*** Official STAR TREK (2009) Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Kevin Hewell, May 6, 2009.

  1. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

    Mar 28, 2003
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    Well, a few hours ago I got back from a free screening of Star Trek. It was wonderful. The music, the casting...everything. There were a couple of problems I had with it (and I don't want to mention them since I don't want you guys spoilerized) but otherwise excellent job!!

    Didn't McCarthy base a lot of his score for Generations on DS9?
  2. Oliver_A

    Oliver_A Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 11, 2006
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    I just saw the film yesterday evening in the preview.

    First, I have to tell you that I was prepared to hate that film, because I hated all previous trailers, especially their emphasis on fast action, which gave me a feeling that Star Trek will be a soulless piece of action cinema.

    After watching it yesterday, I really was surprised, because, while still being far away from an excellent film, it surprisingly got something right which I did not anticipate: the portrayal of our characters. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban REALLY DO A VERY GOOD JOB at portraying our beloved characters at a young age. All of them studied both their characters and the actors who played them in the past, and they really do them justice without falling into cliches. I especially liked Zachary Quinto as Spock, because his interpretation is almost as nuanced and subtle as Nimoy's. Bruce Greenwood is also a very likeable Christopher Pike. Note that I am actually being very critical here. I REALLY was prepared to hate the acting, but luckily, I was proven wrong.

    So people who fear that their beloved characters will be soulless puppets, being servants to an action driven plot do not need to worry. It amazingly gets this aspect totally right, which is the major reason for me that I actually liked it for the most part. I primarily do watch movies because of their characters and I personally think that this is part of the essence which made the original series succesful.

    BUT.... Of course there had to be things in it which REALLY annoyed me.

    I had a hard time enjoying that film, because I was in a constant state of motion sickness, mostly due to the shaky camera "work". The film does not stop moving. EVERY scene (even character moments!) has a shaky camera, constantly hurling around the sets. In action scenes, it gives you a claustrophobic feeling, and very little time to process what is actually happening on the screen, and in my book, this is far from being a good approach to action scenes, where everything should flow nicely and surprise us. This approach reminds me of my first experiments as a 12 year old with a VHS-C camcorder, where I constantly had to swing the camera around to ANYTHING INTERESTING, preferrable IN CLOSE-UPS, which got me exactly the same kind of motion sickness when I was re-watching my work later on TV. Seeing that same "technique" now on a big screen, big bugdet movie, made by people who are being paid handsomely and should knew their work better, does not impress me to say the least. It almost completely ruined the film for me. I guess I am not strong enough for the new Star Trek. [​IMG]

    Some other things which come to my mind:

    Nero as a villain is a flat, predictable and largely forgettable character, and merely serves his purpose. Like a mixture of Dr. Soran, Khan and Shinzon. He basically is a prop piece, and certainly not the center of this film.

    Leonard Nimoy's role actually is more than a cameo, and especially due to his and Zachary Quinto's performance a valuable addition to the film, especially in the end.

    After all, it's actually an OKAY-GOOD film. It's better than NEMESIS. It shows guts by daring to break with the established Star Trek timeline (which I actually think WAS necessary in order to have a chance making this work). In short: I really liked the characters, the plot is okay (nothing which hasn't already been seen on Star Trek before), and again, I ABSOLUTELY HATED the camera work.

    One aspect which I have to agree with Roger Ebert: this film is no more science fiction, and pushes the franchise more into the space opera realm. Die hard Trekkies (those who watched the series for its science fiction aspects and canon) will probably not like it. It is a film which basically centers around the iconic characters, and surprisingly succeeds in this matter. A second film with those characters, but this time more emphasis on science fiction and plot, COULD actually be a full success which everyone likes.

    I would recommend to watch this film anyway, because only a successful Star Trek franchise will make Paramount remaster TNG in HD.... [​IMG]
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Star Trek (2009)". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer

    Oct 5, 2005
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    Lee Summit, Missouri
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    I've already posted in the discussion thread, but I have no problem saying I was really, really dissappointed in this.

    Let me say that if any franchise could use a reboot - a fresh look at the situation, Star Trek may be it. In many ways, the show has been rebooted in different formats a few times. DS9 was a major reboot of sorts, a whole different concept. Voyager, even though I dislike the show, was a different take on the idea as well.

