Why Star Trek (2009) is a Terrible Film


J.J. Abrams' jacked-up Enterprise rises above the clouds of Titan in the 2009 film Star Trek.

J.J. Abrams admits he was never a fan of Star Trek. So, instead, for the 2009 reboot, he cobbled together his own little Star Wars ripoff.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with Star Trek films over the years. Many people think that the odd–numbered ones are bad. Based upon my earlier article (Why The Motion Picture is my Favorite Star Trek Film) the first one has the deepest significance for me. I’m also partial to number three, The Search for Spock. So, obviously, I think the odd ones are fine.

But, honestly, the only Trek film that I can’t stand is Insurrection. I can find something likeable in virtually all of them — yes, even number five, The Final Frontier.

An encounter with “God” at the conclusion of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier from 1989.

A Franchise in Trouble

As for Trek on TV, like a lot of fans, I was pretty frustrated by the latter years of Rick Berman’s tenure as Executive Producer (although I blame Brannon Braga far more than Berman). I facetiously called Voyager ‘Star Trek Lite’ — and don’t even get me started on Enterprise. While the narrative that 24 producer Manny Coto brought to the final season was a bit more on track, it was really too late.

The modern Star Trek franchise was becoming recycled, trite, and creatively bankrupt. I was happy to see the 18-year run — that began in 1987 with The Next Generation — come to an end. It was time to give it a rest. But, deep down, I felt that production would return eventually.

I was right. A year later, in 2006, the announcement came that J.J. Abrams was taking over the property with a new film. The teaser poster featured the emblem of the original series. Oooh, a reboot! That was exactly what the forty–year–old series needed.

As a fan of Lost, I was pretty excited. Abrams’ feature film directorial debut, Mission: Impossible 3, was fairly smart and entertaining. He’s a smart guy, so I figured that I would keep an open mind.

On the set of the Enterprise bridge, J.J. Abrams directs his reboot of the original Star Trek.

Mixed Signals with a Hint of Hope

When the teaser trailer appeared in January of 2008, I had some questions. While I loved the audio of JFK, I was deeply concerned about the Enterprise being constructed on Earth. It just didn’t make sense. I didn’t see why a ship that big would be built on the surface of a planet.

But again, I remained open-minded. The production values were excellent. I read it had the highest budget ever for a Trek film. Cool. Maybe we would get something truly epic — that didn’t feel like a glorified TV episode on the big screen.

Once I saw the first full-length trailer, it didn’t look too bad. I was not that impressed with Chris Pine’s Kirk, but the other actors looked pretty good. Especially, Karl Urban as Bones.

I was NOT enthused by the quick shot of Zoé Saldana’s Uhura taking off her top. It seemed like gratuitous pandering to teenage boys: “If you come watch our movie, you will get to see explosions, killing, and breasts!” Lame…

However, the film’s final trailer showed real promise — great music, emotion, and stunning visuals. It looked like the film was going to gel. I was stoked! “Fire everything!”

A pre-release promotional poster for Star Trek (2009) featuring the principal cast.

The Sober Reality

I finally saw the simply-titled Star Trek at a free advanced screening a week before its debut. I was not enthused or impressed. In fact, I was a little angry. I’m glad I didn’t spend any money.

Why? Where do I begin?

The problems started with video I saw of the PR tour before the film’s release. J.J. Abrams was always quick to point out to the press that he was never a fan of Star Trek. He said it as if he was almost ashamed to be associated with such a geeky phenomenon. Abrams’ first love was Star Wars.

Well, he managed to finally make his own version of George Lucas’ classic. That’s exactly was what Star Trek (2009) became — a Star Wars ripoff. The visual effects team jettisoned all of the Trek traditions, like the Warp streak and flash, and instead imitated the Star Wars hyperspace jump. Gone were the passing star fields that, to me, always exemplified the name of the show!

The new film’s key plot points — like a fatherless farm boy challenged by an elder to leave his home and venture into space, and an entire planet being destroyed halfway through — were completely derivative of Star Wars. The only problem is that the two franchises have nothing to do with one another and never should! They are based on totally different foundations.

Trek is about a semi-plausible look at OUR future, while Wars is a space–based fantasy in a galaxy “far, far away…” (For more about the differences between sci-fi’s most enduring franchises, check out Why the Original Star Trek is Cooler than Star Wars.)

