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Film Review: Star Trek (2009)

Updated on December 21, 2016
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Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 2009, J. J. Abrams directed Star Trek, based on the 1966 television series created by Gene Roddenberry, as the eleventh film in the franchise. Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, and Leonard Nimoy, the film grossed $385.7 million at the box office.


While his father takes command of a Federation starship during an attack, his son James Tiberius Kirk is born while the ship's personnel flee. He grows up angry and rebellious until Starfleet recruits him. There, he makes waves and must overcome his initial mistrust of Spock to stop a rogue Romulan named Nero.


As a way to reboot the franchise and reintroduce modern audiences to the characters of the original series, Star Trek is quite good in presenting an engaging origin story for the crew of the enterprise. Notably, despite the timeline being radically changed into an alternate reality thanks to Nero, they all still manage to come together, as if willed by destiny. Rather than his father inspiring him directly to join Starfleet, Kirk is inspired by Captain Pike, using the example of his father heroically saving over 800 people to dare Kirk to rise to his potential. Further, since Kirk didn't grow up with his father, his attitude and outlook changed to be more cynical which put him at odds with Spock. However, they still wind up friends due to Spock Prime. It’s also thanks to the bad blood between Spock and Kirk, along with the help from Spock Prime, that caused Kirk to meet Scotty. Had Kirk not been beamed down to Delta Vega, the Enterprise may have either had a different engineer or still had Scotty, just under different circumstances.

Though the film's "present day" looks quite a bit different from how it did in the original series, that's because of Nero's presence. Him just appearing and attacking the Kelvin started a chain reaction, which was the cause of universe becoming a different timeline than the original series. As such, it does make sense that Nero is the proverbial butterfly. Starfleet became more militaristic because Narada attacked Kelvin, causing Starfleet to be more advanced than it should be as a result of reverse engineering from when Kelvin scanned Narada. The bad blood that was initially between Kirk and Spock also makes sense because the latter is more disaffected and disgruntled than his counterpart from the original universe, making it so that when the two met, they had to overcome their differences. It's not just characters, technology and attitudes that changed though as events playing out in this timeline vary wildly from the way they did in the original series, such as the destruction of Vulcan.

Speaking of Nero’s influence on the timeline, he’s actually a great villain. Inadvertently being thrust into the past and destroying the Federation out of a desire for revenge for letting Romulus be destroyed by a supernova seems like an overreaction. Still, it's implied that he doesn't care about Romulus itself anymore and just wants those he believed caused the destruction of everything he ever knew to understand his suffering. This does bring about a bit of a paradox though as in this timeline, Romulus hasn't been destroyed yet, meaning he's getting revenge for an action that has not happened yet. What's more is Spock Prime arrived to late and this universe's Spock hasn't done anything yet. Therefore, nothing was Spock's fault in the first place. Nonetheless, Nero is just as insane as his namesake and his reasoning that he's going to prevent a genocide by committing genocide, when those he's getting revenge on didn't even cause the genocide to begin with, makes perfect sense for someone like him. Nero had 25 years to extract revenge as well, bringing about the possibility that he was consumed by a lust for vengeance.

4 stars for Star Trek (2009)

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Makeup

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Make-Up

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

Second Place - Best Film

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • Best Music

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

  • Best Ensemble Cast

California on Location Awards

  • Assistant Location Manager of the Year - Features

Casting Society of America Artios Awards

  • Oustanding Achievement in Casting - Big Budget Feature - Drama

Denver Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Acting Ensemble

Empire Awards

  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Second Place - Best Trailer of the Year
  • Second Place - Best DVD/Blu-Ray of the Year

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best in Show
  • Best 2009 Blockbuster
  • Best Summer 2009 TV Spot
  • Best Summer 2009 Blockbuster Poster

Hollywood Film Awards

  • Spotlight Award (Zachary Quinto)

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film
  • Las Vegas Film Critics Society Sierra AwardsT
  • Best Score
  • Best Visual Effects

National Board of Review Awards

  • Top Ten Films

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Stunts

Satellite Awards

  • Best Overall Blu-Ray Disc (3 Disc Blu-Ray Edition)

Scream Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Actor (Chris Pine)
  • The Ultimate Scream

SFX Awards

  • Best Director

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Sound
  • Best Special Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Special Effects

ALMA Awards

  • Actor in a Film (Clifton Collins Jr.)
  • Actress in a Film (Zoe Saldana)

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design Award - Fantasy Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Best Motion Picture
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects
  • Best Visual Effects

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Makeup
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Action Movie
  • Best Acting Ensemble

Cinema Audio Society Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Fantasy Film

Denver Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture

Detroit Film Critic Society Awards

  • Best Ensemble
  • Breakthrough Artist (Chris Pine)

Empire Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Director

Gold Derby Awards

  • Ensemble Cast
  • Art Direction
  • Makeup/Hair
  • Sound Editing/Mixing
  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Award

  • Favorite Movie of the Year
  • Best Director of the Year
  • Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year
  • Best Special Effects of the Year
  • Biggest Surprise of the Year
  • Breakthrough Performance of the Year (Chris Pine)
  • Coolest Character of the Year (James T. Kirk)

Golden Trailer Awards

  • Best Music

Grammy Awards

  • Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media

Hollywood Post Alliance Awards

  • Outstanding Editing - Feature Film
  • Outstanding Compositing - Feature Film

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Picture

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form

International Cinephile Society Awards

  • Best Original Score

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Film Score of the Year
  • Film Music Composition of the Year (for the composition track "Enterprising Young Men")

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Music in a Feature Film
  • Best Sound Editing - Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Filkm
  • Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best Breakout Star (Chris Pine)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Visual Effects

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Original Score

People's Choice Awards

  • Favorite Movie

PGA Awards

  • Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Scream Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Actor (Zachary Quinto)
  • Best Science Fiction Actress (Zoe Saldana)
  • Breakout Performance - Female (Zoe Saldana)
  • Best Villain (Eric Bana as Nero)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Leonard Nimoy)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Simon Pegg)
  • Breakout Performance - Male (Chris Pine)

SFX Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie Villain (Eric Bana)
  • Choice Movie Fresh Face Male (Chris Pine)
  • Choice Movie Rumble (Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as James T. Kirk vs Spock)

Village Voice Film Poll

  • Best Supporting Actor (Zachary Quinto)

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture

Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Ensemble
  • Best Art Direction

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Soundtrack Composer of the Year

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best Stunt Coordinator and/or 2nd Unit Director
  • Best High Work
  • Best Specialty Stunt

Writers Guild of America Awards

  • Best Adapted Screenplay


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