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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome33.71%
Worth A Look: 28.09%
Average: 11.24%
Pretty Bad: 15.73%
Total Crap: 11.24%

9 reviews, 124 user ratings


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Star Trek (2009)
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by Jay Seaver

"Boldly going into the twenty-first (and twenty-third) century."
5 stars

Back in high school or college, talking with fellow fans, I tossed out the idea that a fun thing for Paramount to do for "Star Trek"'s upcoming thirtieth anniversary would be to make a new movie, set during the original five-year mission, with new people playing the familiar characters but modern production values. While it made for a fun fantasy casting game (I think I wanted Keifer Sutherland to play Kirk), most claimed that it shouldn't be any more than that, because The Original Series was untouchable. So, if any of you are reading this, 15-odd years later, it is a great pleasure to say I told you so.

Happily, the pleasure comes less from personal validation than the fact that I got to watch the 2009 edition of Star Trek in a packed theater with a giant screen and a bunch of people who seemed to be having nearly as much fun as I was. Like others have done with Batman Begins and Casino Royale before them, the makers of Star Trek have gone back to the beginning to tell a first chapter which had never appeared on film, jettisoned all the bits that made for easy parody, and refocused on the things that made these worlds appealing in the first place. And as good as those other two movies are, the process is especially revelatory for Star Trek: Batman and James Bond have either had various soft resets or been kept in a sort of enforced stasis, but Star Trek had not only allowed forty years (or three times as much, depending how you want to reckon these things) of restrictive details to accumulate, but it achieved a crushing level of solemnity that was not in the original playbook. Even leaving aside how the sequel series converted ideals into dogma, there is, in retrospect, something very wrong about how the features made a show about boldly going forward into meditations on aging, death, and obsolescence.

To hell with that, say director J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. They open with the moments leading to James T. Kirk's birth as a Romulan mining ship emerges from a strange anomaly with its captain, Nero (Eric Bana), demanding to speak to "Ambassador Spock". The U.S.S. Kelvin and its first officer, George Kirk, hold Nero back at great cost. We're then treated to scenes of Kirk's son James and the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock as children and young adults, following their paths to Starfleet Academy, where Kirk makes friends with the recently-divorced, space-phobic Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban). Word of a crisis on Spock's home planet forces Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and Commander Spock to crew the just-completed starship Enterprise with junior officers and cadets, including Kirk, McCoy, Helmsman Sulu (John Cho), 17-year-old whiz kid Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and xenolinguist Uhura (Zoe Saldana). When they get there, they discover that Nero is back, and the stakes are higher than they could have imagined.

They're also higher than the fans could have imagined, because it's at this point that the movie announces loud and clear that the familiar future history of Star Trek is no longer set in stone. This will greatly annoy a certain variety of fan, but it gets the franchise back to where it started in the sixties, when Gene Roddenberry and his crew were making it up as they went along and could do anything that crossed their minds. Abrams and crew restore that sense of seeming recklessness, and it's a good match to their main character.

Chris Pine nails that part of Kirk, too. His Kirk isn't the same as William Shatner's - he's still young and headstrong, overestimating himself, a cocky son of a gun not yet matured into the sly fellow we know. What comes across is that, whether he's being cunning, foolhardy, a horndog or a fighter, Kirk is decisive, but can afford to be because he's got the brains and charisma to back it up. Zachary Quinto's Spock is the same way, although there tends to be more overt self-examination to him. He does the expected thing of holding his emotions in check, as the Vulcans prize logic above all, but he also gets Spock's dry sarcasm right (others playing Vulcans in the franchise have had a hard time stopping short of smug).

The rest of the cast does a similarly good job of recreating the characters without doing simple impersonations. Karl Urban's McCoy is the closest to his predecessor visually, although he turns the crotchetiness down: For all Urban's McCoy complains, he's also excited about his fresh start and the potential for adventure. Yelchin and Saldana perhaps make characters who mainly warmed seats in the sixties more memorable this time around, although John Cho has a hard time emerging from the background. Simon Pegg provides a late energy boost as Scotty, and Bruce Greenwood a nice mentor figure as Pike. Unfortunately, Eric Bana is sort of all over the map as Nero; it's not just that much of his backstory has been off-loaded into a comic book tie-in, but Bana sometimes doesn't seem sure whether he wants Nero fierce or laid-back, a working-class guy goaded into supervillainy by circumstance.

