering to get to certain positions to make a difference; they were all thrust into the positions, through coincidence or willpower or simply because they belonged in those positions. And that’s good enough for me.

Usually during movies, no matter how much I look forward to them, part of me is wondering how long its been on and how much is left in the movie. That didn’t happen in this movie. I got lost in the film, and even thought I knew the basics of what was going to happen because I can’t resist spoilers, I was still surprised and pleased every second. That’s the sign of a good movie, at least to me.

Things I loved:

Things I’m not so sure about:

Things I really didn’t like:

Rating: 10 (Drew (doubleofive) Stewart)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I LOVED the new "Star Trek" film. I held it equal with "Wrath of Khan", but in the end, it wins hands down. Some of you know that I was genuinely worried about parts of this film. Trust me...it's all explained by the end of the film. Nero's time travel seriously messed up time. Then, he did it again. That being said, there is no "reset" button, and the damage is done for good. Elder Spock is the only remaining survivor of an alternate reality, (e.g. all of Star Trek as we know it from TOS upward), and the future of the young Enterprise crew is still undetermined; anything can happen. Yes, it defies and slaughters canon. But, the catch is, it acknowledges that it does so. In a scene towards the middle of the movie, Spock deduces that, because of the changes in time, their lives and their destinies are changed from what they could have been. Elder Spock even admits to Kirk that his past did not work out the same way as it works out for the young crew, and is genuinely surprised by some of the things that have happened. With that out of the way, what is there to fear? All designs and advanced technology can be easily explained. Meeting the Romulans IS explained. Really, there is nothing to worry about. This is truly a perfect example of film making itself. The special effects are better than any others I have ever seen. The acting is phenomenal. It's like...everything we love from TOS and the TOS movies, and nothing we don't on crack. The only canon quibble I have with it is the location of Delta Vega. Apparently, this is either another Delta Vega than the one in "Where no man has gone before", or it's a genuine mistake. Whichever it may be, the planet Vulcan can be seen in very close proximity to Delta Vega. That's probably the only problem with the entire movie. What really pleasantly shocked me was the emotionality and comedy this film had. There are several laugh out loud moments, especially for fans who will get all of the in-jokes and allusions to the Original Series. It also brought a tear to my eye. I won't give away too much, suffice to say that Kirk's father is the real definition of a hero. Aside from the whole ice planet thing, this is a perfect Star Trek movie. Michael Giacchino's score is amazing; without it, it just wouldn't be as great a film. What else can I say? By far, this is the best, and most exciting movie that I've seen since 'Return of the King' in the theater.

In closing, I want to share how special this event was to me. There was a large amount of Trekkies who came to the theater in full Starfleet uniforms last night. That in itself was touching. Star Trek is a franchise that has gone through so many makeovers, re-dos, and buff ups; and it's made some pretty bad mistakes over the years. But, the fan base is still so passionate. I got in a discussion with a thirtysomething guy a couple of rows behind me while the lights were still up. He had his wife, and parents and sister with him; all sporting Star Trek t-shirts. He reminisced with me about how his dad used bring home old beta tapes and VHS tapes of Trek movies, and how he was raised on the Next Generation t.v. show. That spoke volumes. My two friends sitting on either side of me however, had never seen ANY Star Trek before. Bottom line: everyone was pleased when the credits rolled. It made everyone that was there happy. It was the most fun I've had in a theater because people laughed, and clapped in unison at the best moments of the movie. The Kobayashi Maru test was one of my favorite parts in the film, because it happened exactly as it was spoken of in "TWOK". Just great moments like that made the film. The first time Leonard Nimoy appeared onscreen. The people clapped. When Scotty yelled over the engineering room, into the wall communicator "I'm givin' it all she's got, Capn'!", the people cheered. The whole experience was great for newcomers, and a love fest for old fans. What a crowd pleaser. The action and special effects were breathtaking, while the acting was spot-on. And, during the last few seconds of the film, when the beautiful new Enterprise slowly flew on the screen, and Leonard Nimoy's voice recited the "Space: the final frontier..." speech while the TOS theme began to play, I thought to myself 'This is it. This is everything I love about Star Trek summed up in one film'. I got chills.

J.J. Abrams was infamously quoted for having said that he was not making this film for the fans. He might not have had the fans in mind while directing the movie, but I'll tell you what: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci had them in mind. They did a marvelous job, and Abrams' directing was spectacular. You see, Star Trek has always had the potential to be THIS great; it just hasn't been able to manifest itself all of the time. It needed a bold new group of people to spice it up a little. My advice to Trekkies like myself? QUIT WORRYING. This movie is better than we deserve. The cast and crew has signed on for two more sequels if this film does well at the box office. Come on guys; as Trek fans, we need to support it. I'm definitely up for second helpings. But, most of all, I think Gene Roddenberry would have been proud that his message of gender and race tolerance; and the thrill of exploring the unknown still lives today. It is my opinion that J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek' will live long, and prosper.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Mitch)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Spoilers abound.

I can't remember the last time I was in a film that kept you at a sprinting pace for two hours. Star Trek was a great science fiction show, and the beginnings of a new series (more likely a trilogy) of movies.

There is so much right with this film that I can completely ignore anything that is wrong with it. A lot of other reviews will talk about how the engineering set looks cheap, or how there was gratuitous use of lens flare, or how Chekov's accent might be too strong. The great thing about this movie, is that none of that matters, and none of that detracts from the best Star Trek film ever, for fans or non-fans.

Some people have said that this is just making Star Trek a run of the mill action film. I completely disagree. Transformers was just an action film, it was not "about" anything profound. This was different, this was about personal character growth, and learning how and why people can meet their full potential. The two main characters in the film, Kirk and Spock, are both clearly competent but both held back by both the death of a father figure for Kirk, and the death of the mother figure for Spock as well as the absence and coldness of his father. Kirk learns that he can overcome circumstances to be a true leader, and Spock begins to truly balance his Vulcan-Human elements to learn that what he always knew was not a defect truly is his greatest strength.

The supporting characters all shine. We all knew Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig were class actors, but their characters did always reflect that, sometimes reduced to being cliché stereotypes (which was still progressive for the 1960's.) Here, though, every character is someone who you care about and who you want the future movies to tell you more about. Uhura is confident and brilliant, but also has a clear feminine side which is not submissive. Sulu is more of an action hero here but that is still a huge step up from just piloting the ship. Chekov is a brilliant wunderkind whose services are invaluable. Scotty is humorous (like the original) and a miracle worker, literally. While McCoy did not get top billing the way Kirk and Spock did, he is clearly not only an important part of the "troika" but also has a much stronger relationship to Kirk.

Finally, the Spock-Uhura romance is not only a brilliant new idea, but also a great homage to how it was meant to be Spock who would have the first inter-racial kiss on TV in "Plato's Stepchildren" before it was changed to Kirk. The movie is full of brilliant new ideas and is no longer constrained by canon dictating the look, feel, or plot of the movie. From now on, every consequence matters, and from now on, the directors and writers of the TV show can make the 23rd century look like the future.

This movie may not be overloaded with themes and morals the way "The Wrath of Khan" or "The Undiscovered Country" were, but it still has a Star Trek sensibility about the greatness for human (and alien) achievement and that timeless sense that the Characters really will "boldy go where no man has gone before." This film has been a long time coming, and the franchise is better for it.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Noah)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Ok, let me get this straight? Old Spock, who knows about slingshot time travel and all the modern technology from his era, quietly goes off to found a colony for the few remaining Vulcans instead of going back in time and saving Vulcan, his mother, and all of the events (that worked out) for the last 125 years or so?

And the Federation and Star Fleet, knowing they could save the original timeline, not to mention one of their three founding member planets (and six billion Vulcans) also do nothing.

It's ok to go back and get whales to save Earth, but hey Vulcan hard luck? The Klingons must be thrilled. For God's sake go back, get the ship, advance in time, dump the red matter in the sun (before it went Nova) and everything is saved - including the Romulans of the future? Maybe someone hates people with green blood, because the Vulcans and the Romulans get the short end of the stick in this one.

J.J. missed the entire point of Star Trek. There are always ways to beat the odds and make a better world through intelligence, hard work, and a willingness to look at the event in a different way.

Instead we get arrogance, easy achievement and defeatism.

Lots of polish, but no heart, and completely soulless. I am glad Gene is dead already, because this would have killed him.

Rating: 3 (Mark Corrinet)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: The Star Trek Movie... I put this review on my own site, InBrockton.com, but thought you might like to see it.

Commentary

Well, being the Trekkie that I am... I saw "Star Trek" on opening night.

It was quite an action packed movie, but make no mistake about it. Other than the names of the characters, and the shape of the ships, Star Trek based on this formula will never be the same again.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

They did a very good job of resetting the franchise with various plot devices. They mentioned several times in the movie the differences in fictional realities so well even a die hard Star Trek fan will be able to live with. There are a lot of references to the other movies, as well as the lives of the 1970's series crew lives to tell the old class of fans that they will not be abandoned, but that life as you knew if for your favorite show (or 5 shows) is now over.

Go see it! The cast is great. While being able to put their own spin on the characters, they have kept the same traits as the originals. Chris Pine does justice to Kirk's confident swagger, and Karl Urban is right on the Dr. McCoy sarcasm. And Simon Pegg is simply hilarious as Montgomery Scott.

One thing that was a little disconcerting was the look of the interior of the Enterprise. Other than the futuristic bridge, the inside looked like a brewery. It looked like all those movies where people are running around in factories with pipes going everywhere and stainless steel tanks all over the place, interspersed with an occasional touch screen panel. I guess they ran out of money at that point.

J.J. Abrams was right... This is not your father's Star Trek!

Go see it!

Rating: 8 (David Heidke)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

The Enterprise and its crew in this 2009 iteration are indeed boldly going where no one has gone before and taking me along for the ride. But I felt like it was the cruise in young Kirk's convertible -- giddy and exciting at first, with rushing wind and pulse-pounding music, only to end with the car wrecked at the bottom of a chasm and our fresh-faced hero (to me possible referencing the attitude of the film-makers) declaring "is there anything wrong, officer?"

In the interest of full disclosure, I fill my niche in that demographic of Trekkers who first saw the original series during it's run in syndication in the early 1970's and since have felt a deep kinship (and yes, at times a sense of entitlement) in and with all the series and movies that followed. Despite my dedication, however, it was not lost on me that this Star Trek universe was suffering a crippling arthritis, at least in the movie theaters, limiting it's ability to tell new stories due to the baggage of 40 years of canon. And since movies have mostly (I use this term instead of always since many movies are pure art) been about money, and people pay to be excited, it was only a matter of time until the keys to the classic car were going to be handed to someone who might appreciate the design and a bit of the history, but was otherwise going to strip it down, add an MP3 player and sub-woofer, and drive it really, really fast. Thus is born Star Trek.

At first I thought this film should be reviewed on it's own merits, but then I realized that since summer "remake (and this is one) films" really do capitalize on their titles and relationship to past franchises or movies. Thus it is extremely fair to also view this with a critical demeanor refecting any unique elements that have made Star Trek successful or interesting in the last few decades. So I will hopefully entertain with a few comments.

I've never written a screenplay or novel or anything longer than twenty pages of short-story. I've never had anything published that doesn't have reference numbers and footnotes. My qualification here is the same as anyone else's: I've read a lot of novels and plays, seen quite a few productions, and watched (embarassingly) a lot of television and movies. The story in Star Trek is disappointing. Without a doubt a lot happens (Kirk's father dies, Vulcan is destroyed, um..., bad guy dies after threatening Earth), but it doesn't feel true to the narrative. Because of all the sound and fury (fill in the remaining quote here) the actual plot didn't become apparent (or transparent) until after I left the theater. This film mainly worked for me on the level of a reunion. Kirk and Spock and McCoy and Scotty all come together (for the first time relative to the time-line established by the film, but really for the umpteenth time in Trek history) and this tale would have no emotional depth, no tug on the heartstrings, if it wasn't for those 40 years of history. So for me, upon reflection, I see a series of scenes that could be labelled "Kirk meets Spock for the first time," or "Kirk meets McCoy for the first time," all of which rely on us knowing in advance how these characters will ultimately relate. Everything that comes in between is just that: fill that comes in between.

The use of "Old Spock" or Spock Of The Original Series (SOTOM) is really not necessary, and for me in many ways distracting. I see it as a ploy (and it worked on me if not for me) to bring old Trekkers back, fold this new vision into the old continuity (thinly), and provide a send-off dignitary for the new movies. Nero's actions in the past are entirely independent of SOTOM, and the "future" tale of SOTOM's actions that make him responsible for all that has transpired is one of the low moments for me in this film. To recap: in the future Romulus is threatened by a supernova and old AMBASSADOR Spock, among all others in the universe, is sent, ALONE, without the aid of Romulans (who can build HUGE ships by the way), the Federation with Picard or Data or the Enterprise-E, F, G, H, I or J or whatever, in a brand-new, specially-designed, one-of-a-kind, hastily-just-constructed ship to drop a DROP of a huge sphere of "Red Matter (read deus ex machina)" to collapse the star and save Romulus. There is no back-up plan and he fails. This really pisses off Mr. Nero in his giant Romulan mining vessel whose interior is OSHA's worst nightmare, and in his attempt to kill Spock, is thrown back in time where he thinks not of using the opportunity to warn his friends of their future dire predicament (or even to go play the Romulan lottery and win BIG!) but to go smash Vulcan to bits so that SOTOM will have an emotional break down. He then maroons SOTOM on Delta Vega (within sight and ear-shot of Vulcan?) so that he can provide the necessary back story to our here-to-for clueless audience. And I thought Kirk's journey to meet God at the center of the galaxy in Star Trek V sounded ridiculous when I wrote it out. I heard one review that called the physics in this film "dodgy." I have to agree. SOTOM's story in the future is just so implausible as to be "unfixable" for me. The Romulan supernova crisis is gibberish. The star cannot be the Romulan star because collapsing it wouldn't help the planet anyway. If it was a nearby star and they saw it coming, they would have several years at least to evacuate the planet since the most deadly effect would possibly be hard radiation traveling at the speed of light. Creating a black hole in the star's place after the fact probably wouldn't help with any radiation already released. (OK, I'll allow the "subspace shockwave" AKA Star Trek VI but this didn't destroy a starship, let alone a planet.) Time travel due to the unintended black hole is even more of a stretch. Furthermore, why doesn't this occur again at the end of the film when all of the red matter is released? To finish up with the whole red matter/black hole issue: why does Nero need to drill holes in planets to collapse them? It is obvious that one drop of the stuff can create a singularity powerful enough to swallow the mass of an entire planet. Such a singularity wouldn't care one bit if it was on the surface of the planet or at it's center of mass. Nero could waltz around and drop planet-engulfing bombs at his whim. The action sequences with the drill are therefore needless, and only serve as an excuse for "interference" to isolate the characters in danger because of the inability to use the transporter, and the ship on account of communication disruption. The rest of the story, such as it is, revolves around our characters meeting and relating and Spock's reaction to the destruction of Vulcan.

This is a remake. History can be changed and is. Kirk now begins life as a hell-raising orphan and Spock becomes Anakin Skywalker from the planet Krypton. The Enterprise is built at Riverside, Iowa, and Pike is the first Captain on its maiden voyage. The physicality of this new universe is up for grabs, so why not the relationships? Because it was the triad of Kirk's intuition, Spock's logic, and McCoys' passion that made the original show work. At least the movie stays relatively true here. Chris Pine surprised me with his acting range and a few truly "Kirk-esque" smirks that would please Mr. Shatner. Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock physically looks the part, but I did not feel he epitomized the dignity or quiet restraint evident in the portrayal by Leonard Nimoy in the original series. Furthermore, his (sexual?) relationship with Uhura was confusing and felt forced. Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy has potential as his performance was enthusiastic and authentic. He unfortunately is not given much to say in the film other than our irascible doctor's trademark euphemisms.

What about the other players? Unfortunately they are all dispensable. Uhura was of course scripted to provide sexual tension for Kirk and Spock and the running gag of discovering her first name, but otherwise the character herself is bland. As much fun as it was to see "Scotty" he is really not integral, nor were Chekov and Sulu, and the fact that the whole of the original crew are here assembled so conveniently actually is disappointing because there are no "first meetings" left to explore among the primary characters in future films.

The design and cinematography of the movie is, for better or worse, what I have come to recognize as consistent with the first decade of the twenty-first century. Color is muted. Camerawork is dynamic but irritatingly shaky à la "reality show." Cuts are rapid-fire (I can feel my pupils dilate) but it makes action very hard for me to follow (I admit to being an old man.) The visual effects are very detailed, but persist in the distracting camera focus and motion. This reminded me very much of "Star Trek meets Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars with a touch of Cloverfield's cameraman." I could write volumes on my opinion regarding the look of the USS Enterprise, interior and exterior, but will refrain with the exception of asking "Why does the engineering section look like a chemical factory/water processing plant and dairy? And where did they steal Time Lord/Irwin Allen technology to make the interior so much bigger than the exterior?" The owner of this website is much more erudite than I when describing starships and I am certain to find a future discussion of the Enterprise's flaws and merits.

Overall, I found the film enjoyable and funny at times. The principal actors are suited to their roles and will need time to grow into them. I do see a future for Star Trek, and as I indicated in my opening paragraph, have been intrigued, even if not thrilled, by all things Trek.

My rating: 7/10 (I added one point just to be nice!)

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Ben Siva)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

"Star Trek (2009)" is a reboot. There is no question about it: Vulcan is destroyed and the technology (even before Nero messes with the timeline) is totally different looking. This movie is also a lot darker than all other Trek. Aside from this, the movie is a good movie and the reboot was done *fairly* sensitively.

The look of "Star Trek" seemed to be inspired by 22nd century ENT and its representation of 31st century tech, 29th century tech from VOY, Annorax's tech, and Star Trek Nemesis (especially the Scimitar/Romulans and the darkness of the story).

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Nathan)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Everyone has reported the story already. So I'm not going to repeat.

I loved this movie, it was an exciting visual feast, hugely enjoyable, so many mementos of series I loved... The action was great, the starship fighting was great, I loved the design apart from the "old rusty factory complex" interiors of some parts of Federation's starship. The characters were great apart from Bones, for lack of face time.

But in a sense, my problem with it was not the breaking with the canon's continuity or with the Enterprise's shape... it was that it was a Star Trek movie... that felt like a Star Wars one. I couldn't help finding parallels in the 2 stories.

Maybe I got it all wrong?

And the Romulan ship was a mining ship? Did I get that right? I mean, that's one mean-looking mining ship!

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Roberto)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2228.04-2255.09: Alert Spoilers

Commentary

Star Trek has a legacy that's been around more then 40 years now. This movie tops it making it "More Than Meets The Eye." It bares the heart of Star Trek and what it really means, "Family", and I shall give you examples throughout the Original series we see how the TOS crew come together in time of need facing every obstacle and enemy same in TNG and Voyager especially in Voyager. This movie shows how the Family became a Family. How Kirk Became Captain. How Spoke, Bones and Kirk become friends and I say wow that is what I expected, this movie is one for all. It also leaves us an opening too in one part of the film after Vulcan got turned in to a black hole by Nero. Spock quoted this "were now in a alternate timeline" that says that history must be changed and again with Kirk to Ambassador Spock "You cheated" and from there I saw it from in his eyes how the second and third movie might turned out. I can say it will be one for the history books in order the Original Timeline to happen Kirk must cheat death yet again and who knows it might just finally happen. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is with Scotty beaming in to the water treatment area also I liked the fact that the ship looks so nice in the out side but engineering looked so outdated "huh, looks more less advanced than Original Enterprise for you nitpickers out there" and also I liked the fact when Chris Pine (Kirk) sate in the captain's chair I just saw William Shatner there when he was on the chair in the Original series. Amazing. I love Bones the most he was perfect from being the actor to being a Zombie Killing Hero in Doom to an old country doctor. Oh boy, I could not tell it was him same with Zack "Spock" He was amazing, it looks like looking in to the mirror same with the rest of the cast, especially Chekov. I loved this movie, it is F%#[email protected] amazing and like I said its More Than Meets the Eye (No there are not robots in designs that's silly). I refer to it because it's how I can describe this movie by, though 5 words. This is Grand Convoy signing off from my first review.

Rating: 10 (Grand Convoy)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I can't add much in the way of any new information as most of the other reviews have covered pretty much everything, but I do have a few problems with the movie.

  1. I understand about the whole alternate time-line premise but why would the "Enterprise" be so drastically different from the TOS one? If nothing else couldn't the nacelles be the same angle and dimensions as the TOS ship from the original time-line?
  2. Why would the time-line be so easily erased and carelessly discarded when in the 29th century there was a whole Temporal Prime Directive in Starfleet with ships like the "Relativity" there to protect and enforce it? There was also crewman Daniels in ENT there as well so where were they throughout all of this? Going further, in "First Contact" the crew of that "Enterprise-E" was hell-bent on going back to 2063 to fight the Borg and make sure the "Phoenix" made its flight to meet with the Vulcans - the very people responsible for helping Humans get into space and establishing the UFP. What if Picard had just let them assimilate Earth and do virtually nothing as future Spock has done?
  3. How would Spock find it logical to let billions of his own people die and not try to correct this? He has multiple methods of time travel at his disposal: the tried and true sling-shot effect, La Forge's "modifications" to the "Enterprise-E" that let it get back to the exact point in the 24th century after the Borg cube was destroyed and oh yeah, his own timeship. Would it have not made more sense to inform Starfleet of the late 24th century of Nero's intentions and retrofit a ship, say the "Enterprise-E" with Spock's temporal modifications (time core)...or even use La Forge's "modifications" from "First Contact" to go back in time days or weeks before Nero went back in time and stop him? Spock just decides to let established history be destroyed along with billions of lives to take a few thousand surviving brethren to a new colony (homeworld). I don't see the logic. But I suppose that leaves the possibility of a sequel open. Maybe Spock will reconsider his lack of proper action and hijack the "Enterprise" and take it to the 24th century and try again. I guess maybe that would be impossible if that timeline has been altered or destroyed though. I guess in all actuality "what's done is done" and there may be nothing that can change things back to how they used to be...unless of course the "Relativity" has some sort of temporal shielding that prevented it and its crew from never existing. In that case it could return to the 24th century and stop Nero directly...who knows?

Rating: 7 (Jeff)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

The good first: The acting was terrific. I really felt that this Spock and this Kirk, and so forth, were their latter day counterparts. The choice of actors was pretty good too. I was particularly struck by the selection for Sarek. He didn't really look that much like Mark Lenard, but he did look a lot like Leonard Nimoy. He might have been a better casting than Lenard! All the visuals were also extremely pretty.

Here's where the bad starts, however. The movie was a little too visually demanding. Sometimes (oftentimes, actually), it was much too dark and hard to see anything, and sometimes it was glaring. I also felt like I was fighting the camera the whole time. One cool shot is sufficient per movie; We don't need 30. And, while we're on aesthetics, the music was ok, but I would have loved to hear at list a hint from the TMP theme that I think has become the leitmotif for the Enterprise. Relatively minor point.

The script wasn't lacking in nods to the original series and to the movies, which were appreciated. But that doesn't make a movie Star Trek. This is where my disappointment really comes down. There were other problems, some of them related. The weird tattoos all over the Romulans were, to use a blunt term, stupid. There was no explanation for them and they came off as a terribly cheap way to make them look scary and evil. The peril scenes every couple of minutes got pretty gratuitous, as did the random people getting squashed by things all the time. The whole space-diving scene stretched credibility until it tore completely.

  1. How on (or above) Earth could they survive that? I'm no physicist or physiologist, but I do remember 9.8m/s^2 is the rate a falling body accelerates toward the Earth. Neglecting also the (I'm guessing pretty high) heat from friction of entering even the high atmosphere, that seems like it would get them going awfully fast to be suddenly arrested by their parachutes (it's similar to the scene when Spock catches Kirk right before he hits the ground at the beginning to Star Trek V, but this was more integral to the movie and thus less excusable).
  2. This is a big one: Why didn't they have phasers? What's all this "hand-to-hand combat" stuff? You have ray guns! Sulu can pack an unfolding sword but no one brings a phaser? If the writers really just wanted the desperate fight scene, they could have had the wind blow the phasers away. They didn't have to include such a blatant logic hole. I could have done without all the dangling precipice scenes anyway.

As I said, I was left wondering what made this movie Star Trek. First, the "alternate timeline" thing made the whole story pretty much irrelevant to everything we know as Star Trek. I don't think we're ever given any really compelling reason to care at all about this story. That may be a little harsh, as the characters given in the film are sympathetic in their own right, but the fact that they aren't the Kirk, Spock, Bones, etc., that we know and love, takes away from my interest.

I also felt that in several instances the film betrayed some very important ideals of Star Trek. Two scenes to epitomize my point:

  1. First, the shameless Nokia placement in the car. So, Nokia's still going strong 250 years into the future, eh? Even in the Federation, where, as Picard put it, the "economics ... are different" and people are no longer out for monetary gain, like, say, corporations are? It stretches credibility again, and just generally not... Star-Treky. The whole world felt too familiar. Star Trek was never a mindless utopia, but it is predicated on the notion that by this future the world, and human kind, is measurably better than it is now.
  2. When Kirk and Spock let the Romulans die in the black hole. This is kind of reminiscent of how the Enterprise let Ru'afo die at the end of Insurrection, which bothered me then too. Again, the writers could have easily avoided the problem with a throwaway line about how the gravity made transporting impossible or something (maybe they did and I missed it, but I don't think so). But instead, the Enterprise crew not only leave the villains to their demise, but actively help them along. It's not just out of character for Spock and Kirk as individuals, it's not how Star Trek views the world. Right or wrong, Star Trek beams those Romulans on board and saves their lives. I think that's an important part of the vision of Roddenberry.

Now, if this movie had been something more akin to what the reimagined Battlestar Galactica was compared to the original, something totally artistically fresh and relevant, then I would have let more heresies against the spirit of Roddenberry slide. But, I don't think the film warranted that. It was a very slick action movie with some good acting that was mildly entertaining. But it wasn't Star Trek, not as I know it, and it doesn't replace it with anything as worth having as Star Trek.

Rating: 5 (Ethan Fulwood)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Finally got to see Star Trek yesterday, and it did leave me with a few points to ponder. So ponder I did.

First of all, there's no getting around the fact that I was sorely tempted to launch a size 11 at the screen in the car chase scene. A juvenile delinquent Kirk driving his step-dad's classic roadster off a cliff, all to the tune of Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, cool. Even great. But the bloody Nokia product placement? At the rate companies are folding in the current recession it's doubtful Nokia will be here in ten years, much less 250.

