In order to get big rewards in life you have to take big risks. If there is one thing that the Star Trek universe hasn't done in 20-25 years its take risks. The franchise has suffered greatly for it, continuing to follow a formulaic approach that has made the franchise stale, predictable, and for quite a while... DEAD. Not sick, not on life support, but D-E-A-D.
Those days are over.
The 11th feature presentation is quite simply the first GREAT Star Trek movie ever made. While others in the series have been enjoyable, there was no definitive movie that stood out, nothing that could be pointed to as something unique, something special, something that takes RISKS.
What you get here is the biggest risk that has ever been taken in the Star Trek universe in its 40+ years of existence.
I will not ruin this risk but if you are a fan of the movies at all you will know it when you see it. Being a long time fan of Star Trek (I am a Next Generation first and foremost) and having seen the trailer numerous times I figured out what was going to happen about 20 minutes before it did but that didn't stop the shock when I witnessed this awesome writing decision played out on the big screen. The strongest of Star Trek lovers (especially TOS people) will no doubt have a lot of outrage at this risk but it was the right move to make. The Star Trek franchise needed to be shaken up, it needed something fresh and it needed a movie to shock and awe the audience.
Man did it ever deliver.
This movie is an absolute JOY to experience. Spock was always my favorite TOS personality as he probably was for most fans, but I never felt the connection to this cast that I did to Picard, Data, Worf and the Next Gen cast so I really didn't care what changes they made (and there is another major change that involves 2 characters that you never have experienced before in TOS history) if they were for the better. In all cases these were for the better and executed with near-perfection by JJ Abrams (who might later be revered on the same level as Gene Rodenberry if this re-visioning [this is much more than a simple reboot] succeeds like I think it will).
Since I don't like getting too deep into spoilers with reviews instead of focusing on the story (try your best to stay ignorant as possible of the story so its fresher when you see the film) I will instead focus on the characters we know so well (and some we don't).
True To The Character We Know
Spock (played by Zachary Quinto) - Even though Kirk (ahhem William Shatner) was advertised as the lead of TOS, the real centerpiece was Spock. The work here by Quinto is beyond exceptional and complements the amazing work done by Leonard Nimoy the past 40 years. Quinto plays the character as well as you could imagine and the real special thing in this movie is that finally (FINALLY) the half human side of Spock is heavily examined. It is a major part of the movie and no doubt will continue to be focused on in future films. Spock is no more or less important to the crew and story as he always has been. Other actors could do lesser work (they didn't) but the movie franchise will only succeed as well as Quinto acts. The character is in the best of hands.
Bones (played by Karl Urban) - The gem of the entire movie without question. Karl Urban takes the difficult role of playing not only Bones but Bones played by DeForest Kelley and is he ever amazing. It's a complete joy to watch his character on the screen. Urban doesn't need to do anything different in future films. You can tell how hard he worked to keep the Bones character as he has always been and he hits a home run out of the park. Wonderful wonderful wonderful
Scotty (played by Simon Pegg) - We don't meet Scotty until far into the movie but Pegg does a great job doing James Doohan. Since Scotty was always kind of the "middle" character on the show where he wasn't wasted but wasn't the tops (Spock, Kirk, Bones) all Pegg had to do was do a good Scotty and hopefully the script-writers would give him more to do. This is the case here.
Revisions And Improvements Made
Kirk (played by Chris Pine) - No longer do we get the ultra womanizing, overacting of Kirk/William Shatner but we get instead a focus on the risk-taking side of Kirk and this is the Kirk that I could truly learn to love. Over and over again we see why Kirk in Star Trek canon is revered so much and his take no prisoners approach is put on the front burner all throughout this film. Pine is confident and does a fantastic job. I don't care how revered Shatner is, the writers got it right with this re-visioning of Kirk and it's thumbs up all the way.
Sulu (played by John Cho) - Not much to say here. Cho was fine but nothing amazing in his performance. Sulu fights a little bit but hopefully more focus can be made on him in the future, no problems here but nothing jumps out.
