Star Trek (2009) is an incredibly fun and innovative way to reboot the long-running franchise. The story is interesting enough but what makes the movie excel is with the ensemble Abrams and company put together from Pine to Quinto to Urban, who often steals the show.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Paramount | PG13 – 126 min. – $47.99 | June 14, 2016
Date Published: 06/23/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Note: This review has been reproduced from my original theatrical review back in 2009.
Very few films I’ve seen in my young 26 years of life have left me speechless and struggling with words. I’ve seen quite a few great ones. I loved The Dark Knight which redefined the superhero film for today’s audiences. Lord of the Rings proved that nerd fantasy can be Oscar bait. Heck, you’ve even seen me wax poetic on this site about smaller films that are long forgotten by many (for example, The House of Sand and Fog). But Star Trek, J.J. Abrams’ big budget re-launch (and prequel) has performed a cinematic miracle. It has taken a dying franchise (beloved though it may be to its cult of Trekkies and casual sci-fi fans) and turned it into a ginormous, effects-laden action comedy extravaganza that will please fans and general audience members alike.
Star Trek‘s main focus is on reintroducing the classic characters from the original 1966 TV series in new and more modernized ways. The film begins with the childhoods of Kirk (CHRIS PINE) and Spock (ZACHARY QUINTO) and then dovetails into the two joining Starfleet academy. It then introduces the other infamous characters like McCoy (KARL URBAN), Chekov (ANTON YELCHIN), Uhura (ZOE SALDANA), Sulu (JOHN CHO), and Scotty (SIMON PEGG). After the group finishes Starfleet, an emergency happens on Spock’s home planet of Vulcan involving a renegade Romulan named Nero. Nero HATES Spock and is intent on destroying him now… and FOREVER.
The film is basically Batman Begins only Star Trek as we learn how each character came to be and hear all of them utter damn near every famous line we’ve ever heard them say on the show before. J.J. Abrams (who has impressed me by directing all of the best episodes of “Alias” and an couple of “Lost” episodes) does an outstanding job of directing. He makes it looks like he’s already directed ten or more f/x heavy features and its crazy that this is really his first one of this nature. The script by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman with a hand or two from Damon Lindelof is mack-tight and never slows down to catch its breath. The audience is hit with either one hilarious comedy beat or one mind-blowing action sequence after the next and sometimes a combination of both as one-liners and laser blasts are firing at 1000 miles an hour at warp speed!
Let’s talk about the actors for a minute: I had my doubts about all of them but they all deliver. I’ve never seen Chris Pine before but now I can’t wait to see him again. He never apes Shatner and yet feels EXACTLY like Kirk. He’s great and I think he would make a great Flash or Green Lantern as well.
Zachary Quinto I had some doubts about since I’m so used to seeing him only as Sylar on Heroes but he’s actually MUCH better at this then he is on that show. He’s not quite as good as Leonard Nimoy (but then again who could be, right?) but he crafts his own version of Spock that while not the same is a palpable and great character in its own right.
Karl Urban (who I thought was a tepid actor) is amazing as Bones and I think he’ll be many fans’ favorite character in the flick. He nails McCoy’s mannerisms, speech patterns and infamous lines with no effort.
Cho, Yelchin (RIP) and Pegg as Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty respectively have the least to do but all get some great scenes and or lines to make it worth it. As a way of expanding Uhura’s role a bit, Zoe Saldana is asked to be Spock’s girlfriend for this version of the classic saga and while weird at first, it works and Saldana plays the part with grace and a very good amount of warmth.
Rounding out the cast is Eric Bana as Nero the Romulan villain and Leonard Nimoy (RIP) as Spock (from the future). Honestly, the movie could’ve been done without Nimoy but they’ve managed to make it work and not be contrived. Leonard Nimoy is moving as usual and gives the film continuity with the older series that makes any Trekker with trepidation more forgiving. Nero doesn’t have a whole lot of depth or dimension to him but Eric Bana does a great job with what little he has. At least his motivations are admirable and he’s not just a mustache twirler.
The special effects work and sets look amazing. There is obviously CGI that had to be used but you never feel like you’re looking at a big mess splattered everywhere. Everything looks practical and real without looking cheap.
Does Star Trek have any problems? Not much, just minor quibbles. It’s a hilarious film but I’m not quite sure how hilarious a sci-fi adventure film is supposed to be. At times it was borderline action comedy and the writers and Abrams probably should’ve dialed things back a tad. Also, as I mentioned before, Nimoy’s Spock didn’t HAVE to be in this for it to work. I liked his presence but the story could’ve gone on pretty similarly with Spock written out and with slight rewrite about Nero.
But I digress. Now is a time of nothing but celebration. J.J. Abrams and his team of cast and crewman have saved Star Trek. Not only have they saved it, they’ve breathed new life into it, reigniting the passion of older fans and gaining what are sure to be tons of new ones at the same time.
Live long and prosper my friends and go see Star Trek. I can’t say enough good things about it.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This 3-disc release comes in the 4K black slim case with a semi-glossy, title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – Director J.J. Abrams, Producers Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof & Executive Producers/Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci sit down for a fun chat but also are informative at the same time. Note: This track is also available on the UHD disc.
To Boldy Go (16:41) is a behind-the-scenes look of brining back Star Trek with a new vision. Also here are branching pods including one about the possibility of bringing Shatner into the story which is a problem since in Generations, Kirk died…
Casting (28:53) looks at getting the right actors for such iconic characters.
A New Vision (19:31) is about the changes between the movie versus the old series.
Starships (24:33) goes through the variety of ships including designing the Enterprise. There are also several branching pods such as “Warp Explained” and “The Captain’s Chair”.
Aliens (16:30) covers the different species featured in the film and the prosthetics done.
Planets (16:10) shows the planets and locations used to make it otherworldly.
Props and Costumes (9:22) – Here we get a look at the different costumes and props created that are new but in (somewhat) keeping with the series.
Ben Burtt and the Sounds of Star Trek (11:45) looks at the sound design.
Score (6:28) is an inside glimpse at the soundtrack by Michael Giacchino.
Gene Roddenberry’s Vision (8:47) is a good profile on the creator of Star Trek from the perspective of both J.J. Abrams and Leonard Nimoy amongst others.
Deleted Scenes (13:30) include nine scenes removed and there’s an optional commentary by Abrams and others.
Also included on the disc is the Starfleet Vessel Simulator game (of sorts), a Gag Reel (6:22) and the Theatrical Trailers.
VIDEO – 4.75/5
|The original 1080p video was already fairly impressive, even if it’s going on 7 years old, but it’s kicked to the next level with a UHD 2160p transfer and it does not disappoint. Textures look fantastic throughout, skin tones look excellent, colors are absolutely vibrant and the transfer itself looks pristine, free of any ailments. Detail is utterly sharp where you can see every defined aspect like the ugly pores in Bana’s make-up work. Although I’d suggest newer movies might be better served for reference quality, if this is in your young UHD collection, no doubt you can show this off to friends and family.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
|The UHD disc gets a slight upgrade to a Dolby Atmos disc from the Blu-ray’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track which, frankly, is a bit disappointing given how fantastic other Atmos tracks have been. Still, your surround system will get a nice workout; the score, including the iconic theme, blares out and the various action sequences are robust and has outstanding depth.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
|Overall, Star Trek (2009) is an incredibly fun and innovative way to reboot the long-running franchise. The story is interesting enough but what makes the movie excel is with the ensemble Abrams and company put together from Pine to Quinto to Urban, who often steals the show. This new UHD release brings us fantastic video and audio transfers though given the price, not sure if it’s worth the upgrade at this juncture.