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9 reviews, 125 user ratings

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Star Trek (2009)
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by David Cornelius

"Beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent story down here."
3 stars

Paramount has been trying to make a “Star Trek” prequel for some two decades now, the adventures of a young Kirk and Spock allowing them to retain familiar characters while dumping the aging stars in favor of box office-friendly fresh faces. But even with the failures of “Star Trek V,” however, the franchise was going too strong to reset it at the time; five more movies and three more TV shows were still on the way. It wasn’t until the (underrated) film “Star Trek: Nemesis” underperformed at the box office and the TV series “Star Trek: Enterprise” got cancelled that the studio finally found their opening.

But this new prequel/reboot - simply called “Star Trek,” because “Star Trek: The College Years” would just be silly - takes its mission of “to boldly modernize everything” a little too far, with the occasional embarrassing result. This is a “Trek” story that gives us cheap product placement (who knew Nokia and Budweiser are still going strong in the 23rd century? and that Nokia is still using that awful ringtone?), Beastie Boys music on the soundtrack (“Sabotage” plays under a key early sequence; later, some modern-to-us, classical-to-them hip-hop jams play at a local bar), and overlong shots of “retro” transportation (look, folks, these sci-fi future guys still love motorcycles and awesome cars!).

It’s all as wrong-headed as director J.J. Abrams’ insistence on shaky-cam close-ups and Jason Bourne fast cuts. In these moments, you can smell the studio interference; the film sometimes plays like the end result of a very bad meeting between clueless executives: “OK, make sure the whole thing looks hip and modern, or else the kids won’t like it. By the way, Nokia paid us plenty to shove their branding in there, and my son says kids these days love them their hip-hop music, and man, I’d love to see a vintage convertible! Oh, and Tyler Perry called. He wants in, too.”

Yes, really. While celebrity cameos in “Star Trek” projects are nothing new - Christian Slater somehow talked his way into a “Star Trek VI” appearance back when that meant something - the casting of Tyler Perry as a Starfleet bigwig is a real groaner. (At least Madea doesn’t show up.)

The flipside of this appeal-to-the-non-fan ethic is even more problematic. The screenplay, by regular Abrams collaborators Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, also goes overboard in pandering to the lifelong Trekkies. Kirk (now young enough to be played by Chris Pine) beds a green-skinned hottie, a shout-out to the classic TV series; winky reciting of fan-favorite catchphrases runs rampant; entire scenes are written to stir up memories of the most beloved of “Trek” projects, “Star Trek II.”

Ah, yes, “The Wrath of Khan,” the movie so many other “Trek” movies want to be. “Khan” is quoted repeatedly, both verbally and visually (one tiny alien is designed to resemble those nasty ear slugs Khan liked so much), and an entire plotline is shoehorned in to show fans how Kirk mastered the legendary “Kobayashi Maru” test. It’s not really needed, as it slows down the entire film just so we can watch Kirk be comically flippant, yet all the while you can hear fans bouncing in excitement in their seats. Most problematically, though, it that this new film reruns many of the themes that “Khan” offered up - avoidance of the no-win scenario as a character flaw; a reluctance to admit a fear of failure - yet doesn’t handle them nearly as well, leaving the film with faint echoes of a better story.

Indeed, this new “Star Trek” finds “story” as its biggest flaw. Perhaps burdened with the task of reintroducing familiar characters while making them fresh but without putting off old fans yet without putting off non-fans, too, the writers decided to use the flimsiest of plots available as a clothesline on which to hang big action sequences and sly franchise references. It’s a story that, despite involving the complete destruction of two planets and the death of billions, has no interesting villain and no tension-producing goal; a finale involving a race to save Earth from annihilation is strangely and quickly abandoned so the bad guy can just chase the heroes around a space ship for a couple minutes. There’s no weight here, no tension, no big payoff. Our villain, a renegade Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana, whose performance goes for quirky comedy instead of threatening evil, thus making Nero a completely uninteresting - and ultimately unthreatening - antagonist), aims to destroy the Federation planet by planet, yet he’s suddenly distracted so he can, I dunno, punch Spock (Zachary Quinto) or something. Heck, even the flimsy villains of “Star Trek V” and “Star Trek: Insurrection” at least had some sort of sticktoitiveness.

There is plenty of ingenuity in the small moments, however, especially in the clever (albeit totally cheating) manner in which the film sets itself up for a whole new franchise without stepping on decades of continuity. Meanwhile, the cast is almost entirely impressive, the script allowing each star in this ensemble (which also includes Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, and Bruce Greenwood) a moment or three to shine, and Abrams brings a snappy pace to the lighter moments and a whip-smart edge to the action scenes. The tone here is undeniably Abrams, fast and loose and eager to entertain. The moments that work do so well enough to make the movie enough of a fun time, if only in a moment-by-moment manner.

