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He Said, She Said Review Site
Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

What She said:

She

The He and I have been strongly contemplating going to see the latest in this new Star Trek series, Star Trek Into Darkness, and so we decided it would be in our best interest to go back and watch the original J.J. Abrams reboot.  I’ve always been partial to the newer line of Star Trek movies—I’m much more of a Picard girl—and so I wasn’t too thrilled to see the brash Captain Kirk being chronicled in this film.  I also wasn’t sure that Chris Pine (with those eyebrows) would be able to pull off the role.  However, I generally liked this movie the first time I saw it, and upon rewatching, I’m happy to report that it’s still a winner in my book.

The movie follows the original cast of characters—Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Checkov—but as we join them they’re just kids starting out.  Kirk, in his early 20s is absolutely reckless.  Spock is kind of pretentious.  And Checkov looks like a little boy.  But the team, just beginning their service with the Federation Starfleet, are thrust into very real and very adult danger when the evil Romulan, Nero, steps into the picture.  Nero is out for vengeance over the decimation of his kind, and so he targets Spock’s Vulcan race for retribution.  It seems Nero will stop at nothing to slowly destroy the universe, and so Kirk and crew must step up to meet the challenge of bringing down their evil foe.

Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek is a very good introduction into what is sure to at least a trilogy of a series.  It feels like a bit of an set-up movie, with the first forty-five minutes focusing heavily on the origins of these characters.  It works well, though, as you come to understand the motivations and ticks of Kirk and Spock in particular.  You can tell this film had an all star budget, as the special effects are pretty top-notch and there’s certainly no shortage of them.  This is essential in a movie of this genre.  The last thing we want is for the space scenes to look cheesy and cheap.  But Star Trek also has a deep and compelling enough storyline that it doesn’t have to rely on simply blowing things up.  Once we move past the initial sequences of the movie, and the action starts to unfold, the drama between the Enterprise crew and Nero keys up and is thrilling to watch.  Frankly, the movie seems pretty solidly written to me, and that’s what really makes it work.  It’s interesting, character driven, action-packed, and surprisingly funny at times. 

I had my doubts about this cast of actors but have to stay that they pull it off marvelously in Star Trek.  With this one under my belt, I’m looking forward to seeing the sequel.

Thumbs up.

What He said:

He

When this came out, I really did not want to see it. The movie seems to pride itself on not being Star Trek. I’m not making that up either. J.J. Abrams, actually admitted to not being a fan of Star Trek. Then the trailer came out and it looked like a Star Wars version of Star Trek. I had a very “bad feeling about this.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Star Wars. They are some of my very favorite movies, primarily due to their simplicity, innocence, and sense of adventure. But part of the reason I liked Star Trek fan over the years is because it’s not Star Wars. Sure, it has action/adventure, but Trek has always been about issues. Race relations, politics, and embracing other cultures are just some of the stuff that makes up the backbone of the series. Modern Star Trek looked like something different. Were my suspicions true? I’d have to watch to find out.

Star Trek (2009)

James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) is a brash, cocky, and has a habit of getting himself in trouble; and this is before he joins Starfleet and becomes captain of the Enterprise. Despite all of that, Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) sees something in Kirk. He sees someone who has potential to lead, and do great things with his life. Kirk is skeptical, but he also likes a challenge, so when asked to join Starfleet, Kirk obliges.

This is an origin story though and Kirk is not Captain of the Enterprise quiet yet. In fact, he’s not even an official member of Starfleet Academy. Spock (Zachary Quinto) accuses Kirk of cheating on a test that he also happened to design, so Kirk’s graduation status in in jeopardy. This sets the stage for the dynamic between the two. Spock (half Vulcan half human) operates based on logic, fact, and things that simply make sense. Kirk is a take a bull by the horns kind of guy. He is one for action.

The two get off on the wrong foot, but the tension is increases when Vulcan – Spock’s home planet – calls Starfleet for help. They think it is a natural disaster, but Kirk has other suspicions. He thinks it is under attack.

It turns out Kirk is right. The planet is under attack by a Romulan ship, led by a madman named Nero. In case you didn’t know, Romulan’s are related to Vulcans. They share common ancestors. One of the biggest differences is that they do not disregard emotion in favor of reason and logic.  Vulcans had a violent past and as a result, they have sort of bred emotion out of their species. Romulans did not choose this path and unfortunately most of them are pretty terrible people as a result. They are aggressive, opportunistic, and quick to act in a hostile manner. Nero (Eric Bana) is the leader of this particular group of Romulans and he is hell-bent on carrying out his mission of revenge, which has something to do with Spock.

Kirk and Spock – along with the rest of the crew of the Enterprise – have to work together in attempt to stop Nero and his group of followers, who seem determined to bring death and destruction to Vulcan, Starfleet, and anyone connected either group.

I had said earlier that I suspected this movie was Star Trek turned into Star Wars. I have to say I found that true after seeing it. I do feel like J.J. Abrams turned his version of Star Trek into a more action/adventure type of movie. I also feel like he dropped some of the political, religious, and messages of tolerance the franchise was known for in the past. That kind of bums me out a bit. I always liked Star Trek because it had elements the story Star Wars didn’t. I had seen it once before, but wanted to watch it again because I want to see the sequel and Abrams has been announced as the director for the new Star Wars movie. Being a Star Wars fan, I wanted to refresh my memory on how he handled an action/adventure based Star Wars series. I have to admit though I found this movie to be a lot of fun. It might have dropped some of the deeper and more serious elements of Star Trek, but it makes up for it in with a pretty big fun factor. There is some great action and the movie is quite funny at times. It became something different and I actually ended up liking that. I have two different takes on the same series and I think that’s kind of cool. A straight remake really would have been pretty pointless. I think adding his own take on things was smart of Abrams.

Star Trek (2009)

The acting was a lot better than I thought it would be too. When they announced some of the cast, I cringed. I thought John Cho was a horrible choice for Sulu. All I could think of was Harold and Kumar, but Cho surprised me. Eric Bana is a very good villain. Nero is s a cruel and vengeful man with a one-track mind. Revenge was all he cared about and Bana portrayed that aspect of Nero’s personality really well.   Quinto was also good. I was really skeptical when they casted him. My only exposure to him was Heroes and I thought that show sucked, along with his performance. Since then though, he has impressed me in both this and American Horror Story. He’s a good Spock. Bruce Greenwood was great as Captain Pike (who gets a nice chunk of screen time). I always liked Greenwood. He’s a good character actor and delivers as Kirk’s mentor. I liked Chris Pine a lot better this time around too. He was every bit as confident – if not arrogant – as Kirk should be, but he was also smart to not mimic William Shatner’s style. I read in an interview he purposefully didn’t try to mimic Shatner’s way of speaking, which I thought was the right choice. I also enjoyed Zoe Saldana’s portrayal as Uhura.  She played a much bigger role than the character had in the past. The guys playing Bones, Chekov, and Scotty were hit or miss. They came off like they were doing impressions of the original actors playing the characters. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Karl Urban was pretty funny as Bones, but Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg were trying a little too hard at times.  

Despite not having elements of what really made me originally like Star Trek, this movie makes up for it with some good action, a great sense of adventure, and some surprisingly funny moments. J.J. Abrams might have changed what Star Trek is, but luckily for him, this version of it is pretty good as well. It makes me both curious excited for what he's going to do with Star Wars.

Rating: Thumbs up

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on October 19, 2011. It was updated on July 3, 2013.

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