“hey JJ, got a minute to talk?”


Well, ladies and gentlegeeks, the time is finally at hand.  Today the new STAR TREK movie opens.  However, as I’m sure everyone is aware, this is more than just a highly anticipated summer blockbuster –  if Paramount has its way, we are playing witness to the dawn of the Third Age of Trek.  Father/creator Rodenberry had his say, Berman helmed the Second Coming and now all eyes are on Abrams to see just how well his ass fits in the command chair.  I’m sure most DarthMojo readers will see the film within the next 48 hours, so you mission (should you choose to accept it), will be to report back here and tell us if this movie is a one-shot wonder or if indeed JJ has breathed new life into the ‘old girl… I’ll lead off the comments and tell you what I’m expecting….

76 Responses to ““hey JJ, got a minute to talk?””

  1. 1 darthmojo
    May 8, 2009 at 12:54 am


    All comments under this post should give general impressions. Spoilers will be deleted so readers should feel safe to read on…


    Personally, I’m not sure what to expect! The trailers and interviews with JJ left me cold, but then the advance word was that the movie rocked. Then several close, trusted friends saw the movie at a sneak preview and HATED IT. Now more friends are seeing it and reporting that they loved it. From what I’ve heard, I’m guessing that if you leave your thinking cap at home you stand a much better chance of enjoying it, so I’ll do my best to turn my cell phone AND my brain off as the lights inside the theater dim.

    This gives me mixed feelings, since TREK’s strength has always been it’s high IQ, but at the same time there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned fun movie. In any case, it’s exciting to have no idea what to expect!

    I now turn the microphone over to all of you…

  2. 2 Boris
    May 8, 2009 at 1:10 am

    “From what I’ve heard, I’m guessing that if you leave your thinking cap at home you stand a much better chance of enjoying it, so I’ll do my best to turn my cell phone AND my brain off as the lights inside the theater dim.”

    I very much enjoyed it yesterday, but that would be my reaction as well. It is quite ridiculous at times, but there is a lot of energy and humor, as opposed to some of the previous Star Trek movies which were neither fun nor made sense.

  3. 3 Brodnick
    May 8, 2009 at 2:37 am

    I saw the film yesterday on the IMAX and absolutly loved it.
    It’s not what you would call traditional Trek, but it certainly takes defibrillator pads to the warp core and delivers a Trek for the 21st century.
    There is action, humour, romance, some sniffly moments. The CG is fantastic, acting is brilliant (Anton Yelchin is the unsung hero – everyone goes on about Zach Quinto and Karl Urban but Yelchin is fantastic…that’s not to say that the rest of the cast aren’t good – there’s not a bad banana in the bunch!), story line has a few holes in, but it is after all Trek! The script it self is well written, with plenty of nods to the original series without viewers needing to have a quote book and an encyclopedia ready.

    The worst thing about this film is that it’s over far to quickly! I could have spent all day in the company of the crew of the mighty USS Enterprise.

    Love the blog Mojo, keep up the good work!

  4. 4 Dave C
    May 8, 2009 at 3:43 am

    @Mojo: Personally, I wouldn’t say the film is dumbed down compared to any other Trek movies, it just doesn’t deal with any long philosophical discussions about how its wrong to interfere or anything.

    I went to see it yesterday again with 11 people. 10 LOVED it and 1 person didnt like it – The “Trekkie”, and his biggest complaint was the look of the film which in some cases doesnt gel with the look of previous Trek incarnations – which while I understand, im not a huge fan of said changes, shouldnt get in the way of enjoying the story, acting and great FX, because if you accept from the outset some little things will be different, your going to enjoy this movie a whole lot more.

  5. May 8, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Overall, I thought the new Trek was a very enjoyable film. While I will not call it the best Trek, I think it has a lot going for it. The characters are all what you’d expect with some surprises thrown in here and there. The story is nice and the redundant time travel aspect didn’t bother me at all. However, there are a few issues.

    – Product placement. Yep, it’s all there in more ways than one.
    – Too many unfamiliar and uninteresting looking Aliens.
    – The sets. When have you ever walked into a factory with concrete walls, steel grates, light bulb fixtures and rotating knobs and thought to yourself “I’m on the Enterprise!”? Didn’t think so.
    – A very very VERY important Vulcan Element is left out and forgotten(See the Original Series episode “The Immunity Syndrome”)
    – Kirk is a cold hearted jerk, but still manages to be 100x more likable than Anakin Skywalker from the prequels.
    – This is NOT a showcase of equal representation of the male/female gender.
    – Some transitions don’t make a lot of sense due to scenes being deleted.
    – Please hold the camera nice and steady. Pretty please?

  6. 6 Rich
    May 8, 2009 at 4:25 am

    I caught the first screening last night, and personally I loved it, the first scene alone had so much emotional resonance and brought a tear to my eye, and then not 5 minutes later, you have Beastie Boy’s Sabatoge playing in the film and had me grinning from ear to ear. (I dont’ think that this was a spoiler) The cast is still brilliant, the action, although too tight in some scenes to notice what is going on in a scene or two, is top notch. The effects are brilliantly placed to a degree that filmmakers rarely get right (Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report) rather then be overused just for show. The new bridge is a little startling to see, but i was used to it. The cast was awesome, every actor gets the right amount of screen time to show off their characters perfectly (lots of credit goes to Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin playing Bones and Chekov) Other supporting cast members such as Eric Bana as Nero, although treading one dimension James Bond villain territory, manages to pull it off enough to make himself worthy of being evil. (let’s not forget, Kahn was on the Reliant for almost all of Star Trek II, and he’s the best bad guy of all of the films, but it could be argued that was also because he was known in the original series as a threat beforehand) The writing, although less science and more fiction, is still really good, mixing comedy and serious drama (see my thoughts of the first 10 minutes above)quite well, with Simon Pegg breathing comedy into every scene he is in. Special mention goes to Pine and Quinto for channeling Kirk and Spock for a new generation of fans while doing justice to the former actors in those roles, and special mention to the score of the film which was brilliant in enhancing the mood of the film without making it too obvious. I really hope this film gets either a tv show (I know Bryan Fuller was interested, which would be amazing), or a sequel, but only if J.J. Abrams and the writers are back on board. 9/10

  7. 7 The Hey
    May 8, 2009 at 5:49 am

    Let’s see…how can I put this?


    I totally bought into most everything. The cast is great – the best kudos going to Chris Pike and Karl Urban.

    There are alot of quibbles about design but that’s because I’m a total nerd about this after 40 years.

    Bottom line – there is WOK, and then there is this. In that order.

  8. 8 _pole
    May 8, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Hi Mojo, I actually saw the movie on wednesday. So I had 2 days to think and I THINK I like it. :D

    The visual effects were all fantastic, no complaints there. Engeneering sections on the Kelvin and on the Enterprise were too spacious for my taste. The iPod look of the enterprise bridge works better than I thought, but it still looks too “fancy” and not like the command center of a Starfleet ship.

    The writing is defenitely better than I expected from Orci and Kurtzman – not overwhelming though. On the other hand, I think by now none of the other Star Trek movies would still really wow me if I saw them now. And there were some seriously funny character moments and throwaway lines refering to traditional trek lore. So you can tell there was a lot of respect for the original material, just like JJ always said they had. I must admit though that I’ve seen hardly any TOS.

    What I found most interesting was the philosophical debate on Vulcan mentality that has been going on in the movies. Like “Logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” in Wrath of Khan which was countered with the oposite claim in The Search for Spock. This debate is continued in this movie.

    Overall a fun ride and – in my opinion – true Star Trek.

  9. 9 doubleofive
    May 8, 2009 at 6:24 am

    I loved it. I didn’t think it was dumbed down at all. It certainly wasn’t a thinly veiled morality play on what makes something human, the price of revenge, the price of friendship, saving the environment, finding your own religion, or the Cold War, so take that as you will. I’m sure later movies will go back to the morality plays, but I think this one did a really good job of both playing off the Prime universe and the new one, keeping enough to make the new one recognizable but changing enough to make it interesting. It gets all the crew in their place, but doesn’t make a big deal out of doing it. There aren’t a lot of origin stories that are good movies in their own right. As long as you overlook the fancy technology, I think any Trekkie can enjoy it.

    Do I think this revitalized the franchise? Well, my wife on the way home said to me “I think we should watch some of the old stuff, even if it doesn’t matter in the new reality”, so there’s some revitalized interest in what has come before. Will it spawn a whole new sub-franchise from this point on? I’m not sure, but I hope so. It will be interesting to see what happens in this strangely familiar, but strangely new universe.

  10. May 8, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Well…if you examine the plot too closely, Nero’s motivation really doesn’t make too much sense. I wish I could say more but can’t just yet until the spoiler prohibition is over.