An example of the Enterprise’s new Star Wars-inspired Warp effect.

Science Fiction without that pesky Science

In fact, the pseudo–science of Trek was what rooted the series for me. While they definitely stretched the physics and made things up via significant ‘technobable’ (especially on The Next Generation) there was still some sense of reality and possibility. That was totally thrown out the window on Abrams’ reboot.

First off, the film starts off with a ship emerging from a weird space anomaly that looked like a black hole. I had heard that the lead scientist for NASA’s Cassini mission, Carloyn Porco, was the science advisor for the film. I’m sorry, but she did not do a very good job.

The entire film is riddled with horrible science. I mean horrible! A supernova that threatens the entire galaxy? Maybe a gamma ray burst could do that, but a not a supernova. And what about Red Matter?

At the end of the film, a black hole forms INSIDE a Romulan vessel! The crew sends messages back and forth while the spacecraft is slowly being consumed. I thought black holes sucked up everything — even light. Surely, it can stop radio signals. Just a drop can destroy Vulcan, but a huge ball of the stuff takes forever to dissect a ship?

Then the Enterprise, after dumping multiple Warp cores and exploding them, escapes the black hole. How does that work?

Red Matter? I don’t get it. Seems a little contrived.

What’s Up with the Sets?

The set designs were atrocious. The Kelvin was hideous inside and out. There are clear PLASTIC curtains inside a shuttlecraft? Engineering and other parts of the Enterprise were shot in a brewery. That’s right, a brewery. And it looked like it. The film had a $150,000,000 budget and it was shot in a brewery?!

What about the bridge? It looked like an ADHD Apple Store. Who could possibly work with all of those lights and lens flares glaring at them all the time? Why wouldn’t the film’s designers give even a little sense of the original design?

The Engineering Deck was an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys, California.

I had absolutely no sense of how the outside of the ship corresponded to the interior. The sets were incongruous and inconsistent. A 2001 hallway connected to what looked like a steam plant. A turbolift that takes you from engineering to the bridge in two seconds. What the heck was going on with the production team?

Lastly, the design of the ship itself — which was more than twice the size of the original. The new look completely destroyed the aesthetic of Matt Jeffries and Andrew Probert.

It was a mess of oversized nacelles (that are too close together) and an oddly elongated engineering section connected to a saucer that was some sort of ripoff of the ship from The Motion Picture. And why the would they possibly build it in the middle of Iowa?!?!

How did they get that out of Earth’s gravity well and into space?

The Story was a Mess

Enough on the design. How about the narrative?

The story was virtually incomprehensible. It tried to be both the old Trek and some new conglomeration. Things made no sense, if you knew anything about the Trek canon. And, sorry, since they weren’t actually starting the story over from scratch — the presence of Leonard Nimoy precluded that — I had to take the old canon into consideration.

Pike commanded the Enterprise years before Kirk was around. The Enterprise wasn’t new when Kirk took command. Spock and Bones were both considerably older than Kirk. Delta Vega — where Kirk is marooned — was a planet they visited in the second Star Trek pilot that was situated on the rim of the galaxy, and not (what appears to be) an icy moon of Vulcan. But these issues were minor.

Leonard Nimoy reprised his role as the Vulcan Spock to provide continuity from the original timeline.

A few questions that plagued me: How would a ship come out of a black hole? And, then, why would it just start shooting at you for no reason? Why would Kirk run into old Spock in the one cave he was hiding in on an entire planet? That’s the same as being randomly dropped off on Earth and chased by a mugger into the one McDonald’s where your best friend is eating.

Speaking of that: why would the new Spock jettison Kirk in an escape pod? Why not just put him in the brig? Then, once on the surface of Delta Vega — Kirk is chased in a lame, derivative (Star Wars: Episode One, YUCK!), and very pointless action sequence.

Plus, why would a leather-skinned lizard creature exist on an ice planet? AND how far away was Delta Vega from Vulcan? Old Spock could see it destroyed like it was as far away as the Earth’s moon. Closer even!

The whole Romulan subplot was pointless and lacked any real motivation. Nero had to be one of the weakest bad guys in the history of Star Trek. Blathering, murdering, and scene–chewing. It was simply awful. And, can I add that the little gremlin assistant to Scotty was out of left field and just plain stupid?

