With Star Trek Into Darkness coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray, I thought I’d take a look back at the first installment of this new reboot series.
STAR TREK (2009)
With the Star Trek series running out of steam on TV and in the cinemas, Paramount decided to reboot by restarting and recasting the original series for a new movie adventure with a more up to date popcorn movie style. And the gamble pays off beautifully. The new flick starts off with a Romulan ship from the future emerging from a black hole and engaging Federation starship the U.S.S. Kelvin. Upon the capture and murder of it’s captain (Faran Tahir), first officer George Kirk (Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth) takes command and orders the crew, including his wife (Jennifer Morrison) who is currently in labor, off the ship and sacrifices himself to fend off the invaders while his crew escapes. Before he dies, his wife gives birth to their son who they name James T. Kirk. The film then picks up with rebelious adult James Kirk (Chris Pine) being talked into joining Starfleet by Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and there he meets future crew members Spock (Zachary Quinto), a half Vulcan whose path to Starfleet we also see, McCoy (Karl Urban) and Uhura (Zoe Saladana). Despite getting in trouble, Kirk makes his way onto the top of the line U.S.S. Enterprise where the cadets, including helmsman Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin), are being sent on an emergency mission to the planet Vulcan from whom they’ve recieved a distress call. Soon they find the planet is under attack from the Narada, the same ship that killed Kirk’s father and destroyed the Kelvin 25 years earlier and it’s captain Nero (Eric Bana) is hell bent on exacting a horrific revenge that spans centuries of hate and will kill billions. Add to all this a cranky exiled engineer named Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg) and an older version of Spock from the 24th century (Leonard Nimoy) and Kirk and the cadets face their first and quite possibly last mission as Pike becomes a prisoner and cadet Kirk now takes command of the Enterprise.
Star Trek is not perfect, but this flick not only successfully re-invents the franchise, but somehow keeps it familiar enough for those of us who grew up with it. The cast does a wonderful job of keeping the essence of the original characters yet presenting them in a fresh way and adding their own touches. Karl Urban stands out in particular with a brilliant performance as Dr. McCoy and Simon Pegg is hilarious as the cantankerous ‘Scotty’. The script nails the character relationships very well. As for the differences between this version and original Trek lore, the plot explains this with Nero’s actions changing the timeline, which in itself is a classic Star Trek plot element. J.J. Abrams directs with a lot of energy and fast paced excitement for the new generation of movie goer, yet doesn’t abandon the spirit of Star Trek that older fans hold dear. Having Nimoy’s Spock there also gives the movie a really nice passing of the torch quality as this new generation version of the beloved characters takes over. The SPFX are incredible and the scope of the film is one rarely seen in a Star Trek film.
A really fun movie that is a really good example of how something can be rebooted and made fresh without alienating the it’s original fan base. A great popcorn movie and the triumphant return of Star Trek for us fans and a fun new introduction for those not initiated.
3 and 1/2 starships