    However, what they did get right are the main characters and their internal motivations. The characters who come off best are the ones you expect the least from. We all know Kirk, Spock and McCoy are the main triumvirate but the real heart of the movie is Uhuru, which explains why she’s featured so prominently in the movie poster. There’s an incredibly sweet scene between Uhuru and another character in a turbolift that really sold me on these new actors.

    So, the plot gets a 2 out of 5 but the basic reboot concept gets pretty close to a 5. The toughest part will be how to handle these characters in the inevitable sequels and what kind of things they can do to maintain the integrity of the franchise.


  11. 11 Andric
    May 8, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I saw it last night — and I thought it was excellent.

    General impressions: It’s not the brainiest film ever; but I didn’t catch any glaring plot holes (I’m looking at you, Nemesis). Actually, this felt a lot more like Star Trek than Nemesis did, to me. I thought the actors’ portrayal of the cast was outstanding. Quinto did a great Spock, and not only because he looks like him. Karl Urban really did a great job as Bones, and I feel like DeForest Kelley would approve. All of the cast, really, had moments where I said to myself, “Holy crap, that’s HIM/HER!”

    Another thing I was happy about was the humor. Growing up with TOS I always found that the show had genuinely funny moments. This movie has them, too. There are a few times where it got a tad too slapstick, but overall the humor was good.

    I will say that the movie makes more sense, in terms of character motivations, if you’ve read the comic book lead-up, “Countdown”… I almost wish I hadn’t read it, just so I could know how well those related elements play without any prior knowledge.

    I’ll reserve comments on the CG, because, well, I want to hear what Mojo has to say about that. Ok, I’ll say that I thought it was wicked. But that’s all.

    Anyway, I don’t see how anybody who claims to be a Star Trek fan can see this movie and hate it, really. It IS Star Trek. I’d say it ranks above all of the TNG-era movies (with the possible exception of First Contact — time and more viewings will have to tell there), and it’s up there with the best of TMP movies, as well.

  12. May 8, 2009 at 6:52 am

    I loved it.

    Now I’m not a hardcore trekkie, but that might actually work in my favor. Ie. I recognized the characters but didn’t really have any qualms about changes made in the characters or the iconic stories (like the Kobayashi Maru).

    The movie is in love with speed and momentum – and it looks gorgeus. Granted it can get a bit silly at times, but I’d no problems with that.

  13. May 8, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Not a comment on the film per se, since I haven’t seen it yet … though I have to admit from the trailers and such, this is the first time I’ve *wanted* to see anything new in the Star Trek Franchise ever since the days when a certain new Science Fiction TV show came out that took the bold step of not having every episode tidy everything up … plus they used those newfangled computer graphics from Foundation imaging….

    Anyhow your comment in the comments section reminded me of this really funny video piece about the new movie from The Onion. It’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet….


    – Dan

  14. 14 Kham
    May 8, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I’d say this version of Trek is more in the “old-fashioned fun” category than the high IQ. But, honestly, I think that’s a good thing. There’s some technobable, of course. But it’s nowhere near as heavy as the “second age.” This movie needs to reach a wider audience than the core if a new franchise is to be successful, and I think the Bad Robot crew has done it.

    I’ve been a Trek fan since I was around 5 years old or so in the mid-70’s. I saw the original Trek in syndication, enjoyed Next Generation, loved Deep Space 9, suffered through Voyager, and pretty much ignored Enterprise. Kahn is my favorite of the Trek movies (and, I believe, still untouchable), with First Contact coming in second. I was a technophile geek, collecting many official and unofficial blueprints and manuals. I was a canon freak. I wrote episode reviews for a local fan club newsletter.

    All this to say that I’ve been through it all, for over twenty years now. Was this movie perfect? No. Did I have some problems here and there? Yes. There was some leaps made plot-wise and tech-wise that made me scratch my head a little.

    (Also …. FOR THE LOVE OF SHATNER, PLEASE USE A TRIPOD, JJ! And pull the camera back a little. I’ll be glad when the shakey-cam fad is over.)

    But … do I think it accomplished what it set out to do? Yes! By a long shot. I loved it! It breathed new life into a dying franchise.

    The performances, especially Pine, Urban, Quinto’s, and Nimoy’s were incredible. Everyone did a great job. The visual effects were suburb. The humor was well done and only occasionally a little much. It was truly an epic motion picture, unlike the high-budget TV episodes most of the other Trek movies were.

  15. May 8, 2009 at 8:09 am

    It is fun. And it’s not as brainy as might want it to be. But the characters are just about spot-on. Kirk felt weird to me, but everyone else, Bones in particular, was great. And Old Spock, of course, is a delight. In fact, the whole thing might be worth it just to see Nimoy in the ears again.

  16. 16 Josh
    May 8, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I saw Star Trek yesterday at the 10pm showing. I am a college student at Penn State and I wasn’t sure how crowded the theater was going to be. Star Trek always had a stigma attached to it that you were a nerd…etc if you liked it. Walking into the theater I was pleasantly surprised that it was almost full. In minutes after I got there you couldn’t find an empty seat. I am a younger fan so I have only seen the next generation films in theaters and they were never sold out on opening day so I think people were really more open to seeing this film.

    The movie in my opinion was great. I was surprised at how much comedy was in the film. The only 2 scenes that really didn’t work for me was the corvette scene (which was cool but not that necessary) and the water tunnel scene. They just felt like filler.

    The characters were spot on. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban did a wonderful job. Leonard Nimoy did not miss a beat and was good as always as Mr. Spock. His introduction brought a tear to my eye when he said to Kirk that he would always be his friend. The only character that would need tweaking in the sequel would be Chekov, his accent was too much.

    This movie is for Star Trek fans, but it really is accessible to non fans, and I hope more people get introduced to Star Trek. There are nods to fans, from the tribble in Scotty’s lab to the “The Motion Picture-ish” uniform that Pike was wearing at the end of the movie. I give the movie two thumbs up!

  17. May 8, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I had the fortune of seeing it Thursday night and I loved it. I can’t say it was a perfect Trek film, some bits of plot seemed a bit rushed or glossed over, but overall it hit it’s mark. I love the new cast overall and hope they get to shine further in a few more movies.

    For those concerned there is plenty of space porn, with a couple of fantastic beauty shots of the Enterprise.

    And the first 15 minutes… wow, just wow.

  18. May 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Greetings from Germany.
    Saw the movie two days ago and I loved it.
    Your right, Star Treks strength is truly the clever stories. But what I liked in the series are the different appendages. You get toughtful episodes on one side and just entertaining episodes on the other (with some boring episodes too). For me, if I go to a Cinema, I expect huge films, amazing pictures, breathtaking moments etc. you know. And Star Trek XI is exactly such a blockbuster you want to see in cinemas.
    This movies strength is definitely not the story itself. It is in the way it is presented. Those two hours were so entertaining, houmerous and also breathtaking.
    You get to see a wonderful cast, great space scenes, fast driven action and a lot of references to the known Star Trek Universe.
    It is a celebration for fans but although someone, who is new to star trek can enjoy and understand it.

    At the weekend I’ll go, see it a second time. So I’m courious what you think.

    By the way, I own you Star Trek book, those Images are fantastic. I was pleased to find you website and get to know some secrets of movie magic.
    Keep up the fine work and
    live long and prosper

  19. May 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Posting before I’ve seen it (Trek minus 12 hours and counting) but from the numerous previews the character of Scotty is the only one bugging me. Not a slam on Pegg, he seems to be doing a good job with what he’s given, but the writers appear to have gone with the movies’ version of Scotty. In TOS he was a badass. He’d sit in the big chair, or drop in for a little shore leave, and fuck up your day.

    Movies’ Scotty would talk into a mouse.

    Ah well, if that’s the extent of my disappointment I’ll be super-happy.

    More in T-12:45

  20. 20 Bentobochs
    May 8, 2009 at 11:49 am

    OMG! I’m in Bahrain and saw the 1PM show. It meets all expectations. The blockbuster of the summer. Yes, being in the military, I had to push the “I believe” button a couple of times. Really, who in their right mind put the starfleet academy cadets (I still think they should be called midshipman, like when Scotty’s nephew introduced himself in Wrath of Khan (but that’s another story)), um, sorry. I won’t get spoilery. But yeah, totally kicked butt.

  21. May 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I thought it was a glorious return for Trek. I plan on seeing it again. My wife loved it, and she’s never seen an episode. I’m very excited to see where JJ and crew take the series.

  22. May 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I loved it. Unfortunately, sitting at the front row of an Imax cinema isn’t the best view point, as my nose was touching the screen pretty much.

    Everyone’s been raving about Karl Urban’s McCoy, and he’s just sublime. Hopefully he’ll be in it more next time.

    Deep Roy makes an appearance as Scotty’s side-kick. I had no idea he was in it, even under all that make-up I still recognised him.