Ultimately, I think that many scenes were contrived for sensationalism — to keep viewers from getting bored. For example, Kirk’s big hands and Scotty beaming into a water pipe.

Kirk’s big, allergic reaction hands… What does this have to do with Star Trek?

Any Redeeming Qualities?

You may wonder if there was anything I liked about the film. Actually, I did enjoy some of character interactions. I liked the visual realization of Vulcan — especially the school and stalactite buildings — and Ben Cross played a fine Sarek.

The bottom line for me: Star Trek (2009) was awful, and it really causes me to worry about the future of my favorite sci-fi franchise. I have had this argument with a lot of people. They say, “But it was fun and it reminded me so much of the old show!” Really? I find that hard to believe.

If the film had not been called Star Trek and played on the pop cultural zeitgeist and good will that the franchise had built over so many years, people would have thought the film was utter nonsense. Folks went in with a feeling of warmth and nostalgia that kept them from truly seeing that mess for what it was.

I’m completely fine with the idea of a reboot. But, then, actually reboot it and do an intelligent job. Don’t act like all that came before is irrelevant. After all Star Trek had been around for four decades when the keys were handed to Abrams. Clearly something must have been going right for it to have endured that long.

Buildings on the planet Vulcan — truly one of the film’s few inspired designs.

Production is underway on Star Trek 2. Again, I will try to have an open mind, because Abrams’ Trek is currently the only game in town. I think it’s still possible to have an intelligent and comprehensible story — filled with action and effects — that can reach a broad audience. No matter what, though, let’s hope that they build their own engineering set this time and stay away from Budweiser.

Oh, one final thought: why would a third-year cadet be promoted to first officer? I would like to see that happen on one of our naval vessels!


Craig Maull
5 months ago

One of the biggest plot holes I saw (and they are abundant in this fluffball of a movie) was….okay, a supernova destroys Romulus… Start there.

Stars don’t just explode without warning. A species capable of FTL travel would surely know that a nearby star would be going BOOM well in advance. Okay, well suppose they didn’t know. The Romulans were reading my pet goat or something.

So, this ship goes BACK IN TIME through the singularity from this “red matter”… BACK IN TIME… as in BEFORE the planet got cooked. Instead of maybe trying to prevent the event from cooking Romulus or warning anyone… the Future Romulans decide to go on some hackneyed quest to destroy all Federation planets, starting with Vulcan, to avenge events that not only didn’t happen yet, but are now preventable.

This was a movie that tried to mask a lack of continuity and writing behind, admittedly, stunning visuals. But, anyone familiar with the old series would mourn how badly they messed up on the design of the Enterprise.

    3 months ago

    I watched this show in the theater and agree with the writer of this article. For a Star Trek-based science-fiction show, it’s unforgivably awful. While very good points have already been stated about what’s wrong with this movie, the most obvious error in the “plot” to me hasn’t been brought up.

    When Nero time warps 150+ years into the past, he doesn’t go to Romulus, share the technological advances, thereby allowing the Romulans to become far superior to the Klingons and space-fledgling Federation. He gets his revenge by wiping out the Federation and the human race while Romulans become the dominate force in that sector of space. You would think the Vulcan related, highly-intelligent Romulan Captain would have thought of that one.

    But, there is the deleted scene which showed that the Klingons captured Nero and held him for 25 years. Okay…
    So then we are left with the highly warlike, unmerciful, power hungry Klingons who DON’T DISSECT the highly-advanced Romulan ship, thereby becoming more technologically advanced and wiping out the Romulans, Vulcans, space-fledgling Federation and human race?

    Nor at anytime in the film does anyone in the Federation appear interested or impressed with Spock’s technologically advanced ship. No effort is made by the space-fledgling Federation to acquire, inquire or want to study this technology. Furthermore, Spock illogically doesn’t think of this himself. Instead everyone is more than willing to blow up both spacecrafts.

    The only way for Abram’s Star Trek to make any sense with his “plot” was for us to wind up boldly going with either the Romulans or Klingon’s on their mission to destroy life forms after they killed the human race.

    When they were going to cast for Star Trek TNG, Roddenberry explained why he didn’t hire the original actors or reboot the original show, “I would hate to think that our imagination is so slender, that there aren’t any other possibilities to think about.” Abrams proved him to be correct.

