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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 brianorndorf

"This is how Star Trek needs to feel"
5 stars

120 minutes of unrelenting goose bumps. An artistic blood transfusion of immaculate execution, the new “Star Trek” boldly goes straight to the senses, providing a full-throated rush of operatic sci-fi, cleverly conceived characterizations, and a swarm of franchise homages and surprises that take incredible care of the brand name’s impossible 44-year-long pop culture reign, while forging firm new ground for those who couldn’t tell Kirk from Spock with a gun to their head. Director J.J. Abrams has achieved what many thought to be impossible, reaching bare-handed into the venomous depths of absurdly rigid canon, pulling together a sublime space adventure that flies as confidently and triumphantly as “Trek” ever has before. It’s not only a victorious series highlight, but perhaps one of the best pictures of the year.

Turned rebellious after the heroic death of his father aboard the U.S.S. Kelvin, James Kirk (Chris Pine) has lost himself in booze and indifference. Sensing great leadership qualities in Kirk, Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) encourages the young man to join Starfleet and live up to his potential. Taking the dare, Kirk journeys to the academy, where his brash behavior upsets his teachers, but endears him to medical officer Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban). Also at the academy is Spock (Zachary Quinto, “Heroes”), an embittered science officer dealing with those who distrust his human/Vulcan heritage, finding Kirk’s illogical behavior maddening. When a rogue Romulan named Captain Nero (Eric Bana) appears inside a massive mining ship, armed with a black-hole-creating doomsday device targeting peaceful planets, a crew for the newly christened U.S.S. Enterprise is hastily assembled for protection. With Nero’s sheer power and path of revenge fueling his rage, Kirk is forced to assume a leadership role against Spock to find a way to defeat their enemy, finding pertinent advice emerging from an unexpected visitor from the future.

Take into consideration that the sprawling “Star Trek” universe has been flattened and repurposed over and over again for decades now, spawned off into oblivion and merchandised within an inch of its life. That Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman could waltz in and resuscitate the whole concept is a miracle, but that’s what this rejuvenation of “Star Trek” feels like: a series of wonderfully imagined storytelling miracles that reclaims the battered reputation of “Trek” and forms it into something innovative, even while buttressed by established iconography.

Undertaking a spine-tingling Lucas/Spielberg route to remodeling the universe, Abrams refocuses “Trek” energies to pure snorts of suspense and action, crafting a thrill ride ambiance to compete with the marketplace and to appeal to those unfamiliar with traditional Enterprise shenanigans. “Star Trek” cuts to the chase from frame one, galloping through origin stories that set up proper motivations (Kirk is a troubled rebel, Spock is a momma’s boy with a chip on his shoulder), while embarking on a powerful visual odyssey that finds dazzling new fluidity to the majestic Starfleet ships and a glorious cinematographic fixation on lens flaring for an intriguing optical motif. The picture is a visual barnstormer, dreaming up a rousing galaxy quest for the heroes and villains that hold faithful to the ornamentation of the franchise (no worries, the Enterprise is still the Enterprise), but reconsiders everything else, hoping to entice those standing outside the “Trek” treehouse with a gorgeous platter of warfare, exotic alien worlds, and crystalline Starfleet hardware.

“Star Trek” is a technical tour de force from any angle, showcasing seamless special effects that range from subtle usage of series knickknacks to planet-swallowing nightmares as Nero emasculates his enemies by cruelly robbing them of their homeland. Abrams has a special gift for staging gymnastic feats of action (his “Mission: Impossible III” was the most agile of the series) and backed by a formidable budget, “Trek” is allowed free reign to parade colossal waves of photon-frisky combat and intergalactic suspense that are miles ahead of anything the franchise has been permitted to indulge before. “Star Trek” is an action-adventure film at its core, yet Abrams is careful to preserve the scientific heart of the camaraderie, with ample time allotted for Kirk and Spock to engage in a battle of intellect and the finer points of logic, founding the relationship in a charming glue of muted aggravation and burgeoning respect.

While an unsavory proposition for any actor, the ensemble does a marvelous job stepping into the iconic boots and tight polyester shirts of the original cast. It’s all one big loving tribute, but the performers survive constricting issues of comparison through the screenplay’s effort to find fresh psychological threads to pull at. While Kirk remains a panty-removing, button-pushing rascal, Chris Pine unearths more fertile dramatic ground portraying the character’s erratically instinctive gifts of leadership; Zachary Quinto develops Spock beautifully as a man torn between species, finding his cumbersome Vulcan logic contradicting his hot-blooded human desires; and Karl Urban positively owns the film as the frazzled Bones, who loathes space travel, yet can’t seem to avoid his heroic calling to Starfleet. Urban channels DeForest Kelley in a growling manner (“I’m a doctor, dammit!”) I never thought possible before. His moments hoping to talk Kirk down from assured doom are priceless.

The rest of the cast is as equally victorious, as Abrams puts forth an effort to “introduce” the likes of Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (a lively Simon Pegg), Uhura (Zoe Saldana, finding newfound dimension to the role), Chekov (an atypically digestible Anton Yelchin), and Captain Pike with little slices of good guy posturing, uniting the crew early on as a creative force to be reckoned with. While the thought of new faces assuming control of beloved old characters might compel the average Trekker to run asthmatically for the hills, the switch is handled efficiently by Abrams, who establishes every Enterprise team member with a thunderous reverence that helps to swallow this often witty reboot.

The “Star Trek” highlights and glorious oddities are almost too numerous to mention: bosomy green alien girls for Kirk to devour, fierce phaser fights, gigantic snow planet monsters, shuttlecraft births, the use of a Beastie Boys cut on the soundtrack (!), supporting turns from Tyler Perry and Winona Ryder (as Spock’s concerned human mother), daredevil transporter action, tributes to “Wrath of Khan” and Abrams’s own creative world, a needed ass-covering foray into alternate realities, deliriously satisfying sonic boom warp jumps, a bravura score from the gifted composer Michael Giacchino, sexual fireworks between Spock and Uhura, and a chance to experience the famed Kobayashi Maru test of Starfleet character. Wow. “Star Trek” strikes a reassuring balance between worship and modernization, a masterful one at times, offering fans enough familiarity to soothe while plunging ahead as an (hopefully) up and coming franchise for years to come.

“Star Trek” is a stupendous revitalization of a concept bled dry long ago. It offers nothing but pleasures to those in tune with Gene Roddenberry’s original creation, and provides ample comfort to newcomers who should immediately set aside anticipated Trekkie bias and suit up with Starfleet for the true roller coaster ride of the still-virginal summer.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17128&reviewer=404
originally posted: 05/08/09 22:08:50
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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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