The new Enterprise: ugly as sin. Admittedly, the original series ship looked like it had been put together on a budget of 50p (mainly coz it had), but the new one is just hideous. It's difficult not to be childish about a ship that looks like it's been glassed in a nightclub and stitched together by a blind doctor. The new bridge looks like an Apple paperless office concept, and couldn't they be bothered to design an engine room? Looks like they've just gone down the local gasworks!

The plot: bloody awful. It seemed like the writers had gone through every episode of all five series, making notes. I was noting that this bit had been used in one episode, that bit in another... Much like Die Another Day recycled ideas from the previous nineteen Bond movies.

So, anything good? Yes, plenty. The film is saved by some outstanding performances and snappy dialogue. It's a great popcorn movie that has a plethora of big explosions, laugh-out-loud moments and good acting. Just think of it as a Casino Royale-style reboot, not a direct prequel. Still not as good as "Wrath of Khan" though. I'll get me coat...

Rating: 7 (Dave Bowling)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.4: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

First I want to review the new cast: Pine as Kirk is good, not great but good. Quinto as Spock reminded me a lot of his Sylar-character from the heroes-show and not about Spock. Urban's McCoy is outstanding, even if he had not much to do. The other crew members are also not important enough to say much about them. But Chekov was ridiculous and Uhura a bit arrogant and portrayed to aggressive for this character. Scotty was insane and mirrored nothing from the old Scotty. The villain, Nero, was lame and boring and acted like a clone of Shinzon from "Nemesis". It might have something to do with the fact, that he had fewer screen time than any villain before in the movie-series.

Second, I want to speak about the movie:

This movie is a reboot, despite everything the producers have told us fans multiple times. The USS Kelvin looked too little like a TOS-ship, Spock's Jellyfish doesn't use the TNG-style stardate, like it should if it's out of the "Prime-Universe". Because of that, I will review the movie as a reboot and not as a continuation of the known Star Trek series. I have to admit, that the first 20 minutes of the movie are far the best I've ever seen in any Star Trek: Action, drama, great special effects and good use of cutting and camera-movement. The only thing I was a bit disappointed was the collision between the Narada and the Kelvin. A tiny explosion... is that all what happens, when a 200+ meter long starship dives in another starship? That explosion should have wiped out the Narada, but OK, I can live with that. Seeing Spock as a child and his interaction with the Vulcan kids was great and I also liked little Jim Kirk in the car. The first thing I was really disappointed was the Kobayashi Maru test. That lame trick was all, Kirk came up with? Oh man... Well, perhaps my expectations after Kirk's comment from TWOK were to high. After the emergency call from Vulcan all cadets get promoted and served as crew of seven starships. That's unrealistic and a stupid trick to get our heroes aboard the Enterprise. I don't like that. I also think it was a missed opportunity not to show the battle over Vulcan. There were just wrecks, when the Enterprise arrived. The fight on the rig-platform was good, not great but good and Sulu's enfolding Katana is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. But after the rig-fight the movie went totally down. Not because Amanda Grayson was unnecessarily killed and Vulcan got destroyed. It was, because the story lost every aspect of action and suspense. Spock's explanation, that the timeline has changed and they are all living now as alternate-version of the characters we know from TOS robbed me from every interest I had. Their destinies are no longer important, because these characters could never become the heroes from TOS. Nothing great happened after Vulcan's destruction. Two big monsters on Delta Vega (it has to be another planet in the Vulcan-system BTW and not THE Delta Vega from WNMHGB) that want to eat Kirk. It was clear he would not get eaten, so it was a lame and boring scene for me. The meeting with Old Spock was more confusing instead of make the things clear and it felt very forced and constructed. The entire supernova- and black hole-stuff didn't make any sense and showed how little the writers and producers care for physics or even Star Trek-physics. The first meeting with Scotty was also weird and confusing (and let me think of transporter range). So, Kirk got back on the Enterprise and took command. I was hoping that the movie got past all the boring stuff and action and suspense would return now. But that doesn't happen. Kirk and Spock sneaked on board the Narada and stealing Spock's Jellyfish. It was not the Enterprise that took the action, destroying the rig and saving the day; it was the Jellyfish and I don't like that. I thought it was lame and boring. The Enterprise only appeared late in the climax und shot down Narada's torpedoes, so that the Jellyfish could destroy the Narada with a suicide-run. The battle was over and Nero and his comrades defeated. Now the movie missed the only opportunity to show a real Star Trek-moment in the movie. Instead of rescuing the Romulans - even if they don't want to be rescued, what I doubt if I remember the fleeing Romulans, except for Nero - Kirk ordered to fire on a doomed and half-destroyed ship. That was cold blooded revenge, even murder and made me really angry. The final moments of the movie were as boring and lame as it's middle part. Star Trek is not a good movie, even if you don't compare it to some other bad Star Trek movies. The logic is absurd and the physics pure fantasy. Why did Spock not join Kirk and Scotty, beam on the Enterprise and make a time jump, back to stardate 2233.4, save the Kelvin and stop Nero? Or save at least Vulcan? Why don't the Vulcans evacuate their planet? Are there no shuttles or ships on the planet's surface? How could Nero easily destroy seven big starships in just a few minutes, when he can't even stop the far older Kelvin from its suicide-run?

Another aspect I don't like about this movie is the decision to avoid ANYTHING that was established or shown before. The spacedock looked entirely different, they left out any technology from TNG (what you would expect at least on the Jellyfish, a Federation ship from the year 2387) or even Enterprise (the only mention was Admiral Archer's beagle). The design decision are not my favorites too. The Enterprise is ugly for my taste. It don't have the elegant lines of the TOS-one or the Enterprise-A. Its dimensions are wrong and the saucer is a cheap copy of the refit saucer. The bridge is more confusing as I feared. I was not able to make Out who is sitting who. The main engineering is perhaps the most awful set design ever. First it's far too big for the tiny drive section of the ship and second it looked like a water plant or a brewery (what it was in reality) than an engine room. The warp cores (five at least) are redressed tanks full with Budweiser! And I really don't like the window in the bridge what is also used as viewscreen. But I like the design of the Narada, a really threatening ship, especially when it's first appearing. I also like the Kelvin, even when she's looking more advanced than the TOS-Enterprise. My conclusion: Better than Nemesis, because of the movie's first minutes. But for me it's in the same line with Generations, The Final Frontier and Insurrection. Definitely no match for TWOK, "First Contact" and TUC.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (Tobi Fischer)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: A disgruntled Romulan named Nero travels back in time in order to extract revenge on the Federation.

Commentary

A bizarre film, that tries to satisfy existing fans while also attracting new ones. Sadly, it only succeeds in the latter. Any Trekker worth his salt will be appalled by the events of this movie, and how everything that happened in TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and the other ten movies will now never occur. JJ Abrams has created a new Star Trek universe, which lacks the enjoyment and wonderful sense of optimism that the rest of the franchise has had. As a sci-fi action film, it's not bad, but as a Trek film, it's very average. We can only hope that, should Star Trek ever return to the small screen, the producers will take a page out the book of the producers of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and pretend the events of this film never happened.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Sean Freeburn)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 10.5.2009: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

"NEW BEGINNING OF STAR TREK"? I don't think so.

If I were only a typical movie consumer, I would give this movie ok, let's say 5 points for action, effects, etc....

But I always liked STAR TREK UNIVERSE and this movie is one of the biggest disappointment I ever saw from this universe. (In comparison with STAR TREK V - what is here rated as worst star trek movie, I think ST V had at least the typical spirit of star trek and old school concepts.

This movie.... I just say, I awaited much more or at least something. But what I saw was a stupid, violent young Kirk, emotionally based Spock, some kid named Chekov, and sexy chick (that is in relation to Spock) named Uhura. And after this movie was gone from the screen, I asked my self what I was watching?

"Some super galactic adventure of new age?" or "a spaceship filled with teenagers"? I don't understand why L. Nimoy could take this role in this film? And how can somebody (the director) make a movie from Star Trek universe, when he did totally different movies before? It's like I try to make a cake, but I'm not a cook, and I never before tried to do such a thing. I'm sorry to all, but English is not my primary language, but I try to adapt. :)

Another movie, I never see again. It's Star Trek, but sorry folks, not the Star Trek that I know for more than 20 years. I saw every movie, every series that went so I know what I'm saying. I like changes, but not changes of this size! For me it's only another space adventure of some kind, but this is not Trek. And I don't understand another folks, like fans and people who like sci-fi, that have accepted this.

For the future, I hope, this wasn't really the "new beginning". I hope that old faces and people, that had formed this universe so long don't let this happen again.

I give this movie as fan only one point, and that for L. Nimoy.

But that's all.

Rating: 1 (J. Smida)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Let me begin by saying that with the Star Trek franchise the way it is and with the premise of the new movie, I don't believe that it could have been made any better.

As a movie by itself (without any reference to any other Star Trek movies), "Star Trek" was great. Thrilling, epic, with a good balance between dialogue and action, the film was much better than the average action film one sees at theatres nowadays. The acting was superb. Special effects were top-notch (and the space camera jiggling seemed influenced by Battlestar Galactica). Everything was compelling and convincing. The film was also a little dark, which seems to be the trend nowadays with the James Bond reboot and the "Dark Knight". My friend, who has never seen any Star Trek, thought that this was one of the best movie's he's ever seen.

The relation of the film towards the rest of the Star Trek universe is a little less perfect. I balk a little at the realization that either basically all of the Trek movies and episodes in the past have been disregarded or that this is an alternate timeline/universe from the main one we have been following for so long; however, I feel that the movie was well made enough so that the alternate universe annoyance can be largely ignored (Isn't all of Star Trek made up anyways? What's the harm in making up some more Star Trek? Everything else still happens I guess - in an alternate universe). If they had decided to preserve the timeline, where would they have made the movie? After "Nemesis" with a "Search for Data" movie? An "Enterprise" movie? Maybe the next film will restore the timeline.

I thought that the design of the new Enterprise was excellent. It was a little disturbing when I first saw it, but I think that it looks good enough. Everything is so shiny. I also always thought that the engineering sections in the old Trek stuff was always a little unrealistic (is the only thing transported in tubes antimatter/deuterium?), so seeing some tubes actually transporting water and stuff was interesting. Everything being so shiny (on the bridge and stuff) was nice too.

I thought that the actors/actresses captured enough of the feel of the original series cast. They may have not been as cerebral, but that's for later - "Star Trek" was a coming-of-age movie. They were believable as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al. The only real difference is Quinto's Spock's more prevalent emotions; I'm a little uncomfortable with this. I thought, however, that the exploration of Spock's past (Human and Vulcan components) was great; this had been touched on a lot in past episodes, but never explored to the depth that it was in this film. Very pertinent to today's cultural mosaic of a world.

In comparison with the other Trek movies, I'd say that "Star Trek" is an equal with, if not better than "The Wrath of Khan" or "First Contact". Lots of action, intensity, and emotion.

The music was great. On first listen, the main theme of the movie seemed incongruous with those of other Trek movies, but that was because it was dark: a fact that matched the darker feel of the film itself. I liked the melding of the new musical material at the end with Alexander Courage's original composition.

In conclusion, "Star Trek", the 11th film of the franchise, takes the Star Trek universe in a desperately needed bold new direction. It has breathed new life into a listing franchise. I don't think that they could have done a better job.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Dean Wang)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

After literally years of waiting, this Trekkie finally got to see J.J. Abrams’ "reimagining" of the Star Trek. I’ve been following the development of this film since 2006, when it was first announced by Paramount. I’ve read every rumor, ever spoiler; followed every leaked picture and production development. So when I sat down at my local theater with my fellow nerds, I was a nervously excited mixture of hope and fear. I was confident that this movie would at least provide better entertainment that the franchise’s last couple of outings (1998’s abysmal Insurrection and 2002’s insulting Nemesis), but I was far from sure whether or not it could measure up to the franchise’s bright spots (like the 1996 thrill ride First Contact or the widely-regarded gem of Trek movies, 1982’s The Wrath of Khan). Would the new actors inhabiting the roles that I’d grown up with do them justice? In his quest to make Trek more appealing to the non-nerd masses, would Abrams sell out the heart and soul of Star Trek?

I’m happy to report that after just one showing I can confidently say that the worst of my fears most definitely did not come true. This new Trek manages to hit all the important elements that have made great Star Trek films great, and very few of the ones that have made bad Star Trek films bad.

Warning: There may be some minor spoilers below as I discuss particular aspects of the film that I did or did not enjoy. I’ll do my best to avoid anything major, but if you’re living in a 100% spoiler-free bubble until you can see the movie you may want to skip this review.

Overall, my impression of Star Trek was quite positive. The film opens with a heart-pounding sequence with some of the most desperate and bombastic space combat ever seen in Trek. It is immediately apparent that the visual effects budget of this film has surpassed that of any of the last several films combined. The action is fast-paced, sometimes frenetic, and shaky-cam and lens flare abound (which annoys some, but I was able to adjust to it rather quickly).

Following this sequence, we have a short interlude in which we see the upbringings of young Kirk and Spock. These sections are interesting, but I’m glad they opened with an action sequence rather than these flashbacks, because to be honest they’re a little slow. Good, but slow. The decision to not start the movie with the childhood of Kirk and Spock was a good one, and proves that Abrams knows his audience (both the mainstream audience and the Trekkie audience).

Then we launch into the meat of the film: Kirk, Spock and the gang at Starfleet Academy, an emergency in space that requires the untested recruits to drop everything and rush off to save the day (a very well-done version of the classic Trek MacGuffin, as seen in The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home and others). Dramatic and once-again fast-paced adventure ensues. There is starship combat, there are fisticuffs, there is swordfighting, there are a plethora of classic Trek one-liners bandied about (sometimes feeling forced, but for the most part feeling natural).

There are three elements that I look for in any Star Trek film: Good interaction amongst the core crew (the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triumvirate from the original cast films set the standard for this), a resounding sense of adventure and the exploration of the unknown (as much as some people didn’t care for it, The Motion Picture excelled at this) and kick-ass, take-no-prisoners starship combat (e.g. The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country and the Battle of Sector 001 in First Contact).

2009’s Star Trek, for the most part, delivers on all three of these criteria. While the Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship is still in its infancy, there is definitely chemistry between them and some memorable scenes. The sense of the unknown is not so great, but the overall adventure level on the movie is through the roof. And the starship combat, while a little overwhelming and ill-defined (we’re seeing these new ships for the first time and their enemy is a little vaguely-defined visually), is still explosive and adrenalin-pumping.

Now for some specifics...

Plot: Many Trek fans bemoaned the discovery of time-travel as a significant portion of the film’s plot when it was announced last year. I’m as weary of time travel as any Trekkie out there, but at this point I’ve come to accept it as a regular part of Trek. It would have been nice if they’d found a different way to justify their changes to the canon, but as it stands the time travel explanation was well-done (as well done as a time-travel explanation can be) and it does satisfactorily explain changes in the established canon (at least as far as this Trekkie’s concerned).

The villains in the movie could have almost been anyone. Their only purpose is to unite the new crew under Kirk’s leadership in order to save the day, and they perform that task admirably. In many ways though, they’re a little forgettable. That’s not a bad thing though. In past films where we’ve had particularly memorable villains (e.g. Khan Noonien Singh or General Chang), those villains have been facing an established crew that we already know well. They have had to become a larger part of the story in order to make the film work. In this new Trek, we’re learning about our favorite characters all over again and - thanks to the aforementioned time travel situation - we’re not starting out with a crew of Enterprise that is 100% established as a close-knit team. The new movie has to be about their journey from a rookie starship crew to the beloved family of characters that we all hold dear. The villains in this Star Trek do their job well by moving the plot forward, but never getting in the way of the development of the main characters.

Characters: I was pleasantly surprised by how well the new Trek was cast. Of course I’d read up on each of the actors as the announcements came about who would be playing who over the last year or two, but I didn’t know half of the young cast and those I did know were still unknown quantities when it came to their performances as classic sci-fi characters.

James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine: This was the most pleasant surprise of all. I though of Pine as a teenaged hearthrob who would be lucky if he could hold his own against the rest of the cast, let alone actually be James T. Kirk. He avoided doing a Shatner impression, but managed to deliver the same swagger, hubris and humanity that embodies the Kirk character. He was very much exactly how I’d imaged a young Kirk behaving - brash, confident and very much leap-before-you-look. I look forward to how he’ll play the character over the course of the (presumed) sequels.

Spock, played by Zachary Quinto: Quinto was one of the first actors to be announced for a role in Star Trek, and I was initially very pleased. He certainly looks the part, and from his role on Heroes I knew that he could handle the intensity of the Spock character. Over time though, I grew nervous (after seeing clips and hearing rumors) that we might see less "Spock" and more "Sylar In Pointy Ears." I’m very pleased to say that this wasn’t the case at all. Except for one prominent emotional outburst (which has been shown in most of the trailers), Quinto pulled off the classic Spock stoicism very well, while always hinting that there was something just under the surface - emotions he hadn’t quite learned to completely master yet.

Leonard McCoy, played by Karl Urban: More than any other actor in Star Trek, Urban does an impression of the character’s original inhabitor (DeForest Kelley). Still, it never comes off as crass or mocking and for the most part it works very well. There are one or two times that his McCoy one-liners feel forced, but in general they fit in and add to the comedy.

The Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship doesn’t get a chance to fully flower in this movie (mainly because Kirk and Spock spend most of the film as rivals, not friends), but you can definitely see the seeds of the triumvirate taking root. I hope they explore this as fully in the new Star Trek universe as they did in the old.

Uhura, played by Zoe Saldana: Although she has a bigger part to play than she did in most TOS episodes (and most of the films), it still feels like Uhura is a bit underused in this movie. She plays a fairly prominent part in the Academy scenes, but once they get to Enterprise she kind of fades into the background (with one or two exceptional scenes with a certain science officer). Still, that’s not out of line with how the rest of the "secondary" bridge crew is traditionally used. I didn’t get a good gauge on how well I liked Zoe Saldana in the part, but I get the sense that she’ll do fine with it going forward. I’m particularly interested to see how a certain unforeseen romantic relationship will develop.

Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho and Pavel Chekov, played by Anton Yelchin: There’s only so much an actor can do with a secondary character, but Cho and Yelchin do it well. Sulu’s swordfighting and Chekov’s accent were minor annoyances, but nothing of any real importance. Chekov’s accent began to grow on my and Sulu’s swordfighting was brief and pretty awesome in its own right.

Montgomery Scott, played by Simon Pegg: I love Simon Pegg. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of the best comedies in recent memory. However, his portrayal of Scotty is essentially in the film solely for comedic relief and it annoys after a while. Not badly, but it does annoy. Despite his Scottish accent being far more accurate than James Doohan’s, I think Scotty of all things is the character that I felt most put-off with by having to accept a new actor in the role. I’m hesitant to blame Pegg for this, as most of the shortcomings of the character were written into the script. I’m hoping they’ll make the character a little bit better mixture of drama and comedy in the next film. Scotty rarely gets the spotlight, but when he does it came make for some of the most dramatic moments in Trek ("He stayed at his post...when the trainees ran!").

Christopher Pike, played by Bruce Greenwood: This was one of the true delights of the entire movie. Bruce Greenwood was born to play a Starfleet officer, and from his encouragement of young Kirk to join Starfleet to taking the Big Chair on the bridge of Enterprise, he adds gravitas to any scene in which he makes an appearance.

The villain known only as "Nero," played by Eric Bana: I’ve always liked Eric Bana, especially his turn in Black Hawk Down and even Hulk (which was very flawed compared to its 2008 counterpart, but Bana did an admirable job with the part in my opinion). As mentioned, Nero is merely a catalyst for the crew’s coming together, and isn’t meant to be a primary element in the story. However, Bana does a pretty good job with what he’s given. Nero is at times a little campy, and his portrayal occasionally becomes a caricature of itself. But none of that detracts from the film and I think it’s mostly due to how the character was written and directed.

The rest of the cast holds up the backdrop of the film well, but there are few other standouts.

Special Effects: There’s just not much to say here other than "awesome." Paramount hired Industrial Light & Magic and spent a fortune on the effects, and it shows.

Aesthetics and other Nerd Stuff: This is the area where Trekkies are most likely to take issue with the new film, and I’m no exception. I want to make clear that none of the criticisms that follow swayed my generally favorable opinion of the film, but they were minor annoyances. And that’s not to say it was all bad, either.

For instance, one of the "new" things about this Trek that I liked was the fact that they replaced the formerly-internal viewscreen with an actual window at the front of the bridge (over which data could be overlayed). It made sense, given that the requisite technology for this sort of thing is at hand even in our time. It was a small thing, but I liked it.

I also liked: The "new" uniforms (except the red cadet uniforms, but hey - they’re cadet uniforms for a reason), the "new" warp effect (not necessarily better than the old, but I liked it), the "new" transporter effect and...after getting a good look at it and seeing it in action, I actually like the redesigned Enterprise. The Kelvin, other Federation spacecraft and Spacedock were also well done.

What I didn’t like: The new hand-held phaser is crap. I’d read about the details when the new toy was released but wasn’t prepared for how stupid it looked on-screen. I won’t "spoil" it for you, but you’ll definitely know what aspect of the prop I’m talking about when you see the movie.

The interior set for engineering onboard both Kelvin and Enterprise was completely lame. I don’t know why the rest of the ship is shiny and well thought-out and engineering has to look like a poorly-maintained nuclear power plant. I always liked the idea of the warp core being the "heart" of the ship and making it all distributed throughout a giant space was annoying.

Some of the other tech stuff bothered me. The means by which they achieve the time travel and by which the baddies get their "ultimate weapon" is kind of goofy, but ultimately not important and kind of ignorable. The villain’s vessel is scary, but confusing and nonsensical in its design.

For the most part, the other starship interiors were good. The Kelvin bridge was nicely done, and the so-called "iBridge" on Enterprise was not as irritating as I thought it would be (I still think it was a little overboard, but I got over it quickly).

In conclusion, my general impression of the film is definitely positive. I think J.J. Abrams succeeded in making a film that, although it has minor flaws, achieved his goal of not only bringing in a wider audience to the Star Trek universe but also managing to make a Trek film that the fans can enjoy (at least this fan did). And, if the public’s reaction to the movie is anything like the reviewers’ reactions (from both fans and professional critics) that I’ve seen, it will hopefully help ignite a rebirth of the franchise that will keep it going for another 40+ years.

Rating: 8 (Sam Ferguson)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.04 to 2258.42: In an alternate universe, Starfleet cadets end up on the USS Enterprise and become unlikely heroes in defending the Federation from a terrible threat from the future.

Commentary

This film brings us back to the origins of the crew of the original USS Enterprise. In doing this, it attempts the near impossible, to appeal to new viewers while trying to remain faithful to more than 40 years of pre-existing Star Trek material. To appeal to new viewers, the look and feel of TOS had to be updated, but then this will contradict with the pre-existing material. The only logical way to overcome this was to move the story to an alternate universe. This frees up the set designers to introduce sets which look cool to new viewers, and directors to create completely new storylines. These, combined with bucketloads of special effects makes Star Trek XI an excellent movie. But I do not think that it is an excellent Star Trek movie.

Moving to a new universe however is very disappointing. Sure this is better than an outright reboot, but this means that for the first time in 40 years, we cannot add the events seen on screen (apart from those of the 24th century) to the Star Trek universe as we know it. I loved to see how Kirk cheated in Kobayashi Maru, or how he met Spock for example, but we can only speculate if things happened even remotely similar in the original universe. Any future movies or TV series will undoubtedly be set in this new universe and further add to this problem. On a side note, the official Star Trek Countdown visual novels were great in closing out the stories of Spock on Romulus and the TNG crew, and explaining things like how the Narada got from a simple mining ship into a terrible weapon and why its crew has those silly tattoos.

Alternate universe aside, I feel there is no reason to change the look of the USS Enterprise purely just for it to look cool to new viewers. I cringed when I saw the disproportional stardrive section and the ugly nacelles of the new design. The original design to me is as historic as the real-life tall ships like Endeavour or HMS Victory and I feel that it has been desecrated. The internal sets were not right too, from the Apple store bridge to the engineering sets which do not look like they belong on a starship. Also why completely change the effects for transporters, weapons fire, etc? I think these changes are completely unnecessary and only serves to cement my perception that the creators of this movie do not care about TOS.

Story-wise, this is a fast paced action movie with lots of fighting. To call it Star Trek seems a bit strange as trek implies a journey or exploration and discovery, which are elements in the best Star Trek stories. I am giving it a 5 as on one hand, it is a great movie to watch, but on the other hand, it is bad for the Star Trek universe that we know and love.

Nitpicking: In my opinion there is visual evidence that suggests that Nero’s Narada and Spock were not transported back to the past of the original Trek universe, but the past of an alternate universe. That is, the history of an alternate universe was changed. The crew of the USS Kelvin already have metallic Starfleet arrowhead pins, while we know from TOS that this symbol is unique for the USS Enterprise and only subsequently adopted for the rest of Starfleet. The destruction of the Kelvin, terrible as it was, is not enough to explain how Starfleet technology looks so different. Also any such major change in the timeline will certainly prompt the gang from the 24th century, or even 26th or 29th century timeships to follow the Narada back in time to attempt to correct the changes. Also it would be technically incorrect to call the explosion that destroyed Romulus a supernova, as it still exists after the explosion. The shock wave must have moved at FTL speeds, similar to the explosion on Praxis.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (Tze King Lim)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

The new film Star Trek, directed by J.J Abrams has not only wowed audiences of today, but had re-invented the phenomena. Maybe not even re-invented, but erased the entire trek chronology "in favour of its new matrix." Spock with his time tampering ad his assumption that he alone, albeit with help from the Vulcan Science Academy, would be able to prevent the Romulan Sun to go Nova. Needless to say an event like that would alter the political and military situation in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

But, one would assume that the Romulans themselves would be able to evacuate their own planet. But apparently not. The planet was destroyed, Spock along with Nero and his excessively large mining vessel thrown back into the past. With this event, it really did erase everything we know of Star Trek and its entire chronology and setting an open canvass for new stories. One would wonder what the future of Picard, Sisko or Janeway would be now that Nero messed up the space time continuum?

Overall the story was very well produced, with great acting and some noticeable homages to the style fo the old crew. There is a significant amount of humour in this film, in fact it went back and made Star Trek the adventure genre that it was intended to be. So, no real spoilers, just an opinion on what happen and will happen in the newly re-created show.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (HM3(SW) Jeff Priela (USS Ponce LPD-15))

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.44 and 2258.42: The new movie (contains some spoilers)

Commentary

The most impressive special effects I've seen in ages. I loved the opening sweep of the USS Kelvin the sound track added levels of poignancy to the movie. It is interesting to note that the only tv series which isn't altered by the new movie is Enterprise. It is hard to fault this movie and it is nice to see that the writers remembered that in the original series it was Spock or McCoy who tended to be successful with female encounters. I would have loved to have seen more of the fleet that was sent to Vulcan but it was nice to see T'Mir and Surak classes in the movie.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (amos greig)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Let me say first that I really enjoyed this film. Once I got over how Nero changed the Trek universe I have lived with for the last 40 years.

