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Star Trek (2009) movie review

June 5, 2009
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It felt good to be on the USS Enterprise again, even if it was just for a few hours. The names of Captain Jim Kirk, Spock, Scottie, Sulu and Bones were music to the ears. Every moment of the movie was a thrill for a Star Trek fan like me. Grew up in the seventies and eighties on a diet of Star Trek (the television series with William Shatner playing Jim Kirk) and Star Wars and well, there is nothing that can replace the kind of thrill experienced in exploring ” the final frontier…the voyages of the starship Enterprise…[and] to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no man has gone before…” alongwith the characters who are etched in my heart forever.

But now there is a brand new cast and we catch these characters at a younger period in their lives:

The movie takes us into a timeline before the time when the Star Trek serial of the sixties started. The backstory of the characters is developed in detail, and it’s quite fascinating to see how Kirk and young Spock meet and what makes Spock the way he is, torn between two worlds. The backstory has been changed to fit in with the plot of this new movie, and it’s interesting to see the way the director (J. J. Abrams) and writers (Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.) weave the time travel into the storyline. It was the only way they could achieve some flexibility with the story. The alternate reality created (because of interference from the future) seems believable. There is a touch of sadness to the story, because this reality is the less pleasant one, at least for Jim Kirk. But well, alls well that ends well!  

An older Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy, who plays Spock in the original series) is also present in the movie and he is one of those who travels back in time to a time where the story is playing out. Jim T. Kirk (played by Chris Pine) is the hero ofcourse and Spock (Zachary Quintoas) is the sidekick along with Bones (Karl Urban) and Sulu (John Cho). The Romulan Nero (Eric Bana) is the villain. Chris Pine acts out the role of Jim Kirk with aplomb, but there is no comparison to William Shatner. The dashing Shatner with the twinkle in his eyes is associated with Jim Kirk in my head although Chris Pine is a good substitute. He has his charm, a kind of boyish intensity and exuberance…but then Pine is playing a young Jim Kirk fresh out of the Star Fleet academy so it’s alright! It was disappointing to see how the character of Uhura (Zoe Saldana) was thought out. True, she didn’t have much of a role in the original series but in this one they did give her a significant presence. Unfortunately she was there only for her sex appeal.

Star Trek has everything one can want in an action film: great adventure, fabulous special effects, a touch of romance and comedy, and plenty of drama. The movie moves at a fast clip, racing through time and space at almost warp speed.

Could someone who is not a fan of Star Trek, or not used to SF movies, enjoy this movie? Well, like all cult movies, familiarity with the characters adds greatly to the movie experience. The plot is a little complicated because of the time travel and alternate reality angle and therefore it can get confusing for a newbie. And then there was this ten year old behind us in the cinema hall who refused to believe that Spock with his pointed years was not the villain!

Anyone who wants to know more about Star Trek can check out the wiki and also this article which talks about how hard the writers tried to get William Shatner to play the role of the older Jim Kirk (from the future) in the movie but finally abandoned the idea as it made the story seem too contrived.

Photo credits: the first photograph is from cfhf.net, the second from blackberrypaper.com and the third from LA Times.

Related Reading. More Movie Reviews.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2009 2:07 pm

    @ Nita : I would have missed Captain Picard. With his earl grey tea!

  2. June 5, 2009 2:33 pm

    I too grew up watching Star Trek every Sunday on TV. Spock was always my favorite character – always unemotional and logical. Also loved Nimoy’s narration in the Civ IV PC Game – truly outstanding!

    I hope to catch this film sometime. I wonder how I’ll react to the new actors playing familiar characters. Thanks for the nice review!

  3. June 5, 2009 3:14 pm

    And now Shatner is complaining about not being the film. :-/

  4. Joss permalink
    June 5, 2009 4:45 pm

    I too used to watch the old Star Trek series, when I was growing up. So, it was wonderful to those famous words “To boldly go…” spoken at the end of this wonderful new movie. I was, in fact, moved to tears when I thought of the Starship Enterprise sailing off towards nearly 40 years of successful film making. What an achievement! I haven’t seen any of the New Generation movies or series and I’m not a Trekkie, but what I can still admire the creativity that has sustained the original idea. I bet Gene Rodenberry would have loved this film. I know I did.

  5. June 5, 2009 5:50 pm

    Loved your review. I have never been a trekkie hence was not very excited about watching the movie but was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it!

  6. June 5, 2009 5:51 pm

    Hi Nita,

    Believe it or not, I had never watched Star Trek until 2 days ago. And I loved it ofcourse. It’s more than a movie I think, its some kind of social commentary. My bias so far was rooted due to the lame Star Wars movie that I watched once, I thought Star Trek would be something similar. But its a world apart. Although I do think that Kirk was shown a bit over the line when it came to women and smartassedness but maybe that’s his character. I’m going to dig archives now!

    Priyank

  7. June 5, 2009 7:46 pm

    I never seen the series… just heard about it… have to watch :-)

  8. June 5, 2009 9:54 pm

    I am not a star trek fan, But I definitely would like to watch this movie!

  9. June 5, 2009 10:09 pm

    Really nice one…I really liked this point of view u shared…
    Adding u in my blog list to read more from you!!!

    Rahul, I have linked your blog to your name. – Nita.

  10. June 6, 2009 1:04 am

    I saw it last month but was too lazy to write a review. :) I liked the movie. It was thrilling and worth the money.

  11. Dev permalink
    June 6, 2009 3:02 am

    Thanks for the review, Nita. Have to admit that I havent been much of a Star Trek fan, but will watch this one soon..since everybody around me is after my life to watch this one.. :)

  12. June 6, 2009 9:52 am

    Odzer, I never quite enjoyed the New Generation series and was never enamored with the characters and the actors there!

    Mahendra, I guess life has to go one and this is reminding us that we too are not young anymore! :)

    Shefaly, after I got your comment I realised that my sentence was confusing! Shatner wanted to be in the film and the directors tried hard to incorporate him into the storyline but it wasn’t looking credible so they cut the scene. This upset Shatner.

    Joss, I too think it’s a great film and Gene R. would have definitely gone over the moon! :)

    shilpadesh, hmm, non-trekkies enjoying the movie! I guess it’s a thriller like any other!

    Priyank, Star Wars and Star Trek are entirely different! And I guess if Kirk’s character was a bit like that, I guess it was because of the time when it was created, in the sixties.

    Kanagu, Dinesh Babu, Amit and Deve yep, it’s totally worth it if you enjoy thrillers!

  13. June 6, 2009 10:35 am

    Must watch it, i suppose. Btw, Nita, you have been awarded! Please come over to my blog and pick it up!

  14. vasudev permalink
    June 7, 2009 12:10 pm

    I saw this ship 2 yrs ago. It got stranded during some high tide or storm or something.

  15. June 21, 2009 9:33 am

    looking forward to seeing this one. Did u see wolverine? Awesome action!

  16. June 25, 2009 10:16 am

    Great review. :) I had never seen any Star Trek before this movie came around, and now I’ve officially seen the movie four times.

  17. ify ogwude permalink
    March 10, 2010 4:18 am

    Wonderful review. I have to say i did enjoy the role of Uhura in the movie. As far as i’m concerned Chris Pine did a fantastic job making the character his own. I also love the fact that the writers didn’t try to focus the entire plot on just Jim Kirk. They gave every character due respect and to me that is what makes this movie great.

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