    The big problem that I have with the film is somewhat the problem I had with Voyager and why I never finished the series. The film lost me with a failure to really deliver on the big "Why" factor. Why do I care what happens?

    The film begins with an interesting conceit: let's change the entire Trek universe by undoing all of the past to now by changing the birth and family life of James T Kirk. As a result, we are now in an "alternate" timeline. Whether or not this time line co-exists with the one we are familiar with or not doesn't really matter. For the sake of the film, we will just contend the other time line doesn't exist anymore, it's been destroyed, and this is now reality. Fine. It's fiction, we can do that.

    But the problem with this, like most time-traveling stories is that under any amount of simple reasoning it all starts to fall apart. This was a real downfall of a lot of trek with goofball time-traveling. Here, it was more a distraction.

    Let me say the actors play there roles, and some of the action is top notch, but there is never enough storyline to make it at all understandable why they do even the remotest thing that happens. Kirk goes on a youthful spree that gets him into trouble as he steals a vehicle, destroys it and gets turned over to the cops. A fun, 10 minute sequence that results in.. nothing. We have no idea what the result is, outside of him as a 12 year old lipping off to a cop.

    These moments exist all throughout the film and act like bad padding, they add nothing to the storyline and make it more difficult to buy some of the things that happen next. Because when they do these things to show how different they are.. they still all end up back at the exact same place as the original series.

    It's a bit of a game.. how far can we stress the cord - before we snap right back - like a bunji cord. But as a result, the film takes chances that make it very different, but they don't seem to have any real character impact on the people themselves.

    Kirk's father, his motivation, killed young in life. He becomes a miscreant. Doesn't go for starfleet. Then, finally, after a barfight is turned around. And, as a need to insert previous Trek lore, he accomplishes the same feats in Starfleet as he would have without the monumental changes in his youth.

    After a while, I began to feel as though it was a pretty pointless "Butterfly Effect" film.. because there simply was no effect. Even major changes to the universe had no seeming impact on the future that created the situation to begin with.. a paradox that made me laugh out loud.

    The action is great, and the score is great. But I'm not sure how this is any better then Star Trek V. It's a ridiculous premise that has no real backbone of a story to fall back on. It suffers from about 20 minutes of padding that adds absolutely nothing to the film, including sequences completely ripped off from childrens films (watch Scotty journey through suction tubes ala Augustus Gloop). In fact, despite the fact he materialized not in an air environment, which should have killed him instantly, we just go on and it's a cute joke that goes on WAY too long.

    This is a film that could have been about 30 minutes shorter and taken a lot braver chances. And while the camera movements aren't as bad as Cloverfield, when fighting sequences do happen they look like a jumbled mess because the camera is so close to the CGI'd action that you have a hard time telling what the hell is going on.

    Star Trek, in my mind, really only has three movies I can go back and watch and really enjoy. It has quite a few clunkers. Unfortunately, for me, this film is a clunker. I think if you remove the trek characters from it and you just take it as a story on it's own, what you have is a villain about as interesting as cardboard that gets no screentime to explain his purpose or how he came to be, and characters who walk around on rails. If I changed the names of the characters, and I viewed it as just another sci fi epic, it'd be very poor.

    I think what this film really did for me is solidify the genious of reboots that take gutsy, game changing alterations like BattleStar and give characters new purpose. Or unique, original scifi that looks at the issues differently - like Firefly.

    I think this is a film that maybe could have been done in the Trek universe with an entirely different crew; and if it were written that way, someone at some point in the writing process would have said "is there any reason at all to understand the villain? To care about the plot? Does this joke work at all?" That kind of harsh re-evaluation would have really helped this film. It's something Trek has needed for a long time.

    I'm glad to see others enjoy it, I guess I just won't be one of them. I really wanted this to work, and I think it had a lot of great elements (Leonard Nimoy was great in his role, and the soundtrack was also incredible). But the flaws simply make it hard to consider anything more then mediocre.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] (1/2) / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    Short and sweet:

    It's funnier than I'd expected.

    Not crazy about Quinto's line delivery as Spock, but I'll be used to it by the next followup.

    The villian wasn't fleshed out all that well and is a small weak spot in the film.

    The universe is too small for coincidences in the script at times.

    The command deck is really bright.

    Found out what the alternate designs of 'Cloverfield' looked like. Heh.