Uhura (played by Zoe Saldana) - As a communications officer her role is MUCH better in this re-visioning. She is given more intelligent input by the script-writers but the one major canon change of Uhura (which I can't go into detail in this review) I am still trying to determine how I feel about. Her mod is the 2nd biggest risk/mod taken in the movie.
Chekov (played by Anton Yeltin) - Except for being Russian and making fun of his thick accent this is a completely new character and man was this a serious improvement. Instead of the bumbling doofus that really doesn't do anything now Chekov is a ultra-young uber-intelligent officer that plays pivotal parts in the movie. Yes this was a serious canon change but I can't imagine how any fan wouldn't approve because now you have a real character you can be emotionally attached to.
Nero (played by Eric Bana) - Bana instantly becomes one of the main villains in Star Trek lore and in my opinion because of events in the movie he now becomes THE single villain in Star Trek history. I wish Nero could have been on the screen more but with only 2 hours and so many people to get on the screen I think the right balance was struck.
XXX - You will know who this is when you see them. I have no complaints other than one voice-over part where the narration seems a bit droll and uninspired but I also think this is because of the circumstance how they are speaking. This old friend was a +++ to the movie and not just a ploy to get people in the seats. A welcome addition to the movie and plot.
Bridge - The new bridge is the most gorgeous bridge you will ever see. Some say it looks 'too sexy' or 'too bright' but THIS is how the bridge should have always looked. Please please please don't change it for the future films. You have already achieved the perfect look.
Score - The one downside of the movie. The 3rd trailer featured some of the most gorgeous background score ever and my hopes were very high. The score that is featured in the movie is serviceable but doesn't inspire. I was disappointed with the end result. It's alright but it could have been so much more.
IMO 'Star Trek' achieves what only 1 Star Trek movie (IV - The Voyage Home) came close to doing and that is being a successful film to the general public, not just Star Trek fans in general. This is the quickest 2 hours you will spend this summer and an absolute joy. I can see several movies being made with this cast and I hope several are made. The events of this film make for a realistic approach to the original cast working anew in these new revisions. As the movie ended I wished I could move ahead 2-3 years in time to see the next chapter and the next and the next.
Everyone likes to rank the movies in order and I knew 1 hour in this was EASILY (note I don't even flinch when I say EASILY EASILY EASILY) the greatest Star Trek movie ever made. You know a movie succeeds when a character or a movie itself feels like candy for the brain (last year Heath Ledgers Joker was the ultimate 'candy') and this is some yummy candy.
If you are a Star Trek fan go see it and try to have an open mind for what you will see. Many will be fine with the changes made. For the ones that aren't would you rather have changes and new Star Trek movies or the same old same old that had ruined the franchise for so long (kudos to Rick Berman as the official murderer of ST)??? If you are just a person that loves movies you (yes YOU) can even enjoy Star Trek as this movie has been produced not just for the Trekkie but the every day Joe and Jane.
What was your first impression? Very negative Plot summary? A new cast of the characters having the same name is introduced with a new storyline. Kirk and Spock forge a friendship under fire. What's the bottom line? There are some bad moments that will turn off many long-term Star Trek fans but if that happens, watch it a few more times and concentrate on the relationships between the main characters.
