Star Trek (2009 Movie)


Yeah, I was watching Star Trek during the earthquake. Right at the point that they open a huge, loud, grinding door to a remote outpost. Fortunately it was small, the movie kept playing, and we all kept watching.

Judging by audience reaction (to the movie, not the quake), there were definitely lots of people seeing it for the first time today, so I’ll keep this non-spoilery as much as possible.

What I Liked

  • The film manages to recapture the Kirk, Spock and McCoy dynamic that gave the original show its heart.
  • Each character gets at least something to do, even if it does focus heavily on Kirk and Spock.
  • The actors really manage to convey the same characters, rather than new characters with the same names. Especially McCoy and Spock. Karl Urban in particular seems to be channeling DeForest Kelley the way Ewan MacGregor channeled Alec Guinness in the Star Wars prequels. (And yes, Kirk is different, but there’s a reason for it, and that reason is critical to the story and his character’s journey.)
  • The plot moves and holds together (mostly).
  • The effects of course are incredible.
  • They remembered that Trek can have humor – something that ST: TNG and later shows seemed to avoid as if it would somehow taint their artistic value (except when Q was around).
  • The nods to established elements of the series, from character quirks to design elements to music cues, that are there if you know what to look for, but don’t bog down the story if you don’t.

What I Didn’t

I had no problems with the obvious canon changes, and thought that the huge event 1/3 of the way in was probably the best way they could recapture dramatic suspense and establish the idea that anything can happen.

In fact, the things that bothered me have very little to do with other versions of Star Trek. Again, trying to be as non-spoilery as I can for the people who haven’t seen it.

  • Supernovas are not that dangerous unless you’re in the same solar system. For planet X to be destroyed, it would have to have been that planet’s sun that went supernova.
  • Another planet, to provide the view that it offered of a significant event, would have to have been a moon of the planet on which that event took place.
  • Engineering doesn’t look like a spaceship. It looks like a brewery.
  • It relies heavily on the same dead-relative-as-motivation trope that’s bothering me so much in Flash: Rebirth. But I can see what they were going for and why they did it.
  • A piece of miracle technology is invented which would revolutionize space travel to the point that it would make any further voyages irrelevant, and will most likely be ignored because of this. (Of course, the TV series did the same thing all the time.)


Also, while I liked Michael Giacchino’s music in context, it’s very repetitive. The theater was playing the score while we waited for the film to start, and an awful lot of it is the same theme, over and over, in different arrangements.

My favorite Star Trek music is a toss-up between James Horner’s scores for The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, and Cliff Eidelman’s score for The Undiscovered Country. We were talking about the music before the movie, and neither of us could think of anything else Eidelman had done, so I looked him up on IMDB. It turns out that he’s written music for about 20 films since Star Trek VI, and I recognized almost all of them…I just hadn’t actually seen any of them.