    Enjoyed Rachel Nichols's brief cameo.

    Overall, it was a lot of fun, good bit of action, didn't much drag too much for a 2+ hour film. The film captured the spirit and flavor of TOS character interactions, but with a bigger budget and offered some surprises in light of what long-time trekkers know of these characters. But sometimes the script is a little too simplistic in getting through the plot points to move the film along.

    I give it 3.5 stars or a grade of B+.
  6. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

    May 9, 2002
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    Amazing reboot, and they can take it anywhere from here. Nice homages to the original series. Can't wait to see it again.
  7. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Lou Sytsma
    It was FUN!
  8. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

    Oct 8, 2001
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    Was lucky enough to see a private screening of this. This was top notch entertainment. I was really impressed with the direction of this movie, the story, the acting and the special effects. This is what a popcorn movie SHOULD be. Fun, exciting, energetic and intense. See this on the big screen that has a great sound system. Trust me, the scenes where they are flying in space have greater impact on a giant screen, and the sound mix is almost DEAFENING! I feel sorry for people seeing movies playing beside Star Trek auditoriums.
  9. Dale MA

    Dale MA Screenwriter

    May 22, 2004
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  10. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

    Oct 15, 2002
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    London, England
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    Paul Warren
    Totally rubbish movie. Trashy and ludicrous. Straight to DVD quality at best.

    Direction was TV show quality. Too many close up's or mis-framed scenes, actors & VFX were shot as though the camera was stuck to them,no scope or master wide shots.

    Story was so poor & riddled with plot holes & contrivances which stretch credibility beyond breaking point to me. Starfleet was portrayed as a disorganised mess who are staffed by a bunch of college kids who we are led to believe are geniuses but never once shown any proof of this.

    Music is so bland and sonic wallpaper. Very unmemorable could have been anyone composing it.

    VFX were generally a waste. Most shots were unmemorable and the camera was too close to the ships at all times so you never get a spacial awareness of the awe of space. Not 1 shot impressed me. Seen it all before in the SW prequels.

    Actors were pretty much what you would expect from this director/ TV level talent in a motion picture. Bruce Greenwood however is the exception, he was amazing and had the gravitas to have been in ether TOS series or movies back in the day. The George Kirk actor was ok and much better than Chris Pine. The rest including Nimoy (few min cameo was a waste of film) were very poor some had weak voices as well as minimal presence onscreen. Urban just did a weak DeForest Kelley impersonation which was quite frankly insulting the late great (in the part) actors memory.
    I'm glad that Shatner never got a cameo in this as this movie is not something he would wish to be associated with. Nimoy should hang his head in shame as in his few mins he pretty much destroyed the integrity his character had built up over the years with the fans. This is the same Nimoy who turned down ST7 as he felt the script needed more work yet took the paycheck here even though it invalidated some of the story from his own ST4. Very disappointed in him he should have stayed retired.

    Not really much left for me to say except that there were walkouts in my theatre and at the end stunned silence and lots of very unhappy people.

    I would rank this movie last of all ST movies and think Berman would have done a better job with a Nemesis sequel as he at least stayed closer to Roddenberry's vision for Star Trek than this trashy low quality sci-fi action movie with the ST name & branding.

    This to me is the Phantom Menace of Star Trek movies.

    1/10 (For Bruce Greenwood only).
  11. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Aug 6, 2001
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    Northern Virginia
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    Chuck Mayer
    Can't jump on the love bandwagon. But there was a lot to like.

    I struggled mightily with suspension of disbelief during the film. Odd you might say for a sci-fi film. My beefs were nothing like Ebert. I am fine with warp speed and time travel (minus one element of philosophical stupidity), fine with adventure and red matter, and fine with occasional spot-promotions.

    The script is terrible which is not surprising given the pedigree of the writers. Coincidence and providence are piled on top of one another for nearly the entire running time. All scripts rely on a little coincidence to make things smooth, but it literally is Orci and Kurtzmann's (sp) calling card. And it weakens the film. It weakens the characters. It certainly weakens the villains and their plan.

    See discussion thread for my second major issue affecting disbelief.

