Star Trek (2009) Guest Reviews, Page 4

Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4


Star Trek (2009)


Stardate 2258: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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 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)


Stardate 2258.42: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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 itís even a good Star Trek movie. Itís still not Wrath of Khan (TWOK) but it has beaten First Contact for the #2 spot. Still itís not a perfect (Star Trek) movie and thatís what Iíll 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. Thereís no getting around it, itís a BSG-style reimagining (although it doesnít go as far as to make Spock a woman) and you have to except that or else youíre going to be bummed out for the entire movie. They bring in a time travel plot to explain this change but that just doesnít work when you think about it. But at least they tried and it wouldíve been worse if they just jumped into the new universe without connecting it with the old one.

The first few minutes of the movie youíll be on the edge of your seat, even more so if you watch it in a movie theatre where Michael Giacchinoís 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 Trekís movies and TV series. Itís 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 itís goal to show off that Kirkís a rebel but it does it in a wrong way. Also whatís with that Nokia product placement? Luckily it picks up after that and the quality goes up in a straight line until the end. Especially Kirkís scenes are fun to watch and Pine does an excellent job to show us some of Kirkís characteristics.

From there on out the main plot unfolds and while it never reaches the same heights as the intro itís 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 itís only beaten by TWOKís ending.

Now that Iíve 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 Nimoyís character after TOS who grew more in touch with his human side an almost undeveloped something in TOS. When he is being logic, heís 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 doesnít get to add much to the character. I want to see more of him in the sequel. Zoe Saldanaís 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 Roddenberryís 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 heís always been a kid) heís still not mature enough. Iím 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. Heís not a clown, but for some reason Pegg seems to think so. Perhaps itís the writers fault as well. Heís 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 couldíve 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 itís a shame that they didnít 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 thatís what itís 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 Enterpriseís huge nacelles everything looks great and not too farfetched. The interior designs Iím not so happy with. Especially the Enterpriseís bridge and engineering are just awful. While the Kelvinís interiors have the same basic design as the Enterpriseís (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 doesnít work. Hopefully theyíll tone it down a bit for the sequels. Itís great for Abrams that he saved money by making a brewery into an engineering section but it just doesnít work. The more futuristic looking concept art of engineering was much more appealing. Industrial doesnít 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 canít 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. Itís 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 Trekís biggest problems are the continuity issues. Some can be excused. But some are just blatant errors that Abrams didnít have to make. Especially the Delta Vega thing annoyed me. Itís just unnecessary name dropping.

About the whole Vulcan-getting-destroyed thing, I think itís the best thing Abrams couldíve done. It shows that heís 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). Thatís 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 donít 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 whatís possible with Star Trek II. I also like how it opens up a whole new universe for us fans. Itís 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. Itís a good time to be a Trekkie.

Rating: 8 (Robau)


Star Trek (2009)


Stardate 2258.42: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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 the 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


Rating: 10 (Ten-Pint)


Star Trek (2009)


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


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.


Rating: 10 (Nathan G)


Star Trek (2009)


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


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!


Rating: 0 (Darko)


Star Trek (2009)


Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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.


Rating: 3 (GreatEmerald)


Star Trek (2009)


Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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 clichťs 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)


Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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 ŗ 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 Nemo'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)


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


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!


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


Star Trek (2009)


Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Abramsverse listing


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.


Rating: 1


Star Trek (2009)


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.


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. 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 is the Orion scene.

Our evil a Romulan...and of course Nero is a very Romulan sounding 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 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). 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".


Rating: 0 (Fletch r)


Back to Abramsverse Movies index

View as gallery