Original series star Leonard Nimoy is here, too, as an aged Spock, lending a little more legitimacy to an idea that, at times, met with a lot of resistance. It's clear that, as much as they are attempting to create something new and modern, the filmmakers are being careful not to mess with the formula too much, not just to avoid alienating the built-in audience, but because it has worked for forty-plus years. They load the movie up with easter eggs that fans will enjoy, and keep things moving along at a brisk enough pace that some of the holes in the script won't be noticed until after the closing credits. I won't lie - there are more than a few moments when one has to wonder if that's really what someone as intelligent as the characters are supposed to be would do. Hopefully they'll do better next time, because I suspect that my fellow fans and I might not be quite so forgiving.

I am inclined to be forgiving this time, though, because this is the first bit of "Star Trek" filmed in my lifetime that feels like the original. It's fast-paced, sexy, funny, and takes place in a galaxy filled with danger, but also excitement and adventure. The various incarnations of "Star Trek" have been a number of good things (and some bad things), but it's been a while since they've felt this wide-open and unpredictable.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17128&reviewer=371
originally posted: 05/15/09 12:40:26
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell awesome reboot purists dont like it but who cares 5 stars
5/12/16 D. The R. My version -Brat wrecks classic 'Vette, gets thrown off cliff after it.. 2 stars
10/19/11 Magic Takes a thoughtful sci-fi franchise and fills it with noise, explosions and lens flares. 3 stars
8/14/10 Charles Tatum Outstanding; better sci-fi than "Avatar" all around 5 stars
2/17/10 The Calico Critic, Laura Hartness I loved this one, but I agree, the bridge was lit WAY too much. Enough with the flares! 4 stars
1/23/10 Streeper Started well enough, quickly decended into bullshit though 2 stars
12/30/09 Homer J. Fong Should be called "Star Trek 90210" -- this is like the very worst fan fiction... 1 stars
12/20/09 FrankNFurter This piece of dreck makes "Star Crystal" look like "Citizen Kane". Shockingly overrated! 1 stars
12/13/09 Flounder HBS is way off here. This is the best mainstream sci-fi reboot in decades 5 stars
12/06/09 the dork knight I went in determined to hate it, but failed. Nice to see decent CG for once. 5 stars
11/23/09 Flossdaily This review was too kind. This movie had more plot holes than plot. 1 stars
11/23/09 Thomas Korn why all the fuss over a bland movie and poor filmmaking?? 2 stars
11/09/09 Jeff Wilder As a piece of pure entertainment, great. As Star Trek it's bunk. 4 stars
10/29/09 matt as close to perfect as it possibly could be. and zoe saldana = major fap alert O.o 5 stars
9/09/09 Natalie Stonecipher An exciting romp if you can get past the atrocious start of it. 3 stars
8/31/09 MS Good review and I agree!! 2 stars
8/21/09 Aaron Forget the reviews, good stuff spock kicks butt 4 stars
7/26/09 Bryan This movie did what the previous two failed to, which was revive a sinking ship. 4 stars
7/14/09 Linda I enjoyed this movie very much, I guess the franchise has to start somwhere! 4 stars
7/10/09 whitelaw Awesome movie. Loved every minute of it! Can't wait for the sequel!!! 5 stars
7/08/09 Benny Lava Hopefully in the next prequel, they can go back in time and stop Abrams from creating this. 2 stars
6/20/09 JR I really wanted to like this ST. Alas, no. Kirk is a jerk & story is awful. 1 stars
6/13/09 meep Dissapointingly mediocre 2 stars
6/02/09 MP Bartley Not really a Trek fan as such, but this was smart and terrifically entertaining. 4 stars
6/02/09 aliceinwonderland Thanks to Spock, it was good,nothing special otherwise 3 stars
6/01/09 red hulk are you kidding? 40 years of trek history replaced with this time travel crap? lame 1 stars
6/01/09 Brock Sampson Lame, overhyped crib note version of Star Trek. Poor screenplay, meh overall. 1 stars
5/27/09 Cathal Great in parts but overall agree with reviewer - disappointing. 3 stars
5/25/09 Abhishek Chakraborty Disappointed...trailer 3 made it look much more awesome than it was 3 stars
5/24/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Physics be damned. Nothing in this movie made sense. 1 stars
5/24/09 Eurisko I agree w/review & wish to complain about VERY BAD SCIENCE in this "fiction" 2 stars
