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J.J. Abrams reboot/prequel to the "Star Trek" film franchise.

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"STAR Twweeaakkk" is PURE, FUN, POPCORN JUNK!!

  • May 25, 2009
Rating:
+3

"…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 presence in television by "Enterprise", one wouldn't be hard-pressed to think that the franchise needed a reboot to attract a new generation of fans. What made the series successful that also spawned numerous spin-offs (such as "Deep Space Nine") was the manner of which it creates mythic characters, with storylines that are pretty much driven by its characters and situations. Well, "popcorn" director J.J. Abrams is the one to undertake this very dangerous assignment of rebooting a well-loved franchise that had earned its place in pop culture. What should be the focus of this reboot? Remembering what had gone before while injecting a certain needed dose of energy.

           A scene from the film "Star Trek."

Some years ago, and the U.S.S. Kelvin is under attack by a huge Romulan ship that dwarfs the Kelvin in size and power. Aboard the federation starship is George Kirk, who would then be revealed as the sire of one Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine). Sacrificing himself to save the lives of the crew, Kirk proves his mettle as a man who saved 800 people in under 8 minutes. 

Now 20 years from that time, a cocky James Kirk is dubbed by Captain Pike as "only the genius level intellect repeat offender in the Midwest", and reveals the sacrifice made by his father. Inspired, Jim decides to enlist in the federation, finally beating a simulation program designed by Spock (Zachary Quinto) and attracts attention from the academy. Unfortunately, the planet Vulcan becomes under siege by the very same ship that killed Kirk's father; a rogue Romulan hero named Nero (Eric Bana) wants revenge on the planet. It is up to new federation cadets to try to intercept Nero, but will they be in time?

           A scene from "Star Trek."

                          A scene from the film "Star Trek."

J.J. Abrams is one very mainstream director, he knows how to give his audience what they want or to believe that he knows what they want. The direction is indeed very energetic and fast-paced, the film keeps on moving, as Abrams bombards the audience with nostalgic scenes as we become privy to "Star Trek the Early Years". It is quite great to see the younger Kirk munching on an apple, the Vulcan mind-meld and nerve pinches, and accompanied by classic supporting characters such as Spock, Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho) and even Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance as "Spock # 1". There is also a sexy green alien who is reminiscent of the green ladies in "Enterprise". The dialogue is full of humorous quips that give our characters some weight and lets them grow on us, in place of characterization. Sure, we are all familiar with these characters so development doesn't really matter right? Wrong. The characters this time around feels very one-dimensional, even Kirk's clichéd "bad boy" image persona is rather overused; he crashes a classic vintage sports car, and involves himself in barroom brawls, which make for fun development but a little too clichéd.. The characters while having an entertaining feel are very ‘cartoonish' and made very transparent to make for easy connection to its audience. 

                     Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy and John Cho as Sulu in "Star Trek."

                                    A scene from the film "Star Trek."

                  A scene from "Star Trek."

The screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman is full of action and set ups for the usual Hollywood injections of elaborate stunts, special effects, and heavy doses of explosions. While this is not exactly a bad thing, it does manage to keep the proceedings in a hyper-kinetic fun pace, if you are looking for action thrills then this movie will not disappoint. I rather enjoyed the scene when Kirk and Sulu engaged a vertical drop from space, I like the ‘ice planet' where Kirk meets the "prime" Spock, there are many scenes that can easily be seen as ‘popcorn' entertainment. The new U.S.S. Enterprise had some minor re-designs but none that looked too extravagant. Nero's ship does have a HUGE intimidating quality but it looks a little insect-like or a "flytrap". However, it doesn't have the feel of ‘classic' Star Trek movies, that may be seen as a misstep to purists, as the overly kinetic action tends to distract the audience from its plot.