Only a a couple of things really bugged me;

Uhura and Spock. It just didn't seem right to me, ok, I'll get over it.

Someone else mentioned this also, but what happened to their phasers when they parachuted onto the drill platform. If Sulu could bring a sword...

Transwarp beaming of Kirk and Scotty to the Enterprise. I didn't think that the transporters on a shuttle were capable of beaming over great distances, let alone at transwarp speeds. Was the Enterprise not that far away?

Rating: 9 (Les)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258.42: Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same. It's the Crisis on Infinite Star Treks.

Commentary

Actually, I wrote the review in Portuguese and put it up on my blog's accessory pages. Bernd, please take no offense, I really only mean to diversify. The review is here: http://sratoz.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/star-trek-redux/.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (João Paulo Cursino)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

First of all, seeing the first images of the new Enterprise and the general style of the movie I was not very enthusiastic about watching it. But, I have been a Star Trek fan for 22 years now and so far, I have given every incarnation a chance and therefore it was a must to see the movie. Was I disappointed when I left the cinema? Well, I did not expect much and the movie has not surprised me in a positive way. All in all I will just give it 4 out of 10 points. Two points for the many well-placed in-jokes and references to TOS. I particularly liked the scenes on Vulcan with young Spock and the other Vulcan boys, a perfect reference to TAS: "Yesteryear". The other two points go to Leonard Nimoy, it was just great to see him again especially since I already wanted to see him in "Nemesis". I also agree that the actors did their best to fit into their roles, I just felt that Scotty and Chekov were a bit over the top. The Romulans, unfortunately, play the standard villains and their leader Nero is just a copy of Khan or Shinzon. The whole story did not impress me at all, the entire time travel business was not at all convincing and the destruction of Vulcan did not really shock me, I just found it very irritating that nothing was done to reverse it. Abrams himself said that he is more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek... agreed, he made the movie in many ways similar to the SW franchise... but Star Trek is NOT Star Wars and despite the different look I always expect to see Star Trek as I know it. This movie certainly does not belong to the Star Trek I like. Finally, I am happy for everybody who enjoyed the movie but I will not watch it a second time.

Annotations

Rating: 4 (Timm)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: [SPOILERS] The long-awaited reboot of the franchise arrives. A rebellious young Kirk hooks up with Spock and McCoy aboard the Enterprise where they are instantly thrown into the action against Nero, a vengeful Romulan from the future and the killer of Kirk's father. Captain Pike, in an effort to protect his crew and give Kirk and Sulu a chance to save Vulcan, gives himself up to Nero. Unfortunately, Kirk and Sulu don't manage to save Vulcan, where Spock's mother dies before him as he tries to save her. After ditching Kirk on Delta Vega, Spock warps off to join the rest of Starfleet. With help from Montgomery Scott and future Spock, Kirk returns to the Enterprise and takes command in time to thwart Nero's plan to destroy Earth. Captain Pike survives and Kirk is permanently promoted to Captain, along with the crew we all know so well of Chekov, Sulu, Uhura, McCoy Scotty and Spock.

Commentary

To be clear, this IS a reboot. TNG, DS9, VOY, maybe even ENT... forget them; there is every possibility none of them happen the way fans remember. And personally I have no problem with that. Star Trek is all about accepting diversity and change, so why shouldn't we welcome a new and fresh vision of the show and movies we all love? Just because this story changes the timeline and ditches everything that came before it doesn't mean we have to choose between one or the other.

That said, I'll say a little something about the movie as a whole.

Abrams had an impossibly high bar to jump over, and he managed the impossible. Spock, Kirk and McCoy steal the show and are flawless representations of the characters we remember so well. Kirk is slightly more dogged and brash, Spock is younger and his human side shows more, but for the most part they are all the same. The Enterprise looks fine. When I first saw it I didn't like it, but after seeing it in action I don't have a problem with it. The initial introduction of the ship was a throwback to the Motion Picture introduction of the new Enterprise, which, despite being less grand and majestic (and shorter), shared the feeling of wonder and awe at seeing THE ship.

Nero, the bad guy, was a disappointment. As a character he had real potential, but the fast pace of the movie and the emphasis on the heroes prevented him from really developing as a character. Sadly the need to focus on other things left him out of the spotlight, and we as fans were left with a generic, run-of-the-mill bad guy.

To get more nit-picky, I was disappointed with the engineering room; and I've read a few things from people online who echo this sentiment. It looked much too out of place with the rest of the ship. It looked more like the bowels of the Titanic or the inside of a factory. I'm guessing Abrams chose it for its size so that it would convey the feeling of the Enterprise being big.

Chekov's accent was way too thick and overdone.

Where are the shields? The dialogue kept mentioning the weakening shields like we are all familiar with in Trek battles, but we never saw them on screen. Fail Abrams.

The bridge viewscreen being a window of glass? Come on.

What was up with the phasers? I couldn't really tell but they seemed to have revolving barrels or something. Kinda stupid if you ask me. I guess it was just something to make them look "cooler" without actually having any rational explanation for it. Oh, and beams. I miss the beams. For some reason I've always equated beams with Star Trek and energy pulses with Star Wars.

Kirk rose up in rank way too fast. He went from cadet to Captain in a day.

The action was good, but unfortunately its pervasiveness made the movie a bit too fast for me. The humor was amazingly well placed and thought-out.

I'd like to say more but my memory is already slipping on the details. I'll have to go see the movie a second time. I'd definitely recommend this to everyone, Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike. Hopefully a sequel will be made that will be free of all the expectations this one was under and have the advantage of a greater appreciation of this new universe. 9/10 (nothing's perfect, right?)

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Dylan Riley)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: This is my Star Trek review, posted previously at my website, Steve Likes to Curse, as part of Star Trek Week. I felt like sharing.

Commentary

I haven’t been watching Star Trek as long as some. The television series had been off the air for eleven years when I was born, and the first entry of the film series had already come and gone. Still, we go back a ways. When I was around eleven or twelve my dad and I went up to spend the weekend at the clubhouse at Woodmont, a private hunt club he and my grandfather used to work at as guides. Hank, the club manager and my self-appointed honorary uncle, met us outside and stage-whispered to me that "Star Trek: The Search for Spock is on tonight at eight o’clock!" So we sat there in the great room of the Woodmont clubhouse, the three of us, and watched Star Trek III together.

And let me tell you what I remembered most fondly about that when I thought back on it earlier today. We didn’t nitpick the bridge looking different than in Star Trek II, or Lt. Saavik being played by a different actress. We didn’t question the plausibility of Kirk, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov being able to steal the Enterprise and fly it to Vulcan all by themselves. We didn’t struggle to explain why the Klingons in the movies looked entirely different from the Klingons in the TV show, but no one seemed to notice — if we brought it up at all, it was to laugh at it affectionately. We smiled, we joked, when Kirk disintegrated a Klingon with a quick-draw phaser blast, Hank’s eyebrows went up and he said "Nice shot." We never got hung up on technicalities or minute matters of canon or continuity. In short, we enjoyed ourselves, and we didn’t ask anything more of Star Trek than it wanted to give us.

That — and rather long-windedly, at that — is why I enjoyed the new Star Trek film. It was made by writers, producers, and a director who are obviously great fans of the franchise — not canon nazis, not zealous super-fans who insist that every utterance, every fleeting visual agree perfectly with everything else in the last 42-years’ worth of this stuff. It is the least nerdy, most accessible, and most fun Star Trek film I have ever seen.

But that isn’t to say it’s the best. The highest compliment I can pay this movie, which I liked a hell of a lot, is to say that it didn’t feel like the eleventh Star Trek film. It felt more like an adaptation of the original television series, as though the previous ten movies had never happened. Objectively, very little in Star Trek is all that original. The characters, played by new actors, with a few tweaks here and there, are essentially the same as they were on TV in the 1960s. The scenario, involving a time-traveling alien bent on revenge, with the Enterprise the only thing standing in his way, is fucking Star Trek 101. But it’s remarkable what a fresh set of eyes can do. J.J. Abrams and the rest of his production team have really accomplished something with this film’s look and feel. Star Trek hasn’t been this fresh since Nicholas Meyer took the helm for Star Trek II. And the work of Abrams and company here is even more impressive. Meyer had to work with the leftovers of Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Abrams is starting over entirely.

Bernd Schneider can relax — the ship still has the same configuration as before and Spock is still a dude (both of him). But this version of the Star Trek universe seems much closer to our own reality than its predecessors. Passengers on shuttlecraft are obliged to buckle their seatbelts, photon torpedoes actually look like torpedoes, and generally the various areas of the ship we see feel more like locations than sets erected on soundstages. Ship-to-ship communications sound much like the transmissions sent by NASA astronauts, which I thought was a nice touch. And the various buttons and gizmos at the fingertips of the crew look like they have actual functions, instead of being random looking arrangements of jelly beans and Jolly Ranchers.

To these design touches, Abrams adds a multitude of lens flares and naturalistic camera moves, including a nice one where the shot tilts to the side after a ship jumps to warp speed, as though the camera has been caught in its wake.

There’s more to recommend Star Trek than the visuals. Like I said, the story moves along familiar lines, but Abrams and his writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman manage to give the presentation a mythic quality. And key scenes, particularly the prologue involving James Kirk’s doomed father, and a brief scene between Spock and his father following a devastating tragedy, pack an impressive emotional wallop. The filmmakers hit the perfect tone, too — sincere but not over-serious, irreverent without lapsing into self-parody.

Composer Michael Giacchino helps give this Star Trek fresh ears, too, writing a brand new score that avoids all the familiar musical themes until the Alexander Courage theme from the original TV series plays over the closing credits. And while not all the dialogue is great, it’s almost entirely free of the meaningless technobabble that has infested Star Trek shows since the beginning. By the time the Star Trek: Voyager series came along, entire scenes consisted of nothing but conversations based around inertial dampers and Heisenberg compensators. Here, the tech talk is fleeting and mostly kept to the background.

Don’t let me leave you with the impression that everything works here. The acting is terrific for the most part — particularly Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as the new Kirk and Spock, Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, and the flawless Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike — but one big soft spot is Leonard Nimoy, in a small but important role as Old Spock, who, like the villainous Romulan Captain Nero, has accidentally traveled back in time from the next century. He gets a great entrance, a brilliantly staged scene with Kirk in an ice cave that reminded me of the frozen wilderness that frames Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. But there’s something very off about Nimoy’s performance. He’s too loose, too comfortable, too much of himself, maybe. He speaks and acts nothing like Spock ever has, and most of his line readings sound like narration from a video game.

The script goes a little heavy on the foreshadowing. Young Kirk hears repeatedly about how he will be a great starship captain one day, both from Old Spock and from Nero, but do we really need that? Isn’t that a foregone conclusion? That heavy-handedness and some very clunky dialogue spoil what could have been a great moment when Nero tells Kirk that he was "a great man. But that was another life." At least that’s how the line went in the trailer; in the film it’s got lots of extra words and doesn’t have nearly the same impact.

Additionally, the rapidity of Kirk’s rise to the captaincy and the assembly of the classic crew is a stretch, I think. Kirk goes from a third-year cadet to the captain of the fleet’s brand new flagship within — what, a few days at the most? It’s not totally implausible; Abrams presents Starfleet as a smaller, more upstart organization than we’ve seen before, so promising new officers getting fast promotions, especially following heroic, galaxy-saving adventures, isn’t out of the question. And getting Kirk into the big chair by the end is the whole point of the movie. But it all happens awfully fast, and it seems like lots of faceless superior officers have to bite the dust to clear the road for Kirk, McCoy, and the rest. Still, I much prefer rushing things a little like this to the George Lucas route of dragging a threadbare prequel plot out for three fucking movies to tell a story that nobody needed to see in the first place.

And while this movie handles humor a lot more adroitly than Star Trek traditionally has, there are some failed attempts at low comedy, particularly when Kirk experiences complications from a vaccine, like swollen hands and a tongue that goes numb while he tries to relay critical information. Kirk’s annoyance at McCoy constantly sticking him the neck with syringes to treat the symptoms is funny, at least.

So no, it’s not a perfect movie. It’s still a damn good one. Nothing that’s going to change your life, nothing you’re going to remember thirty years from now, nothing that ought to be studied frame-by-frame in film class — but a hell of a lot of fun, and an impressive fresh start for the Star Trek franchise. Ever since I first read Harlan Ellison’s original screenplay for the classic TV episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," I’ve thought it would be a good idea to recast the classic crew with younger actors and go back to telling Captain Kirk stories for awhile. Star Trek is a great first step down that road. It feels as rousing and new as any movie based on a 40-year-old television series could be, and provides the Star Trek franchise with the fresh breath of life it so very much needed.

I wonder what Hank would think of it.

Rating: 8 (Steve Shives)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

As a bright, loud, jangly summer blockbuster, ST XI succeeds admirably. -- As a thoughtful movie about beloved characters, it pretty much fails.

The pacing is frantic, the story is thin, the characters and acting are variable.

This movie feels made by someone who was told what Star Trek should be, but had never seen it themselves. I guess that's true considering only one member of the producing crew seems calls themselves a fan (but of TNG, primarily, not the story they are telling here).

The plot is fairly ludicrous, and this movie focuses on the least important part of the story. They should have made a movie out of the prequel comic and focussed on the epic threat to the universe and one man's need for revenge instead of these stupid chases and pointless phaser-fights.

But this is the problem with most action pictures starting with James Bond and continuing through to Michael Bay and beyond. There is only enough story to get from one action set-piece to another without really examining the motives and qualities of anyone involved. Instead of looking at what festering hate does to a man like Nero (for 25 yrs!), our heroes are only concerned with cutting the red or blue wire. Some movies can skate by like that, but Star Trek has generally given us more.

Again, this is summer blockbuster movie-making, not thoughtful science fiction. Time-travel, duplicate characters, black-holes, faster then light travel, and transporting are treated like items on a checklist instead of the ingredients for an epic space opera.

This even has an obligatory romance motivated by nothing and telling us even less about the respective participants.

Pine and Quinto are fine in their respective roles of Kirk and Spock, bringing the necessary emotional underpinning to their otherwise underwritten characters.

Karl Urban as McCoy seems to be over-acting the worst of the character's traits and is given a couple of terrible "I'm a doctor..." lines out of sheer fan-service. I want to see more of the bitter divorcee.

John Cho as Sulu is solid. Anton Yelchin brings a youthful exuberance that suits the young Chekov. Unfortunately, both Sulu and Chekov are made to look like fools in their introductory scenes.

Zoe Saldana as Uhura is lovely and smart, but never gave me the idea that she has ever been near Africa. Sulu, Chekov and Uhura all get a little more screen time than we've seen in the past and it's all welcome.

Scotty shows up late in the story primarily for a little comic relief. Simon Pegg plays Scotty with a light touch, but the character as written is made to look more like a lucky fool than brilliant & dedicated.

As an origin story, no one really gets their due (except, maybe, Spock). All of the other characters are sketched in movie-making short-hand without any sense of why they are doing any of this and why they want to do it as a group.

Eric Bana as Nero is menacing enough but has so little screen time and so few lines, it barely registers that he is a Romulan or why he's here.

Leonard Nimoy is underused and could easily have been replaced by a character named 'Ambassador Exposition'. He is given a nice farewell scene and funny line, but young Spock seems singularly unaffected by the whole chain of events.

This movie is fast and loud, underwritten and over-produced. The acting is good and the direction shows a sure hand, even if it's all lost in the flash edits.

As a movie it is an efficient thrill delivery system, but hardly thoughtful science fiction or satisfying space opera.

As a long-time fan, I can only accept this as taking place in a completely parallel universe (or that it is a reboot regardless of what anyone says to the contrary).

Little here conforms to anything we have seen previously and even Spock Prime is a stranger to these eyes. A little bit of my fantasy life died today.

Rating: 3 (AdmNaismith)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: A thrill ride with a heart and a great reboot to the series in a stroke of genius by the filmmakers.

Commentary

In short, I give it an 9 out of 10. Otherwise, spoilers ahead.

This is not Roddenberry's Star Trek. This is not Wise's Star Trek nor Harve Bennett's nor Nicholas Meyer's. It is the amalgamation of each with bits of the four spin-off series, yet is nothing like any of them. This is a liberated Trek that is able to pull the fruits of its choosing from the tree while not being tethered to canon. It's exhilarating, innovative, and damn good-looking. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a thrill ride with a heart. It's akin to peeling through your childhood neighborhood in a Mustang when you've previously only seen the view from your bicycle. It feels familiar, but it's a whole lot faster.

The window to this new world is Jim Kirk. The premise of an alternate timeline is pitch perfect, and its explanation three fourths through the film ripples back to the opening scene to establish this James T. Kirk as a completely different character than the one portrayed by William Shatner. Shatner's Kirk was born and bred Starfleet, and by the time we meet him, even in the original series, he's an officer through and through, a thoroughbred captain with a honed balance of bravado and experience. It's important to understand that Chris Pine's Kirk (and his inevitable crew) is displaced. It plays as a tragedy the more I reflect on it. The Nero may not have accomplished everything he set out to do, but he won. He won the moment his ship unwittingly traveled back in time and destroyed the USS Kelvin. Shatner's Kirk was born on that ship and probably spent his infancy and toddler years there in blissful security and stability. Pine's Kirk is born into chaos and war, with the death of his father and the destruction of his would-be home. He's orphaned from Starfleet, and this film is about his journey to find his destiny. New Kirk makes Old Kirk look like Picard by comparison. This is a true maverick. By the end, when the usual suspects are functioning officially as a crew for the first time, we get the eerie sense that this was meant to happen regardless of any time-space continuum anomalies.

Only this time, it's different, and that's pure genius on the part of the filmmakers. They can play in this universe on their own terms and with distinctly different versions of our fundamentally similar characters. It's this attribute that feels uniquely J.J. Abrams and makes me long for the opening episodes of Lost again. The Romulan ship's appearance parallels the crash of Oceanic flight 815, and the familiar Star Trek characters are effectively lost. Aside from Kirk, the best example is Quinto's Spock. He is still the half-Vulcan, half-human science officer we'll rely on for reason and quiet leadership, but he has suffered loss greater than any of us could imagine. Add to this meeting his older self and being told to trust his feelings, he's on a much different path than Nimoy's Spock, who always seemed more Vulcan than human.

The film has its flaws. The beginning feels like paint-by-numbers filmmaking, maybe because the first 20 minutes contain 90% of what we've seen in the trailers and clips, so I was able to anticipate it. Sometime along the 40-minute mark, though, I felt a lurch in my stomach. I can't be here expecting a recreation of the original series, I realized. This is all uncharted territory, and it's exciting as hell.

The three-year jump cut was jarring. I don't need to see Kirk's every moment in the academy, but a little peek inside that time period would have been interesting.

The ending reminded me of superhero origin movies – this was a fun adventure, but it was foreplay, the set up for what's to come. It begs to be continued, and I was left thinking, "Okay. That was cool. Now where shall we go?"

Like all good Trek movies have ended.

Rating: 9 (Chad-Michael Simon)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main TOS listing

Commentary

As Captain Picard once said, "Well... it seems we're truly sailing into the unknown".

One of the many great things about this movie is not only it has the concept of "This is not your father's Star Trek", while still being "your father's Star Trek". In short, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is not a reboot, but the same old Star Trek pushed into unknown territory.

The movie is not one big homage to the original series, but flows with not only the original series, but the entire legacy as well. And as any good Star Trek film, or any good sequel/prequel/installment, you don't need to know any of the other movies to understand it. What is even better that even with the alterations to the time line, much of what is known about Star Trek’s legacy is still maintained, including the Kobayashi Maru scenario.

From a Trekkie's point of view, that even the course of Star Trek history has been drastically changed, it doesn't have the "screw the original series" feel, but rather that we are now boldly going where no one has gone before, and what is to happen with Star Trek with these drastic historic changes. Sailing into the unknown.

Star Trek blends comedy, suspense and action perfectly, though it hardly give you time to breathe. Basically, the one scene from The Last Samurai where Tom Cruise took out 3 assassins at once and later the events caught up with him. This is the feeling you get from this movie at the end. Where it all finally comes together. With all that, it also has the same fantastic feel as did the original Star Trek did, making the old seem new again, and not betraying Star Trek at all.

The Enterprise is a beauty. Keeping it true to Walter "Matt" Jefferies original design, while re-envisioning the look of the 23rd century by today's standards and keeping it true to Star Trek legacy. The design of the bridge, transporter room, everything, as though the designers have the technology to extract imagination directly out of imagination itself.

Onto the characters. Chris Pine’s portrayal of James Tiberius Kirk (why he left it as James T.) is shown a someone who is very impulsive, cocky, and ready to use his fists, while at the same time showing his light hearted side and that sense of apprehension. In other words, exactly like James T. Kirk. He does not portray him as William Shatner did, but that would be more like a parody as shown many times over.

The case of the 2 Spock’s, their performances are, I wouldn’t say identical, rather they are almost indistinguishable from each other. Both Zachary Quinto who does a nice performance of the same old Spock we all know and love, and Leonard Nimoy able to go back to his famous role after 18 years.

Probably the best performance is Karl Urban as Doctor Leonard McCoy where he is not doing an impression of DeForest Kelley as McCoy, but that his performance is almost a dead ringer for that of DeForest.

Altogether, this is by far the best Star Trek I have ever seen, and recommend it to both the fans and the non-fans.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Robert H.)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

All right, I will address some of the negatives presented here and elsewhere. There will be spoilers, so you have been warned.

  1. Yes, Vulcan got eaten. A planet was destroyed much like Star Wars or the threat presented in Nemesis. Could they have come up with a different threat? Perhaps. But recycling a threat did not hurt Star Trek IV any.
  2. The movie moved too fast. I do not think so. It was two hours of action packed excitement and I was able to easily follow what was going on. The film had to introduce all the characters and provide an origin of this new universe, so it had a lot of ground to cover.
  3. Parts made no sense (i.e. Kirk getting command of the Enterprise). True, some elements were a stretch, but we have seen similar implausibilities before in 'Trek; people serving for fifteen years on the same ship without promotions regardless of a war going on, for example. Or people staying the rank of ensign for seven years. At least in Kirk's case it was about a reward for saving Earth and avenging Vulcan. -- Trek reviewer sfdebris pointed out in one of his reviews that people are willing to provide a suspension of disbelief if the story is written well enough, and where this movie was concerned I was quite willing to cut the writers a lot of slack because I enjoyed myself a great deal.
  4. Alternate universe? Sure, why not? Is it any sillier than seeing God in the middle of the galaxy? Or the massive plot holes delivered in Insurrection? Or the Star Trek II rip off that was Nemesis? And the way it was presented does not invalidate the good (and bad) 'Trek presented before.

Honestly, I loved this movie. I laughed, something I have not done with a 'Trek movie in years. I gave a damn about the characters, something I have not done since First Contact (and that includes the television series Voyager and Enterprise). The visuals were stunning, something the past two films were sorely lacking. And the cast was spot on while Picard and company felt tired and worn out in the last couple films.

I pray the movie does well enough so I can see more of Pine, Quinto and company return again and again.

Rating: 8 (katefan)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.04-2258.42 (or something). Stardate 2233.04: Federation survey vessel USS Kelvin NCC-0514 was attacked by Nero and the Narada that emerged form the 24th century. With the Kelvin's captain killed and the ship heavily damaged, acting captain George Kirk ordered the crew to evacuate the ship as he plots a ramming course towards the massive Romulan ship, destroying the Kelvin and saving 800 lives...and causing an alternate timeline. Stardate 2258.42-.46: Federation starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 investigates a disturbance and a swarm of a destroyed fleet over Vulcan which was caused by the massive Narada. Captain Christopher Pike, after leaving Spock in command, and on his way to the Narada, ejects James T. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Olsen (redshirt with bullseye) onto the Narada's drilling rig. Olsen was killed in action, and Kirk and Sulu was nearly killed before beaming out. Vulcan was destroyed by Red Matter that was deployed inside the planet's core. Kirk, having been knocked out, was ejected to Delta Vega, where he met Spock Prime. Kirk has learned that in the year 2387, Spock saved the galaxy, but not before Romulus was destroyed by the Hobus Supernova. Nero wanted revenge, so he was pulled into the black hole to destroy Vulcan....and his next target is Earth. They meet another person named Scotty, who, like Kirk, was exiled to D.V. Using the Transwarp formula, Kirk and Scott were beamed back to the Enterprise to relieve Spock of command. Elder Spock's plan worked, and Kirk assumes command of the Enterprise and rescue Pike, saves the Earth, and destroys the Narada with Spock's help. After the "Narada Incident", Pike's promoted to Admiral (and in a wheelchair), and Kirk's been promoted to the full rank of Captain, and with Science Officer Spock, Dr. McCoy, and his new crew of the Enterprise, they will "explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Commentary

I'm a man of few words, so I'll just come out and say it: It's my first review I've done with this movie. I'll say what I've said about this movie: I LOVE THAT MOVIE! I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL! It was incredible, wonderful, funny, yet dark, and filled with danger (I lllooooooove danger ^^). It's sad to see Amanda die, though...and the planet Vulcan destroyed.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Eric Gardner)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: The USS Kelvin is in the process of investigating a mysterious "lightning storm in space" when a massive ship giving off a Romulan energy signature emerges from this distortion. When the Commander of the menacing ship forces the Kevin's Captain to fly a shuttle aboard for "negotiations", first officer George Kirk takes command. He gives his life helping his crew and family, including newborn son James T. Kirk escape by shuttle, altering history forever. Several years later an angry Jim Kirk is encouraged by Captain Christopher Pike to join Starfleet. He does, and in his third year he is thrown into a desperate situation in which he and the young crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 must face the very same vessel that destroyed his father's ship. This massive ship, which is revealed to be from the distant twenty-fourth century, destroys the planet Vulcan using a substance only known as "Red Matter" which is dense enough to create black holes, leaving the Vulcan race only ten thousand strong. After meeting Ambassador Spock, also from the future, Kirk learns that the Romulan Commander Nero is seeking retribution for Spock's and the Federation's failure to save Romulus from destruction in Nero's time. Armed with this knowledge now Acting Captain Kirk sets off on a quest to defeat Nero and save not only Earth but the entire Federation from Nero's wrath.

