Star Trek (2009)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

Cast: John Cho (Sulu), Ben Cross (Sarek), Bruce Greenwood (Capt. Christopher Pike), Simon Pegg (Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), Chris Pine (James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson), Zoë Saldana (Uhura), Karl Urban (Leonard “Bones” McCoy), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Eric Bana (Nero), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime). Director: J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost, Alias). Written by: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Mission: Impossible III, Transformers), based on the series by Gene Roddenberry

FILM SYNOPSIS: What are the origins of the Starship Enterprise’s maiden voyage and its eclectic, brilliant, multi-cultural, and multi-planetary crew? This is the question that director J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost, Alias) seeks to clarify in this tale of Trek lore.

The galaxy is being threatened by the evil Nero (Eric Bana), who is set on annihilating all Federation ships, including the newly christened U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew.

Starship Enterprise Capt. Christopher Pike is challenged to recruit a slew of new, highly skilled cadets from the Starfleet Academy in an effort to combat the trigger-happy Nero. Among those he enlists are the hot-headed, rebel-with-a-cause James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine), the brilliant-but-emotionally-torn Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto), the beautiful linguistics expert Uhura (Zoë Saldana), the cantankerous, needle-toting Medical Officer McCoy (Karl Urban), the up-and-coming Chief Engineer “Scotty” (Simon Pegg), capable Helmsman Sulu (John Cho), and teen whiz Chekov.

But while the still-green crew is struggling to get along, Capt. Pike is captured, leaving Spock and Kirk locked in a bitter power struggle for control of the ship. The young rivals must come to terms with their family histories, heritage, and moral obligations, tame their egos, and forge a partnership if any hope of planetary safety can be realized. Only then can they “boldly go where no one has gone before.”

PREVIEW REVIEW: After six TV series spin-offs and 10 Trek motion pictures (the last one being Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002), the Star Trek fan base has expanded to a loyal, multi-generational group. Seeking to satisfy this burgeoning multitude, it was, as Spock would have to admit, “logical” to try a new twist on an old theme by digging into Star Trek’s past and establish the beginnings.

Plus, with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner getting older and less spry, it would have been ridiculous to have our lead men running around space flexing muscles and bravado. It was much more appropriate to display the wiser, nothing-to-prove side of the original cast, which we see in Nimoy’s performance of Spock. Thank you, J. J. Abrams.

And even if you aren’t a die-hard Trekkie – and I admit I am not – you will still enjoy this optimistic and comedic sci-fi adventure that pokes fun at itself while paying homage to Gene Roddenberry’s original tale. It isn’t just the humorous one-liners nor the punctuating musical score nor even the choice of actors that makes this new Star Trek film an enjoyable ride. I think it is truly the masterful fleshing-out of the film’s back story and the resonating tensions created by its themes of good vs. evil, logic vs. passion, past vs. future, and human vs. alien that make for a good movie-going experience. Plus, a positive, conquering, pioneering spirit comes through loud and clear in this space fantasy. And that kind of optimism is much preferred to the fatalism of many other sci-fi thrillers.

Now, there were moments of confusion about the space-time continuum as you travel with the crew through the film’s time warp (is this happening in the past? the future?) and moments of trying to recall intricate details about the who’s who roster (ok, who are Spock’s parents?), but that will probably be less of an issue for staunch Trek followers.

Ultimately, I have three main gripes about the film. First, the use of unnecessary crude and obscene language and sexually suggestive scenes as a means of getting that PG-13 rating cheapens the film. Second, I kept getting distracted by the depiction of Nero’s enemy ship. I couldn’t decide whether it looked more like some flying cockroach, some gigantic metal feather duster, or some twisted junkyard projectile. Third, Eric Bana, who plays Nero, is more campy than scary. I spent more time trying to decipher the ink spots on his face than on listening to what he said or watching what he did.

Regardless, if you like humorous science fiction/adventure movies with good storylines, you will likely enjoy the new Star Trek film. My guess is this latest installation will “live long and prosper” at the box office.

Editor’s Note: Laura J. Bagby is our guest reviewer for Star Trek. Laura had hoped one day she would be writing film reviews, so she combined her master's in Communication with a master's in Journalism to see that dream fulfilled. Privileged to meet the stars in Hollywood, Laura desires to lift up the value of good entertainment while remaining true to her Christian faith. 

Preview Reviewer: Laura J. Bagby

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: See sexual dialogue

Obscene Language: Several da**, he**, bast***, a**, bull****

Profanity: G-D, OMG

Violence: Destructive explosions in space, incineration, hand-to-hand combat with guns and swords, scary chase sequences

Sex: Clothes-on brief simulation with a male lead

Nudity: Partial – see two women in their underwear; short dresses on lady cadets

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Sexually suggestive exchange and touch between Kirk and Uhura in a bar; sexually suggestive references about the starship by Scotty; Kirk looks at attractive nurse lustfully

Drugs: Alcohol

Other: Slightly gross scene with a bug

Running Time: 126 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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