    He used no imagination, thought little of possibilities, and turned a franchise based in science fiction into a giant teddy bear with a lightsaber. Not that I didn’t like Star Wars. I did. But it’s science fantasy and SF doesn’t require good writing, plots, or three dimensional characters.

    You can get away with red matter, leaky space ships, 100,000 light bulbs powering a star ship bridge and pouting, jealous, slutty female officers. Unfortunately for Abrams, science fiction does require some intelligence and inspiration. I don’t think that Abrams even knows what science fiction is and how it differs from fantasy.

    Roddenberry’s Star Trek inspired mankind to create the cool gadgets that many people use today. Scientists are still inspired to create other advancements shown in TOS. Some of these are on the verge of becoming reality. Abrams couldn’t even inspire me to finish my popcorn before I walked out on the film. So unless someone explains fiction from fantasy to Abrams or he is removed from the franchise, Star Trek is now a cold dead planet that offers nothing for mankind.

gordon james
5 months ago

Check out Prelude to Axanar. Go YouTube; type “Axanar”.

Full film will be next year in April 2015, but now see what these people are capable of to recreate Star Trek.

Andrew Bass
10 months ago

Interesting read and I will have to look at this one again.

I liked the 2009 Star Trek, although I did have some issues with several points in the film — just as you pointed out. Some, I hadn’t made the connection.

I had high hopes as I liked JJ Abrams other works, but once I heard the he didn’t even watch/like or respect Star Trek, I just got pissed. Clearly there are Star Wars references in this film and ST:Into Darkness that I just felt like “WTF?”.

ST:Into Darkness sealed it for me that Abrams and his team HAVE NO IDEA what Star Trek is about — nor do they care. In the end, JJ got what he wanted — to do Star Wars.

I have no hope for the third rumored film, unless its taken over by artists who truly care and believe in the Trek legacy.

10 months ago

Perhaps what you fan fiends don’t understand is that new upcoming productions have to cater to mainstream folks. They are not going to spend millions just to satisfy the Star Trek community and in return get barely 1/10th of the profit.

For example, they are not going to waste 5 minutes of screen time showing warp speed passing through the stars, so it would be logical to have it shown like hyperspace jump. Same with the turbo lift: they are not going to spend another ten minutes of screen time in an elevator.

Your going to complain about a ship being made in Iowa and being to huge? Really… Who cares if vulcans are yellowish greenish color??????? You have got to be kidding me.

The uniforms as well as the ship itself (there’s nothing wrong with an Apple Store-looking bridge) are an updated futuristic perception of today’s world, not in the 50’s. Don’t try and argue practicality with me, because even in today’s world we sacrifice practicality for beauty — just look around you.

In my opinion, they did a splendid job in recreating the movies and most mainstream movie critics have given it a good rating. Perhaps you guys need to base the movie on chance instead of logical thoughts. If they were to film every movie on Earth based on logical means, we would simply have real boring movies or real long ones. It just wouldn’t be too efficient on our esteemed producers and directors. They were picked for a good reason!

I implore any of you to try and do better and make it on the top box office, as was did with J.J. Abrams.

    Jacked Monster
    4 months ago

    The problem isn’t the styling of the Bridge, it’s that the film purports to be “Star Trek” while having absolutely NONE of the spirit of Star Trek as created by Roddenberry.

    It’s like staging a Monkees gig, but advertising it as a Beatles reunion. Maybe they get some of the superficial aspects correct, but the essence and personality of Star Trek are absent.

    What we have is not a reboot, it is an undead Star Trek. Put a stake through its heart and call it a day.

1 year ago

Thank you for this. I’ve never lived in Iowa and imagine it to be a total dessert that they have to build an almost 1 km starship without even a roof. Does it ever rain there? Aren’t there dust storms? Is that the 23rd Century?

I think the “Hitler parody” video on YouTube sums it up excellently.

This films makes a mockery of some great starship designs and the hot rod enterprise is OK on screen, but hideous for a model ship collector. Maybe there will be an adult film post-Abrahms He may have killed the canon, but he’s at least walking away from his trash heap.

1 year ago

I liked it. IMO, it’s one of the best Trek films ever. Why do I think as such? Well:

• The themes are as poignant as any other Trek film. Friendship, love, loss, duty, sacrifice, even lust/sex. OK, the last one isn’t necessarily Roddenberry-esque, but then these are themes as strong as in any of the TNG/TOS films. What theme was First Contact based on? Revenge? Loyalty? Friendship? What about The Undiscovered Country? Reconciliation? Loyalty?