Commentary

This movie made extensive (unacknowledged) use of the "Butterfly Effect", which states that even the slightest change to history could change the present until it is barely recognizable. Though no technology from the future made it to Starfleet of the past, the USS Enterprise was an entirely different and in many ways vastly superior ship. Also, believe it or not, Spock and Uhura (yes, Uhura) have a relationship in this new timeline. This is just one aspect of this much more Human Spock's personality that is explored in this movie. Aspects of Starfleet technology was just completely different, such as segmented warp cores and view screens that double as windows. But (and this is coming from an avid fan of the original Enterprise) the redesigned ship was simply beautiful. The situation that lead to Kirk taking eventual command of the ship in a time of crisis was entirely plausible and entirely Star Trek. The young actors played their parts exceedingly well, and at times I even forgot that I was looking at anyone but the characters that I loved from the original series and the subsequent movies. Kirk was confident and was stricken with a perpetual swagger. McCoy was pompous and sarcastic. Scotty was loud and brash and full of his own brilliance. Chekov was young and overly eager. Sulu was, well, Sulu. And Spock, despite his differences, was just as logical as always, and just as perpetually torn between his two heritages. The way that the characters all came together despite the differences in the timeline was inspiring, though somewhat unlikely. Despite all of the technological differences and new special effects, the movie gave me chills at times. J.J. and his writers reminded me that Star Trek is not about the props and the effects, but the people, and the story, both of which were, in my opinion, portrayed perfectly.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (legendhiro)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Most entertaining of Star Trek films

Commentary

Of all Trek films, this is the first one that did not feel like an extra long TV episode. Consistency may not have been adhered to to everyone's liking but I was a rousing story with very good acting and fleshing out of characters. The movie could be interpreted as Trek is essentially starting over but I think that could be a good thing. I'll still keep my DS9 DVDs, my models of ships from the previous Trek incarnations and collect new ones, both from this movie and previous ones, as they become available.

There were some set that I would have like to have seen done better (engineering, mostly) but I enjoyed this Trek film more than anyone previous.

Rating: 9 (Michael Paquette)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Es war der Schöpfer der gefeierten Science-Fiction-Serie Babylon 5, Joe Michael Straczinsky, der Star Trek einmal mit einem edlen Sportwagen verglich. Paramount als Rechteinhaber war dermaßen besorgt einen möglichen Wertverlust zu riskieren, dass der Wagen kaum noch das Tageslicht sah und in der Garage verstaubte. So geschah es, dass Star Trek irgendwo in den Neunzigern, kurz nach dem Höhepunkt seiner Popularität, stehengeblieben war. Fast all die Entwicklungen der modernen (TV-)Science-Fiction wurden verschlafen, was letzendlich zur Absetzung der zwar leidlich bemühten, aber nicht mehr zeitgemäßen Serie Star Trek - Enterprise und damit zum vorzeitigen Ende des Franchises führte.

Fast auf den Tag vier Jahre später nun schickt J.J. Abrams sich an all die Versäumnisse der späten Berman-Ära aufzuholen und das Vehikel Star Trek mit Vollgas wieder auf Kurs zu bringen. Und zwar im Rückwärtsgang.

Die Idee, die Abenteuer des jungen Kirk und Spock auf der Akademie in einem Film zu thematisieren, war schon zu Zeiten des ehemaligen Trek-Produzenten Harve Bennett im Gespräch. Dieser war 1991 nicht der Meinung, dass man dem Kinopublikum noch mal die alten Herren der Enterprise in ihrem nunmehr sechsten Abenteuer zumuten könne. Ganz abgesehen davon, dass sicherlich auch Überlegungen, dass junge, unbekannte Schauspieler mit Sicherheit weniger kostenintensiv für die Produktion wären als Shatner und Nimoy eine Rolle spielten. Diese Idee war und ist im Fandom bestenfalls...umstritten, zeigt aber auch welche Faszination von der Konstellation der klassischen Trek-Figuren ausgeht. Kirk und Spock sind das Herz und der Verstand der Serie gewesen, dies zu erkennen sollte dem Autorenduo Kurtzman/Ocri nicht schwer gefallen sein.

Diese schaffen es eine interessante und spaßige Story auf die Leinwand zu bannen, die durchaus den Geist von Star Trek atmet. Zumindest jedenfalls den Geist von Star Trek im Kino. Denn auch in den vorangegangenen Kinoausflügen der Enterprise könnte man bemängeln, dass die Geschichten oftmals reichlich dünn waren. Daraus resultiert die Meinung, dass Star Trek seine Wirkung wahrscheinlich nur im Fernsehen voll entfalten kann und die Filme eine Art kurzweilige Dreingabe dazu sind. Vollkommen logisch und nachvollziehbar ist das Script jedenfalls nicht immer. Das Ende verlangt zum Beispiel sicherlich ein bisschen Augenzudrücken, denn dass Kirk direkt von der Akademie zum Captain befördert wird, ist wohl nur der Realität des Films und einem potenziellen Sequel geschuldet. Doch um der Wahrheit die Ehre zu geben: damit wird ja beinahe eine Tradition aufrecht erhalten, denn wie der erste, sowie der vierte, fünfte und siebte ST-Film zeigten, hat sich Kirk ohnehin nie in einem anderen Rang als dem des Captains wohlgefühlt.

Und wirklich unverbraucht ist die Geschichte um Zeitreisen (Teil IV und VIII) und Rachsucht (Teil II und X) natürlich auch nicht, weder für das Kino generell, noch für Star Trek. Gänzlich neu hingegen ist die Präsentation. J.J. Abrams inszeniert den elften Teil der Reihe rasanter als jeden Vorgänger und schöpft sein großzügiges Budget von 150 Mio. Dollar dabei sichtlich aus. Zum Vergleich: der erfolgreichste Star-Trek-Film, Der Erste Kontakt, spielte 1996 weltweit überhaupt „nur" 146 Mio ein. Und dennoch fühlt man sich nicht überrannt und als Zuschauer nicht ernst genommen, wie es in so vielen anderen Filmen dieser Tage der Fall ist. Star Trek XI ist einfach ganz anders und doch irgendwie vertraut, der Spagat gelingt tatsächlich, was z.B. im Score deutlich wird. Für viele ein Schwachpunkt der Produktion, halte ich die Mischung aus klassischen Trek-Arrangements und Micheal Giacchino Kompositionen sowohl passend als auch gelungen. In mir erzeugten sie dieses Kribbeln endlich wieder ein Enterprise-Abenteuer auf der Leinwand erleben zu dürfen.

Auch der Vorwurf, Star Trek würde unter Abrams' Egide zu einem seelenlosen SFX- und Action-Vehikel verkommen, muss sich als falsch herausstellen. Mehr geschossen oder gekämpft als bspw. in Star Trek - Nemesis wird hier auch nicht. Vielmehr untersucht Abrams die Beziehung zwischen Spock und Kirk, zwei Figuren, die unterschiedlicher kaum sein könnten und sich doch so gut ergänzen.

Doch gibt es auch Schwächen und diese zu verschweigen wäre nicht richtig. Abrams hat ein modernes Actionabenteuer auf die Leinwand gebracht, mit allen Vor- und Nachteilen. Ein Kinofilm des Jahres 2009, mit Lense-Flares, Wackelkamera und allem, was dazugehört. Bisweilen können die flotten Sprüche der Protagonisten doch etwas von der Geschichte ablenken, besonders Chekov und Scotty scheinen manchmal nur als Witzfiguren zu fungieren. Und auch McCoy wird, zumindest was Story-Relevanz betrifft, ein bisschen außenvor gelassen.

Andererseits: Zachary Quinto zuzusehen, wie er dem (jungen) Spock Leben einhaucht, ist eine wahre Freude und die äußerliche Ähnlichkeit zum Original bisweilen verblüffend. Die wirklich Entdeckung hier ist aber Chris Pine, der als James Kirk nicht versucht das eher eigenwillige Schauspiel William Shatners zu kopieren (wie es Karl Urban erfolgreich mit Ur-„Pille" DeForest Kelley gelingt), sondern stattdessen wahre Präsenz und Leading-Man-Qualitäten beweist. Auch Chris Hemsworth als George Kirk hinterlässt trotz seines kurzen Auftritts einen sehr starken Eindruck, von ihm hätte ich gerne mehr gesehen.

Auch Eric Bana als Nero macht seine Sache ordentlich. Dass der Romulaner kein vollkommen übergeschnappter Bösewicht mit Hegemonialansprüchen ist, sondern im Grunde nur ein Arbeiter, der versucht seinen Schmerz zu kompensieren, ist meiner Meinung nach eine große Stärke des Films. Neros enormes Potenzial als Führer spiegelt sich in Kirk wider und ist ein Hauptaspekt der Geschichte des Films. Der Unterschied zwischen den beiden ist nur, wofür sie ihre Kraft einsetzen. Auch wenn Banas Bösewicht nicht besonders viel Screen-Time eingeräumt bekommt, funktioniert die Figur dennoch besser als so manch anderer Antagonist in der Geschichte der Reihe.

Das größte Geschenk an die Fans ist aber mit Sicherheit Leonard Nimoy. Zu ihm braucht man im Grunde nicht mehr viel zu sagen, denn er atmet Spock geradezu nachdem er die Rolle 40 Jahre lang gespielt hat. Es war das erste Mal, dass ich im Kino Szenenapplaus erlebt habe, als der alte Spock das erste Mal auf der Leinwand in Action war.

Und natürlich bringt eine Neuinszenierung (um das unangebrachte Wort „Reboot" zu vermeiden) auch viele Neuerungen mit sich. Das geniale Design der Enterprise von Matt Jefferies wurde verjüngt, zwar ist diese Ikone so immer noch erkennbar, ersichtlich ist der Grund dafür hingegen nicht so recht. Auch die Kostüme, sowie die Sets wurden, mal mehr, mal weniger erfolgreich, einer Verjüngungskur unterzogen. Besonders sauer stieß mir dabei der vollkommen austauschbare und unlogische Sternenflotten-Maschinenräume auf. Diese nehmen sich eher wie industrielle Produktionsstätten aus und strapazieren die Kontinuität und innere Logik der Trek-Geschichte doch schon arg.

Und es lässt sich nun mal nicht jeder Logikfehler mit einer neuen Zeitlinie oder einem Paralleluniversum hinwegdiskutieren. Warum Beamen bspw. 100 Jahre nach Star Trek - Enterprise dermaßen große Schwierigkeiten macht, ergibt einfach keinen Sinn. Aber wer auf der anderen Seite argumentieren mag, dass der junge Kirk hier mit einer alten Corvette über die Felder Iowas heizt, wohingegen ihm das Konzept von Verbrennungsmotoren in der TOS-Folge „Epigonen" noch vollkommen fremd war, der zielt einfach vollkommen am Kern der Überlegung vorbei. Star-Trek-Filme, wie sie waren, waren ganz einfach nicht mehr rentabel, weder finanziell und in vielerlei Hinsicht auch narrativ nicht. Und wenn es diese kleinen bitteren Pillen sind, die man schlucken muss, um sein Lieblingsfranchise weiter auf der Leinwand erleben zu dürfen, dann sei es eben drum.

Der lakonische Titel Star Trek allein, ohne Unter- oder Nebentitel ist ein deutliches Zeichen an Sachunkundige, dass sie sich diesem Film gefahrlos ohne Vorkenntnisse näher können. Und in der Tat: es funktioniert! Star Trek ist ein zeitgemäßer Sci-Fi-Film geworden, dem dennoch nicht der gewisse Charme abgeht., der das Franchise ausmacht. Er handelt von Schicksal und Entscheidungen, von Potenzial und Selbstverwirklichung. Und wenn der junge Kirk sich entscheiden muss, wo seine Loyalitäten liegen, wenn er beschließt dass das Wohl seines väterlichen Freundes Captain Pike schwerer wiegt als Bestimmungen und Regeln, fühlt man sich angenehm an die ersten Star-Trek-Filme erinnert.

Ob Anleihen an Star Wars (Monster) oder Battlestar Galactica (Warp-Effekt, Doku-Stil) bspw. nun nötig waren oder nicht, darüber lässt sich streiten, andererseits entspricht es durchaus auch der Tradition der Franchises auf einander Bezug zu nehmen. Entgleisungen wie Product Placement mögen heutzutage vielleicht an der Tagesordnung sein, ich persönlich finde sie aber besonders in einer geldlosen Gesellschaft wie der Föderation mehr als unangebracht. Wenn Kirk sein Nokia-Telefon betätigt, fühlte ich mich auf sehr unangenehme Weise in das Jahr 2009 zurück versetzt. Dies ist eine Kröte, die ich nur sehr ungern noch einmal zu schlucken bereit bin.

Hat Abrams es nun geschafft Star Trek für die Zukunft fit zu machen? Ja und Nein. Ja, er hat Star Trek verjüngt, doch hätte er die Besonderheiten der Reihe etwas mehr herauskehren können, um sie vom derzeitigen Sci-Fi-Einerlei abzuheben, dennoch gelingt ihm ein großer Film mit kleinen Schwächen. Oder mit anderen Worten: Mission erfolgreich.

Star Trek hatte eine Verjüngunskur bitter nötig, um als popkulturelles Phänomen erhalten zu bleiben und außerdem laufen uns Trekkies die früheren Inkarnationen von Roddenberrys Zukunftsvision nicht davon.

Rating: 8 (Trip)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.4: A reinvention of Star Trek, based on the early years of Kirk, Spock and co. The film is aimed at both the casual Trek fans, and the new. A strong plot, excellent cast, and brilliant special effects.

Commentary

Honestly, when I first heard a new Star Trek film was in production, I was overjoyed. That joy turned to sorrow as I heard the movie would be a prequel, set in a time before TOS, and would once again involve time travel.

Having seen the movie however, I was quite satisfied with the result. There was a strong story base to it, a well-written cast, wonderful special effects, and a fair amount of humour to the film.

  1. The new Enterprise - After seeing the design, I originally didn't like it at all. I thought it was too futuristic for the era it was set in. However, having watched the film, and having seen it in action, I've come to terms with it not being so bad. The only thing I'd change are the nacelles and size of the deflector dish (these, in my opinion, still seem out of place).
  2. The fact that we got to see several Federation designs, not only with the Enterprise and Kelvin. Granted we didn't get to see a lot of them in great detail, but for the most part, we got the general gist if their shape and size. I had feared we'd only get to see two new designs, and we saw more. I was quite impressed with that.
  3. The D7 / K't'inga during the Kobayashi Maru - A welcome sight I thought. Granted the Klingons were never shown, it was nice to see a friendly design on the screen.
  4. The humour - Always good to see in any movie, even if a serious one. The fact Sulu left the brakes on was good, along with Scotty being beamed into a water tank, and beaming Kirk / Spock onto the main bridge. Must love the humour if nothing else, I thought it was a winner.
  5. The cast and crew - Got to hand it to them, they did a great job. Each of the actors portrayed their role well, and done a superb job. I thought that Scotty was a bit different from the character we've come to know over the years, but everyone else worked well in their redefining moments.

Normally, I'd bring up the USS Relativity, USS Aeon, and Daniel, but to be honest, I see little point. I have ultimately decided that the Trek timeline we know and love, is in fact, three. I know some people will argue this, but to be honest, it is the only conclusion that gives anything any meaning.

First, we've have the 'original' timeline. That being, TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY, along with all the movies from The Motion Picture, through too Nemesis. That would be the first (and original) timeline. Following that, we'd have the ENT timeline. I believe this is a completely different set of events, more specifically because we've never heard of the Suliban or Xindi since. And thirdly, we'll have this latest one, following Abrams's timeline.

Some people may say that the ENT timeline could be the same one as Abrams's new one, but I'd like to keep them separate until the Xindi show up with Spock.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Ashley Stephens)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: By now, everyone knows the plot, so let's move right into it, shall we?

Commentary

Okay, now that the fanboys have weighed in, gushing about cool explosions and "bad-boy" renegades being promoted to ship captain, can we please have some adult reflection? Let me state from the outset that I am not a fan of J.J. Abrams other work. I was dismayed to hear that he would be at the helm of this "re-imagining" (more on that idiotic term later) of Star Trek, and my worst fears certainly have been realized.

Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek was an adult take on the world around him, using science fiction as allegory for contemporary affairs. Yes, it was limited not only by technical restraints, but of social convention of its time. Roddenberry’s bridge crew were highly trained, sophisticated professionals. There was the much lauded integration of the bridge crew; albeit with an American white, male captain. Remember, though, this was intended for an American audience in the 1960’s.

For the next generation, Roddenberry is quoted as saying that this was Trek as he intended -- without studio interference and using superior technology unavailable before. Again, the characters were intelligent professionals and the stories were -- for the most part -- mature works of science fiction.

Star Trek XI, however, does away with any pretext of maturity and professionalism and reverts to the tired cliché of the loner rebel. He alone knows what is best and it is his very refusal to follow the system that allows him to succeed. Yay! He argues with his superiors. Yay! There’s conflict among the group of "professionals" who should never be allowed within a mile of the bridge. Yay! Stuff blows up.

Most important of all: Yay! The audience skews young. This is a movie by adolescents, about adolescents and for adolescents. This movie is New Coke: far more concerned with milking a few dollars out of a franchise/brand name than in being true to the product.

Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this is a Hollywood entirely bereft of original thought. The very term "re-imagining" is a bastardization of the English language. You either imagine something or you do not. Then, you copy it or you change it. Once changed, it is no longer the original. If J. J. Abrams -- or anyone else -- wants to make a science fiction film, have at it. Create some characters, a background universe, a story, etc. The only thing this movie creates is an excuse to hijack the Star Trek brand for marketing purposes.

What next? I’ve got an idea for a perfectly well-adjusted teen from a loving home in California. He has long blonde hair and gets on well with the jocks and the brainiacs in his school. Oh, he has magic powers and his name is Harry Potter. Should make a fortune with teeny-boppers.

No good? Okay, I’ve got another one. Now, I admit this is so far fetched it will never fly with the studios. Take a Victorian era private detective. Only, instead of getting by on deductive reasoning and looking for clues, he’s a man of action! He’s hot with the ladies and not afraid to kick some bad-guy butt with his own hands. I call him Sherlock Holmes and he’s nothing like that brainy panty-waist in the old books and movies. Oh, what? It’s already in the works? It figures.

I thought true Star Trek fans were better than that, but apparently, I'm mistaken. I’m sure this is a fine movie for 15 year old boys, but it isn’t Star Trek.

Rating: 1 (Paul)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

All of the contributing factors listed below, led me to the final rating of 7.5, it is not my favorite movie in the world and it is not my least favorite. The film did well in the merchandising aspect and perhaps this might persuade Paramount to launch a series in the right timeline. But still, Star Trek II is my favorite no matter what. Star Trek lived up to what I thought it would be... a jerky camera action film, not Sci-fi or Star Trek... That is just my honest opinion, I encourage you to make your own conclusions...

Character: The Villain was never developed and he seemed shallow and also he seemed to be a Carbon Copy of Shinzon from Nemesis, and Nemesis was definitely the worst Star Trek Film to date, in my opinion.

Plot: The Climax was terrible, and it was also predictable. Spock crashes his future self's timeship into the ship and it blows up.. ho hum... it was not very moving and it left me saying, "That was it?"

Music: The whole music score was terrible... there was no clear theme, and the Star Trek Motif that was used in all films to date, and was never used once. The Music was terrible, even my dad, the person who doesn't really care about a movie's soundtrack said it was terrible, and he thought the movie was great. The score was just a mishmash of the generic action movie music and a pit of random themes from other Star Trek themes, that did not go well together. Such as the string part that sounded like the beginning of the Star Trek II theme.

Opening: There were no opening credits, this created a problem because there was no clear ending of the prologue and the start of the actual film, also this is the area that the Movie's main theme is played and is for me one of the most important parts of the film. It sort of gives an atmosphere of the movie. The Star Trek II/III theme still gives me goosebumps and I've seen the movie 30 times and I listen to the score often.

Plot: The fact that this timeline is able to continue unsettled me. This means that TOS, TNG, all the movies, DS9 and Voyager no longer exist. Abrams rewrote history and destroyed 40+ years of Star Trek and I won't forgive him of that. Gene must be turning in his capsule. I seriously hope that eventually they kill of this timeline because for me, this movie is not worth forty years. Yes is surpassed 1, 5 and 10. But those can be beat by any movie and I am almost sorry I've seen those movies. It also did better than IX, but the story was pretty predictable there. And I guess it beat Generations, because Kirk could have died better...

Camera techniques: I did not like the jerky camera through out the whole movie, it looked to me as though the whole film that the cameramen were amateurs. I also did not like at how bright some of the scenes were, it was like staring at the sun for 5 minutes it hurt my eyes like hell. The camera angles of the film were pretty bad...

Rating: 7 (Kurt Keller)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I'm torn apart here. As a Trekkie I have to say this is not "my father's Trek" and definitely not my Trek. But as a movie (action sci-fi movie) it was great. I’ve watched it with a few non-trek friends and they liked it, they even asked me to lend them my Star Trek DVDs. So that part, to catch new Fans has worked well. But now to the criticism:

Good: I liked the many hints and references to "my" Star Trek. The effects were well done and I love the soundtrack. I loved Urban as McCoy and Quinto as Spock. The rest of the cast was somewhat between good and okay. Through the many references the movie is really funny for a Trekkie. (I liked the Tribble and Archer’s dog). Also Paul McGillion is in the movie.

Bad (or not so good): I don’t like the new design of the constitution class, especially the iBridge. The Narada looked nothing like a Romulan ship.

Somewhat fuzzy: The story wasn’t groundbreaking, but acceptable (we have to wait what they will do with the next film(s), I hope we see our loved timeline restored). Most of the changes in the timeline is a result of Nero's time travel and therefore understandable.

Uhura dating Spock? Okay this is interesting, but is he experiencing Pon Farr during the movie?

So my conclusion: Every Star Trek Fan should give it a try, I don't think everybody will like it, but hey, we are supposed to be very tolerant ;)

If this movie succeeds, we could save Star Trek. Yes, I think (even and especially)) with this movie, it is worth saving.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Patrik Burbat)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I am a hardcore Star Trek fan. I was a little nervous about this movie after seeing how everything was different; but after I watched the movie, I loved it. Some people here seem to forget that this is an alternate timeline. With that said, things can be slightly different or radically different. I like how there's a connection between the old timeline via Spock Prime with the new timeline. I love the new possibilities that can happen with this new timeline. Overall great movie and just the type of reboot the franchise needed.

Rating: 10 (JR)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

This movie is utter trash. I must say, the beginning scene stood out as pretty damn epic, but after that, the film quickly deteriorated. There is little to no character development with the exception of Kirk, Spock, and Bones, only one of whom (Bones) had an astounding actor (Karl Urban). Uhura was there for romance scenes, Scott was put in to spout one-liners, and Chekov was obviously just a waste of space filled in order to make the audience chuckle at the actor's (Anton Yelchin's) horribly fake Russian accent.

The story behind the criminal's intentions aren't revealed until the fourth quarter of the film, and the backstory is truly abysmal with enough pseudoscientifc nonsense to make any Enterprise fanboy cringe and the worst criminal reasoning in Star Trek since Soran from "Generations." The time paradoxes are badly thought out and make little sense. During said first three quarters of the film, the cast of the film chase the bad guy around and try to stop him. This is utterly boring so the director and writers and such try to make up for this by "pace faking" by making characters argue and be violent and have romance scenes in-between the boring conflicts.

The directing thoroughly lacks in logic, as bringing phasers along instead of fist-and-sword fighting Romulans on an orbital platform with gigantic fiery exhaust ports is obviously highly illogical. Another stupid thing that I didn't understand at all is why the film opened up with a fight. They have a little utilitarian ship in the middle of space and a portal opens and a big dark spiky ship comes out so they start firing at will without checking if the mysterious enemy has shields powered or weapons ready. They just go by "It's big and dark and it just appeared in front of us. We didn't try hailing it because every ugly thing in space is obviously evil." It of course does actually turn out to be evil, but that is not Star Trek.

There are also the canon and plausibility concerns, which are wrecked entirely, so it doesn't deserve to be called Trek. Everything else mentioned here (excluding Karl Urban) just made it even worse.

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Lee Wolfgang)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I caught the film on Thursday (7 May, 2009) afternoon here in Singapore, ahead of the US release. There were no preview sessions the night before...guess the hype generated for this release just isn't anywhere near the ridiculous levels we saw for the SW prequels or LOTR. I did manage to book a ticket for a digital screening at 1630 local time (UCT+8) and strolled into a near empty hall with only about twenty or thirty other patrons in attendance. Never mind. So was it good? Well, yes and no. It didn't exactly disappoint because I actually had no expectations. Not much anyway. But it definitely didn't seem or feel like the mover and shaker that some early reviews had made it out to be. Allow me to explain.

The good stuff first. This is one ST film that wears its 'Trek-ness' (or at least certain aspects of it) proudly and unashamedly on its sleeve. Which means a reasonable dose of space battles, fist-fights, male bonding, technobabble (toned down somewhat compared to your average ST episode on TV) and an almost naïvely optimistic outlook in equal measure. Maintaining these essential qualities while making sure that any film carrying the 'Trek' brand carries enough attractiveness to the 'mainstream' crowd to ensure a level of commercial viability hasn't always been an easy task. The whole cinematic canon of the Trek universe is littered with lamentable duds. This isn't one of them. For all its weaknesses, 'ST IX' feels every bit like a big-budget success. And it's one heck of a typical summer blockbuster we're talking about...the sort you sit through with your upsized cola and popcorn, emerging through the exit with a big smile and a quiet reminder not to dwell too much on the inconsistencies and utter lack of substance you've just witnessed. Despite what you might think, it's a thrilling ride, overflowing with non-stop adrenaline and action, a journey punctuated by panoramic vistas of extraterrestrial environments and gobsmacking settings saturated with futuristic technological wizardry. The visual effects are certainly awesome...make that 'over-the-top' awesome. Space battles are rendered in excruciating detail...with light and shadow fighting for your attention, the screen awash with the dynamic ferocity of nausea-inducing cuts...and rapidly-shifting angles that try to capture the claustrophobia and dread of deadly combat in the vacuum of space. Though some might disagree with the heavy-handed camera-work and aesthetics that are biased towards contemporary sensibilities, the technical achievements of the film are astounding. And the homage-heavy script works to a large extent...though the constant nods to TOS did feel a bit tiresome after a while. The casting was pretty spot-on and the acting is on the whole, above average too. Pine and Quinto seemed to have slipped into their roles as if they had always been the Kirk and Spock of yore, while adding some new and interesting twists to their characters. Karl Urban was particularly effective at evoking the neurotic charm of the McCoy we all love. Would have loved to see a bit more of him, especially in verbal spars with Spock, though. The rest of the cast were also reasonably effective, but were hampered by time and script constraints...most of them were hardly fleshed out and just blended into the background like the clichés they had always kinda been. A bit harsh perhaps, but given the nature of the film, maybe that was always to be expected. And like every good rendition of Trek, this one has a very human heart at its centre. Grief, loss and vengeance. The search for one's true self. Accepting one's destiny and calling. The meaning and importance of friendship and family. You know...generically heartwarming stuff. While the film never really explores any of these themes in any depth, they are all still there as a presence that is superficial, no doubt, but also in another sense, more than enough. And since J. J. Abrams is helming the action, you can also expect some screen-time to be devoted to colourful showcases of teenage angst...as well as much emo pouting and posturing to give it all some pertinently youthful vigour and sheen. Which isn't necessarily all that bad a thing (although I would have preferred more philosophizing and moral conundrums, rather than just scowls and tempers). Updating the Trek franchise for a new generation can't possibly be something that deserves to be totally condemned. The fans are growing old. It's now or never. So...sure, it isn't a thinking guy's sorta movie (whatever that means) or even anything remotely smart...but I think 'ST:XI' still captures the spirit of Trek pretty well while translating those intangibles into a new idiom capable of speaking and reaching out to a larger audience out there. For that alone, I personally think sci-fi fans in general, and specifically trekkers of any shade, ought to embrace and support this film...if not wholeheartedly, at least cautiously. It wouldn't hurt to give it a chance, right?