    Simon Pegg’s Scotty: His accent’s OK, but I could feel the audience cringing.

    The end-battle could’ve been longer.

    Definately want to go and see it again.


  23. May 8, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Really like it. Loved the whole cast.

    Pine played Kirk with the right amount of brashness and humor.

    Zoe Saldana… well… She distracted me every scene she was in. What a beauty.

    Urban WAS McCoy. He owned his character better than anyone.

    I thought I was going to have a hard time separating Zachary Quinto from Sylar, but it took only moment before I saw him as Spock.

    There needed to be more of Mr. Pegg. I need more Scotty!

    I watched the whole movie with a smile on my face that was occasionally broken with laughter. I love that they can follow their own story line with the sequels due to it being an alternate time line. I am looking forward to more.

  24. 24 Jonathan Burke (TrekBBS' Praetor)
    May 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I can’t say I have much to add to that, Mojo – you’ve summed up my impressions almost perfectly.

    I have a feeling it’s going to be enjoyable, but will be one of those where you walk away and start thinking about it and the enjoyability starts to unravel. Like you, I always thought one of Trek’s strengths was the intelligence with which it was presented, which I’ll admit did decline in various ways over the years. At first, I was against the idea of going back to the beginning and doing a prequel to start with. Then, I was okay when it was couched with the ‘it isn’t really the same universe’ time travel approach. Then, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got that it seemed like a reboot couched as a prequel rather than a straight reboot, ala BSG – redesigning, rethinking, and keeping only what works. It feels like concessions were made to appeal to the fanbase superficially, rather than via content, which really really annoys me. So, in one regard, if this resurrects Trek as a property, albeit one that almost totally abandons the original’s intelligence, I don’t know if that will actually make me happy, because it makes me question whether it’s actually Trek.

    I know, I sound very doom and gloom. Hopefully, I’ll be wrong. We’ll see when I see it… which should be Tuesday at the latest. :)

  25. 25 FredM
    May 8, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I have seen it two times…once opening night on Thursday and this (Friday) afternoon.

    I’ll defer to the following observations from Thursday about whether or not this film will/is a success: The theatre in question originally had only two showings set for Thursday. By the time I arrived to pickup my tickets, that had expanded to 10. It seemed almost every showing had a capacity crowd.

    The crowd was energized. People laughed, clapped, shouted out even during certain points of the film. After it was finished (after Midnight), people were standing outside of the theatre for 30+ minutes in small groups. They were talking about this film. Then the next showing let out…and they did it too.

    I found the film to be completely, utterly, amazing. As a die-hard Star Trek fan, I’m fine with it. What’s more, I could tell from the audience there were many who were not “die-hards” but they had a blast too.

    I find myself saying the following: When the hell is Star Trek 12 and if they ever reboot TNG, JJ needs to be involved.

  26. 26 Colonial Warrior
    May 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I went into this movie last nite ( preview 1 day ahead of release) with trepidation. On the one hand I knew I would like the SFX/CGI but the level of detail they used was amazing. I’m not entirely keen on the pregnant looking warp nacelle ( not a spoiler they are in many of the promo pics and trailers already). But the rest of the ship(s) and FX were fantastic.

    Yes they are still using far too much of the Shaky cam sadly some studio exec still believes that it makes the audience feel they are actually in the scene, in the midst of the action when in reality the audience is trying their utmost hardest attempts to make sense out of what is coming across the screen. JJ think STEADICAM, tight pans and just a slower zoom not by much but enough to allow the viewer to appreciate the work involved in front of the camera.

    As for the Actors I will say they are very good overall. McCoy in particular I was most impressed with his portrayal, spot on!. Chekov, acting was good, tight and definitely reminiscent of Pavel from TOS. Now he just needs to work on his accent, reign it in just a bit more and it will be perfect.

    The movie was 2hours 6minutes long if I remember correctly and it really did not feel like that much time had past. The story brings you in and holds you there for a really good ride.

    For a change the trailers did not show you the really cool stuff in it’s entirety, like so many others movies have done. Which tends to spoil a movie by showing you the whole enchilada of a key action scene. These trailers definitely whet the whistle but the real deal scenes are totally cool and breathtaking and gives you a cool surprise of that was totally wicked to watch I need to see that again.

    Several good Nods to TOS throughout the movie as JJ had mentioned. As it was with BSG, so it is with TREK. You can’t keep a great series down. Are their plot wholes, well yeah but they are plausible. Are the worshipers of Trek Cannon going to complain probably but that can’t be helped. Will the majority of folks out there enjoy this movie you bet they will. Some things in the movie would rate 5 out of 10, some would be 15 out of 10, overall I give it a 9 out of 10.
    Ladies and Gentlemen Trek is Back!

  27. 27 Ryan Cornelius
    May 9, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I went with my buddy who isn’t a Trek fan at all. In fact I had to drag him to go see it, since he knew how bad the recent Trek films had been from me.

    We both loved it.

    I am taking my wife and her folks to see it again tomorrow.

    My only nitpick was engineering. It totally took me out of the immersion to see it right after a scene from the bridge. I can understand it, but just wasn’t ready for it. I like my starships nice and clean on the inside. Just from the size of the engineering sets, it gave me the impression that there was no way all that could fit inside the secondary hull.

    But now I am just being pickie…

    The film was great, and I am looking forward to another installment in 3 years.

  28. 28 Joel
    May 9, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Text of an email I sent to a friend of mine this morning:

    If you haven’t already, proceed directly to the nearest movie theater and see “Star Trek.” Even if you’ve never been a fan of Star Trek before (you don’t need to be; it’s a *complete* re-boot of the franchise), you will enjoy this. It’s all the good parts of Star Trek, and sheds the clunky stuff that’s always weighed Star Trek down.

    I grew up watching Star Trek The Next Generation, and watched DS9, Voyager and Enterprise (listed in descending order of enthusiasm). By the time the last Star Trek movie with the Picard crew (Star Trek Nemesis) came around, that was more or less the last straw. Star Trek had been good once, but I felt that the whole franchise was just tired out and, well, done. Firefly and BSG came around, and so I moved on to new SciFi toys.

    When I first heard of this Star Trek movie, I just thought, “Really?” and sighed. “Give it a rest, man. Star Trek is over. Nemesis was the death blow of an already-dying franchise.”

    But this is good. This is really really unbelievably good. This is Star Trek being new and fresh and also being Star Trek again, instead of the convoluted mess that it was by the end.


  29. 29 adallahq
    May 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Short version of my review.

    I’d give this movie 4.5 stars, and I’d expect the average to fall in that range, either 4 or 4.5 stars, some giving it 5s and the worst anyone I think should give this movie is 3.5 stars.

    My overall impression is thus, a very good one. What I expected from the trailers and the hype came true, meaning, that JJ breathed new life into Star Trek, which anyone who has not been living under a rock and who does not live in self-denial will admit has been dying. JJ Abrams’ Star Trek is pretty comparable to the incredible achievement of the new Batman Begins and Dark Knight movies, which have transformed, rejuvinated and re-launched the Batman franchise to heights it has never before seen. Granted I dont think the transformation was as drastic in the case of Star Trek as it was for Batman (I literally could barely watch the old Batman movies, but the Star Trek ones I can and love to watch, so it was not such a big of a jump for me personally).

    Going a bit into the specifics, I thought by far the strongest point of this movie were the Visual Effects. I might be biased because I’m an aspiring VFX Artist who wants to specialize in Space VFX shots, and so that’s what attracted me the most in this movie, and also because I’m posting on the Blog of an Emmy-winning VFX Artist, but honestly I can now count in one hand the number of movies and shows that have what I would call State-of-the-Art VFX. Right now the only 4 movies/shows that I put on a pedistal above all others as far as VFX are Episode III opening battle scene over Coruscant, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. I feel the VFX and CG in these 4 pieces of work are by far the best to have ever graced the big or small screens, at least in the space ships/battles genre.

    I noticed in Star Trek what I call “creative shots” were used BSG-style. What I mean is shots where the camera is constantly moving into, shots that are from original and creative angles etc. One of the things I’m learning is that lighting and camera angles/movements can make or break a shot. You could have the best model in the world, but if your camera angles and motion is mundane, and if your lighting sux, then your shot is going to be horrible.

    I was most impressed by the sun lighting in this movie, many shots had that warm orange glow to the whole scene, and some of the planet shots were also bathed in orange glow it was great.

    The scenes with the ships were very realistic because of the slow motion that really gave you the impression you were watching colossal space ships and not CG models.

    I am not saying that Star Trek TNG, Voyager, DS9 and the shots of the movies to date where bad, but I think they were good for their time, and JJ Abram’s Star Trek showed us what VFX can do in the Star Trek universe in 2009.

