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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 W. Scott Gordon

"Star Trek Goes Boldy, if not quite intelligently"
4 stars

As I dyed-in-the-wool Star Trek fan who was ready for a shakeup of my beloved franchise, I went in with high expectations. I'm pleased to say that most of them were met. I am sure that this franchise will continue to live long and, well, you know.

Before I was really old enough to understand its messages about aging and friendship, before I could laugh at the superb campiness of Captain Kirk's most infamous line, "Khaaaaaannnn!" I got glorious goosebumps when Khan put those scorpion-thingies in Chekov's ear near the beginning of Star Trek II. My love affair with Star Trek survived through TNG ups and downs, reveled in the unexpected greatness of DS9, tolerated Voyager, and finally tanked with that other attempted Star Trek reboot, the perhaps well-intentioned but ultimately awful Enterprise.

Like Enterprise, the new movie mines the past for its inspiration; also similar is the use of time travel as a tool to cover new ground when the audience knows the future. This is where any similarities end. As Scotty (played comedically by Simon Pegg) quips at one point: "I LIKE this ship! It's exciting!" I couldn't agree more.

The movie begins on the Federation Starship USS Kelvin, where young first officer George Kirk is suddenly forced to take command after the captain is killed by an angry Romulan (played adequately by Eric Bana) who is in control of a squid like monstrosity of a ship that screams "from the future." Clearly outgunned, Kirk bravely sets the Kelvin on a collision course--but not before evacuating all 800 souls aboard, including wife Winona, who gives birth just as she is being wheeled to her shuttle. During a harried final radio transmission, Commander Kirk discovers that he is the father of a new baby boy--and christens him, "James 'Tiberius' Kirk--just before plunging into oblivion. Commander Kirk is clearly the Jor-el of this tale, the doomed patriarch blasting his prodigal son into the unknown and onto greatness. The film never again approaches this grand fusion of emotion and action, but it doesn't need to; the Enterprise has launched, and Trekkers and neophytes alike will want to be onboard.

Before James T. Kirk can become Superman, of course, he must rebel--the loss of the father he never knew has left a hole in his life, which he fills by driving antique corvettes off of cliffs, chasing women, and getting into barroom brawls. Beaten and broken, Kirk meets Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike, who sets the young firebrand toward greatness with a single challenge: "Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved 800 lives. I dare you to do better." Young Kirk takes the bait. Chris Pine plays Kirk with a smirk and a swagger that may, in time, become likable. I look forward to the day when there is some gravitas behind his knowing winks.

Across the galaxy, another young man faces different challenges. Although raised on the planet Vulcan, where logic is prized above all else, young Spock is actually half-human. He struggles for control over his dual nature, eventually coming to a crossroads: Cast off all emotion and join the Vulcan Science Academy, or join Starfleet and explore the galaxy? His decision has more to do with righteous rebellion than logic. After being reminded of the "disadvantages" that his mixed parentage pose for him, Spock declines the Science Academy invitation and stalks out with a barely civil, "live long and prosper." The geek in me cheered inside. Zachary Quinto is simply a revelation as Spock, providing an emotionally-layered performance that even Leonard Nimoy (who appears to wonderful, venerable effect as the original Spock in the film) should appreciate. He also looks eerily like the older actor, yet the resemblance never forces him into parody. The emotional journey he takes, which involves logic, love and loss, is tragic and surprisingly deep.

A few years later, Spock is a freshly-minted Academy instructor and the designer of Starfleet Academy's so-called "no-win scenario," dubbed the Kobayashi Maru, and Kirk is the freewheeling hothead destined to beat that scenario by manipulating the computer controlling it. This is supposedly the event that sets two very different men on the course to a conflicted life-long friendship, yet it is played entirely for laughs. This choice is disappointing not only because I expected more as a fan, but also because it undermines Kirk's credibility as a character. We are privy only to his brash arrogance, never to his supposed genius. Only later, aboard the USS Enterprise, does Kirk (and the actor playing him) begin to shine.

With the exception of Anton Yelchin, who tries too hard for comedy in the part of Chekov, the other characters making up Star Trek's first incarnation (Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and of course, the irascible Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy) are also plausibly reintroduced. Mere cadets, they are forced into action when a distress call from Vulcan puts them face to face with the same ship that killed Kirk's father 25 years ago.

I wish I could say that the reasons why that mysterious ship suddenly appears again, or the struggle of the man in control of her, made for a compelling story. Neither do, largely because we are told why Nero is angry, but we are never actually shown. While Ricardo Montalban as Khan conveyed extraordinary pathos with little screen time or back-story, Eric Bana's Nero is given even less to work with--and Bana is no Montalban. The result is that the Romulan ship's appearance (and the time-travel involved with it) serve primarily to unite our would-be heroes in crisis and give the franchise some breathing room. I hope for more of a philosophical turn in the next outing.

There is also the issue of production design. Director J.J. Abrams eschewed the crisp lines of previous Star Trek incarnations in favor of busy slam-bang sets and special effects; the Enterprise bridge was too light, Nero's ship too dark, the uniforms too patchwork, the planet Vulcan too robot like--nothing of Star Trek's optimistic vision could be seen in the visual cacophony. I was reminded many times of Star Wars, which I suppose was the point. But the jaunty interaction of the characters sustained this new adventure beyond any of these criticisms.

As its pared-down name indicates, "Star Trek" is Trek at its very essence--the story of a diverse team of mostly-human crew exploring the far reaches of the galaxy. I eagerly anticipate new journeys with this old crew.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17128&reviewer=406
originally posted: 05/31/09 22:09:01
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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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