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Star Trek (2009)

They couldn't believe how much lens flare there had been so far.
They couldn’t believe how much lens flare there had been so far.

Twitter Plot Summary: The Star Trek franchise gets a reboot and free reign to go off and do its own thing. So that’s what it does.

Five Point Summary:

1. Hey look, it’s Thor as Kirk’s dad!
2. So how did Bones get that nickname?….. never mind.
3. Vulcan is in a bit of bother.
4. Kirk’s kicked off the ship.
5. Showdown with Nero.

Before this 2009 reboot, the Star Trek franchise had always been reliant on the established continuity that began with the original Star Trek series in the 1960s and continued through ten films and four further television series. To say the franchise was over-saturated by that point with a level of detail only a dedicated Star Trek Encyclopaedia could explain would be an understatement. So for the eleventh feature film the decision was made to go back to the very beginning and establish a new continuity in a parallel universe, free from the restrictions of the original universe and to allow a fresh take on the classic characters.

The parallel universe is created inadvertently by characters from the established continuity, a freak disaster resulting in the destruction of the Romulan home planet Romulus. A Romulan ship heads back in time, captained by Erica Bana’s tattooed Nero, and sets off a chain of events that set things off along a different path. James Kirk was always a risk taker in the original continuity, but here he’s emotionally damaged by the death of his father and doesn’t join Starfleet until Captain Pike recommends he does so. There are numerous twists on what fans may have expected to take place which keeps things in the realm of the unknown. The names and the ship may be familiar, but it’s new and different. There’s even opportunity for a few goofy gags just for good measure, such as Kirk having unusually chubby hands, and a particularly amusing joke where a “red shirt” – someone who, traditionally, is a non-speaking security officer who joins the named actors on a mission and dies before the opening credits – joins Kirk and Sulu on a mission to skydive onto a drilling platform.

Even Scotty couldn't hack the lens flare.
Even Scotty couldn’t hack the lens flare.

JJ Abrams brings to the table a dynamic style and a bucket load of lens flare that clearly separates this film from any of the previous entries. It’s clearly a reboot in every sense of the word, and the prospect of a fresh crew and new stories is an exciting one going forward. The script immediately sets its stall out to do something slightly more unique wit the franchise by instigating some rather large changes to the universe that are best left unspoiled. For fans of the original run there’s a vast number of easter eggs and references that will keep you happy. And that is precisely where Star Trek gets it right, balancing between a general audience and the hardcore fans and providing a film that both groups can enjoy.

There are certain elements to the plot that might not make a whole lot of sense if you go away and think about it (more so if you are a longstanding fan), but that’s defeating the purpose of this reboot. It’s first and foremost about the tone of the original series mixed with modern film making techniques, so the plot is only there to serve as a reason for the characters to get into all sorts of peril and try and work their way out of it. When considered from that perspective, Star Trek does its job and does it well – save the thoughtful science fiction for other franchises, Star Trek is just here to entertain.

Score: 4/5


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