• Er…did TOS (the 60’s show, not the films) show the warp star streak? Did the TOS films? Not that I can recall. This is something added from TNG — most likely based on improved CGI.

• And the sets? We have no idea how engineering is supposed to have looked in Kirk’s day. It’s probable that the warp chamber we see in TNG (Enterprises D and E), DS9 (the Defiants) and Voyager were a 24th Century invention. Even Archer didn’t have a glowing warp chamber tower as in the 24th Century Treks.

In summation, I didn’t see much wrong with it. All characters were consistent with their 60’s show/films personas. Though the exception is Uhura, since she was never as sassy or frankly horny in the show/films (the actress is cute though as with her Orion female f-buddy, LOL…)

Wrath of Khan and First Contact IMO are the best films, but this is in the second tier with Generations, ST IV, The Motion Picture, ST VI.

1 year ago

J. J. Abrams and his team have come up with a way to sell Star Trek to the kind of audience that likes Transformers.

It’s true that they are ripping off other science-fiction “franchises” (I hate that term), too: the Star Wars hyperspace jump, the blaster-type weapons, etc. Even the sounds effects just aren’t right: the final battle, between the Nero’s huge ship and the Enterprise, sounds not like a Star Trek space battle, but like the Earth Alliance fighting the Minbari warrior caste at the Battle of the Line (for those of you familiar with Babylon 5).

But hey! Killing Star Trek isn’t enough, for J.J. Abrams: he recently got his hands on the Star Wars rights, too! That untalented jerk is destroying alomost all the science fiction I loved as a child, and I have to admit that it does piss me off! What will be next, after murdering the Star Wars franchise? Will J.J. Abrams want to obtain the rights to do a new Battlestar Galactica, intended to make incredible amounts of money (again!), while pissing away the original series and the Ronald D. Moore versions?

Chad Petrie
1 year ago

This is a wonderfully written piece. Thank you for analyzing the film and its mistakes without being a typical angry blogger who bashes movies with uneducated pathos. Seriously. I agree with your points and you were clever and funny and insightful about it and nice.

2 years ago

I completely agree with the sentiment of this article. The film was more Star Wars than Star Trek… strange how the phasers being fired by the USS Kelvin in the first fight scene were replaced by repeater blasters throughout the rest of the movie. And funny how this Enterprise has more fire-power than a Borg Cube! LOL.

When I saw this movie in the cinema, it was a great experience; the special effects, sound, music — just the epic scale of it all. Style over substance, clearly, but it was captivating. However, it’s not the Star Trek I know and love!

2 years ago

It’s good to see this list. (And wow! It was nice to see someone even *mentioned* the film Moon!) What I’m hoping is the kind of catering these cankers of entertainment do will prove as disposable and unmemorable enough to decrease the sales and eventually just be shrugged off as quickly and easily as the acceptance to it came. (Easy come; easy go?) What no one seems to notice in the industry is that repeat visits to something is what really makes the long-term standing possible.

What it really reminds me of, and I’m going to take a guess no one else will pick-up on this comparison, is what happened to the subsequent films/mini-series by Kevin Sullivan of the Anne of Green Gables stories after the 2nd one. All the book fans tend to go on repeat readings of that same series again and again. But as the same fans turned to the films it seemed to go:

… #1: Wow! That was a good version!

… #2: Well, that was pretty good but not really accurate.

… #3: What the heck??? What book is this based on?

…#4: *shrug* Why bother?

Either way, if this stuff was the ONLY thing in my life I’d have to worry or complain about, I’d count myself so lucky!

2 years ago

I still don’t see what people see in Karl Urban. I’ve seen other non-professional actors portray McCoy just as well, if not better. The more I keep looking at Urban though the more he reminds me of Gary Lockwood and how he would have been better playing Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell!

Can’t wait for Star Wars: Episode VII – It’s gonna make The Phantom Menace look like a Class Act! All those George Lucas nay-sayers are going to be apologizing… Abrams is the new “standard” for science-fiction films.

Alan J. Garner
2 years ago

The best (and only) part of the reboot was Karl Urban’s portrayal of McCoy. Talk about channeling DeForrest Kelly! But I’m a New Zealander, like Karl, so I might be a tad biased.