There’s enough that goes right here that there’s plenty of hope for the inevitable sequel, assuming Paramount can dump the Nokia ringtones and the writers can find a more effective plot. But unlike the grand ambitions of earlier relaunch, 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and 1987’s pilot for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” this “Star Trek” has no desire at all to open up to new, oversized concepts or intelligent sci-fi specluations; this film would rather go for the quick thrill than the deep thought. It’s a sort of limited vision that goes against what the franchise does best. Is this where the future of “Trek” lies, in exciting action scenes and fun comic relief supporting underwhelming stories and stale ideas? Does this new franchise now opt to boldly go where everyone has gone before?

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17128&reviewer=392
originally posted: 05/07/09 14:37:35
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User Comments

12/28/17 Tom Eric Banavich is the most overrated actor ever. He’s useless as an actor and director. 1 stars
10/29/16 morris campbell awesome reboot purists dont like it but who cares 5 stars
5/11/16 D. The R. My version -Brat wrecks classic 'Vette, gets thrown off cliff after it.. 2 stars
10/18/11 Magic Takes a thoughtful sci-fi franchise and fills it with noise, explosions and lens flares. 3 stars
8/13/10 Charles Tatum Outstanding; better sci-fi than "Avatar" all around 5 stars
2/16/10 The Calico Critic, Laura Hartness I loved this one, but I agree, the bridge was lit WAY too much. Enough with the flares! 4 stars
1/23/10 Streeper Started well enough, quickly decended into bullshit though 2 stars
12/29/09 Homer J. Fong Should be called "Star Trek 90210" -- this is like the very worst fan fiction... 1 stars
12/20/09 FrankNFurter This piece of dreck makes "Star Crystal" look like "Citizen Kane". Shockingly overrated! 1 stars
12/13/09 Flounder HBS is way off here. This is the best mainstream sci-fi reboot in decades 5 stars
12/05/09 the dork knight I went in determined to hate it, but failed. Nice to see decent CG for once. 5 stars
11/22/09 Flossdaily This review was too kind. This movie had more plot holes than plot. 1 stars
11/22/09 Thomas Korn why all the fuss over a bland movie and poor filmmaking?? 2 stars
11/08/09 Jeff Wilder As a piece of pure entertainment, great. As Star Trek it's bunk. 4 stars
10/28/09 matt as close to perfect as it possibly could be. and zoe saldana = major fap alert O.o 5 stars
9/08/09 Natalie Stonecipher An exciting romp if you can get past the atrocious start of it. 3 stars
8/30/09 MS Good review and I agree!! 2 stars
8/20/09 Aaron Forget the reviews, good stuff spock kicks butt 4 stars
7/25/09 Bryan This movie did what the previous two failed to, which was revive a sinking ship. 4 stars
7/14/09 Linda I enjoyed this movie very much, I guess the franchise has to start somwhere! 4 stars
7/10/09 whitelaw Awesome movie. Loved every minute of it! Can't wait for the sequel!!! 5 stars
7/08/09 Benny Lava Hopefully in the next prequel, they can go back in time and stop Abrams from creating this. 2 stars
6/19/09 JR I really wanted to like this ST. Alas, no. Kirk is a jerk & story is awful. 1 stars
6/12/09 meep Dissapointingly mediocre 2 stars
6/02/09 MP Bartley Not really a Trek fan as such, but this was smart and terrifically entertaining. 4 stars
6/02/09 aliceinwonderland Thanks to Spock, it was good,nothing special otherwise 3 stars
5/31/09 red hulk are you kidding? 40 years of trek history replaced with this time travel crap? lame 1 stars
5/31/09 Brock Sampson Lame, overhyped crib note version of Star Trek. Poor screenplay, meh overall. 1 stars
5/27/09 Cathal Great in parts but overall agree with reviewer - disappointing. 3 stars
5/24/09 Abhishek Chakraborty Disappointed...trailer 3 made it look much more awesome than it was 3 stars
5/23/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Physics be damned. Nothing in this movie made sense. 1 stars
5/23/09 Eurisko I agree w/review & wish to complain about VERY BAD SCIENCE in this "fiction" 2 stars
5/23/09 Allen Called "Star Trek" for marketing purposes - Movie ignores Trek context.. Overhyped! 1 stars
5/22/09 Dan Awesome movie, good acting, and great action scenes. 5 stars
5/20/09 X A must for any trekkie 5 stars