    That said, the characters are pretty well sketched. I enjoyed Spock's youth more than Kirk's...it was enlightening. Both Pine and Quinto did well, as did Urban and Saldana. The rest of the cast got a few perfunctory scenes, but not enough to really make an impression. Bana did what he could with literally nothing. Greenwood was exceptional as Pike, and scenes with him were better than those without.

    I enjoyed the design and the energy of the film. It's a nice popcorn film that is exciting and fun. It has some very silly humor, but it works for the most part. The score is good, and occasionally great. I need to listen to it a bit more. The opening sequence is quite good, even with the horrible story contraption to get Kirk's mother there. A bit too Hollywood for me.

    Am I dying to see the film again? No. Would I recommend it? Sure. Do I look forward to 2? Yes. I'll be downright enthusiastic if they improve the writing core. Everything else worked well.

    7.5/10 (which is pretty good for a movie with such a crap script),
  12. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Feb 9, 2004
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    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
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    Don't hold back now, tell us how you really feel. [​IMG]

    I have to say I disagree with just about every criticism here--though you're certainly entitled to them. There were no walkouts where I saw it and at the end there were cheers and applause. Ah well. Nothing is ever universally liked.

    I didn't think it was a perfect film--a few too many contrived moments, and the final promotion was rushed (a little blurb saying, at least, 1 or 2 years later as the promotion scene began would have fixed that, IMO). I expected a bit more of a sombre tone after the destruction of Vulcan.

    However, I thought Pine and Quinto did a fine job and Urban was spot-on. Greenwood was great and I hope it means Pike will be around in the next film.

    Most of all, it was what a summer popcorn movie should be--fun. And I'll be revisiting it (as I do all the other Trek movies, even the odd numbered ones :lol: ) fairly regularly, I should think. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]/[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  13. George_W_K

    George_W_K Screenwriter

    Feb 13, 2003
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    I really enjoyed this movie. I had some reservations going in because of how they were going to change the timeline and such, but thought it all turned out well.

    I wish Nero was a little more developed.

    I loved Keith Urban's McCoy. The other actors did well too, but he was the best. Checkov was the weakest, IMO.

    I thought the film score was very forgettable, but not distracting at all.

    It was great to see another Star Trek film on the big screen and I'm very pleased with how this movie turned out. I'm going to have to see it again without waiting around for a home release, very fun.

    9 out of 10
  14. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    One of, if not, the best Star Trek film to date...amazing. The casting, the music, the effects, the throwbacks to TOS...this film has it all. My only gripe, the films ending, why do they have to go the PC route? Why?
  15. Southpaw

    Southpaw Supporting Actor

    Sep 2, 2006
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    This was one of the best movie-going experiences I've ever had. Amazing film. Perfectly casted. Absolutely loved it.
    The entire IMAX audience practically gave it a standing O as the credits rolled.
  16. DaveB

    DaveB Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 20, 2002
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    Just got back from the theater and... I LOVED IT! In fact, I've been on the phone for the last half hour telling everyone I know to go see it. The audience in my theater gave an impromptu standing ovation at the end of the film -- when's the last time that happened? There were flaws but the movie was so fun they were easily ignored. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you *THE* summer blockbuster of 2009.

  17. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

    Feb 1, 2007
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    Scott D. Atwell
    I am a purist, and I know of no other fan as hardcore as I am when it comes to Star Trek. With that being said, I saw the film today. I loved it, and found it to be very entertaining, well-written, and well-acted.

    I am going to post a lengthy review of it at a later time, when I've had more time to recall and rate each of the major actors in the roles of the 'seven' TOS characters a bit more. I will also discuss the music score, which used the ambitus of the trombones wonderfully, diatonic vocalizations at key points in the film, and the often-employed 'tritone triad' relationship (both harmonically and melodically) that has become almost the norm in sci-fi films since at least 1951 with The Day the Earth Stood Still.
  18. John Wielgosz

    John Wielgosz Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 3, 1998
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    Just going to get this out of the way. I like the concept of an "alternate universe" reboot, and am not beholden to 'TOS' Star Trek. (DS9 is actually my favorite series). I was more than willing to give the movie every fair shake, and in fact, my heart was pounding with anticipation as the stars rolled up over the Paramount logo.

    LOVED the prologue sequence. Everything was just about pitch perfect, the style, the tone...this movie HAD me.