And don’t get me started on filming the Enterprise’s engineering section ina bloody brewery!

2 years ago

I agree with everything you said; absolutely everything. I watched it once — as did a friend of mine — and we were both seriously angry at the end of the total hash they made of it. The only thing we both found okay was, as you stated, Urban as Bones.

I have all the series and movies on DVD from Enterprise (which I actually don’t mind too much), The Original Series, TNG and Voyager. I’ve only watched Voyager once as I absolutely hated the Chakotay character as much as I hated Wesley Crusher in TNG I suppose. But I liked the rest of the cast in TNG while more than a few others annoyed me in Voyager.

My point is that I thought the real lows were these two characters, but this outlook changed somewhat when I watched this bloody film.

This film made me hate it so badly that I will never watch it again. I also have no intention whatsoever of watching the second one; the atrocious first one put paid to that.

I will keep watching my DVD’s of The Original Series, TNG and DS9. I can love Wesley Crusher and even Chakotay if I have to. Anything’s got to be better than this film.

[…] Star Trek so much that I would become so blatantly frustrated with the current version. Based upon my review of Star Trek (2009), you know that I’m not a fan of J.J. Abrams’ take on Star Trek. It didn’t start that way. […]

2 years ago

I agree completely the film sucked. In the new film, they have warp like Star Wars hyper-space. Kirk remarks no one can catch them at warp? Really? Did Nero’s temporal meddling change the laws of physics?

2 years ago

Against my better judgement, I ended up watching Into Darkness yesterday and it is even worse than the predecessor.

As other posters have already commented, the film is a mindless remake of TWOK (with elements of Nemesis thrown in for good measure) that lacks the depth and pathos of the original. Many scenes even use exactly the same dialogue as TWOK, line for line.

Instead of developing new ideas, Abrams and co have simply produced a shallow, bland remake of a vastly superior film. I watched it with a friend who said they never liked TOS, had never seen TWOK and methinks this is the target demographic for Paramount/Bad Robot/Abrams: young people who are unawares of Abrams’ creative bankruptcy.

A lot of the acting is dreadful (in particular Alice Eve’s performance), the writing is lazy and much of the dialogue is truly cringe-worthy. None of the plot points are explored properly and it just feels underwhelming. In 133 minutes It fails to achieve what an episode of TOS was able to within a fraction of that time. A wasted opportunity and this doesn’t bode well for Star Wars: Episode 7.

2 years ago

I agree that the Star Trek reboot was horrible. I just recently googled to see if anyone agreed with me that the reboot was awful and lo and behold! Now since the reviews for the second movie are coming out and so far the reviews are coming back that it’s a boring drag.

I saw this move in the theatre in May of 2009 and never looked back. I never wanted to give it a second watching I just hated it. I hated the pacing of the story, the pacing reminded me too much of seeing my stepson take his Adderall. I could not buy into the fact that a cadet would be given command of the flagship vessel of the Federation after 1-2 weeks of service. In fact that point alone is my biggest resistance to whole reboot. Even if Starfleet is decimated, there has to be more experienced officers than a green Ensign to hand command over to. How insulting is that to Spock to be a commander and work his way up and pay his dues and some punk a** rogue comes in and is anointed Captain. It would never ever happen in any Navy.

And I see that they destroyed Alderaan (oops, I mean Vulcan) as kind of a point to make the Bad Guy appear bad but it appears the Federation goes on without a beat. There didn’t seem to be an socio-economic affect on the Federation to losing a key member planet. It’s like New York City getting nuked and the US humming along without skipping a beat. And see for the long term of any movies along this time line as missing Vulcan has shooting themselves in the foot. Naturally the Vulcans will find themselves as a third rate power within the Federation and will probably spend the next 100-200+ years re-establishing themselves.

Overall, I just hated it and it never waranted a rewatch for me. I’ll probably look at the new one just because I like Trek, but not until it’s been out for a while.

Son of Dixon
2 years ago

Star Trek Into Darkness… DON’T SEE THIS FILM! Repeat: if you are an adult and fan of TOS, DON’T SEE THIS FILM! It’s the lobotomized continuation of Abrams’ first film, strictly for non-thinking, intellectually-challenged children. To sum it up: imagine the writers of Transformers and Armageddon remaking Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Yes, ponder that!