    Ok, now enough about VFX :P

    The second most impressive part of the movie to me was the Cast. I absolutely could connect with all of them, I thought the choices for such iconic and legendary characters such as Kirk and Spock were dead on. I did love the humor that was present throughout the movie. The actor who plays Kirk (yeah I know I’m bad, I’ll learn his name soon enough dont worry) was perfect for the role. His blue eyes and his facial expressions just scream “Kirk”. Our dear Cylar was also perfect for the role of Spock, again, just looking at his expression was enough, and his voice and tone were perfect I thought.

    Now onto the parts that I thought could have been done better. My biggest disappointment was this feeling I got that things got a bit rushed and some things were hard to explain. Like the way Scotty got to join the Enterprise as well as the whole Captain and First Officer changes. I cant say more without spoiling, but let me just say it was all a bit weird for me to see Cadets of the Starfleet Academy get thrown into the field and be given commands of flag-ships.

    The villain in the movie was really great. I loved his performance and that of his XO or second. I also loved the weapon they had and the scale of the devastation they could cause and the danger they posed.

    All in all the storyline was certainly not bad, but it could have been a bit more deep. The ending was a bit cheesy, just a tad, reminded me of the end of A New Hope.

    I will say with certainty that the favorite part of the movie were the first 20 to 30 minutes of it, but overall, I think for a Director and actors who were never really fans of Star Trek, they did the best job they could.

    And after all, this was one man’s vision of Star Trek. Like any other work of art dominated by one man’s vision, there will almost always a large probability that that vision will not be understood or appreciated or liked by a great many other people.

    Of course, I also believe that outstanding artwork is great no matter what. If it is a great piece of work, people will immediately recognize it. Some works end up being an instant success with just about anyone who sees it. YouTube videos are a great example. When I see a great fan-made CG animation on YouTube, or a great Fanvideo, it almost always has or ends up getting thousands of views and great ratings, while the mediocre ones just die off. So I certainly thing there is good and bad quality art work, even if it’s by nature all subjective. It’s not like science or engineering, when you discover something or build something, it’s like 2 + 2, it either works or doesnt, it’s either useful or it isnt, there is nothing subjective about it.

    Anyways, to conclude, I think the movie was worthy of the name Star Trek, it could have been better (hence the 4.5 stars) and so was not perfect for me, but you can add this Trekkie to the list of people who are happy with it, and this review to the growing list of reviews that just rave about it.

    It’s true folks, JJ Abrams did it. Now go see the birth of Captain James Tiberious Kirk!

    Live Long and Prosper,


  30. May 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I find that I have very mixed feelings about the movie. The actors were all really great in capturing the iconic characters. So, that is very impressive to have achieved. But, the whole time travel plot, and new alternate reality is just kind of annoying. But, I guess they felt they didn’t want to do a full reboot the way BSG did.

    So, you have the classic characters, now in a new situation. That can work. And having Leonard Nimoy there was awesome. Still, this film is really a pilot ep, and now that the new reality is established, more films with this team would be welcome. Since they keep basically true to the characters nature, it can work.

    But, quite surprising to me, I find certain story points in the film to be a bit annoying.

  31. 31 Greg
    May 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Well, they amputated the Roddenberry from Star Trek, but it was still a great ride. The Morality play went bye-bye, while the character arcs went up, and logic went out the window. I enjoyed it.

    I’d still put it behind ST II and ST VI.

  32. 32 Obsidian
    May 9, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I loved it. And i think that will be the reaction of most.

    I have a feeling that this movie is to traditional Star Trek as New Battlestar was to old Battlestar. It retains the feel, the characters, the odd humour, all that stuff, but its shiny and looks more spaceshippy (Sorry, but TOS Enterprise looks like my parents old formica kitchen. And were about the same era, so…) The NEw Enterprise, yeah, shiny Apple bridge. But there are elements there. Watch the top of the screen during bridge shots.
    The TOS Enterprise is described in many of the books as a Swan, and they captured that in the new ship. She is the correct shape, but is graceful, LOOKS swift and strong.
    The engine room/s/caverns… Looked right somehow. I always had an issue with the way TOS engine rooms all looked like big sheets of moulded plastic (Probably because thats what they WERE), while the new one, looks like Grangemouth refinery, which is how it should BE. The lower section is the ‘Engineering’ section. I EXPECT to see engineering! Not a couple pipes and a wrench!
    (And for people REALLY concerned about it, just think, its a new ship, maybe they havn’t gotten around to putting in all the internal walls in engineering yet?)

    The new Enterprise rocks, the weapons effects blew me away, literally, I just broke into a massive grin, and went “Oh YEAH” under my breath when I saw them! (To be fair, I did the same thing at nBSG’s weapons. For the exact same reasons)

    The characters… Almost spot on. Kirk was a little off, but with the way the story went, that doesnt surprise me. This ISNT the TOS Kirk. He has been through a different life, and that makes him, at the end of the day, a different character.

    The others though, exactly as they should be. Simon Pegg… I am Scottish, and couldn’t fault him. He was a little heavy on the R’s, but that’s not a problem. He got ‘Airse’ exactly right though.
    McCoy… Looked good, sounded good. It was McCoy. Same with Spock and Checkov. Not so sure about Sulu. Maybe its because he didnt say a lot, but it didnt look QUITE like him, nor sound close enough either. I cant fault him though, his action sequences made up for any slight shortcoming there <3
    Uhuru… Was and wasn’t. Her unexpected relationship was unexpected, and FAR from canon IIRC. But again, I dont have a problem with it. It looked good, didn’t hurt the story, and won’t hurt the characters if it ever becomes a series/another movie.

    Nero was a bit… underdone IMO. He needed more of a reason to be what he was I think. But on the whole, 9.999/10, all round, good fun. Went too fast, felt like I was only there for 45 minutes… Wait… What stardate is this?!

  33. 33 Sofos
    May 10, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I saw the movie twice, and liked it more on the second viewing.

    To me J.J. and Company did the job they were hired to do, which was to reinvent the series. I believe the Star Trek we all grew up with is long gone, and I am fine with that as nothing lasts forever.

    My biggest gripe with the movie was the damn engineering set. All that money and they couldn’t build one, but instead shoot in an industrial warehouse? The other movies didn’t have the budget that this one did, but they at least could build a nice set.

    There are some things as a purest I will miss. Still I will be there for the next one.

    As I said I liked it, but I didn’t love it. You just got to accept it for what it is, which was a fun summer Sci-Fi movie.

  34. 34 Brent, back in town!
    May 10, 2009 at 1:22 am

    I didn’t hate it, but I was left feeling like I’d seen the latest “Mummy” movie, rather than a Trek movie. In my opinion (and only mine, judging from most others’ reactions) the science was dumb, the situations ridiculous, and the nods to the rest of the franchise almost all felt cheesy and tacked on. My main complaint, however, was the lack of two things that were a staple of the Trek mythos – the exploring, peaceful “bringing worlds together” attitude… and science that inspired and intrigued a generation of fans. Well, that and the awful score.

    The movie was entertaining, though. There was some emotion, lots of humor, and way too many punches and missiles flying. Dumb fun is good… I just can’t imagine I’ll care about this movie in the future in the same way I did ST2… but hey, it was a heckuva lot more fun than TMP.

  35. May 10, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Hi Mojo. Brazil here. Watched it twice, Friday. Oh My fraking Gods, what a reboot!

    JJ saved Star Trek, the same way RDM saved BSG.

  36. 36 darthmojo
    May 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Don’t worry, Brent, you’re not alone.

    I’ll write a full review later, but this movie, while generally entertaining, tries to be no more than a series of barely-acceptable plot points to get you from one action scene to another. Essentially, my friends and I were cheering one moment but left groaning the next. It feels like the writers started off with a series of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” moments and then made a half-assed attemped to justify them.

    I know a lot of people who are saying, “yeah, but the movie was so much fun I’m willing to give it a pass on the bad parts,” and sure, I can undertstand just wanting to have fun for 2 hours, but when we have films like DARK KNIGHT that get it right on so many levels, I simply can’t call this new Star Trek a great movie, because it isn’t.

    The action was great, the visual effects stunning and I did like the actors in their roles, but a truly successfull reboot of the Star Trek franchise should have done more than make me cheer.

  37. 37 Brent, back in town!
    May 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Agreed pretty much 100%.

    Good movie, fun movie, did pretty much what I expected the reboot to do, I guess.

    But if hard-core fans shriek when they see Darth Vader yell “NOOOO!”, then they have to run screaming from that horrible Kobayashi Maru abortion. I get that the time-stream has changed, but do you have to make Starfleet a bunch of nitwits? I can’t say much else without going into spoiler mode, so we’ll talk at another time.

    My favorite line… from Lisa Quattro: “I never knew that’s how Bones got his nickname!” Heh.