Let's just be clear, I am not a trekkie nor have I ever been a trekkie, and this film did not make me a trekkie, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this reboot of the franchise. The acting was great, the special effects were great, the story was great, and I recently found out that this was the only Star Trek film to win an Oscar (best makeup). It did tend to drag/ be too talky and sometimes hard to follow in some scenes, but for the most part, the movie worked. … more
Just as a warning, this review is going to be very spoilerific, so if you hate spoilers don't read this, but I just can't help myself. Now then, may I just say that this might be the BEST Star Trek Film ever?! And that's not comparing it to The Wrath of Khan or First Contact. This Trek film stand alone among all of the other ones. When J.J. Abrams set off to make a Trek film that was accessible to both non-fans and fans, he apparently knew just what he was doing. This film was also an ensemble piece. … more
How is it that a film that has been so anticipated, has had so much money and hype devoted to it ends up on the screen with a continuity error in the first half-hour? I refer to the scene in which McCoy is sneaking Kirk onto the shuttle to the Enterprise: Kirk enters the shuttle wearing a red cadet's uniform and then appears on the Enterprise wearing a black uniform. I won't even go into McCoy's breaking the 'do no harm' mantra of the medical profession... Yes, I'm probably … more
To be honest, I didn't think it could be done. I'm one of those old-time fans. I grew up on episodes of Star Trek in syndication. I cheered the return of the original cast to the movies. I followed closely -- at times more with a sense of loyalty than enthusiasm -- the various series set within the Next Generation, and I even stepped back in time to the early days of Enterprise. But when Hollywood chatter turned to rebooting the saga from the start, placing new actors in the roles of … more
I was never a big Star Trek fan. I had moments where I watched the original and where I watched Next Generation but for the most part I found the series to be well... boring. Some of it was the science fiction stuff, others was because sometimes it seemed as though Star Trek could never get to the point. That's not to say I hated Star Trek or couldn't stand it. There were certain episodes of the original series that I rather enjoyed. Some parts of … more
I’ll get the obvious out of the way immediately: Were Star Trek (XI) a standalone piece of space-set science fiction entertainment, it would probably be one of the finest to come out off Hollywood in years. The visuals are stunning, the acting top notch, the Michael Giacchino sound score flawless, and even JJ Abrams’ direction (which is often criticized for being jumpy and dependent upon effects) is quite appropriate. So why then a very mediocre review score? … more
"…To BOLDLY go where No Man had Gone Before.".. …or something like that. The immortal tagline of the operatic TV franchise that had gone on for many generations. First off, let me tell you that I am a casual fan and more of a "Next Generation" kind'a guy, although my favorite Star Trek movie is still "The Wrath of Khan". After the failed box-office outings of recent ‘Star Trek" films ("Nemesis" for one) and the less than dominating … more
I grew up with "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Since I didn't have cable, I rarely got the chance to watch the original Star Trek series. As I grew older, however, I got to watch TOS and found myself preferring it to TNG. It didn't matter how many new incarnations of Star Trek hit the television or the big screen, so long as no one messed with the original characters and the actors who portrayed them, I was fine. Then comes along J.J. Abrams. I have to admit that I followed the developments of … more
Honestly speaking, Star Trek is something I had never gotten into, though that slightly changed when an online friend of mine kept posting episode commentaries on the original TV series she was rewatching.. Of course, when I saw the trailer for the new movie in the cinemas, and seeing how amazing Zachary Quinto looked as Spock(I personally love Quinto), I knew it was a movie I had to see. The fact that J.J. Abrams was directing was a bonus. After watching … more
Star Trek tells the story of James T. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew, following their time together at Starfleet Academy as well as their first mission together.
Chris Pine as James T. Kirk
Zachery Quinto as Spock
Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime
Bruce Greenwood as Captn. Christopher Pike
Karl Urban as Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Simon Pegg as Scotty
John Cho as Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov
Eric Bana as Nero
Ben Cross as Sarek
Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson
J.J. Abrams Star Trek represents the first time in sixteen years since Leonard Nimoy has played the character of Spock.
Originally, Star Trek was slated for a Christmas 2008 release, but it was decided that the film would fair better as a summer blockbuster. It would also allow for more media coverage as well as more time to work on the films visual effects.
This Film also represents the last time that Majel Barrett Roddenberry played the voice of the Enterprise Computer. She died shortly after she had finished her work on the film.
J.J. Abrams' 2009 feature film was billed as "not your father'sStar Trek," but your father will probably love it anyway. And what's not to love? It has enough action, emotional impact, humor, and sheer fun for any moviegoer, and Trekkers will enjoy plenty of insider references and a cast that seems ideally suited to portray the characters we know they'll become later. Both a ...