5/19/09 Richard For the first time in my life I am considering purchasing a Star fleet uniform. 5 stars
5/18/09 Suzz Lives up to the original series. Not to be missed 5 stars
5/17/09 San Francisco Joins Wrath of Khan as the only good Trek flicks. Wonderful movie that will be remembered. 5 stars
5/16/09 Mike Movie was awesome in so many ways. Plot was light and emotion rushed, but still awesome! 5 stars
5/16/09 Sam Whatta ride! Nice job sidestepping the continuity issue. HOLD THAT DAMN CAMERA STILL! 4 stars
5/16/09 Paul I'm a hardcore trekkie, fresh off from watching all 5 shows, and I liked the movie 4 stars
5/15/09 DaMan I love how at the end you call Star Trek fans biased...um yeah, thats what a FAN is. 5 stars
5/15/09 Joey B. Title said "Star Trek". Movie was "Star Wars" 2 stars
5/15/09 Aaron I'm no Trekkie, but I had a good time with this. 4 stars
5/15/09 Rick B I mostly agree with you. This movie is way shallow. A lot of promise though. 3 stars
5/15/09 dirtworshipper I don't know what this movie was but it wasn't ST. What an insipid abomination. 1 stars
5/14/09 Pokejedservo I am pretty neutral regarding Star Trek but this was a pretty cool movie. 4 stars
5/14/09 DW This movie pales compared to the reviewer's ability to reboot the run-on-sentence. 4 stars
5/14/09 Brian As an old trek fan, I thought the movie was awesome, fresh, great CGI, fast paced. 5 stars
5/14/09 Baloney Why couldn't the X-Files franchise have created a film this good? 5 stars
5/13/09 sarah eh.... 2 stars
5/13/09 James Worst ST Movie EVER! Not very well thought out-not character driven 1 stars
5/13/09 ES Good, hopefully the last they use time travel in this new adaptation. 4 stars
5/13/09 Tokyospike I like this ship! It's exciting! 4 stars
5/13/09 BadAstronaut What an awful mess. Very sad. 2 stars
5/12/09 Vent Has its moments, but there are several hundred ST episodes better written than this 2 stars
5/12/09 Ming One of the best Star Trek film..Great introduction for the next generation 5 stars
5/12/09 Lifelongtreklover Expected much; hugely disappointed. Script chocked full of cliches; mediocre CGI. Bored. 2 stars
5/12/09 flyboy This film getting more credit than it deserves-mediocre screenplay/dialog, but good cgi 2 stars
5/12/09 Bill Mind bogglingly stupid. Just gets dumber the more I think about it. Shocking. 1 stars
5/12/09 green-bosom Agreed the writers are hacks, merely ok, I have watched all 700-odd star-trek eps though 3 stars
5/11/09 MiloDC Orci and Kurtzman are hacks. Abrams did a lot with very little. 3 stars
5/11/09 ZeroLord Anyone notice Spock demostrating Picard maneuver? 4 stars
5/11/09 Koitus Yeah, it had seom issues (cerebral cortex critters; Uhura roommate scene)-but still good! 4 stars
5/11/09 peter never seen an episode of trek b4 but this was excellent. must see at the theaters. amazing 5 stars
5/11/09 Kenton This guy must not have watched the same movie I did, I went to see it twice. 5 stars
5/11/09 Michael Changing Star Trek history was stupid. 3 stars
5/11/09 I Am Jack's Appendix It was just ok for me, dawg. 3 stars
5/10/09 Shane Yours is the only review I agree with. It was a lazily written, insulting script. 2 stars
5/10/09 killabrams this movie disposes of every concept behind the real star trek. total trash!!!!! 1 stars
5/10/09 malcolm good for ST historians and people looking for a place to jump in 4 stars
5/10/09 Rontianjin Facinating! Saw it 4 times this weekend. Can't wait for the ongoing mission 5 stars
5/10/09 Kai This critic is a douchebag. The movie, while not perfect, is fantastic for STAR TREK! 5 stars
5/10/09 Entropia Thin on plot, but great style and character group dynamic make up for it (mostly). 4 stars
5/10/09 Ronda I love theway they have reinvented the characters! I can't wait to see what's next! 5 stars
5/10/09 TheDemiurge It was like a bad remake of Galaxy Quest. I'm in shock. 2 stars
5/10/09 YoJimbo Just saw it. It's like junk food. You eat it, it taste just OK, and u forget about it after 3 stars
5/10/09 Darkstar Best movie so far this year 5 stars
5/10/09 Terry Super flick. Just the kind to make a critic who wants to stand out in a crowd do just that. 5 stars
5/10/09 Donald You are too kind to this mess. Simplistic contrived plot and dialogue. 1 stars
5/10/09 David Grouix Saw it twice in one day, even better the second time. 5 stars