I'm not a hardcore Trekker by any count. I know my Constitution-class from my Sovereign-class, my Jem'Hadar from my Kazon. But that's about it. I was never one of those guys in the 'reboot-over-my-dead-body' camp. It's just Hollywood entertainment, a capitalist enterprise, above all. And if the film's makers think a bit of tinkering and rethinking can help realign Trek to today's market demands and rake in the dollars for them, who is really gonna stop them? It's their right, no? As a fan, you can choose not to watch it or even come up with detailed, logical and well-argued treatises that try to explain why this reboot thing is heresy, but if this new franchise ultimately goes on to become a major commercial success, who is to dictate what is right or wrong? The Trek you know and adore will still be the same Trek in your mind and imagination. And that's good enough. Seriously, after the last Trek outing in the cinemas ('ST:N'; Jeez...what's with the Remans? Vampiric goblins?!?), what could be worse? Nonetheless, this film is not perfect. Which one is? Though this one is probably still far from it. Like the vast majority of summer blockbusters, it's not a film that will hold up under any degree of close examination. It's nothing unique or unexpected, of course. Nobody's expecting anything like '2001', 'Solaris' or 'Gattaca', right? As with much of Trek (particularly the films), 'ST:XI' is hampered by a plot which doesn't really make much sense, busloads of truly bad science (even by the standards of the in-universe technobabble that is 'Trek science', it is still pretty atrocious), as well as a tendency to gloss over logical inconsistencies and loopholes the size of Kansas by turning up the speed at which the plot unfolds. This, I guess, is my principal complaint about the film: if you take it as it is without too much consideration, it's a reasonably tight and pleasant action flick...but dwell on it for one second too long and you'd just realise just what a nonsensical mess it all is.

I really cannot understand why they're bothering to deny that this film is a reboot. it IS a REBOOT, whichever way you choose to look at it. Having said that, it must also be mentioned (yet again) that Trek continuity and canon are far from being the unproblematic issues that some assume them to be. Almost every official rendition of Trek has managed to confound the problem. And if you factor in TAS, RPGs, video games, novelisations etc., it just becomes almost ridiculous. Oh sure, we've all heard the oft-quoted excuse that only what we've seen and what has happened in the official films and TV series can be considered rock-solid canon but even if we restrict ourselves to these primary sources without getting into too much nitpicking, much of that is self-contradictory too. Let's face it, the different folks behind the different Trek iterations never really had a master continuity bible to follow...not even Roddenberry himself...so what's next? It's too late to get a Leland Chee, that's for sure. A reboot to set things right, to settle at a new beginning? Unfortunately, that wasn't quite what we got with 'ST:XI' either. One might even say that much of the logical weaknesses of the film actually laid with the decision of Abrams, Orci and their team to somehow reincorporate this film into the existing continuity. Smart? Might have been. Paying some lip-service to the concerns of existing fans worldwide can't be that far off a marketing strategy. But in the end, this misguided attempt just felt like a glib, cheap and lame move to shut the fans up (much like how they incorporated all those plainly obvious and cheesy in-jokes into the script...one too many of these fan-pleasers and it all just felt utterly contrived). And believe me, it was very, very lame. Attempting this continuity mind-meld just created unnecessary problems that magnified existing inconsistencies, ultimately pushing them into the foreground and showing them up to be the potentially show-stopping minefields (for some people) that they were. I will only touch on a few here, just to give an idea of the thoughtlessness of the folks behind the film. The writers' solution to the continuity paradox is actually a very Trek one: time travel. In terms of hard sci-fi (typically more literary than cinematic), time travel is usually quite difficult to resolve intelligently and coherently. But of course Trek is a rather soft space opera so time travel has played a big part in many of Trek's adventures from TOS to ENT. With varying degrees of success, it has to be said. And in this particular case, the entire premise just doesn't quite hold up. Other than violating the physical laws of causality (as with most Trek renditions of temporal tampering), this one also didn't quite sit well with existing in-universe depictions of time travel, even if some of them do already contradict each other. Well, surely Spock has at his disposal, one hundred and one means of effortlessly travelling forward and backwards through time, if only to put things 'right' (it looked simple enough in 'ST:IV' and 'ST:VIII')? Staying behind to fight and deal with the crisis on Nero's terms seem so defeatist, insipid and un-Trek. So is there one master PRIME timeline or a near-infinite assembly of parallel but alternate universes co-existing within a larger multiverse? Is there a 'right' timeline that 'ST:XI' is just an aberration of? None of these points are exactly made clear. And what of the temporal regulation and enforcement authorities in the far future (as depicted in more than a few ST episodes, notably ENT) who seem to have some meta-temporal ability to examine the ebbs and flows of clashing timelines as well as the cause and effect of different events? Where is Daniels (of the 31st century) when he is most needed? Shouldn't his employers have noticed any of this? Surely the meaningless slaughter of billions of sentients deserve some attention? And despite Nero's thirst for vengeance, he ought to have been smart enough to just deliver the relevant information to the Romulans of the earlier era first and foremost...surely, given the head-start that they'd have enjoyed, the sharp end of the pointy-ears would have been able to prevent the catastrophe (or at least, start planning a long-term evacuation of the home worlds...why they didn't quite evacuate Romulus given their fore-knowledge of the impending disaster, certainly long enough for Spock to work on a miracle cure in Nero's original timeline is also anybody's good guess). No destruction of Romulus (and presumably, Remus) equals no loss of family equals no grieving Nero (prime or alternate?) equals a smarter way to deal with life's problem. Violates causality, in some sense. But at least his alternate self in the future of this new timeline would have had a fighting chance of survival with his family intact. Ermmm...so why didn't he? Because he has pointy ears and green blood? Come to think of it, someone in the creative team must hate Vulcanoids...c'mon, they destroyed both Vulcan and Romulus in 'ST:XI', didn't they? Where's the local advocacy group for Vulcans and Romulans? Somebody ought to speak up against this 'genocide'. Haha, I guess I'm personally aggrieved because they also happen to be my two favourite alien species in Trek...

That whole thing just doesn't add up. I'd rather have gibberish-sounding technobabble solving the problem of the week, rather than have a situation resolving itself through an inane level of violence and sheer stupidity. At least it would have shown that humanity is capable of some approximation of thought, reason and progress. All we get here is the suggestion that wide-eyed gung-ho adventurism buoyed by personal charisma and a reckless, swashbuckling, maverick leadership style is preferable to professionalism, introspection, deliberation and consensus. Prime directive or not, when do we bomb the XXXXing natives into submission next, eh? But everyone knows what really sells movie tickets these days... The nods to canon also do not make sense because the film violates existing canon in so many other ways. I think canon isn't just about the events that have unfolded onscreen and the things that characters have said and done (as well as implied or referred to), but also the visual continuity...the look and feel of technology and everyday life, as well as the internal consistency of all the secondary features of this make-believe universe. In that sense, Trek's recent outings (especially ENT) have long violated the principle of a believable, self-consistent continuity. I guess that has always been the pitfall of doing a prequel...how do you portray a level of technology that is still believably futuristic to today's pampered audiences, that doesn't quite descend into the pits of kitsch and camp (there's no escaping these adjectives looking at TOS), while fitting as an integral part into a coherent, evolutionary whole? How much retconning can one do, before declaring it a reimagination or a reboot? The ST universe presented in 'ST:XI' is obviously different to the Trek many of us are used to. There's no going back to the shiny toy phasers, communicators and tricorders of TOS. And there shouldn't be a need to. Trying to explain away the continuity differences and divergences in-universe by claiming that they exist as a result of Nero's intervention is just so ridiculous that it doesn't even warrant a mention. Dates that don't fit. Technology that seems out of place (including a very derisible and off-putting piece of product placement by Nokia). How can any of these things pretend to even share a common past (until the aforementioned point of departure) with the old Trek universe (despite its inconsistencies)? There simply is no escape (or excuse). This is a reboot. Admit it so that we can all move on. And all that noodling around with alternate universes and points of divergence isn't brilliant at all (as some of the film's defenders seem to feel)...it's just sad, in fact. For all that talk about faithfulness to canon, one can easily spot several rather silly points of contention. The reference to Klingon 'warbirds' (though there was a precedent in ENT, which B. Braga referred to as a mistake), the uncharacteristic appearance (hey, the protruding brow bridges are gone yet again, lo and behold...and Shinzon's haircut, or lack thereof, seems to be all that is the current rage in the Star Empire, at least amongst space miners with a penchant for hip and street-smart subcultural styles!), behaviour, organization and technology of the Romulans, the Federation's level of acquaintance with and knowledge of the Romulans (not all of which can be so easily explained by Nero's materialization in the past), the potentially troubling appearance of a Tribble and a Cardassian beverage, the altered stardate system, the backstory of the Enterprise's construction etc. etc. etc. ST isn't just some cut-outs and quotes from a bunch of stock characters. Its believability and consistency as a created universe is also a reason for its popularity. If the creators behind this one wanted to start with a clean sheet, they should have...instead of throwing in some superficial, shallow scraps to appease the fans (and only end up making things worse), they should have spent (a lot) more time trying to come up with an involving, articulate, comprehensible and intelligent story (one unencumbered by the past) that really tries to live up to the best of Trek's values.

Even leaving aside the whole hornet's nest of problems associated with trying to link 'ST:XI' back to the existing Trek continuity, the plot is full of weaknesses that just can't be ignored. Suspension of disbelief? If it all works, this suggestion wouldn't even crop up, would it? One of the most glaring and preposterous points is Kirk's miraculous promotion. Obviously none of the writers have ever done any time in the armed forces or any other sorta uniformed organization. Cadet to Captain in the space of days? Ludicrous doesn't even begin to describe it. Chain of command, gentlemen? Rank structure, please? Everything is just kinda thrown outta the window to tell a reactionary tale of a petulant and untested rookie rising to greatness because...well, mediocrity is just not his birthright. And do remember, up to that point in time when he appointed himself the Enterprise's stand-in commander, new and 'improved' Kirk still hadn't really done anything to show just how good a 'leader' he is. And real leadership goes a lot beyond throwing tantrums, punches and bedding aliens. But it's his destiny, I figure... Hmmm, is it me or has ST become a lot more right-leaning? How many more 'reimaginations' are we from the unapologetically regressive conservatism and monochromatic moral canvas of SW? I honestly don't know. And as for the fortuitous meeting of Spock (Prime), Kirk and Scotty on Delta Vega, it just felt completely unbelievable. Talk about cosmic coincidences, right? Cheap and hardly satisfying. And let's not even start with those frankly absurd creatures on Delta Vega. Hey, whaddya expect? They can't even seem to decide if 'captain' more properly describes a position or rank...tsk...tsk... And why do the immediate orbital neighbourhoods of both Earth and Vulcan look so bare? Where are the space stations? Where are the ships and fleets? Where are the planetary defense systems, for gawd's sake? And ermmm...why are there only 10,000 Vulcan survivors? Even if they're a xenophobic civilization and all, they were already a major power before joining the Federation. What happened to all their colonies? What happened to all their off-world scientists, explorers, engineers, traders, industrialists and more...not to mention, Starfleet employees of Vulcan descent deployed elsewhere...They couldn't ALL have been back on Vulcan by some sheer coincidence, no? That 10,000 figure just made me laugh out aloud. It just beggars belief. And sums up the casual nature of the writers' understanding of internal consistency. And as for Spock witnessing the destruction of Vulcan from Delta Vega (though one recalls a somewhat analogous scene in 'ST:VI', when the destruction of Praxis sent out subspace shockwaves and was even viewable by the Excelsior's presumably very capable sensors in 'real-time')...either the formation of black holes can generate explosions that travel at superluminal speeds or Delta Vega is really located within the Vulcan system (which should mean he's probably dead meat too, given his proximity to the black hole). Neither which makes much sense. The portrayal of singularities is extremely laughable and unscientific too. Just take it as yet another plot-advancing device. The same goes for the phenomenon that destroyed Romulus, which is described as a supernova. I don't really think the existence of a single supernova can be described as a galaxy-threatening event...perhaps something along the scale of a gamma ray burst might do the trick but a puny supernova? See, I think the writers really had comedy in mind. And how exactly would Spock's 'red matter' thingy have helped the Romulans, if the problematic star in question was really the central star in the Romulans' home system? Would replacing an exploding supernova with a gravitational singularity actually make a whole load of positive difference? And given the nature of the device, why bother drilling holes into planets? Would sucking the planet from within work better or provide better fireworks that cater more to Romulan cultural sensitivities? The more you think about it,...

I do like certain aspects of the ship's design, even if it doesn't quite make sense. It's bright and airy and represents a triumph of style over function, but there's still quite a bit to be delighted with about the bridge, complete with flashy displays, bright lights and other unnecessary embellishments, for one. Though I can't figure out what's with the busy long corridor which it opened up to that was glimpsed at one point in time. If the bridge is truly mounted on top of the saucer unit (as depicted), shouldn't it then be empty space behind all that action? On the other hand, the engineering section sucks. Big time. I knew they wanted to evoke the immensity of the Titanic's innards as it was depicted in Cameron's film, but surely the industrial analogy has to end there. This is the future, for gawd's sake...no engine room in a starship is gonna look like some sewage treatment facility, complete with old school water pumps and heavy-duty piping, not to mention period-looking nuts and bolts. It is not only aesthetically revolting, the entire look just doesn't hold up at all. If this was another comedy moment, the writers and designers certainly outdid themselves here. In terms of depictions of warp propulsion, weapon operations and other manifestations of ship-related technologies, 'ST:XI' deviates quite a great deal from much of what has long been established as principles in the ST universe. No nods to canon there. The warp drives look, handle and behave differently. Ditto the weapons. Even if you were just looking at the design of the Enterprise, it's pretty obvious. No question about it, it's a different beast for a different universe with a different set of sensibilities and a very different code of internal consistency. Which goes back to the point about 'ST:XI' being the first major Trek reboot. It is a reboot in every sense, down to the nuts and bolts, literally even. One that was perhaps permanently maimed from the onset by a pathetic need to incorporate itself into the internal logic and continuity of the existing Trek universe. It shouldn't have bothered. Like I said before, it fails to bring out the best of both worlds and just feels at the end of the day, marooned and unsure of what it actually is or ought to be. I don't think all reboots are necessarily doomed to fail. Just look at BSG...Ronald D. Moore (Trek alumnus) took a tired-looking, cheesy '70s-era sci-fi also-ran and fundamentally remade it into a compelling, courageous and very relevant examination of the human condition. His reimagined series isn't perfect either but it stands head and shoulders above the competition. BSG is so addictive and watchable not because it's good sci-fi drama but because it's good drama. Period. ST is a very different creature from BSG so we can't expect the same sorta approach to be taken when a remake is considered. Still, 'ST:XI' could have been more. But it just isn't. It isn't a bad film; it was rather enjoyable, in fact. But the creators ought to have had the courage to make it weightier and meatier, to have, for example, confronted more contemporary issues head-on without too many prejudices and constraints. Wouldn't that have been a better and more pertinent update? Instead of a classic that could have spoken to both fans and non-fans today and in the years to come, all we got were badly thought-through plot-lines, crowd-pleasing one-liners, gratuitous violence and pseudo-intelligent continuity contrivances. All of which fail to disguise the incontrovertible truth that the film is nothing more than a teenage action flick that doesn't quite live up to its hype...a vacuous two-hour ride full of thrills and spills and nothing much more.

Rating: 6 (Monty Cantsin)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Let me preface this by saying that I really really enjoyed watching this movie. It was fun. It was exciting and I loved the little nods and homages to what I suppose now is the previous incarnation of Star Trek. On the merits of the new Star Trek as a movie, I rank it on par with First Contact, below Undiscovered Country and Wrath of Khan.

The acting for the most part was tremendous, though I wish Scotty had been more than comic relief. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Chekov and Sulu were all very good, and Karl Urban's McCoy was outstanding. At some points he must have been channeling DeForest Kelley, because I could hardly tell the difference. Leonard Nimoy as Spock (or Spock Prime) was fantastic. After the gutwrenching destruction of Vulcan, I was glad Nimoy was there to remind us that everything was going to be OK.

Now to address the 1000 pound elephant in the room. Let's call this movie what it was...a reboot. This is no longer the Star Trek I grew up loving. I won't go into the details of whether or not this is a good thing, as many people here have covered that at length already. I do like that the creative team for the movie seems to have taken some steps to "protect" in a way, the original continuity. In fact, since this movie has already been so successful, I hope it will spur a new TNG movie in the original continuity (many of the principals have expressed interest), at the very least to give Picard and Co. a proper send-off.

Personally, I don't know how I feel about the reboot. I loved this movie, but I can't get past the pit in my soul where Vulcan used to be...

Annotations

Rating: 9 (TheLearnedHand)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.4: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Not going to do an in-depth review, it's actually my first time doing a review for a Star Trek film so I'll keep it as simple as I can.

I enjoyed it, but it also wasn't without its flaws, so here's what I didn't like:

The underuse of characters and overuse of others, first off Karl Urban's performance as Bones was the highlight of the film for me as the resemblance to DeForest Kelly in TOS was uncanny, really didn't have much to do and just stood in the background once the momentum got going after a promising introduction where we understand he's just been divorced and left with nothing but the option of joining Starfleet. While I understood this was an origin story, a little too much was given to Kirk and Spock, their respective childhood sequences could've been left out and I would've been happy. Young Kirk driving a Corvette off a cliff while listening to the Beastie Boys couldn't have been more out of place, and young Spock being subjected to insults from other Vulcan children, including one calling Spock's mother a whore and Spock's violent retaliation, weren't in good taste. So in place of these useless scene's which served no purpose, as we see more of Kirk being a directionless rebel as pointed out by Captain Pike, played by Bruce Greenwood, and Spock's heritage and the dilemma it presents are represented again and again, it would've been nice to have had a couple more scene's with that original dynamic of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. In terms of character overuse, Uhura, I don't think she really needed as much time as given, and her relationship with Spock, wow, couldn't really see that coming, it wasn't a completely convincing sort of relationship with only a very minor hint to it, but it still didn't satisfy.

Nero, Nero really was a bit underwhelming as well, his motivation's were only brushed over, and his recollection of the destruction of Romulus didn't have the emotional impact I expected, so with that it just comes down to the tried, and tried again path of making the villain for a Star Trek film one seeking vengeance against a main character, with the destruction of Earth a secondary motivation. Yawn. His time-travelling could've brought with it a bit more than what we've seen Khan, the Borg Queen, Shinzon and now Nero aimed to do, but it was nothing more than bloodlust and destruction he was interested in. I really wanted to see something more original, like an explicit directive to change history for the worst, as if he were acting on part of the Romulan Empire, say, a disgruntled group who didn't want the peace with the Federation that was implied at the end of Nemesis.

And Spock and Kirk, now Spock. It was inspired casting with Zachary Quinto as Spock, he looked the part, and his performance had been the most intriguing interpretation of the character for a while, from the logical Spock we know, to the extreme anger he displays, tenderness towards Uhura, definitely a highlight. And Chris Pine as Kirk...there were times I bought it, and other's where I just felt it was just a character who happened to have the same name. He definitely showed familiar qualities in Kirk, such as the pause in his speech and movement before his utterance of "Bones..." in the final scene, and the swagger and all too familiar bravado and of course, his nailing of a hot Orion was definitely dead on, but other times it wasn't THAT convincing a performance.

The same I felt for other characters, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty really didn't feel like the original characters, Anton Yelchin did great providing the perfect exaggerated Russian accent, and it was a nice homage that Sulu's combat experience amounted to fencing, Scotty's sense of humour too, Simon Pegg did well with the role, which was a bit limited though.

The story, yes, it 'reboots' Star Trek, as the trailer indicated, 'forget everything you know', all that has been built up for 40 years is now in another universe, literally. The addressing of this luckily wasn't too confusing and was put very simply, and wasn't really made to be as big an issue as it was, so we can put that to bed early. As I've discussed, Nero's plan really didn't boil down to anything more complex than getting payback, which was boringly predictable. Seeing Kirk go through Starfleet and Spock being there as well was more interesting than I expected, and it would've been nice if a bit more of that was seen. It was great to see Pike command the ship and his relationship worth Kirk, it may not have been much, but Bruce Greenwood's portrayal was convincing before he goes missing for the majority of the movie being tortured by Nero. The destruction of Vulcan was an interesting dynamic that could've gone either way, it certainly was a choice to cement this film in another reality from the one we know, and the ramification's of this will surely be seen in the next film beyond Spock's initial reaction.

Some other things. The Enterprise, how I hate it, it's ugly inside and out. Engineering for instance, did the budget run out prematurely? There's also some useless padding, I already mentioned the scenes with young Spock and Kirk as being unnecessary, well there's that, there's the scene with Kirk being terrorised by monsters on Delta Vega as well as the needless chase though Engineering after Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Enterprise and Scotty winds up in the plumbing where Kirk chases him round till he releases him, it all seemed rather useless, some other comedic scenes I wasn't fond of either, like Kirk's reaction to a viral infection causing his hands too swell up and lose the ability to speak. The effects of the ships going to warp were great, but not when we actually see the ship travelling at warp. The shaky cam was overused to the point of irritation, every fight scene, every battle scene was muddled and unclear, I understand this is the new trend in any film with an action sequence, but I hate it immensely. The primary action sequence weren't helped by this, and it felt like it was back to the normal Trek solution with Scotty ejecting the warp core (or was that cores as 5 things were ejected) to allow the Enterprise to escape from the singularities pull.

And old Spock coming back was great, Leonard Nimoy did really well as expected.

To sum it up it was an enjoyable movie, standouts were Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, the effects. Chris Pine's performance was satisfying but there were times where there could've been more, I wanted more from Nero's story than just another vengeful villain wanting to destroy Earth. I wasn't expecting much from the remaining cast and even then we didn't get much more from them than we did from Scotty, Uhura, Chekov and Sulu than we did in The Original Series. The supporting performances were good, Ben Cross as Sarek was a wonderful character, but he and Pike were the only characters who stood out as much as the main 3. Never the less it was still a great film, and perhaps a great introduction to this new stage of the franchise, it wasn't perfect, and I wasn't blown away, but I still liked it enough to give it 8/10. As for the ramifications, I guess it can still be as acceptable as people find The Animated Series, and judging from the reactions so far it looks like this is sadly the future of the series which has its merits but also its drawbacks, but it's still Star Trek to a degree and still has the potential to be something worthy to stand alongside the series that's been with us for nearly 40 years so only time will tell. Till then, I liked it, while it may be quasi-Trek, it was still a damn good movie. To me it would sit probably as the 3rd best Trek film, "First Contact" sits on top, followed by "Wrath of Khan", this, then "The Undiscovered Country". It sorely lacked the intelligence and the profound nature of the two films that better it, but it was still an enjoyable ride.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Cameron)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

What is Star Trek? I see in some reviews that this new movie is not 'Star Trek." Well, what is Star Trek, then? I just got into Star Trek myself. I've only watched up to season 6 of TNG. I say this for two reasons: I want you to know where this review is coming from, and I want to show that the movie has attracted at least one new fan. Regardless of whether the movie is good or not, isn't that worth it?

But back to the main question at hand, that being what is Star Trek. Some people, it seems to me, believe Star Trek is all about the science and technology. To them, its all about warp coils, dilithium chambers, and subspace fields. I don't think any of this is Star Trek. Treknobabble, as I've heard it called, may move the plot along, but I don't think this is the essence of Star Trek. I say this because a lot of people seem to be hung up on the technical side of things in this movie. What does it matter if there are 5 warp drives, or if there's a hallway behind the bridge, or if the viewscreen is actually a window. I think you're missing the point.

Star Trek, like all good stories, is about people. Without characters you like, Star Trek would be nothing. This is a movie about a group of people coming together, some by chance, to defeat a more powerful adversary. I think that all of the actors embody their characters very well. By the end of the movie, you start to see them as the characters you remember from TOS.

Yes, there are discontinuities from the original series that are hard to explain, such as the enterprise looking newer than it should. First of all, time travel is very tricky to predict. How do we know that after the Kelvin was destroyed, the federation didn't decide to develop technology at a faster rate to fight this threat? Or that since the fleet needed to respond to Vulcan's disaster so quickly that the Enterprise wasn't finished, thus leaving engineering looking like a water park? What if encountering the Narada right there at that exact time, caused the fleet to shift patrols, leading to an earlier encounter with the Cardassians? Stuff like this can be explained. But second, we know it's a new timeline. Why not just watch and roll with it? If you go into and movie looking for problems, you're gonna find them. To quote another movie, "Haven't you heard of suspension of belief?"

The story was good, and reading the 'Countdown' comic prequel probably enhanced the experience, and also answers a few questions. A big one would be that the Narada is so huge because even though it's a mining ship, the Romulan remnant fitted it with some sort of Borg reverse engineered add-on that enhanced the ship tremendously. Also, Nero's wife and soon-to-be child were on Romulus when it died, and he blames the Federation for their deaths. Those are just two questions asked in other reviews that I wanted to comment on. I also like that since they started a new continuity, they really shook things up with the destruction of Vulcan. Obviously I was upset when it went, but I'm glad they decided to keep the audience on their toes, changing things in a big way showing that this is not the same as the original series we're used to.