    And then it slid away. I'm of the opinion that 'Star Trek' grows more and more tone deaf the further into its running time it gets. The comedic overtones just grew to be too much for myself, and the story development grew thinner and thinner. This is a real 'surface level only' flick that was enjoyable in moments, and frustrating in others.

    The most damning thing I can say is that it would've worked better if you slapped the title 'Galaxy Quest II' in front of it.

    I so wanted to LOVE this, it had become one of my anticipated BIG ones for the year. Bummer. [​IMG]

  19. Ryan-G

    Ryan-G Supporting Actor

    Oct 13, 2005
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    My Review
    (First time I've ever reviewed a movie, so bear with me.)

    Let me start with, I'm a trekkie. I was brought up watching TOS on my mother's knee. I entered the movie knowing absolutely nothing about the plot.


    I found the plot to overall be quite good. The villian had a proper motivation, the characters journey was well fleshed out. What's going on is kept a mystery quite well if you don't know what's going on beforehand. True to JJ Abrams, no one is completely safe, and he pulls off some startling events that keep you thinking "Nah, there's no way they're going to let that stand, they'll time travel or something".


    The characters are *very* well played. They are eerily similiar to the original actors/actresses. I really can't take issue with any of the portayls.


    I was a bit letdown in this department. The music to the 3rd trailer was perhaps the best I've ever heard. The music in the movie did not live up to that standard.


    Nearly perfect. There were a couple points where dialogue became muddy, fading into the surrounding effects, but I suspect this was more because my theater isn't up to date.


    Lucas is probably having a coniption(sic). Hands down the best effects I've seen in a long while.


    Maybe it was just me, but I caught a couple things I perceived as homages to TOS. Kirk's tendency to end up in a woman's arms, or a fairly touching scene in an elevator shaft that just felt kinda "60's" to me.

    Nitpicks(And I stress these are minor complaints)

    -The design of the engine room was terrible. Looked like an oil refinery on crack.

    -Scenes cut away way too quickly for my tastes. There were a few scenes that could've stood to have another second to them before cutting away IMO.

    -Occasionally jarring humor. Chekov's struggles with his accent, makes little sense given the universal translator. Mind you, it's nowhere near as bad as the humor in Generations. It's just one or two lines through the whole movie.

    Closing and Score

    This is a movie I wholeheartedly recommend. The plot IMO is quite good, the characters well played. My only real complaint is that I feel the movie could've used another 20-30 minutes to flesh out the villians backstory and some of the character's backstory. Wrath of Khan remains the number 1 trek movie, IMO this ties First Contact for the number 2 slot.

    The direction this film set the universe in is quite good, and I hope that it is continued.

    Score: 9/10
  20. Pete-D

    Pete-D Screenwriter

    May 30, 2000
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    I saw it ... and I uh ... I dunno.

    I'm not beholden to any strict compass, but this felt completely like they "dumbed it down" an awful lot in order to gain the holy grail of box office success.

    Abrams seems terrified of slowing down the action at all or to stop the camera from moving (gasp, because then it might have turned into a Star Trek movie, rather than Starship Troopers meets Lost In Space).

    Also would it have killed them to use a WIDE ANGLE once in a while? The constant use of "shaky cam" close-ups robs the film of any grandeur, instead relying on CGI and a loud soundtrack as a substitute. If Abrams is going now be the guru of all things Trek, I'm not honestly sure if I could take another 2-3+ films shot in this style. It gets irritating fast.

    As a summer popcorn movie it wasn't bad, but the plot is still an utter train wreck and Eric Bana has to be the most boring Star Trek villain ever (yes, he even trumps Shinzon).

    If the goal was to make Star Trek into PG-13 Starship Troopers shot like a Mountain Dew commercial ... then this movie is a success. To give them credit I do like Pine's take on Kirk, Uhura is a bit more interesting, and Bones is dead on ... those three are the most successful in breathing new life into the series. Quinto as Spock seems like a kid trying to fill shoes three sizes too big for him though at times. One thing you have to give Trek -- the characters and character relationships always are good (this is one thing the Star Wars prequels failed at IMO).

    Taking away the glossy CGI and "to the EXTREME, DUDE!" attitude, the story however really is not any better written than the last couple of Trek films (weak villain, bad plotting, playing the characters up for cheap laughs). But this will be a big hit box office wise. I just wish there was more substance behind all that flash.


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