  38. 38 Snafu
    May 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    No to belittle the comparison (I agree that the movie is less than perfect), but then The Dark Knight was a second movie which didn’t need to spend time establishing a “BatmanVerse”. And Batman Begins had its problems, too.

    And Trek-wise, this movie isn’t any worse than all of the Next Gen films and a few of the older ones, which used to have Panama-rated plot holes, jokes and oneliners as cringeworthy or worse, and bad science galore. Yes, how low our expectations have fallen, but I firmly believe this has been an improvement. The only way is up.

    About Engineering: it seems there wasn’t that much money in this movie, really, so no dedicated Engineering set but a redress of a distillery or some locale like that.

  39. 39 pacimage
    May 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    The movie was great fun, but what made it so much better, and I highly recommend doing, is reading the comic/graphic novel “Star Trek Countdown”. It brought so much more to the overall story!

  40. May 10, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Mojo, and Brent,

    Yeah, you’re both hitting on the concerns I had. I should write a full review on my blog to go into all the issues I have with the plot of the movie. I really needed a good 24 hours to gather my thoughts.

    And I have to note that Philip Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog pointed out all the huge glaring science errors in the film. Errors that took me out of the movie and made me cringe. Read his spoiler filled examination of the science mistakes here:


    But, Brent, I actually like ST:TMP, because it was an intelligent film, that asked the audience to think. It was a different kind of Trek film, and it has lots of flaws (most of which were rectified in the Directors Edition) but it had integrity and kept faith with the ideals of Star Trek, and respected science. Star Trek II is the best of the films, and is mainly centered around action and adventure, but at the heart the characters lived and breathed and it had emotional resonance. Trek III had some really great stuff too and emphasized that Enterprise family unit. And Trek IV while while being largely a comedy, brought a social issue — environment, whales — back into Star Trek. Star Trek was always a great venue to explore ideas. Star Trek VI explored the end of the cold war in the context of an action movie.

    So, there’s all kinds of ways to do a Trek movie.

    Basically for this one they said lets have lots of action and explosions, absurd science plot gimmicks and then toss in some of the classic lines we all recall our heroes saying in their previous incarnations. But, did it really need to be dumbed down that much?

    Luckily for Paramount and their accountants busily counting the money, that sort of thing seems to work well with the attention deficit movie audience of today.

    The problem is when you decide to make a mindless summer popcorn movie, it becomes as forgettable… as popcorn. No one will remember it because pretty soon the next bright shiny object will come along.

  41. 41 darthmojo
    May 11, 2009 at 1:55 am

    CARDOSO wrote “JJ saved Star Trek, the same way Ron Moore saved BSG.”

    That comment makes me a little uneasy… yes, they both “saved” a franchise, but by going in completely opposite directions.

    Ron Moore took a series that was known for simply being an action-adventure show and added a much-needed layer of clever storytelling, multi-faceted character relationships and emotional complexity.

    JJ took a series that was known for clever storytelling, multi-faceted character relationships and emotional complexity and turned it into an action-adventure show.

  42. 42 Boris
    May 11, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Mojo: you mean TOS wasn’t an entertaining action-adventure show that could still be totally ridiculous every once in a while? JJ managed to restore those aspects, if not the science fiction and emotional complexity of some of the better episodes. It is also important to distinguish between TOS and some of the later iterations of Star Trek (“no money, Earth is paradise, humans have evolved…though, well, maybe not according to the next DS9 episode”); a TOS-era movie need not have anything to do with those later ideas, or share the overall stylistic consistency introduced with the TNG-era.

    Ron Moore has certainly done a much more interesting reboot job with BSG.

  43. 43 Buckaroohawk
    May 11, 2009 at 5:00 am

    Snafu (#38),

    The film had a filming budget well over $100 million, and that’s not including promotion and marketing. The reason that Engineering looks the way it does in the film is that JJ Abrams wanted a more realistic (for lack of a better term) look for the lower decks of the Enterprise.

    Let’s use a modern-day cruise ship for example. The upper decks, where the passengers and most of the crew go about their business, is clean, spacious, and finished. The bowels of the ship though, where the engines are located, is cramped, dirty and noisy, stuffed full of wiring, conduits, and machinery needed to keep the ship moving. That’s the effect the production team was going for. Aside from obvious plot holes, this seems to be the subject most people familiar with typical Trek design aesthetic have a problem with. It’s a jarring change to go from the way Engineering has previously been represented to this new look. I still haven’t decided myself whether I like it or not.

    In any case, the choice to use a location for Engineering over a studio set wasn’t budgetary. If previous Trek films (which didn’t have as much money to play with) could build Engineering sets, they could have for this film if they had wanted to.

  44. 44 James Rye
    May 11, 2009 at 6:15 am

    “but a truly successfull reboot of the Star Trek franchise should have done more than make me cheer.”

    For me a truly successful movie should make me cheer and or cry and this one did both. Those who complain about the simplistic story miss the point. This was about character and those great moments that Trek provides (such as the do you like pizza discussion in ST4).

    I cant wait for the sequel, which will surely be a more meaty film now that interest in Trek is restored and people will watch again. This film was like TOS in so many ways…funny, but not at the expense of the characters, dramatic, full of moments. Personally this is a film for trekkies, not trekkers….if you need to know what that means, trekkies like episodes like the gamesters of triskellion wheras trekkers would say that this is pointless.

    And Nimoy was fantastic. The VFX were amongst the best ever comitted to film.


  45. May 11, 2009 at 11:32 am

    When J.J. Abrams said he wanted to turn Star Trek into Star Wars, I didn’t think he was going to be so literal about it. This movie had the EXACT same plot as Star Wars! I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but Mining Ship From the Future = Death Star. And Scotty = Jar Jar Binks.

    A terrible disappointment.

  46. 46 Manolo
    May 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Well, I await your review sir. You say “JJ took a series that was known for clever storytelling, multi-faceted character relationships and emotional complexity and turned it into an action-adventure show.” and “The action was great, the visual effects stunning and I did like the actors in their roles, but a truly successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise should have done more than make me cheer.” What were the last two Next Gen movies if not more of what you just said just not done as well as Abram’s new movie only with less cheering?

    The Best two Star Trek movies for me will always be “Wrath of Khan” and “First Contact” because both have a resonance with the original material, yes VI, is there as well and to be honest these movies have our initial experiences with the shows and cast to work with and bounce off while the New Trek is cobbled together with shiny beloved one-liners, re-imagined re-introduced situations and a lot of heart. AND YES THE PLOT-HOLES where un-nerving, but ultimately forgettable while chomping on the candied popcorn of the performances. ( I also have my own GEEK/NERD-y explanations, so i’m okay with it.)

    My Wife and kids who are big Trekkers, loved it. As did I, and I agree that it might not have all the bells and whistles that the Original product had cultivated karmic-ly with hundreds of hours of shows and films, but maybe it will come in time.

  47. 47 Snafu
    May 11, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I am of two minds about Engineering: there was no way to get a sense of how it is organized, and some parts were a bit too “primitive”. It was sad not getting some iconics there, some elements that could become as recognizable as TNG’s warp core.

    But it expanded the scale of things inmensely: never a starship seemed so vast before (and that includes the magnificent open cargo bays of TNG).

    How much is a million dollars budget for a production like this one nowadays? Big, tight, borderline problematic?

  48. 48 darthmojo
    May 12, 2009 at 1:56 am

    Tuesday night I’ll be attending a Q&A with the writers of the new TREK movie – if anyone has a burning question they want answered, list it here and i’ll see what I can do!

  49. 49 darthmojo
    May 12, 2009 at 2:03 am

    RE: ENGINEERING BREWERY – Overall, I agree that the idea of filming the engineering section in an industrial, living, breathing place was a good idea. But either they should have picked a less contemporary looking place or made SOME attempt to augment the brewery with visual effects.

    For most of the close-up and medium shots, I was fine with the way it looked. But as soon as they went wide and you could see they were in a giant, square room that looked exactly like a brewery, it all fell apart for me. They should have at least done a matte painting that connected the pipework of the brewery with some sort of Enterprise-looking stuff. Where was the warp core? Where was ANYTHING that looked like it was futuristic technology?

    I understand the concept that “below decks” often doesn’t look as shiny and polished as the rest of a ship, but in this film the two were completely disconnected.

    Besides, part of the appeal of TREK was always the gee-whiz technology. If we’re going to have the gee-whiz of warp drive, at least SOME part of engineering should LOOK gee-whiz! Well, I take that back, I did find myself saying “gee whiz, couldn’t they have at least TRIED to make engineering look like it was on a spaceship?”

  50. 50 Colonial Warrior
    May 12, 2009 at 2:34 am

    What they need is for Mojo to come onboard and show them how it’s done the right way. How to Futureize a set for the 23rd Century via CGI. That one set in particular ( described earlier as a brewery looking set) would have the right look and appeal to the audience had they taken just a moment to talk with at least Okuda.