5/23/09 Allen Called "Star Trek" for marketing purposes - Movie ignores Trek context.. Overhyped! 1 stars
5/23/09 Dan Awesome movie, good acting, and great action scenes. 5 stars
5/20/09 X A must for any trekkie 5 stars
5/20/09 Richard For the first time in my life I am considering purchasing a Star fleet uniform. 5 stars
5/19/09 Suzz Lives up to the original series. Not to be missed 5 stars
5/18/09 San Francisco Joins Wrath of Khan as the only good Trek flicks. Wonderful movie that will be remembered. 5 stars
5/17/09 Mike Movie was awesome in so many ways. Plot was light and emotion rushed, but still awesome! 5 stars
5/17/09 Sam Whatta ride! Nice job sidestepping the continuity issue. HOLD THAT DAMN CAMERA STILL! 4 stars
5/16/09 Paul I'm a hardcore trekkie, fresh off from watching all 5 shows, and I liked the movie 4 stars
5/16/09 DaMan I love how at the end you call Star Trek fans biased...um yeah, thats what a FAN is. 5 stars
5/16/09 Joey B. Title said "Star Trek". Movie was "Star Wars" 2 stars
5/16/09 Aaron I'm no Trekkie, but I had a good time with this. 4 stars
5/16/09 Rick B I mostly agree with you. This movie is way shallow. A lot of promise though. 3 stars
5/15/09 dirtworshipper I don't know what this movie was but it wasn't ST. What an insipid abomination. 1 stars
5/15/09 Pokejedservo I am pretty neutral regarding Star Trek but this was a pretty cool movie. 4 stars
5/15/09 DW This movie pales compared to the reviewer's ability to reboot the run-on-sentence. 4 stars
5/15/09 Brian As an old trek fan, I thought the movie was awesome, fresh, great CGI, fast paced. 5 stars
5/14/09 Baloney Why couldn't the X-Files franchise have created a film this good? 5 stars
5/14/09 sarah eh.... 2 stars
5/14/09 James Worst ST Movie EVER! Not very well thought out-not character driven 1 stars
5/14/09 ES Good, hopefully the last they use time travel in this new adaptation. 4 stars
5/13/09 Tokyospike I like this ship! It's exciting! 4 stars
5/13/09 BadAstronaut What an awful mess. Very sad. 2 stars
5/13/09 Vent Has its moments, but there are several hundred ST episodes better written than this 2 stars
5/13/09 Ming One of the best Star Trek film..Great introduction for the next generation 5 stars
5/13/09 Lifelongtreklover Expected much; hugely disappointed. Script chocked full of cliches; mediocre CGI. Bored. 2 stars
5/13/09 flyboy This film getting more credit than it deserves-mediocre screenplay/dialog, but good cgi 2 stars
5/12/09 Bill Mind bogglingly stupid. Just gets dumber the more I think about it. Shocking. 1 stars
5/12/09 green-bosom Agreed the writers are hacks, merely ok, I have watched all 700-odd star-trek eps though 3 stars
5/12/09 MiloDC Orci and Kurtzman are hacks. Abrams did a lot with very little. 3 stars
5/12/09 ZeroLord Anyone notice Spock demostrating Picard maneuver? 4 stars
5/12/09 Koitus Yeah, it had seom issues (cerebral cortex critters; Uhura roommate scene)-but still good! 4 stars
5/12/09 peter never seen an episode of trek b4 but this was excellent. must see at the theaters. amazing 5 stars
5/12/09 Kenton This guy must not have watched the same movie I did, I went to see it twice. 5 stars
5/12/09 Michael Changing Star Trek history was stupid. 3 stars
5/12/09 I Am Jack's Appendix It was just ok for me, dawg. 3 stars
5/11/09 Shane Yours is the only review I agree with. It was a lazily written, insulting script. 2 stars
5/11/09 killabrams this movie disposes of every concept behind the real star trek. total trash!!!!! 1 stars
5/11/09 malcolm good for ST historians and people looking for a place to jump in 4 stars
5/11/09 Rontianjin Facinating! Saw it 4 times this weekend. Can't wait for the ongoing mission 5 stars
5/11/09 Kai This critic is a douchebag. The movie, while not perfect, is fantastic for STAR TREK! 5 stars
5/11/09 Entropia Thin on plot, but great style and character group dynamic make up for it (mostly). 4 stars
5/11/09 Ronda I love theway they have reinvented the characters! I can't wait to see what's next! 5 stars
5/11/09 TheDemiurge It was like a bad remake of Galaxy Quest. I'm in shock. 2 stars
5/11/09 YoJimbo Just saw it. It's like junk food. You eat it, it taste just OK, and u forget about it after 3 stars
5/11/09 Darkstar Best movie so far this year 5 stars
5/11/09 Terry Super flick. Just the kind to make a critic who wants to stand out in a crowd do just that. 5 stars
5/11/09 Donald You are too kind to this mess. Simplistic contrived plot and dialogue. 1 stars
5/11/09 David Grouix Saw it twice in one day, even better the second time. 5 stars