You know, I take back most of everything I’ve said about the many Trek fan films on the Internet. You see, at least those fans TRIED to do something Star Trek. They didn’t have the resources, the actors, the money. But at least they TRIED. Abrams never tried. Abrams didn’t have to try — he’s in it for the money and is NOT out to please Trek fans, but to please His New Audience. It’s Abrams way or the highway…

I’m sick of reading: “I’m a new Star Trek fan because I LOVED the 2009 film, my first Trek movie.” I’ve had it up to here reading about how Abrams is this new Visionary, the New Steven Spielberg. “Well, Harve Bennett and Nicholas Myer who did ST II didn’t know about Star Trek either.” Yeah, but they had Talent and Experience; they were capable of telling Stories and they more or less did their homework on Star Trek. Above all, they knew about things like Characters and Plot — and they weren’t catering to a teen crowd of movie-goers either!

Abrams has No talent whatsoever — but a CGI crew who does the work for him! Maybe the CGI crew should be getting the praise and the big bucks — they Are these films. I think this is one of the top reasons I’m so furious: unwarranted praise of a talentless film director. Seriously, if Ed Wood, Jr. had been given this kind of budget and CGI wizardry Abrams has been given… All Abrams can do is deliver banal dialogue to somehow tie one action scene together to the next action scene, with lots of noise and explosions… Plot, characters, and Intelligence is virtually non-existent… The 2009 movie was more like Star Trek For Dummies, in which case, Into Darkness will be Star Trek For Idiots!

Abrams is Science Fiction’s filmdom’s worst nightmare. There’s just no Science left in it anymore, just comic book brainlessness exposition. Next we’ll have Kirk and crew fly out of the Enterprise without wearing pressure suits and zapping everyone with their phaser guns, like some bad kiddie cartoon: no gravity, no physics, no sense. That’s pretty much the future of Trek: it’s a Nightmare! It’s Trek in NAME ONLY! I don’t see it getting any better.

The last REAL Trek movie was Nemesis… Even with all its flaws it was at least aimed at an Adult audience (deliberately ignoring the B4 subplot’s forced “humor”) and wasn’t a kiddie rollercoaster ride constructed around a CGI fest! It at least was set in the Real Trek Universe, had our real characters — and played by the real actors, and a serious plot with decent acting.

2 years ago

I felt pretty much the same way about this film. It is a perfect example of what is wrong with many of the Star Trek films: it was sloppily thrown together to milk the franchise. It lacks a plot and has lousy science and substandard effects. My recommendation would be to see the first two films (be sure to get the Director’s Cut of the first film) and skip the rest.

The engine room would have worked much better in a steampunk film. And I don’t like the bridge design, either. However, the biggest effects let down in any of the Star Trek films so far was having a bad guy’s terrible super weapon turn out to be a cheap model rocket in one of the earlier films.

Abrams rips off not only Star Wars but also Wrath of Khan and perhaps Nemesis.

I disagree that Abrams is the only game in town, though. There are very good fan films and fan episodes out there. Check out the Phase II project, for example. I won’t be spending my money on Into Darkness; why support incompetent hacks? In fact, as I recall, one of the guest stars in an earlier Star Trek film once said in an interview that Star Trek fans should be more demanding and not go see lousy films.

Moreover, Star Trek is not the only science fiction out there. And there’s good fantasy to see, such as the Lord of the Rings films.

Fredrick Haugen
2 years ago

@Andre, FutureDude will be posting his review of Star Trek Into Darkness this Thursday, May 16th — the day the film opens.

2 years ago

When I watched Star Trek in the cinema back in 2009, I was initially overjoyed and felt that Abrams had delivered a good effort that did the franchise justice. Within a few weeks I came to regard the film as the cinematic equivalent of The Emperor’s New Clothes — underneath the special effects there is little more than a hugely overrated (albeit well polished) exercise that lacks the soul of its predecessors.

The clueless comments by film “critic” Mark Kermode and Gavin Esler during Kermode’s review of the sequel, Into Darkness, provided a revealing insight into the demographic that Abrams is pandering to when Esler complained that the TV series had been “far too talky” and Kermode proudly confirmed that Abrams had put paid to all of that.