Overall, as a new fan, not yet set in my ways, I found this movie to be very entertaining. It's easier for me to overlook the chronological and technological 'faults' because I went into this movie without a firm background on what is and isn't 'supposed to be'. It contained plenty of audio and visual nods to the original series, and the performances themselves were nods, from Chekov's pronunciation, to Sulu's fencing ("The Naked Time"), to alot of the quotes. Anyway, I just wanted to respond to some of the reviews I read. If it doesn't make sense, well, I'm a doctor, not a critic.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Tom I)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

This movie was something I was anticipating for quite some time. Let me start by saying that I am a hardcore fan, seen nearly all of the original series, all of TNG, DS9 and Voyager, and some of ENT. In fact, Star Trek was one of the reason I went into science and engineering (BIG Scotty fan!), and have always enjoyed the science it showed alongside (mostly) good writing and stories. And while I have all the previous movies, my favorites being TMP, VI and First Contact, because they were very nicely written and shot, with great character moments that didn't hamper the movie. After seeing this XI, I can honestly say that it is a very good Star Trek movie, having all the characteristics I outlined. However, that's not to say that it didn't have it's problems.

I'll first give the good parts. First and foremost, the characters were spot on. Every character had their definable moments, even Spock Prime and Capt. Pike. Chris Pine and Karl Urban were spot-on, so much so that I had goosebumps when I saw some of the preview material and the moments in the movie, specifically the shuttle scene where McCoy was introduced and Kirk starts instigating Spock. Though Zachary Quinto played Spock a little hot-headed, he got Spock down. And Zoe Saldana's Uhura was very good and very nicely written, though not as sultry as Nichelle Nichols. As for the plot, yes, it does resemble Star Wars, but then it was pulled off very good.

Now the bad. Why are there windows on the bridge? On top of that, the bridge isn't above everything else, it's connected to corridors! Though I have qualms about the new sets, I enjoyed them except for the notable exception of the bowels and engineering. As much as I like the fact that they were going for realism, a water treatment plans makes not a 23rd-century power-generation plant, which is what engineering basically is. And what's with all the cross-beams and having the ability to see through decks? The bowels seemed to big for the volume of the ship, and also is bad design for a pressurized vessel, where the open design can make a big area of the ship unusable if a small space was damaged and opened to vacuum, versus the original timeline's design of making separate decks, where specific areas can be closed off in case of a breach.

And as for that whole 'new timeline' talk, I don't believe it. On my way back home that night, my friend and I were discussing time travel, and we brought up conflicting theories. After thinking about it for some time, I am starting to believe that there wasn't so much a 'cleaving' of the timeline as it was time-travel into a parallel universe. My reasoning lies in the beginning sequence of the Kelvin, the prevalence of the Enterprise patch as the Starfleet symbol throughout, and the design departures in both the Kelvin and the Enterprise. It would be akin to an anti-Mirror Universe, where everything is practically the same but with some differences here and there. I think that the red matter not only created a black hole, but one where, if went through in a certain trajectory, can bypass the singularity and emerge into another universe at different times. In my opinion, that's the only way it can all work.

Besides that, the pace of the movie was a little fast, not really that much breathing room in it to let some things expand. The pace was so fast I felt that Spock Prime talked faster than normal because of it.

In conclusion, even though it had it's problems, Star Trek XI was very enjoyable, and I look forward to seeing it again.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Charles H)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

This will be a short commentary, but, as Pericles once said, "to the brave, a few words are as good as many." This was a decent action film, warranting a 5-7 in most cases, however, given that they *called* it "Star Trek" with the *explicit* intent of attracting new fans whilst rewarding the old who, through decades of dedication and dollars spent, deserve a little rewarding (it even makes sense from a business perspective, since these are also the people most likely to pick up your merchandise), it ends up scoring much lower than that.

It is a mediocre film which lacks everything that made Trek great and possessing everything that made Trek a bore. Silly "Deus ex" plotholes, lazy writing, utterly nonsensical ship design/Naval protocol/stellar distances/scientific inconsistency run rampant throughout every moment of the film. At the same time, the stately, romantic (in the classical sense), serious, *adult* themes and feel is utterly lost in favor of what is, essentially, a futuristic coming-of-age story.

Finally, the *conscious* rejection of the Original Continuity in favor of a mediocre New Continuity is an insult layered atop injury for Trek fans. Come to think of it, the destruction of Vulcan is actually rather fitting and symbolic of the film as a whole, given that J.J. Abrams is exactly the kind of person who, upon discovering that there was nothing new or worthy for him to add, simply decided to destroy what was already there.

Rating: 1 (Matt)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I'm glad I waited until a second viewing before writing this review (although this means I lost my chance to make it on the first page and thus few people may actually see it, but anyway...). If I had written the review when I first saw it on Thursday, I would have given it a seven. Now, since I saw it again today (Tuesday), I'm giving it a ten. When I first saw it, it was hard for me to get past the difference in the look compared to what I'm used to. There was much I saw today that I didn't notice the first time. The acting is amazing. All the actors did a great job in this movie, especially Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. I especially liked Eric Bana as the villain. This was a much different type of villain than what we're used to.

Another thing I noticed the second time was the music. When I first walked out of the theater Thursday, I didn't remember any musical score, except in the end credits. When I saw it Tuesday, though, I realized that it had a fairly good sound track.

There were may plot holes in the story, though. First off, if Nero ends up in the past and gets the red matter, couldn't he simply destroy the sun that went supernova before it destroyed Romulus? It seems like a better plan than destroying Vulcan and all of the Federation (which, by the way, would not seem to help his planet like he said it would, since it was not the Federation or the Vulcans who made his sun go supernova.)

Ok, so the black hole destroyed the supernova, destroyed Vulcan, and destroyed Nero's ship at the end of the movie, why were Spock's and Nero's ships able to go through it in the future and not just survive, but travel through time? Does that mean that the supernova and Vulcan are both going to show up somewhere in another time period?

Another issue: why does Nero have to drill a hole to the middle of the planet before he can use the red matter? I would think that it would accomplish the same goal even if it was right next to the planet.

Why did Nero blame Spock for the destruction of his planet when Spock was the only one who tried to prevent it? Well, perhaps on this line, seeing every member of his species being destroyed might have made him lose it a little. I would think that Spock would be the one person that he wouldn't go after.

Overall, I don't really mind most of the changes in this version of Star Trek. The lens flashes (which I didn't even notice until Bernd Schneider wrote his review) and some of the camera work was a little annoying, but, like I said, I barely noticed it until it was brought up. The coincidence of everyone ending up on the exact same ship was also brought up in the review. I do not really think of that as a great problem, though. If you consider the theory of everything happening in different realities, then in some reality the chief engineer who died could of become captain, or every single main character could have been on a different ship, but in this reality, everyone happens to end up on the same ship.

The engine room looked a bit weird. I do not think that the writers really took into consideration what everything does when they made it. So, they just picked a location that looked industrial, with pipes all over the place, and filmed there. It really didn't fit. But, on the other hand, I hope to god that they do not change it in the next movie, because I really like consistency (if not at least within this new series).

When I went to see it the second time, one thing that ran through my mind was: "If I want to refill my popcorn, when could I do it." I realized that there wasn't a single point in the movie that I wouldn't care to miss. It was amazing all the way through from beginning to end.

I really appreciated all the humor in this movie. It made it really good. And, as I said before, the acting was wonderful. You could see the rage behind Nero's face when he realizes that he is in a different time. You can see him slowly losing sense on the close-up of his face before they capture Spock (And that was without any lines!).

One thing that amazed me in this movie was the first scene. They nearly made me cry for someone that I had only known for 5 minutes. It was such a powerful scene, and it was wonderfully constructed. So, aside from all the nitpicking, which doesn't really stand out that bad, anyway, (unlike in other movies,) I think that this was a great movie. It has lots of potential and great actors to carry this series forward.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Andrew Mueller)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I saw the movie a few nights ago with a friend who knew little of Star Trek. Not surprisingly, as the movie is beautiful and quite well crafted, my friend enjoyed it. I, who knows a fair bit about the Star Trek universe (I've seen every movie and every episode of every series at least twice), enjoyed the movie as well, but had to 'pretend' that this was not Star Trek, but some generic sci-fi flick. This was difficult to do, since the character names were all familiar.

The entire premise of the movie - as Star Trek - is ridiculous and there were far too many poorly thought-out sequences, many (if not most) of which were covered in the various reviews on this site, so I won't belabor the issue by bringing them up again.

I do have a comment for the film-makers, who will likely never read this: I understand that this movie is a reboot of sorts (alternate universe notwithstanding) and that you wish to draw in new fans who have little, if any, knowledge of Star Trek. I agree that this is a good thing. But why go out of your way to irritate as many Star Trek fans as possible? Aside from the improbable assembling of the crew members we all know and love, and the redesign of the ship (which looks fine, assuming it is roughly the same size as the TOS ship), not one change to canon served any purpose in the telling of story. Not one contributed to the improvement of the movie. Not one was in any way necessary as far as I could see.

The ship being built on the planet surface? In Iowa? Why?

The romance between Uhura and Spock? Why?

Cardassian Sunrise beverage? Why? (check the timeline of the Federation's first encounter with that race)

Ship's interior completely out of scale (shuttlebay, engineering). Why?

Minutes to travel from Earth to Vulcan? Why?

Cadet to Captain? Why? (and WTF?!?!?!)

There are so many more changes to canon I could point out but I've run out of time and must actually get some work accomplished in my studio. Note that this post only points out changes to canon and not the multitude of other problems.

In closing, it seems to me that it would be inexpensive for the studio to hire a Star Trek geek or two (not me, but the truly knowledgeable fans) to supervise and point out problems. At that point the director could listen, nod and then either agree to a change or cuff the offending fanboy/expert and proceed with his work.

Rating: 0 (Marc C.)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

OK - I am not going to add much to what has already been said. Are there inconsistencies? Yes. Did some of them drive me crazy? Yes. Did I thoroughly enjoy the movie, however? Big time yes. As a Star Trek fan since my first year of high school in 1986, I have been disappointed by the 'staleness' of the franchise over the last 10 years or so. For at least the last decade, Star Trek has really only appealed to hard core fans - and that is a big problem. This movie brings a fresh perspective while still staying true to the universe.

I tend to agree with those that don't buy this as a time travel story. I am leaning toward viewing this as a parallel universe scenario, which would leave the original history safe and sound someplace else.

If Star Trek has taught us one thing, it is that ANYTHING is possible.

Rating: 8 (Brian)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Okay, I went to see the movie because I got to go for free. I want my money back.

I'll keep it short.

  1. Kirk had no character development - Pike was much more interesting.
  2. The story was... uninteresting - really, it's an alternate universe, who cares if everyone dies.
  3. There was no need to re-make the universe in JJ's image - there is a LOT of cool history built into the series and books that could have been exploited.
  4. Enterprise went from being a really cool "Tall ship" and a character in it's own right to a silly-looking toy, filled with what appeared to be a brewery where engineering should have been.

Honestly, there were a few okay moments, but this movie does for Star Trek what Phantom Menace did for Star Wars.

Nothing that happened in this movie needed to happen. The characters were well portrayed, but poorly written. It was relatively pretty, but had no substance. It really looked like J.J. had wanted to do Galactica, but got stuck with Trek.

I know a lot of you loved it and will not like what I am saying, but I'll stick with my guns. If they really wanted to re-make the universe, they should have gone with a Mirror-Mirror movie.

Rating: 1 (John Adams)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I write this review after only seeing a screener of the movie a couple of times and reading the novelization of the film. Being an avid Star Trek fan for many years I was anxiously awaiting the release of this film. The trailers were awesome and really built up the anticipation for this movie. Without the advantages of viewing a high quality video I didn't get to witness the eye candy that has made such an impression for a great deal of viewers. To start, here is what I liked:

  1. As everyone mentions, the visuals are state of the art.
  2. Carl Urban's McCoy is hands down the best characterization of the entire film.
  3. Scotty's comic relief was well received and was a nice enhancement to the character.
  4. That's the way that computer controlled phaser batteries should work!!! Sweeeeeeeet!
  5. Uhura's character finally got some credible substance to it. To bad they had to cheapen it by making her the sex object of the movie.
  6. The transporter effect was fabulous. An excellent and well thought out improvement.

What I didn't like:

  1. Nearly total disregard for any scientific consistency. (See Bernd's review)
  2. The Enterprise was just another space ship. Unlike previous Trek which presented the Enterprise as an important and memorable character. It didn't need an excessive "beauty run" like in the TMP but something would have been nice to establish a connection to the "new" Enterprise.
  3. Uninspiring plot. The time travel/alternate timeline routine has been done to DEATH in Star Trek. Hello! Something original and thought provoking please!
  4. Nero is a pitiful villain - enough said.
  5. Because of 3 and 4 above there is not a convincing development/build-up of an all powerful threat/enemy to overcome. The Narada is big and powerful but absolutely uninspiring of real dread and Nero is just a place holder because the ship has to have a captain. Without this there really isn't a well defined and definitive climactic moment for the movie to pivot on.
  6. As mentioned before and must be mentioned again - main engineering is absolutely HIDEOUS. Being an engineer myself I am definitely biased on this point since the established Trek did a very credible job of portraying future engineering. This turned me off and aggravated more than anything else in the movie. I sure hope they jettison these disgusting sets for future movies.
  7. There really wasn't any thought provoking elements of any great merit in the whole movie.
  8. Chekov's character was horrendous. I was praying that a torpedo would hit the bridge to put him out of my misery.

I could go on but I think that makes the point.

Other thoughts:

  1. I couldn't tell from the video I saw but it looks like the bridge was relocated to the bottom of the saucer section. What was that for?
  2. Kirk, Spock and Sulu's characters were ok but nothing special.
  3. What noteworthy accomplishment did Kirk achieve to be promoted from a cadet straight to a Captain!
  4. The "new" Enterprise is rather ugly. It lacks the simple clean elegance of all the other Enterprises.

At the end of the movie I was left with a rather bad taste in my mouth. Granted I did not get to feast on the visual extravaganza that is very well done in the movie but without it the movie is very uninspiring. I did have a nice time with some of the comic relief and the space battles (or more like slaughters since the fighting was heavily one sided). Kirk's cycle was cool, Sulu's swashbuckling was impressive and the musical score was perfect but that is not enough to make the movie good. J. J. Abrams succeeded in rebooting the Star Trek franchise but at the cost of booting out the brains behind Star Trek. He has pandered to the modern movie audience who has been wined and dined on action, special effects and sexual themes and morphed the Star Trek franchise into this mold. What has resulted is just another plain vanilla sci-fi movie that has a thin veneer of Star Trek without any substance. To sum up my review, the kindest title I can give the movie is "Star Trek: Shattered Universe" but the most apt is "Star Trek: Lobotomized"

What will the singularity do this time?: Why does a black hole at the "beginning" of this adventure cause the Narada to go back in time but at the end of the film it (correctly) crushes and destroys it?!?!?! What's up with that!

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Ryan Shultz)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.04: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Well my turn.

Just seen the film and those who are negative about it have hit the nails so well hard on the head, that it would be pointless saying what is already said; and well said may I add. Despite their decrees, this is a reboot of a film, with a plot that is designed with the soul purpose to cool ardent gullible Trekkies and woo fresh meat to the fold.

When I watched it a voice, a niggle, was telling me that this is NOT STAR TREK - despite what many would, have, and will say, there are certain things that make Star Trek unique amongst Sci-fi - here, that uniqueness was obliterated. Battered shuttles, dingy sets on Starfleet vessels(!), ships WELDED together with torches(!!!!), industrial works(!!!!!), no warp core and so on and so forth.

Also there are no original elements in this film; too many references to other pictures (Starfleet looking like Coruscant; Speeder bike, Robocop/Boush policeman; shuttles reminding me of Starship Troopers(!!!); parachuting stunts out of James Bond) or references to previous Star Trek films (villain with big spaceship planning to destroy worlds (Nemesis); absurd tech to do it with (Generations); unique deadly substance as plot device (Khan, Nemesis, Generations)). Combine this with a ridiculous plot of "blockbuster proportions" the net result is a mess of a film.

There are lots of things in this movie I do like, the humour is good, the acting is excellent, but overall it's just a blockbuster film reflecting a TV program in the same way Lost in Space and Mission Impossible did.

For a claimed $150Million budget, I expected a helluvalot more.

The powers that be decided to rub out Star Trek roots and start afresh - you cannot do that. It's like having a favourite ice cream, then some idiot decides to buy the place that makes it, cut away certain ingredients for costs or whatever, and resell it to me saying "it's the same but better!"

Nope it's an insult.

It has wowed many because its a 'fresh attempt', but I think that this "purging of the past and eradicating of what we know" is a very bad idea and will backfire. A blockbuster audience is a fickle thing and will look for bigger rides - they are a feeble base for you have to keep giving more - but as a result you alienate other people. In addition, if you make films with massive thrills and have to pile more - it can end up looking stupid.

As quoted by one critic - "having such a spectacular launch, will the next film fly or will the lot come crashing to the ground?"

The fact that the latest film has only stayed one week up the charts at No1 (being knocked off by Angels and Demons!!) and has not recuperated money to make it a box office hit in short time (compared to Wolverine) says it all (may have grossed over $100Million-plus on the opening weekend - but it cost $150Million, and then there is the profit margin and future films to compete with).

I think come a year from now people will look back and regard this film as a novelty at best and "a pathetic relaunch attempt" at worse.

Nutshell - not bad - but it's not Star Trek.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Chris)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258.0: The New Star Trek movie! Star Trek XI, the next installment in the Star Trek series! This movie explores strange new worlds like never before! Fly at warp speed with a young Enterprise crew! MAJOR SPOILERS!

Commentary

I like this movie. The movie took me up into Space, I felt like part of the action. Nero played a great bad guy, as well as the perfect Star Trek villain. Eric Bana was almost better then Khan. Pine played the bad boy Kirk so well, everything he did seemed to fit. Zachary Quinto played the perfect Spock, riddled with emotional turmoil. Then Leonard Nimoy came in. Starting off with his famous quote, he made the movie. The idea of time travel made the movie that much more interesting. The re-design of the Enterprise made things more exciting. The phasers on the Enterprise were very cool. They only showed pulse phasers and photons, but by showing pulse phasers they stayed true to the original series. JJ did a great job with this movie and I am looking forward to a Star Trek 2!

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Captain Kirk)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

This was an interesting movie from many perspectives.

First and foremost, from a marketing perspective, it was brilliant. To be very succinct, it essentially made the general public forget anything they ever perceived about Star Trek.

Secondly, from a design point, they made it look, feel, and sound, more like a super hero flick, taking advantage (and smartly so) of what is popular at the moment. Advertising ON Heroes is a great example of their target audience. It was a movie big on weak and quick character development, explosions, and ADD inspired quick cut scenes, shaky cameras and bright flashy lights. Unfortunately, it was small on substance.

From a perspective of a fan such as myself, who loved how the Star Trek universe was a cohesive story that takes place over 100 years, I found the movie disappointing. There is more then enough room in the existing Star Trek universe to sustain new and compelling stories that are relevant to today’s savvy viewer. I will never understand why they couldn’t have created a "new" crew and new ship, to have adventures during TOS timeline. I will never understand why Spock decided that a new timeline was the only possible outcome despite history suggesting otherwise.

I could pick apart every little thing in this movie, from the ship, characters, plot, soundtrack, etc. But if I did that, I’d hate the movie and be deprived of a pretty decent movie. However I say this with the disclaimer that I have to ignore, disregard, and pretend that I’ve never seen or heard of Star Trek before. And that’s tough because I love Star Trek.

On its own - it was a good, fun movie. I would recommend it. But from a Star Trek fan perspective, I hate it. So that’s why I’ll give it a 5 out of 10. It’s great on it’s own, but has absolutely no place in the REAL Star Trek universe.

Rating: 5 (Ivan Zammit-Susin)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2233.04-2258: The confluence of Red Matter and a subspace annihilating dying star throw an insane Romulan and Ambassador Spock back in time creating a divergent reality. Can Spock help an alternate version of his friends and himself save Earth and stop a madman wielding a weapon of incredible destruction? Only if James T. Kirk can find the hero within...

Commentary

I have been a Trek fan for a long time. I love DS9, even Enterprise- only Voyager and the film "Nemesis" left me cold. I was very concerned with this film, yet intrigued. How was I going to feel about a reboot? Would this still feel like Trek?

Turns out I am pretty good with it, and hell yes, it feels like Trek. Absolutely. For the first time in a while, I watched Star Trek and didn't say "well, that was acceptable Trek," but rather "wow- I had a great time!" Is this movie perfect? No- there's some sequences which made me wince (Scotty in the pipes, cavernous pip-filled engineering), and an awful lot of coincidence. Also, though I appreciate the effort on the part of the writers to appease the 3% of the potential audience who care to tie it to TOS, the alternate universe MacGuffin here doesn't quite explain all the differences. It's certainly a more honest effort that B&B made in Enterprise, and the movie shows a lot more internal consistency than Voyager. Regardless, with the possible exception of Scotty, these were good modern versions of the characters who made me love Star Trek in the first place. The sheer enjoyability of this film covered a variety of sins.

Best of all? My profession allows me to work with a variety of people- including some kids barely out of high school. When 19 year old kid and his wife ask to borrow my classic Trek episodes, something they had never considered before seeing this film, how can I fault the movie? If it's going to work like a gateway drug for TOS, I have to support the film. (Oh my joy when he came to work Monday quoting "The Cage...")

As a comic book fan, I have lived through a few canonical reboots of my favorite DC characters. In the end, Superman is Superman whether or not he was sent by Jor-L or Jor-El. Batman is Batman, even when he isn't "The Batman." Kirk may have blue eyes, but the cocksure adventurer who cuts Spock off with a curt "It'll work- trust me" about his plan is certainly the same character who could talk superintelligent space probes into offing themselves.

The movie is fun, fast, and not stupid. There's some things I have to reach to explain (did Kelvin have 800 people because it was taking a colony to say...Tarsus IV? Is the Enterprise curvier due to the Kelvin's sensor readings of the Narada?), sure- but didn't we do that in the 70s and 80s to explain their inconsistencies? We did that because we loved the heart of Star Trek, and that heart appears in abundance in this film.

My biggest problem on my initial viewing became one of the movie's strengths; the destruction of the planet Vulcan. So much of my Trek recognition and appreciation comes from how we regarded Vulcans and Vulcan in the 70s and 80s (hence my issue with early ENT). Watching Vulcan die made my stomach hurt. Then I realized- the movie, dramatically, had involved me viscerally. I realized that the "temporal reset button" I had become so accustomed to had been yanked out from under me. I had no idea what they might do next- I could get NEW Kirk/Spock/McCoy Trek stories... and not know what could happen. That was... fantastic, exciting, if I could just let go of things like whether or not Kirk had hazel eyes... I decided I would. I decided the benefits entertainment-wise, and Trek-future wise, were worth the sacrifice of Vulcan. Further- think of the dramatic possibilities facing Spock as a member of a race of only 10,000. How long until Sarek wants Spock to leave Uhura and marry this nice Vulcan refugee named T'Pring...?

Is it the best Trek movie? No. Is it a Sci Fi classic which changed the world? No. Is it a worthy addition to the Trek family? Yes. Did it make me smile and remember why I loved Trek in the first place? Hell yeah. Now- let's see them pull off a sequel.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Dan Foster)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 1277.1: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Here's an old saying I've always been in full agreement with: Star Trek is like sex - even when it's bad, it's pretty good! So then, how am I to explain how underwhelmed I felt upon leaving the theater after having seen this film? I suppose it can be chalked up to expectations. Namely, I expected to see Star Trek, but instead what I saw much more closely resembled Starship Troopers. Not that I'm knocking Starship Troopers. I actually liked that film for what it was, but it definitely wasn't Star Trek, and neither is this. Contrary to popular opinion, some of the previous Trek films WERE fun and watchable. 2, 4, 6, 8, all the rest we love to hate, right? Kidding, of course, because I'm one of the rare breed who actually liked 3, 7 and 9 (joystick notwithstanding), wasn't completely thrilled with 6, and didn't absolutely loathe 5. Even 10 had its moments, although you can't blink or you'll miss them. One thing Treks 1 - 10 had in common that 11 lacks is the ability, at some point during the movie, to make me CARE what happens to the characters involved. I usually want the good guys to succeed and the bad guys to fail, but in this one I could hardly have cared less if any one of them had fallen off a cliff and died. After all, these are alternate versions of the characters I've been getting to know since about 1982, and they've all lived long and prospered and croaked (except Spock, of course). The producers passed up on a wonderful opportunity to really explore the backstories of these characters, which is something else I was expecting in vain. But then I guess with there being seven of them, you'd probably need more than one movie for that ("Star Trek Origins: Bones" anyone?).

Put another way, my only major beef with ST 11 is that it seems targeted at those who want their sci-fi movies to be heavily populated by space battles and fistfights, those who aren't mature enough to feel anything beyond the adrenalin rush induced by flash, motion and noise, and those who would spit in the face of anyone asking them to think for a moment that anything is more important in life than their own self-gratification. It's a pretty big beef, indeed.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (J. S. K.)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I have been a devoted Star Trek fan from the sixties when I was a toddler I have loved every series, and I really looked forward to this movie, and while I did like it to me it wasn't quite ''Star Trek'' oh it was a great movie great SciFi but not my Star Trek, just like Daniel Craig is a great actor makes a great spy but to me isn't James Bond, the biggest disappointment for me was the destruction of my favorite two planets in the Trek universe, Romulus and Vulcan and the unrestored timeline.

One has to ask what they pay the guys who insure the Temporal Prime Directive for, though they dropped the ball on the whole Xindi situation, still killing off Vulcan and Romulus not to mention crippling the Klingon Empire just strikes me as bad for the franchise, it's TOO way off canon Star Trek myth, this upsets The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager timelines too, now the Borg could prevail over Earth or the Dominion could take over the Alpha Quadrant, I can only hope in a sequel Q shows up and zaps the timeline back to normal ,I also did NOT like turning the Romulans into rejects from Road Warrior, I could understand if THIS particular crew shaved and tattooed themselves in mourning but the scene of Spock prime on Romulus showed them bald and the women looking like Bo Derek, I don't know I am just too Trek Traditional I guess.

I would like rather have seen a storyline with the Kzinti or the Skorr threatening the Federation or if a temporal theme was going to be used maybe send a renegade Dominion ship back to try and engeneer a victory in the Dominion War, or even better a story in the 24th century timeline.

I DID like the movie though the actors would get a 10 in my book the storyline a 3,the flagrant casting aside of the timeline a 1 and the action and special effects a 9 overall rating a 7, also was a bit disappointed we didn't see Nurse Chapel.

Rating: 7 (Dave)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

After learning of the general plot, this became the first Star Trek movie to hit the big screen that I was not excited about. And watching it today, I still feel the same.

To begin with, the plot is silly. There are simply too many coincidences, with the biggest one being Kirk being dumped on that ice planet as with Spock and Scotty (and don't even get me started on the naming of that planet). And why are the people put in command always leave the bridge for something else?! And old Spock not even trying to correct the timeline?!

For Trek history, the Kobayashi Maru test is another disappointment. That was it?! All he did was programme the Klingons to drop shields?! Seriously?! And gone is the optimism in Star Trek. I mean, did they really have to blow up Romulus and Vulcan, and kill George Kirk and Amanda Grayson for the movie to feel epic?