  51. 51 Boris
    May 12, 2009 at 3:43 am

    Ask them to explain the new canon policy. I understand they were involved in ancillary materials (the novelization, the prequel comic) a lot more than was usual for other movie or TV writers. How canonical is all the information on various official sites? Will it be used in future movies?

  52. 52 Boris
    May 12, 2009 at 4:25 am

    What they need is to have a look at Andrew Probert’s TMP designs. It amazes me that to this day, we’re still not done learning about the how’s and why’s of those designs. New information just keeps trickling in.

  53. 53 Jeyl
    May 12, 2009 at 4:35 am

    I have a question for the writers.

    Forgive the long set up. In Star Trek’s beginnings, Gene Roddenberry’s original take on Trek featured a female first officer of the Enterprise who was depicted as being the most experienced crewmember of the ship. This was Gene’s attempt to show that rank and position on a Star Ship wasn’t discriminated upon and that anyone could achieve a certain post without having to deal with prejudice or generalization. Unfortunately the studios didn’t like the idea of a woman being in such a high position and thus resulted in her removal in the future pilot. The show became so male dominant that the only real depiction of a high ranking female character didn’t occur until 22 years later in Star Trek IV (Or in the animated series but canon arguments always hinder it’s credibility). With this new Star Trek movie using the elements that was more the result of sexism than creative changes, don’t you think that having a new Star Trek story after the franchises 40 years of existence in broadening is taking a step backwards at how much the franchise broadened it’s depiction of female characters in the franchise?

    (End of Question)
    (SPOILER Alert)

    Let’s face it folks. The new Star Trek totally failed in trying to be risky and new. I knew that Uhura is bright, intelligent and respectful, but the biggest irony I found about her whole depiction is that when she mans her post on the Enterprise’s bridge, her role in the movie ends. Sure, she translated the Klingon signal, but Kirk was the one who put the puzzle together. And being a love interest to Spock doesn’t really add anything either especially when it’s never developed.

    – Winona Kirk: Her entire role in the movie was just to give birth to Kirk and that’s it. With only one mention in a later scene, she is never seen nor heard from again. Now some might say that Spock’s mother died, but at least Sarek was there for Spock.
    – Amanda Grayson: One of Two female characters in Star Trek who’s role is meant to give Spock motivation to do something after they’ve been killed.
    – Nero’s Wife: The second of two who’s only purpose in the movie was to motivate the male characters to do something only after their death, and how more cliché can you get with Nero’s wife? Not only did Nero vaguely explain who she was, but she was also pregnant at the time of her death. That’s it. No name, no other development. At least trekkies know Khan’s wife was Marla McGivers.
    – The Transporter Chief. She was doing her best until Chekov came in and completely threw her out of the movie. You might bring up that Uhura did replace that guy as the communications officer on the bridge, but as I’ve mentioned before, she doesn’t do anything. At least Chekov saved Sulu and Kirk’s lives.
    – Kaleh. Your probably wondering. Who the heck is Kaleh? Well, for those of you who read the comic book Countdown, she was one of the Narada’s very few female romulan crew members who does more in the comic than uhura does in the movie and plays an important role in the viral campaign that’s happening right now on the web. The story’s most interesting female character and she’s not even in the movie!
    – Lucia Rijker’s Romulan character. Listed as the communications officer on board the Narada, her entire role in the movie is pretty much ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. A pity too since as an actress she has awesome screen presence.

    So there you have it. We went from a franchise that wasn’t afraid to have a female captain being the lead of an entire series back to females officers being a rare occurrence.

  54. 54 Snafu
    May 12, 2009 at 5:25 am

    http://www.fxguide.com covers the new movie in both its podcast and videocast:

    Podcast (a conversation with ILM vfx supervisor Roger Guyett about the film Star Trek);
    [audio src="http://www.fxguide.com/modules/fxpodcast/files/fxg-090511-trek.mp3" /]

    Videocast (see entry #058: Interviews with director J.J. Abrams and actor Karl Urban.):

  55. May 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve been a long-time reader here (thanks for all your great writing, DM) and feel like I want to come out of the woodwork on this topic, as it is a rather momentous event in Star Trek history.

    I liked the movie on some levels but I sure didn’t love it. It had much to admire. But it also had much that I actually despised. I assume the “no spoilers” rule is still in effect so I’ll stay general.

    The things that I thought I would have the most trouble with – the new actors and the “resetting” of the timeline – are things that I actually had no trouble with. I thought the actors did an admirable job with what they were given. And the new timeline issue was handled as deftly as I can imagine it could have been. And I thought the FX were great. Though not a fan of this new Enterprise, I thought they presented it well, at least in its exterior. As for the interior, slapping some “Radioactive” stickers on holding tanks does not convert a brewery into Engineering, IMO.

    The main problems I had were all about the plot. To say that it had holes in it that you could drive all of Starfleet through is not an exaggeration, I think. Without being specific, there is a 25 year-long plot hole that shatters belief rather than asking for a gentle suspension of it. Also, the re-specifying of what Transporter technology can do should render Starships unnecessary in future installments, since evidently there’s a better solution that new makes distance between objects a moot point. There are other things as well that are tough to talk about without specifics. Suffice to say, the “science” in science fiction was thrown out for the sake of plot points.

    The action was wonderful, the characterizations solid, and the humor was broad and, well, funny. But the departures from a reasonable, understandable plot, really took me out of it. For those that cheered at the end, let me ask you this — did Starfleet win a victory, or only avert further disaster? When you think about what happened in the movie – especially the biggest redefining event of the story – cheering was the last thing that should have happened, IMO.

    If you were in the majority and thought it was wonderful, my hat’s off to you – I won’t try to change anyone’s mind. I didn’t have that same experience, though. I give it a C+, and I’m being kind, I think.

  56. 56 Snafu
    May 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    About canon: it looks like Paramount, Del Rey Books, the Star Trek Online guys et al. are being quite systematic at coordinating the post-Nemesis TrekVerse. If you go to http://www.startrekonline.com/fiction you can check the timeline being built, slowly incorporating the conventional TrekVerse events leading to ST:XI. For example, in the “prequel” comic book, B4 has successfully integrated all of Data’s memories, becoming Data, and gaining the captaincy of the Enterprise-D; Starfleet uniforms in the comic are the Star Trek Online designs; Geordi has designed the “Jellyfish” ship Spock pilots in the movie, etc.

    So things are surprisingly well organized, and the old Trek universe keeps on going with the MMORPG and the books, so…

  57. May 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Ask them if it was easy or difficult to turn in a script to Paramount that was written in Crayon.

    Or, seriously, ask them know anything about real science and physics. That would be interesting to find out.

  58. 58 mcooney
    May 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I know lens flares been used too much, but that one in Lightwave’s like 15 years old. Todd Varazi’s sunspot plugin, man that be the bomb if it was a plugin. I mean things like the look of out of focus dirt backlit highlights on the l ens and even the glinting of metal, way better than the usual post filtering.

    Just saw the flick. Bones was great, kinda a funny Clint Eastwood like take on the character. If this is same universe but different timeline, the way warp is used in the film kinda is hard to deal with especialy the 60’s trek.

    I think Trek is more for a discriminating taste than star wars or transformers, so to get the youth audience, i confess Trek XI might have been watered down for blockbusterability, i think the budget bubbles in hollywood unfortunately have wiped out the middle class size of movie for theatrical distribution. Studios seem to be spiraling into fewer and fewer tentpole movies per year, that makes em play it safe in plotting and story development. The billion dollar negative plus distribution cost of a feature is only a few years away. I wonder how long till a studio makes a billion dollar modern fiscal tragedy ala Heaven’s Gate?

  59. 59 ety3
    May 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I’m a 34-year fan of the franchise, TOS being untouchable with DS9 my fave among the more recent shows. TWOK rules atop the cinematic ventures (and still does).

    To the point: I loved this movie. It was fun, exciting and epic. Concerns over the lack of Trek-like ethical and moral dilemmas reared their heads only once (near the end when Kirk makes a diplomatic move and Spock isn’t ready).

    Here’s how I see it: Trek needed butts in the seats or the franchise — the whole thing — was dead. They made it fun and accessible, and kudos for that. People are roped in now. They may check out the other series but they will certainly check out the next film. In the next film, they should employ the high-concepts and values many of you are bemoaning the lack of in this one. (Yes, I can forgive them in this instance because, again, they needed the butts. Next time ’round, they have the butts guaranteed, so they need to get to the ideals that has kept Trek alive for so long.)