5/10/09 Gerry This guy is an idiot 5 stars
5/10/09 Dan Chock full of lame, lazy plot devices which totally alter the entire history of Trek 1 stars
5/10/09 Mal Gibson This movie starts off as Top Gun and ends like Galaxy Quest. Truly awful! 1 stars
5/10/09 Don Great charaters, masterfully directed! And it is so Trek! 5 stars
5/09/09 Brian Peter, you might have noticed by now, but you are in the minority. 5 stars
5/09/09 Miles Great action movie! 5 stars
5/09/09 Wil Entertaining, not Star Trek. 4 stars
5/09/09 Jim nauseam The plot device that erases the previous Star Trek universe was quite a clever idea. 5 stars
5/09/09 mr.mike As close to perfection as it could possibly be. 5 stars
5/09/09 Alex Kirk and Spock are extremely well-drawn characters. This is a characters story. Thumbs up. 5 stars
5/09/09 Harri Good action movie but very very silly with huge plotholes, and its not Star Trek. 3 stars
5/09/09 Demosthenes Locke So, Peter...your problem with Pine is that he emulated Shatner, not Kirk? 4 stars
5/09/09 Alison You've entirely missed the point of an AU story. Your loss. 5 stars
5/09/09 Philip Buckley-Mellor I was thoroughly entertained, isn't that enough? 5 stars
5/09/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Implausible tattered lone wolf revenge theme w/Kahn, Shinzon,Nero. Where did the 'trek' go? 4 stars
5/09/09 Toni loved it!!! I"m sad Peter didn't like it 5 stars
5/09/09 Kevin W. It didn't work for me. I would rather have seen another Next Gen. based film. 2 stars
5/08/09 Brian Mckay My love of Trek has been reborn. IMAX it if at all possible. Jaded fanboy haters stay home. 5 stars
5/08/09 mick As a stand-alone film, would have been extrodinary sc-fi. sexed up star trek instead. 1 stars
5/08/09 Spliner Terrible review. The movie was great! If it wasn't for the ho-hum soundtrack it'd get 5 4 stars
5/08/09 Brian His review was pretty acurrate. Good action Sci fi? Sure, Good Star Trek? Not so much. 4 stars
5/08/09 Tom Overman you are an idiot 5 stars
5/08/09 NotADieHardTrekkie You didn't understand the plot if you thought destroying planets was "collateral damage". 5 stars
5/08/09 John W Good review. Time travel unnessicary & has screwed our time line. Need more red matter now! 3 stars
5/08/09 Don Noble this review is spot on. The move is good at best. The story is weak and copies other movies 3 stars
5/08/09 OrciAndKurtzmanSuck Childress nailed it in his review. 1 stars
5/07/09 Aesop ST? All aces. HB should stop headlining reviewers from Bombay watching bootlegged releases. 5 stars
5/07/09 William Goss Phil: Referring to mine? Thanks. Colleagues aren't out for traffic, tho, I assure you all. 4 stars
5/07/09 Jeff I think he has seen too many films. This movie was AWESOME!! Critic? LOUSY 5 stars
5/07/09 Phil This is the best review so far. The other reviewers seem like they been paid off or somethi 5 stars
5/07/09 the_divvy_with_the_shivvy 5 stars for the review, cracking review indeed, well said, well put, shocking remake! 5 stars
5/07/09 OMAN Haven't seen it.But man,you need a writing class 1 stars
5/07/09 Remi To say that Star Trek: The Motion Picture tried to please mainstream audiences is crazy. 5 stars
5/07/09 David Anderson wow did he attend the same movie I did? disaster? fails? are you kidding? wow, just wow. 5 stars
5/07/09 Damon Thrift I'll 2nd that, Disagree completely. This movie rocks. 5 stars
5/07/09 Mark Ford Couldn't disagree more as an original fan. This movie made my pre-teen nephews new fans! 5 stars
5/07/09 Joshua Childress, have fun eating your words as tons of new "Trekkies" are born. 1 stars
5/07/09 Speck Critics who don't have a elementary grasp of grammar are not credible. 4 stars
5/07/09 Casey Toilsome. Never seen a reviewer so full of himself. I prefer the movie over boresome prose. 5 stars
5/07/09 kock&spirk bitter much? 5 stars
5/07/09 Callighan In the tie-in comics, Nero's history is explained. Resolution in movie is logical. 4 stars
5/07/09 Jonathan Lifelong trekkie. Disagree completely. 5 stars
5/07/09 Jason Laughlin Childress, periods and tense agreement. try to get familiar with them. Your writing stinks. 1 stars
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  07-May-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Nov-2009


  DVD: 17-Nov-2009

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