The plot in 2009's Star Trek is very simple, and has the usual "trappings" of Hollywood formulas, such as time travel, an alternate reality, a black hole and a quest for revenge. The plot offers nothing new, and Abrams wisely avoids the inside details of the plot. (don't even try to dissect the logic and science of its plot since it is so unimaginative) Yes, to hide every plot misstep and hole, he distracts his audience with its pace, humor, a lot of huge explosions and action. What happened to Kirk's mother? She disappears after we see James taking a joyride in a sports car. The villain, Nero feels rather underwhelming, and all the emotions that he can display is anger, the explanation behind his goals for vengeance is also too short and rather feels like a throw-away detail. Much of the film's central focus is on the developing friendship between James and Spock, with Spock's budding romance with Uhura as a subplot. I have to say Zachary Quinto gives a very good performance, and almost steals the show from Chris Pine if it wasn't for his character's outward ‘cockiness'. the rest of the crew seems decent, although the cast definitely spends too much effort in acting like the ‘classic' cast so I cannot really comment on their acting talents. 

          Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana in "Star Trek."

                               A scene from "Star Trek."

                   Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk in "Star Trek."

I have seen many reviews of the movie and I have to say, everyone seems to be so happy to see the franchise re-energized. If you dissect the limitations and weaknesses of the plot, one can see that this film is JUST your usual popcorn affair, that comes straight from the Hollywood oven. It is a good film but the film spends too much time being fascinated with itself--"Hey look at us, we are making a new Star Trek movie", and fans of the almost ‘asleep' franchise are just happy to see the U.S.S. Enterprise Starship once again. The fact that Abrams knows "playful entertainment" is what gave the film its extremely high entertainment value, along with his innate skill in casting Winona Ryder in a surprise appearance and finds room for the Vulcan salute, and the little alien with Scotty, not to mention that green alien slut, Abrams knows energetic momentum and redeems the film. The film is fun, thrilling and enjoyable, but it is HARDLY Epic or groundbreaking. Would Gene Roddenberry give this film his approval? Probably not, but then all that should matter is how well ‘fans' take to it. When in doubt, clichéd popcorn movies are the safest bet. This movie will not make a dent or add on to Star Trek's legacy, but it sure is fun and as a lady friend of mine said; "CUTE".

Recommended! [3 ½ + Stars]

 

movie poster U.S.S. ENTERPRISE KIRK teaser poster Nero teaser poster

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August 05, 2010
Great review WP, I have to admit that I am not a Trek fan really at all, but I loved this flick for some reason.
August 05, 2010
because it isn't exactly a Trek film (regards to stye and atmosphere) but a movie that feels like a routine action flick...? ;)
 
April 09, 2010
It was a surprise for me, I never did follow the original Star Trek series. Did enjoy this one though on the plane. I like it, popcorn or not, it was entertaining enough for a first timer. Not everyone has watched Star Trek before and remake may not be intended for original fans but for the next generation of people ;-)
April 09, 2010
Well, I'm just a casual fan but I do agree that this movie can be entertaining especially for the first time watcher. It channelled the 'fan feeling' while keeping a strong energetic direction to cover up its flaws. The thing is, movies like this kind never become classics--they are as we can both agree "just entertainment". H-wood is an industry after all, they know great storytelling doesn't mean a blockbuster--it's all about how they brainwash the viewer in thinking that it is good. ;-)
April 09, 2010
The economics of the world demand that. It's afterall entertainment industry and all it needs to do is to entertain ;-) Well, as far as I'm. I'm not a fanatics about movies; most of them are not great anyway.
 