    In my head, for the next film, I’d like a sort of “Errand of Mercy” redux, with a touch of “A Private Little War.” Those two stories have plenty to work with: fighting against Klingons, heavy Prime Directive concerns, the necessity of war … direct allegories available to the War on Terror, Iraq, al Qaeda, etc. Put Kirk, Spock and McCoy on the surface, keep Scotty in command of the ship, throw in a primitive villager for Kirk to fall in love with and you’re golden. (Organians optional.)

  60. 60 Snafu
    May 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    This is where everything gets canonized: http://www.startrekonline.com/node/235

  61. 61 Towaway
    May 12, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    It took me two viewings to fall in love with this movie. Some here have mentioned that this is just an action adventure flick and the “morality play” went out the window. Gee, I seem to remember that happening a few times in TOS; so, it ain’t exactly a bad thing just to have fun with Trek.

    And while this was simply fun I feel some of the changes in Kirk (his father’s fate) and Spock (his relationship with another character) add some depth, or at least another facet to the character setting aside their interpretation from the originals.

    McCoy had to have been the best of the lot. Checkov was over the top as was Scotty. Speaking of Scott; we certainly could have done without the intergalactic Oompa Loompa.

    Finally, some correct science is given a nod. When members of the Kelvin are sucked into space there is silence. As our heroes dive from orbit they start off in silence and suddenly break into the rushing atmosphere. OK, it wasn’t consistent but one of Harlan Ellison’s biggest bitches about Trek has been (no pun intended) silenced.

    My biggest problem with this movie was I wished they could have done it without Nimoy. A clean break would have been so much better. Any other reboot is taken at face value. However, every time we turn around we are reminded about the original.

    I am very much looking forward to the next movie to see these actors and writers stretch their wings.

    I am also VERY much looking forward to your full review, Mojo. C’mon I’ll admit it wasn’t perfect if you’ll admit it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be.

  62. 62 The Lobby Lurker
    May 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm


    I’m on your page, as well, Mojo, Don, and the few other dissenters. I have seen the film twice, and I can’t say I absolutely love it or hate it. It’s just OK- some things were done very well, and others make me want to slap somebody. I also tried to look at this film from the perspective of a long-time Trek/Sci-fi fan (not to mention a fan of JJ’s TV work,) as well as from that of somebody who isn’t a “fan”, and the groups I saw the film with had a good mix of both to draw conclusions from.

    My observations:

    WAY too much lens flare and shake- JJ and the DP chose to shoot this film w. anamorphic lenses AND had 2 guys with flashlights in most scenes creating additional lens flare (no joke.) Between the interior scenes and the exteriors, I felt like I was watching a mix of BSG, NYPD blue, the first Star Wars trilogy, and bits of Lost in Space (the movie.)

    The acting/casting was overall quite good, especially for the principals.

    The story was generally typical “new” ‘Trek, and not in a good way- not a lot of character development (beyond Kirk/Spock,) too many Macguffins and conventions to advance the plot, and too many overused ones- HOW many times are we going to see the old “the ‘Fleet is somewhere else, so we’re going to have to send in the Enterprise and/or cadets into combat” excuse?? On a positive note, technobabble was kept to an acceptable minimum.

    The above said, there WERE some nicely scripted scenes with Spock(s), McCoy, Kirk, Uhura, and Pike, and the backstory on Kirk and Spock was brief but well done.

    More Scotty, less comic relief- I love Simon Peggg, but he was wasted here. More info on the teenage boy wonder Pavel. Less Amanda. More badass Romulans with tattoos and a grudge. ‘Nuff said.

    I’m not a fan at the glaring disconnect created by the Engineering section of the ship, either. The brewery/cruise ship guts look was too out of place and frankly, silly. I think the steam, the valves, and water pipes killed it most for me. It looked liked factory shots, not like something that would go into space.

    The effects were nicely done, except for the un-original BSG-like zoom shots. The action shots were sadly typical of most actions flicks today- all fast flashes, judder and quick-cuts, and far from original, JJ.

    All in all, I left the theater with an overwhelming feeling of …. Ehhhhhh, it was OK. Maybe I’m burned out on too many over-the-top action flicks, or jaded by the lack of a decent ‘Trek vehicle/property in the last decade or so, but it didn’t make my nacelles tingle, nor did it do the totally brilliant job at “reinventing” that has occurred in the Batman and Bond franchises, in my humble fanboy opinion.

    It did an overall decent job of rebooting and explaining how and why we have a new timeline, but for me, was it a masterpiece of filmmaking and storytelling? Nope. Was is a good ‘Trek film? Maybe. Was it a fun summer movie diversion that will likely draw new fans to the adventures of the Enterprise. Absolutely, and I think that is where the film succeeds. It’s a “check your brains at the door, strap in, suck down some popcorn and ride the movie” summer blockbuster in the vein of Transformers, and it will draw a large new audience to what had become a tired franchise. Is it the best that ‘Trek has to offer? Hardly, but there is room to grow and evolve here, and I am eager to see what will come down the pike (pun intended) in future installments, which I’m sure we will see.

    Group thoughts- we all sat down, fans and non-fans and went over the likeys/dislikies:

    The Good:
    -Acting by Pine, Quinto, Urban, Saldana, and Yelchin, and a few others.
    -The opening was very emotionally poignant and moving.
    -The passing of the baton scene(s) with Kirk & Spock, Kirk and Spock, and Spock and Spock.
    -Backstory of Kirk and Spock was universally liked.
    -Interaction/development between Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Uhura was liked, as well.
    -Romulan ship design- very interesting and different.
    -Time travel and associated paradoxes were generally handled well.
    -Weapons were cool across the board.

    The Bad:
    -Tone was uneven, and too many things just moved along with little explanation or reason.
    -Some things just defied logical explanation (can’t say much here with a spoiler gag on.)
    -Everyone got tired of the lens flare and shaking after about 10 minutes.
    -The guts/Engineering didn’t work for most, nor did the “outpost on ice planet Hoth.”
    -The “I-bridge” look was a bit too much WHITE!
    -Nero was a very uninspired, unmotivated, uninteresting, unidimensional villain.
    -Thus, Eric Bana was pretty much wasted in the role, which is a shame.
    -The humor was often hit or miss, and uneven, as well.

    The Ugly:
    -Winona Ryder was awful, and nobody cared for Sarek much, either.
    -The near-extinction of a key Federation race craps on Roddenberry’s grave unnecessarily.
    -Kirk’s meteoric rise through the ranks was just silly and insulting to his fellow officers.
    -The creature/chase on the ice planet

    Overall, the groups I saw it with gave it an average of about a 7.5-8 out of 10.

  63. May 13, 2009 at 2:22 am

    @The Lobby Lurker, I pretty much agree with all your points, particularly your list of the good, bad, and ugly.

    My main problem with the movie comes down to the fact that the plot makes no sense. Yes, the script also has no moral core, or any philosophical meaning that we usually associate with classic trek. But, leaving that aside, it’s the basic plot that makes no sense. It all falls apart around the middle when “Spock Prime” explains everything to Kirk, and his explanation makes no sense. And giving such nonsense lines to Spock– the 23 & 24th century Einstein, basically turns him into a moron. I’m sorry, but such glaring failures of logic, science, and internal story logic, just totally took me out of the movie. (And that’s even before getting into how silly and contrived all the quick promotions are. Gene Roddenberry said life on a Starship should be as realistic as life in the U.S. Navy. The newest U.S. aircraft carriers coming on line in the near future are the Ford Class supercarriers. Does anyone here expect that a 3rd year cadet will be given command of one right as the ship is launched? An 8 billion dollar warship handed over to a kid? Hmmmm. That would be interesting.)

    Maybe it’s old fashioned to expect a story to have verisimilitude, but any work of fiction needs to have some credibility. Other wise it fails, because the audience just doesn’t buy it.

    Oh well. Maybe someday someone with some intelligence and imagination will reinvent and reboot Trek again, and maybe they’ll get it right the next time.

  64. May 13, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I’m a long time Trekkie and went into the movie expecting to hate it but I absolutely loved it. However more importantly, I went with 3 friends who arn’t Star Trek fans (two went willingly and one was dragged along hahahah) and they also loved it! Which I’d never have believed! Even looking around the cinema its amazing to see the wide array of ‘fresh blood’ this movie has brought to star trek.

    Appart from the new ships secondary hull being disproportionately small *crys*, I really have nothing bad to say about the movie. Star Trek started off as a show full of action with sex appeal and a moral, it was really only TNG that geeked things up, this movie is a return to the action packed TOS way of life. The moral maybe wasnt worked on all that hard, it basically boils down to teamwork is good, but I still enjoyed the movie and cant wait for the next!

  65. May 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I’m sorry to pick on you Mojo, but yours are the only comments I read:

    ‘JJ took a series that was known for clever storytelling, multi-faceted character relationships and emotional complexity and turned it into an action-adventure show.’