While the Enterprise bridge doesn't look as bad as on screen caps, the engineering (both Enterprise and Kelvin) feels too industrial. It feels more like this thing is running on coal rather than anti-matter. And the warp core being a few different pods?! Really?!

The new Enterprise still looks funny. The nacelles look like a toy. And there is no on screen evidence to back up its ILM official huge size. The Kelvin is another sore. If it is supposed to be built before the timeline tempering, would it have killed them to put the secondary hull below and the nacelle on top like every Federation starship in that era?

This movie failed to appeal to this long time fan. And I brought a friend whose knowledge include "Broken Bow", "Trouble with Tribbles", and "First Contact" (movie), and the response was "none of it makes sense". So I guess it failed to create a new fan either.

Rating: 0 (felixernie)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

Well, so here we go. Star Trek (XI). It's different, very different, however I feel it was needed, before ANYONE hurls abuse at me, Star Trek WAS failing, ask people you know how was Star Trek PERCEIVED pre this film??

(I for one grew up with Star Trek, I'm 3 years older than the franchise, and it needed new input). Anyway I went down to my local Odeon cinema with my girlfriend (Melanie), (a bit of a trekkie too), and this is what we thought.

Funny we felt it WAS a bit Star Warsy, with a bit of Battlestar Galactica thrown in for good measure. Got the feeling there was a definite tongue in cheek feel to it, the Kirk/Uhura arc was quite a laugh, the look on Kirk's face when Spock "got the girl" so to speak, was the best bit.

Nero - AH, a loopy Romulan. The Narada was a mining vessel, Red Matter? Interesting idea. Puzzle: how come it was armed to the teeth??

Likes: the USS Kelvin, somehow this vessel just looked good to me, when someone does a cutaway, would love to know how the warp engine works? Could have done with more markings/colour, i.e. Starfleet pennant.

Yes we liked the new Enterprise, OK it has been scaled up to a ubership, a bit daft, but I wasn't too fussed - needs more windows though!!. The internals look fresh, like the bridge design definitely like the one on say the Enterprise-J perhaps?! The ships entering warp: engage - and gone! Took me by surprise, (and my girlfriend, all she said was, "Oh F**K"!!).

Dislikes: The engineering sections (Enterprise & Kelvin) - WTF??? (My girlfriend, ended up in fits of hysteria at that, everyone else though I was mucking about with her!). But seriously a brewery? Is JJ a complete idiot, where's the warp core, the matter and anti-matter feeds, and steam?? As an engineer, BIG mistake, REDESIGN PLEASE for next installment.

WTF bit: Err, the entrance to the shuttle hangar deck, support struts, hazard to incoming/outgoing traffic, the ATC guys would have nightmares!! (just kidding).

OK, YES, as I said at the start, its different, very different, but it's still Star Trek, and people are going to see it. The point is, people are interested again, which means new stories, and Star Trek continues - isn't that the point?

I guess there will be a lot of you, who will slag me off for these remarks, but, that's your life, I for one will give this new direction a chance.

Keep trekkin' (from Me) and love (from Melanie).

Rating: 8 (Ian Keenan)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 23.06.2009: Does it boldly go, or does it self destruct? A look at the re-boot of Star Trek, with film number eleven.

Commentary

Firstly a disclaimer:

I do not pretend that I know all there is to know about the canon of Star Trek. I have enjoyed the various series and movies over the years as a fan, but do not rivet count every detail of every ship (though I accept and am happy to conform to the view that certain details in the film may be flawed).

Where to begin? The film is not mediocre as has been suggested, however it is not a serious work of fiction either, and therein lies a reason for some quarter's criticism of this film and its ultimately extreme reviews.

On the one hand, as a serious continuation of a franchise that started in the 1960s, the film scores highly with me because it feels like Star Trek. There's the sense of camaraderie between the crew that was always needed to be there, there’s the comic timing of Simon Pegg as Scotty, a nod back to the real reason for James Doohan’s character. All the ingredients are there – the characters themselves, their styling, both in costume and in drama.

Much has been said of the actors, and I will not add to this debate further- however, I would like to submit the view that Chris Pine as Kirk worked to the extent that he has room to grow and develop as an actor of Kirk. The one thing that Star Trek has never had, that reboots such as Batman, Superman, and other generic comic book superhero drear fests indulge in, is other actors playing the same role – how many Batmans have we had currently? There are only two James T.Kirks, and I think that is why there is so much to be said on Pine’s character by Trekkies.

I feel that certain arguments are clouded because of the respect garnered for Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk – and that is to be admired, not insulted. However, by treating Pine as a different Kirk, and not Shatner’s Kirk – does he portray a confident young man, who doesn’t believe in a "no win scenario"? I think so. If anything, his over exuberance brings a fresh look to the series that has had several generations of films with actors playing the same characters over forty years. Only Kelsey Grammar as Frasier comes close to beating that!

If we apply that to the rest of the cast, who could not be dazzled then, by Zachary Quinto’s portrayal of Spock. Further, the fact that we have one of the original cast members playing alongside his protégé and we do not detect any less than a natural progression from one performance to another is indicative of how good Quinto in Nimoy’s role is, and vice versa!

Karl Urban is another character who richly deserves praise for his measured and thought provoking role as Leonard McCoy – he’s by no means the real McCoy, but his inflections and reflections were definitely in DeForest Kelley’s vein.

In all, the cast of Star Trek was impressive, and meaningful – no one felt particularly out of place or surplus to requirements. On the other hand - the whole concept of the academy movie was flawed with the coincidental entrances made by certain characters. Getting all seven of the major roles together on the one ship was difficult enough, but how do we disregard the fact that for Scotty to be on the Enterprise in the new movie, he is marooned on the very planet that Kirk is then marooned by Spock on, later in the film, and then becomes chief engineer - all in day's work! "She cannae take it, Cap'n"!

With regards the sets, they were vibrant where they needed to be, and a fresh look to the Enterprise was a necessity. What we received in terms of the NCC-1701 was something that again, splits popular opinion. Either, it’s a fresh take on a classic design, or to the other extreme, sacrilege in its entirety.

I happen to love the new design – when it is placed side by side with the original, the dated look of Jeffries original design becomes clear – looking flimsy by comparison. A design classic it may be, but the original Enterprise does look dated, a relic of the 60s yet supposedly 23rd century. The new Enterprise retains the same basic shapes and proportions, but updates the design to make it more believable in fitting with space flight designs today. That said, the size of the new Enterprise could be anything between 300 and 700 meters long, according to various sources and this esteemed website. Therein lies the biggest problem with this film – consistency.

This lack of consistency can be found in the science behind the film, which was lacking at times – many mentions of super sized Enterprises and short times for long journeys have been made. I feel that for the casual viewer the script scientifically not making any sense has been rendered irrelevant.

The job of the film is to entertain – and if you came away feeling thoroughly entertained, as I have done – well, then it has done its job. That said, being fair to the diehard fans – I can see why it provokes such an extreme reaction from certain quarters. Star Trek, in terms of plot, has been a modicum of consistency. Writers on every single incarnation of the franchise have gone back to the previous shows to try and write in allusions, characters and ships from times past. This film puts a big question mark on that idea of writing consistency, and that is where it falls down.

Star Trek was never going to be the perfect film for everyone. Its very nature means it will appeal to more of a mass audience than the diehard Trekkies. I can only think that a good thing – because if this becomes the entry level into more people discovering the serious, thought provoking sides of Star Trek as found in its many previous incarnations and films, and liking them, then it follows that the franchise will continue with a new audience, boldy going were no fans have gone before.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Simon Martin)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I am of several minds about the Star Trek reboot, some positive and some not. I suppose I should start with what my inner nerd didn't like, then what my inner storyteller didn't like, and finally what I did like about the film. And to be clear, I did like this film and plan on seeing it again at a brew-pub second run theater, but it is not without its flaws.

Here's what got my inner nerd honked off. The science was terrible, even by Star Trek standards. I don't like how it completely disregarded canon, especially in ways that made no sense at all. Why are the characters the wrong age relative to each other? Why is the Enterprise new when it is supposed to be around 15 years old at the time of the film? How big is this new Enterprise? Why does all the tech look and act differently? How does a military support ship from 130 years in the future defeat 40+ Klingon war ships? Why does Spock act like the one from the films rather than the uptight one from season 1? Why is the Enterprise being built on the ground? What is up with the new Enterprise design, it looks like the unholy fusion of a Constitution and Sovereign class ships?

My inner storyteller got mad at things in Star Trek too. Nero doesn't seem to have a legitimate gripe, he just acts crazy, but not believably crazy like Khan. While he does a better job of having goals and working towards them then Trek's previous big screen "Romulan" bad guy, his goal still doesn't make much sense. He seems to be more interested in taking revenge on Spock for failing to be a hero, than preventing the destruction of Romulus in the first place. Also, this felt hollow for a Star Trek film, lacking anything truly thought provoking. The nonsensical set design on both ships made me cringe. I was actually disappointed with the action. There was enough of it, perhaps a little too much, but there was no definitive space battle like that has been three of the four good Trek films of old. The one at the start was alright, but watching an elephant step on a beetle just isn't compelling. I also couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a fun action adventure film, or a darker drama. It doesn't walk that line very well, so it would have been better to choose one path or the other. I guess The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly does that the best.

Now for what I liked about Star Trek. This movie was fun. The acting was good, with no one standing out as being bad. Of the three well established characters, only Spock stood out as being a little off. This was because, as I mentioned earlier, he acts like a later Spock, one who has assimilated a little into terrestrial culture. Uhura was the only main character to change significantly, which was actually a good thing, since she didn't have much of a character before. She went form a telephone operator to the sonar technician in "Hunt for Red October". There are many references to running gags from the series. The visuals were good, and not overly busy. Most of the action felt good and intense, without being frantic and hectic.

Conclusion: When I think of Star Trek as an entertaining adventure flick, I like it. When I put my storytelling glasses on, it's a better than average summer blockbuster. My Trek glasses must be bifocals, because I didn't like the irreverence for the established lore and canon, but I did like the portrayal of the characters and the light hearted mood of the original series. As much as I may complain about its abandonment of 40+ years of Trek, I recognize that a major change was necessary. Voyager, Enterprise, a mediocre, and a bad film left fans wanting better. And we got it. It's not perfect, but it's a much better starting point than The Motion Picture. Here's hoping Star Trek XII follows in the footsteps Star Trek II. And J.J. Abrams, if for some bizarre reason you read this, I got three words for you regarding the next one: Kahn versus Tribbles!

Comparisons: A better prequel than the three Star Wars movies. Not as good a remake as Battlestar Galactica. Fifth best Star Trek film, between First Contact and The Search for Spock.

Familiar themes: Time travel, crazy bad guy, Enterprise vs uber ship, anonymous red shirt ensign dies on away mission, the Enterprise is all that stands between Earth and annihilation.

Story: 4/10

Action: 9/10

Immersion: 7/10

Rating: 7 (Stephen Hitchcock)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258.42: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

After having watched the movie three times I finally feel I get the movie enough to write a review about it. Star Trek is a good movie and it’s even a good Star Trek movie. It’s still not Wrath of Khan (TWOK) but it has beaten First Contact for the #2 spot. Still it’s not a perfect (Star Trek) movie and that’s what I’ll try to explain in the next few paragraphs.

The most noticeable thing that any Trekkie will spot immediately is that it completely reimagines the original Star Trek. There’s no getting around it, it’s a BSG-style reimagining (although it doesn’t go as far as to make Spock a woman) and you have to except that or else you’re going to be bummed out for the entire movie. They bring in a time travel plot to explain this change but that just doesn’t work when you think about it. But at least they tried and it would’ve been worse if they just jumped into the new universe without connecting it with the old one.

The first few minutes of the movie you’ll be on the edge of your seat, even more so if you watch it in a movie theatre where Michael Giacchino’s music (more about the music later) really helps elevate the experience to an epic scale. That ten minute intro is perhaps the finest scene in the entirety of Star Trek’s movies and TV series. It’s gripping and breathtaking. Even the title screen is a tearjerker. You have to see it to experience it.

After that the movie goes off in the wrong direction. The whole cop chase feels a bit too contrived. It does succeed in it’s goal to show off that Kirk’s a rebel but it does it in a wrong way. Also what’s with that Nokia product placement? Luckily it picks up after that and the quality goes up in a straight line until the end. Especially Kirk’s scenes are fun to watch and Pine does an excellent job to show us some of Kirk’s characteristics.

From there on out the main plot unfolds and while it never reaches the same heights as the intro it’s still a great ride. There are a few moments when Abrams drops the ball but those do not outweigh the good scenes. Especially the ending is very well done and it’s only beaten by TWOK’s ending.

Now that I’ve briefly gone through the movie I want to delve a bit deeper into the various aspects of the movie and point out the things I liked and disliked.

Cast: The recast characters are all very well done. Zachary Quinto (Spock) and Karl Urban (McCoy) really nail the essence of the characters from TOS. Even though the Spock in this movie might seem emotional and erratic at times this is very well explained in the movie. It lends greatly upon Nimoy’s character after TOS who grew more in touch with his human side an almost undeveloped something in TOS. When he is being logic, he’s almost exactly like a (albeit younger) version of Nimoy in TOS. Urban does a great job but since the Kirk-Spock relationship is paramount in the movie he doesn’t get to add much to the character. I want to see more of him in the sequel. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is perhaps the most reimagined character of the crew of the Enterprise something I praise the writers for. A pretty standard character in TOS she is transformed into someone who can hold her ground and can compete with the best man around. That is truly something that fits in with Roddenberry’s utopian vision.

Chris Pine as Kirk is good but not the best. I think this mostly has to do with him not being the character he is in TOS and beyond. Unlike the others (except Chekov, but he’s always been a kid) he’s still not mature enough. I’m confident this will change in the sequel as during the moments he was the captain he was very convincing.

The rest of the characters get very little screen time and thus cannot reach the same depth as the other characters. Yet when they do appear on screen they do their best. Anton Yelchin does a better job as Chekov then I thought. The real let down is Scotty. He’s not a clown, but for some reason Pegg seems to think so. Perhaps it’s the writers fault as well. He’s a bit too much comic relief. The miracle worker attitude and the few serious lines he gets hold promise though.

Another letdown is Nero. Eric Bana does a great job but his character is given very little depth. There was one moment when he could’ve explained a lot of his motivation and origin but for some reason the writers and director let that opportunity slide. Luckily I read the Star Trek: Countdown comic books which explain a lot of the plot holes in the movie. Nero is a much better character in those comics and it’s a shame that they didn’t follow through on that.

Bruce Greenwood as Pike is arguably my favourite character. While Pike is nothing like it in "The Cage" Greenwood and the writers make Pike into a character that feels natural. It feels as if always was to be this way. The characters of George Kirk, Winona Kirk and Captain Robau are also very well done. I wish I could see more of them.

In the end I almost always forgot I was watching new actors play my favourite characters. And that’s what it’s about.

Design: The most striking difference between old Star Trek and new Star Trek is the look. Almost everything was redesigned. The starships I have no problem with. With the exception of the Enterprise’s huge nacelles everything looks great and not too farfetched. The interior designs I’m not so happy with. Especially the Enterprise’s bridge and engineering are just awful. While the Kelvin’s interiors have the same basic design as the Enterprise’s (as they are redresses) on the former it feels more like a whole. On the Enterprise you have the iPod-white bridge versus the grimy engineering section (which is too big by the way). It just doesn’t work. Hopefully they’ll tone it down a bit for the sequels. It’s great for Abrams that he saved money by making a brewery into an engineering section but it just doesn’t work. The more futuristic looking concept art of engineering was much more appealing. Industrial doesn’t work with Trek.

Luckily the design is not as important as it is mostly about the story and the characters. So only during a few scenes it bothers a bit.

Sound & music: For this aspect of the movie I have nothing but praise. The sounds either sound like TOS or are pulled straight from it. The music is probably one of the highlights of the movie. Michael Giacchino did a great job. When you can’t imagine the movie without the music then you know you done a good job as a composer. The new Star Trek tune fits the movie much better than the old one. It really captures that Star Trek feel. Overall the soundtrack is among the greatest in the Star Trek pantheon. It’s right up there with Horner and Goldsmith.

My only gripe is that they did not put music under the Kirk-taking-command scene. That was such an awesome moment in the trailer but in the movie it was pretty dull even though it was such a life-changing moment for Kirk.

Continuity: Star Trek’s biggest problems are the continuity issues. Some can be excused. But some are just blatant errors that Abrams didn’t have to make. Especially the Delta Vega thing annoyed me. It’s just unnecessary name dropping.

About the whole Vulcan-getting-destroyed thing, I think it’s the best thing Abrams could’ve done. It shows that he’s willing to do things. Old Trek was safe. In the end everything was still the same which made it often lack excitement. Abrams basically kills off a character (Vulcan). That’s always a hard thing to do but sometimes it can be the right thing to do. First of all it offers great storytelling ideas for novels and such. The Vulcan race and culture still survive so nothing of that is lost. I don’t see what the problem is.

The future: What excites me the most about the movie is its possibilities. I like to compare Star Trek to Batman: Begins. Both are very good movies, they made about the same money on the same budget and they both rebooted/reimagined a popular universe. If one can see what can grow out of Batman: Begins (The Dark Knight) than imagine what’s possible with Star Trek II. I also like how it opens up a whole new universe for us fans. It’s pretty much like after Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans were shown a whole new universe (new characters, a new Enterprise, Klingons with ridges!) and nothing was certain. With TNG you kinda knew what could happen because the universe was fleshed out by three series and four movies. It’s a good time to be a Trekkie.

Rating: 8 (Robau)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258.42: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I went into the theater for the first time fully prepared, if need be, to think it was the best movie I saw, yet consider it no more canon than "The Empire Strikes Back". It was an awesome movie, and once it was over, the whole theater, an audience which knew their Star Trek well enough that Sulu's admission that his hand-to-combat was fencing drew huge laughs, stood up and applauded. The interest I've seen it create in the rest of the franchise, especially TOS, should not be underestimated - my teenage sister, who I don't think had ever seen a full episode (she saw TMP at 4 and V'Ger creeped her out), saw it the first weekend, borrowed Season 2 on DVD, and returned it months later, asking along with questions ("Is Commodore Decker the '7th Heaven' guy's dad?", "Did the Nazi planet people really have to have such blatantly Jewish names?", "Is that why evil twins always have goatees?", etc.) which left absolutely no question that the episodes had been watched. I can certainly see why some fans would be less reverential then I am, and I have the utmost respect for that opinion. But when all is said and done, I never doubted that a great number of the people who made this movie loved "Star Trek" and had a mission to do right by it - something you don't always see in films like this.

Some of my feelings...

The Ship - I'd describe it as, what it might've looked like had the TMP refit made more of an effort to keep the TOS shape - I do wish they'd done the red nacelle lights like in the drawing, but for a spacecraft created for a less than high-budget TV show in 1964, I thought it was pretty damn faithful.

Designs - They took it too far, especially engineering, but I kind of like the idea of the somewhat more "industrial", lived-in quality (the dented, weather-beaten, paint-chipped look for the shuttles was a definite plus).

Uniforms - I liked the variety, and that Starfleet personnel didn't wear the exact same thing all the time, that the red-blue-gold was the specific shipboard uniform, not the only thing in your wardrobe. I loved that they managed to take the TOS design and make it look like something you'd actually see a military officer wearing.

The Cast - A big plus. I liked the type of people used - no real "stars", but I recognized all of them, and they got people who knew this was not just any film role. And while I believed all of them in the role, Kirk will always be William Shatner, Uhura will always be Nichelle Nichols, etc. The only one I visualize as "the" character is Bruce Greenwood as Pike - the transporter room scene is Sarek's finest hour, but I still and always will see Mark Lenard when I hear the name.

Shatner - The sad truth is, I'm glad he wasn't in the movie, because accepting William Shatner in his current physical state as Kirk would require a greater suspension of disbelief than any continuity violation.

Vulcan Youth - I regard the scenes of young Spock's ass-whooping of the school bully and joining Starfleet once he realizes that the Science Academy elders regard him as someone who overcame the "disability" of of not being fully Vulcan as the "prime" canon story as much as if they were a flashback in "Journey to Babel".

Known Romulans - Realistically, I think that, with our own advances in fiber-optics since 1966, the idea that there was no visual contact during the Romulan War, and therefore the Romulan-Vulcan similarity known to the Federation, is obsolete (there are a few other things, like the Ferengi raiding NX-01, where I think the "error" is more likely than the continuity it violates), but that doesn't mean they should've done it.

Klingon Warbirds - Should've been called battle cruisers (I'm actually OK with the term in "Broken Bow", since it was used by one of the Vulcans - I don't see anything inconsistent with Starfleet and the High Command having different names for various ship), but at least they were D7/K't'ingas and not some completely new ship.

What's She Doing There? - Orci and Kurtzman said Winona was a Starfleet officer (which also explains why she was off-world for the 'Vette scene), but I don't really buy that, since must not have been much of one if just having one Starfleet parent instead of two was the difference between raising Shatner/Kirk and Pine/Kirk.

He Can Drive? - I'm glad they got rid of the Uncle Frank scene, since it would've established that the Corvette was George Kirk's, and assuming he's the good father Nimoy/Spock implied he was, I can't imagine he wouldn't have Jimmy how to drive it, which would spit in the face of "A Piece of the Action". At least as it was shown, the stepfather could've easily been the real owner.

Bar Drinks - I have no problem whatsoever with of "Budweiser Classic" - I'm a little biased because it's my beer of choice, but one of my favorite things about Star Trek is the idea that a Humanity which has not only reached the stars but welcomed their inhabitants to Earth with open arms still loves riding motorcycles and takes undue pride in the athletic successes of their alma maters - and my slight objection to "Cardassian Sunrise" has to do with the second word, not the first; whether the Cardassians had been encountered in 2255 or not, I assume the idea was to take part of the name of a human cocktail, like tequila sunrise, and add an alien race to the name, and such a drink would probably not be named after a miserable swamp-hell like Cardassia Prime.

All that aside, there are plenty of inconsistencies...

All in all, though, one of the things I really liked about the movie is the fact that it acknowledged "Enterprise" (and no offense to the rest of the crew, but the fact that it is Kirk himself who is aware of Archer and his dog strikes me as about as a huge compliment). I do kinda wish they'd had a quick cameo of one of the cast, but as the movie was, the two ideas I had (T'Pol as a Vulcan Elder, one of them or their child on the Academy panel) wouldn't have worked; in T'Pol's case, I can't imagine someone who fell in love with Charles Tucker III silently accepting the comments that drove Spock to Starfleet, while if she was aboard the Enterprise, I assume she could've assumed command if Spock was "compromised" (I think she would've taken the ship to Earth, but that doesn't let Kirk become Kirk) - as for the other, I'd figured days, not minutes, would pass the test and the hearing, during which time Kirk would've learned everything he could about those on the panel, finding various "no-win" situations where they emerged victorious, and confronted them, reminding, say, Admiral Phlox of Starfleet Medical that, had he and Archer just accepted Trip's condition, and not made the clone, in "Similitude", Earth would be an asteroid field today. Granted, I am a sucker for setimentality, and definitely would've had a lot of things like that (had Robert Duncan McNeil on the panel as an Admiral Paris, thrown in a line to McCoy's shuttle rant implying that Emony Dax might have something to do with his divorce, had Jose Tyler be the guy with lungworms).

If I Were Spock, I'd Be Pissed - So would I, but -

  1. We're not Spock
  2. If my future self told me it was for the best, I'd take me seriously
  3. In many ways Spock's own conduct is a can of worms best left unopened

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Ten-Pint)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: The best film since "The Undiscovered Country".

Commentary

I am a big fan of Star Trek having seen all the episodes and many documentaries. I thought this film was fantastic.

I can accept this timeline exists as an alternative reality, whilst the timeline we watched the last 40 years exists still. I accept this because neither of them exist at all! It is not real!

Once people accept that they can enjoy the film, it looks different because special effects have improved. It was a nice touch for them to include some original sound effects. I liked the bridge I believe its white decor is a nod to the bright optimistic look of the original series. Most films have much darker lighting these days.

The film achieved a lot and gained the praise of Leonard Nimoy (a man who turned down a part in "Generations" as he saw his role as insignificant.) and Majel Barrett. These two are well qualified to know what makes good Star Trek. It's far better than Enterprise or Voyager. Neither of which I believe deserve to be called Star Trek.

The biggest compliment I can give it is that it took me back to my childhood. I felt like I was watching the original series again. It gave me the fun and excitement of watching the original cast as a kid which is no small feat to accomplish.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Nathan G)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: An abysmal assassination of 40 years of Star Trek!

Commentary

I don't even know where to begin... But I suppose I should start with my initial impression. When I heard of the new Star Trek movie being shown in the theatres, like every Star Trek fan, I was ecstatic! Then, unfortunately, I went to actually SEE it... and the torture began.

I won't write any extended rants on all the innumerable abominations in this movie, I will simply list the most glaring ones below, explain why I was almost tempted to grace this piece of thrash with 1 point, and express my sincere hope that *someone* will pay back that Abrams cretin (I promise I would if I could find him) for assassinating Star Trek!

Torture 1: Special effects: For the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, my eyes began to hurt from all the lens-flare effects every 5 seconds, strobing at all imaginable and unimaginable frequencies almost as if intended for the viewers to go blind! To say that the special effects were overdone is an understatement: glow, glow, glow. Glowing panels, glowing screens, glowing status displays, glowing ships, glowing interiors (the "Enterprise" bridge being a prime example -in quotes because that ship is NOT the Enterprise, no matter what anyone says. Half the time the lens-flare effects and various blurs kept me from even seeing clearly what was going on... but I seriously doubt I was missing much! Still, regarding special effects, therein lies the one reason I almost give this abomination 1 point...almost: The destruction of Vulcan! 6 billion of those smug, condescending, arrogant bastards with a superiority complex dead! Something I have been wishing forever, and especially since DS9 episode "Take me out to the Holosuite". Finally!

