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Star Trek (2009): From the eyes of a non-Trekkie

Updated on March 16, 2014
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine)
Spock (Zachary Quinto) and James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) | Source

“Live long and prosper” –Spock Prime

With almost 50 years, twelve films, and six TV series, that’s precisely what the Star Trek franchise seems to be doing. Created in the 60’s by Gene Roddenberry, the franchise has become a cult phenomenon and one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises out there, maybe even on par with Star Wars. However, for some reason, I’ve never seen a single film or any of the television series. The 2009 reboot not only became a box office hit, sparking a revival of the franchise, but it also became my first experience with this long and prosperous world.

Source

Set apparently before the events of the original series, Star Trek presents the enlisting of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) as part of the Starfleet Academy. Although they butt heads from the beginning, Kirk and Spock are forced to work together when they receive a distress signal from the planet Vulcan. Joining them are, among others, Dr. Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldaña). The distress signal is the result of an attack from a Romulan called Nero (Eric Bana), who has come from the future to avoid the destruction of his home planet, which he blames on Spock.

As someone who isn’t familiar with neither the series nor the previous films, I can’t draw many comparisons or parallels. But I can say I enjoyed this film a lot. It felt like a solid build-up for a good franchise, establishing all the characters but also managing to stand alone as a good action/sci-fi film. And despite my unfamiliarity with the franchise, this film felt like it had that sense of respect to the original franchise that a lot of remakes/reboots don’t have. This was felt in everything from the story and the essence of the film, to the performances of the cast.

Star Trek main cast
Star Trek main cast | Source

The performances were good, particularly from Pine and Quinto. The latter gave some good subtle emotions to the character of Spock, while the former managed to convey the cockiness that one would expect from Kirk, mixed at the same time with an innate sense of duty. I also enjoyed the playful banter between Kirk and McCoy during the first half. On that note, it was nice to see Urban doing something different than what he has us accustomed to.

The rest of the supporting cast was okay and I think it provided the multi-racial balance that Roddenberry had in the original series. If anything, the antagonist – Nero – might have seemed a bit bland, but I think that was a conscious decision for a first film; not having the villain overshadow the main characters. The addition of Leonard Nimoy was also a pleasant surprise, and his character added some interesting layers to the plot.

Nero (Eric Bana)
Nero (Eric Bana) | Source

The alternate timeline plot felt like the writer’s way of giving the original series a certain respect, by not negating the events of past films, but rather adding unto them. In that way, Nimoy’s presence gave the film that sense of connection to the past that I think would satisfy loyal Trekkies, while not alienating the unconverted, like me. I read that Nimoy was overwhelmed when director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Roberto Orci approached him. Having turned down many previous opportunities to reprise the role, Nimoy’s approval of the script was a focal point for this story.

Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy)
Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) | Source

But first and foremost, I felt that the film was a lot of fun. A very entertaining experience, with great direction and solid performances. Plus, it really felt like a breeze. Not the least bit overlong or overdrawn. What can I say? I’m already looking forward to the second one, which is more than what the original series or films did for me in 40+ years: To boldly go where I hadn’t gone before. Grade: somewhere between a high B+ and a low A-

Star Trek (2009) Official Trailer

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    • Thief12 profile image
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      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I see your point, but I thought it was fun and well executed. I do think the second part was a bit weaker.

      Thanks for your comment, Shinkicker!

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 3 years ago from Scotland

      I thought the movie wasn't that great, too much cliche for my liking. (e.g. people dangling by their fingertips over precipes as usual, too much CGI, Kirk munching on an apple during training to tell us dumb viewers that he is being cocky)

      A great write up though, very fair and informative.

    • Thief12 profile image
      Author

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      iguidenetwork, thanks!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      Great write up!

    • Thief12 profile image
      Author

      Thief12 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I've been meaning to watch the old Star Trek, at least the original films, for a while, but haven't gotten around to it. If I ever get around to watching the original series, I'll have that episode in mind.

      As for The Lone Ranger, I haven't seen it.

      Thanks again for all your comments! They are greatly appreciated, and keep reading for more hubs.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      Ah, the series I have adored since I was 24 which is forty-four years ago! As a matter of fact, when my husband left 25 years ago (am I making your head spin?) , I thanked him, with tears in my eyes, "for giving me 'Star Trek'". (iii yii yii - That's how much I loved this whole Roddenberry creation). I can barely sit through a full episode of the old Star Trek now just because I've become so accustomed to the cool technology and wonderful acting of modern day film and TV. Having said that, I think you would really be fascinated with the story line of the episode where Spock's consciousness is contained in a glass globe next to the hospital bed. That episode had great hypothetical philosophical relevance then and more pertinent relevance now since we're getting closer to being able to talk about preserving the contents of our brain functioning. To speculate what that might mean for humankind is, as Spock would say, "Fascinating." I'd love to see you write an article on that episode if you were to watch it. I'm sorry I don't know the title, but it essentially gave me a whole new perspective on religion!

      I thoroughly enjoyed this move although it's hard to wrap my head technology as it was portrayed on TV in the 60s and 70s and how it's portrayed now. I don't know how that could have been reconciled and it probably shouldn't be. The only way that would work is to re-make the TV series, but that would be something close to "committing a mortal sin" I would guess :)

      BTW, speaking of film, did you see "The Lone Ranger"? Again, having watched series as a child, I absolutely HATED that remake. I'd love to read your review of that. Maybe you already have a hub on it. I'll check.

    • Thief12 profile image
      Author

      Thief12 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Thanks! If you're not into sci-fi, then perhaps the film is not for you. But I think if you can enjoy a good action film, whether it's straightforward action or sci-fi action, you might be able to enjoy this one.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I had to read this because I've never seen a single episode so I was curious to see how a non-Trekkie would find the movie. So many shows or family guy episodes reference this (and star wars) both of which I've never watched- so some of the references are lost on me! I'm not into sci-fi- so still don't know if I would enjoy it, but your review kind of makes me wonder. Thanks for posting!

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      I used to watch Star Trek: TNG. I really liked the movie. I agree with you. Nice cast.

      Great review!

    • adecourv profile image

      Alex deCourville 4 years ago

      Even though I wasn't a huge fan of Trek when I saw this movie, I still thought it was pretty good.