    DS9 and TNG (excluding the last few movies) are the only series to hold true of that statement . After DS9 ended we were stuck with Voyager and Enterprise which never gave a second thought to charters. Belana Torres was the only player that wasn’t 1D and even with Belana her emotional complexities were only let out to air every so often. Most plots in the latter two were resolved by techno-babble which isn’t clever storytelling :/ There was no emotion in these series.

    So while I agree that the middle age of star trek is clever with characters and story, the *current* state of Sar Trek J.J picked it up from was anything but. The backstory and development of Spock and Kirk in this movie more then topped any development of a character in the past 10 years ^_^;

  66. May 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    OK, now that I’ve seen it, pretty much ditto on what Lobby Lurker said above with a few caveats.

    – Time travel was completely fraked up. Black hole is a time portal unless it’s not?
    – A folding sword is a stupid idea.
    – Kirk has Kung-Fu grip.
    – I was OK with engineering. I guess I just don’t know what a brewery looks like, but it seemed like the factory floor that one would expect.
    – Winona Rider was a complete WTF. Way too young. Is it just that her actual name is the same as Kirk’s mom?
    – Yeah, graduating as captain was lame.
    – If a bigger creature kills the big creature that’s following you, it’s going to eat it. Not chase your skinny ass,

    Here’s hoping that the even one is better :)

  67. 68 Mick
    May 13, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    hmmmm what can I say about it all.
    I grew up watching Star Trek TOS. I always loved the TOS crew, hated Next generation and DS9 but still watched them regardless..
    The only ST series that got my attention and made me love them after TOS was the Voyager.
    So I guess we can say I am a TOS fanatic.

    I went to watch the new movie thinking its gonna be below average Trek movie..
    I watched it on Friday night..
    I watched again on Saturday night
    I watched it for the third time on Sunday night..
    ..and all I can say is, time passes too slow when u waiting for the weekend to start watching again..
    I wanna see it again and again and again.. Than GOD or little favours and thank GOD for getting that cold Next generation crew off my face going back to Original Crew. :)

    CG work was real cool..
    JJ went little BSG like dramatic space scenes, as the music went all sad during
    battle scenes.
    But hey, you gotta love the way Camera moves away from shuttle and reveals the Enterprise. Seeing her like that took me back to my childhood man. I was gonna cry.

    They captured the fighting rebelious and womanising nature of Kirk perfectly.
    I could go on and on about this .. it was Simply PERFECT !

    The only thing that bugged me a little was the unnecessary use of anamorphic distortions
    of lens flares we didnt even see.. You’ll know what I mean when u watch the movie Mojo.

    Other than that I welcome back the best ST crew known to ST Universe and cant wait for the next movie :)

  68. May 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    I watched the film in awe, mouth open, hands in the air most the time. However when all was said and done I found myself with a wincing pain near the base of my spine that would not go away. In fact the more I thought about what I had just seen the pain grew stronger. Surely a tumor had now formed where my lower back once was.

    I now must blame this latest Trek film for what will ultimately kill me; this Trek spinal tumor; from giving this film too much thought.

  69. May 14, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Former VFX supervisor, David Stipes and I had different opinions on the new Trek movie, but his were more of a personal nature. You can find them on his blog.

  70. 71 Eugenia
    May 14, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I liked the movie. It was deliciously politically incorrect. Finally I got characters who were willing to risk or even give their lives for others. Finally I got heroes. Finally I got that mix of wit, action, and characters who cared for each other that the original series had. Finally I got full-out orchestral music. Finally I got old fashioned, unapologetic SPACE OPERA.

    I haven’t had a “They’re not going to do that, are they? Damn, I can’t believe they did THAT!” moment since Stargate (the movie).

    I walked out wanting to yell at Ron Moore and Dave Eick: THIS IS WHAT A REMAKE OF BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SHOULD HAVE BEEN!

  71. May 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    “Hi Mojo. Brazil here. Watched it twice, Friday. Oh My fraking Gods, what a reboot!

    JJ saved Star Trek, the same way RDM saved BSG.”

    Nice allgeory, since bosth shows have a lot of fans who would argue that neither show needed saving. :)

    One thing to bear in mind though is that this is a movie. Looking back none of the movies really altered the tone of the TV shows that followed. Even after Star Trek The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan TNG ame along. It’s not like all future Treks HAVE to have breweries in them, is what I am trying to say, I guess.

  72. May 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Okiedoke. Saw it at BFI IMAX on Friday. Squealed like a cheerleader. Just saw it on Normal Cinema about an hour ago and wrapping myself about 1) A glass of Merlot and 2) A warm fuzzy feeling over the second watching clearing up a couple of technical issues for me.

    What a movie. That was FUN! More, please.

    I have minor issues – only minor ones. This washed so much of the beigeness of Enterprise away, and left the field wide, wide open for more, more, more.

    I feel good. There’s upbeat sci-fi on the Big Screen that looks *GREAT*, is pulse-pounding, and with a character mechanic that locked onto the beam, sounded “All hands to the Jets!” and delivered.

    I was dreading it. Now I want more. That is all.

  73. 74 gammara
    May 18, 2009 at 12:03 am

    The movie was a lot of fun. It wasn’t excellent, but fun. I would say it’s entertaining.

    Bad writing. The plot was sillier than all get out — one has to ignore all logic in order to accept it, which is too bad. The villain was ridiculously stupid and was hardly the nemesis (no pun intended) that the characters deserved.

    Cast and writing for them: a mixed bag. Some of the characters were spot on while others seemed like a vague representations doing things those characters would never do.

    Nods to TOS. The movie had nice winks and tips of the hat to the original while creating its own mark on the scene. And I think that’s the key — it created its own mark rather than rely on the previous Trek to help guide it for good or ill.

    If one is looking for a romp — see this movie. If someone is looking to further the adventures of the Kirk, Spock and McCoy we all love and know, maybe see it after a few drinks or skip it. I think for a next version of Trek it’s a decent start, but has room for improvement.

  74. May 20, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Mojo,

    I’ve been reading your site for a while. Stumbled across it ages ago when you posted your great Enterprise D art for season 1.

    I was really looking forward to this film, it looked great in the trailers and the buzz was good. I even knew people who saw it here in Sydney when it premiered and they all said it rocked. After the bitter taste the travesty that was Nemesis left, I was hoping this would be good. So I finally got to see it the other night. I’ll try to stay spoiler free as possible.

    Well I was only mildly impressed. There has been a lot of press bagging old school trekkers for not liking it, but honestly I feel I am falling into that camp. I’m not a uniform wearing obsessive canon nit pikcing fan, but I liked TNG a lot and Trek has always sort of been there because my family liked TOS when I was growing up.

    I loved the new actors in the old roles, especially Kirk, McCoy and Chekov. Uhura was good too, and Capt. Pike. The opening scene was great too. And it was quite funny in places. They seemed to respect the characters. On the downside the general thrust of the plot just didn’t work for me. It was like a series of dramatic events strung together that didn’t make much sense. Taken in chunks the scenes are good, but as a whole it just felt…. silly. I also found Spock a little “off” but I guess he is younger here. I think it’s a pity because they got so much right with the characters. And the film from a sound and VFX point of view seemed well made. I like all the classic sounds being used on the ships. Especially the transporter. VFX wise I agree about the lens flares. Let’s lose them please. As for The new Enterprise. Didn’t like the big warp nacelles, the Bridge was fine with me, but the engineering deck… well… The ship going into warp and out was really brilliant.

    So for me First Contact is still king followed very closely by Wrath of Kahn. As a side point, I’m not sure Star Trek works that well on film. For me it’s a TV show. TOS and TNG were great. I kind of checked out of trek after TNG. But the films are always hit and miss. I was stunned by how good First Contact was after the goofiness of Generations. And then they make Insurrection which was very average and Nemesis which was a complete shocker. TMP is OK if slow (but it’s kind of pure Trek) and Khan is great and ST VI was good. The rest are pretty uneven. They always seem to try to go for some huge event or contrived drama which doesn’t work.

    Anyway I hope when these people make Star Trek 12 they make a more credible film. Just let it be new. This half reboot/half canon type thing doesn’t work. Trek is old enough to be restarted if it’s done well. I don’t care about canon and all that if it’s a credible film. Batman and James Bond started again keeping the best ideas and they did it well. I feel with this film they went half way. They’ve done the setup, now lets just have a killer movie with the crew and the ship in deep space somewhere. And please put about 5 years between this film and the next one in the new continuity so everyone has grown up a bit. We’ve had fun but dumb. Now let’s have fun and smart. FC and TWOK prove it can be done.

    I have mixed feeling about this film, but I do want to see more with these actors. That’s my 2 cents worth.


  75. August 11, 2009 at 5:50 am

    I thought the movie was great. Although I have always been a star trek fan growing up. I’m not sure how I would feel about it if I wasn’t into scifi movies.

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May 2009

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