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The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: Star Trek (2009)

Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Star Trek”
Rated PG-13
2009

Although given the Starship Enterprise’s keys, geek-culture maven J.J. Abrams warped the Federation vessel like he stole it in 2009’s “Star Trek” — a sleek, stylish reboot that achieved jailbreak momentum through deft pacing, dense plotting, passionate principles and perfect casting.

Resourcefully entwining the Enterprise crew’s origin story and first mission, screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci rebuffed the idea such plots couldn’t creatively find breathing room in the same script.

Going further, they severed canon-continuity ties, using an alternate-reality gambit that probably irked aging Trekkies as much as rap-music cues like “Sabotage.” But this “Trek,” like none since “First Contact,” boldly and passionately pushed the franchise where it hadn’t gone before.

James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) as Starfleet Academy buddies before battling a time-traveling Romulan (Eric Bana)? Too easy.

Instead, “Star Trek” takes unpredictably scenic routes to heroism through impossible decisions, challenging sacrifices, personal tragedies and snarling clashes of Spock’s Vulcan logic and Kirk’s human guts.

This focus on them doesn’t detract from the strong support of John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and Anton Yelchin, filling out the Enterprise crew. (Even as a purely functionary one-and-done villain, Bana gives it his spit-spewing all as well.)

Thrilling and aggressive without stooping to brutality or bombast, “Star Trek” found invigoration in fresh, exciting storytelling rather than musty, dues-paying nostalgia that led the series into a situation with worse odds for success than the Kobayashi Maru. This franchise is now set to stun for several sequels.

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7 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: Star Trek (2009)”

  1. Chad says:

    Saw this movie in imax with my father-in-law, hard-core of the hard-core "trekkies," and we both came away very impressed. Can’t wait for JJ to finally find a storyline worthy of shooting for the sequel. Agree with Nick’s article, the movie wasn’t just a remake to make money on the name, but was a fresh take on an old standby.

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  4. Lara says:

    I live with a bunch of hard core Trekkies (husband and 3 sons). We all really enjoyed this version of the Star Trek saga. I found it to be fun to watch and I personally liked the twists and alternate universe plot. I thought they tried to keep enough of the personality quirks in from the original series and movies, yet moved the characters forward and, in my opinion, greatly improved upon the acting! I enjoy the later Star Trek series more than the original, including the movies, but this one made me a fan of the original characters.

  5. Joe Shearer says:

    I think it would be interesting to do a "Space Seed" film next, where the crew initially encounters Khan and his people, then have another completely unrelated film or two, then for part 4 or 5 do a Wrath of Khan type movie. Or perhaps they could simply reference that they’d encountered Khan, then for a 3 or 4 do a Khan movie. It would be tricky, because they’d have to get someone more charismatic than Eric Bana.

    The great thing about this is they could go in so many directions. They could get a villain from a species that has heretofore been minor and update them.

    For me the one villain I don’t want to see is the Borg. They killed them dead in Voyager, then peed on the ashes in Enterprise.

  6. Nick Rogers says:

    I love the following films: "Wrath of Khan," "The Voyage Home" and "First Contact." Beyond that, the films range from unwatchable to just OK for me, and I’ve never really watched much of any TV permutation. I just hope J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman don’t go the Khan route in their first sequel or any others. To me, that would be a disappointing backslide from the exciting, respectful divergence that makes this reboot so outstanding. And yes, the "Vulcan thing" is great for Spock – it’s a great way to put him on even emotional footing with Kirk at some level and it’s a far more interesting way to bridge the logic gap than solely relying on the Uhura love interest.

  7. Joe Shearer says:

    This is one of those films for me. I’m an unabashed Trek fan, mostly beginning with the Next Generation crew and beyond, and I agree this was a total game-changing powderkeg of a movie. It satisfied me completely, and I thought the alternate reality thing with "Spock Prime" was spot perfect, a way for Abrams to have his cake and eat it too-he has a whole new timeline to work with, but without the whole "everything that came before is irrelevant" vibe that some remakes/reboots have. That entire franchise was too powerful and rich to just disregard, and I’d like to see continued looks back, but with the understanding that things this time are different. Also the {light spoiler} thing with Vulcan was really shocking because it played a pretty big role in the original series, and doing what they did adds a whole new dynamic to Spock’s character.