5/11/09 PAUL SHORTT FRESH, FUNNY, EXCITING AND - BIGGEST SUPRISE OF ALL - EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING 4 stars
5/11/09 Gerry This guy is an idiot 5 stars
5/10/09 Dan Chock full of lame, lazy plot devices which totally alter the entire history of Trek 1 stars
5/10/09 Mal Gibson This movie starts off as Top Gun and ends like Galaxy Quest. Truly awful! 1 stars
5/10/09 Don Great charaters, masterfully directed! And it is so Trek! 5 stars
5/10/09 Brian Peter, you might have noticed by now, but you are in the minority. 5 stars
5/10/09 Miles Great action movie! 5 stars
5/10/09 Wil Entertaining, not Star Trek. 4 stars
5/10/09 Jim nauseam The plot device that erases the previous Star Trek universe was quite a clever idea. 5 stars
5/10/09 mr.mike As close to perfection as it could possibly be. 5 stars
5/10/09 Alex Kirk and Spock are extremely well-drawn characters. This is a characters story. Thumbs up. 5 stars
5/10/09 Harri Good action movie but very very silly with huge plotholes, and its not Star Trek. 3 stars
5/10/09 Demosthenes Locke So, Peter...your problem with Pine is that he emulated Shatner, not Kirk? 4 stars
5/10/09 Alison You've entirely missed the point of an AU story. Your loss. 5 stars
5/10/09 Philip Buckley-Mellor I was thoroughly entertained, isn't that enough? 5 stars
5/09/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Implausible tattered lone wolf revenge theme w/Kahn, Shinzon,Nero. Where did the 'trek' go? 4 stars
5/09/09 Toni loved it!!! I"m sad Peter didn't like it 5 stars
5/09/09 Kevin W. It didn't work for me. I would rather have seen another Next Gen. based film. 2 stars
5/09/09 Brian Mckay My love of Trek has been reborn. IMAX it if at all possible. Jaded fanboy haters stay home. 5 stars
5/09/09 mick As a stand-alone film, would have been extrodinary sc-fi. sexed up star trek instead. 1 stars
5/09/09 Spliner Terrible review. The movie was great! If it wasn't for the ho-hum soundtrack it'd get 5 4 stars
5/08/09 Brian His review was pretty acurrate. Good action Sci fi? Sure, Good Star Trek? Not so much. 4 stars
5/08/09 Tom Overman you are an idiot 5 stars
5/08/09 NotADieHardTrekkie You didn't understand the plot if you thought destroying planets was "collateral damage". 5 stars
5/08/09 John W Good review. Time travel unnessicary & has screwed our time line. Need more red matter now! 3 stars
5/08/09 Don Noble this review is spot on. The move is good at best. The story is weak and copies other movies 3 stars
5/08/09 OrciAndKurtzmanSuck Childress nailed it in his review. 1 stars
5/08/09 Aesop ST? All aces. HB should stop headlining reviewers from Bombay watching bootlegged releases. 5 stars
5/08/09 William Goss Phil: Referring to mine? Thanks. Colleagues aren't out for traffic, tho, I assure you all. 4 stars
5/08/09 Jeff I think he has seen too many films. This movie was AWESOME!! Critic? LOUSY 5 stars
5/08/09 Phil This is the best review so far. The other reviewers seem like they been paid off or somethi 5 stars
5/08/09 the_divvy_with_the_shivvy 5 stars for the review, cracking review indeed, well said, well put, shocking remake! 5 stars
5/08/09 OMAN Haven't seen it.But man,you need a writing class 1 stars
5/08/09 Remi To say that Star Trek: The Motion Picture tried to please mainstream audiences is crazy. 5 stars
5/08/09 David Anderson wow did he attend the same movie I did? disaster? fails? are you kidding? wow, just wow. 5 stars
5/08/09 Damon Thrift I'll 2nd that, Disagree completely. This movie rocks. 5 stars
5/08/09 Mark Ford Couldn't disagree more as an original fan. This movie made my pre-teen nephews new fans! 5 stars
5/08/09 Joshua Childress, have fun eating your words as tons of new "Trekkies" are born. 1 stars
5/08/09 Speck Critics who don't have a elementary grasp of grammar are not credible. 4 stars
5/08/09 Casey Toilsome. Never seen a reviewer so full of himself. I prefer the movie over boresome prose. 5 stars
5/08/09 kock&spirk bitter much? 5 stars
5/08/09 Callighan In the tie-in comics, Nero's history is explained. Resolution in movie is logical. 4 stars
5/07/09 Jonathan Lifelong trekkie. Disagree completely. 5 stars
5/07/09 Jason Laughlin Childress, periods and tense agreement. try to get familiar with them. Your writing stinks. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-May-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Nov-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-May-2009
  DVD: 17-Nov-2009



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