Movie Name: Star Trek
Studio: Bad Robot Productions
Release Date(s): April 7, 2009 (Premiere)/May 8, 2009 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
A Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) is hunting Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and will stop at nothing to destroy him. His first time travel attempt leads to the death of the father of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his second attempt has Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) captured and Spock’s human mother (Winona Ryder) dead. Now with Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Doctor McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhuru (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), and Scotty (Simon Pegg) must come together as a crew to rescue Pike and stop the threat of Nero once and for all…while uncovering why Nero is bent on destroy Spock and the Vulcan race!
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Trek is a soft relaunch of the Star Trek original franchise and a reboot of the film series which ended with the Star Trek: The Next Generation film Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002. The movie was met with both critical and financial success. The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup with nominations for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.
I grew up liking Star Trek but loving Star Wars. I always had a hard time getting into the Star Trek original series and for that reason, I had some difficulty getting into the original film series. This movie set to turn Star Trek into Star Wars. While I think this succeeded, I also think that it did cause problems for those who feel that the two franchises have their own distinct pluses and minuses.
I do think that this film’s story really moves. One of the big differences between Star Wars and Star Trek is that Star Trek is science-fiction while Star Wars is a fantasy. This story brought together both fantasy and science-fiction but also amped up the action. This crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise knows how to fight. This change in tone through the “parallel world” might not sit well with Star Trek fans, and the script is loaded with surprise moments that go against some of the classic aspects of the series.
Part of what I like about this movie is the new dynamics set-up by the new cast. Chris Pine has that fiery nature that William Shatner has lacked as the years go on and I like him as a sparring partner for the much more accessible Zachary Quinto version of Spock. Zoe Saldana’s Uhuru gets to be something more than just a translator as Spock’s love interest and a younger more vibrant Bones played by Karl Urban also puts him as a good balance between Spock and Kirk. Simon Pegg as Scotty, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and John Cho as Sulu also provide a needed younger cast. Other cameos include Tyler Perry as a Star Fleet official, Deep Roy as Scotty’s alien friend, and the much needed bridge between the two series by bringing back Leonard Nimoy as an older Spock from the original timeline.
The visuals for the movie also look more like Star Wars. It became a running joke with the release of Star Trek about the overuse of Abrams’ signature lens flare shots and some argued it would make a good drinking game. Minus this distraction, the movie has a great look that works well with the more action based story.
Star Trek’s relaunch won’t please everyone, but it did please a lot of people including me. The whole franchise needed a jolt and this movie provided one. This movie is essentially an “origin” movie and set-up for future entries…Abrams smartly leaves you wanting more but satisfied with what you got. Star Trek was followed by Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013.