Torture 2: Characters: Oh my... Kirk - immature irritating idiot with a penchant for starting brawls. I really liked that bar scene where those five cadets beat the hell out of him! And still less than he deserves! Spock - ironically, the only character who even remotely resembles Nimoy's performance in the Original Series. I admit, he even gained my approval when his character (as a boy, different actor, obviously, but still) attacked that Vulcan boy calling his mother a wh**e. I only wish he pressed the attack further... Still, as an adult, he definitely IS Spock, hiding his thinly veiled contempt for humans beneath his veneer of "logic". Well, at least now that his world is gone, that insufferable superior attitude should change. Old Spock - Leonard Nimoy's cameo appearance was nothing more than a form of "blessing" for this movie. For him even to agree to take part in something like this shows than Nimoy's standards have lowered in his old age, for I can't imagine his younger self ever appearing in this! I never liked his character, true, but he always did play Spock with absolute conviction and believability! Not anymore. Uhura - I really liked Nichelle Nichols as the original Uhura. She had style, character, attitude and intelligence AND a pretty face! The new one... all that is left is a pretty face. Admittedly, a VERY pretty face (and the rest is not bad, either), but Star Trek was never about characters as shallow as that! She is supposed to be a prodigy with languages (speaking "all three Romulan dialects"), but I wish she had a chance to demonstrate her skills somewhere in the movie! But as it was, with Romulans speaking in English all the time, her role was reduced to playing hard-to-get flirt with Kirk, and having a crush on Spock. Well, at least she gave me something nice to look at! Sulu - At least one consistency with the Original Series, they remembered that Sulu is supposed to be an expert at fencing. And that skirmish on the beam emitter with the Romulans proved his more than passing knowledge of some karate moves as well! Now, if the actor (whose name I don't know or want to know) only looked and sounded REMOTELY like the original Sulu, another of my favourite Original Series characters, I would be as happy as a dog with four legs! But obviously, I expect too much. Chekov - From a small driven chief of security with a BIG attitude and courage as he was in the Original Series, my favourite Star Trek character of ALL time was reduced to an insecure skinny boy with a talent for science and transporter operations. At least he had some role in the plot... Conclusion: to cut this short, because it would go another 20 sentences at least, the only two characters who even halfway met my expectations were Spock and Bones (I can imagine Bones like that when he was young).

Torture 3: Sets: Aagh! "Enterprise" engineering - a water treatment facility! "Enterprise" bridge - a white-ish-silvery-bluish strobing lightshow! I don't understand how anyone can stand being there for more than 5 minutes without going crazy! Kelvin interiors - a mess of girders, welded walkways and steaming ducts! Filthy, disorganized, chaotic. More like a malfunctioning oil platform or a refinery building site than an interior of a starship! I actually liked the Kelvin bridge, however: Subdued lighting, efficient, militaristic feel! If only the "Enterprise" bridge was like that... Ships: "Enterprise" - once again, I don't care what anyone says, THAT is not the Enterprise! What an eyesore! Ugly, oversized nacelles, with massive impulse thrusters at their ends, the "neck section" over three times as wide as that of the original Enterprise, backward-swept primary saucer hull...sheer horror! What a far cry from the simple and austere, but elegant design of the original. Warp sounds and effects: That irritating "pop" sound when entering warp, and the white-ish streaked blur that is meant to represent warp travel? I don't think so!

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Darko)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

There is little that can be said that wasn't said by the reviews before this. But there is still some.

Generally the biggest flaw in the film is that it's riddled with logic flaws. A whole lot of them are already listed on this site, but there are some more: very obvious one is that you only need a small fraction of Red Matter to destroy a planet and to stop a supernova from expanding. Now how much of it was ignited when Spock hit Narada? That's right, it was the *whole tank*! Not only should that destroy both Narada and Enterprise in a second, but also the whole solar system and probably the whole quadrant!

Another logic error that wasn't mentioned is the viewscreen. Even current day software can keep the correct aspect ratio on any screen, so why is the transmission on the viewscreen stretched so horribly?!

And I'll mention some of the noted errors as well. For one, anyone who have ever seen a single Star Trek episode knows that phasers are hitscan beams, not projectiles! In fact, even those who haven't watched any can tell that, because it's in its name, phaser - phase laser/phase maser, and lasers are beams of light, not projectiles! So to me the scene when Sulu-alternate was ordered to fire all phasers looked like if he was thinking "I don't know how to fire phasers, so to compensate, I'll fire more photon torpedoes!"

The characters - they are not the same as those from TOS. They are like something between them and the Mirror universe, although that might have been the whole idea. Still, those characters are not the ones I know!

The graphics is good, though. That's something to be expected. I don't even mind the Apple bridge - it might be confusing just because we were never shown it long enough to see what panel does what. Talking about that, the pace of the film was way too fast. There were dramatic moments in TOS, such as TOS: "The Doomsday Machine" and TOS: "The Immunity Syndrome", but they were never rushed and there was always enough time to think over what we know. While here there is nothing but action, action that we don't understand because we were never given enough time to realise what was going on. And even the action was chaotic, people running around the bridge in a dangerous situation instead of concentrating on their task!

The sound is probably the best part of the film. There are a lot of original sound effects used, and you could see the difference between outside and inside space. And I liked the funny sound the Jellyfish made. Also, I don't think that space scenes should be all silent, since sound is where we can get quite a lot of information from. Talking about music, I didn't notice it that much, but it didn't stand out as bad so it was probably good.

About the whole reboot thing - I'm being optimistic and hope that all future films and TV (internet?) series will return to the prime universe. It was never destroyed and Abramsverse is officially regarded as an alternative one. So, just like there never was a film or series where everything takes place in the Mirror universe, neither should there be anything in the Abramsverse.

To sum it all up, the film is nothing special, has huge logic flaws and generally not very worth watching. The best part of the whole film was the end credits with Nimoy's speech, original music and planets. Hence I give it 3/10.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (GreatEmerald)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

There are things I like about the J.J. Abrams version, and some huge problems. I will start with the problems because I would like to finish my review in a positive tone.

The first I came across this "reboot" (since when does rebooting a computer change everything unless you install a new operating system?) as we have taken to calling this, was in a graphic novel which explains much of the omitted information in the movie. Such as the cranial/facial tattoos being a symbol of mourning for the Romulans; or that Data has been 'rebuilt' since Nemesis and assisted in the mission which sends Spock into the 'parallel' universe. (This may actually have been more interesting than some of the standard Hollywood clichés we were fed as part of the string of coincidences in this offering.)

This is the BIG issue. You can't say that the 'parallel universes' exists now when two planets and almost their entire populations were removed from the 'Prime Universe' this far in the past. What happened to the temporal prime directive or those who seek to preserve it? It is spurious reasoning to assume that because 'Prime Spock' told Kirk to take over the captaincy of the ship in order to preserve the timeline all will work out as we know it did. It is almost impossible to accept that a Vulcan of his scientific acumen would actually believe this is all it takes to rectify the loss of so many Vulcan and Romulan lives; all of whom have some interconnection in everything that follows no matter how minor. The logic is flawed in this premise. What happens to Tuvok in Voyager? What of the Romulan fleet which helps to hold off the Dominion fleet in DS9? These things can no longer exist as there are not enough people to rebuild those cultures in under 100 years. (Unless they genetically engineer new people or breed like flies.) Perhaps Mr Abrams should have made a movie of Andromeda instead.

This does have the potential to be rectified, given that Ark episodes have been used by writers such as Robert Hewitt Wolfe to great effect in the past we may be able to assume that this is a sneeky 'alternative universe trilogy' as there is the possibility of a set up for this, but as stated in the main review, that is starting to become a bit Star Wars, but hey, that was a great movie too. Perhaps 'New Spock' will remember what occurs and complete the loop in the timeline. It's been used as a continuity device before. As long as 'Prime Spock' remains in this timeline then all others are fundamentally changed because of it. I think the rest of the issues I have with this installment are well covered by the first review. I won't labour the point by rehashing them further here. I'll move on to what I did enjoy about this movie.

Some of the backstory worked well for me, some didn't. I found young Kirk self centred, opportunistic and annoying. 'Prime Kirk' was some of these things, but the underlying philosophy of the Star Trek universe seemed to be missing in him, more so than just because he lost his father (which only slightly explained his ridiculous behaviour).

I enjoyed all the actors, I thought they were well cast and did a great job with the material they had to work with. Any problems were script related in my opinion.

I enjoyed seeing the construction of the Enterprise, I thought it was interesting to build it in the desert and I am sure there would be some way to get it into space (eventually) so I won't begin on the physics of such an endeavour. I even liked the redesigned lines of the ship, I would wonder if budgets were bigger for TOS if Gene Roddenberry wouldn't have approved it way back when. The interior left me cold though.

As an introduction for movie goers who have no previous experience with Star Trek it is a great action packed story; though too Hollywood Blockbuster with very thin plot structure which belies the depth of the Trekaverse those of us who have grown up with it know it to be. I am interested to see where it leads but will have to reserve full judgement until it is completed and we understand the full vision (or lack of same) of the writers producers and directors. Let's just hope it's not a lame glossy rehash of a great story dragged down to the lowest common denominator like 'Batman Returns' was.

Rating: 0 (D-Druid)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

I have just watched the film for the first time. I had been avoiding it as I dismissed it as non-canon and a teenage action flick. I was wary when I first heard about the movie, because of the basic synopsis- the TOS crew basically all meet up just after they're old enough to vote and hop on board Capt Pike's Enterprise. As you know the TOS ensemble came together in batches over the 2 pilots and "Corbomite Maneuver", with Chekov not appearing until Season 2. That to me remains the biggest inconsistency to add to the ones listed elsewhere. But I'm a sucker for (another) alternate timeline story so I watched out of interest. I didn't initially realise that the entire film was an alternate timeline, but Vulcan blowing up was a slight hint. I assumed that the rest of the film would be about the crew correcting this small change in history à la First Contact and COEOF- when they didn't I understood the nature of this "reboot". I'm partly reassured about its canon status, as I can see that the alternate timeline plot is a device to (try to) explain the differences from TOS, and this demonstrates that this was written by someone who cares about the overall Trek narrative. To me any debate about multiverses, while interesting in itself, is here less important than trying to understand how Nero's intervention causes all the inconsistencies, because only that would settle any doubt about how seriously to take this and future films.

Rating: 5 (David Lake)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate 2258 (Actual stardate unclear): See original EAS synopsis.

Commentary

When I first heard of a new Star Trek movie with new actors playing the original cast, I didn't scream, I didn't wine and complain, and I didn't get angry like many Star Trek fans out there. In fact, I was overjoyed. After waiting months, I saw the film on opening day and, after the Kelvin prologue was over, I nearly shit bricks. Never in the history of Trek movies has a beginning scene been so down-right awesome! I am open to any new Trek ideas, alternate realities or not, and I just can't see why so many people hate this.

I am a huge film buff and personally, I think J.J. Abrams's directing was spot-on. The design and effects were second-to-none, and everything was beyond my expectations.

I loved this film, filmmaking and story wise, and of course, Trek wise. I can't wait for the sequel!

Annotations

Rating: 10 (David Graham - real last name hard to pronounce)

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing

Commentary

A long time after its release, I have finally watched the 2009 Star Trek movie (which I will henceforth refer to as Star Trek XI, to distinguish it properly from the other works of Star Trek). The movie being a reboot, and hence only "Star Trek" in name, I was not eager to watch it in cinema back when it it had appeared. Now that the second movie set in the new continuity has appeared, I decided to watch Star Trek XI on free-tv in order to decide whether it would be worthwhile to add the new "Star Trek" to the list of SciFi universes I watch and love (e.g. Star Trek, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, ...).

The movie did not leave a positive lasting impression, however. Much has been written about the general shortcomings of the story already, so I will just highlight some of the central issues.

In addition to the "Enterprise against all odds" motive, parts of the movie carry on with the stupid "except for the main cast, all other people are incapable morons" theme. This starts with the contrived situation that the Enterprise saves the day while whole Klingon and Starfleet armadas are completely destroyed. The same applies to the fact that all the cadets are assigned to various ships, but the only ship to actually achieve something is the Enterprise again. In the end of the movie, when Kirk is directly promoted to Captain (someone must have severely misunderstood the concept of ranks or titles), again it seems to be only him while all the people in the background seemingly have not achieved anything. Not only is this awfully unfair towards all the officers who might have fought equally hard battles, but happened to be somewhere else than in front of the camera, also does the cadets' applause and everyone's smiling shed an even worse light on Kirk's arrogant behaviour. It creates the impression like he can get through with everything in his cavalier attitude, as his one-time achievements are simply too outstanding for him to be criticized based on any shortcomings in his behaviour.

In all, I think it is good that this movie is about starship crews in a fictional future universe. Otherwise, it could come off as quite insulting to all the people who have undergone years of training and gathered years of experience in their tasks that in Star Trek XI, a group of barely graduated cadets (I cannot help the impression that without the emergency situation at Vulcan, the cadets would not have been "thrown" into active shipboard duty quite that quickly) saves the day and exclusively gets all the praise in the end.

Also, I wonder why it was deemed useful to keep knowledge from the user that our protagonists clearly must have. A prime example for such scenes is Spock and Kirk's arrival at the Starfleet outpost on Delta Vega. Judging from the music and way the whole scene is presented, the viewer is obviously supposed to believe that the two Starfleet officers have discovered an eerie alien outpost, until they actually meet Scotty. This is only plausible for the viewers - Spock and Kirk must have been aware all the time that they're just dealing with a Starfleet outpost. I simply cannot believe a building like that wouldn't feature a single written text anywhere around the doors that would give away the human origin of the building. There must be at least some warning or information signs somewhere, even if we assume they could really simply enter without having to use any locking/authentication mechanism. The species of Scotty's alien colleague Keenser must have been known to them, so what's the point of acting as if they didn't know what they had just found? Finally, I doubt they'd have found the outpost in the first place if they hadn't known where it was located. Mind you, when Spock and Kirk first see the building, it's just emerging from the mist. Hence, it is safe to say that you're absolutely lost on that planet unless you know exactly where you're going. In all, letting the revelation that we are facing a Starfleet outpost seem like a surprise is a very cheap way to artificially create some suspense.

While some scenes were thusly enhanced to be artificially suspenseful, actual suspense was taken away in other situations: As in many more recent action-/adventure-oriented movies, the humor is totally overdone. I just cannot stand movies where characters seem forced to deliver single lines which are just funny in the complete context. Kirk's "I might throw up on you.", repeating what McCoy said earlier, is still on the verge of silliness. Hadn't Kirk been a character in a movie, would he really have said that just then?

Another example is Keenser. He's obviously supposed to be a Starfleet officer (he even states so himself). Nonetheless, the way he is treated by the director of the movie makes me imagine a cute little (talking) alien (?) dog much rather than a human Starfleet officer. Keenser's silliness got totally over the top in the final scene. Either he is working on that equipment he had climbed onto or the equipment was meant for staying there (at least if you belong to a species that doesn't always stay on the ground). The way it's presented he seems like a small child or a cat jumping onto the table or something. Think about it: If Keenser were actually a human officer, would the same scene have come off as equally "funny"? If a sentient alien character can better be replaced with Spot than with a human, you know something is wrong.

To clarify what I think is a problem with all this: I am not opposed to funny movies. I can thoroughly enjoy them, and when I watch a movie as a funny movie, not so many things have to make any sense - breaking the 4th wall, as well as quite some other devices which actually disregard continuity, make for good laughs. However, I also used to like another kind of movie. One that filmmakers nowadays seem to have forgotten about: Movies which are exciting to watch, yet which do take themselves seriously. As far as I recall, Star Trek II could do without a freshly grinning Kirk saying anything "cool" such as "Assimilate this" right before the Reliant (and Khan) were blown up. Neither did we need to see a mixture of stupidity and surprise in Kruge's face in Star Trek III right before he fell down into that canyon, to tell the audience: "Laugh now." Star Trek IV was on the verge of silliness in this respect, but its humorous lines do not stand out that much, as the whole situation was not that critical - the crew were not directly threatened during their stay on Earth for most of the time. All of them worked well without any pet-like alien officers. In my opinion, such an overdose of humor massively takes away excitement from the movie. After all, even in most critical situations, we are supposed to laugh instead of worry for our heroes. Star Trek XI totally continues this trend.

The movie is supposed to be a prequel to TOS. As it's in a different timeline, it could as well have been parallel to TOS. The past of most (if not all) of our main characters is different here, anyway, so they probably evolve into somewhat different persons. Most notably, Kirk is most probably not promoted directly from Cadet to Captain in the prime universe; we know that he used to serve on the Farragut for a while. Also, he was not (wannabe) king of the hill at the academy all the time, but also got picked out by exceptionally misbehaving cadets such as Finnegan.

Anyway, so, some things changed in the new timeline. What happened to the Kelvin's uniforms? While I may excuse that the TOS style was mimicked with a black undershirt and a department-coloured shirt without a collar over it, what's the point in having the Kelvin crew wear futuristic blue uniforms (that look suspiciously similar to those shown in several episodes of TNG, DS9 and VOY as "far future" uniforms)? The Kelvin uniforms were only visible for a few scenes, anyway, so would it really have damaged the "cool visual impression" of the movie that terribly if the Kelvin crew had worn the blue and yellow turtleneck shirts seen in "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as a little nod to continuity and so-concerned fans? (It certainly was not for the turtleneck - Admiral Pike wears a good approximation to the ribbed turtlenecks in the end and it looks good.)

But apparently, continuity was not a concern for this movie. Too many things differ from previous installments.

Just consider Earth, which was shown as quite a beautiful paradise on Star Trek before. What we see of 23rd century Earth in Star Trek XI isn't that interesting or attractive. We are shown that instead of Starfleet only accepting the best and the brightest young people into their academy (cf. Wesley's tries to get into the academy in the 24th century), dislikeable bullies (the security officers) and arrogant wannabe-alpha males (this movie's Kirk) seem to form the core part of the cadets. This is corroborated by the fact that there seems to be a regular transport for new recruits to the academy. It sounds like Starfleet cadets are usually recruited off the streets as if Starfleet were an army just looking for cheap cannon-fodder. And really, the fact that 17-year old people such as Chekov serve on Starships makes me think that starship personnel cannot possibly be very well-educated before being sent on missions.

I general, I wonder how useful it was to reboot the continuity. At first, it might certainly attract viewers to hear about Klingons. If you really think about it, however, what does "Klingon" actually mean? If in universe B, some things can be different from universe A, every single detail we associate with Klingons could be different in universe B. That is, unless universe B states explicitly the respective details are the same in universe B. At which point the alleged burden of canonicity would have been carried-over to universe B, making the whole attempt to depart to a new continuity futile.

The fact that this was done by J.J. Abrams, who had done excellent work with Lost and Fringe, two series which rely heavily on story arcs based on tiniest details, lets the reboot appear even worse. It looks like someone who is well capable of creating exciting stories while staying within the boundaries of continuity is just too lazy (or too smug?) to appreciate any continuity constraints set by anyone beside himself.

But fine, with the reboot, the producers implied that they were going to provide a foundation for a rebooted Star Trek franchise, possibly with new movies and new series. Internal continuity within such a rebooted franchise might be achievable, but I don't see Star Trek XI laying the ground for that. This might be a general problem when a movie is meant to be the origin of a new franchise or universe. After all, movies are very likely to show exactly and only what is necessary to be known for the rest of the movie. In other words, in many movies, every shown detail is of significance during the rest of the movie. This is a strong contrast to pilot episodes of series, which usually abound with facts and details that are not directly related to the episode's main story, but that expand the characters' backgrounds and the universe the series is going to take place in.

An example for this problem in Star Trek XI is right in the main plot, about everything surrounding the time travel. There are quite some logical gaps in there, and the producers insisted that the movie is not about accurate depiction of a time travel, but about the characters. Fair enough for Star Trek XI as a stand-alone installment, but what about any future movies or episodes set in the continuity after the movie, that do focus on time travel? If they are supposed to show a reasonable time travel logic, they may either have to contradict Star Trek XI or they may not be feasible. If Star Trek XI is to serve as the foundation for a new Star Trek, it is ill-conceived at best and lacking long-term storytelling skills at worst to concentrate on one aspect, yet skip details pertaining to another. Every insignificant detail of one movie might be among the most important facts in its sequel.

Nitpicking: So, the Narada has that drilling platform. It hangs down towards a planet on a long tether. Does that tether really have to be that incredibly greebled with all kinds of spikes and extensions? The whole idea of space-jumping down to the drilling platform the way the crew does it is insane. Once they arrive, how do they expect to securely land on the platform (if they do not miss it in the first place)? Olson opens his chute late, but even Kirk and Sulu who do it in time almost fall off the platform and can only rescue themselves by pure chance, by clinging to some parts on the drilling platform. (Luckily, it is incredibly greebled, too.) Moreover, I did not understand why Kirk and Sulu considered it beneficial to take off their helmets immediately after landing. They would have provided a protection both during the close-range combat with the Romulans as well as for the thinner atmosphere and the strong wind at that altitude. -- When Chekov beams out Kirk and Sulu in the last moment before they hit the surface of Vulcan, we can see some small pieces of debris hurtling into all directions. While it is not clear whether those are shards from the transporter platform, parts of the rock that were accidentally beamed up, too, or even parts of the characters' armor/equipment, the impression is created that the debris results from the impact on the transporter platform. If the beamed matter had retained enough of its momentum after rematerialization to shatter something, or to be shattered, though, wouldn't Kirk and Sulu be just as dead as if they had hit the ground on the planet? -- With Vulcan only a few minutes away from total destruction, Spock beams down and takes a tour through a cave system. This is just to tell some Vulcans and his mother that they have to leave. Which they do immediately. Aren't they aware of their situation and is there no other way to convey the message?

Characters and visual design: Most of the Enterprise main cast were well chosen and presented, maybe excluding Sulu and Chekov. Especially in Sulu's case, the reason may lie in TOS, which mostly underused his character, so there were no real character traits or mannerisms that could be replicated by a new actor. As already happened with Shinzon in ST X, I hardly noticed Nero as a character, despite the hype surrounding him and his actor. He seemed more like an extra to me who had a few lines. Sure, the action revolved around him, but as he appeared on screen only a couple of times, the character hardly left a deeper impression on me than Keenser.

Some of the visual effects were totally exaggerated, to a degree were they were worthy of being considered a parody. What's the matter with all the super-bright lights in the opening scene? It's already unnecessary to zoom out from a point much too close to the Kelvin while rotating the camera around the ship so you need a while until you know what you're seeing (mind you, this is usually used only for dream sequences where the character seeing this is disoriented - probably so was the visual effects director?). Later on, the over-illumination continued on the Kelvin bridge. Why do we have to endure lense-flares there all the time, and overly bright lights in the background? Especially the spotlights right below the viewscreens must be awfully distracting when trying to see something with not-so-good a contrast. The same applies to the Enterprise bridge, where every camera move results in reflections of lights flashing over the screen.

On other occasions, the camera permanently zooms in way too closely. This happens in all space scenes with the Kelvin, at the Enterprise's arrival at Vulcan, and also during some character fight scenes. Combined with rapid shots and much movement, you can hardly tell what you are looking at. This way of editing might accurately convey the fact that everything's happening very close to our characters. But then, it also conveys that everything is a total chaos, you quickly lose orientation and you don't know what's happening. Which is not quite that beneficial for a movie.

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Rating: 1

 

Star Trek (2009)

Synopsis

Stardate not given: JJ Abrams takes decades of story, history, trivia and characters and...throws it out an air lock to appeal to the 'Star Wars' Generation.

Commentary

I have seen this film multiple times. And each time I watch I find something new to loath. Let me start with my comment above. Appealing to the Star Wars generation. Star Trek is and should be an adult, mature, scientifically informed show or film. It should have intelligence behind it. This is none of those things. Sure modern technology has permitted it to look flashy on screen...but flashy effects a great film does not make.

Lets start with our 'hero' characters. Naturally, Abrams has decided to do a Twilight and attempt to appeal to the teenage Call of Duty audience here. No one on that bridge is above the age of 30 it seems...apart from Pike who is pretty much removed when it becomes necessary. Kirk's portrayal as a rebellious youth who gets by more on luck rather than skill or training is frankly boring. Spock is far too emotional for a half Vulcan. Sulu...meh...Chekov...meh...like the TOS show Sulu and Chekov are here only as background characters. Uhura is also lacking and only to provide something for the fan-boys to w**k over...as is the Orion scene.

Our evil villain...Nero...is a Romulan...and of course Nero is a very Romulan sounding name...oh...no it's really not. Nor is he that much of a villain. He's lame at best. He is portrayed as just 'evil' for the sake of it. However since this was aimed at audiences who prefer their films black and white...this isn't surprising.

Now let's look at the ships. Three in this case. It should be noted that while this film is called...laughingly a 'reboot'...that Enterprise has happened. So...looking at the ships in general...somehow between Enterprise and this film the phasers turned Red...and become pulses. The ship's nacelles become over inflated hot rod phallic symbols...the bridge becomes something like a Apple manager's wet dream...engineering becomes a poorly disguised brewery. The Kelvin doesn't fit with any design lineage that is considered canon, as all Trek fans know that single nacelle ships are against the way warp works. In addition the Kelvin has both red beam phasers and turrets on the top that fire white pulses. The Kelvin class is also rather ugly. When ordering the ship into a collision course the flare for full impulse comes out the warp nacelle...yet another example of Abrams fucking up his Trek. The Enterprise is...ugly. Beyond ugly. She looks worse than some fanboy ships you find on the web. Over sized, with nacelles that look stupid...with bussards of blue not red (and since reading about its design, having learnt they were going to use red orange to start with makes this even worse). She also wallows about like a pregnant hippo rather than gracefully move. The Romulan 'Mining' vessel. Again...couldn't get more fanboy. It looks nothing like a Romulan ship nor does it look like a mining vessel...nor is it armed like one. (Now for the benefits of this review since I can only judge a film on the film I am disallowing the comic they did to explain this).

Plot...is full of far too many holes. How do they get to Vulcan so fast? Why did the Romulans not realise a supernova was going to happen and leave? Why did the Vulcans not evacuate faster? Since when has it become ok to believe you can travel through time with a black hole? (which resulted in the creation of Red Matter to go alongside Anti-Matter..Dark Matter...maybe there will be a Green Matter in the next film?) And all this without even looking at the script errors in the dialogue which are far too many to list. By far the worst hole is Scotty's claim he beamed Archer's beagle. Now...dogs have an average life span of 20 years maybe. Unless it's a different dog...there's no way the beagle in Enterprise would still be alive for him to lose. And...he loses it in the most preposterous way. Beaming worked fine in Enterprise very often...

By far the one thing I hate the most of this film is Scotty. Simon Pegg should stick to what he knows...lame comedy films for cheap laughs. Scotty is and was a dedicated and loyal character, who did his job and beyond, whose first love was his ship and nothing else. Simon Pegg's character is nothing like that and just there for cheap laughs. And by the time he shows up cheap laughs are very cheap indeed.

Now all these problems can be hidden behind the convenient plot usage of an alternate reality. But in my opinion none of this seemed necessary. If Abrams had done his job correctly he would have found a great wealth of materials he COULD have used. However...he did the easy thing of reimagining everything in his own image. It's a cheap film that spent more on its special effects than on what it is important. There have been bad Star Trek films....but this ranks as the very worst attempt. And sets us up equally for "Into Darkness".

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Rating: 0 (Fletch r)

 


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