There you have it, the intellectualism and thoughtfulness that defined the franchise has taken a backseat to formulaic, shallow film-making that caters to the lowest common denominator who want to a theme park ride instead of offering challenging material that makes you reflect.

If anyone has seen the sequel, please share your thoughts. I won’t be spending any money on this time on Abrams empty-headed vision, but I’m curious on the verdicts.

2 years ago

There Is a plausible explanation of the plot–but to get it you have to use convoluted logic and read some comic books released After the film (called “Countdown” or something of that sort) to try and justify this train wreck of a flick. Either way you cut it, the film is Bad Science all around, which is rather typical of these days for what passes For “science fiction” film making. Catering to the Transformers crowd.

But if you think it’s bad wait’ll you get a load of Into Darkness. I know, not quite appropriate for this thread so I’ll be brief: More of the same! Lots and lots of CGI, running around, explosions galore. That’s what carries the film as a kind of idiot-remake of ST II. It should also appeal to lovers of Armageddon and Battleship. It’s Not Star Trek. There’s no characters here beyond the cliche one-liner droppings.

If you go to the Above Top Secret site, a bogus script was posted up there last year. It was typed up in under an hour, I’m told, as a kind of spoofy send-up of JarJar Abrams’ film. Guess what? With all its derivativeness and hokey garbage, It’s a better script than what they went with for this 2nd disaster movie!

2 years ago

If you thought ST 2009 was bad, you’re going to have a field day with ST ID… 😛

2 years ago

I absolutely agree that the plot makes no sense, and also find it hard to believe that so many Star Trek fans don’t care that it makes no sense. Okay films are just entertainment and you have to suspend belief sometimes, but this is ridiculous.

Has anyone found a plausible explanation of the plot?

Why did the Romulan mining ship have such superior weaponry — which looked to me like bits of metal being flung out at high speed?

If the Romulan and Spock’s ships survived falling into the black hole to reappear in the past, shouldn’t the supernova have reappeared too and wreaked as much havoc as it did in the future?

2 years ago

I would like to bring up some points that I haven’t heard anyone mention here yet. I also disliked Star Trek (2009) for many of the same reasons mentioned above. But the things I miss the most in this film are the chemistry, comraderie, and cerebral nature of the original Star Trek.

What I came to enjoy most about Trek (beyond the action scenes, technology, and creative vision of the future) was the way the Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelly versions of the main characters worked together and interacted with each other. In addition to witty writing and good acting, I think it was the way the characters’ personalities in the original cast both
contrasted and complimented each other so well that created interesting tension, humor, and relatability.

They weren’t just cocky, angry, Captain wannabe’s at-each-others throats, like in much of the reboot. They were a team. There was a certain amount of comraderie and friendship that developed which allowed viewers to become more involved in the positive virtues and relationships of the characters, so that when something really dramatic happened, you cared
to some extent.

I’m not saying it was all shmooze and roses or that they were best buddies. I don’t think that would be realistic in a military type setting. But at the end of the day, they were usually able to recognize some value in the other guy, even if they didn’t always get along. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I don’t see those qualities being represented as
much in JJ Abrams film.

Also, Star Trek was always more of a cerebral approach to solving problems. I was disturbed to see the new Spock character being so emotional. Vulcans are supposed to be a logical group of people. Even being half-human, the emotional aspect would have been played down. I had always seen the Bones character as being the more passionate one. Spock was
always level-headed and informative, giving the leader (Kirk), a balance of input. Here, they’re all just a bit too on-the-edge, and — with the increased number of action scenes and popping-in-your-face special effects — this movie seem more like a modern video game than a classic sci-fi film you can take something away from.

And then there’s the like-ability factor. Shatner’s Kirk could be arrogant and demanding, but he had a heart too. He wasn’t all business. He was likeable. I don’t think Pine’s Kirk is really that likeable. He doesn’t come across as a good leader either. Furthermore, how many memorable one-liners can you remember from this film? Whatever happened to memorable lines in movies in general?

Well, maybe these ideas are old-fashioned and don’t draw big box-office results with the modern crowd. That’s too bad. Not that Star Trek was ever perfect or anything — I’ll admit some of it was corny or just plain weird. But now they’re even further away from perfect than ever. It’s like a whole different movie series with the Star Trek name slapped on it, a phenomenon which is happening to many film series these days. If this is the approach we can expect in the next film, my interest in the Star Trek storyline has sadly come to an end.

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