Thursday Night Movie Club
Star Trek
star rating graphicstar rating graphicstar rating graphic
Release Date: 8 May 2009

Director: J.J. Abrams
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Leonard Nimoy
Eric Bana
Bruce Greenwood
Karl Urban
Zoe Saldana
Simon Pegg
John Cho
Anton Yelchin
Ben Cross
Winona Ryder
Chris Hemsworth
Jennifer Morrison
Rachel Nichols
James Kirk
Mr. Spock
Spock Prime
Dr. "Bones" McCoy
Montgomery Scott
Hikaru Sulu
Amanda Grayson
George Kirk
Winona Kirk
Star Trek movie poster Star Trek movie poster Star Trek movie poster
Starship Enterprise in Star TrekDirector J.J. Abrams takes the movie going public where no man has gone before. Abrams tells the background story of how a young James T. Kirk becomes the famous Captain Kirk in Star Trek, based upon characters created by Gene Roddenberry for his now classic television series.

Abrams has undertaken a huge undertaking. The original television series aired in the 1960s. Abrams has attempted to recreate familiar situations with unfamiliar actors portraying very familiar characters. Abrams final product is a resounding success with one major flaw.

In the early years of the United Federation of Planets, a starship, the U.S.S. Kelvin is investigating a strange lightning field in deep space. From within the lightning field emerges a tremendous space ship, a Romulan warship designated the Narada. The Narada is helmed by Nero (Eric Bana) with a chip on his shoulder. Unfortunately for the galaxy, the lightning field is actually a man-made black hole that has transported Nero into the past. The major flaw in Star Trek is relying on time travel to tell the story. The ploy worked in the original series. Now it seems like a safe plan hindering the series' protential.

Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Chris Pine as James Kirk star in Star TrekBut the story gets worse. Also transported through the wormhole is a small space ship piloted by none other than Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy). At this point, all bets are off. A new timeline has been created rendering moot everything fans knew from the original series and any subsequent television and movie series that have come before.

Now that an alternate timeline has begun, there is no need for the new actors to the series to mimick the original actors character portrayals. In a very bold move, Abrams found the right actors to portray the "new" crew of the starship Enterprise. Chris Pine looks every bit like a young William Shatner. Pine is in a great position to show how a brash and reckless Kirk develops into a leader. Zachary Quinto adds a few, new layers to Vulcan Mr. Spock. Here, Spock carries the scars of being a half-breed. Spock was bullied by other Vulcans. As an adult, Spock is welcomed as the first non-Vulcan to be accepted into the Vulcan Science Academy. "Feeling" snubbed by his own people, Spock instead signs on with the Federation Academy. Spock shows love and affection towards Uhura (Zoe Saldana).

The crew of the Starship Enterprise in Star TrekCarl Urban is dead-on playing Dr. "Bones" McCoy. The vocal inflections perfectly embody DeForest Kelley. Simon Pegg is hysterical as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. Pegg does a near perfect rendition of James Doohan. Scotty is a bit of a screw ball but he is a brilliant engineer who knows the limits of engines better than the designers who built them. He knows they can be pushed beyond the specs and he is clever enough to reroute systems to optimize engine efficiency and output.

Star Trek is the story of the maiden voyage of the starship Enterprise NCC1701, her captain and her first officer. An attack on the planet Vulcan mobilizes the Federation forces. Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) helms the Enterprise. His First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) is charged with crew assignments. Spock assigns young James Kirk (Chris Pine) to an alternate ship. Kirk must get onboard the Enterprise. His good friend Dr. McCoy injects Kirk to simulate a rare medical condition that he can only treat Kirk in the sickbay of the Enterprise.

Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Zoe Saldana as Uhura in Star TrekWhile enroute, the Enterprise intercepts a signal referring to a strange lightning effect. Kirk realizes this is the same phenomenon when his father was killed. He rushes to the bridge to inform Pike that they are walking into a Romulan trap. Kirk's efforts are too late. A battle ensues. The Federation ships are no match for the advanced technology of the Narada. The Narada is using a large drill to bore a hole to the center of Vulcan and thus destroy the planet.

The Enterprise is damaged. Nero will spare the ship if Captain Pike surrenders and takes a shuttlecraft to the Narrada. Pike agrees to Nero's terms. He has a card up his sleeve. First, he promotes Spock to acting captain. He promotes Kirk to First Officer. Then, Pike takes Kirk, Sulu (John Cho) and one other commando. Pike will pilot the craft on a path where the three men can freefall down to the drill and imobilize it. Kirk and Sulu are successful in shutting down the drill but it is too late to save the planet. Spock launches a last-ditch effort to rescue any survivors and to collect the recorded history of the Vulcan people. Unfortunately, Spock is unable to save his mother, Earthling Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder).

One of the main conflicts in Star Trek is now in place. Spock is the captain. The logical thing to do is for the Federation to regroup before attempting another attack on the Narada. Kirk knows that scenario will take too long. The Earth, next on Nero's list of planets to destroy, will be destroyed. The crew needs to stop the Narada and rescue Captain Pike.

Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, and Simon Pegg in Star TrekKirk employs a risky scheme to wrest command from Spock. If he can provoke Spock into an emotional outburst, Spock will need to relinquish command because he is compromised. Kirk's only problem is to not provoke Spock to the point where Spock beats him senseless.

Similar to the James Bond franchise, the final outcome in Star Trek is never in doubt. Kirk and Spock will save the day and the villain will be vanquished. This isn't your average Star Trek. The actors are young and able to bring energy, excitement, and a touch of naivete' to the characters. The original actors were looking very long-in-the-tooth by then end of their run.

Director Abrams knows how to shoot an action film. There isn't a dull moment in the script. There is plenty of humor to match the action sequences. Abrams got all of the actors right to portray such iconic characters. The special effects are spectacular. Although the heroes save the day, Abrams makes certain that the path they take is not an easy one. Conflict abounds yet, slowly but surely, the new crew of the Enterprise meld into a cohesive unit.

The starship Enterprise NCC1701 in Star TrekThe Star Trek franchise sits upon the edge of a knife. The producers can take the series where no man has truly gone before, or they can fall back on tried-and-true story elements that seem new but actually fall back on reworked story lines. The original series proudly proclaimed the Enterprise mission: to explore new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations... to boldly go where no man has gone before. So far, none of the Star Trek films have lived up to this motto.

Rumors are circulating that Abrams' next Star Trek film will include the character Khan played originally by Ricardo Montalban. These rumors had better be wrong!