December 12, 2009
Some of the points you bring up are so true- what the heck did happen to Kirk's mother? I think it's safe to say that everyone who gushes over this film likely didn't understand (or pick up on) all the brilliant intricacies that made the previous films so successful (even if not at the box office). The action here is constant and pretty to look at but the prose is simply too juvenile and inaccurate (that's what really bugs me) to be considered a classic. A great review once more, as I said before, I love it when we share a score. Especially when we diverge in our critique editorially. We cover all the bases that way! lol
December 12, 2009
I was also bothered that they didn't burn up during re-entry in the Vulcan airspace. This movie is just so full of mistakes and sacrifices the narrative to hold on to its energy. I appreciate the entertainment value but this was far from a 5star movie. It was better than Bayformers 2...seen it yet?
December 12, 2009
Oh man, I forgot about that! Yeah so much for worrying about re-entry (even without the protection of a space craft). Turns out all you need to do is sky dive from orbit. Oy! Bayformers 2 could possibly have been the poorest use of digital film ever. I watched it with my brother-in-law with the hopes of reviewing it here and when it concluded I was so dumbfounded that I've literally been unable to critique it. Mind numbing.
December 12, 2009
This movie is so much fun to nit-pick! But I'm not going to bother since it did provide me with brainless popcorn entertainment. Bayformers 2 was just so insulting...it sucked rotten eggs! LOL
December 13, 2009
So true- Bayformers goes beyond my ability to critique. About the only positive spin I can put on it is that it provides hope to all aspiring filmmakers that a coherent story isn't necessary for a blockbuster. By the way Woop, reviewed Terminator Salvation the Machinima Series if you care to check it.
 
June 14, 2009
I love the origninal Star Trek but was never much of a fan of The Next Generation and never saw one episode of Enterprise (I heard it was good, is that true?  Is it worth purchasing th series? Renting?).  I do plan to eventually go see this movie in the theater.
June 14, 2009
I'm more of a casual fan, and I did enjoy "Next Generation". I have mixed feelings about Enterprise, the series was a little uneven. Give it a rent, who knows, you may like it. Jolene Blalock is definitely worth the rental. This new film is fun, energetic and cool--but won't be a classic. Thanks for the comment, Cd.
June 14, 2009
Thaks for saving me from an impulsive buy of the Enterprise series. I have netflix so I can rent it from there.
September 12, 2009
I saw the movie on a bootleg copy this week my friend loaned me. As a fan of the original I enjoyed this one but was a little put off by it. Didn't ring entirely true to me. Uhura was HOT!!! Go Spock!
 
May 28, 2009
Nailed it. Star Trek is fun, cheeky and very happy with itself that it's a GOOD franchise re-boot. as opposed to, you know, Transformers, the new Terminator and others
May 29, 2009
Thanks, FoodDude! This movie was energetic, fun and enjoyable. I do hope that the sequel will manage to put together a more intricate storyline while maintaining its energy.
 
May 26, 2009
While I Trekked out decades ago I'll still probably wind up taking the twins this weeked. Oh wait. I think this coming Saturday is The Belmont so that would kill Saturday, and they have their belt tests on Friday...Anybody know what date it is? Cool,  the race isn't until next weekend.
May 26, 2009
What is it with you and the races? I'm beginning to think you're a gambling fiend! LOL. :)
May 26, 2009
We gave up on gambling. The one year I picked the Superfecta on the Preakness was the one year Rob didn't place a bet--we would have had to box my picks anyhow since I couldn't pick 'em in order. I don't really like betting, I just love horses and horse racing.
May 26, 2009
Yeah they're all boy--Benji is definitely a fanboy in training too. Most tracks are facing problems now and unfortunately they are making a go of it by adding on giant casinos in order to help pay the bills. That's what's really going to turn racing into just another business and the horses will be of no importance if they aren't bringing in the cash.
 
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More Star Trek (2009) reviews
review by . March 23, 2013
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. 
review by . December 12, 2010
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.      …
review by . May 03, 2009
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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. …
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
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 …
review by . August 26, 2010
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 …
review by . December 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . December 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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?  …
review by . September 10, 2010
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 …
review by . May 07, 2009
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 …
review by . December 01, 2009
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About this movie

Wiki


 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.

Cast:
  • 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 ...
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Details

Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Release Date: May 8th 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
DVD Release Date: Unknown
Runtime: 126 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures, Bad Robot
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